Ride report, MTB casual ride – Melbourne, Victoria Australia. Yarra bend, Fairfield boathouse north/east to Westerfolds park, singletrack 30kms (one way). ANZAC day off & the weather is fine, we (me & Paulie) took off from my place down to Fairfield boathouse. Across the pipe-bridge to Yarra Bend park we hung a left along the fence line to the tail end of Yarra blvrd & then headed up stream along the Yarra. Along the whoosey track – Yarra bike path to Westerfolds there is single track shooting off the main trail. Under the Chandler Hway bridge the singletrack hugs the river with some flat fast going, skirting the grass area, as the track comes near the freeway it crosses the main bike path & runs up along the freeway siding with some kinda awkward off camber single-track. This bit takes a few goes to get smooth on it & gain the confidence to run hard against the camber, but great when you get it. Apart from an awkward tree down in the track near Willsmere Park it was a breeze on this day as it was bone dry which helped the grip no end. Onto the main trail for the climb east up to Belford rd & then off to track just as the log fence begins. This little bit between the main trail & Kew golf course has the combination of off camber & narrow gaps between various trees & the fence line to make getting a good spin & a smooth line an effort. The camber causes you to strike the inside line with the pedals every now & again. The single-track does go the length on the golf course fence line but an opportunity to get back onto the main trail without throwing the bike over the log fence comes short some 100mts before the end, which is worth taking. Just as the main trail heads north/east & bends away from the freeway there’s a track off to the right that hugs the freeway fence. This is a little flat blatt that follows the top of a small ridge near the fence finishing in a steep, very fast downhill back onto the main trail that clocks my MTB up to 80kms/hr in less than 40mts, there’s no changing your mind once you turn for the decent. Back on the main Yarra trail just before the path bridges the river top the Ivanhoe side there are some flat single-track off on the river-side which is a good lot of switch-backs, as well as some track on the Ivanhoe side of the river, but this other bit is overgrown & there a heaps of hypo-mozzies everywhere so I kinda steer clear of it. Under Burke Rd bridge heading east the main trail goes through a ‘gate’ where a dirt track heads off right into Yarra Flats. There are heaps of single track here and some mega ramps/jumps that spooked the hell outa me (no I didn’t try them), these jumps had deep pits dug between the take-off & landing ramps so there was no option of whoosing out. It’s easy to get lost in all this single-track here but there is a ‘main’, well worn track that takes you out north/east. We basically hung to the single track which hugged the river as best we could, to take in as much of the tighter track there was, coming in & out to this ‘main’ single track. Some blackberries in the tighter stuff was there to scratch you up if you took a sloppy line or wide corner, but it was great hammering through some of the straighter but overgrown parts of this single-track. Most of this was flat so it made negotiating the track pretty straight forward. Just after the single-track joined the main Yarra trail still in the Yarra Flats area it was about 1km or so before we came across a little loop of single track off on the river-side of the main Yarra trail that began in an open field near a drinking fountain with overhead power lines nearby. This loop which we did clockwise ran long a wire fence which had an old electric fence wire on it (not connected, I tried it) that lead into the scrub. This single-track was flat & kinda open under the trees where you could look ahead & pick a good fast line through there. This made for some fast switchbacks all the way around. I think it went for about 3 kms with every corner & bend urging you on even faster, would definitely recommend it for any MTBs passing by this little loop. Back onto the main Yarra trail heading north/east we take the first single-track off on the riverside of the main path, his leads to some bush long the river & tighter single track. At this stage I’m getting pretty confused in which way we’re going, but I tried to keep the river on my right (heading north/east) & took any single-track off to my right as it seemed that a lot of the tracks peeled back onto the main trail. This took us right up to under the Banksia St bridge ending in the track skirting some grassy open space. Up along the side of the ‘Greenery’ nursery we stayed on the main Yarra trail to Warringal park, heading north/east past this we come to another ‘gate’ at Banyule flats & take the dirt track across an open field off towards the river where the bush closed up. What did we find here? Yep more single-track. Being a public holiday there were heaps of people out, not just on MTBs either. We were into our 2nd hour of constant single-track & now we had to contend with a fair amount of oncoming traffic, so at a few times we had to turn off the single-track to let people pass by. The track joined the main Yarra trail again just after a little dip before the main path’s bridge crossing Plenty river, we followed the main path as it hugged the Rosanna golf club’s fence line & then jumped onto the single-track just after. This was pretty flat going in amongst the tea trees right next to the main path for about 2kms with various switchbacks, this finished at Bonds Rd. We negotiate the gates at Bonds rd over a small rise towards Westerfolds park, the main path was well above the river level now & the single-track coming off the main path was fairly steep, rocky & brought the granny gears into play. Being my first time into this section of single-track we were opting for the walk through with some really gnarly parts, and some of the track absolutely demanded that approach. A section of single-track ran below a raised boardwalk of the main path that was very difficult going without enough room to even walk your bike through. But this section was short (thank god) & joined up with the main trail at the end of the raised walkway. There was another similar short section just after which was a granny gear or walk through affair before joining up with the main path. The next bit of single-track was a fair bit easier looping through some flatter going right up to the main trail footbridge across the river to Westerfolds park. Immediately after this footbridge there is some single track off to the right up a steep rise but we chose instead to go along the main path into Westerfolds park & hopped onto a single-track off the left hand side which travelled north along the east bank of the Yarra river. Again this lot of single-track was pretty flat going but still tight & pretty interesting. This took us – off & on the paved path – to a toilet block in Westerfolds park which was where we turned back. At this point we clocked up 27kms since the Fairfield boathouse pipe bridge which took about 3hrs. The return was just as good retracing our steps, except maybe with slightly more weary legs. With so much track you couldn’t get bored with any of it. At the end of the day we covered 55kms of 90% single track (total for the day 80kms to/from home), most of it challenging, all of it fun. Best part is it’s a 15min ride from my front door step – and I live in the city!