The Parramatta area is crisscrossed by great trails starting with the Parramatta Park to Meadowbank path. From this path you have two bridge options to Olympic Park and Rhodes. Further towards the city is the Putney ferry trail and the convoluted Olympic Park to Cooks River Cycleway. Other options include the dull M4 Cycleway and the back roads to Parramatta Lake. See info, videos and maps on the north west of Sydney
But why tell you this, the best and easiest cycling is 30+ kms at Olympic Park.
Parramatta River Cycleway
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. Along the way you will travel through the marshlands on some high quality bridges and bike infrastructure. If you want a shorter ride, cross at the Silverwater bridge which you should use on the way back to ride through Olympic Park. There are great cafes in Parramatta. If you are really keen you can ride around Parramatta Park as well.
Notes: There are two bike hire centres at Olympic park. Rhodes station has lifts.
There are a couple of road sections on this trail near Melrose Park but they are not long. The warehouse road section detour was replaced with trail up Subiaco creek in June 2017 so will no longer be an issue. Do not bother trying to ride on the south side of the river between Silverwater bridge and Parramatta but the M4 Cycleway is actually OK
Extend Up to Parramatta Lake and Parramatta Park
Lots of cyclists with the narrower wheels head from the Parramatta River to Parramatta Park. Here they can ride around and around at 3.2km a lap. All good fun.
If you want to explore Parramatta further, head through Cumberland Hospital and up to Parramatta Lake. This is a good explore and the roads to get their are mainly back roads. See the trail link above photos below.
or a video of a Parramatta Heritage ride you can do is here
On the way back, head across Silverwater bridge and ride through Olympic Park
Heading across Silverwater Bridge to Olympic Side
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.
You can put your bike on the ferry and arrive at Woo-la-ra Quay. That would be cool but watch for busy times as you could be refused and no chance on Sunday.
Notes: There are two bike hire centres at Olympic park. There is the occasional road crossing so watch for that. Kids riding mecca apart from that.
The trail that I have posted takes you from near the Bike Hire center to the Ferry Terminal. Watch out for the fantastic brick pit and the tracks that take you up to the observation lookouts via a cork screw.
Note: Sydney Olympic Park at homebush has a really fun BMX track. In this picture bmx track to ourselves at 8am on Sunday. I loved though it would have take a Bradbury to win anything. There is also another BMX track at Barden Ridge
This is a spectacular slightly hilly trail that has a little free ferry adventure thrown in. Its the trip from Cabarita Park across to Putney and then along the river to the Rhodes railway bridge and back. The length that you will ride will depend entirely on the times that the Mortlake ferry is running. So start by looking up the times
In general it starts early during weekdays but ends before 10am and cranks up again in the afternoon. On the weekend it starts at 10:30 am and runs till 6. Don’t get stranded, read the timetable and ask the captain when onboard so you don’t get stranded.
So you can start this ride at Rhodes station or you can drive your bike to Cabarita Park near Mortlake. Now ride along the spectacular foreshore to the Mortlake Ferry where you will be able to go past all the cars and make your way to the bike parking lot. You will be “last on” so park your bike and sit and wait. There are plenty of spots for bikes. When you get off on the Putney side, you will be last off and the cars will have disapeared. At this stage note the time becuase you need to compute when to turn around to catch the ferry back.
You now have 15 mins of no traffic to get yourself up the steep hill to Putney park. Follow the unbusy road up to Dyson street. Turn left and maybe walk down the steep hill down to start of the trail. You can now cycle towards Parramatta and turn around at the appropriate time. On the way, you will pass the Kissing Point ferry wharf.
If you catch the train to Rhodes, you get to ride the railway bridge across the river.
Notes: It is possible to do a loop through Concord Hospital but its impossible to work out where to go so all I can say is just head east and work it out. The track google shows on bike trails is muddy and I couldn’t find the start. You may need to do this loop if you miss the ferry.
You can also head east from Cabarita Park to Canada Bay but there are a lot of houses and even a section where the aged residents ask you not to ride. At this stage, you will need to walk your bike 400m. I would only do Canada Bay once, heading to Parramatta and Olympic Park is way better riding.
For smaller kids, stick to the Mortlake side which is 2km long. Its another 4km up to the Rhodes railway bridge from Putney.
See the combined map of Parramatta River Bike Trails Here >>
Using the M4 Cycleway to Return to Parramatta
Rather than returning up the Parramatta River, you can head up the very urban track that follows the M4 cycleway. In places this is quite an interesting track, otherwise its just a wide path that you are allowed to cycle on. Anyway its good to know and many use it to commute from Merrylands or get to the Guildford to Canley Vale trail.
External Links: Blaxland Riverside Park for Kids Playground Blaxland Pictures Park near silverwater bridge
Transport info and trails on the official Sydney Olympic Park page Different Cycling trail options
Rhodes to Cooks River
The track between Rhodes Station and the Start of Cooks River took me two attempts. Its pretty well sign posted except two signs were in the wrong direction. This trail is only to get you between Olympic Park and Cooks River, its a “rubbish track”. The alternative is train between Rhodes and Strathfield and ride to the Cooks River Trail from there or catch a train from Olympic Park to Lidcombe and ride through Rookwood. Personally for an enjoyable riding experience, I would catch the train.
There are a few road sections and road crossings so proceed with caution. The bonus is once you get to the Cooks River its all downhill to the Airport.
Follow the map carefully crossing Powell Creek, finding Airley park on The Cresent and once you leave Melville Park, follow the signs. The path crosses the M4 on a bridge and Great Western Highway. Once you get to the end of the golf course, you go out on the main road for 30 metres and then enter Barker St.
If you get lost, look on your phone for 34 Melville Ave Strathfield or say hello to a cyclist heading in that direction as they are probably going the same way.
Its 8 km in distance and took me 30 minutes.
Here are photos of a different way to the Cooks River Cycleway (look for Homebush on the map)
Start of the Cooks River trail
and here are photos from Parramatta Park to the M4 on the best of the worst options
And here is Wigram (shared path at the southern end) and Albion on the eastern side
This is a ride for the people who like roads because the roads are almost car free. The surface is at times bumpy bitumen but there are very few pot holes. It is bumpiest nearer Windsor heading north on Cornwalls Rd. Once it heads west it gets better. You are doing this for the country atmosphere and this you will get in spades and becuase you will not see many cars (I saw 5 over 15 km).
The path between Richmond and Windsor
The path between Richmond and Windsor is a really good separated path that winds rather than goes in a straight line. Then it stops 3km from Windsor and you have to ride on a reasonable verge on the edge of a busy road. So disappointing, you may even like to just ride the roads around the river and not do a loop.
Distance 30km and pretty flat and lots do it on road bikes.
Windsor to Schofields Rd is a very good separated path on the edge of a busy 4 lane road. I really liked the first 4 km of this trail and you could certainly call it a day at this stage and turn back. From then on it starts to feel like you are on the edge of a busy road even though you are on a separated pathway, you just end up grinding out the kms.
The Ponds and Quakers Hill
The section through The Ponds is really good for an urban area and the final little run back to the station was a bit confusing until I worked out I could cross the busy road near the high school.
Distance: 45.9 km for Windsor loop back to Quakers Hill
What I Missed Out On
Both the townships of Windsor and Richmond are probably worth an explore. I had no time. You could just do the Richmond Windsor loop and explore the towns and be satisified with just under 30km of riding. Another way to do the big loop is to keep going down Windsor Rd which turns into Old Windsor Rd and then ride back along the M7 Cycleway to the Quakers hill turnoff. Probably 48km.
North and west of the M7 cycleway are a large number of shared paths.
Check out the videos and the trails from this area and down to Olympic Park.
Around the new metro stations of Hills Showground, Norwest, Bella Vista and Rouse Hill are some good cycling trails.
The first follows the new cyclepath that follows the train line from Bella Vista to Schofields Station on the Richmond line. This trail can be combined with the paths through Crestwood, the M7 Cycleway and even the long run down from Windsor.
Another video heads down the Smalls Creek path and returns up the Windsor Rd path. After that the video goes through Tory Burn Reserve and all the way to Westmead. The rider featured in this video is Darryn Capes-Davis who is a very prominent Bicycle North member.
Here is the map of the two rides and you can find them here on the Sydney Cycle trails Google Maps >>
Green is the Bella Vista to Schofields video path and Red is the route of the Smalls Creek and Windsor Rd Video
South Of Bella Vista
There are some nice shared paths south of Bella Vista. Here is a sample