This year’s Melburn Roobaix was certainly different!
If you are not familiar with this Melbourne bike ride, it is a nine-year old tribute ride to the Paris Roubaix, in which riders find their way from Hawthorn velodrome to Brunswick velodrome, having to ride twelve cobblestone laneways along the way. This is the closest that Australia will ever get to a cobbled classic.
The first difference this year was that there was a choice of cobblestone lanes for the first six sectors. I assumed that this was to help reduce the crowds in the early sectors and it worked. There was a choice of “red” sectors or “black” sectors, or you could choose any combination of the red and black, as long as you completed six before moving on to the last six sectors around Moonee Ponds and Brunswick.
The second difference compared to the last couple of years was the weather: it was foul! It rained all day and even hailed in the afternoon. Cobblestones and rain don’t usually mix, so we took them carefully and didn’t see any accidents along the way.
As someone once said: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear – we donned our rain gear and did the whole day and had a lot of fun in the rain as well as plenty of good food, including a coffee and cake stop at Cru in Kew followed by a fantastic lunch at John Gorilla in West Brunswick.
My favourite costume of the day was the Thomas the Tank Engine tandem. The engine played the Thomas theme song and had “steam” (but I suspect it was dry ice). They apparently won the “Cutest Couple” award.