A while ago I wrote about how scary I found cycling in Sydney, Australia. Some of the locals have now let me know that there are actually some great places to ride a bike in Sydney. And reader Garry Robinson kindly went so far as to contribute this post about exploring Sydney Olympic Park on a bike. Garry wants people to know that Sydney offers some great bike rides! Read more by Garry about bike trails in Australia at Bike Trail Info.
Over to Garry Robinson!
If you are a traveler and you are making the big trip to Australia, you more than likely are going to spend four or five days in Sydney. And because you like to pedal a bit, you are going to want to include a ride in your itinerary. Here is a plan that you can use.
First of all, make sure that you visit the Opera House, walk across the Harbour Bridge, and do the walk from Bondi to Coogee. Once those are ticked off, it’s time for a ferry ride. For this story, we are going to catch the fastest Sydney ferry, the RiverCat, way up the Paramatta River to Sydney Olympic Park. There await 35 kilometers (22 miles) of good bike tracks that you can ride without worrying about cars. If you don’t have a bike, you should plan this for the weekend, when it’s easier to rent a bike hire.
Before I describe the ride, here is your big warning about cycling in Australia. We drive on the left-hand side of the road! If you come from a country like the USA where you drive on the right-hand side of the road with the steering wheel on the left of the car, you need to be very careful riding on our streets. This is one reason I like Olympic Park, where there are no cars on the bike trails and only a couple of road crossings.
The journey in the RiverCat is fast and very picturesque and it takes you halfway across Sydney. Get off at the Sydney Olympic Park stop. Assuming you don’t have a bike, take a two-kilometre scenic river walk to rent your bike at the Newington Armory. (It is possible to put a bike on the RiverCat, but unlike other Sydney ferries there is only room for a few bikes.) On my Olympic Park web page, I explain the trains to Olympic Park. If you are hiring a bike Monday to Friday, West Concord or Sydney Olympic Park railway stations are both the same distance from the Bicentennial Park Bike Hire shop. Newington Bike Hire is only open on the weekend and it is affiliated with Bicentennial Park Hire.
Once you have your bike, the cycle trails are relatively easy and very flat and there are a lot of them. On your bike, you get to explore lots of neat scenery and lakes, and the infrastructure that was built for our great Olympics in 2000. While riding you need to avoid the residential streets near the ferry stop, but that is not hard. To achieve that, you need to ride a few kilometers inland to the giant Olympic stadium. Once you arrive at the stadium, you must find “the brick pit.” This is a jaw dropping place to visit, as you will see in my pictures.
Another must do is to ride up at least one of the spiral man made mountains.
This next photo shows an aerial view of a spiral man made mountain.
You will get great views from the top of the spiral man made mountains.
If you need more miles, head to the east side where you will pass through some typical Australian mangroves and some nice parks and get to Bicentennial Bike Hire. Otherwise, return your bike and head home on the river cat.
There are a couple of other themes you can apply to your trip. If you have smaller kids you can rent bikes for them and entertain them at the great play park near the Newington Armory. Same goes for the play park near Bicentennial Bike Hire. If you have older kids there is the free BMX track in the middle of Olympic Park, which is really cool. It is not great for a conventional bike or bike hire bikes, but I am an old rubbish rider and have completed it on a 29-inch wheel cruiser a number of times.
The final twist is the one-way option. On the weekend, you can pick up your hire bike at one hire place and drop it off at the other.
You can return to the city on the RiverCat, ending a huge adventurous day, or go to the train and return through the suburbs, usually on an express journey that will take less than an hour. If you have brought your own bike, Rhodes is the best station to get on a train and is just north-east of Olympic Park.
There are many great places to ride in Sydney, and this is one of them!
Note: If you are planning to go bike riding in Sydney Olympic Park, you can find cycling maps here.
Thanks to our Guest Poster, Garry Robinson
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