Route: Mayfield to Murrays Beach via the Fernleigh Track
Distance: Approx. 65km
Map: No official map. Route shown below. Once on the Fernleigh Track in the City, follow it for 15km until you reach the end of the track at Belmont, then turn onto Railway Parade and then Alick Street, which takes you to the Pacific Hwy (part shared path). At Swansea, turn onto the Old Pacific Hwy and turn onto Jetty Point Drive to reach Murrays Beach.
Public Transport Access: Broadmeadow or Hamilton stations
I’ve always been honest about the fact that most of the time I ride to get somewhere and when not doing that I ride for the sheer pleasure of taking in my surroundings on a bike. Don’t get me wrong I love getting a bit of speed, but what I don’t do is ride for sport.
Riding for sport means endurance. (If we’re talking mountain biking, then skill, too). And let’s face it, most of the time I’m pretty lazy.
Because I use my bike just to get from A to B, rarely do I need to ride more than 10km a day–most trips are between 2 and 4km, and I average about 44km a week (a side note: the fact that most people drive that distance is unhealthy–but then I remind myself that we have a long way to go to make people feel safe on a bike).
So on Saturday I decided to test my endurance level by riding from Mayfield to Murrays Beach (south of Swansea) and back again, a distance of about 65km. Of course, the ride is made possible by the always stunning Fernleigh Track.
But at the end of the Fernleigh at Belmont–I’d never ventured beyond that point, onto the Pacific Highway through Belmont South and Marks Point. That turned out to be quite a sketchy ride with cars zooming past at 70-80 km/hr. An interesting sight on the way is Belmont Airport, now home to skydiving and sight-seeing flights. Fortunately the shoulder is quite decent, and it wasn’t long before I made it to the Pelican cycleway which runs all the way to Swansea, over the Channel–including what must surely be one of Australia’s older separated cycleways (see below)?
From the end of the Fernleigh to Swansea is all well and good in terms of elevation–nice and flat. The whole area is a giant sand spit built up over several millennia. But then from Swansea onto Murrays Beach–wow, that was steep! Before you reach the hill, you’ll enjoy a nice ride along the old Pacific Highway.
The promise of lunch kept me going and the view–magnificent.
Suffice to say this ride wore me out, yet I realise for people who ride for sport/fitness 65km is nothing! So, kudos to you endurance junkies, I take my hat off to you.