Some Bike Rides Near Sydney

Compiled by David Noble.

Here is a selection of rides close to Sydney. Most can be completed as day trips. Most can be reached by public transport. This page was started on 28 Feb 99. This page is not meant as a complete ride description but rather as suggestions of rides that I have done and found good. It should be used along with the relevant maps. (Latest modifications - 4 September 05)

Also

Note - Bikes can be taken on trains in the greater Sydney area. During peaks hours (before 9am on weekdays) you will need a ticket for your bike (half adult fare). During off peaks times and weekends - bikes are carried for free. Also - during these times, return tickets (you must return the day of purchase) are much cheaper than buying two single tickets for each way. The trains that go to The Blue Mountains and Gosford only have limited space for carrying bikes. At the end of some carriages there are single hooks where one bike can be carried upright. You are advised to sit pretty close to your bike and in sight of it as bikes have been stolen from trains. Otherwise - you will need to be sure that you bike does not block passengers moving between carriages or getting on and off the train. On the Blue Mts line - all stations on the down line (the line that goes up the mountains!) after Lapstone and until Mt Victoria - the platform is on the right hand side - so you place your bike next to the left hand door without blocking anybody. (And from the city to Lapstone - you can place your bike near the right hand door - except if the train stops at Granville)

For rides to the Southern Highlands and Illawarra - bikes can be carried on the diesel trains. Some of these trains have a special section (in the middle of the two car trains) where two bikes can be hooked.

Train timetables can be found here - but also be sure to look here for information on track upgrading. Bikes can be carried in railway buses - but the journey is far slower and it may be better to go to another location accessed by another line.

1. Inner Sydney Rides

1.1 Cooks River Cycleway

It is possible to ride from Ryde to Kurnell via the Cooks River Cycleway. The section from Ryde to Tempe is 23km long and is mainly off road. The route is well marked. From Tempe, cross the river on the eastern side of the bridge (Princess Highway) and continue along on the footpath (of the Highway and then the next major road that turns off to the left) for about 500m until Valda Road is reached. Turn down this road and continue along it until it ends. Then look for an underpass and continue along the well marked section until you get to Botany Bay. Then the route continues along the beach.

Another description of the ride can be found here or you can look at the (1994) RTA leaflet describing the ride together with maps. I have copied this (and modified it slightly) and placed it on the web here.

Grade - Easy
Distance - ?
Bike needed - any
Shops for refreshments - yes, not far from the track in many places.
Cars - no

1.2 Parramatta to Kurnell

I have described this excellent ride (as city rides go) on another page.

2. Blue Mountains Rides

2.1 Wentworth Falls to Glenbrook (Ingar Trail and Oaks Trail)

This is a good ride, mostly downhill, one steep uphill section from Bedford Creek. It passes through part of the Blue Mountains known as the "Blue Labyrinth." About 55km. Mountain bike needed.

Leave Wentworth Falls and ride east along Great Western Highway to the Kings Tableland turn off. Ride a few kilometres along till you get to the Ingar turn off. This is about 4km from Wentworth Falls. Then ride along this road (dirt - corrugated in places) for about 11km along the Williams Ridge - it is fast going and mostly gently downhill until you get to a turn off to the right - just before the road descends steeply to Ingar picnic ground. This road goes steeply down to Bedford Creek. Care needed on the last section.

If you need water for a drink, don't drink from the polluted Bedford Creek but instead go along a section of the Anderson Trail for a few hundred metres until you come to a large creek (Queen Victoria Creek).

From Bedford Creek, the road climbs steeply up to join the road to Murphys Glen. Although this section of the road is steep - it is all rideable. The top of the hill is about 3 km from the creek - where you encounter a barrier, and immediately after reach the road that goes to Murphys Glen. The surface is much better and it is a quick ride 4 km or so into Woodford. One last sharp uphill pinch (on tar) needs to be negotiated before Woodford is reached.

Once you get near the railway line, follow the road east until you get to a narrow bridge that crosses the railway line. Don't cross the bridge but instead turn to the right, go a short distance and take the next turn to the left and then the next on the left until the Oaks Trail is reached (look out for the national park sign on the right). It is about 28 km from here to Glenbrook. Cross the barrier and then follow a good road along the Woodford Range. As it is closed off to traffic, it is good fast going - mostly downhill (there a few uphill sections - they are all short and easy). Look out for the "circles" along the way (right hand side - some interesting rock formations) and some aboriginal sharpening grooves (right).

At "The Oaks" picnic area, there is a water tank and a singletrack that follows parallel to the road as far as the hill above Glenbrook Creek. You can continue down the tar or follow another section of singletrack that is more technical. It goes down to a bend above the creek. It is a good fast descent down to the causeway and then a short but steep uphill to the park entrance station. With continuous riding - it should take about 75 minutes to go from the start gate at Woodford to the Glenbrook entrance gate. Then it is only another kilometre to the station and shops. A profile of the Oaks Trail can be found here.

Grade - Medium
Distance - 55km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.2 Wentworth Falls to Glenbrook (Anderson Trail and Oaks Trail)

This ride is similar to ride 2.1 described above - but features the Anderson Trail. It is a little longer and harder than the ride above but more varied and scenic - and so is preferable. Distance - about 65km. Mountain bike needed. This is a classic Blue Mountains ride - mainly on firetrails.

Start as for the ride above but continue along Kings Tableland road till you reach the Anderson Trail turn off (about 14km from Wentworth Falls - on the left). Cross a barrier and follow along this road until you reach the Queen Victoria Creek crossing (26 km). Note - the trail to the left, about 0.5 km after the barrier has been newly graded - do not go this way by mistake, take the right hand road. Both roads look similar in standard (May 00).The going is mostly good with a mixture of short uphill and downhill sections - often in the midst of turpentine forest. (Warning - There is now an additional gate on this road at the bottom of a downhill section - just after you go around a bend. It is near an old wooden bridge. It is not signposted and could be easy to crash into - beware! (July 01) The gate seems to be left open at present (Sep 05)). Take care on the steep descent on the last part of this road. From the crossing, it is only a few hundred metres till you reach the Bedford Creek crossing described above. Then proceed as in the ride above. My time from Wentworth Falls station to Woodford station was slightly less than 2 hours. A profile of this ride can be found here.

Grade - Medium
Distance - 63km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.21 Wentworth Falls to McMahons Lookout and then to Glenbrook

As a variation on the ride above - you can first go from Wentworth Falls to McMahons Lookout (about 26 km). Here there are fine views of the Broken Rock Range part of the Blue Breaks and also of Lake Burragorang. Then turn back and ride the 11 km back to the Anderson Trail and continue along that to Woodford and then along the Oaks Trail to Glenbrook. Allow about 5 hours for this ride.

Above - View from McMahons Lookout

Grade - Medium/Hard.
Distance - about 90 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.22 Glenbrook To Woodford and return via the Oaks Trail

This is a worthwhile ride - even though the first half is mainly uphill - the hills for the most part are gradual - and so not too bad. Apart from the hill up from the causeway at Glenbrook Creek - there are two other steep uphill sections - but you shouldn't need to walk up them. Its a good idea to start fairly early so not to be in the way of too many cyclists coming down.

From Glenbrook station, follow the road back along the railway lines and over the bridge into the national park. After enjoying the downhill rum to the causeway - it is then a short steep uphill section on tar to the Ironbarks picnic area. The firetrail to the Oaks is corrugated - but only gently uphill. The barrier just past the Oaks is about 10 km from the station. The road then continues on a better surface to the helipad (just past the Wheel) - at 15.6 km. Then the road climbs up and down a bit for the next 14 km to the Woodford barrier. Then pause for a rest and drink before beginning the exhilarating return. On the way back - be sure to stop at the Oaks and take the single track to the top of the hill before the causeway (and you have the option of taking a short section of more technical single track to the car park - halfway down the hill. Then return up the hill on the other side and back to the station.

My times for the trip - Glenbrook to the Oaks - 35 minutes, to the helipad 60 minutes, to the Woodford barrier - 1 hour 43 minutes - and then another 1 hour 24 minutes back to Glenbrook station (including the single track) - a nice mornings ride.

Grade - Medium
Distance - 56km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.23 Glenbrook To Wentworth Falls and return

I was inspired to do this ride after reading the description of a similar (but harder) ride written by Tim Wardrop here. Tim's party went up and back via the Oaks and Anderson Trails. My route went via the Oaks trail both ways - but on the uphill leg - I went from Bedford Creek to Wentworth Falls via the Ingar Road (see ride 2.1 above) - which is shorter.

This is a good ride to test your fitness level. I found it easier than I expected. One strategy I used was to walk up large sections of the two big hills (Bedford Creek) rather than to ride up them. I'm sure this made the last section (going down the Oaks Trail) easier - and it was then no trouble to ride up the final hill out of Glenbrook Creek.

The routes are described above in the other rides. When I did this ride (Oct 99) - the weather was pretty wet - and this would have slowed me down somewhat. I had some light rain on the way up and two big storms on the way back. Also - the causeway at Glenbrook was closed to cars due to flooding - but still quite OK to ride across (on the footpath section). The crossings of Bedford Creek and Victoria Creek were quite easy knee deep wades in bare feet.

I left Glenbrook station at 9:17am, got to Woodford station at 11:03, Bedford Ck at 11:28, the tar on the Ingar Road at 12:40 and the Wentworth Falls cakeshop (lunch) at 12:50pm. Returning at 1:20, I got to Bedford Creek again at 2:37, Woodford Station at 3:29 and Glenbrook Station (tired and muddy) at 5pm.

I found going up the Oaks Trail quite pleasant. The highlight was seeing close up a very large joey struggling to get into its mother's pouch near Woody Pear Dam. Mum had to stand there, close to the road, while joey sorted itself out. Riding down the hill from the Murphys Glen Trail to Bedford Creek was a real buzz. The uphill onto the Ingar Trail - as I mentioned above I walked a fair bit of - but it is not too far. The rest of this road is a long uphill grind (about 11kms from the creek to the tar). Just before hitting the Highway - on the Kings Tableland Road - I was attacked by a magpie - dive bombing me about 10-15 times for several hundred metres (I was glad I had a helmet on!) - needless to say I hammered this section flat out on the return (it was downhill) - but didn't see the bird.

Grade - Hard
Distance - about 110 km (my speedometer stopped working on the return leg due to the rain)
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - Yes - at Wentworth Falls.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.24 Glenbrook To Wentworth Falls and return (via Oaks and Anderson Trails)

I have now completed the harder ride - from Glenbrook to Woodford via the Oaks Trail and then to Wentworth Falls via the Anderson Trail and return the same way. I found this ride to be an excellent challenge. I rode up all the hills (but not in one go - I had to stop a few times if I rode into a gutter etc, and on the way back I had to rest a few tiems on the way back out of bedford Creek), and I rode down both sections of single track from The Oaks. I had perfect cool weather the whole way and no wind. My times were:


Time out

Time back

Glenbrook

6:45

3:47

The Oaks

7:21

3:05

Helipad

7:49

2:50

Woodford Station

8:39 (left at 9:00)

2:04

Bedford Creek

9:24

1:17

Anderson Trail turn off

10:33

12:35

Wentworth Falls Shops

11:30

12:01

Grade - Hard
Distance - about 120 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - Yes - at Wentworth Falls.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.4 Mt Victoria to Lithgow.

This ride goes down a quiet road to Hartley Vale and then descends to the Coxs River. A steep uphill, dirt road section follows to the Jenolan Caves road. Mainly quiet rural roads are then followed to Lithgow. Distance about 60km (?). Suitable for Mountain bikes or road bikes.

From Mt Victoria (call in fro a Devonshire tea first) go for for about 6 km along the Darling Causeway towards Bell. Then turn off to the left and follow a road down to Hartley Vale. The surface is tar till close to bottom, then mainly dirt to the highway. Along the way you will need to take a left hand turn to get to the Great Western Highway. Then go back along the highway in the Mt Victoria direction (left) 1 kilometres or less to a turn off - to the Coxs River (on the right).

Riders pause before descending to the Coxs River

It is then 10 kilometres to river, tar with a few ups and downs - pleasant, then a great downhill run to the river. Then 7 kilometres steep uphill to the Jenolan Caves road at Lowther. Then 5 -7 kilometres southwest (left) to the Half Way House. After a feed and a few schooners you will feel refreshed. Then go a short distance (200m) towards the caves before turning off to the right along the Rydal road (very patchy tar). It is about 15 kilometres along this road to get to a turn off down to the Lake Lyell dam road - steep nice downhill (dirt), then steep downhill on tar to dam - then uphill (medium) to a hill before Lithgow. Downhill to service station - then easy along highway and main Lithgow road to Lithgow station.

Grade - Medium
Distance - about 60 km
Bike needed - any bike - although the hill up out of the Coxs river is steep and has a loose surface - and is suited to knobbly tires.
Shops for refreshments - Yes - Halfway House (Pub) at Hampton.
Cars - Light traffic only.

2.5 The Six Foot Track

Katoomba to the Jenolan Caves Road via the Six Foot Track, then to Lithgow. About 80kms. Several major uphill sections. Mountain bike needed.

It is about 3kms west along the Great Western Highway to the Explorers Tree and the start of the Six Foot Track. The first section can be ridden but then follows some steep steps. I had to carry/wheel my bike down most of these. After passing below the level of the cliffs, the gradient eases and then it is easier to ride along the track. After about 8km (from Katoomba) the first gate is reached. Follow the well signposted track along roads and then through farmland (easy) to reach the Megalong Valley Road (11.5km) at the old Megalong cemetery. Cross the road and cross a cattle grid and continue following the farm roads and tracks. Then continue along a track that gradually descends to the Coxs River. The river is about 19km from Katoomba. Some sections of the descent are steep and may mean dismounting - but most is negotiable and a great ride. Just before the river crossing is a suspension bridge - this is for crossing the river when its in flood and would be tricky to negotiate with a bike.

After the bridge is reached, do not cross but follow the sign pointing to a crossing point about 1.5kms away. There is a large campsite here (the Three Shires Campsite). It is then a 5km steep uphill section (some walking may be needed) to the Mini Mini Saddle and then a great downhill ride to Little River (2.5km or 26.5km from Katoomba). The Little River needs to crossed three times - and it should be OK to drink. Then follows another steep 4km uphill section to the tops of the Black Range. Along this range, the going is easier as you ride towards the Jenolan Caves Road. Kanangra Boyd National Park lies to the south. The Jenolan road is 40.5km from Katoomba. Turn to the right and travel to the Half Way House about 15km away. It is a bit of a climb onto the Great Dividing Range, but from there mainly downhill to the pub. From the Halfway House (after a schooner or two) continue along the Jenolan Road through Lowther and the Good Forest to the Lithgow turnoff. This is just before a 360 degree bend. The road goes steeply down to a narrow bridge over the river. The follows a nasty uphill section. An interesting bluff can be seen on the left. The Great Western Highway is soon reached and it is an easy ride to Lithgow (83km from Katoomba).

Shorter versions of this ride can start and end at the old cemetary in Megalong Valley. Drive down to the valley from Blackheath and continue to the ford. The Six Foot Track crosses the road not far up the hill on the other side. It can be worthwhile to ride down to the Coxs River and part way up the other side before returning.

Grade - Hard
Distance - 83km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no - not until you get to the Halfway House (pub) at Hampton (56km from the start)
Cars - none until you get to the Jenolan Caves Road (light traffic).

2.8 Mt York - Historic Tracks

This ride is fairly short - but is more technical than most here and includes two uphill sections. It describes the course used in the Activent Challenge - part of the 1999 Escalade Climbing Festival at Mt Victoria.

From Mt Mt Victoria - ride along the highway - west a short distance (a km or so) and then turn off to the right and follow the tarred road out towards Mt York. About 5km out, turn off to the right and then follow the historic Lockyer track. This is mainly a single track and is technical in places (in one or two places you may want to carry your bike). it ends with an exhilarating descent down to the Hartley Valley. At the bottom, turn right and follow a private farm road to the floor of the valley proper. Pass a few old looking buildings and keep heading east. Look out for the Lawsons Long Alley track - which you then follow. This starts with farm road - and then late becomes too steep in one section to ride. It ends with another steep, but rideable section and joins back with the Mt York Road.

Then head out to Mt York and follow the Old Coxs Road track back down to the valley. This is steeper than the Lockyer track - but you should only need to get off your bike in one place (to get over a ditch cut in the rock). This descent requires care - but is great fun!

At the bottom, again follow the sign-posted and well marked track east to the bottom of the Lockyer track. Then ride up the Lockyer Track back to the Mt York Road. Most of this track is rideable on the return leg.

Grade - Medium - but involves technical sections (The Activent Challenge was hard - as it involved running along an 8km course to Mt York and starting the ride from there).
Distance - about 30km from Mt Victoria to Mt Victoria
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.10 Springwood Lookouts

This ride visits three (or four) fine lookouts in the Springwood area. Some carrying of bikes is needed.

Start from Springwood and ride along Hawkesbury Road to the turn off to St Columbus College (3.6 km from the Station). Turn off here and ride to the old seminary and detour around it on the right and across an oval and continue along the fire road into the national park. It is good riding to the Grose Head Lookout at the end of the road (12 km from Springwood). Here there are fine views of the Grose Gorge and Springwood Creek. Ride back along the way you came for 1 km and then turn off to the left down a steep road that drops in Blue Gum Swamp Creek. At the bottom of the hill there is a choice of two routes back to Winmalee. The right hand valley route is the way we went and is fine cycling. The road is getting overgrown and is now almost a single track. As you leave the valley the road improves and you soon reach a barrier and tar (at 18 km from the Station). Continue along this road back to Hawkesbury Road and then back to Springwood.

Above - View from Grose Head Lookout

At Springwood, cross the highway and railway line and then turn left at the roundabout and follow the old highway to Springwood Public School. Turn off along Burns Road and continue along it for about 1 km to the Farm Road turn off. Here turn to the left and follow Farm Road to its end - Martins Lookout. This is named after the "Martin" of Martin Place in Sydney (and Faulconbridge and Linden and Martin's Folly at Linden). The distance to here from the start of the ride is about 29 km. Now you will need to push and carry your bike down the track to Glenbrook Creek (tricky in spots) - as soon as you get to the bottom - look for a sign on the far bank - cross the creek towards it and then continue along a track to the Bunyan Lookout. This has many steps - and care is needed negotiating these with a mountain bike. You will need to carry the bike for much of the ascent. Once you get to the top - go to the left a short distance to the fine Bunyan Lookout. This is a fine place to stop for lunch. It took two of us about an hour to cross from Martins LO to Bunyan LO.

Above - View from Bunyan Lookout

From Bunyan LO continue along the road (you can ride this bit!) - for a few hundred metres - and look for the track to Lost World Lookout. This is a short - and well worthwhile detour - and is about 500 m of single track. (32 km from the start). Then ride back to the road and continue along it to the Oaks Trail. This section is good mountain biking - more technical than most roads - it is overgrown in spots - but fun to ride. Some steep uphill sections near the Oaks Trail may need to be walked up. (41 km at the Oaks Trail from the start).

Then ride down the Oaks Trail to Glenbrook. (52 km to the Oaks and 59 km to the National Park entrance station from the start) - and then continue to Glenbrook station (or do as we did - find we had just missed a train and so ride another 10 kms to Penrith).

Grade - Medium/Hard. (some easy technical sections on the St Helena Trail)
Distance - about 60 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - at Springwood.
Cars - no - on most of ride

A variation of this ride is to go to the Grose Head Lookout, and then continue on to Grose Head Trig (bush track - some carrying of bikes needed). From the trig are good views. There used to be an excellent singletrack leaving the top - but recent bushfires have seen it bulldozed. However it isa good descent to the Springwood-Richmond road (Hawkesbury Rd). You can continue to the Yarrimundi MTB track (turn off at the bottom of the climb up to Hawkesbury Lookout) - and you can continue along the river on firetrails and ascend to Mt Riverview and ride to Blaxland or Emu Plains stations.

2.11 Lawson Ridge and St Helena

This ride is a little contrived - starting first on a ridge on the north side of Lawson. Then after following the same route back it crosses the railway and goes down the first part of the Oaks Fireroad and then goes to Glenbrook via the interesting St Helena Ridge.

From Lawson - head under the tunnel at the railway station and follow the road to the right (east) that goes parallel to the railway line on the north side. This road soon meets up with the highway, which you follow for about 50m and then turn left (north) along Queens Rd (1.4 km from Lawson). This road goes along Lawson Ridge and is a fine mountain bike ride. The road turns to dirt at 2.5km (from Lawson) and another 0.5km further it turns sharply to the right and descends a steep hill through a national park barrier. Further along you can again take a right turn and climb up onto Blue Mountain for some fine views. It is a short way back onto the main trail to the north. Follow along this road past a few interesting hanging swamps and rocky knolls, taking right branches to stay on the main road. At about 7.7 km - it is more overgrown and almost a singletrack - nice riding. The road ends just after a large rocky slab (13.6 km). Head back to the highway following the same route.

After reaching the highway - turn left and continue down to Hazelbrook. A new hotbread/cakeshop tucked in behind the main shopping centre demands attention and is a good spot to stop for a snack. At the station, cross to the quieter road on the south side of the railway line and continue down to Woodford. Not far past Woodford station at a T intersection, turn right, then left and left again to get to the start of the Oaks trail (30.2km). The St Helena turnoff is 5km further on - on the left hand side, not far past the Circles.

The St Helena Trail is now almost a singletrack and provides excellent mountain biking. On the ride above (2.7) - we rode up the trail, this way is better. It is a fast 5km to a turnoff (40.7km). From this point you can continue to the right to Glenbrook - but is worthwhile - going left for another 4km to the Lost World Lookout (a singletrack to the left turns off at 43.4km) and then to the Bunyan Lookout at the end of the road. Return back to the junction - or if you like drop down a steep rocky hill to the St Helena Crater. This is a volcanic neck that was once a farm. The turnoff (to the north) for the crater is about 1km before the junction is regained - and involves a round trip of 1km or so. On our trip, one party member suffered a chain problem on the descent to the crater - and luckily once back at the junction - we met up with some mtb-oz guys that had the right tool to fix the chain (thanks Richard B).

From the junction - it is a fast, and mostly exciting singletrack to Glenbrook Creek - near the Duckhole. Most of the route is rideable - except the last bit of the descent. From the bottom, you can go a short distance upstream and cross the creek at a large swimming hole (the Duck Hole, take off your shoes and wade over) and follow a track up the hill. This will involve pushing/carrying your bike for parts of the way. Or you can go downstream a short distance, cross the creek on rocks, go about 50m downstream and then look out for a faint track going up the ridge on the left. You will need to push/carry your bike up a short hill - until it merges with the track from the first route. Then the tarck is ridable to the railway line. Cross the line and follow a railway access road right (downhill) towards Glenbrook station. You will need to go under a gate to come out on a road close to the station and shops.

Grade - Medium/Hard. (some easy technical sections on the St Helena Trail)
Distance - about 58 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - at Hazelbrook.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.12 Linden Ridge and St Helena

This ride is another contrived one - similar to ride 2.8 above - but spending the morning touring along the Linden and Dawes Ridge systems. These spread north from the hamlet of Linden. This part of the ride (from Linden to Hazelbrook) is about 37km and features 12km of singletrack. To add to the day, the first part of the Oaks trail and then the St Helena Ridge (or all the Oaks Trail) is suggested. Two of us did this ride in October 99 and used the route described here.

From Linden station, leave the platform by the pedestrian crossing to the west and then go along the tarred road (up a bugger of a hill) to Glossip Road (the main road of Linden). Head north along this. Early on you will pass the Linden Observatory and soon come to a barrier. Continue past the barrier along a tar road to the watertank above Linden Dam. Here another barrier is found that blocks access to the fire road north. Continue along this road (now dirt). It is mainly good going with a few short steep hills, some rough sections and some sand traps.

At a little over 5km from the station, look out for a faint road turning off to the left. This occurs where the main road suddenly turns to the right (east). A log partly blocks the faint road. This is the turnoff to Dawes Ridge - on the way back we will go that way. Continue along the Linden Ridge for another 5.1km to the end (this section must be a lot shorter than that marked on the 1:25,000 Springwood sheet). Ride back to the Dawes Ridge turnoff. Now follow along an exciting singletrack that goes north for 6.3km. It starts with some speed humps. It is mostly quite rideable and offers some good views of the gorge to the west.

Return by the same way and then go back to the watertank. On the west of this near a pumphouse is a road that goes steeply down the Linden Dam. Note that this goes through a catchment area and access is not permitted. At the bottom of this steep road, a short track goes down to the lower pumphouse, just blow the dam. A tar road leaves from here. Go a short way then turn off to the right along a dirt road, up a steep hill (some walking may be needed). At the top of the hill, the road undulates somewhat - like a big dipper and then becomes a steady uphill to Hazelbrook Station (37km from the start).

The bakery, tucked in behind the Hazelbrook shops is recommended as a place for a pleasant cup of coffee and a cake or two. It is open on weekends.

For the rest of the ride - it suggested you ride to Glenbrook. We rode down the start of the Oaks Trail and then went to Glenbrook via the St Helena Trail. This has the advantage of adding another 13km of singletrack the the 12km done earlier. (The St Helena Trail is largely singletrack). See ride 2.8 for route details.

When we did the ride - on our way down the steps to Woodford Station to fill up our waterbottles - we came across an echidna merrily going about its business. A little while later we met another rider, setting out for the Oaks Trail on his way to Glenbrook - however he had no working brakes on his bike! I wonder how he got on?

Our times - Left Linden Station 9:39am. End of Linden Ridge 10:14, end of Dawes Ridge 11:31, Linden Dam 12:19pm, Hazelbrrok shops 1:30, Start of Oaks Trail 2:15, St Helena Trail start 2:34, turnoff to Glenbrook and Lookouts 3:01, Glenbrook Station 4:08.

Grade - Medium/Hard. (some easy technical sections on Dawes Ridge and the St Helena Trail)
Distance - about 59 km (including the St Helena Trail)
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - at Hazelbrook.
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.14 Tinpot Mountain

This ride features a great section of downhill singletrack into the magnificent Coxs River valley.

I started my ride from Katoomba and went down the Six Foot Track to the Megalong Valley Road (see ride 2.5 above). At the road, turn left and ride east to Carlons Farm (Packsaddlers). At the farm, cross over a small bridge, through a gate and go up a steep hill to a saddle. At the saddle turn right (south) and follow up another hill, through grazing country. Follow signs that indicate the bushwalkers route to Tinpot Mountain. Soon the route changes from farm road to singletrack and begins a great downhill section. Near the bottom you will come to a sign that says "Private Property" in one direction and "To National Park" in the other. Here I chose the latter, but I think the former would have been better - as I later left the track and doubled back along an old farm road (wheel ruts) that went back up the Coxs Valley towards Galong Creek - probably not far below where the sign was. Once in farm country I folowed these wheel ruts over a few small hills and over Galong Creek towards the Coxs River. Keeping a low profile on this private land, I skirted a house at the bottom of Black Jerry's Ridge by going up part of the Coxs River and then later found myself on a road that goes up the Valley on the right (true left) side and then crosses on a wooden bridge.

From the other side, the road goes near some electricity transmission line towers and climbs a steep hill before returing to the river again. I several places, you will need to lift your bike over locked gates. Soon you will reach the Six Foot Track wheer it crosses the Coxs River. Cross here rather than go upstream and cross on the suspension bridge. Follow the Six Foot Track up the river and then up the hill back to where it crosses the Megalong Valley Road at the old cemetary. This starts as singletrack (for the most part rideable) and then turns into farm road.

At the Megalong Valley Road, turn left and ride back to Blackheath. The last part of the ride is up a long steep hill.

Note - I chose an extremely hot day when I did this ride (about 40 degrees C) - and suffered greatly from the heat. I topped up my waterbottles with water from the Coxs River (which I normally drink OK on bushwalks - but this may not be good to drink for people not used to it). It certainly provided good swimming! In the Megalong Valley, I didn't fancy drinking from Megalong Creek (or Galong Ck). I later filled up my waterbottles from a tank at the back of the Catholic Church about 1km east of the Megalong Creek Causeway (at the Euroka turnoff). This ride would be much easier without starting from the top of the eascarpment - and instead taking bikes in a car to the valley. On my trip - my bike handlebars were very hot to touch and the water in the waterbottles became hot and unpleasant very quickly - not nice riding conditions. I also started suffering from cramps going up the hill to Blackheath and had to walk sections that I should normally be able to ride quite easily.

Grade - Hard, some technical sections.
Distance - about 58 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.15 Wolgan Railway

This ride features some very scenic country near the old railway to Newnes. It is a loop ride - and is best done by going up the very gentle gradient of the railway formation.

To get to the start of this ride - you can take your bike via car to the Newnes Plateau or ride there from Lithgow (about 30km) or Bell. From the Chifley Highway - if coming by car, turn off at the Zig Zag Railway and turn right (east) and soon after left (north) along a road which goes to the Glow Worm Tunnels. Follow along this, past pine forests for about 25km till you reach a sign saying Deanes Siding. The ride starts about 500m past this along the Glow Worm Tunnel Road. (Note - It is possible to start this ride from Newnes and rdie up the Railway first and come back down the Coach Road)

From this intersection, follow the right hand road - the Old Coach Road. It has at first a very smooth surface and is fast cycling. After about 4km you will reach a NPWS display. This is the turn off for people visiting Tiger Snake Canyon.

From here the road gets a lot rougher. It now descends fairly steeply through very scenic pagoda country. This is a great section and it is well worth stoping to admire the views. After you pass though a barrier confined between pagodas - the road is somewhat easier - although still steep. It then crosses a small dry stream and goes uphill slightly before the final, larger descent into the Wolgan Valley.

This descent is on quite a good surface and is good fun. At the bottom - the road joins the old railway formation. Turn left here and follow the railway back up. This is a very gentle gradient - and it is easy to ride uphill - except for washouts and debris on the embankment that mean you have to get off your bike in places.

As you climb - you gradually get closer to the base of the cliffs. Then the railway formation swings into a small creek and follows it up. Part of this section will require walking. At the Glow Worm Tunnel - you can stop and explore the small canyon that is nearby (Bells Grotto) and then go through the tunnel. Torches are recommended for this and the surface is uneven - so you will be unable to ride. There are a few glow worms in the tunnel.

At the other end of the tunnel - continue along the embankment. It is mostly good riding - except for a major washout - wher you will need to follow a bypass walking track. Continue up to the carpark, then along the road, though a second tunnel and return to the start point.

(Note - It is possible to start this ride from Newnes and ride up the Railway first and come back down the Coach Road)

Grade - Medium, some technical sections.
Distance - about 20 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no
Cars - no - on most of ride

2.16 Paterson Range

From Richmond, ride along the Bell Road to North Richmond. After calling in to the bakery, take the first turn off on the left (Grose Vale Rd) and continue along this fairly quiet rural road to Bowen Mountain (15 km). This is a gradual uphill - where little height is lost - except for the last part - which is a steep uphill. At Bowen Mountain, head along roads along the top going north (right) until you reach Lt Bowen Road. Continue north along this until till you reach a barrier. Cross the barrier and follow a dirt road past a observatory and then down a hill. This section is quite interesting - as the road goes past a series of weathered sandstone caves. At the bottom of the hill, cross a creek and a short way up the other side, you will meet (just past another barrier) another fire road coming from the top of Kurrajong Hill. Conitue the way you are going (south west) as the road siddles the hill and then drops into Burralow Creek. Cross the creek on an old wooden bridge and then climb up a hill. The road is steep in spots - but in good condition and quite rideable.

At the top of the hill, look for faint road going south (at 22.3km from Richmond) - this is a singletrack to a lookout that overlooks the Grose Valley near the Wentworth Creek junction and is well worth going out and back (3.5 km each way).

After returning, it is an easy 6 km or so to the Bell Road. This section is gradually uphill. At the Bell Road, ride east (right) back to Richmond. The best part is the descent of Bellbird Hill. You can take a turnoff that avoids the traffic down part of the hill. This is a road that turns off to the left just before a lookout. It is marked with a sign saying "No Through Road" - but is fine for a mountain bike. It is very steep tar at first, then dirt.

Grade - Medium.
Distance - about 61 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - some on the Bell Road
Cars - some - near the start and end of the ride.

2.17 Bell To Richmond

This is a good through ride like the Anderson/Oaks ride. It is less of a bush trip - but takes advantage of a similar height advantage. Like that ride it also has two uphill sections and a middle bit where you return to civilisation for a short while. When i did this ride - my speed was not working - so distances are only estimates.

Catch a train to Bell. Make sure to let the guard of the train known that you want to detrain at Bell. From the station ride along the dirt road north of the station to the east towards the Bell Rd. This is only about 200m away. Ride down the Bell Rd to the Mt Wilson turnoff. Turn left (north) and ride to Mt Wilson. The final climb to the top is not too bad. This is about 16kms from Bell.

Ride through Mt Wilson, staying on the main road to Mt Wilson, about 10km away. This beginds with a good downhill section and it is not much of a climb to Mt Irvine. Just before ariving at Mt Irvine - turn off to the right down to Bowens Creek. This road is marked by road closed signs - but still seems OK - and is inded used by some of the locals and four wheel drive "wilderness" tours.

The Bowens Creek road is extremely spectacular - and features some long switchbacks - so the uphill sections are never steep. It is about 3 km in a straight line from Mt Irvine to Bilpin but the road, with all its switchbacks takes about 15km. It is mainly dirt road in good order. Just before the bridge at the bottom is a muddy section. On the way down it is worth stopping to look at the road on the far side as it winds up through and along cliflines - it is quite awesome!

At Bilpin there are a few servos and other shops spread out along the Bells Line of Road. Continue east along the Bell Rd till you reach the turn off to Mt Lagoon - about 4kms away. Ride to Mt Lagoon - about 14 kms, bitumen at first, then dirt for the last part. The lagoon is an interesting geological feature - and lies a short distance off the main road (via Sams Lane). The main road continues (it is now much rougher), through a gap and then towards the Colo River and Wheeny Creek. This section, of about 7kms, is mainly downhill, and a bit like the long downhill section of the Oaks Trail. Watch out for a few sandy sections however. Being downhill, it doesn't take long to get to the road that goes to Wheeny Creek. This road is still dirt, but in much better condition. It is another good, but steeper downhill to Wheeny Creek. Ride over a causeway to a picnic/camping area with a watertank. Then continue up the hill along the Comleroy Rd to the Bell Rd near Kurrajong (dirt, then tar).

When you reach the Bell Rd - it is a short fast ride to Richmond.

When I did this ride - I started from Bell about 10:30am and (riding by myself) got to Richmond by about 3:45pm.

Grade - Medium/Hard
Distance - about 90 km
Bike needed - mountain bike (slick tyres are probably best or a road bike with wide tyres for the dirt)
Shops for refreshments - some on the Bell Road at Bilpin. Also a cafe at Mt Wilson
Cars - some - near the start and end of the ride - and for a short section in the middle. Most of the riding is on very quiet roads.

2.18 Bungleboori Picnic Area to Capertee and Return

This is a good two day mountain bike ride - about 150 kms. When we did this ride we stayed overnight at the Capertee Hotel. The Bungleboori Picnic Area can be reached by turning off the Chifley Road at the Zig Zag Railway and following the road to the Glow Worm Tunnel. From the Bungleboori Picnic Area - we rode along fireroads to Blackfellows Hand near Wolgan Gap, then rode along the western rim of the Wolgan Valley - with a few side trips out to lookouts along the way. Then we descended and rode to Baal Bone Gap for lunch (water available from the pressure reducing station). Next is a really magnificent downhill ride past Pantoneys Crown to the Capertee Valley. Once you reach farm houses, at the T intersection, turn right and proceed to the Glen Davis Road (don't be tempted to go left and find a short cut - roads marked on the map cross private land). Then it is a long ride to Capertee - and the uphill is a real grind. We rode back for 7-8 kms along the road to Lithgow, then turned off near Cullen Bullen station and along the tops through Gardens of Stone National Park, back to near Baal Bone Gap, then up the hill to the Wolgan Rim and then turned down a nice trail down the upper Coxs River, and back via the Blackfellows Hand road.

A shorter (one day) variant of this ride would be to go from Wolgan Gap to Baal Bone Gap then descend to the Capertee Valley. A car shuffle would be needed.

2.19 The Zig Zag Track and Hanging Rock

This is a singletrack that descends into the Kanimbla Valley at Mt Victoria. Then fire roads are followed back to near the Highway. The last part of the ride is optional. The ride starts and ends at a pub and has a pie shop in the middle!

From Mt Victoria, turn off the highway at the street going up the hill near the Cafe (opposite the pub). At the T intersection turn right and then take the first street on the left (following signs to the Zig Zag). The Zig Zag track is steep but mostly rideable. At the bottom, continue down the valley, rather than follow another tarck to the left. When you get to a gate and fences, turn (before the gate) to the right and follow a road that contours around the valley underneath Victoria Pass. At one point there is a side road that climbs up towards (but does not meet) Victoria Pass. We went up this - and had to return the same way. So keep following the main track - it rises at up a bit - but mainly traverses on a steep slope below the cliffs. It then goes close to a few farms - and then a fun downhil is encountered which takes you to the Coxs River Road (tar). Follow this a few kms back to the Great Western Highway.

Turn right at the highway. A short distance away is the pie shop. After this, continue along the highway and just after the start of Victoria Pass, take the old Berghoffers Pass (old road) to the Mt York Road. This is a gentle gradient all the way to the top. Then it is only a short distance back to Mt Victoria.

The distance covered is about 25 km.

An optional extra - is to ride towards Blackheath along the highway. Just before the road crosses the railway - turn off and follow the rail access road on the right hand side of the tracks. This is a good way to get to Blackheath. When you are in the houses of Blackheath, take the bridge over the railway and then cross the highway and ride along the footpath a short distance west (left) till you get to the firts side road. This can be followed to Balzer Lookout (about 7-8 kms or so). This is a good fun ride - with good downhill sections - good waterbars - but watch for cars. At the lookout - walk a short way down to the west to see the amazing hanging rock. Go back the same way to Mt Victoria (or ride to Blackheath). Riding to and from Mt Victoria adds another 25km to the ride.

Grade - Medium
Distance - about 25-50 km (depending on options taken)
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - yes - at Hartley (pie Shop) and at Mt Victoria
Cars - few on most of the ride, but some (short) bad sections of highway

3. Hawkesbury Rides.

3.1 Wheeny Creek - Colo River.

A circuit from Richmond to Windsor. A great trip with only a few small hills. Pleasant river scenery. About 90kms. Suitable for mountain bikes and road bikes with thick tires.

From Richmond head along the Bell Road to North Richmond. After stopping at the bakery, continue along the Bell Road to the Comleroy Road turnoff (10.5km). Follow along this road (the Blaxland Ridge turnoff is reached at 18.5km). At 21km the Comleroy road deteriorates to dirt road and is quite corrugated. After a nice downhill section, the Wheeny Creek Reserve (camping ground) is reached (25km). Then continue over the ford up a steep but short uphill section that joins up with a road to Mountain Lagoon (30km). Turn right and continue to the Colo River. Parts of this road are sandy and dusty. At 34km, the River is reached. It is 15km along the valley to the Putty Road. Only 4km of this road has a dirt surface. At 49km the Putty Road is reached and it is worth crossing the bridge (use footpath on the right side) for a good view of the River and to reach the shop on the north side. Go back over the bridge and then continue on the dirt road that follows the river downstream. This is pleasant going. A short uphill section takes you to the tarred Portland West Road (61km). Turn left and descend 3km to the Hawkesbury River. Cross at the Portland Ferry, turn right and follow the road upstream to the Sackville Ferry - 13km away. There is an uphill section along the way. After the Ferry, continue into Wilberforce and Windsor (94km). There is a pub near the station suitable for obtaining refreshments.

Grade - Medium
Distance - 94km
Bike needed - mountain bike or road bike with wide tires
Shops for refreshments - Yes - at the Putty Road.
Cars - very light traffic on most of ride. The Bell Road can be busy at the start of the ride.

3.2 Windsor to Windsor circuit via the Hawkesbury River

A 90km ride along scenic river country. Mainly tar - with a short section of good dirt road. Few cars.

Cycling next to the Hawkesbury River.

From Windsor, proceed along the Putty Road to Wilberforce (8km). Then turn right and continue to Sackville. Cross via the Ferry (17km) . Climb up the hill for 5km and turn left back to the river. Continue along the river to Wisemans Ferry (55km). There is a 10km section of dirt road that ends 7km before Wisemans Ferry. At Wisemans Ferry there is a shop and a pub - it is a good place to stop for lunch. Climb up the steep hill south and head back towards Sydney. Along the way, at Maroota (after 11km) turn off and head back to Windsor. It can be a good idea to carry plenty of water for the section after Wisemans Ferry.

Grade - Medium
Distance - 90km
Bike needed - any bike
Shops for refreshments - yes - lots of kiosks along the river.
Cars - very light traffic for most of ride

3.3 Windsor to Wyong the Hawkesbury River, Mangrove Mountains and the Yarramalong Valley

A 146km ride along scenic river country. Mainly tar - with a short section of good dirt road. Few cars. Only one uphill section near Bedlam Creek. Suits any bike.

Proceed to Wisemans Ferry from Windsor (see ride 3.2) - 55km - About 2.5 hours of cycling. Cross at the punt and continue down the river to Spencer (84km). Continue along level terrain to Bedlam Ck (96km) then climb up the hill (about 6km initially) to eventually get to Mangrove Mountain shop (108km). Continue for a short distance and then turn left (north) towards Yarramalong (ie don't take the Sydney/Gosford road). About 3-4km further on you join a more major that heads north. Continue for another 3-4 km until you get to Spring Road. Turn right and follow this road down the steep Bumble Hill to the Yarramalong Valley. Then it is easy going along a beautiful valley to Wyong (146km)

When I did this ride - on a very hot day, I left Windsor station at 8:15 am and got to Wyong Station at 3:30 pm. I stopped at the shops at Wisemans Ferry, Spencer and Mangrove Mountain. You could head south to Hornsby or Gosford from Mangrove Mountain instead of going down the Yarramalong Valley.

Grade - Hard
Distance - 146km
Bike needed - any bike
Shops for refreshments - yes - lots along the river and at Mangrove Mt.
Cars - very light traffic

3.4 Culoul Range - Colo River

A short easy ride along a fire road to a scenic lookout.

This ride starts from the Putty Road - cars will be needed to take maountain bikes to the start of the ride. At the Culoul Range turnoff - leave cars and ride along a good surface fire road for about 11km to a barrier and car park. Along the way you will pass some nice grassy basalt areas. In the late 1970's there was a conservation battle to stop mining of shale in the vicinity. At the car park - you can walk along the ride line to visit Hollow Rock. There are several choices of rides from the car park. You can take a road to the south to above Boorai Creek - near here there was a stream gauge placed on the Colo - and a dam was being considered for cooling water for a power station planned for the Newnes Plateau. Another conservation battle was waged to stop it.

Above - View from Crawfords Lookout - Colo/Wollemi juntion.

The best route to take is to continue along the main Culoul Range trail to Crawfords Lookout - one of many vantage points in the area. Care is needed with navigation along the way - as the correct road turns off to the right on top of a small knoll - and can be easy to miss. When this road ends you will need to walk a kilometre or so to the lookout. This is well worthwhile - great views of Wollemi Creek and the Colo Gorge.

Above - View from Crawfords Lookout - Wollemi Gorge

Grade - Easy
Distance - about 30 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no
Cars - probably not

3.5 Wisemans Ferry - Old Great North Road to Ten Mile Hollow and Return

This ride is a scenic circuit from Wisemans Ferry into Dhurag National Park. Car transport is needed to get to the start of the ride.

From the north side of Wisemans Ferry ride left (west) for a few hundred metres to pick up the start of the Old Great North Road. This starts at a locked gate - and you are asked to wheel your bike for the first kilometre or so up the hill to preserve the new surface. Anyway - on the way up are many interesting interpretation signs that you will want to read - that explain how the old road was built by criminals doing time. Near the top of the hill - is another gate - and from there you can ride.

This section of the road is excellent mountain biking - mainly fairly easy - but with enough technical sections to be interesting. In a few spots the road is boggy - and you are advised to pick up single tracks that go round the bogs. All the road is rideable - but you will need to be careful to be able to stay on your bike the whole way without a foot dab or two. Much of this road is rocky.

At about 12.4 kms you will meet the much better surfaced fire road that provides access to electricity transmission towers. This is the road used for the return journey. But first it is worth following it to the north (left) for 4 kms to Ten Mile Hollow. This is at the bottom of a hill just past a religious settlement (monastery). At Ten Mile Hollow - another road (Simpsons Track) branches off towards Mangrove Mountain. We rode the first few hundred metres of so of this and it appears to be good cycling. It is recommended that you continue over a bridge along the main road (The Great North Road) for just over another kilometre to the historic Claires Bridge. This is an old stone supported bridge that spans a small creek. Unfortunately the top deck of the bridge is not authentic.

The ride returns back to Ten Mile Hollow then along the electricity access road back to the Wisemans Ferry - Spenser road near Mill Creek. The last section of this road features a fast downhill section. Be careful to stop in time at a final barrier just before the main road. At this road - ride west (right) back up the Hawkesbury to Wisemans Ferry. Distances - Claires Bridge to the barrier - 17 km, Barrier to Wisemans Ferry - 4 km.(Thanks to Bob Hall for pointing out some errors!)

Grade - Medium
Distance - 39 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no - only at Wisemans Ferry at the start and end of the ride.
Cars - virtually none

3.6 Wisemans Ferry - Old Great North Road to Ten Mile Hollow, Loop to Mangrove Creek and Return

This is a longer variant on the ride above. Ride to Ten Mile Hollow and take the fire trail down to Mangrove Creek. It is mainly easy downhill riding. Then ride up mangrove Creek and climb up a firetrail back to rejoin the Great North Road on the hill north of Claires Bridge. This ride is about 50 kms. Ride back along the Great North ride to Wisemans Ferry - the same way you came, rather than along the electricity access road. Note - not far north of Claires Bridge - there is a fire trail that heads south and bypasses the monastery - but this route is a real roller coaster and may not save anything.

3.7 - Wisemans Ferry - Old Great North Road to Mogo Camp Ground and Return via St Albans.

This is a fantasic ride for fit  riders. Except for the middle section near the monastery, it features great singletrack riding - with tricky rocky sections and fast flowing sections. There are good views and a real feeling of remoteness. Carry spare tubes, repair gear and lots of water. There are some small creeks on the northern part of the ride that could provide drinking water but they should not be relied upon. There is a water tank at the Mogo camp ground. This ride is equally good in either direction - but beware of headwinds. The St Albans road is quiet but can be dusty. The hill up to Mogo camp ground is a real grind and never seems to end. An early start is advised.

Grade - Hard
Distance - 95 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no - only at Wisemans Ferry at the start and end of the ride. And there is a pub at St Albans.
Cars -  none on the 45 km section from Wisemans Ferry to Mogo via the OGNR. Light traffic on the St Albans Rd.

4. Northern Suburbs - Central Coast Rides

4.1 The Three Hills - Galston Gorge, Berowra Waters, Bobbin Head.

A pleasant ride in the northern suburbs of Sydney. Mainly on quiet roads. Three great downhills (and three uphills).

From Hornsby station, head north along the Pacific Highway a short distance until the Galston Gorge turnoff is reached. Turn left and proceed through suburbs and then descend through bush to Galston Gorge. At 8km the bridge is reached, followed shortly after by a second bridge - this one wooden and narrow. Then follows a gentle uphill to Arcadia. The top of the hill is reached just after 11km. Not far past turn off to the right towards Berowra.

Above - Galston Gorge

At 14 km it is worth turning off to the right into Fagin Park and looking at the Gardens of the World. Here, you see gardens from various countries of the world - Africa, Japan, China, Australia, Mediterania, Holland, North and South America and England. Also it is worth looking at the historic museum.

Above - riders in the Gardens of the World in Fagin Park.

It is then about 13km to Berowra Waters punt. The last two kms are a fast, downhill section. After crossing at the punt, it is an easy, gentle uphill for 4km and then another 2.5 km to the highway at Berowra. Here, it is worth calling into the cake shop, in the shops opposite the station just to the north.

Then continue 8km south along the bike lane on the Pacific Highway to Mt Colah. Not far past the station, turn off to the left (east) on the road that goes to Bobbin Head. Cross the motorway and continue into the National Park. It is 8 km from the highway to the bottom, the last section is another great downhill run. On the way, just before the downhill section, it is worth calling in to the visitor station and looking at the stuffed animals etc.

From the bay a t the bottom, it another easy uphill section to the top national park barrier. Just before reaching the barrier, it is worth turning off to the left (east) and descending a short distance to look at a remarkable "sphinx" carved into sandstone by an old soldier.

It is then about 8km back along Bobbin Head Road (bike lane part of the way) to the Pacific Highway and then s short way downhill to the south to Pymble Station.

Grade - Medium
Distance - 60 - 65 km
Bike needed - any bike
Shops for refreshments - yes - lots along all section of the ride.
Cars - light traffic

4.2 Lane Cove Valley.

A pleasant mountain bike ride along a bushland valley. The first section of the route was suggested in a posting to the mtb-oz mailing list by David Hughes (thankyou David). Also useful is a map called "Walking Tracks in the Upper Lane Cove Valley" published by STEP. This map may be available from Mapworld branches.

From Pennant Hills station go to the main road to the south of the station and cross this road and follow northeast along the footpath to The Crescent. Follow this road and then Britannia St to Pennant Hills Park. The way to the park is well sign-posted. At the entrance gate to the park - look for a wheel chair quality track. This goes in a short loop - follow it and then turn off along a dirt singletrack at the bottom that at first goes parallel to Britannia ST and then descends to a creek. Watch out for a few small cliffs on the way down. Most of this section is rideable - but technical in places.

At the creek (Byles Creek) - cross it and follow a track to the left (downstream) to a larger creek (Devlins Creek). Continue downstream along a fireroad. Look out for Duckys Waterhole on the left. Follow this section for a little over a kilometre - and then you come to a rough crossing of a new stream - this is the Lane Cove River. Just before the crossing - the road you are on branches and goes up a steep hill. Over the other side of the Lane Cove River - you will meet the Great North Walk.

This is a good place to explore a bit. It is worthwhile going north (upstream) along the Great North Walk. It is easy to ride up the river to near Thornleigh, where you can exit or return back to the Devlins Creek junction.

From the Lane Cove River/Devlins Creek junction - follow the Great North Walk downstream. After another kilometre or so of easy going - you will come to a paved bicycle way that crosses your way. Another bit of exploration is recommended here. Follow the bike way to the west (right) over the river and then over Terrys Creek and up a steep hill to the M2 motorway. It is possible to exit here along the motorway or at Vimiera Road. Follow the bike way back down the valley. Just before you cross Terrys Creek - look for a singletrack that goes up the creek. This is well worthwhile - and is fairly straightforward. It takes you under the M2 to Crimea Rd. Return back along this to the Lane Cove River.

The Great North Walk can be followed to De Burghs Bridge - this section is a combination of singletrack and fireroad. You will need to carry your bike for short sections. The route stays on the true left hand bank of the river (eastern bank) and the route is well marked.

After going under De Burghs Bridge it is best to leave the Great North Walk and cross the bridge on the footpath and pick up a bike way on the western side that goes into Lane Cove National Park. This section of bike way is short - and it soon joins the road that goes through the park to Fullers Bridge. This section is fast going on a quiet tar road.

At Fullers Bridge - there is a kiosk that provides a good place for a lunch stop. You can finsih the ride by retracing your route - or a variation of it back to Epping, Pennant Hills, Thornleigh or Turramurra or ride up the road to Chatswood.

On my ride, I tried to follow a bike way marked on the RTA bike routes map that continues along the true left bank of the Lane Cove River. All I found was a golf course - and no bike way!

 

Grade - Easy - but some technical sections
Distance - 10 - 20 km
Bike needed - mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - kiosk at Fullers Bridge and of Lane Cove N.P.
Cars - light traffic through Lane Cove N.P. No cars along the pther parts.

5. Southern Highlands

5.1 Mittagong to Wollongong.

A pleasand ride with a great downhill run.

Ride from Mittagong to Bowral. Continue to Robertson and then ride down Macquarie Pass. This is a great downhill run. Continue to the Princess Highway. Ride a short distance south (right) along the Highway and turn off to the left towards Warilla (there is a bike track from Oak Flats to Warilla - but we missed it) - Near the bridge over the entrance of Lake Illawarra - you will pick up the bike track - follow this to Wollongong. It passes near the coast and then through the industrial area of Port Kembla - and is quite interesting.

Grade - Medium/Hard
Distance - 90 km
Bike needed - any bike
Shops for refreshments - yes - lots along all section of the ride.
Cars - medium traffic

5.2 Moss Vale to Berry via Meryla Pass and Kangaroo Valley.

This ride passes through pleasant rural country and then plunges down the steep Meryla Pass into Kangaroo Valley and then to the coast at Berry.

Bikes can be taken to the start point and from the end point by train. From Sydney, catch a train to Campbelltown. Diesel rail motor type trains go south to Bundanoon and the centre section has space for bike storage. On the way back, similar trains run from Bombaderry to Dapto. From Dapto - inter urban electric trains run to Sydney.

From Moss Vale, after checking out cake shops etc, ride south along the main road. Just before a railway underpass, turn left (at a Blue Motel sign), and then right shortly after near the top of a small hill. This good condition tar road runs to Bundanoon. About 2.6 km along turn off to the left along the road that goes to Fitzroy Falls and Nowra (and if you don't have a mountain bike - this could be a possible ride - via Kangaroo Valley to Nowra). At 5.2 km is the turn off on the right for the Meryla Road. Follow this through pleasant rural scenery. At 9km it changes into a corrigated dirt road and then descends to an interesting narrow bridge spanning a short canyon (Bundanoon Ck). Continue until you reach a lookout at 20.9km. A few hundred metres past this is the sudden turn off to Meryla Pass.

Above - View into kangaroo Valley from near Merlya Pass

Turn off, to the left down this and follow a steep descent - often muddy and rutted (but not technical). Half way down, you arrive at Gales Flat. There is pleasant camping here (but no water?). Watch out for stinging trees! Continue the descent. Pass a barrier (unlocked when we went down). A little further down you come to a Y intersection. Take the left hand branch to Yarrunga Ck. The last part of the descent continues steeply - but the road surface is better although loose - and is great fun to hurtle down. Cross a ford at Crankey Ck and then past the pleasant flats of Yarrunga Ck (nice campsites). Cross a fairly deep ford at Yarrunga Ck (28.7 km) and then climb a steep but rideable hill to join Jack's Corner Road. This is dirt - but a good surface to Bendella Pondage (40.7 km) and continue on tar to the Kangaroo Valley road. Turn right (towards Nowra), past a teahouse, and over a suspension bridge (45.3 km) to arrive at at the rustic serenity of Kangaroo Valley township. A pub makes a pleasant watering hole (a schooner goes down well accompanied by wedges and cream). About 3 km further on, turn to the left on road that goes to Berry. We turned off to the left again (after another 2 km) and went to Berry via Wottamola. This road climbs out of the Valley at a lower point - but has a short section of dirt - and still involves a considerable climb (steep - but quite rideable - 65.2 km at the top) and then a exhilarating descent to Berry. As soon as you get to the Princess Hwy - turn right towards the town and left along Prince Alfred St (just before the shops) to get to the railway. Just before the railway, turn right into Station St to get to the station (73 km).

When we did this ride - we left Moss Vale about 10am and arrived at Berry about 3:30 pm.

Grade - Medium/Hard
Distance - 73 km
Bike needed - Mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - yes - in Kangaroo Valley.
Cars - light traffic on the roads, virtually no traffic on the dirt sections.

6. The Shire

These rides are described on a separate page. (This section is currently under development)

7. Cambelltown Rides

7.1 Cambelltown to Waterfall via Dharawal SRA.

A ride through a large area of bush - mainly on firetrails.

Leave Cambelltown and head sosuth along the road that goes to Appin. After about 4-5 km from Cambelltown station - lookout for a turnoff to Wederburn. This occurs at the bottom of a hill where there are traffic lights. Turn to the left and follow this road. At one stage you will need to turn to the right (follow signs to Wedderburn) - and then you will soon go down a hill and cross the Georges River. The raod then ascends the other side and continues through farmlands. After another right hand turn, keep a lookout for Victoria Road - on the left. This is about 13 km from Cambelltown.

Follow Victoria Road to a barrier. Climb over the barrier and continue a short distance along a bitumen firetrail. Soon you will come to a dirt track that turns off on the right and heads back to a firetrail that goes down steeply to a small dam in Stokes Creek. This short linking track is not marked on the Appin 1:25,000 map. You will need to cross another barrier on the way. From the dam - follow the road up the other side and continue along firetrail 10B. This firetrail is not rough - but has a rather convex surface and a few sand traps - so is not fast cycling and requires care. After about 9 - 10 km from the dam - you will come to another barrier blocking your way.

At this barrier, turn to the left and go down an old coal mine access road for a while. Avoid the mine (on the left) and continue past another barrier along a fire road that decends into O'Hares Creek. At the bottom - cross the ford and continue up the other side. Near the top is yet another barrier. Cross it and continue for about another 4 km to reach the bitumen Darkes Forest Road. Follow this to the right back to the Princess Highway (5 - 6 km) and then follow the highway to Waterfall. Along the way - it is worthwhile (at an underpass) climbing up some steps to join the bikeway along the freeway. This is a faster route.

I did this ride on an afternoon - leaving Cambelltown about 1:30pm and reaching Waterfall at about 4:30pm. Light rain during the last part - meant that I did not stop for a break. On the way I observed quite a few kangaroos and wallabies and one snake. During this ride - my speedo failed - so distances are only estimates.

Grade - Medium
Distance - 50 - 60 km
Bike needed - Mountain bike
Shops for refreshments - no.
Map - Appin 1:25,000 CMA
Cars - Heavy traffic close to Cambelltown. Light traffic on the roads, virtually no traffic on the dirt sections.

7.2 Cambelltown to Burragorang Lookout to Picton and then to Cambelltown

This ride is only listed as a suggestion without details. I did this ride a few years back on a road bike. It is about 90km along, for the most part, quiet rural roads (but watch out for coal trucks). Burragorang Lookout offers fine views. The section from Picton back to Cambelltown includes a ride over the Razorback - a great downhill run! (after the uphill section) - on the old Hume Highway.


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