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I'll be in Melbourne from September 8-22 this year. I'll have the weekends free and maybe some evenings and would love to get some riding in. I'll also be in Cairns from September 23-30.

Would anyone be willing to show me around some local trails?

I would be eternally grateful.

Cheers,
Ben
 

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I used to live in Melbourne and now live in Cairns. Best places to ride in Melbourne with easy access are the Yarra Bend trails starting in Abbotsford or out around Templestowe, Lysterfield park, and You Yangs MTB park. All within about 30-40 minutes of Melbourne. All basic trail riding but relatively fun.

I live North of Cairns now in Palm Cove and have to say that the riding here is a million times better. More diverse, better trails, way more fun, and close by. PM me and we can share email addresses. I'd be happy to show you around up here.
 

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I'm also going to be in Melbourne, in late July for me. I'll have to check out those trails. The travel time was with a car, I presume. Is it possible to get there using public transport; I don't know if I'll have a car. Also, any ideas about places to rent a bike from?

I've been to Cairns a couple of times but never biked there (I always go to the reef and the Daintree). The first time, in 1998, I looked into it but there didn't seem to be many opportunities, but it sounds like that has changed. Cairns is one of my favorite places in Australia so I'm sure I'll be back - I'll have to check out the biking next time!
 

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Yarra Trails start about 10-15 min ride from the Melbourne CBD. You can ride upstream along mostly ST for at least 30km. you could potentially follow your nose (or tyre tracks), or find the Yarra Trails thread on Rotorburn forum and ask for a guide - this usually works and they're a friendly bunch despite what their online persona would have you think.

You Yangs are awesome, but a fairly decent ride from the nearest train station - itself a fair way out of town. You'd really want a car to make this work. YYMTB club site is a good place for info.

Plenty Gorge is another awesome location - about 10 min ride from Greensborough station. IMO much better trails than along the Yarra, and a lot more elevation change - 8km at PG feels like 20km along the Yarra. Also a thread on Rotorburn dedicated to this area.

Smiths Gully and Mt Evelyn/Warramate are also superb riding destinations. Vehicle might be best for these also.

Lysterfield is ... meh. Whenever I go there, I am disappointed. Lots of potential ... just lacking proper execution.

That only leaves bike hire. I haven't had to do this ever, but unless things have drastically changed bike hire here is practically non-existent compared to the US. Perhaps also ask on Rotorburn about this ... some bike shops might be able to help you out.
 

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Thanks for all the information, I'm sure it's going to be helpful for me. I'll probably only get one or maybe two days to ride, so I have to prioritize!

Thanks also for the tip about Rotorburn. I'd never heard of it, but will have to check it out. It's not organized by areas like mtbr, which makes it a bit hard for someone who doesn't know the areas. Still, looks like a nice site.
 
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