Ride on 31 May 2019
“Diehards” is the only word to describe the twelve committed members who assembled at Caulfield station to break the ice, so to speak, on the Djerring Trail. Despite the light drizzle, we reckoned the shifting clouds left open the possibility of better things to come and were soon at the beginning of the ride proper, where the trail starts off behind the sports pavilion on Dudley Street.
And what a trail it is, a virtual bicycle super-highway all the way from Caulfield to Yarraman, a couple of kilometres short of Dandenong. Much of it lies beneath the Pakenham/Cranbourne skyrail, and the cyclist gets a worm’s eye view of this engineering marvel. Not only is the engineering of the rail line very impressive, but the elimination of train tracks at ground level has made features of the environment hitherto semi-closed off to residents now easily accessible. I used to live at Noble Park and was amazed at how the swimming pool and a wide expanse of playing fields have been brought almost into the centre of town. The many trees and shrubs planted along the trail itself will make its surrounds increasingly attractive as they grow.
A leisurely pedal brought us to coffee at Nikos in Oakleigh, where we had barely settled around a table when a downpour began. Thanks, Ross, for persuading the gods to hold off until we had reached shelter. There were a couple of points after we left Oakleigh – under not too threatening skies – where trail finding was tricky but these were negotiated without misadventure, and we arrived at Yarraman station dry, if faintly chilled.
An important point about the trail for future ride planners. There are many road crossings. Almost all have cycle friendly lights which allow more time than is often the case at a purely pedestrian light. However, today’s group of twelve is probably the maximum size for a group hoping to cross the road on a single change of light. Larger groups would likely be split up at road crossings, which would make the trip a good deal longer and less pleasant.
Many thanks to today’s riders, who pressed on uncomplaining when the future occasionally appeared dark and made the outing so enjoyable. Special thanks to Audrey for the photos (forwarded separately), to Peter for sweeping, and to Penny for her advice and support.