Looking for a cheap, pleasurable and safe activity that will keep you healthy? Bicycling through a series of interconnected and renovated green suburban belts might be just the thing you’re looking for.
For those of you who don’t know, Melbourne is full of green belts running through the majority of our suburbs. They originate from disused railway lines, creek and river areas, old industrial sites and unused crown land that skirts past housing developments and similar.
The good news is that the majority of these have been developed by councils into useable parkland containing wide-ranging facilities, including sealed walking and cycling tracks. More importantly, many of these tracks have been connected to form quite a lengthy network of walking and cycling trails.
Taking the time to explore your own community by bike will often lead you on a path of fascinating discovery into neighbouring communities with many hidden treasures.
While I like to cycle, I don’t like having to use main roads where it can be dangerous and noisy. I therefore seek out quiet suburban trails that give me something nice to look at as I ride by, and give me access to cafés and toilets along the way.
My most recent cycle commenced in Box Hill North as I cycled down the Koonung Creek Trail (beside the Eastern Freeway) to Hay’s Paddock. Then up Kilby Road in Kew on the designated bike path to connect with the Outer Circle Trail which took me through to Deepdene and its marvellous old train cutting to meet the Anniversary Trail.
Riding through Ashburton, Ashwood and finally Holmesglen, I eventually connected to the Gardiners Creek Trail which took me through Burwood past Deakin University and on to the Box Hill Golf Club and beyond.
So what did I see for my troubles? Leafy heritage homes, woodland, lush green parkland, playgrounds, quaint train stations, lake and creek systems and an assortment of trail cafés in case you feel the inclination for refreshment. What’s not to like?
All in all, it was 35 kilometres of bliss, but you have the option of doing as much or as little as you want.