With thanks to our friends at FE Sports and Wahoo Fitness, we had the honour of hosting a fantastic day for our guests in our amazing Dandenong Ranges on Melbourne Cup Day. With the theme of DareToRoam, and highlighting the Wahoo Elemnt Roam, we designed a day that fits right into our sweetspot of Gravel Riding. We love our gravel riding. Be it our shorter shop rides or our epic days in the saddle, give us the road less travelled and we are there in a heartbeat.
Our 20 strong group gathered at our shop, not really knowing what was ahead of them. Some brought their gravel bikes, some brought their cyclocross bikes, and others utilised some of our great demo gravel bikes. There was definitely an air of excitement and anticipation, especially when we had hinted at roads they would not have known existed. As we rolled out there was plenty of excited chatter in the chilly Croydon air.
Today’s route was a mixture of bike path, gravel paths, minimal bitumen and gravel roads. We started out on bike paths that would take us all the way from Croydon, through Bayswater, Bornia and Upper Ferntree Gully, before carrying us up to Belgrave. With the warm up out the way, it was time for a bit of gravel please.
The route quickly transformed to bushland as we hit the gravel roads and tracks between Belgrave and Selby. This was the first taste of dirt for some of our guys and girls. Next the Selby Aura Rd is a beautifully paved sector of road, in a surround that would not look out of place in the Baw Baw National Park, before we turned our group back to gravel and headed for Menzies Creek. In no time, we had made our way to Emerald on a combo of gravel roads and tracks. Time for a strong flat white and a bite to eat.
After a bit of banter about who was going well and who was still finding their feet on the gravel, we wandered off again to the tracks out the back of Emerald Lake. This is a beautiful sector of this ride, through towering gums and impressive ferns that envelope either side of our path, in the Wright Forest Bushland Reserve.
Moving on, we were headed for Monbulk, but not via roads many had done before. As promised we took some roads that many of the group did not even know existed. On quiet gravel roads, splattered with pot holes to keep you honest, we made our way through Butterfield Wildlife Reserve before we had to split our group due to a mechanical. Most of our group headed up the Old Emerald Road, taking on the punchy dirt road climbs, snaking their way through the back of Monbulk Football Ground. The impacted group took the slightly easier route by road back into Monbulk, where we all regrouped.
The looks on some of the faces were ‘I am so in love with gravel riding!’ but others were thinking ‘I could love gravel riding but I need to do more of it’. It didn’t matter either way because everyone was having a ball. We rolled out of Monbulk and headed up ‘The Wall’! “Not The Wall”, I heard someone say, but we ducked off for more gravel on Holden Road. There were definitely some tired smiles when we hit the other end. One more little climb and we would all be heading downhill toward home.
Again our group took separate routes, with our intrepid explorers taking the road less travelled and back on the trails through the Alfred Nicholas Gardens. Meanwhile, those beginning to tire, took the road up to Ferny Creek. Some guys were definitely tired and already thinking of a sausage back at our base.
We regrouped and then headed down Hilton Road, which becomes Hilton track, as we took the shortest path down the mountain. That shortest path took us down a descent which really caught out the guys who hadn’t done much off road before now. Just a reminder that we can all work on our technical skills. We all got down staying upright, and headed back to base for a BBQ and a soft drink. Job done and what a day.
We would love to thank Rusty from FE Sports, who provided the Wahoo Roams to demo for the day and a bunch of Wahoo swag for our customers. We would also love to thank Rob Eva for his assistance in leading on the day and guidance in creating a route for the day to suit a range of skilled riders. Thanks guys.
Here are our route details for this day, and we have a swag of other gravel routes that we love, so come and talk to us if you are thinking of doing some gravel riding.