Thanks to the warming weather of spring time in Sydney brings a wave of outdoor actives. None more popular than Cycling!
The best part is that you can bring along the entire family without it costing an arm and a leg.
All you need for a day out on Sydney's cycle paths are your wheels, a helmet, water and perhaps a snack.
Once you know where to begin, you'll be amazed at how many enjoyable rides there are to explore. We have looked in to the 10 best trips for enthusiastic cyclists of all ages.
The majority are along dedicated bike paths, free of traffic, and pass through parks, along beaches and rivers, and via breathtaking lookouts.
These rides all start an easy distance from train stations, and there's no extra charge to take your bike on City Rail trains during weekday off-peak times (outside of 6am-9am and 3.30pm-7.30pm) and all weekend. You can take your bike on the ferry for free at any time, and on wheelchair-accessible buses at the driver's discretion.
Most routes are well signposted, but if you're unsure, handy books and maps are available through Velocipede just contact us here to get ahold of one.
You can also drop by the RTA and pick up a helpful cycling map, or download them at rta.nsw.gov.au.
The RTA also stocks maps covering Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains, and the excellent riders' resource bikely.com is a searchable database of cycling routes.
For the most part, these paths steer clear of road traffic, making the ride more enjoyable. However, cycleways are shared with pedestrians, who have the right of way.
Check the RTA website for other bicycle rules before you set out. Make exploring your city easy, affordable and a lot of fun – not to mention great for your health – on these fantastic two-wheel adventures.
GUILDFORD TO CANLEY VALE
Distance: About 29km
Join this bike path on Railway Terrace at Guildford station and ride south for a short distance. Cross over the railway line by turning left and riding through the small pipe bridge and continue along the water supply pipeline.
This path is well signposted as it winds through Merrylands and Greystanes before reaching Prospect Dam. Take a break here for lunch or walk up to the George Maunder lookouts for views across western Sydney.
There are barbecues, toilets, a playground and picnic facilities. From here, continue along the path which follows the water supply channel to Western Sydney Regional Park. Follow the bike path south and, if you have time, treat the children to a visit to Fairfield City Farm in Abbotsbury.
It is on the trail and is open daily 9am-4.30pm. The trail then continues through Stockdale Crescent Reserve and along Orphan School Creek through Bossley Park, Greenfield Park, Prairiewood (past Fairfield Showground) and Wakeley, before finishing at Canley Vale next to the train station.
BLUE MOUNTAINS - FAULCONBRIDGE POINT
Distance: About 22km
Breathtaking views over the Blue Mountains are a feature of this scenic route which also offers fun off-road cycling suitable for beginners and younger riders.
To get to the starting point, catch the train to Faulconbridge station and cross over the Great Western Highway to the bike track on the other side of the road. Follow this east and turn left on Grose Rd. Continue until it becomes a dirt road – this is the beginning of the trail.
Be aware that it's also a popular spot for bushwalkers, so keep a look out for people on foot. The track, which runs along Faulconbridge Ridge, is mainly flat or gently rolling, with a few steeper parts that you may prefer to walk the bike over.
Along the way, there is a sneak peak of the view to come but once you reach the lookout, take a rest and enjoy the complete blue-tinged spectacle which unfolds before you. Look to the gully below and see Grose River winding its way through the rugged bushland. Then, simply return the way you came.
NEWCASTLE - FERNLEIGH TRACK, ADAMSTOWN TO WHITEBRIDGE
This car-free cycling and walking track aims to link Newcastle to beautiful Lake Macquarie once it is complete. For now, you can ride the finished section from Adamstown in Newcastle to Whitebridge in the Lake Macquarie area.
It follows the old Adamstown-Belmont railway line, which was closed in 1991. Some of the train track, which was built in the 1880s to transport coal to the Newcastle port, is still in place; cyclists follow it as it weaves through the bushland and the 180m-long Fernleigh tunnel.
The ride is long and flat, so it's fine for young cyclists. The trail starts on Park Ave, so follow this road southwest from Adamstown station to begin the scenic ride. As this is a historical route, there are plenty of interesting places to stop and look at. You'll pass through the Fernleigh Tunnel, around Glenrock State Recreation Area, through Kahibah and on to Whitebridge.
HOMEBUSH – SYDNEY OLYMPIC PARK AND NEWINGTON ARMORY
Distance: 35km of cycleways
This is an ideal place to bring a young or inexperienced rider because it has wide, smooth bike paths, there's little car traffic and there are dedicated children's areas.
Choose from three main circuits, which are outlined in a map available from the bike hire shops at Sydney Olympic Park Visitor Centre on Showground Rd and Bicentennial Park on Australia Ave.
The 8km Olympic Circuit takes riders past buildings, arenas and areas that were used during the 2000 Olympic Games. In the Overflow, you'll see the cauldron lit by Cathy Freeman in the opening ceremony. Nature lovers will enjoy the Parklands Circuit, which begins in Bicentennial Park and continues past Lake Belvedere and over the Badu Mangroves boardwalk.
The 15km River Heritage Circuit winds along the Parramatta River, through the Wanngal Wetlands and the historic Newington Armory, and past the former Olympic athletes village. You can park on-site, or catch the train.
GOSFORD TO WOY WOY
You can start anywhere along the Brisbane Water foreshore at Gosford.
If you're catching the train, head south down Mann St from Gosford station until you reach the waterfront. Follow the trail around to your right, under the railway line and through Adcock Park and behind Gosford RSL to Point Clare. Continue south through Tascott and Koolewong along Brisbane Water Drive to Woy Woy.
The picturesque trail hugs the water the whole way, and you'll ride through a number of parks with children's playgounds and picnic tables if you want to break up the ride. Adock and Fagan Parks, reached in the early part of the ride, have public toilets and playgrounds; while Memorial Park, opposite the Pelican Island Nature Reserve in Woy Woy, is a great place to unwind after you dismount.
The entire trail is a paved 2.5m-wide cycleway on mostly flat terrain, so it is a safe route for young children and inexperienced riders. Once completed, you can hop on a train at Woy Woy station on Brisbane Water Drive.
THIRROUL TO WOLLONGONG
Distance: About 16km
The start of this track is a short distance from the Thirroul station along Station St, then right on McAuley St, left on Surfers Pde and right on to Tasman Pde. This scenic ride follows the coastline from Thirroul through Bulli, Woonona, Bellambi, Towradgi, Fairy Meadow and on to Wollongong.
You will be treated to expansive ocean views as you pass long stretches of coastline. The paved path is popular with locals, and there are a number of cafes and shops along the way if you need to take a break or grab refreshments. It's a flat track suitable for children and beginners, and it passes a number of parks with public toilets.
This ride finishes up at Wollongong Harbour, where there are plenty of options for a well-deserved lunch stop. From here, simply follow Burelli St inland from WIN Stadium to Wollongong station. More experienced riders can continue along the bike track, which goes for another 21km, to Oak Flats, past the massive Port Kembla steelworks and around Lake Illawarra.
ARNCLIFFE TO TAREN POINT
Distance: About 13km
Ascenic bay ride taking you from the inner southwest around Botany. Head east across the Princes Highway from Arncliffe station to Riverine Park and join the bike path at Eve St. Follow it south past the Barton Park Golf Range and along the Spring St canal.
Cross into Barton Park and ride along Muddy Creek past St George Soccer Stadium to Bestic St, then turn and ride a short distance north along the creek's eastern bank. The path curves where the creek meets the Cooks River and leads you to the beachside Cook Park.
From here, it heads along the pretty stretch of coastline through Brighton-le-Sands, Monterey, Sans Souci, Dolls Point, Sandringham and across the Captain Cook Bridge to Taren Point. This is the easiest spot to finish because the dedicated bike path ends, so either turn around and ride back or make your way to Caringbah station.
If you have a good map, you can continue along quiet streets around the southern edge of Woolooware Bay to Cronulla.
BIRKENHEAD POINT TO ROZELLE
The Bay Run is a walking and cycling path that runs along the perimeter of Iron Cove from Birkenhead Point to Rozelle. Its wide paths and scenic outlook make it a popular exercise route.
It's a great ride for children, because it passes through a number of green spaces, including Brett Park in Drummoyne, Rodd Park in Rodd Point, Robson Park in Haberfield and Leichhardt Park, Leichhardt. Most have toilets and picnic tables, and at Leichhardt Park there's also a pool complex.
The path then passes through Callan Park in Rozelle; there's a small stretch of unpaved track here, but it is easy to find. It then continues into King Georges Park, which also has toilets and a playground.
Once you've mastered the circuit, you can climb the steady ascent to Darling St and explore the Rozelle cafe and shopping strip to Balmain (but there's no dedicated bike path and Darling St is a high traffic area). Alternatively, turn left after King Georges Park on to Iron Cove Bridge and return to Birkenhead Point.
FLEMINGTON TO TEMPE
Distance: About 15km
This ride takes you from Flemington through Sydney's inner west, along the Cooks River. It's one of the city's oldest and most-used bike paths thanks to its wide paved surface, easy terrain and straightforward route.
The first part of the ride from Flemington station is a combination of road and paths; head south on Hampstead Rd, cross Arthur St and take the first left, Mitchell St, to the end where a bike path leads into the park.
It takes you through Strathfield, past the Rookwood Cemetery and around Strathfield Golf Club. The ride meets the Cooks River, which it follows on a dedicated bike path through Croydon Park, Campsie, Canterbury, Earlwood and Marrickville, on to Tempe.
The river, with both concrete walls and natural banks, attracts a wide range of birdlife. Parks are dotted along the stretch of the river, so take a break to have a picnic or play before continuing the ride. Once the rise is completed, you can return the way you came or catch a train at Tempe.
CARRAMAR TO LIVERPOOL
Distance: About 18km
From Carramar station, follow Waterside Cres, then Quest Ave, south into Carrawood Park. Cross the Landsdowne Bridge and join the trail along Prospect Creek through Mirambeena Regional Park.
This large area is a wonderfully scenic ride through five smaller parks – Landsdowne Reserve, Shortland Brush, Flinders Slopes, Lake Gillawarna and Garrison Point. Here you'll pass playgrounds, an exercise track, picnic facilities, a restaurant, shaded areas and amenities.
At the southern end of the park, follow Henry Lawson Drive south to Rabaul Rd and turn into Kentucky Reserve; you'll pass the seaplane-landing area on the Georges River. Cross the river at Newbridge Rd and turn right on Rickard Rd, left on Arthur St and right on Riverside Rd.
The path leads north through Chipping Norton to Black Muscat Park at Floyd Bay. It follows the southern foreshore of Chipping Norton Lake, then heads around Lake Moore Wetlands before joining with Newbridge Rd to Liverpool station.