Distance: 44km Difficulty: Medium - there are some steep climbing pinches around the edges of Mt Alexander.
A Goldfields District loop out of Castlemaine. This ride has everything - gravel, history, climbs, vineyards, and a visit to Henry's Cidery with a possible talk by its owner ... a highlight when we did this in 2017.
We begin riding along the shoulder of the road for 6km to the cute mining town of Chewton where a flag marks the spot where 15,000 miners gathered to protest a rise in the licence fees. And then we head to where very few cars are, climbing on bitumen past Expedition Pass Reservoir, where we might see kayakers. Onto Faraday where a kidnapper back in the 70s held hostages in the little school. A section of rough dirt road afterwards, and a nasty short climb on bitumen again. Cidery is along the way into Harcourt, then the final 8km back into Castlemaine is on modern highway, wide shoulders with 80kmh speed limit.
Ride similar to this, a good idea to bookmark this on your phone if you get separated:
My advice is to drive if possible to avoid arguments with Vline conductors, but if you do want to go by train, the 8.00 Swan Hill gets in to Castlemaine at 9.36am. Advice from the PTV website is
** RESERVATIONS REQUIRED ** Intercity Service First Class Available ** Reserved Service originates at Melbourne City at 08:00am ** Catering Available
Bring own lunch or buy at Castlemaine to picnic along the way (probably side of road, to be honest), with a late afternoon bite possible at the cidery or winery.
Etiquette: Social pace. We wait for each other to regroup at key navigational points. No one is left behind with a puncture. On the day, if you cannot make the ride please change your RSVP.
Benefits include other rides not listed on Meetup, special event meetings, social events, RWGPS club subscription, etc. When I RSVP for this event/activity I acknowledge that the activity of bicycle riding can be dangerous and that I may suffer loss or injury or death and I agree that in consideration of my participation in any event conducted by the MBTC that I will absolve from liability the MBTC, its officers, and any event organiser from all claims, demands, or suits whether for personal injury or property loss suffered whether by negligence or breach of contract or otherwise, save for any right I may have pursuant to the Trade Practices Act 1977 (Commonwealth) as amended. Photos taken of me during MBTC rides or social events may be used for publicity purposes unless otherwise requested. Route and times may change according to circumstances.
• What to bring
Recommend bring pump, tools, spare tyre tube, money, phone with my number in it if we get separated, MYKI, bike lock, wet weather gear if raining. Check your app on the day for any changes.