The Hell Ride Documentary Preview

Hell Ride Documentary

Melbourne’s notorious Saturday morning Hell Ride. It’s the bunch ride that divides the opinions of so many. Some people hate it and call it dangerous, whereas others are fascinated by the size and speed of the bunch. Is the Hell Ride a safe and fun ride for Melbourne’s cycling elite or is it just a bunch of “testosterone-fuelled idiots” with no respect for the law?

Would you pay $10 to see a comprehensive documentary on the Hell Ride? We need you help – our Kickstarter campaign is here

In our upcoming mini documentary we aim to uncover all the nuances of the Hell Ride. We’re currently in the process of interviewing a range of interest groups such as riders (for and against the Hell Ride), police and cycling interest groups. Our ultimate aim is to remain objective and inform the debate, all while providing a 360 degree overview of the Hell Ride.

What is the Hell Ride?

Let me give you a quick rundown of the Hell Ride, in case you are not familiar with it. The bunch takes off from the Black Rock clock tower every Saturday morning at 7 am – rain, hail or shine. Usually the starting bunch will consist of at least 50+ riders and up to twice that number on a nice summers day. From Black Rock, the group makes its way down Beach Road, then the Nepean Highway down to Frankston.

The bunch will continue to pick up riders along Beach Road, making this quite a large group of 100 + cyclists at times. With a group this size, riders can sometimes end up riding three or four abreast. These days, a police escort will follow the group for substantial parts of the ride, if not the whole way.

In Frankston the bunch will push up Oliver’s Hill to reach the turning point in Mount Eliza. The hill is steep and only the stronger riders will manage to stay with the group on the way back to Black Rock.

As the bunch nears the Black Rock clock tower, the most eager riders will position themselves for the sprint finish or perhaps a chance for some Strava stardom. The sprint finish is often mentioned as one of the most dangerous parts of the ride. The group of fast and furious riders sprinting amongst cars and recreational cyclists has previously caused accidents and media headlines.

The Hell Ride distance of 62.4 kilometres is usually covered in just under 90 minutes which makes the average speed somewhere around 45 kilometres per hour.

The mini documentary is underway

Over the last couple of weeks we have experienced just how high the emotions fly when it comes to the Hell Ride, especially through our social media channels. Some people have vilified the riders who participate – and Bike Chaser for “glorifying dangerous activity” – whereas others are eagerly awaiting the final documentary. In all honesty, we are excited about publishing the overview in early 2018, but also slightly nervous about the quality of the debate that might follow. Hopefully, you’ll all help to make it a productive debate.

In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to get first access to the final video.


  1. Hi Cameron & Jonas

    my name is Rob Crowe, I have had a career in the elite end of road cycling with Olympic and Pro level peaks, and I headed up an educational culture-changing operation in 2002 which aimed to ‘tame’ the Hell Ride (for a short period successfully, then not) using a campaign spear-heading road cycling safety in Victoria called the SHARED RESPECT INITIATIVE (SRI) which subsequently was taken over by the AGF when Amy G died a few years later.

    The main reason I’m writing is that the SRI had support from VicRoads, TAC, Vic Police and LINFOX trucking all combining with me as rider spokesperson to try and reduce the law-breaking practices of the Hell Ride, meaning we had full Vic Police ‘Operation Flock’ support headed up by then Sgnt Brad Hanel with police motorcycles, squad cars, helicopter surveillance and road closures on Oliver’s Hill in an aim to instill sensibility and a basic CODE OF CONDuCT into the main culprits of the then disastrously unlawful practices of the Hell Ride (e.g. riding diagonally through down boom gates dinging in Mordialloc onto Station Street in front of looming trains, and sprinting down the RIGHT HAND SIDE of the final straight to Black Rock Clock Tower in an effort to gain unfair advantage over other riders).

    My point is that, as Director of Ridewiser Pty Ltd (training and education business in road cycling), I’m now re-launching my name in the fraternity (and in the industry aligning with MERIDA, MET Helmets and AGF itself) as a speaker and role model in Road Cycling Safety, particularly in the expertise area of Bunch Riding Etiquette.

    There are literally volumes of incredible stories about how bad and spectacularly infamous that the Hell Ride has been. It has peaked at over 250 riders in the summer of 2003, and has cost thousands of dollars in policing attempts to control it in those years, and the resulting current existence is a relatively tame but ongoing unmanageable bunch cycling feature in the world of cycling. However, it does inevitably the sport of cycling into disrepute, so being objective is critical in using its popularity as a feature article topic, so I’m flagging its history to you, and note that several have gone with this direction and lost out in the past, most notably was a guy who sold Hell Ride kits, with the jerseys colored in red and orange with demons to boot, and was subsequently shut down and lost a lot of expense in creating the outfits because he was seen to be propagating a disreputable event in the eyes of the community, the Victoria Police and Cycling Victoria.

    So while I don’t mind making comment on if it would add to your articles in the future, and can claim to be from arguably the largest historic attempt to investigate, influence and at one point try to close down the Hell Ride (unsuccessfully!), I am just writing to open your eyes as to the tidal wave of ambivalence you might find lurking under such a hot topic. Otherwise, ha ha!, I wish you the all the best possible promotional attention you might pull from doing such a story.

    Rob Crowe

    1. Hi Rob, thanks for the comment. I believe Lee Turner has reached out to you to get you on our Podcast. We’d love to hear your insights in more detail. Cameron

  2. Hi Rob, thanks for your insights, I’m over here in the West and we’ve all heard of the of the Hell Ride. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Boxing Day Pappa Ride here too? Anyway the Hell Ride is as you rightly describe is “polarising” Sort of Ben Hur on two wheels. The dynamics of such a ride are always going to deliver the scenario of “don’t get dropped, whatever it cost” while that is the case despite your best efforts it ain’t going to change.
    I applaud you efforts and the Vic Police, you cant say they haven’t cooperated to try and tame things a bit. The best we can hope for is that no one gets hurt, particully people out just enjoying some casual exercise.

    1. Hi Kim, thank you for your comment on this article. Hopefully Rob joins us on the Podcast for a deeper discussion about his experiences with the Podcast. Stay tuned.

  3. To quote a keen young participant in this ride:

    “Everyone should know this about them:
    1. They have a police escort that actively books riders. They do get punished.
    2. This isnt a bloody race. Its a training ride for the elite riders and other not so elite. Its actaully a great oppertunity for people to see their heros like Simon Gerrans. No one owns this ride.
    3. When you see them go more than two they are allowed to. In left lane they can go up to 3 and in right lane also up to 3. So get over it they can be 6 files legally.
    4. Does this affect you? If no, get over it. If yes, actually look at it for yourself. You have just been misinformed by a bad journalist. ”

    Furthermore, I think it is HIGHLY likely that the riders you have filmed were not the actual, organised Hell-ride, but some less disciplined wannabe hangers-on.

    Your whole attitude to this ride is one reason why I would never support such a rabid media piece that is now being used by the Turdoch press to abuse cyclists in general.

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