Cycle Melbourne, Road Ride, Merri Creek Loop
This is an enjoyable ride of several differing parts. The ride north meanders through a continuous linear park along the Merri Creek where revegetation works and parkland development including path construction have created a pleasant riding environment. After a short ride through the open paddocks alongside the Western Ring Road you return in a near straight trajectory along a still functioning rail corridor to the inner suburbs for another straight trip through parkland along the Capital City Trail to the finish.
Despite the path’s quality this trip might best be left if there have been recent heavy rains because the path runs very close to the Merri Creek in places and is subject to flooding. Detour directions are provided but I imagine having to take all of these might dampen your enjoyment of the ride, so to speak. The creek was the site of heavy industrial use throughout much of the 20th century, being home to quarries, landfills and accepting waste runoff. This degraded the ecology of the area but recent decades have seen regenerative planting and the foundation of several community groups dedicated to protecting and regenerating the creek.
Another interesting development on what was neglected land on the creek bank is the CERES Community Environment Park which is dedicated to environmental sustainability with an emphasis on community participation. As well as the café you will find walking trails, an animal farm, nursery, sustainable living displays and a market on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The couple of kilometres through open grasslands along the Western Ring Road soon jolts you out of the semi-rural calm of the creek. With constant traffic roar, and a bit of buffeting if a north wind is blowing, you will appreciate turning back into suburbia. The journey back along Upfield Bikeway is interesting but not especially scenic, but you get some surprising glimpses of the city and the chance to wave at passing trains. If you are a graffiti aficionado then you’ll enjoy this bit. Note on the map that it runs parallel with Merri Creek and Sydney Road.
Along the way, there are signs guiding you back to the Merri Creek Trail if you’ve seen enough of the suburbs. You pass a number of stations so if you run out of puff, help is at hand. Note that Rushall is not on this line if you need to get back to the start point. If on the other hand you still have a spring in your step you could do the Capital City Trail which this ride uses for the last three kilometres. On this stretch you will get the chance to admire the approach of the young, inner suburbanites to cycling which is more about style than long haul efficiency.
If coming by train or car, Rushall station is the start and finish of the ride. By bike you can get there on the Capital City Trail or join anywhere along the loop.
Food and Drink
There are only occasional drinking fountains along the way. For anything else, detour left along the return leg at most busy road crossings to Sydney Road. Along the path at 2.6km, CERES Park has a café and is an interesting place to stop and spend some time.
32.199 km / 20.007 mi
406 m / 1,332 ft
403 m / 1,322 ft
107 m / 352 ft