The Capital City Trail is a full loop of Melbourne that stretches for approximately 30km and displays some of the most stunning sights surrounding the CBD. The trail is perfect for a hop-on, hop-off tour of the city's key hotspots, including the Yarra River, Federation Square, the Docklands, Merri Creek and Brunswick Street. See the full map here.
You can start the trail anywhere and loop your way around the whole city, or if you're like me and do not own a bike, head to Carlton North to hire one and set off to either the east or west to test out your cycling legs.
Capital City Trail winds it's way through Melbourne's north
Hiring a bike
Jump on the 96 tram and head north up Nicholson St to Velocycles. Velocyles is the iconic bike shop that sits on the Capital City Trail, and is a great spot to start your cycle adventure.
Other alternatives are Tokyo Bikes or if you're starting in the CBD, probably best to pick up a Melbourne Bike Share bike from any of these locations. Bike rental is likely to set you back about $20 for the full day or $15 for a few hours.
Velocycles is located on the Capital City Trail
Selecting a route If you're starting at Velocycles, you can either head west towards Brunswick and Kensington. This trail will lead you across the city's parklands and to the newly formed Docklands. This ride is very urban hipster and hits some great food and coffee spots along the way.
Or you can head east towards Fitzroy North and cycle through the Merri Creek areas and Yarra Bend Park. This is a more tranquil ride and allows you to escape the city a bit more. Be aware that you will start to hit some steeper gradients on this trail as you head out past Yarra Bend.
Capital City Trail
City views from the Capital City Trail in the city's north
Regardless of which way you cycle, remember that what goes down must come back up! If you're starting in the north, all those nice downhill slopes will need to be climbed on the way back. So take it easy, relax and don't try to keep up with the professionals. This path is also very popular with cycling commuters and weekend cyclists, so be sure to stick to the left and let others pass.
Half day cycle, half day recouping If you're anything like me and happy to walk for days, however a whole day on a bike would render me unable to walk for the net week, then just opt for a few hours cycling. A great option that I prefer is a short cycle, because it's nice to feel the wind in our hair sometimes and cycling does feel a lot like flying if you're relaxed enough, is a half day of cycling and a half day of active recouping.
One great recuperation option can be found at the North Carlton Railway Neighbourhood House, which is on the Capital City Trail and close to Velocycles. On the second and forth Wednesday of the month, the Neighbourhood House runs Table Tennis Fun and Fitness sessions with a gold coin donation entry fee. This starts at 1.30 and lasts for one hour. Another is the Downward Shift Yoga Class specifically designed to stretch out the muscles cyclists use the most. This is held at Nth Yoga in Fitzroy.
One of the best ways to ensue that you're muscles are not yelling at you the next morning is to gently stretch them with swimming and pool-play. For this, check out the Carlton Baths, open weekdays until 8pm and weekends until 7.45pm.
Regardless of which you choose, a half day of cycling with a friend or your partner followed by some fun fitness is a great way to spend a mid-week day off or sunny Sunday.
Just to let you know my little brother runs Freddy's Bike Tours and Rentals in Batman Park Melbourne www.freddysbiketours.com.au). His shop is on the Capital City Trail for bicycle hire pick up and he also delivers rental bicycles in the city for people staying in CBD Hotels.
It would be great if you could include his business in this article so he could also feature your article on his website. We love this ride and would be great to link up with you to help people enjoy their weekends in Melbourne even more!