The 14 Melbourne Bunch Rides You Shouldn’t Miss

A Cyclist in Melbourne

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There are many bunch rides happening daily in every corner of Melbourne, rain, hail or shine.

The bunch size could easily double or even triple during the summer as everyone wants to fit in a ride before the weather warms up.

One thing about Melbourne's bunch rides are they leave right on the dot. You've got to do all the chasing by yourself if you're late. So be sure to arrived at least 5 minutes earlier.

Here are the 14 most popular bunch rides in Melbourne in terms of bunch size, route difficulty and frequency.

There are many other smaller groups but these 14 will get your started. Once you've made some new friends with the bunch, you'll hear about even more ride.

I can guarantee you that.

Now, read on.

1. North Road Ride (NRR)

When: Monday to Friday at 545am and 6am

Distance: 32.8km (Route profile)

Where: Corner of North Road and Nepean Highway in Brighton

Bunch Size: 20+

North Road Ride Route

This ride is aptly named after the meetup point, North Road. 

You can either start at 545am or 6am depending on your time preference.

Mondays and Fridays are usually ridden at a recovery pace after a hard weekend of racing or long rides and Fridays to prepare for the upcoming weekend.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are ridden at a hard pace (40km/h+ on flats). The bunch makes a u-turn back to St Kilda at Mordialloc for a coffee or straight to work.

On Wednesdays, some of the bunch will head for a longer ride down to Mount Eliza. If you’re in for the NRR Long option, be sure to start at 545am.

2. Tour de Burbs

When: Tuesday and Thursday, 645pm and 7pm

Distance: 29.7km (Route profile)

Where: Corner of Yarra Boulevard and Chandler Highway in Kew

Bunch Size: 10 to 20

Tour de Burbs Route

Tour de Burbs, a ride that goes through the Melbourne’s eastern suburbs of Kew, Balwyn, Doncaster, Templestowe, Ivanhoe and Heidelberg.

If you’re running tight on time and looking for a good, hard workout in the evening, this might be the one. It’s short, rolling and full of punchy climbs which guarantee to have your heart rate going through the roof.

The 645pm bunch is ridden at a much harder pace and 7pm rides at a tempo pace. If it's your first time joining this ride, I would advise to join the 7pm bunch instead.

3. Maling Room Ride (MRR)

When:

  • Tuesday, Thursday at 555am (Mice: slower group)
  • Tuesday, Thursday at 6am (Rabbit: fast and hard group)
  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6am 

Where: Corner of Canterbury Road and Avenue Athol in Canterbury

Bunch Size: 15 to 20+

Distance: 27.5km (Route profile)

Maling Room Ride Route

The Maling Room Ride, or better known as MRR is a weekday ride in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

It’s named after the cafe, The Maling Room situated a few hundred metres from the meetup point where the bunch have their post-ride coffee at around 715am.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there are 2 groups. The slower group (Mice) leaves at 555am while the faster group (Rabbit) leaves at 6am. Both groups usually come together along Mitcham Road fast pace down Doncaster Road.

Mondays and Fridays are usually ridden on a recovery pace.

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4. Napier Park Riders (NPR)

When: 

  • NPR Long: Tuesday, Thursday at 530am
  • NPR Short: Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 530am

Distance: 

Where: Corner of Woodland Street and Napier Street in Essendon 

Bunch Size: 10 to 20

Napier Park Riders Long Ride Route

The NPR ride has been around for as long as one can remember. It's named after the starting point, the Napier Park in Essendon. It was started by Aaron Mulkearns, who is also known as Mr NPR on his Strava many many years ago.

The route goes around the suburbs of Essendon, Keilor, Airport West and the Melbourne Airport’s air traffic control tower.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday is the easier and shorter version. Tuesday and Thursdays are longer and ridden at a harder pace, especially the sprint up McNabs Road to the airport tower.

Be sure to have someone with you if you get dropped as the route involves many turnings and you don’t want to get lost!

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5. Cardinia Climbers

When: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 530am

Distance: 

Where: 

  • Monday: East End Wheelers along Princess Highway in Beaconsfield
  • Wednesday and Friday: Corner of Princess Highway and Clyde Road in Berwick

Bunch Size: 5 to 10

Cardinia Climbers Tour of Berwick Route

The weekday bunch ride by Cardinia Climbers offers everything you'd wished for; flats, rolling hills, short steep climbs, fast and technical descents.

There are 3 rides throughout the week with each ride taking a slightly different route.

The Tour of Berwick on Wednesday is probably their most iconic ride which takes your through the Berwick Ardennes. It's also the hardest route among all.

6. Hell Ride

When: Saturday at 7am

Distance: 63.2km (Route profile)

Where: The Clock Tower at Blackrock

Bunch Size: 100+

Hell Ride Route

Arguably the most notorious of all of Melbourne’s bunch rides.

On any Saturday morning you’ll easily find 100+ riders in the Hell Ride, rain, hail or shine. The group swells to 200+ during summer.

This is definitely not a ride for a new rider or someone who lacks experience riding in a very fast pace bunch (45kmh+). The group is big, fast, relentless and at times reckless and dangerous especially towards the back of the peloton.

There is also a police motorbike escort to ensure everyone is adhering to the traffic rules (don’t jump red lights).

You have been warned.

7. LG Ride

When: Saturday at 530am

Distance: 32.8km (Route profile)

Where: Corner of Woodland Street and Napier Street in Essendon 

Bunch Size: 5 to 10

LG Wildwood Route

Started by 2 brothers, Louis and Grant, this Saturday ride is usually made up of the NPR ride regulars.

The distance varies between 70 to 110km depending on the route which alternates between a trip to Wildwood, Mount Pleasant Road/Flat Rock Road and occasionally Frankston.

The unique thing about this ride is it starts at 530am regardless of the season and you’ll guaranteed to be back home by 9am for a second session with the kids.

8. ACDC Ride

When: Friday at 615am

Distance: 28.4km (Route profile)

Where: 203 Langridge Street in Abbotsford

Bunch Size: 15+

ACDC Friday Route

If you're looking for an early start to your weekend, then the ACDC (Arrivee – Cycle – Depart – Caffeinated) ride could be the one. 

The ride starts and ends at the Coffee Peddlr where everyone have their post-ride caffein fix. It only opens at 730am on Friday, so you have get your pre-ride caffein fix somewhere else.

Starting with a relatively flat profile for the first quarter of the ride, you'll then come to several 10-15% sharp pinches to get those legs yelling at you.

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9. CTX Ride

When:

  • Tuesday and Thursday at 6am
  • Saturday at 555am

Distance: 

Where: Corner of Bridge Street and Beach Road in Sandringham

Bunch Size: 20+

CTX Ride

The CTX ride which is an acronym for Caltex Crew Cycling meets at, well obviously Caltex at the corner of Bridge Street and Beach Road in Sandringham.

The very well-drilled, rotating double paceline and fast paced (40km/h+) group will take you along Beach Road to Frankston and back.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the group makes a u-turn at Mordialloc for the shorter 30km option. 

Most regulars are kitted out in the CTX kit so you won't miss them if you're there!

10. Williamstown Morning Ride

When: Tuesday and Thursday at 6am

Distance: 28.6km (Route Profile)

Where: In front of North Williamstown train station

Bunch Size: 15+

Williamstown Morning Ride

If you're in the west, this could be the ride for you besides the NPR ride in Essendon.

The route is pancake flat throughout and goes all the way from North Williamstown station towards the west, passing the Altona beach front and to Altona Meadows before making a U-turn back the same way.

The ride ends in less than an hour and you can catch a sunrise view over Williamstown during the Spring and Autumn months when the sun rises later in the morning.

11. RFWYA (Ride From Where You Are)

When: Tuesday at 6am

Distance: Route varies each week for a 1-hour ride

Where: Corner Walmer Street and Yarra Boulevard in Kew

Bunch Size: 10+

The RFWYA was started by Hells 500 who is a bunch of cyclists that loves riding hard in the hills. They've also started Everesting where you ride a total of 8,848m (the height of Mount Everest) elevation gain a in single ride. Ever since then, many have not only completed the Everesting but also double and triple Everesting!

The unique thing about RFWYA is that the route differs every week and it's never announced beforehand. The only way to find out is to keep up. The ride lasts for an hour so you can expect the distance to be anywhere between 30km to 40km at most.

Most of the bunch have their post-ride caffeine fix at the nearby Three Bags Full cafe before everyone heading off their own ways or straight to work.

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12. Emerald Bakery Loop

When: Sunday at 650am

Distance: 87km (Route Profile)

Where: Opposite of Hungry Jacks along Canterbury Road in Forest Hill

Bunch Size: 8-10

Emerald Bakery Loop

As the name implies, this bunch ride brings you to the Emerald Bakery located in Emerald, on the southern side of the Dandenong Ranges. It is a bunch ride that runs throughout the year and bunch size could vary depending on the weather. The bunch has its own kit in blue/pink and you'll definitely won't miss them as the EBL name and the route map is on the kit.

The route takes in some of the best climbs in the Dandenong Ranges such as 1 in 20, The Crescent and a fast descend down The Wall. After a short coffee break at arguably the most popular cafe in Emerald, the bunch heads home.

While the route to Emerald is usually unchanged, the route back could vary sometimes. The straight route back is via Belgrave-Gembrook Road and Grantulla Road up to Kallista and a climb through The Crescent before descending via 1 in 20. 

At times, especially during the autumn months, the bunch takes a slightly longer detour to ride the magnificent Selby-Aura Road to Selby before rejoining back to Belgrave-Gembrook Road and back. The Selby-Aura Road is one of the best kept secrets of the Dandenong Ranges and you can be assured of a great view riding in smooth and quiet roads.

13. MOSH

When: Saturday at 650am

Distance: 53km (Route Profile)

Where: Opposite of Hungry Jacks along Canterbury Road in Forest Hill

Bunch Size: 8-10

MOSH Ride

MOSH is a short Saturday bunch ride that takes you up the northern side of the Dandenong Ranges, from Montrose to Olinda, Sassafras and finally Home.

Climbing up the Dandenong to Kalorama via Montrose is a much quieter affair compared to the very popular 1 in 20 from The Basin. This climb is almost similar in distance and gradient (6.1km at 4%). The only difference between is that there is a short flat section in 1 in 20 between the third and fourth kilometre. 

Once you've reached Kalorama Park, make sure to stop and take in the view of the Silvan Reservoir at the lookout especially if it's a clear and sunny morning. From there onwards, it's another 1km before the road flattens out. Alternatively, you can detour via Ridge Road and climb up to the Sky High Observatory to have a view of Melbourne city and Port Phillip Bay.

The bunch usually stops for coffee at Sassafras before descending the 1 in 20 and finally heading home.

14. Beach Road Ride

When: Every Tuesday and Friday at 545am

Distance: 43km (Route Profile)

Where: Corner of Belgrave Road and Waverley Road in Malvern East

Bunch Size: 8-10

Beach Road Ride

Beach Road Ride, or BRR which you'll see in the bunch's Strava titles is a twice weekly morning ride that goes to arguably the most popular cycling route in Melbourne, the Beach Road.

The bunch starts right on time. Most of them arrive 1-2 minutes before the ride starts, according to the GPS time. So don't be surprised if you don't see anyone there if you're 5 minutes earlier.

The route is mainly flat and the bunch makes a turn at Mordialloc and head north along Beach Road. On most mornings, you'll see plenty of cyclists out along this stretch and it's a ride not to be missed.

If you're up for coffee, the bunch stops for a quick coffee at Albert Park before everyone heading their own way after.

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