Whilst riding home tonight I got to thinking about the roads that calm me.
Not the roads I simply love (which are many); nor those that are beautiful, fast or furious. But those that have a profoundly calming effect on me; that vacate my mind of the normal clutter; that almost cause me to enter a rhythmic trance according to my cadence.
There aren’t too many of them.
Melbourne Hill Road, Warrandyte (climbing)
It was climbing up this road tonight where these thoughts first entered my mind… as they do. It’s a small and insignificant road out of Warrandyte but for some reason it’s just one of those roads I love to ride – and whenever I’m there it relaxes my mind, causes me to tap smoothly away at my preferred cadence and vacate my brain of any stressful thoughts.
Don’t really know why?
Mt Buffalo Road (Dingo Dell to The Horn), North East Victoria (both directions)
There is no doubt this is one of the most beautiful places on earth (read my thoughts on this mountain here). But this particular section of road has me gasping at the beauty all the way. The magnificent Cathedral, the approach to The Horn, the surrounding wilderness. These views – along with the fact that there is hardly ever any other traffic on the road – blow my mind.
Antoinette Boulevard, Eltham (climbing)
There’s nothing particularly beautiful about this road but I think the thing is that it’s the first quiet road I hit after dancing with traffic for a couple of k. Suddenly, I’m out of the traffic climbing up a steep suburban street, knowing the beauty of Mt. Pleasant Road and Research are just around the corner.
Despite a section of over 15% gradient… I’m calm.
Redbank-Mongans Road, Kiewa Valley (both directions)
If you’ve ever ridden this road – I need say no more. There’s not a worry in the world to be had on this one!
Sherbrook Road, Ferny Creek (descending)
The site of my wedding night and one of my grandparents favourite places to be. These memories help make this one of the most relaxing roads for me to ride. Green, moist, cool, ferny… fast.
When I say relaxing, I still include the regular and very competitive 6am-er smash down this road. That’s ‘calming’… in a cyclist’s kind of way.
Robert’s Creek Road (tip road to top of Quinn’s), Porepunkah (climbing)
Little known except to locals (which I partially claim), this gorgeous back road needs to stay relatively secret. The real wonder of this road is the thought of the quick descent at the end into one of the most beautiful towns in the world.
And the absolute – number 1 – King of calm…
Williams Road, Wandiligong (descending late – mountain bike)
There is no doubt this road is simply a gorgeous place to be – but my love of the calm which is induced by this road is totally associated with the following things:
- Late evening
- Solo mountain bike riding (usually in the cold)
- Camp fires glowing in the camping ground
- Porch lights on the cottages lining the road
- Me covered in mud and/or dirt
- A smile on my face having just smashed down from the Hillsborough track
- The satisfaction of a hard north east MTB hammer
- The knowledge that I still have kilometres of some of the best single track in the world still to go!
If you can’t find it… good. The more secret it remains the better. I’d be happy to show you sometime though – we’re just not riding it together!
Profound calmness is what I seek. It doesn’t last for too long but everybody needs a bit of it once in a while.