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 convuluted Olympic Park to Cooks River Cycleway. Other options include the dull M4 Cycleway and the back roads to Parramatta Lake.
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. Overseas and Interstate Travellers: See Garry’s Olympic Park post
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 >>
Gladesville. A hilly trail with 40% road, not for teens. Gladesville Bridge requires careful attention to the map. Practise on Sunday. This is a quicker way to get to Rhodes but not as quick as a train.
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