four canals and a greenway

I went for a midday ride today, trying to follow the above-titled ride from the BNSW’s “Cycling around Sydney”. Looking at the directions and map in the book, I was not at all confident of getting around the route without getting lost. It happened, and I blame the silly litle maps they put in the book. Also, if all roads were adequately signposted, you could probably do without them. Once you have ridden the various routes in the book at least once, you can then chuck the book and not have to be confused by it.

Still, I managed to get back on track and I had a 2 hr nice ride. It’s only 37km, but a nice relaxing dawdle. The route deviates from the RTA-marked cycle routes – mainly, as far as I can tell, to make for a flatter ride. From Stanmore station you ride over to Phillip St as it crosses Parramatta Road. Then you zig-zag left and towards the harbour. Whites Creek wetland is a hidden jewel to the east of Leichhardt and it’s very pleasant riding. Eventually, however, you have to hit Railway Parade and cross under the light rail line and onto The Crescent.

Once on to Bicentennial Park, you head back up Johnstons Creek and then cross Wigram Rd. There’s a little dirt section on the east side of the canal and you ride out onto the end of Hereford Street. Continuing along the path up the creek, there is re-vegetation work in progress and it’s another hidden suprise that is cool and calm – almost a taste of what the land looked like without the city. It ends at Foss St where you have to cross Pyrmont Bridge Road to Junction St ride up to the University.

Once through the university it’s a matter of finding the best way through Newtown. The book reccomends walking up the one-way (wrong-way) Queen St but I preferred to ride up to the corner or City Rd and down King St and onto Georgina St. Then it’s down Wilson St and onto Burren St before arriving at Erskinville station. I think that this whole sub-ride would be a good replacement for the current direct route I ride to work. It’s about 4 times as long and will be better exercise.

The next section could be substituted for for the ride home. It’s also the section with which I had the most trouble, as I was generally familiar with the previous roads. After the station, it was a cruise through Erskineville via Bridge St, Ashmore Rd, Harley St and Maddox St. Then I hit Bourke Rd, which will probably be quite busy in the evening.

Crossing Gardeners Rd, the route turned right to Coward St where the road ended at the bike path along Alexandria Canal. On one side the canal is nice and relaxing. On the other are factories and then the airport, parallel to the freeway. Halfway down there’s a right-hand on a bridge over the canal, before it hits the Cooks River. The route then goes through Tempe Reserve to Holbeach St where you cross over to Kendrick Park and then to the Cooks River cycle path.

You leave the cycle path at Wardell Rd and ride up into Dulwich Hill, dog-legging left and up to Hercules St., crossing over New Canterbury Rd. Rather than ride right up Constitution Rd to Windsor Rd, the route zig-zags to Pigott St and through a park. We cross over Canterbury Rd via Windsor Rd and all the way up to the t-junction at Smith St, where you turn right, under the railway bridge and immediately right through the park and down a steep hill to the path along Hawthorne canal. It finishes at Parramatta Road where you have to find some lights to cross and then come back to the canal at the other side, where another path starts. Then you can ride all thr way up to the harbour and Iron Cove.

The ride continues over to the light rail at Lilyfield, but I think I would ride along the harbour and over to Rozelle and down the back way behind Leichhardt. Then it’s up Crystal Street and home. Again, that’s about 4 times as long as the way I ride home. The only issue is that it’ll be getting dark now that daylight savings has ended. I might need to look at putting lights on the bike again if I take the longer way home.

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