Here’s the go; You have a spare morning or afternoon and you feel the need to get out of Melbourne suburbia and ride. Then here is the first of a series of short ride guides, taking you out of Melbourne, along a few back roads and returning in a few hours.
If you (and/or your significant other) need a good reason to go on this ride, there is a bakery known as the Red Beard Bakery in Trentham. The food in their cafe is delicious and although not cheap, their bread is simply sublime!
The online version of this map may be found at: https://www.myrouteapp.com/en/social/route/3667772?mode=share
POINT 1 – Start from the Westgate Bridge
The nominated start point for this ride, as it is central to Melbourne with parking, fuel, coffee and food available in the area. It also gives good access to the main arterial roads, so you can get out of the boring city roads and into the country side relatively quickly.
POINT 2 – Rockbank
Follow Leakes Road north and cross the Keilor-Melton Highway. The crossing here is a dog leg and traffic can get pretty heavy here, so take your time. Once you make the crossing, you are in the open countryside. Turn left on Holden Road and head to Toolern Vale.
POINTS 3 to 5 – Toolern Vale, Gisborne and Macedon
Toolern Vale is a small village in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.
The General Store is a worthwhile stop if you need unleaded fuel, and they do okay coffee and fast food.
Turn right at the roundabout onto Gisborne-Melton Road. This leg is 16 km long and takes you past the rather excellent Toolern Vale Hills winery.
The road climbs up into the hills and the first couple of kilometres up the hill can provide some serious swerve-ry fun! Exercise some due caution though, as kangaroos can try to perform kamikaze tactics on you and the road is also occasionally patrolled by the members of Her Majesty’s Victorian Constabulary (Police!). From there, you ride through the forest to Gisborne, which is point 4 on the route map.
Take the Old Calder Highway, which runs through Macedon (point 5). There you’ll ride through the Black Forest, so be careful of black ice on cold, frosty mornings.
POINT 6 – Woodend.
Woodend is a good place for a halfway stop. Bourkie’s award-winning Bakery make some of the best Vanilla Slices anywhere!
After a suitable refreshment / fuel break, take the left hand turn onto Daylesford Road towards Tylden. The road here is a scenic run through sweepers, up and down over hill and dale. It can get somewhat busy with tourist traffic though, who may otherwise be engaged in the scenery, rather than concentrating on you during fine weather! Beware.
POINTS 7 to 9 – Spring Hill, Glenlyon and Daylesford.
Just as you pass Tylden, turn right on Spring Hill Road. This road is rather narrow in places, but is in relatively good condition. It meanders its way through wooded farmland and is quite scenic in places.
At the end of the road, you’re presented with a T-intersection at the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road. Turn left here toward Daylesford, and enjoy the sweepers to Glenlyon.
At Glenlyon you ride past the Glenlyon General Store, which is renowned for great food and local produce for sale. Again, well worth a stop.
Continue along the Daylesford-Malmsbury Road to the next T-junction with the Midland Highway. Turn left here, and after a couple of kilometres, you arrive at a roundabout on the outskirts of Daylesford.
You could turn right here and head into Daylesford and its establishments… but I tend to turn left and head along the road to Trentham.
The road to Trentham is a delight.
A great mix of sweeping bends and fairly tight corners. The only limiter to the exuberance is an 80 km/h speed limit through the twisty bits.
Note it does get cold through here. I have in the past, had the “pleasure” of riding whilst it’s been snowing on this road! (Not the norm for out-of-town readers) Thankfully, there is a pub with open fire at the end!
You will go through Lyonville, which has the Radio Springs Hotel. This is a great pub, with magnificent food and drink. They also have a very comfortable accommodation set up, if you feel disposed to dining and imbibing at your leisure.
You also go through Musk and Bullarto – which is where the terminus of the Daylesford Spa Country Railway is located.
POINT 10 – Trentham
Continue riding along the road until you get to a right hand turn-off to Trentham. Once there, you will complete your search for excellent bread by visiting the Red Beard Bakery.
Their website tells it all.
THE JOURNEY BACK
There are couple of ways back to the big smoke. (Talking Melbourne, Australia of course).
- Head along the same road back to Woodend, via Tylden and then onto the Calder Freeway back to Melbourne or…
- Take the Trentham-Greendale Road – through Blackwood, Greendale and Pykes Creek back to the Western Freeway.
The latter is one of my favourite roads. Lots of swervery though the trees and it has been resurfaced over the last few years BUT… THE BLOODY SPEED LIMIT HAS BEEN DROPPED TO 80 KM/H! AARRRGGHH! It seemed it was okay to be 100 Km/h when it was a pitted, pothole infested goat track… but upgrade the road… and they drop it down to 80?
So, “in search of excellent bread” will take you about 4 hours or so with a few stops thrown in. It takes you through the Macedon Ranges and the great roads therein. At the end of it, you may have a sample of the Red Beard Bakery’s wares to take home as well. BONUS!