There’s other events to get you through a Melbourne winter but Melburn Roobaix sets the high mark. Every year it banishes a thin winter sun, uniting all the cycling tribes into a day of bikes, discovery and laughs ’til your cheeks hurt.
It’s probably hard to explain to non-locals. Even copying the mix probably wouldn’t produce Melburn Roobaix’s lovely vibe – a credit to fyxamatosis founder Andy White and his crew.
Sure, it’s a meandering treasure hunt across the burbs, linking cobbled laneways that tip a lufted cap to the famous pave sectors of namesake race Paris Roubaix. Australia’s first Paris Roubaix winner Stuart O’Grady was guest of honour one year, and 2016 winner Mat Hayman wasn’t forgotten.
But the biggest effort goes into dressing bikes and riders rather than speed, having fun, getting lost, and a relaxing pace to fun and food at the finish, usually around Brunswick velodrome.
It’s a great day for bike ogling – from commuters to cargo bikes, fixies and singlespeeds, little wheels, hire bikes, tandems, fat bikes, gorgeous classic steel, cx and deep rimmed roadies, the more inappropriate the better. Then you study the map again, admire some skills, grab some trivia answers and refreshments. Maybe even smile as eastern suburbs drivers cope with a 30 second delay to their Sunday morning for happy people on bikes.
Melburn Roobaix may have changed a little since 2006 but it remains a Melbourne treasure – riding bikes, laughing, exploring your patch. Underscored by the news coverage of others spending some of their weekend angry and shouty. They should ride bikes. Cyclists are awesome.
Big props to Andy, Melodie, vollies and the always-awesome Dave and Brunswick CC for another Melburn Roobaix. A few smiles from the start …