Friday, December 23, 2011

MGG #5 Report

Copyright (c) Dave Scarlett

Wow. That was an amazing ride and an amazing turnout. I don’t know how, but we convinced 40 people to meet us at the end of the line at Hurstbridge at 1am in the morning for an 80km ride on dirt roads through the foothills below Kinglake.

Read on for more...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Night Grinding

Not far away now! MGG #5 will roll out in about a week. Riding at night is an awesome experience and even if you know the roads, they'll seem brand new under the cover of darkness. On our final recon ride we saw frogs, wombats, plenty of roos and even had one roo hop along the road just in front of us for a hundred metres or so. Night animals rock!

Updated course

We've updated the course a little after our final recon ride. We've made it a little less hilly in the second half and also allowed for one or two shorrtcuts if you're over it and just want to get back to Hurstbridge. It's a little easier now so everyone should finish with a smile on their face. This doesn't mean it's easy, it just means it's a little easier then it was. Check out the updated course map here.

Special checkpoint

We've locked in our special halfway checkpoint at the top of the Bowden Spur climb! There'll be food, water, coffee, toilets and a warm dry place to sit down and relax for a while. This place is really something special and I'm still in disbelief that they'll be opening their doors to us in the middle of the night. This is the goal that will get you up Bowden Spur - just keep pedalling and repeat "When I get to the top I can have a coffee. When I get to the top I can have a coffee."


A bright front light for seeing the road is essential. A helmet-mounted light for navigation will serve you very well too. It's very easy to miss signposts (and even whole sidestreets) if your only light is pointing down at the road. A helmet-mounted light is not essential but it will make navigation a lot easier.

A tail-light is essential too but steer clear of bright flashing blinkies - you'll dazzle the rider behind you. A medium brightness solid colour tail-light is ideal.


Slicks or something with a light tread are fine but the wider you can go the better. Consider going a little wider than usual and a bit lower pressure. This will maximise your contact patch with the road and give you the traction you'll need to get up some of the hills. 23s = doable, 28s = better, 35s = cushy.

Be prepared

There are two water stops and one big water/food/coffee stop at the halfway point. Apart from our special halfway checkpoint, there will be no place to stock up on food. Make sure you bring enough supplies because everything else is going to be shut up for the night.

Watch the weather forecast and be prepared for the worst - it might rain, it might be very cold. Having said that, we completed the last three hours of our final recon ride in driving rain and we were all pretty comfortable. In fact, it was fun as hell! But only because we were prepared.


This is not essential but it'd be great if you could drop us a line ( and tell us if you're planning to come on the ride, just so we get a rough idea of how many people to expect. This being a night ride we've really got no idea how many will turn up.

Ok, that's it for now. Get your gear sorted and we'll see you at Hurstbridge!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Darkness falls across the land

We're still hammering out the details of MGG #5 but we have a date, time and rough course so, lock it in! :

Date : Friday December 16th
Time : 1:00am  (yes, technically this makes it a Saturday morning start!)
Start : Hurstbridge Train Station
Map : Melbourne Gravel Grinders #5 - ???

Your eyes are not deceiving you! This is a night ride that will coincide (more or less) with the Summer Solstice. Stay up late on Friday night, jump on the train and meet us at Hurstbridge station for a 1:00am rollout. We'll do a grand tour of the area around Hurstbridge under the (almost) full moon and be back at the station in time to meet the early morning trains at 5:00-6:00am.

There are a couple of differences between this ride and previous MGG rides :

  • For this ride you will need lights - not little blinky lights for cars to see you, I'm talking proper lights that will light up the dirt road in front of you so you can see where you're going. There are no streetlights where we're going and the moon may be obscured by cloud.

  • There won't be any food stops so you'll need to carry all the food you plan to eat. Much as the little general stores of the area have enjoyed our patronage, I doubt we can convince them to stay open all night.

  • This may end up being more like a group ride. Depending on how many and who turns up, we'll probably group together more so than in previous rides. Wouldn't want to lose anyone!

  • It's at night! This means you'll have to convince your partner, mum/dad, parole officer etc. to let you stay out all night and come home in the morning looking like a sleep-deprived zombie on wheels. Saturday morning's probably going to be a write-off so keep your calendars clear until you can catch up on some sleep.

Right, that's enough info for now. Get your lighting rigs in order, block out the dates in your calendar and we'll be back soon with more info as we finish our course recon and finalise the details.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

MGG #4 Report

Photo credit: Fattima
 I love it when a plan comes together. It was a pearler of a day and the titular “winds of pain” played its role to a T. Read on for the full report...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dirty Deeds then dirt-y roads

MGG #4 is almost upon us! Sunday 28th. That's only two weeks away. Get your treadlies ready and use the above image to practice your thousand yard stare.

Actually, this MGG ride is going to be positively relaxing compared to what's happening this Sunday 21st. Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know that this Sunday is the third and final round of Dirty Deeds Urban Cyclocross for the year. Oh boy!

If you've been to any of the other Dirty Deeds races, you're probably already planning to go to this one. If you haven't been to one before, get thee down to Harrison Street Velodrome this Sunday and be transported to a magical place of mud, bikes, beer and hot chips. Laugh out loud as people of all shapes and sizes attempt to race each other around a tight circuit that may include mud, sand, barriers and unridably steep hills. Bring the kids, the dog, your bike and your sense of fun. Cyclocross - because playing in the mud is not just for kids!

Go here to find out more :

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I've just updated the MGG #3 page with the official map and cue sheet. Thanks to everyone who emailed asking for them.

Also, one minor correction to the ride report - I've been informed that Matt Barron made it all the way up Black Cameron Road... on his roadie! That's right, skinny slick tires, roadie gearing. I'm going to have to get him out there again to show me how it's done. Well done Matty!

If you want to have a crack, start at St Andrews, duck round through the market and head up here :

View Larger Map

MGG #4

Planning for MGG #4 is already underway - we'll be out doing recon in the next couple of weeks. It's going to be very different to previous rides. For a start, it's going to be dead flat.

But that doesn't mean it won't be challenging...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

MGG #3 Report

Well that turned out tougher than we anticipated. Here's how it went down...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

MGG #2 Results and Photos

Another great day out on the dirt! We're still working on a full-length report of how it all went down but, for now, here's a link to the results and also a collection of links to photos of the day. If you have photos you want to share, send us the link and we'll include them here!

MGG #2 Final Results

Blakey and Angry's photos

Stu's photos

Piers' photos

Angry's iPhone photos


Monday, April 4, 2011

MGG #2 this Sunday!

The route for this Sunday's ride is almost complete! Just a few more sections to finalise and then we'll be good to go for this weekend. Read on for more details \/\/\/\/

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tristram's Drakkar

So the Commuter Cycles crew turned up en masse to the Hurtsbridge ride and I noted with some interest that Tristram had brought his Rawland Drakkar. The big green thing with fat orange rims and huge tractor tires? Yeah, it was hard to miss. I must have ogled it a little too shamelessly because Tristram offered to lend it to me for the next weekend so I could take it for a ride.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hurtsbridge Report

Well, by all accounts I think we can say the first Melbourne Gravel Grinders ride was a success. Here’s how it went down...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And the Results are In

You can find exactly how long you had fun for on Sunday at the this link.
If you have any questions or updates about the times please contact us via the blog.

You can also find a little post on the event here from one of the toughest (and nicest) guys who showed up. Completing the course took it's toll on a fair few people, Justin did it on a fixed gear  with 25s and a single front brake. And then was only minutes off the front group despite 2 flats. Bravo!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hurtsbridge photos

Wow! 51 riders braved the changeable weather on Sunday to go ride on dirt roads. There's a full report coming soon but, in the meantime, here are some photos of the day. If you have any photos online, send us the link and we'll include it here.


Blakey's photos
Andy's photos
Huw's photos
Angry's photos

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

This Sunday!

The time for dirt is almost upon us.

It'll all kick off at 10:30am this Sunday at Hurstbridge train station. Register on the day (it's free) and get your map/cue sheet and we'll roll out at 11:00am.

Weather forecast is predicting 20 degrees and cloudy - perfect riding weather. Now's the time to dial in your machine - make sure you're able to carry water and food - you will need it! - and make sure everything's done up nice and tight because it's gonna get bumpy.

If you're catching the train out to Hurstbridge you've got a couple of options :

8:52am from Flinders St. gets to Hurstbridge at 9:58am
9:32am from Flinders St. gets to Hurstbridge at 10:38am

We (the organisers) will be on the first train so feel free to rock up early for a chat.

See ya there!