Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, Inner North Circuit Ride
This ride takes you through the bustling heart of the city and around the trendy inner northern suburbs. The restricted traffic along Swanston Street and the bike lanes on predominantly wide roads make it achievable for the ordinary rider, providing you are alert. The popularity of most of these roads with cyclists, particularly commuters, means that car drivers are made more aware. There is much to see on route, so take your time and have a good browse around. Before starting, take in the buildings around you. You have the iconic clocks of Flinders Street station, the modern architecture of Federation Square, the gothic St Pauls Anglican Cathedral and the rowdy Young and Jacksons hotel, which houses its own beauty in the portrait of Chloe. Riding along Swanston Street you pass the Melbourne Town Hall, the busy shopping precinct of Bourke Street Mall and then further up the traditional Melbourne Library and the City Baths, offset by some of the more adventurous shapes of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology buildings.
Although traffic is restricted for the first few blocks be aware of any trams travelling near you. At tram stops you must stay behind them until they close their doors and move off. After passing Melbourne University, where you can ride in for a look around, you travel along Princes Park Drive, between Princes Park and Melbourne Cemetery, both a good deal more restful than where you have just been. The ride loops around through Carlton and Fitzroy where you will see a lot of single and double storey Victorian and Edwardian housing, with rows of single and double storey terraces intermingled with semi-attached and freestanding houses. Large parts of the area are protected by heritage controls. Edinburgh Gardens, just after Rushall station, provides another green interlude on this urban ride. The trendy, inner city lifestyle is especially evident in parts of Napier Street and along Gertrude Street where the number of bars and cafés ensure you needn’t go thirsty or hungry on this trip.
In Napier Street you also pass by Fitzroy Town Hall, originally built in 1873, and now restored to its original glory. From there it is a short loop past another of Melbourne’s landmark buildings, St Patricks Cathedral, around the back of Parliament House before riding down the so-called Paris end of Collins Street, which has gradually lost any tenuous similarity it might have had with that city through the number of bland high rise buildings in the area. From there it is a short trip back to Federation Square for some people watching. If you want to ride further many of the city based rides start at the Yarra River on the southern boundary of the square.
Start the ride under the clocks of Flinders Street station, or outside Young and Jacksons hotel across the road if that suits.
Food and Drink
Throughout the city and in Fitzroy North, especially where you cross Gertrude Street. Stop for delicious ice cream, cakes and coffee at Brunettis in City Square. Lock up the bike and try David Jones food hall off Bourke Street Mall for an apple or a full meal with wine. Stop for a beer and meal at the Rose Hotel in Napier Street.