Yesterday morning, the boyfriend and I decided to tackle Kinglake.
For those of you that haven’t done the ride before, we typically start at the Hurstbridge Train Station. Plenty of parks, toilet facilities and it’s the last strip of shops before you head into the bushland. Another great thing about starting there is that it’s about 18kms to the base of the Kinglake climb, which is a perfect to get the blood flowing and legs moving before you hit the hills.
It was a stunning morning (although a little warm), light cool breeze, sunshine and at 7:30am in the morning, there’s little to no cars on the road.
The ride to the base of the climb was gentle, a few undulating hills, but mainly flat – a good way to stretch out the legs. It was very peaceful, bird chirping, the wind and sun on my face. Yep – I love it. Plus, it was just me and the boyfriend on a long stretch of road. Which brings me to side topic.
I’ve been thinking about it for a while, I believe that the boyfriend and I are very lucky in our relationship. We both love to ride, and are both just as enthusiastic about it. We love riding together and look out for each other on the roads (admittedly the ratio of him turning to check I’m still there is much higher than vice versa). I’ve come to think of the mornings we spend riding, just the two of us like our “dates”. As you know, being cyclists, we get up at the crack of dawn, so late nights are rare!
We don’t talk much while riding, but we just enjoy each others company and the joy of riding. How many people get to experience that? I honestly don’t know many couples that ride together, the main reason being the girlfriend/partner/wife doesn’t enjoy road cycling, fair enough – it’s not for everyone. But personally I think the relationship I have with the boyfriend is stronger because we both as passionate about cycling and get to spend time together whilst out on the road.
A common joke we share is how he doesn’t have to “rush home” or isn’t “allowed to ride” or doesn’t get a “where are you?” phone call. His biggest problem besides not getting a sleep in is – he’s not allowed to ride WITHOUT me! :p
Back to the ride.
Kinglake is a very picturesque, especially the road leading up to the top. It’s a very popular climb for cyclists – it’s a gentle gradient which kicks up just a touch in the last 2kms to give it a bit of a kick! It’s a great climb for beginners and or more experienced riders. I highly recommend riders to give this one a go if you haven’t already done so!
The Climbing Cyclist does a great write up on the climb: http://theclimbingcyclist.com/climbs/kinglake/kinglake/
In the last 1km of the climb, I was huffing and puffing and I hear a female cyclist going down the hill yell out “WOOHOO another girl!!!” I only managed a very short “WooHoo” in return, but I GET what she meant. Pity I don’t know who she is, else I would give her a “KUDOs!”
There’s really not many female cyclists out there that go out riding hills “just for fun” on a weekend as opposed to organized rides and cycle events. I believe we need to change that. Yesterday, I counted 3 female cyclists riding in the Kinglake area. THREE!!!! There were plenty of boys on the road, easily 30+! Come on girls!! How do we get more girls out there riding? the “How” is worth a separate blog post.
Continuing on – we continued along to Kinglake West, there’s an awesome bakery “The Flying Tarts” up there which is a great place to stop. It’s about a mid way point on the ride, there are toilet facilities, fantastic food (try their custard slice!) and a tap to fill up your bottles (it’s located on the far right of the balcony). Plenty of cyclists stop there for a coffee, cake and a chat before continuing on.
We didn’t stop for food yesterday, as it was warming up and we wanted to finish early. So off we went towards our next climb.
Humevale Road is a hidden gem. It’s an 7 or so km road off the main road, a gentle gradient, the road twists and turns and is really a great climb.
On this occasion, we descended down Humevale road and rode back up. We find that it’s safer to ride that way. If you follow along the highway, it’s very exposed in terms of cars traveling at 70km +, cross winds, there’s no “dedicated cycle lane” and there is a warning sign “7km high accident zone”.
We past quite a few riders ascending as we were going down, and as it does happen, the boyfriend got a flat towards the last 600m of the descent. As we were changing the flat, we had one lone female cyclist riding past ask us “Do you guys have a spare tube?” and numerous other cyclists going past asking “Are you guys ok?”, “Do you need a hand?”
THAT’S what I love about cycling, it’s not just the ride.
It’s the cycling community – how we look out for other cyclists and are more than happy to lend a hand or a spare tube. A “hello” or “Morning” as you pass each other or even just a friendly “nod” as you pass each other on the other side of the road. There are many times when riding up a hill, as riders go pass, they say “good work”, “keep going”, you’re doing well”. It’s really a fantastic community to be part of.
We rode back the way we came, again, stopping at The Flying Tarts for water, and enjoyed the descent down Kinglake and finished off with a fast ride back to Hurstbridge.
All in all, it was a fantastic day out – awesome weather, a hot date with the boyfriend, a great ride and again, experienced the comradery of the cycling community.