As my friends Howie and Gaz were both arriving from the Hume Highway, I decided day 1 of our ride down the complete length of Canberra would start in the far north. I picked a football oval with lots of parking in Casey and we headed there. It was 8:30 in the morning and I drove out in Canberra’s peak hour. People used to joke that Canberra’s peak hour lasted 5 minutes but I can tell you it now probably lasts a good hour and the traffic jams are considerable. I noticed some other things as I was heading to our start point, there were a lot of cyclists around and Canberra isn’t so much one continuous city but a series of suburbs with lots of paddocks in between. It took me a while before I arrived in Casey from Dickson.
Our first target was a trail that I had spotted near the boundary of Casey and Moncrief. After 15 minutes riding, we were on it and it was nicely sloped toward our next target, Gungahlin. We flew along and soon came to Yarrebi Pond which we rode around. It was a good sized lake and there was a lot of water birds. We then headed for Belconnen and we all remarked on how many really good trails there were heading in all directions. We spoke to soon, Gundaroo Drive was blocked for an upgrade, we became lost and headed down the Barton Highway on the verge. I haven’t shown this on my map of the ride as I am not a fan of cars passing at 90km per hour.
We then diverted to route number two and rode into town via Lyneham and O’Connor and the Australian University. The bike trails in Canberra are very uniform and they were busy than most of the trails I have ridden in Sydney. I guess that’s because riding a bike in Canberra is fun and the interaction with cars is minimal.
When we came to the University, we got a little lost because of more road works but got thru OK and ended up on Lake Burley Griffin, the one place you must ride when you come to Canberra. We had lunch at the National Museum of Australia (go round to the lakeside so you can see your bikes from the café). It was lunch with a couple of other friends and then we headed back, this time a little more uphill. I enjoyed riding around the Grace Grasslands which we missed on the way down. There was hundreds of kangaroos in the paddocks.
All up we did over 50km and the eBike (which I shared), the cruiser and the road bike all handled the great bike surfaces well. If you wanted to do this trip one way, some buses in Canberra have bike racks but I didn’t investigate that option.
On the evening of the first night, we met up with friends at the Dickson shopping area for food. There is quite a lot of choice there for food and I have added a trail in my map to the shops because they can be very hard to find.
On day 2 we were down to Howie and me and we headed to the very south of Canberra at Tuggeranong where we parked. We did this as we had to move the cars and it was easier for both of us to get out of the city at peak hour from there. We started at a small lake which is near to the Bicentenial Trail, an epic ride around Canberra. I have been told this is a good part of that trail. Alas we were not to have time for a trail run.
We started at Stranger Pond and soon we are the much larger Lake Tuggeranong. Straight away we were on perfect paths and that continued all the way to Lake Burley Griffin. We liked the riding to the south, you barely had to look at the map and most of the road crossings were tunnels so we motored in through the towns of Mawson, Phillip and Curtin, all famous Aussies. When we got to the lake, its dead flat so we rode up to Parliament House and over the bridge and back down the western side of Lake Burley Griffin. This was great but then the leg home involved a long slow uphill and my arrangement was to give up the eBike for that hill. That was a plan that I should have backed out of. All up we did 65km and we both thought the southern end was better than the northern end but clearly Lake Burley is the best bit.
Photos of the southern section of the trail follow starting and finishing at Tuggeranong Lake