My second ride of the eighth coffeeneuring challenge; a very different ride to a and a lot fewer people about.
I’d woken up around 4 am to the sound of heavy rain on the roof, not a good sign, but by the time I woke a second time at around 6:30 am the rain seemed to have stopped, although everything was very wet.
I left under dull grey skies, temperature of 10.4 °C, intermittent light sprinkles and tyres hissing on the wet road. Much the same as last Saturday down south through Hughesdale and Bentleigh until I got to Southlands. I’d been looking over the maps in veloviewer in the last week and noticed that there was a small headland at Sandringham with no record of me riding out there – a detour there would fill in a “tile” and add to my coverage of this part of Melbourne1. So I turned right at Southlands and rode straight west to the bay, then back-tracked towards to the city to explore the headland.
Coastal scrub, increasing rain, gravel car parks and a very big yacht club. Curiosity satisfied and temperature a degree lower, I returned to Beach road and headed for Mordialloc. Unlike last weekend’s endless stream of cyclists and bunch rides, this morning I think I saw around 20 other riders and was only passed by about eight – compared with several hundred passing in many large bunches!
By the time I reached Mordialloc I was wet through, so I decided to detour off inland and explore the paths alongside Mordialloc creek. A mix of concrete, tar and crushed gravel paths, all very wet. I don’t think I’d ever ridden up along the creek here and had no idea how far it went or which direction I was going, under the grey skies I could have been going anywhere from north around east to south! From moorings and fishing boat repair sheds to parkland and eventually an expansive wetlands it was an interesting detour. Ending up in a newish housing development arranged around lakes and parks – Watergardens I later discovered – I circumnavigated the lakes thinking I was aiming in the approximate direction of Moorabbin airport. Passed a group of birdwatchers out with umbrellas and clipboards, perhaps getting in early for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count that starts on – I saw a pelican, great egret, black ducks, moorhens, swamp hens and a darter, I wonder what they saw?
At the farthest edge of the lake I was only metres from a major road that seemed to be heading back home-wards so I pulled out the phone to check the maps. Mr Samsung very helpfully kept telling me to dry my finger if I wanted to unlock the phone – spectacularly useless information outside in the rain while standing around with cold, soaked, half-numb hands. Eventually I managed to tap out my passcode, although drips onto the screen wiped the entire thing twice before I got there. Aha, it is Springvale road, and if I were to ride along it that way it will take me straight north to Springvale station and then I can make the rest of my way home alongside the railway line on the new bike path.
A fascinating ride up Springvale road on a Saturday morning, lots of fast traffic but enough of a shoulder, bike lane or kerbside bus lane to make it bearable. The mix of buildings is pretty amazing; semi-industrial concrete boxes, garden centres – including one with dinosaur sculptures – a huge private school, churches, Buddhist temples, a pagoda, houses, flats, a truck yard. At one set of lights the couple in the ute next to me offered to put the bike in the back to ferry me up the next section, there is a huge flooded section of road that apparently everyone knows about but never gets fixed. I was drenched already so I thanked them and rode up to it and detoured out into the adjacent lane, only having to ride through 15cm water instead of almost double that against the kerb!
Eventually up to Springvale shops, and on a Saturday morning, in the rain, it felt and smelled like riding into Saigon. A dense block of shops, many Vietnamese and other SE Asian cafés, groceries and small businesses coming to life. I circled the block and ended up coming back to a tiny bakery, they seemed to be one of the few open places where I could get both food and coffee.
A banh mi & a cappuccino, sitting outside and watching the rain come down. I would have preferred a mug or a glass to the takeaway cup, but perhaps it was better, much quicker heat transfer from the coffee to my near-numb hands! I passed the time talking with a retired truckie who’d walked up the street for his weekly Saturday morning coffee, eyeing the road and the rain and not looking forward to the last stretch home.
Finishing the coffee and looking up the street, I couldn’t put it off any longer. Back on the bike, cold and stiff but warmer inside, a block further up Springvale road then the final stretch home along the brand new Djerring trail to Westall and Clayton where I discovered a wonderful new feature of the wonderful new bike path – no camber, no drainage, and lots of huge lakes flooding the new path. Just what I needed at the end of three hours out in the rain, to feel like I was having to ride the last stretch through a river. Eventually got home, squelched inside, stripped off and threw all my gear in the bath and got straight into the shower to clean off the gravel & grit and warm back up. A touch over 50km, 11 °C average temperature which I thought interesting, given my Garmin seemed to say between 9-10 every time I looked at it, and 9.5mm of rain in the rain gauge on the front fence.
In the words I heard in an interview during the week; “definitely type 2 fun.”
Oh, and the title reference? The Go-Betweens: “Spring Rain”
So that’s two, here’s to a drier number three….