You may have heard of 'burbing', or seen it online, but if not, here's the official definition (as per the Facebook page) to get you started:
Burbing: to cycle every road in a suburb (this can be done across multiple rides). Evidence via Strava, extra kudos for completeness, good Instagram pictures a bonus. Use a map, or not, ride solo or with friends.
It’s a pretty simple concept; ride every road in a suburb and share it on Strava. But there are plenty of different ways to approach the adventure.
Burbing is a broad church and deliberately so. So much of cycling is about metrics, power, average speed, cadence, distance, heart rate, elevation. Burbing actually started as a bit of a contrast to Everesting.
If Everesting is extreme, epic, elite and now increasingly professional, then burbing is fun, relaxed, adventurous and accessible to everyone. Which is not to say burbing is an easy ride, depending on your chosen suburb then it can take quite a bit of time and even multiple rides*. You don’t need an expensive bike, you don’t need fancy kit, you can do it solo or with others.
*We should stress here that while burbing is a popular lockdown activity – if riding every street in your suburb takes over the permitted 60 minutes of exercise in stage 4 lockdown, you will need to do multiple trips! Learn more about riding during lockdown here.
Some meticulously plan the ride, using a plethora of Garmin devices, mapping and routing tools. They then ride a precision route to minimise time or distance. They will thoroughly seek and ride each possible laneway.
Others will just ride without any planning or mapping, soaking up the sunshine, taking photos, maybe with a friend or child as company. They might miss a few roads, but that’s fine.
There is something heartwarming about burbing the suburb you live in and being the first to do so carries a little bit of kudos. But that doesn’t mean if someone has already burbed your suburb you should not have a go also. No two burbings are the same!
The burbing concept was born when a cycling buddy Christian Lloyd rode every road in Montmorency, known as “The Full Monty” back in September 2014.
I thought what a great idea and thus coined the term “burbing”. With 90% of Aussie living in urban areas, making us the most urbanised nation on the planet, its not surprising that it's become so popular!
I took up the challenge and completed an area I was thinking to move to, what a great way to find the nice streets and hidden beauties.
Perhaps real estate agents should complete a burbing to become more familiar with areas as part of an induction.
Feedback on these early rides was amusing: “What happened?" "Did you get lost?" "I did that when I was a paper boy/postman/garbo!" "Were you bored?" "You're crazy!”
Fast forward to 2020 and over 100 burbing rides have been undertaken. Burbings have been completed in USA, UK, Singapore, most Australian capital cities, but the primary focus so far has been Melbourne.
Many different cycling groups have been participating, Musettes, NBRCC, HawthornCC, WheelWomen to name just a few. Some riders are happy just to have burbed their own suburb, others have spread their wings and have racked up 4 or more burbings to their name and I suspect an addiction along the way.
With exposure from Andy Van Burgen & Matt De Neef from CyclingTips:
And recently from Tom Cowie’s article in The Age:
It is fair to say that the secret is well and truly out of the bag. COVID-19 and it’s associated restrictions on movement and exercise has propelled burbing toward the front of interesting outdoor cycling adventures.
Some of my favourite burbs so far:
David Harcourt’s Bentleigh , completed over 4 separate days, and with some sneaky Strava writing within the ride.
Repeat Burber Ruth Oliver and her 7-year-old son's Caulfield. I like how burbing can double as a relaxed family ride.
Joel Nicholson’s Kaleen, because I love the pattern which all the Canberra courts create, gives the ride an organic or cellular feeling.
Give it a go and let us know via the following socials:
Strava Account: https://www.strava.com/athletes/58531388
Strava Club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/burbingcc
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.