Trekking The Upfield Trail

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Sydney Road, what’s not to love?  The pubs with their fine ales, the kebabs, the op-shops, the designer Islamic boutiques and the sparkly bridal mile.  You can get your eco-fashion on or smoke flavoured tobacco in cheery defiance of indoor smoking bans.

Sydney Road works wonderfully for all kinds of purposes, except as a road.  Trams go slow because of the cars.  Cars go slow because of the trams and pedestrians.  And if you’re of the two (or three) wheeled persuasion? Forget it.  Why not try the Upfield bike path instead?  Running next to the Upfield train line (a block west of Sydney Road) the path starts from Royal Park in Parkville, heading north through Brunswick and Coburg before ending at the Fawkner cemetary.

There’s not much scenery on the Upfield Trail.  Traversing the backs of supermarkets, tram depots, factories and crummy fences, this bike path is full of locations perfect for the latest gritty Oz-trayan crime show (and indeed, film crews have been spotted setting up in recent weeks).  Even the graffiti isn’t that good.  A tiny bit of Tom Civil and a scarce few interesting murals don’t make up for the acres of boring tags, we need all those folks who compete for space in Hosier Lane to come for a few late night rides up north.

Yet while it lacks the graceful trees and heritage bridges of other cycle trails, the Upfield is a great commuting route.  It’s well-lit enough to feel safe at night, each major road crossing has a set of bike/pedestrian lights to get you across and it’s clearly signed along the way.  So next time you have business in the People’s Republic of Moreland, grab your treadlie, some tough urban attitude, and give the Upfield a go.

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Photographer of the week: Eleanor Bleier

Photographer Eleanor Bleier has caught a case of wanderlust, but home will always be her heart.