Sunset Bike Ride from Elizabeth Quay
Summer this year hasn’t been kind to my cycling efforts and so, lately I’ve been going on evening rides, catching the tail end of the hot day and sunset. These rides give me a sense of freedom and adventure as I make my way through some of Perth’s riverfront neighbourhoods, an activity to offset a work day and also keep up a little fitness for the mountain biking season. In Perth there are fragmented sections of a pedestrian shared path (PSP) which is generally a red oxide coloured asphalt surface that provides more of a direct route for a bicycle. On this Perth city ride loop I will utilise two PSP sections to link up to the Swan river and ocean from North Fremantle. The distance covered is roughly 39 km over a fairly easy gradient.
I begin the warm ride from Elizabeth Quay in Perth heading to the PSP along the Kwinana Freeway which these days as the freeway continues to widen for the increasing vehicle traffic, now abuts the PSP quite close. On a brighter note, looking the other way to the Swan River and marine park makes up for congestion effects. This path I pedal at a faster speed and into a mild sea breeze driven headwind. The flat path is busy with commuters making their way home alot faster than I am.
I exit the PSP at Canning Bridge on Canning Highway, this highway was the inspiration of the ACDC hit – Highway to Hell and is widely embraced by the locals. From this point all the way to East Fremantle there is path or an on road cycle lane that traces the Swan River in a more peaceful setting. Instead of traffic, hopefully I’ll be hearing the lapping of the river.
As I approach the South of Perth Yacht Club I spot a pod of dolphins darting through the water and with great skill chase something in water, most likely a potential meal.
The heat zaps the energy from me but I know from here on in, the sun is setting and the ride will become a bit easier. The views of the river, magic to experience on the bike.
I pass the cliff side of Heathcote Reserve and onto the road in this section, pedalling fast along The Strand and up a locally well known hill on Fraser Road (to avoid the hill go along the Majestic Close board walk found on the waterfront). The first decent hill climb and I am okay with it.
I rejoin the riverfront side on Melville Beach Parade and continue through an expansive green grassed parkland. The path traces a vegetation wall that shields the Alfred Cove Nature Reserve for local and migratory waterbirds.
I continue and switch to the road along Burke Drive. I notice an electronic speed device displaying the speed of travelling cars and after being passed by a few vehicles I realise the problem of speeding vehicles on this street. There is a path through the adjacent Attadale Reserve to avoid taking the road here.
I cut through Point Water’s foreshore area and through food smells and crowds lining up to trucks. The grassed foreshore area brimming with picnic rugs and chairs. Kids splashing around in the water. The balmy evening an attraction to ending the day by the cooler waters of the Swan River. I climb Honour Ave and veer right on a path before connecting to a dirt trail following the top of the Blackwall Reach cliff area to a viewing platform of the sun kissed rocky outcrop topped with trees. It is a lovely spot away from the urban sprawl. Stopping for a few moments to take some water and check the weather, I am not surprised it is 35 degrees celsius.
Moving on I find myself cycling a path lined with square concrete pavers, it roller coasts through the bush cover and tightly winds following the slope’s contour. I stick close to the left knowing I may come across walkers in the area and I know I can slow to a walking pace without startling anyone. The fun path ejects me down by the river once again, close to Bicton baths. I take the zig zag path up a steep hill in Bicton Quarantine Park, a former animal quarantine station for the Fremantle Ports.
I cut through the cycle friendly Angove Laneway and then another cycle friendly road, Jerrat Drive. A top view of the river calls for another pit stop.
I descend along a Riverside Road back to the river front passing a number of water sport clubs in East Fremantle. It is a flat cycle through to the Fremantle traffic bridge (2nd bridge, the older one).
There is a very steep and short path through WH Kitson Park which takes me to the bridge. Cycling on the traffic bridge is a viewer’s treat with the Fremantle Port infrastructure against the sunset.
Weary I approach the North Freo intersection, which isn’t the most cycle friendly part of the journey. I believe a connection for cyclists is in the pipeline and due to commence soon. This will improve this area known for it’s port traffic barrelling along Tydeman Road. Once clear of the intersection I cycle through the back streets of North Fremantle and cross the train tracks to Leighton beach.
From enjoying the riverside up until now, I am about to begin the seaside ride which has plenty of route options including a path closer to the ocean or the on road cycle lane. I detour onto the Leighton footbridge over the train tracks, it’s old and fascinating, as well as one that provides views.
At Victoria Station, I roll onto the recently finished PSP, a wide one that is a dream to cycle along. I lose myself in the rhythm of pedalling.
Before I know it I am in entertainment area of Subiaco and then back to Perth. The end of the ride and my chi has been restored!
Cycling in Perth these days is easily achievable and while fitness means longer distances and quiet locations, there are some places that can be explored closer to the city. Why not utilise the train system which runs along this bike ride route.