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03 July 2011

Crossed the Harbour Bridge

Today was a great day for being out in Sydney. I did not get out untill a bit later in the morning but it was well worth it. So getting the comparissons out of the way early, I have to admit Sydney's winter weather is a bit better than Melbourne's when it decides not to rain! I went out without long sleeves: the temperature was soon on it's way to 20 degrees. The other positive is that one gets to do hill training virtually as soon as one gets out the door! The negatives: roads are in a shocking state for cyclists (I cannot even think what to compare it to in Melbourne), and yes, you don't get a nice even long stretch to get the speed, and cadence up that often!

I have been intending for a while to discover how to navigate the Harbour Bridge on a bike, and decided today would be the day. It is not quite clear on a map, which way to go, and doing the research online, only served to reinforce that you had to know your way - and it's not that straight forward.

I made my way into the city, and was overtaken by 2 cyclists who seemed to be on a mission and decided to follow them. They turned into Clarence Street (one sooner than I have been planning to take), and followed it all the way to the on-ramp onto the bridge, before taking a turn onto the footpath, across a ramp, down a side street, and another ramp onto the bridge. Bikes are allowed only on one side of the bridge, and again I would have guessed incorrectly: bikes go on the inland side, and pedestrians on the ocean side. I had been warned of the lack of a ramp on the other side, where cyclists have to dismount and carry their bikes down fifty odd steps. So that was my first Harbour Bridge crossing on the bike - not that bad, when one knows how, but I still think on a weekday, the traffic will add further complications.

View of the "north shore" from our side of the Harbour today

Having started out a bit late, I decided to forego a 100km ride all the way to Palm Beach, but headed off to Manly, which involves crossing yet another bridge, called "The Spit". (I will have to do a bit of research how that bridge got it's name - had a few mental images going thru my brain, while on the bike!) The beach at Manly was packed, with quite a few surfers and some swimmers in the water. I cycled up as far as I could up to the North Head (entrance to Sydney Harbour), and then decided to retrace my route back. I stopped by Bondi Beach, before getting back home - having therefore visited two of Sydney's landmark beaches in about an hour time frame - I'm not sure that is possible by car with Sydney's traffic conditions. My route is available here: .

It was a great day for discovering, and now I'll be able to make further discoveries on the other side of the Harbour more confidently.