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.

Yellagonga Regional Park - Cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo

Yellagonga Regional Park is a ribbon of mostly bush around Lake Joondalup and Lake Goollelal in the northern suburbs.

It's a great option for family rides. Pretty flat with plenty of playgrounds, picnic spots and a mix of bush and open paddocky areas. At the northern end of Lake Joondalup you'll find Botanic Mini Golf. The course is well maintained and spread over a couple of hectares so expect to spend a couple of hours if you're playing. Leapfrogs, a busy restaurant flogging everything from devonshire teas to woodfired pizza, is a part of the complex. Sadly the bike hire that was a part of the complex was closed recently.

Ride round the lakes and you'll be alternately plunged into pockets of tuart forest, pedalling past suburbia. Keep an eye peeled as you cross Hocking Road for the Galaxy Drive-In, now the only operating drive-in in the Perth metro area.

Friends of Yellagonga's website reports that 122 bird species frequent the lakes and swamps.

The park is super easy access by car and train, and yes, by bike.

There are big carparks associated with Neil Hawkins Park on the west side of the lake, Opportunity Playground on the east side. Head up freeway north and exit east on Ocean Reef Road or Burns Beach Road.Pretty much the same story if your want to ride there; the freeway path is pretty good once you're north of Cedric St. This is a big lake surrounded for the most part by suburbia. There are endless car parking opportunities pretty much the whole way round.

No fewer than three train stations service the park which means you can ride one side of the lake and go home via a different sation.

The easiest, quietest and safest route to the park from the train is from Greenwood Station. Leaving the station ride north on the Principal Shared Path. About 500 metres north of the station there is a clearly signposted turn to the east. This path will take you direct to Lake Goollelal. Road crossings on this path are all by bridge or subway save for the very last one. There aren't even any driveways to cross - urban design at it's best! 

Not such a great story if you're getting off at or returning from Edgewater or Currambine stations.

From Edgewater I suggest heading north-east out of the station through the carpark, crossing Joondalup Drive and travelling east to the lake on Wedgewood Drive which runs on the south side of the park you can see from the station. You could take the bike path south a couple of hundred metres and travel on the path adjacent to Ocean Reef Road but the 80km/h traffic tearing past is distinctly unrelaxing. Same story if you're hopping on or off at Currambine. Although Burns Beach Road is not quite as busy as Ocean Reef you will have to contend with crossing the roundabout at the junction of Burns Beach Road and Joondalup Drive - urban design at it's most pedestrian and cycle unfriendly.

If you're riding to the park from points south you'll want to follow the freeway PSP and peel off just north of Greenwood Station as described above. From other points you can approach through suburban streets or alongside any of the local arterials, as long as you're north of Hepburn Avenue and south of Burns Beach Road you can't miss the park.

Thanks to rolandp on the BNA Forum for suggesting this ride

Midland to Mundaring Railway Reserve Loop - Shire of Mundaring

This is an awesome ride that can be done as a 40km loop. There are plenty of options for shorter out and back sections of the track too. It's a great introduction to riding offroad. The gravel surfaces for the most part are very good, the trail is wide and, owing to its heritage as a railway line, the grades are very easy going.

Just about everything you need to know is in the jolly good brochure and map from the Railway Reserves website. Read on for the missing info.

The northern section has a monopoly on the big vistas, including speccy city views. It also has the falls, a much higher density of eateries and, of course, the pretty and dramatic ride through the 340m long Swan View Tunnel - don't forget your lights! No, really, do not forget them, it is very dark in there.

The southern part of the loop has none of this but it does boast more consistently even surfaces and is generally less heavily trafficked. Try starting at the Hudman Road Quarry and taking the trail east. This will get you clear of suburbia and you can also have the pleasure of a short side trip to inspect the abandoned quarry which is a few hundred metres north of the carpark.

The eastern end from Mundaring round to Parkerville is relatively flat and sports the best access to creature comforts like lunch. It also sports the Mundaring Sculpture Park, Mt Helena Aquatic Centre and the most roads to cross.

Directions around the trail are mostly very good however...

1. If you're heading east in the vicinity of Hudman Road Quarry stick to the best used looking sections of path. You have to exit through the carpark entrance; from there you'll see the trail continue across the road. 

2. A 1km section of trail running north east from Purton Place is actually a mixture of road (or footpath) and cycle path.

3. If you're continuing on out to Chidlow and beyond you'll need to get onto the Kep Track which is on the southern side of the pipeline at Mt Helena.

4. At Swan View there are two car parks, one either side of Morrison Road. if you're passing through you need to ride out of one, cross Morrison and ride into the other. The trail entrances are adjacent to the covered signboard maps.

Trail conditions are mostly excellent. Large sections of the gravel are as smooth as bitumen. The roughest part is paradoxically the most popular, the area between Parkerville and Swan View. The tunnel is particularly rough and potentially dangerous without lights. Watering points around the loop are close to non-existent so make sure you have enough water on board. There are no places to fill up on the southern loop. 

There are lots of restaurants and cafés around the eastern part of the loop, there are two in particular that are super convenient to the trail; you'll see foodie haunt The Brook Garden as you cross Seaborne St, Parkerville. Mount Helena Tavern just west of Sawyers Road, is a cosy friendly local pub sort of spot with cosy friendly pub meals and pub quality coffee. Both joints will flog you brekky or lunch on the weekend.

It sort of seems appropriate to catch the train to ride the rail trail. Midland Station is as close as you'll get. Head east from the station and take your first right on Helena St, then left on Yelverton, which turns into Centennial. Take a left on Clayton and follow that for almost 2km. Once under the Roe Hwy underpass turn left on Rason. Rason turns into Purton and about 0.7 km from the underpass you should find yourself at the trail head near the Bellevue RSL building. You can't miss it, trust me.

If you're arriving by car you're spoilt for choice, there are a number of reasonable sized carparks around the trail. If you're doing the whole loop it makes sense to start at the bottom of the hill, parking at either Purton Place next to the Bellevue RSL or at Swan View at the junction of Swan View Road and Morrison Road.

If you're doing the highlights start either at the carpark in Glen Forest National Park or at the Swan View carpark. Head uphill from Swan View or downhill from the national park. 

Thanks to rolandp on the BNA Forum for suggesting this ride

Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Cycling Tour comes to Perth

I went for a wander alongside the course from where riders entered Kings Park to where they turned onto Mounts Bay Road. Here's the course - 14 km x 8 laps for about 110km total. Except if you're an old bugger - 6 laps for 50 and over, 5 laps for 60 plus

Bikely link

MapMyRide link

Here's how it looked at the west end of the park. Malcolm St is a hill I normally make a point of only riding down. Watching riders struggle up it eight times would have been worthwhile. As would the finishes. Still there's always next year. And the year after.

Traffic management left a bit to be desired. Residents' cars were being let out onto Kings Park Drive to exit onto Mounts Bay Road heading west when breaks in the competition allowed. At the base of Kings Park Drive where the riders had a steep downhill followed by a sharp left onto Mounts Bay Road there was space for only two vehicles to wait to enter Mounts Bay. The traffic heading west along Mounts Bay Road from the city wasn't being calmed at all, this with the arrangement of the safety barriers made it difficult for drivers to leave an already hazardous corner for the competitors. There was real potential for several cars to back up in to the course here. It should have been alleviated by having a lollipop person stop westbound traffic on Mounts Bay. I witnessed one minor traffic accident involving a car that had left the course. Also saw a couple who were trying to visit a dying relative in the Mount Hospital. They'd come to the roadblock from the west having tried several other roads, all to no avail. They were moved on by traffic management personnel who were keen to free a buildup of cars behind them. The traffic management people were unable to advise them on an appropriate route to the hospital. Bad for the people. Bad for cycling. The organisers really need to get their heads around this for 2012

Get it together - Three Bridges Loop ~ 43 km

Hey, welcome to Perth... sometime within living memory we copped a tag - Dullsville. For aged crones like me this seemed a boon for the boomtown, it held the promise of a few more years living in blissful obscurity (I've been thinking of moving to Lake Grace if things get much busier). Even a hardened poetry reading addict like me will confess that if you measure our indoor culture; the visual and performing arts, food and nightlife, using the same criteria as larger less isolated urban centres like say, New York, Sydney or Timbuktu, Perth can look a little light on. 

This misses Perth's point though, to wit, get out of doors. Beaches are regarded by many as our strong suite, but that idea falls to pieces sometime between 10AM and 2PM when the "Doctor" comes tearing in. The Fremantle Doctor is Perth's Mistral. Except less delicate; exfoliation doesn't begin to describe the blast you'll get.

Riverside is where you'll want to be. It's a wide river, but it isn't deep; you can wander about in much of the Swan without getting your elbows wet. Who cares though? You're probably not thinking of swimming in it and the sailors look just as good bobbing round in the deeper bits as they do when they've run aground. One of Perth's flasher boating locales is Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and that is where this ride begins. Taking a leaf from DPI's safety first book these round the bridges rides all go clockwise to minimise risky right turns, feel free to ride upstream from the club rather than down.

If you live within coo-ee of the river downstream from Perth this ride is a must. It takes in some of Perth's best river views, a ton of parks (everything from swathes of sun drenched lawn to winding bush paths), great playgrounds, a swag of pubs, coffee shops, kiosks and restaurants.

For the south of the river sections you can choose between mostly very good bike path or quiet on-road riding all the way from Fremantle Traffic Bridge to Canning Bridge. From Canning Bridge to the city it's bike path only. The bike path is good, if busy. 

North of the river from the city back to Freo is spotty. Sticking to the paths can get you in a bit of a muddle especially as you ride through the City of Nedlands. Sticking to the roads can put you close to some fast moving traffic, particularly from the Narrows Bridge to UWA.

Most of the ride is follow your nose stuff, but there are a few options in the Fremantle to Point Walter and the Narrows to Mosman Bay sections. The other sections are detailed here; Mosman to Freo, Pt Walter to Canning Br and Canning Br to Narrows.

By bike, just ride in from home. If you don't live close enough you can find carparks with easy parking at or near Tawarri Reception Centre in Nedlands, Point Resolution Reserve, Dalkeith, McCabe St Mosman Park (by the tennis courts), East St Jetty and Point Walter. You can also park at these though they can get pretty busy in warmer weather; Matilda Bay, Keanes Point, Bay View Terrace, Minim Cove, East Fremantle by Zephyr Café, Barrack St Jetty and the Old Swan Brewery. The easiest train access is Claremont, Mosman Park, Victoria St, North Fremantle and Fremantle on the Fremantle Line. Take the Mandurah Line for Esplanade and Canning Bridge Stations.

Two Bikely maps here;

The first is an on-road training circuit. It has a couple of short stretches that expose the cyclist to heavy traffic on Stirling and Canning Highways. And it's on shared paths between Canning Bridge and UWA, because it's illegal to cycle on the freeway and unless it's quiet it's crazy to ride on the de facto freeway that is Mounts Bay Road. 

The second takes the path option wherever it is available. Sadly the The Shire of Nedlands and the Towns of Claremont and Peppermint Grove planners have not seen fit to provide separated paths through much of their patch. You'll be obliged to ride on the road or footpath for several kilometres between the eastern end of Jutland Pde and Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Where there is a choice between two paths, this route takes you on the one closer to the river. Where there isn't a path this route follows the road in preference to the footpath.

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

Mosman Bay to Fremantle Bridge - Town of Mosman Park and City of Fremantle

Start point is Manners Hill Park / Keanes Point / anywhere in the vicinity of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Head south and stick to river. After politely meandering along Johnson Pde south of RFBYC for about half a k, you face a short awe inspiring hill. Most riders are advised to dismount and walk their steeds up it. Alternatively retrace your steps and turn west on Johnston St, then 1st left on Bay View Tce, for an easier climb. Either way once you reach the Mosman Park Bowling Club at the top of the hill the worst this ride has to throw at you is over!

The path east through Bay View Park offers one of the best elevated river views in Perth. If you fancy a biscuit break park yourself under one of the big sugar gums right down at the SE end of the park and take in the goings-on at Point Walter Spit.

From here around to Blackwall Reach you're mostly on the road or the footpath. Follow Owston St south and then Wellington St east. Near the bottom of Wellington on your right there is a narrow paved trail through some bush restoration. A detour down Caporn St and Chidley Way takes you to Chidley Point where you can watch stink boat wash erode a pretty little beach.

Follow Marshall Road south around Blackwall Reach, as it rises away from the river keep an eye out for a path to your left. This path takes you across a cliff front on a boardwalk and then drops you dramatically down into Minim Cove Park. From here you're on paths for a couple of kilometers around Rocky Bay. Follow the path as far as you can, it finishes at the end of Rule St in North Fremantle. Take the second left off Rule St and then right onto Corkhill. Another dramatic drop puts you back down at River Level near Pier 21. Heading west along John St takes you past Gilbert Fraser Reserve where you can often stop to take in a spot of local football or cricket. If you prefer to stay off the road you can get around the front of Pier 21 by turning left onto John St instead of right. There is public access along the foreshore but no path, so expect to walk your bike some of the way.

Almost there! a couple of little timber bridges take you through a tidal wetlands on the upstream side of the Stirling Bridge (AKA "New Bridge"), then you're under the bridge and heading across the fronts of the Northport apartments.

If you're going to carry on round the river you can chuck a right as soon as you're under the new bridge. A hundred metres up the path is a hard right turn that puts you on the bridge path. I strongly recommend ignoring that for the moment and completing the journey to the old bridge. For one you can see the stumps of Stick Bridge, the bridge that predates either of the extant bridges. For the other, the narrow plank walkway under the old bridge takes you halfway out into the river. If you're lucky enough to be here when the tide is running it is a wonderful reminder of power of water. You can also watch boats negotiate the narrow under-bridge passage at close proximity and get a reasonable view of goings on in the inner harbour.

Getting there. Crikey! you're spoilt for choice... By car. There is a reasonable amount of parking available around Manners Hill Park and RFBYC, it does get busy when the weather is warmer. Street parking and the carpark opposite Jabe Dodd Park are alternatives. Parking in Northport between the bridges is limited also. There is some parking available near Gilbert Fraser Reserve. If you don't mind starting a little further afield there is parking at Port Beach (just follow Tydeman Rd to the bridges) or across the river at East St Jetty.

By train. From the north end of the ride hop off at Mosman Park Station. Cross Stirling Highway at Glyde St and head north up the footpath to Stuart St. Head east on 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 the start point. At the other end, North Fremantle Station is the closest, but it has the disadvantage of being a kilometre up Stirling Highway. Better to cross the highway at Tydeman Road, head across the old bridge and head for Fremantle Station. Once over the bridge turn toward Freo and cross  at the first set of traffic lights and then turn right. 150 metres to the south west is the railway underpass, once on the other side you get cycle path almost to the doorstep of Fremantle Station. Alternatively cross on the new bridge, head for the river and follow the riverside or on-road path round to the rail underpass.

In addition to the arriving by train directions, if you're arriving by bike, you can come in from the The Esplanade on the north side.

For those that fancy a nibble before, during or after the ride you have so got it made. For icecreams, chips and other classic caff fare you can't go past the kiosk on Freshwater Bay. Post race chips and beer up at the yacht club bar are pretty good too. You'll have to dig considerably deeper (and maybe make a reservation) for lunch or dinner at Mosmans on Johnson Pde or Harvest on Harvest S N Freo. In North Freo you can also enjoy a gourmet burger at Flipside, (quality takes time so don't be in a hurry) or pub fare at the Swan Hotel. You'll be tripping over free barbecues thanks to generosity of the Town of Mosman Park; find them at Keanes Point Reserve, Jabe Dodd Park, Bay View Park (tucked away south of the carpark), Chidley Reserve and Minim Cove Park. Facilities like these and Mosman Park's clean toilets are notably absent once you cross the border into North Freo. Gilbert Fraser Reserve has toilets and a playground.