Something caught my eye as I rode along Geelong’s newest bike track. A plant that didn’t quite fit in with the drought resistant shrubs that are so common now in council planted garden beds. Its brilliant red stems and leafy green foliage stood out on the sloped, pine barked garden bed. Someone had snuck in some rainbow sliver beet. A little further along the untrained eye might see weeds sprouting up but I recognised the thick and round shoots as onions. It is a very devious but also a somewhat trusting move to plant your vegie patch on public property.
The Ted Wilson Bike track is 12 kilometres long and runs parallel to the newly completed Geelong Ring Road, behind the rust coloured sound barriers. It starts at the top of Church Street in Hamlyn Heights and finishes at Broderick Road in Corio. If you keep your eyes looking westward and put in your iPod to drown out the sound of traffic you can almost imagine that you are taking a leisurely ride through the country side as you glance across the Moorabool Valley. There are even sheep and horses on the other side of the freeway.
Heading towards Corio the view opens up across Corio Bay and over to the You Yangs. It’s unfortunate that any vista across Corio Bay includes the smoke stacks of Shell Refinery but Geelong is an industrial town. The refinery, the Ford factory and the wool stores that line the docks all define the history of Victoria’s second biggest town.
Admittedly the backdrop of this bike path is nowhere near as beautiful as the Barwon River trail or the waterfront tracks. But the good thing about the Ted Wilson Track is that it is busy enough with locals using the track to be safe, but quiet enough that you can generally ride fast. Other bike tracks around Geelong are so filled with walkers that it can be impossible to get up over 20ks, a comfortable cycling speed. And you can pick up your vegies on the way.