Warburton Trail on Kalkhoff Agattus
The Warburton Trail is in the Yarra Valley on the fringes of Melbourne running between Lilydale (the current rail head) and Warburton. As you would reasonably expect of Australians it is often referred to as “The Warby”. It’s a 40km rail trail so has a mostly flat grade. It is best done as a one-way ride so you need some support to drop off and pick up.
Since we both have Electric in our names (ElectricMeg and ElectricBazza) we thought it a good idea to do an electric bike ride. The arranger (ElectricMeg) persuaded Ian from Goldfields Bike Tours to take us somewhere a bit closer as we only had a day to spare over the Easter break. He met us at our hotel in Melbourne CBD having destroyed a bike on the way when it hopped off the rack. Oops! Anyway he has more bikes at home so we swung around there and picked up another.
The bikes were Kalkhoff Agattus, a nice comfortable mid-drive step-through bike that I am familiar with. They claim to have “Ride All Day” geometry and features, and we tested that. They certainly are comfortable with seat post suspension, front suspension and a compliant frame. It is also true that the motor and battery is efficient and long-lasting – we rode some 45km and used less than half of the 14Wh battery. Some of that range capability is in the way that the Impulse 2.0 system makes you work a bit compared to other mid-drives. They certainly are not the drive of choice for the lazy ebiker.
Starting in Warburton (I had a Midnight Oil earworm at this point) we rode through some gum plantations and through fields, all the time on the sort of slightly elevated and well drained track that rail trails tend to be. Most rail trails are not what I would call great rides apart from the odd feature such as a tunnel or a bridge, and this was similar. A pleasant day out but not really a ‘must-do’. It hasn’t quite developed a tourism network around it, with the railway-carriage-restaurant stop a bit average. We did come across lots of groups of grey cyclists, families and even a couple who have been touring on folding bikes. While he was full of the enthusiasm of a train-spotter, she looked less amused by the whole idea. If only she knew about folding electric bikes…
The trail goes through very typically Victorian scenery which is quite pretty, unusual names (Woori Yallock) and frequent changes of flora. From Mt Evelyn it was a nice downhill run to Lilydale, so I could just put my feet up and cruise down, enjoying that suspension seatpost.
If you are looking for a bike that can genuinely ride all day and you don’t mind actually doing a bit of riding yourself, the Kalkhoff Agattu is a good choice. It is suitable for daily commuting duties, rail trails and other touring.
The map is available here. An ebike makes it an easy one day ride.
I have ridden this trail about ten times on an urban bike, not an ebike. It’s an okay ride but is no longer on my radar. Riding both ways on the day, starting from Lilydale, an all up ride of about 94 km. The scenery is better riding from Lilydale in particular nearer to Warburton. Depending on the season, in the morning, the hills of the Yarra Ranges National Park, may be bathed in sunshine or shrouded in mist. The ride is best started from Lilydale to get the uphill ride to Mt. Evelyn out of the way first up if it is going to be a return trip. The bakery at Woori Yallock is a good place to stop on the way to Warburton to fuel the body. Some of the timber bridges are a bit jarring too. For variety, taking the O’Shannassy Aqueduct heading back from Warburton is a nice ride, but the trail can be rough in parts, particularly on skinny tyres. The forest and views to the valley below is spectacular from this trail.