The mountain bike ride to North Mole in Fremantle
Welcome to a perfect winter’s day in Perth! Taking advantage of some superb weather conditions over the weekend we set out on a relaxed paced pedal along the coast. This circular route starts at Claremont Train Station to North Mole in Fremantle. Alternatively a good starting point is Lake Espresso Cafe because there’s plenty of parking in front of the golf club/Aspire Fitness, just off Davies Road.
Highlights: Ocean views and salty air. Reasonably flat cycle with possible head winds.
Deviations: Up Saladin Street to Choux Cafe for authentic French patisserie or take the small bridge over to Railway Road and follow the road down to Cottesloes Napoleon Street shopping district (Grill’d Burgers, Vans Cafe, Natures Harvest all serve up tasty food).
Time constrained: Start at Swanbourne and follow the path all the way to North Mole
Notes: I found the cycle paths on Google maps in the area are not up to date and to resolve this I used other methods to map the journey you see in the photos below.
Claremont to Port Beach Road
In the past we’ve cycled along the Swan River to Fremantle, however there are some big hills in the Mosman Park area and we were feeling lazy. So we mapped out a less taxing route and still with some lovely scenery, in the way of what city cycling offers.
From Claremont train station to Grant Street the bike and pedestrian trail is smooth and wide which translates to easy. Also away from traffic and this is always a preference.
At the Grant Street train station this path ends and cyclists are directed to a bicycle lane on the road alongside traffic. We cross to the other side of Curtin Avenue which is sheltered from the main traffic, veering left. The footpath all the way to the roundabout at the Marine Parade intersection is interesting with constant changes and some shade. The mountain bikes absorb the changes and we enjoy a bit of urban cycling. If you prefer more of a smooth path, the road is a better option here. Since April this year (2016) cyclists in Perth are permitted on footpaths. Not that it really matters to us, we’ve been riding on footpaths for years because sometimes it’s nice to ride leisurely without the drama of unpredictable traffic. One point with this section is to watch out for reversing cars as the footpath does cross a few residential driveways. Having said this, we encountered no one along this stretch.
At the roundabout we cross to the bike and pedestrian trail, we have reached the Indian Ocean and the view is beautiful – a local would say ‘when is it not!’ It’s a scenic cycle all the way to Port Beach Road and the wind is behind us, couldn’t ask for anything more! There’s a couple of picnic benches along this section and lots of happy pooches because of the popular dog beach.
The trail opens up to a small development of apartments, also where the local surf lifesaving club is positioned. I can smell Bib and Tucker’s wood stove and I’m reminded of the unbelievable tasty roast chicken I ate a few months ago. I make a mental note to visit Bib and Tucker soon for dinner. While Bib and Tucker is difficult to get in without a booking on the weekends, The Shipping Lane opposite does great coffee and breakfast, also a little more welcoming for cyclists. We skip both places this time around and continue to Port Beach Road.
Port Beach Road to North Mole
Google maps is missing the bike trail but I can confirm it definitely exists, no need to share the road with cattle trucks or high traffic. When you see the petrol station (after the traffic lights) follow the trail right. There are a couple of cool looking sea containers kindly restyled by the Fremantle Port Authority for rest shelters. Perfect for a banana break and as an added bonus for such a pleasant ride they come with a view. In summer, bring along the bathers and climb down the rocks for a quick cool dip. FYI there are bike racks near the containers.
North Mole Drive borders Rous Head Harbour, home to various marine industry operations and Rottnest Express ferries. It’s a popular place to fish off the rocks and a couple of weeks ago most of Perth took advantage of the unusually large number of salmon. Apart from reaching the end of the road, it is, the red and white light house that signifies – hey guys, you made it!
Today the ocean outside of the harbour is reasonably calm, sometimes the current makes for an interesting scene watching smaller boats bopping around.
North Mole to Claremont Train Station via Cottesloe Beach
Just as we commenced the return journey a helicopter passes overhead landing in one of the yards, a couple jump out straight into a porsche leaving the area. We decide to hang around to see the helicopter take off and sure enough it does, even better, directly over our heads and the pilots extends a wave. What a champ.
On the way back we are riding into head wind, and while it’s not super strong it’s enough to make us think the journey will take a bit longer. That’s okay, it’s good endurance training!
We take the same way back except when we reach the Marine Parade and Curtin Avenue roundabout, here we veer left along the coast to Cottesloe Beach. This is a really
nice fantastic stretch with plenty of activity no matter what day of the week. There is a bike and pedestrian trail and a few look outs as well as room on the road to cycle.
Keep an eye out for Le Fanu on the right, a mansion built in 1893 and recently renovated, Maya from House Nerd covered the story here – really interesting particularly if you’re into restorations and architecture.
After passing North Cottesloe Beach we veer right up Grant Street, the first real hill for the day. Not bad considering it is at the tail end of the ride. On the downhill we whizz past Daisies cafe, if you’re feeling hungry stop off for a pie or chia pudding.
We link up to the bike and pedestrian path back to Claremont train station.
We’re arguably lucky to have some fantastic bicycle friendly trails along the coast in Perth to explore. We really enjoyed this cycle and although it’s not in the forest there is some beautiful scenery to enjoy.