Top 10 Sydney Cycling Routes

Sydney, Australia stands out as a prime spot for road biking. Often, the weather is just right for an early morning ride, not overly hot or too cold, and the roads are dry. However, when I got more into cycling, it became apparent that not all roads are fit for biking. Some roads are extremely dangerous because of the speed of the cars, while others have too many traffic lights or are in terrible condition.

If you don’t know the roads in Sydney it can be a nightmare to navigate.

Here are my top 10 Sydney cycling routes that I ride the most. These routes are often with a group and not solo.


Route 1. Short Carlo – 35km

This route is the first route I was thrown into when I took up cycling with the Grace Point Cycling Church Group from Lidcombe. These guys are a great bunch of guys and really take care of you when you are a newbie (as I was back in the day).

Key points:

  • Anti-clockwise
  • Start either Newington 5:10am or Concord at 5:30am
  • Ride together in a group over Gladesville bridge
  • Ride up to Chatswood and cut back west through Fullers Road
  • There are many hills on this route and Epping Road can become busy
  • Fun factor is great for those who love riding uphills and drafting down.

If you are trying for hills then this is a good length and has a number of ups and downs going over Gladesville bridge then speeding down then back up to Chatswood. Back down through the Lane Cove National Park. Up and down through Epping Road. Eventually ending up at Marsden Rd, Carlingford and speeding back down through Silverwater Road to Olympic Park.

I have only ridden this route in a group early Sunday mornings and anti-clockwise. I would not recommend riding this at any other time or clockwise.


Route 2. Long Carlo – 50km

This route is the second route I was thrown into when I took up cycling with the Grace Point Cycling Church Group from Lidcombe. It is less arduous than the Carlo Short, but is approximately 10km longer. It may seem harder because of the extra length, however because there are less hills it is in fact a lot easier.

Key points:

  • Anti-clockwise
  • Start either Newington 5:10am or Concord at 5:30am
  • Ride together in a group over Gladesville bridge
  • Ride up to Chatswood and continue along Pacific Hwy.
  • Riding along Pacific Hwy, you will gradually ascending to the peak at West Pennant Hills.
  • Huge fun factor riding down from the peak at West Pennant Hills back down to Olympic Park.
  • Must hold on tight at the downhills, super fast but Sydney roads are infamous for their potholes.

I have only ridden this route in a group early Sunday mornings and anti-clockwise. I would not recommend riding this at any other time or clockwise.


Route 3. Bobbin Head to Pie in the Sky – 50km

The Bobbin Head to Pie in the Sky and back is one of the most popular cycling routes in Sydney. Hundreds of riders ride down and climb back up Bobbin Head each weekend. Bobbin Head is a national park, with a wonderful water view at the bottom with two entrances, one from the south east, and the other north west. The ascent for strong riders may only take 15 mins, for myself a weak rider, a good 30 mins.

I like to begin the ride from the south east entrance, descend into the valley, then ride back up to the north west. From the north west exit ride out to the Pacific Hwy and head north. It’s a long smooth ride as you can see from the elevation graph.

Have a break at the Pie in the Sky, the cafe in the middle of no where and famous for their blueberry, beef and chicken pies.

Key points:

  • Start south and head north.
  • Can be ridden most times of the day, and is safe.
  • The Pacific Hwy ride is good for beginners.
  • Check Pie in the Sky opening times if you intend on having a break.
  • Beginners can skip Bobbin Head if too challenging.

Route 4. West Head Akuna Bay – 50km

If you don’t live in the northern suburbs, you will need to drive a car to get there. Or if you super hard core, you can ride there. The roads are relatively safe throughout the day.

I was introduced to this cycling route on my fifth ride and I nearly died. Severe cramping descended upon me like the wrath of a spouse discovering the beloved road bike has been “upgraded” again. Needless to say, this route is very challenging, and you need strength in your legs for the steep climbs.

Don’t attempt it unless you have had a few hill climbs under your belt. AND make sure you can last the distance, as there are hardly any stops.

The beauty and nature on this route is second to none. The look out from West Head is stunning and riding down into Akuna bay then climbing back up again is a sight to behold.

Key points:

  • Can be ridden most times of the day, and is safe.
  • Clockwise or anti is both doable for the Akuna Bay section
  • Lots of climbing, so have strength in your legs.
  • Very little shade, you are exposed to the elements.

Route 5. North Western Sydney to Richmond and back 60km

Not one of my most memorable rides. I sucked wheel too closely on the return trip, clipped the front riders’ back wheel and flipped over onto my side, then skidded along the bitumen shredding my bib and jersey, ending up being taken to Richmond Hospital Emergency ward.

But overall, a really nice and simple ride. It’s quite safe at most times of the day. There are cars passing by but with plenty of space to go around. Are exposed to the elements as there aren’t many trees, buildings or other coverage. Windsor and Richmond are nice little towns.

Key points:

  • Can be ridden most times of the day, and is safe.
  • Most people prefer to start south then head north west and ride back.
  • Flat and straight, so good for drafting.

Route 6. Sydney Olympic Park – 6km

Sydney Olympic Park is busy for road bicycle pro’s and amateurs. The roads are relatively quiet, wide and allows for a circuit of approximately 6km for one loop. I tend to ride anti clockwise, but some riders prefer clockwise. Relatively flat and even with the occasional turn.

Key points:

  • Excellent for doing laps.
  • Can be ridden most times of the day, and is safe.
  • Can ride either clockwise or anti.
  • Good for practicing drafting.
  • Not much to see, but stadiums and surrounding parks.

Route 7. Inner Western Sydney to Watson’s Bay and back

This route was introduced to me on Australia Day. It was a brilliant casual ride with a big group on the quiet roads during the long weekend. The wrap around Watson Bay has great views, however the ascent is a struggle when coming back up via Vaucluse. Not great for the rider, who can climb well, but for the average Joe and Jane, this ride is great.

Key points:

  • Don’t ride this route on a busy weekday.
  • Ride early mornings on a weekend.
  • I prefer riding anti-clockwise around the Watson Bay head.
  • There are a few traffic lights to stop and wait at when going through the Sydney City.
  • Beautiful water views, mansions and high end cars.

Route 8. Sydney to Wollongong – 90km

The Sydney to Wollongong ride is a popular cycling event and also a route that can be followed by the keen rider. Travelling from Sydney head via the Mascot, Brighton Le Sands way, over to the shire, then venture into the Royal National Park.

Come out at the southern side of the national park, then make your way through Stanwell Tops, the Grand Cliff Drive and the out suburbs of Wollongong.

This is a long ride and is suited for those with the stamina. There are hills to climb as well, and will take a good few hours for the average person to complete. Catching a train back to Sydney is very easy from Wollongong station.

Key points:

  • Ride this route as part of the Sydney to Wollongong event.
  • If you are riding alone, ride on the weekends early morning.
  • Avoid weekday, especially peak hour traffic, very dangerous.
  • The Royal National Park is beautiful but steep ascent to exit south.
  • Catching a train back from Wollongong to Sydney is quite easy.

Route 9. Inner West to La Perouse

I’ve only ridden this route a couple of times, but I quite enjoyed to. Running down from north to south east is the Cooks River cycle path, which eventually ends up at Wolli Creek and Mascot. If you continue along east from Mascot you begin to ride on the main roads, which can be very dangerous. Taking the side streets in Mascot through to the Port Botany is highly recommended even though there are small stop and starts through small streets.

Once you get to the Port Botany area and ride the end stretch to La Perouse, it’s a safe ride but very much open to the elements. Stop at La Perouse to take in the beauty of the sea, beach, cliffs. La Perouse is famous fo rock fishing, a small light house, scuba diving and a nature reserve.

Key Points:

  • Don’t ride during peak hour. The roads will be busy!
  • Be prepared to be cooked if a hot day, no coverage.
  • The ride is a bit stop start. Ride in a group if possible.

Route 10. Three Gorges – 90km

This is one of the most difficult cycling routes in Sydney. Located in the regional north Sydney, this is an extension of the Bobbin Head ride (BH being the first gorge) if you ride anti clockwise.

Starting at Lane Cove or at Bobbin Head road, ride down into Bobbin Head, and reach the water. After a short cross over the bridge to cross the water, ascend back up out of Bobbin Head to come out at Pacific Highway.

Enter gorge number 2, the Berowra Waters. Steeper and narrower than Bobbin Head, with a hair pin turn at the bottom, ride with care on this descent.

Galston Gorge, the last of the 3, is a clean smooth dash to the bottom, with a 3km ride to get back up.

If you enjoy climbing hills in enjoyable natural surroundings, then this is the cycle for you! Be careful to avoiding bonking, as your muscles will get a huge workout.

Summary

Sydney has many excellent cycling routes. There are a lot of others that I haven’t included as I’ve never ridden them.

They would include:

  • Centennial Park loop
  • North Suburbs Mosman to Manly ride
  • Bowan Mountain crazy climb
  • Kurrajong loop.

There are so many, to list out. Key points are for any routes that require riding on the main roads avoid peak hour. Now the flow of traffic and the dangers of riding on main roads. Try and ride in a group if possible, avoid solo rides for the long rides.