Ballarat has long been linked to bike riding. But you don’t have to wait for the annual championship in January. Instead there is something on all year round for cycling enthusiasts.
This cycling weekend starts early, with check-in Friday any time after 2pm, at the 4-star Sovereign Park Motor Inn. Being on Main Road, you’re right in the heritage precinct. From here, it was easy riding to the cafes, meeting points and back — a nice, calm cycle along safe streets. And people didn’t give us any grief not even on the open roads.
After checking out the local neighbourhood, we arrived at Mr Jones just after 6pm for dinner by this renowned chef.
Saturday we were up bright and early to do the famous Creswick Classic. Starting at bike-friendly Racers Cafe, we ordered a pre-ride coffee before heading off. It was a good loop with plenty of options to extend the ride. In all, it’s around two hours, where you’ll clock up 56.69 kms to find yourself brunching at Webster’s Market and Cafe come mid-morning.
Stretch your legs at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. It was interesting and cool, also free. The brewery at Hop Temple surprised me. I don’t drink but the atmosphere and the food was just the thing to fuel up on.
Come late afternoon, we were riding around Lake Wendouree. Depending on the time of year you could even get to see the sunset, which I believe is one of the best in Ballarat, if not Victoria.
We finished with dinner at The Pub With Two Names, aka PWTN. That’s because when they removed the pub’s Peter Lalor signage (the pub’s name in the 1960s) it revealed yet another moniker (The Royal Highlander). Just a little bit of Ballarat trivia.
But let’s not forget why we’re here, first and foremost, setting our alarms for a ride to Espresso Depot on Sunday at 8am.
From here we headed off along the Mount Buninyong Circuit, a leg of the annual Cycling Australia Road National Championships. This 11.6km loop has catapulted the likes of Amanda Spratt, Katrin Garfoot, Miles Scotson and Simon Gerrans to claim their place in cycling history and, as you pedal along, don’t be surprised if you automatically pick up your pace.
Then it’s a short stop at Europa for brunch in readiness for the trip home. Until next time.