Bicycle Network’s United Energy Around the Bay is one of the most well-known mass participation rides in Australia. It’s one of the events that many new cyclists really find their legs, and one where the more seasoned riders out there train hard to bring down their time and beat their personal best.
There’s some big news from the team at Bicycle Network, on 7 October 2018, in addition to the previous routes, there is now the option of taking on a massive 300km option that bumps over the iconic Arthurs Seat and Red Hill.
I was excited to find out that Bicycle Network has added a new route this year…. They have added in the tough Arthurs Seat climb… not only giving some much-needed elevation to the original route but also upping the K’s to a tidy 300km with a 1813m of vert. It’s a nice round number, and as one non-cycling friend once said to me, ‘that’s a long drive, let alone ride’.
300km is not a distance that people can just front up to and ride, it’s something that needs some solid commitment and hours in the saddle to prepare yourself for. Riding a big time heavy ride like this is tough, and having the support of the guys at Bicycle Network really allows people to push it, knowing that there’s support along the way. There’s a solid argument going around at the moment about the Gran Fondo rides being dead in the water. I’m not really sure this is quite the case. While many experienced riders out there are confident to take on massive days unsupported, most are not. Another option is to find a very good mate to go as a support vehicle for you on your big day out…. You’ll need a pretty good friend to do this, and I’m pretty sure you’ll owe them big time for supporting you for 10+ hours out on the bike.
The 300km will take you anticlockwise toward Geelong, through Portarlington before grabbing the ferry at Queenscliff. From there it’s a short hop to Sorrento before following the bayside road again to Dromana. This is where the real fun begins. You’ll make a turn off the regular route and head east across the Mornington Peninsula and up Arthurs Seat… averaging 6% over 4.5km this is a punchy climb that can test the best, and with almost 200km in the legs at this point, you’ll be feeling the burn. Don’t worry it’s not all over once you’ve knocked over Arthurs Seat, you still get another bonus climb as make your way back to Port Phillip Bay, you head up and over Red Hill. Once you hit the coast you'll get to use those last watts to claw your way over the cheeky rise before Frankston before getting low and finishing the last 50km back to Melbourne.
It’s a big ride, made better with the addition of a few solid climbs, multiple rest stops, full route mechanical and medical support, limited edition 300km ride jersey, and ferry transport.
There’s a limited number of entries available for the 300, enter before 27 July 2018 and you'll receive a free 300km jersey and a discounted entry of $279. After 27 July 2018 entry increases to $299.
This is a big one. There’s not a lot of 300km rides out there, so if you’re looking to push yourself, explore long distance, or starting out on an endurance adventure this is a good one to start with.
If you're not quite in the market for 300km there are routes starting at 20km to check out too.
For more information, or to sign up head over to the Bicycle Network website HERE