On the last Sunday in September 1883 Messrs. W.S. Haselton and Alf Joy members of the Melbourne Bicycle club made what they believed was “the pioneer bicycle trip to the Mount”. Since that time tens of thousands of cyclists have climbed the “Mount”.
As I prepared my gear this morning to do the ride from the Exhibition Gardens to Kinglake I thought how different my preparation was compared to those pioneers on their penny farthings. It was as I checked the weather on my iPhone that I realised that they probably had no access to accurate weather information let alone the marvellous phone that had maps, weather, communication between riders and the ability to photograph what I liked and forward it to friends across the globe.
I had a lightweight geared bike, the roads in front of me were paved and not dirt or gravel as W.S. Haselton and Alf Joy would have experienced. Every hill on the way out of Melbourne made me think of how hard it would have been on their machines on those roads and tracks. David and I started at 6:36AM at the Exhibition Building where Alain estimated the two pioneers left from.
This was their ride report and I’ve estimated our arrival with the aid of my bike commuter and added next to their times;
left Melbourne at 6.30am, arrived at Heidelberg at 7.20; (Alex and David = 26 minutes)
left Heidelberg at 8.20 arrived at Research, 9.38; (Alex and David = 35 minutes)
Thus doing the journey from Melbourne to Queenstown, a distance of 27 miles, in 3hrs 33m riding time; the stoppages taking 1hr 10m.
AT 12.18 they made a start for Kinglake, arriving there at 2.15, (Alex and James took 55 mins. Alain didn’t continue to Q’town and peeled off at Mittons Bridge Road. Goran was first up and the others followed soon afterwards. There was an accident involving two motorcyclists who overcooked a corner. About 6 SES vehicles, 2 police vehicles and ambulances were in attendance. There would have been no such help for our pioneer riders).
At Mr E. N. Staffs residence at 2.20 and stopped there 20 minutes; left Kinglake at 3.30 and arrived Queenstown at 4.45.
We couldn’t go back down the Kinglake-St Andrews Road because of the motorcycle accident so we split into two bunches, BUTCH CASSADY and the SUNDANCE KIDS. Butch’s bunch, Goran, Khoder and Jake heading back through Whittlesea. The Sundance Kids, Alex, Benny, David, James and Peter (who we met up with in KL) heading back through Yarra Glen. Alex got back to the Exhibition Buildings at 2:15PM. A fantastic day and thought provoking.
The original ride report from W.S. Haselton and Alf Joy can be found here