During Spring 2020, while I stayed in Sydney, my aunty and I did several bicycle tours in and around Greater Sydney.
Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
In end of September 2020 we cycled into Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. We started along Pittwater Road and then went on to West Head Road all the way to West Head. From here we had a look to Lion island and Barrenjoey Head. We tracked a bit back and then down to the The Basin campground, passing some Aboriginal rock carvings on the way. We took the small ferry over to Palm Beach and cycled along coastal roads back to Mona Vale. In particular the last few kilometres had quite some steep climbs.
In mid October 2020 we drove to Windsor and started from the railway station our loop around Windsor. We could have taken the railway halfway, but in the end decided for convenience reasons put a few more CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. We crossed the Hawkesbury River in Windsor. At the Ebenezer Church we had a coffee and some scones with jams. There’s a small wine area on the way to the Sackville ferry, and one of the wineries was open (on request) for some wine tasting. Heidelies enjoyed it, and thought that’s the best cycling ever (sure we only did 25% and it was already noon). After the ferry we headed up towards South Maroota, when I got a flat tyre. After 15min I changed it completely and we could continue towards Cattai. We did a short detour into Cattai National Park to visit an old farm house and have a look onto the Hawkesbury river. Back in Windsor we had a beer at the local pub, before driving to Riverstone and meeting with Dave, a friend of Bruce, for dinner and another beer. As I only had my sunglasses with me, I even couldn’t drive home, and Heidelies needed to drive back (You know it’s Un-Australian not to wear sunnies the whole day 😉).
Northern Beaches Loop
In end of October 2020 we cycled around the Northern Beaches. From Mona Vale along Narrabeen to Long Reef. The through Dee Why to Curl Curl and up to Seaforth to cross the Spit Bridge. Along middle harbour, we could catch a view to Long Gully Bridge we arrived in Chatswood for lunch. Where we went to a Vietnamese restaurant (at least it was called like this). When I asked for real Vietnamese coffee, they didn’t know what I was talking about. Back on the road we got onto the Roseville bridge and via some suburban streets through Frenchs Forest to Cromer. Then from the back to Narrabeen Lagoon, and along Pittwater Road back to Mona Vale.
North Head to Bradleys Head
In beginning of November 2020 we cycled from Manly to the Taronga Zoo. We drove with the bikes to Manly. You can’t take your bikes onto the bus in Syndey, unfortunately. This is reactionary, as in other cities like e.g. Canberra, Melbourne, you can put your bike onto the front rack. Thus, there’s actually no alternative than to drive (in particular, as Sydney also doesn’t have a subway, and only sparse railway system). You might think, politicians have learnt something due to recent strong weather events in Sydney? Well think again. Instead to get cars of the road, they propose even the Western Harbour Tunnel with the Beaches link. So all the with plebs in the Northern Beaches can drive even more. So they’re happy and don’t need to change their habits. And the politicians are happy, because they get re-elected. Who pays for it? Tax payers from Western Sydney supposedly. Who cares? Nobody.
The road tunnel will have more than twice the diameter than the subway tunnels, which are currently under construction. That means more than 4 times the cross sectional area and more than 4 times the volume to be excavated. Or to put it in other words. Instead of building a 15km western harbour tunnel, you could easily build a 60km subway for the same costs, connecting North Sydney with Manly to Dee Why, and having a cross connection from Chatswood to Dee Why and then all the way up to Mona Vale via Narrabeen. Cutting commuting times by at least 50%. The B-Line express bus from Mona Vale takes at least 1 hour in rush hour into the CBD. With a subway those 30 km should not take more than 25 min. Who cares? Nobody. There are NSW elections this year, and Dom needs to pour more concrete to get re-elected. You really ask why this contract was signed, now 3 months before state elections? That’s transpicuous pork-barreling.
We parked our car next to the old hospital in Manly. The rode up to North Head, wish was still officially closed due to the 2019/2020 bush fires. Then took the shortcut via the Big Brother studio down towards the Corso and then along the beach North. More or less along Manly Creek, we reached Manly Dam. From there we halfway drove, halfway pushed (yes, that’s why it’s called push bike) to Balgowlah North public school. From there it rolled via Seaforth down to the Spit. We kept on the Ocean Side and via Rosherville Reserve went to Balmoral Bay, before again climbing up to Balmoral. The we crossed over and enjoyed the view from Bradleys Head to the CBD before cycling back to Taronga Zoo. From her we took the bus back, while Heidelies went straight back and I went back to Manly to get the car. Then I drove during rush hour to the Zoo in order to pickup the bikes.
End of November 2020 we drove to Picton. Again there are a few trains per day, where you could take your bike with you. But it’s already a 25km drive to the railway station. Thus, in the end we decided for the convenient option and drove via the motorway to Picton. The additional e-tag didn’t work in my car, and as such I needed to call them up the next day. Once arrived in Picton we enjoyed a nice breakfast before starting the actual ride. From Picton we made a big loop westwards to Thirlmere. Next to the old railway station is the NSW railway museum with a big collection of locomotives in different shelters. It was closed due to Covid-19 anyway, but you would have needed a single day at least to have enough time to explore everything. Then we followed the old alignment of the Main South Line until Couridjah. This trunk is still in operation up to Buxton for museum steam railways. Just before the Remembrance Driveway we crossed the contemporary Main South Line and then headed on the Remembrance Driveway south to Wollandilly and then Bargo. In the Bargo hotel we made a break and enjoyed a cold beer. After lunch break we rode via county roads, and Tahmoor back to Thirlmere and then took the shortcut to Picton. Across the old wooden bridge on Prince Street we had a look at the big sandstone viaduct before finishing our ride in the local pub with another beer. On the way home we decided not to take the motorway, so we explored the road behind Camden and passed the huge construction site in Badgery Creek for the Western Sydney airport. Slightly lost in Western Sydney, we made our way through Blacktown and Epping back to Mona Vale. This wasn’t the quickest or shortest drive without tolls, so I think it took something like 3-4 hours, and we were really late back home.