Cycle Melbourne, Mountain Bike Ride, Fringe Singletrack Trail
Enjoy a short ride from the centre of town that includes non-technical singletrack. This out-and-back course requires minimal navigation skills. There are plenty of options to extend your trip or come back another day and explore further. As we go to print more singletrack has been constructed adjacent to this ride. You do not need to be super fit or have great technical skills to enjoy this ride; it is also ideal for use as a fast workout.
This one has a different feel to most of our other Castlemaine rides. The tracks are less rocky and the few hills are not difficult. Once you know the way, there is a good flow without the constant change in direction and speed that is often a feature of constructed mountain bike courses.
There is a short ride along the steam-train rail line track after you leave town. After that you loop around a network of tracks in the typical low forest of this countryside. There is plenty of shade throughout and most of the trails can take large amounts of rain before they become uncomfortable to ride.
For most of the trip you are on single or double track and once you get out of town a little, it feels like you are a long way from anywhere. Almost anyone with basic fitness and MTB skills can enjoy this ride and it is a good one to bring younger riders on. Fitter and faster riders can also have a lot of fun close to town.
By car: Castlemaine is an easy one and a half hours or 120 kilometres northwest of Melbourne via the Calder Freeway. (Melway X909 D6.) Take the Castlemaine turn off and when you reach town go to the car park in Forest Street, at the rear of the information centre. This is the start for most of our rides in Castlemaine. Set your bike computer to zero at the edge of the car park, near the footpath.
Parking here is limited, however, there is plenty of free parking nearby, beside the tennis courts in Wheeler Street.
By train: A fast and comfortable train service from Melbourne takes around an hour and a half from Southern Cross station. Bikes can be taken on the train but if travelling in a group you will need to confirm space is available by ringing V/Line on 136 196 or (03) 8608 5011.
Food and Drink
Plenty of options at the start. The car park services the local supermarket; green-grocer with deli-goods and fresh bread also near the info centre. A cycle-friendly café is the Theatre Royal, next door to bike shop, in Hargraves Street just to the left of the roundabout. The Comma Hotel is known for good food and local bands.
Allow plenty of time to explore the historic town of Castlemaine. Pop into the information centre for a wealth of fascinating historical and tourist information, staffed by generous locals happy to share their knowledge. It has interesting displays and is well worth a visit.
39.779 km / 24.718 mi
594 m / 1,948 ft
376 m / 1,234 ft