OK, the reality has hit, we ain’t going anywhere. If you live in Sydney, its time to check the joint out.
Lets start with a bicycle and a ferry ride. For this story, we are going to catch the fastest Sydney ferry called the RiverCat way up the Parramatta river to Sydney Olympic park. There awaits 30+ kilometres of good bike tracks that you can ride without worrying about cars. If you do this early you will get a spot on the River Cat. The journey in the RiverCat is fast and very picturesque and it takes you halfway across Sydney.
Hiring a bike: If you don’t have a bike, you have 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. 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.
Now you have your bike, the cycle trails are relatively easy and very flat and there are a lot of them. On the bike, you get to explore lots of neat scenery and lakes and the infrastructure that was built for our great Olympics in 2000. Whilst 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 kilometres 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. You will get a great view from the top.
Now 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 that is really cool. 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 hiring twist 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 but a full Cat could end that idea. Otherwise 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 and Concord Wests are the best stations to get on a train. Olympic Park station near the stadium requires a change at Lidcombe but is pretty decent.
There are many places to ride in Sydney, this is one of them.
Garry Robinson – Editor of BikeTrail.Blog
Challenge: Catch the ferry all the way to Parramatta and ride back to Olympic Park
There is a great track through the centre of Olympic Park that is a little hard to find. Just look for Haslams Creek and you will find it or use this link