First published on 6 Jan 2012. Updated on 7 Jun 2012.
Roller Derby girl 'Champion Ruby' - aka Clementine Ford - tests the gradients, north and indeed south.
Northside: Out at Merri Creek you’ll find 19km of perfect bike track alongside one of Melbourne’s most enduring nature trails. As an added bonus, the relative privacy of the trail (isolated as it is to other folk indulging their inner nature nerd) means self-conscious skaters needn’t worry about traffic beeps or mockin’ school children pointing from a tram.
More confident show-offs can enjoy an easy skate down Royal Parade through to the city and Elizabeth Street on the separated bike path. Just make sure you’ve got your tomahawk stops down pat – it’s downhill all the way.
Southside: Could you really go past the foreshore in St Kilda? The natural invigoration of a good sea breeze would spur anyone on, not to mention fulﬁ lling the quintessential trope of roller skating along a beach front.
On the other hand, esplanade skates can be stymied by nasty headwinds and the boredom that comes from going in a straight line. All the refreshing breeze in the world won’t change the fact you can’t tackle hills, curves and show off the natural agility that comes from jumping over gumnuts along a creek trail. Besides, the Promenade has been designed to reduce speed. Where’s the fun in that? But look, if it’s pleasantries you’re after there’s a lovely bike track that runs from Flinders Street Station’s entrance on the river through to the marina at Port Melbourne – the perfect location for that post-skate cider and rousing view.
The champion: South