Last Thursday we joined Parks Victoria for a preliminary handcycle trial at Melbourne’s Point Nepean National Park. The aim was to trial a handcycle on Coles Track and Defence Road from the Information Centre through to the bike limit at Fort Pearce.
Parks Victoria is embarking on developing a trail grading system to guide potential handcycle riders on the suitability of selected trails in a number of National Parks. The system will grade trails in a similar manner to walking and ski trails based on length, gradient and sustained climbing/descent.
The maps presented here our own interpretation if anyone wants to trial or visit Point Nepean over the summer break. It will be backed up by the comprehensive system Parks Victoria are developing.
We have used a 3 grade system:
Green – Easy, gentle gradients, wide hard surfaced trail.
Blue – Intermediate, good use of gears and braking control required
Black – Difficult, extended long climbs exceed 5oo metres. Good fitness required skilled use of gears and braking control
The cycling track extends from the Information Centre to the bike limit at Fort Pearce following Coles Track.
Coles Track passes the Quarantine Station on a wide smooth hard packed gravel surface. The slope is gradual. The distance from the Information Centre to Observatory Point is 1.2 kilometres. From Observatory Point the trail continues a further 1.1 kilometres where it joins Defence Road at the Cheviot Hill bus stop. For an easy round trip, Defence Road can then be followed back to Gunners Cottage and then past the cemetery to Observatory Point and back to the Information Centre. The total round trip is 5 km.
Beyond the Cheviot Hill bus stop, the trail follows Defence Road. The surface is bitumen.
The gradient increases significantly from the Cheviot Hill bus stop with prolonged climbing. There are two stretches of prolonged steep gradients that approach 1:6. There is a short descent followed by the last long steep climb to Fort Pearce. For those willing to make the effort the views are stunning, both over Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay. The old gun emplacement can be viewed by handcycle.
The total length of this section is 2.2 kilometres.
Accessible toilets are available at the Quarantine Station and Gunners Cottage. It should be noted that the toilets at Gunners Cottage are not accessible from a handcycle.
Vehicles are permitted as far as Gunners Cottage which could serve as an alternative starting point for anyone bringing their own handcycle to the park. Starting at Gunners Cottage reduces the overall return journey by 2.4 kilometres.
Parks Victoria is considering adding a handcycle to the bicycle fleet they have at Point Nepean and would like an expression of interest from those who would be interested in using a handcycle if it was available at the park.
If you are interested please complete the survey form on the link below.