Fremantle Tweed Run 2011

Hard to believe the first ever Tweed Run was just two years ago in London. The event has grown at a phenomenal rate with over 50 Tweed Runs scheduled worldwide for 2011.

Sartorial splendour ranging from the colonial to the contemporary were the order of the day for WA's second Tweed Run, held yesterday in Fremantle. Judging by the calico back numbers issued by the organisers Dismantle there were close to 400 riders participating in the ride from Leighton Beach to downtown Freo.

Narrows Bridge to Mosman Bay - Cities of Perth, Subiaco, Nedlands etc.

Cities of Perth, Subiaco and Nedlands, Town of Claremont, Shire of Peppermint Grove, Department of Environment and Conservation

The stretch of river from the Perth CBD to UWA is a tremendously popular commuter and recreation route.

Matilda Bay, with its lawns, trees, gazebos and views to the city over Royal Perth Yacht Club is a beautiful spot to while away a few hours in or out of the sun. The journey down to Tawarri Reception Centre through sporting fields and into suburban Nedlands and Dalkeith is interesting enough.

What lets this ride down is lousy paths through what are so often gushingly described as "Perth's premier suburbs". The Premier may live one of them but he evidently doesn't ride a bike. If you're planning to take your kids for a ride you can forget the northern Riverside Drive section, it simply comes too close for comfort to four lanes of fast moving traffic. Once you enter the City of Subiaco, DEC managed Matilda Bay Reserve the path standard takes a bit of a dive. The rest of the facilities are fantastic though; along with the usual free barbecues, there are the Matilda Bay Tearooms for casual meals, coffees and ice-creams as well as the high end Matilda Bay Restaurant. The once infamous Crawley toilets are now supplemented by a second set of toilets housed in a building that parades it's architectural street cred in an obvious position - you'll be forgiven for imagining that you're looking at the tearooms as you approach!

Once across Australia II Drive the paths head south, literally and metaphorically. They're awkwardly narrow and meandering and determinedly free of any directional signage. If you're prepared to ride on the road you can avoid this whole catastrophe by using the on-road lane that follows busy Hackett Drive from Mounts Bay Road round to The Avenue. Things will be faster smoother and less confusing, but also further from the river.

Either way, unless you're on a training mission you'll want to aim for The Esplanade which means taking your first left once you're on The Avenue. Turn right onto The Esplanade or gothrough the carpark and turn right on the narrow riverside path. Follow The Esplanade to one of two paths that lead up to Birdwood Parade. The first is just at the north corner of Flying Squadron Yacht Club, the second is off the Tawarri car park. These two can be ridden up, the first is less steep than the second. You can stick to the river for another very pleasant kilometer but you'll have to lug your bike up about 30 steps to Iris Avenue which takes you onto Jutland Parade.

Birdwood Parade is quiet and wide. Elevated views across Melville Water to the south are paired with views of exclusive real estate to the north. The point at which Birdwood turns into Jutland Pde is marked by Sunset Hospital heritage site which, aside from its recent use as the set for the filming of the Tim Winton's story Cloudstreet, has stood empty since 1995.

At the western end of Jutland Pde is Point Resolution Reserve, a fine a place as any to watch an afternoon yacht race. Facilities are limited here. As in there's a car park. And some steps to the river.

This section of Perth's main round the river ride is marked by an almost total absence of cycling infrastructure. It's all fine if you're an experienced rider used to mixing it with traffic, the following advice is for casual recreation riders.

The on-road painted cycle lane that follows Victoria Ave as it winds it's way around the north side of Freshwater Bay is as good as it gets. And even that ain't real good; it only operates as a cycle lane for a couple of hours a day on weekdays. The rest of the time it's primary purpose is car park. The signage governing this Clayton's bike path is thin on the ground and inconsistent between Claremont and Dalkeith. Enforcement seems limited to the narrow stretch west of Bayview Terrace.

Footpaths through this area are narrow and can be bumpy and gappy.

The on-road bike lane conks out just where you need it; the road becomes busier as you approach Stirling Highway on Queenslea Drive. An option here is to cross just after the Claremont Yacht Club driveway and get to the highway on the very quiet Freshwater Parade.

Having said that, weekend traffic on this section is generally pretty light. Of course it's a different story once you hit Stirling Highway. There's a good section of footpath up past Christ Church Grammar and Methodist Ladies College. Then you'll be negotiating the pavers again, only for a couple of blocks though; you should take a left up Richardson Avenue. Following Richardson will take you round "Devils Elbow" and on to The Esplanade. Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is at the bottom of the hill. The nice people at the bar there will sell you a beer, which when consumed overlooking the bay from the RFBYC hilltop will conspire to give you a feeling of wellbeing. If you don't fancy imbibing the nice people at the nearby Kiosk will sell you an ice-cream or any manner of basic café fare. There are also free barbecues, a playground and public toilets here.   

Getting there by bike is easy and there are plenty of options; from points north the cycle path that runs through the city adjacent to Parliament House drops you at the Narrows. From points east you'll want to get yourself onto the Riverside Drive path west of Barrack St Jetty. If you're starting at Mosman Bay the best access is via the riverside roads and paths from North Freo. The alternative is to come in from the coast or Curtin Avenue, just aim for Mosman Park Station and follow the directions below.

By car from the northern end is a bit trickier. Parking at Barrack St Jetty is hard to jag and time limited. Access from The Old Swan Brewery carpark across Mounts Bay Road involves using two lifts. Matilda Bay parking is again time limited and its popularity and proximity to the University of WA mean it's often very busy. You may fare better starting this ride from street parking in Claremont, one of the river reserves between there and Resolution, or if you're contemplating a cycle path only ride, park at Tawarri and head back toward the city. 

Train access from the Perth end is good, just organise yourself to get off at Esplanade Station, the river is a hop skip and a jump away to the south. At the western end, Claremont Station is the closest to the river; Bayview Terrace is is on the south side of the station and runs straight down to the River and Victoria Avenue. Mosman Park Station is the closest to this ride's end at Keanes Point. Cross Stirling Highway at the Glyde St lights and head one block head north up the footpath to Stuart St, turn right onto Stuart, 1st left on Monument, 1st right on Willis, left on Harvey, right on Swan, go to the end of Swan and then left on Palmerston and right on Johnstone St. It's the flattest, quietest route to or from the end point.

Canning Bridge to Narrows Bridge - City of South Perth

The watchword with this ride is weather. When the wind whistles in from the west the exposure of this path to the river is radical. Dear rider, on a quiet day, meteorologically speaking, your ears will be assaulted by the traffic from the freeway and, as you approach the ski zone near the Narrows, motorised pleasure craft on the Swan.

Other than that it's not a bad ride. It's flat as a tack and with the wind at their back any commuter with a computer could easily see their personal best speed along this straight well surfaced stretch.

If you're planning the biggest and best round the river ride that Perth has to offer, this path will form a part of it. If you're commuting direct to the CBD from south of the city, you will ride this rail.

Access by bike from Narrows Bridge or Canning Bridge PSPs as well as from five pedestrian overpasses at Hardy St, Comer St, Preston St, Thelma St and Cale St.

Point Walter to Canning Bridge - City of Melville

What's not to love about 11 km of almost unbroken shared path running between a 1 km sandbar in the Swan River and Perth's most imaginative riverside playground?

This path is flat, except for a little climb to Heathcote. It's continuous except for a handful of road crossings, all of which are associated with riverside carparks. These factors make it brilliant stretch of path for young riders.

Quiet roads with views as good as those on the paths mean that faster cyclists tend not to ride the paths. Massive swathes of lawn and limited beach access, particularly round Alfred Cove mean that dog walkers aren't a big issue, also most of them seem to respect the "dogs on leads" signs. Unlike areas like South Perth, the population density is low so there are significantly fewer pedestrians to contend with. Life in general seems to move at a rural pace round here.

On top of this, while most of the path is an older fashioned concrete one, you know, a little narrower than it probably should be and a little bumpier too, it is on the whole in very good condition. It's easy to follow and has a fun boardwalky bit round Point Dundas.

In my experience a half competent 4 or 5 year old can make it out and back in few hours as long as the day isn't too hot, they have plenty of air in their tyres, and they have a recharging icecream and play with their mates at the world's best playground at Heathcote. 

Access

By Bike; there's a good path from Fremantle (see here). There's a good path adjacent to the Kwinana Freeway (see here), and a good path on the west side of the Canning River, these last connect to the bike paths on both sides of Canning Bridge.

By Car; parking gets busy at Point Walter and at Heathcote on sunny weekends. Suburban streets in the vicinity of the start and finish points of this ride are pretty empty though and the streets reasonably quiet - not a great solution if you have littlies in tow. There is more parking where Alfred Cove is at its closest to Canning Hwy, and then again to the north of this point in Applecross on the foreshore.

By Train; Canning Bridge Station is the closest. If you're feeling energetic you could hop off at Bullcreek Station, exit to the west side and follow the path north from there to Canning Bridge - either cross the Canning River at Mt Henry Bridge and re-cross at Canning Bridge or head up the west side of the Canning River past Deep Water Point.

Bikely Map

Sunset Coast - Port Beach to North Mole - City of Fremantle

Brave.

It's what you need to be to cross Port Beach Road and head south to the lighthouse at North Mole. The cycle path south of the Tyrdeman Road intersection has recently been extended by about a kilometre but it still ends well shy of the harbour heads and its primary function is not to allow safe passage of cyclists and pedestrians but as overflow parking for surfers, fisherfolk and live export shiploaders keen to wash themselves of guilt. 

Ride here and you will find yourself in the domain of the double B. It's all about inbound containers and outbound sheep down here. Diesel smoke, Coke bottles, cyclone fences, dust and urgency inhabit the spaces left between the bright stacks of containers.

The lighthouse at North Mole is the logical end to a ride down the the so called Sunset Coast. Getting there under pedal power is no mean feat though. Fremantle Port Authority have done their utmost to claim the last couple of the last couple of k's as private property. Get through that and you face a few hundred metres of single lane road to carry all the motorised sightseers out to the lighthouse. And back. The delicate patina of rubber coloured circles in the hardstand east of the lighthouse welcome the traveller to North Mole. All that remains to do is check out the lighthouse and passing marine traffic, and maybe throw a line in. 

For the brave and determined;

The closest train station is North Fremantle. Hop off and head to the sea (you can't miss it), turn left.

By bike either come down Tydeman Road or Curtin Avenue, both through North Fremantle, both have bike paths adjacent to them.

There's a car park associated with Salt on the Beach Restaurant, as well as beach amenities like showers and toilets. There's no need to go hungry in this neck of the woods; aside from Salt on the Beach who operate a classic beach kiosk as well as the restaurant and bar, you can mix it with the truckies down at the Rous Head Café or chow down on more deep fried fare at Northport Ferry Terminal.

Rous Head is home to one of the ferry terminals servicing the biking paradise that is Rottnest Island. If you're planning on riding to the ferry you'd be better advised to depart from C Shed on the south side of the harbour.

Herdsman Lake - City of Stirling, Department of Environment and Conservation

Though some of the paths around Herdsman Lake are paved you'll see the best of it on the dirt. On the north east side there are a few very pretty stretches of path through paperbark and eucalypt groves. The entire circuit is flat making it a cruisey ride for novices and children. Distractions are plentiful for those that like to stop to catch their breath and enjoy the scenery. Expect to cover about 8 km if you explore all the little side trails on the circuit.

Birdlife on the lake system is abundant and there are several hides around the north and east of the lake as well as a pedestrian only boardwalk associated with the Herdsman Wildlife Centre. The Gould League run bird walks from the centre on the 3rd Saturday of every month at 8am

The West side of the lake is dominated by large grassed areas. This side, once home to market gardens and stables, was controversially "reclaimed" for residential real estate in the 1980s. The contrast between the east and west sides of the lake is pronounced to say the least. Trees seem to have been outlawed in Floreat Waters!

Settlers Cottage was rescued and relocated when Pearson St was widened in 1991. It is operated by the National Trust but is currently closed.

Access by bike and car couldn't be easier.

By bike; there are so many entry points to the path that it doesn't make sense to list them, just enter from whatever direction you're coming in from. The sealed cycle path adjacent to Jon Sanders Drive is part of the Perth Bicycle Network Continuous Signed Route NW9.

If you fancy getting there by train, Glendalough station is very close. Head west over the pedestrian bridge at the southern end of the station, then south on the bike path to Powis St. Powis St west takes you straight to the section of the NW9 route mentioned above.

By car - the main roads around the edge of the lake are Herdsman Parade, Jon Sanders Drive and Pearson Street. From freeway south take the Powis Street exit to Jon Sanders Drive. From freeway north exit at Cedric Street and take Ellen Stirling Boulevard, Scarborough Beach Road and Stephenson Avenue to Jon Sanders Drive. Other main roads into the area are Hale Road from the west and Selby Street from the south.

There are car parks and playgrounds around the perimeter. No free barbecues though and, despite assertion to the contrary on the City of Stirling website, there are no public toilets. Doubtless the Herdsman Wildlife Centre has toilets, however they will only be accessible during their weekday opening hours

http://www.wagouldleague.com.au/about.htm

http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/active-transport/at_CYC_map_Stirling_Swan.pdf

Thanks to Thoglette on the BNA Forum for suggesting this ride