A Meditation on Riesling Rides×


When not racing or contesting the Mordialloc sprint the staff at Bike Gallery like to enjoy riding for the sake of riding, and nothing else. These are rides free from serious talk, Garmin numbers and hopefully, traffic lights. These rides have always existed since the bike was invented. H.G Wells famously said, “When I see an adult on a bicycle I do not despair for the future of the human race.” For us, these rides are known colloquially as Riesling Rides, in honour of an excellent ride celebrated with a glass of Alsace’s finest export.

What is a Riesling Ride? In essence it is a ride where the goal is not to ride the quickest, nor the furthest, nor up the biggest hills. It is instead a distillation of what makes cycling great. The point of the experience is the journey, riding at a speed where the pace is leisurely and for three hours anything and everything is able to enter the discourse. More than that, it is a voyage of discovery, riding and exploring both new roads and old favourites. The Riesling Ride doesn’t discriminate based on ability, and is often prone to spontaneous outbursts of signing. On a recent Riesling Ride, described by one attendant as ruined, owing to the overly strenuous route, Michigander Singer-Songwriter, Sufjan Stevens was quoted as singing, “I should’ve known better.” This deviance from the standard was a lesson learnt. The route should be an equal mix challenging and recreational but when the Riesling becomes corked, it is time for reassessment

Ernest Hemingway mused that, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.” In a true Riesling ride there should be a sense of joy, in riding through our Alsace, that is the hills of Warrandyte, Watery and Broad Gullies. Even if their isn’t a glass of Riesling waiting at the end of the ride, one should remember that on a Riesling Ride, Riesling is a state of mind, a bridge to nowhere.