Between Manly and Palm Beach there are 18 stretches of white sand, as well as countless headlands, parks, reserves, bays and rivers. This makes Sydney’s Northern Beaches a mecca for cyclists. The southern end of the Beaches has well-marked cycling routes that are safe and scenic for senior riders. This report is for the Manly to Curl Curl Beach ride, about 40 kms and three hours as recorded on the Strava route below (see the next report for the Dee Why to Mona Vale route).
Where better to start than Manly Wharf, especially as many riders bring their bikes over by ferry. From the Wharf, head south towards the Little Manly Point and watch the iconic vessels majestically glide past.
It’s a short but steep climb past Manly Hospital to the roundabout. Turn downhill to the Quarantine Station where you can easily spend an hour for some fascinating early Australian history.: it’s a place with more ghosts per square inch than you can imagine. This is a huge estate and public cars are blocked, so its a safe although hilly area to explore.
When you leave the Q estate, turn east towards the Manly North Head for some of the most spectacular views in Australia.
Take your time coming down to Manly Beach by using the trails behind the former Military Museum and what locals still call “St. Patricks”.
Use the back streets to weave your way down to Shelley Beach and cruise along The Corso to find cafes galore. Cross to Manly Beach and cruise the cycle path to Queenscliff, then head through the Lagoon path to the well-marked shared cycle path along Pittwater Road.
When you reach Warringah Mall turn east for a few kms until you reach south Curl Curl Beach.
Head south along the beach path, past the Curl Curl Surf Club and head to Freshwater Headland. The views are spectacular.
Ride past Freshwater Beach and the village to re-join Pittwater Road that will take you back to Manly Wharf. This has got to be a magic way to spend half a day on two wheels.
Along this route, you would have ridden past three excellent bike shops that are known for their friendly service. In case you need running repairs or are looking for a new bike, you can stop off at Sticky Bottle, Bike Addiction, and the Brookvale Bike Factory.