Do you ever notice or count the bridges that you drive over? Have you ever wondered if its possible to loop Sydney Harbour by bike while avoiding roads . This post will let you answer these questions.
My arbitrary starting point was near the Ensemble Theatre, Kirribili, not far from the northern end of the Harbour Bridge. I passed Admiralty House and weaved through quiet streets finding different perspectives on familiar landmarks.
It was a quiet Sunday morning and easy to make my way down to McMahons Point for a compulsory photo of the iconic ‘clothes hanger’ that sits across Sydney Harbour.
This is a very hilly part of Sydney so be prepared to use low gears and high electro-assist to get around. I navigated simply by keeping the harbour on my left and went up several dead-ends trying to stay close to water. Its’ all part of the fun of exploring on an eBike.
The journey from Berry Island to the Figtree Bridge in Lane Cove requires riding on suburban footpaths alongside busy roads. For this reason I would not come this way again. But once you get to the bridges, its great sightseeing. Look over the Figtree Bridge for the historic home of Australian pioneer, Mary Reiby’s Cottage.
You have probably driven over the Tarban Bridge many times without noticing either its classic architecture or sweeping views.
It’s a challenge getting a full perspective on the magnificent structure of the Gladesville Bridge, so head down under it via the side path.
The boxy cages of the Iron Cove Bridge are so old-world. I’ts worth taking some time at the Birkenhead Point retail centre, even if only for a coffee. If you have the time and energy, you can do a quick lap around the 6 km Bay Run on the other side of the Iron Cove Bridge.
You can either follow a designated bike lane through some back-streets of Balmain or take a slow cruise through the shopping zone along Victoria Road until you reach the next bridge. It is one of the most aesthetically impressive bridges anywhere: the Anzac Bridge. The amazing mural on the wall of the old storage silos must be the biggest public art display in the country.
Once you are over the Anzac Bridge you are on the home run. Pyrmont is an interesting area with fabulous views wherever you look; its also only a few hundred metres from Sydney Electric Bikes in case you need a service or want to drool over its ebike range.
Head past the National Maritime Museum and go over the always colourful Pyrmont Bridge for some great views of Darling Harbour.
Once you are off the Pyrmont Bridge you can look back for some interesting angles on Darling Harbour over the top of the Sea Life Aquarium. Proceed north through The Rocks for a quick look at the Opera House, then head up via The Observatory to the caged cycleway that takes you across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. When you can see Luna Park and the North Sydney Swimming Pool you know the tour is about to end.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this 36 km ride and avoided being on roads the entire tour, I would not recommend it to other road-averse cyclists. The City to Gladesville southern half is wonderful: it’s safe, scenic, and full of interest. The Waverton/Lane Cove northern half is noisy and the good views are blocked by buildings. Instead of looping the harbour, I recommend riding half of it and then back-track. Everything looks different going back and it’s all good.
Categories: eBike Tours, Uncategorized
I often use my e-bike for the delivery of advertising material ( mine and others ) and naturally this requires riding on footpaths. In the beginning of this part time endeavour I rang my local police and asked if I could ride on the footpath for this purpose. The duty officer’s response was, ” Legally we could book you. Do you wear a helmet? (yes) “Just be careful of little old ladies”. Yes sir, was my response. Years later my enquiring amateur legal mind got the better of me and I got to thinking about Australia Post and their delivery of mail via bicycle and motor bike on footpaths. I cannot find any special legislation making an allowance for this footpath bicycle/motor bike mode of transport delivery. Today I really believe it comes down to the sensibility of the rider, and as noted previously by Christopher, maturity does come with a bag of sensibility and a warning by a police officer would be far better than them having to pick up the pieces of a dead or injured cyclist on the road with the accompanying report.
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As you know, it is illegal for anyone over 16 to ride on a footpath. However, this is a reserve legal power that enables police to control dangerous riding. I ride on footpaths every day, and often pass police and wave to them. They never have, nor would they, stop me or fine me providing I was riding with appropriate regard to pedestrians. I ran a survey on this blogsite last year to guage support for changing the law so that seniors (over 60s) could ride on footpaths. Predictably, 90% supported a change. I tried to enlist the support of relevant advocacy bodies but they were not keen. I hope the issue may re-surface as the current law deters many sensible seniors from riding where it is safe. cheers Bill
Hello, I am wondering about your occasional references to riding on footpaths. My understanding was that footpaths, unless specifically marked as cycling zones, are off-limits to cyclists over the age of 12 … sadly, I’m about 50 past that age already. The reason I’m asking is that I want to explore but have a deep-seated fear of cycling on any road other than “quiet residential back-streets”.
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Great question Christopher. The age limit in NSW has been recently raised to 16 for obvious reasons. I personally ride on footpaths everywhere, guided by commonsense and absolute priority for pedestrians. Like you, I have a long-term deep-seated fear of roads and simply refuse to unless the road has a well marked and wide bike lane. Even then, its a last resort as I derive no pleasure from sharing my living space with two tonne of metal on four wheels passing me at speed. I ride on footpaths everywhere and have ridden in front of policemen on paths many times and never once attempted to disguise what I’m doing. While there are laws to stop and fine riders on paths, if the rider is acting safely and with courtesy to pedestrians, no policeman would expect a senior citizen to go onto the road. I have approached several policy agencies to elicit support for a law change to allow seniors to ride on footpaths, but the politics is not right at this time. All agencies are favouring lobby efforts to allow ALL RIDERS to use paths, like elsewhere in Australia. This is not likely to happen as the community would not favour sharing paths with the wider adult biking demographic. However, I’m sure mothers with prams or the elderly on walkers would not be fussed sharing paths with senior riders who as a demographic are not in a hurry and understand safety concerns. So I’ll keep riding on footpaths into the sunset.
Thank you so much for the detailed and reassuring response. I like very much your faith in the concept of “common sense prevailing”. If everyone else on the roads adopted the same approach we’d all be better off. Kind regards.
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