Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike, You Yangs - Ride 1
The granite peaks of the You Yangs are only 340 metres at their highest, but they stand out because of the flatness of the surrounding volcanic plains. They are clearly visible from Melbourne bayside and beyond. Two areas of the regional park, which includes these peaks, have been set aside solely for mountain biking, with riders of all skill levels having a chance to enjoy some off-road action.
The name You Yangs is aboriginal and gives this outcrop a more colourful title than the English translation which is, simply, “big mountains in the middle of a plain”. The first Europeans in the area were Matthew Flinders and three of his crew, who climbed the highest peak, in 1802. This is now named Flinders Peak. Over time the You Yangs bushland has been popular with artists, notably Fred Williams who painted sparse, but dramatic, images of the Australian bush based on what he saw here.
With the creation of mountain bike only trails the park has now become a magnet for cyclists. The trails are graded according to degree of difficulty and are well signposted with trail number markers at critical points.
Ride One is based in the Kurrajong area and traverses the easier Plantation and Lumberjack trails. As well as the natural features which you will contend with, such as diving in and out of dry creek beds, jumping small logs and winding around trees, a number of challenges such as split plank platforms, berms and jumps have been built along these trails. In many cases with the latter you can take them on or dodge around them. Have a go at them at your own speed and you will finish the day feeling more confident about your bike handling skills.
At the Kurrajong picnic area you will also find Pump Like Tom, a short trail of bumps and berms, where the aim is to achieve motion without pedalling for a workout. See the instructions on the board beside the trail. After conquering this ride grab a map from the Parks office and have a look at the more difficult trails. Some of the the marked trails are slightly more difficult from the top of this ride (best ridden east to west), or head for the Stockyards area where some of the trail names, such as Bandages or Glory and Turbulence, let you know that the experience will be more extreme.
The park entrance is on Branch Road, Lara, near Forest Road. From the Princes Freeway take the Little River turnoff if coming from Melbourne, or head up Forest Road from Geelong.
Food and Drink
Nothing available in the park, except tap water, so pack a lunch and enjoy time at one of the picnic areas, several of which have barbecues.
11.908 km / 7.399 mi
305 m / 1,001 ft
313 m / 1,027 ft
108 m / 353 ft