When I first started thinking about Sydney trails, my head was filled with thoughts of steep hills, cars and faded white pictures of bikes on green patches on the road. After a much exploring, I can now reveal that Sydney has some very good places to ride if you have the motivation to going exploring. These rides should get you pumping those tires up.
FOR LOOPS: CENTENNIAL PARK
Cycling at Centennial Park is a well tested past time, there are over half a million visitors a year that like to get on a bike. Mostly they do the 4km 'Grand Drive' loop that goes near the boundary of Centennial Park. Its flat, everyone goes one way and the cars stay out of your way for the most part. Most important you rarely have to stop and that is unusual in Sydney. If you have kids, there is a sizeable kids track and playground at the southern end of the park. I personally like to ride around Moore Park and Redfern as part of my ride. Read more about Centennial and Moore Park here.
Centennial park is all about the trees if you are visitor but its all about riding if you are a Cyclist
RIDE AROUND THE BAY AND UP THE CREEK: IRON COVE
Get up early, hop on a train to Summer Hill and ride down and around Iron Cove for 15km of fun. I promise you wont be disappointed. Its flat, the tracks are wide but if its sunny and after 8am and the weekend, it will be very busy. Runners and walkers call the 8km loop "the Bay Run".
At the station, ride down Grosvenor Cres to the railway bridge. Look for a little trail on the left. Ride a few hundred metres till you reach Parramatta Rd. Under the station you will find a lift, go up, across the road on the bridge and down the lift on the other side. The trail starts on the river. Ride down to the bay and then ride around it anti-clockwise. Return to Parramatta Rd and go back to the station. Read about the Iron Cove trail and find out how to get to the trail from the train line
Iron Cove is a shared path that rolls around the bay. Its very popular
FOR WHITE CRANES AND A GREAT BEACH: NARRABEEN LAGOON AND DEE WHY
There are different parts to this ride. To the north is the ride past Narrabeen lagoon to the beach. In the middle is the super and casual ride around the very popular Narrabeen Lake. And heading east from the lake is good shared trail that ends up at the great Dee Why beach. All up this ride is 23km long so with coffee shops, photographs and relaxing riding, this will eat up near 3 hours of your day. I bet you will enjoy it.
Ride around this beautiful and lake and head to beaches to the north and south
WHEN YOU JUST DONT WANT TO GO ON ANY ROAD: OLYMPIC PARK
Sydney Olympic park has 35 km of good safe trails with lots of scenery and some really interesting places to discover. All the bike trails are double lane.
To get to the park by car, there are car parks everywhere. Only on sunny weekends after 11am will you have to hunt for a spot.
Better still arrive by train and the best station is Rhodes as it puts you in a great spot for riding. Olympic Park station is fine too and both have lifts for your bike. As usual with bikes on trains, avoid peak hour, go early if you can and Sunday is the easiest. A ferry ride is also possible.
Olympic Park - 35 kms of riding - no roads unless you are a road rider
FOR RIVER SCENERY: PARRAMATTA TO RHODES
What a great ride this is. Catch a train to Rhodes station. Travel across the railway bridge to the north side of the river. Follow the track all the way to Parramatta, a distance of 13 km. If you want a shorter ride, cross at the Silverwater bridge which you will use on the way back. There are great cafes in Parramatta. If you are really keen you can ride around Parramatta Park as well.
Parramatta River - great riding all the way to Rhodes and Olympic Park
TO CONNECT: COOKS RIVER
If you have any interest in exploring Sydney, you will ride the Cooks River trail more than once. It follows the drainage channel that turns into a big river all the way from Strathfield to Tempe where you come a junction in the trail. There is a slight drop all the way to water so catching a train to Strathfield to do it one way is a good plan. One thing in favour of this trail is that it is mostly under tree cover.
Cooks River is like a rail trail - no hills and lots of trail
FOR CYCLING AND STEAMED VIETNAMESE BUNS: PROSPECT RESERVOIR, GUILDFORD AND CANLEY VALE
Fairfield and surrounding districts has many shared trails where bike riding is encouraged. Many of these are connected via train lines and Guildford station is a great place to start riding. The trail mentioned in this post travels from Guildford via the edge of Prospect Reservoir to Camsley Farm. Then it veers east and takes you down to Canley Vale for 26km of good riding. I explain the choices from there. Highlights include the historic Greystaynes Aquaduct, passing Lizard Log Park and riding continuously through the parks near Cecil Hills and Fairfield.
Guildford to Prospect Reservoir to Canley Vale
FOR COASTAL AND BAYSIDE SCENERY AND NO ROADS: BOTANY BAY AND CRONULLA
The Brighton and Botany Bay from Ramsgate and Cronulla trails provide for 15km+ of road free riding. Start in different locations if you are not a strong rider until you work out the bits you like the best. The Cronulla trail has been vastly improved near Taren Point lately and now is a sensible shared path. The section around Brighton le Sands is busy on the weekends but it thins out after Ramsgate. Its dead flat; what else can I say apart from thinking about parking at a bayside pool for an after ride dunk in the ocean.
RIDE A ROAD WITH NO CARS: LANE COVE NATIONAL PARK
Lane Cove National Park is a cyclists dream before 9am. No cars, wide smooth roads and great Aussie bush and water glimpses to ride through. After 9am, the traffic is all people driving into the park and not too much of a problem.