Southern Rail Trail Ride. October 2016

Overall, the trail is very good. Excellent surface, bridges and a few toilets. A few gates to open or go around but not a hassle. No difficult hills, they are all gentle gradients. See this billboard. Some old station and siding areas have community gardens and/or playgrounds. See this garden at Fish Creek and this playground at Buffalo. Lots of rabbits along the trail and a few swooping magpies. Lovely lookout towards Wilsons Promentary near top of highest elevation. See this photo. In 3 days, only saw 7 other bike riders.


Ride Summary
Tuesday 4th Oct. Drive to Leongatha & parked near hospital. Ride to Foster. Stay Foster at relatives house. 56km.
Wednesday 5th Oct. Ride Foster to Port Welshpool and return. Stay Foster in motel. 65km.
Thursday 6th Oct. Ride Foster to Leongatha. 48km. Drive home.

Statistics From Strava
Total distance 169km from Leongatha to Port Welshpool and back. Average speed 16km/hr. Highest elevation on trail 148m. 244m at relatives house.

Not good. Rained whilst loading gear on our bikes in Leongatha. Then drizzled half way to Foster. Very strong winds Tuesday & Wednesday. Sun came out Thursday but still some wind.

Easiest Riding Day
Tuesday. Very strong tail wind all the way to Foster.

Hardest Riding Sections
On Tuesday afternoon from Foster up McGleads Road to O'Grady's Ridge Road (not part of the trail). Very steep, part gravel, and when we got to O'Grady's the wind was extremely strong. We rode up there to stay the night at a relatives house.
See this Strava plot of the gradient from Leongatha to Foster. Although some gradients look steep, they are gentle ones. The last hill can be ignored as is explained above.
Riding from Port Welshpool to Foster on Wednesday afternoon
was difficult due to very strong headwind. Rode single file changing leader every 10 minutes.

Most Depressing Town
Toora. Very little activity. Shops closed. Buildings run down. One bright place was the cafe at the top of the Main Street where we stopped at on the way to, and from, Port Welshpool (which was not that exciting. See this photo). At the time we passed through Toora, the local hotel was in crisis. The previous tenant had skipped, leaving a massive debt and taking the liquor licence with him. The hotel was still open for business but unable to serve alcohol.
Welshpool & Fish Creek also not that exciting.

Nicest Towns
Foster and Meeniyan. Good cheap motel in central Foster. See this photo. Foster Hotel meal was good and fast service. Nice cafe and coffee in Meeniyan. See this photo.

Worst section of Trail
Two sections near Toora where farmers move cattle across the trail. The sections are concreted with spring loaded gates on the trail that open towards the concrete. Because there had been lots of rain, the concrete was covered in mud and cow poo. With only two riders, it is impossible for at least one person to not put their foot down in the poo at some stage.