Melburn Roobaix 2024: Bicycle Heaven

John (and Cari) took part in the seventeeth annual Melburn Roobaix last weekend. It is an all-day fun ride that welcomes all types of cyclists. At the event, they began to call the Roobaix “Bicycle Heaven.” Let’s show you why in this stunning gallery!

“Why can’t more people ride bikes?” Cari said to me shortly after we rolled into the finish at the 2024 Melburn Roobaix.

“Everyone is just so happy,” she continued.

Cari’s observations are as insightful as they are meaningful to me. For those who don’t know Cari, she designs all our merch and anything design-related for this website. She’s a creative person with a degree in graphic design and sign painting. While she rides her bike daily, she’s hardly a self-described “cyclist,” and her observations are valuable for that very reason.

I wanted Cari to see the Roobaix. It’s a sight to behold as two thousand cyclists, aboard all sorts of bikes and contraptions, spend their Sunday dressed up in goofy costumes all to pedal the famed “Melburn Roobaix” course, a play on Kangaroo and Paris-Roubaix. Like the Spring Classic race, the Roobaix navigates tight twists and turns throughout Melbourne’s pre-war cobblestone alleyways.

Andy and Melodie White, along with their daughter Samantha, run the event with a team of talented and hard-working people. As the White family grew, the event grew with them, with many attendees bringing out the whole family year after year. Kids have grown into adults as the Roobaix has spanned seventeen years!

The Roobaix’s course is marked with little yellow arrows, either painted on the streets or a sign, stapled to light posts throughout the city. At the start, each rider is given a paper map of Melbourne with a QR code for either Strava or Ride With GPS map. But you really don’t need to worry about navigation as you can simply follow the riders out on the course.

As is typical for a Victoria winter, most Roobaix weekends are wet, and the cobbles are often muddy and slippery, which is where the absurdity becomes entertainment of watching Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion, and the Wicked Witch navigate such terrain, while pulling a trailer with a pup wearing one of those evil, flying monkey costumes. Or a fat bike tandem pulling a trike, loaded with a genny to power a boom box and, of course, an Aussie staple, the Esky cooler.

Local businesses are checkpoints along the route, like Off Course, a modern bike shop catering to adventure riding and bicycle touring. Roobaix riders could get their photo taken in a photo stand-in mural or warm up by one of the many FYXO beer kegs plasma cut with Roobaix supporter logos.

Finishing off the muddy, slick course, riders head to the Brunswick Cycle Club Velodrome, run by a wonderful character named “Mister Pink,” aka Dave Morgan, who gladly supports the event. FYXO paid to have the Brunswick logo painted on the outside velodrome over a decade ago, which has become iconic for a proper Roubaix-inspired photo finish as the riders zoom down from the banked blue line into the black sprint line.

Awaiting them upon a muddy finish are food and beer vendors, a photo backdrop, FYXO merch, and local businesses like Framework Designs, Project Flock, and Skin Grows Back. It becomes a party atop soggy sod where stories are shared, new friends are made, and character costumes are critiqued and analyzed. Prizes are handed out at the end of the day, and the show wraps promptly at 6 PM as the sun sets at the event.

As we sat at the Brunswick Velodrome, blanketed by warm winter light beneath a cloud-filled sky, I said to Cari, “this is like bicycle heaven…” and it’s true. When cycling is not taken seriously and the outfits are outrageous, it creates a welcoming atmosphere where smiles are contagious and laughter is the prize.

I’d like to thank Andy, Melodie, and Samantha for their hospitality, FYXO for the flight out here, and everyone who said g’day while out on the course. I love Melbourne, and the Roobaix will forever be my favorite cycling event.

If you see yourself in this gallery, you can download the photo in our Dropbox!