Renata Farah loves to cycle. In fact, she loves riding her bike so much that she’s made a career out of it at Bicycle Victoria.
Born and bred in Brazil, Renata moved to Melbourne in 2014 and discovered her new home by riding her bike around the city. Now she’s encouraging more women to follow suit in her marketing role with Cycling Victoria. Renata is also seen regularly at the following cycling haunts, five her favourite places to take her bike for a spin.
- Darebin International Sports Centre, 281 Darebin Rd, Thornbury, 8480 3000
- There’s nothing like a velodrome ride. You really get to focus on actually riding and get into a nice rhythm; into the zone, without having to worry about traffic or weather or any of the other obstacles of outdoor riding. Darebin Velodrome is a favourite, although there are plenty of others around Melbourne. Don’t feel intimidated by heading to a velodrome as most of them welcome new riders and have beginner programs for those interested in trying it out. The only thing to remember is that you have to use a track bike – but these are handily available for hire for about $10 from the velodrome.
Merri Creek Trail
- Dights Falls to Western Ring Rd
- This trail is easy to miss but is one of the nicer Melbourne bike paths, skipping from one side of the Merri Creek bank to the other all the way from the Western Ring Rd to the Yarra River. The path commences at Dights Falls near where Merri Creek enters the Yarra River and then takes a winding route, mainly following the creek all the way to the Western Ring Road Trail. The bike path at its northern sections takes you past new housing estates, garden plots, a few horse paddocks and sports ovals. South of Coburg, the valley has been cleaned up and replanted and has attractive parklands and reserves.
- Locations across Melbourne
- For the days when I feel like riding outside but I don’t feel like wearing a helmet, I opt for a Social Spin class. These happen in parks and other beautiful locations around Melbourne and involve a real bike (provided) clamped into a wind trainer to turn it into a stationary bike. The 30-45 minute sessions are lead by a coach and it’s a great chance to catch up with some other friendly people. It’s fun, stress-free riding.
- Mornington to Arthur’s Seat, Mornington Peninsula
- When I’m up for a big riding challenge, I head to Mornington. Leaving from Mornington’s Main Street, head to the water and make a left onto The Esplanade in the direction of Safety Beach. Keep riding along the beach, a breathtaking view when you are heading along the cliff. As soon you pass Dromana, take a left where there’s a sign for Arthur’s Seat. From here it’s 3.5km uphill. It’s challenging but so rewarding. There’s nothing like the beautiful view of Melbourne when you reach the top.
Banksia Park to Heide
- Banksia Park, Bulleen
- This is a nice, short, family-friendly ride on a flat, good quality track if you don’t have a lot of time and want to throw in some art and culture for good measure. This 5km ride starts at Banksia Park in Bulleen. The path takes you to the Sculpture Park at the Heide Museum of Modern Art. There’s plenty of greenery along the way, including fruit trees and ancient gums. If you want to extend the ride, it hooks up with the Main Yarra Trail that goes all the way to Southbank. Check the Heide Museum of Modern Art is open, call 9850 1500.