A great ride for serious cyclists and families alike. The flat terrain and beautiful views make this a popular area for locals. It’s good for bike riding and if it’s people watching you’re into then this is the place. You’ll see runners, super fit triathletes, rowers, pram pushing families, dog walkers, you name it, you’ll probably see it here.
The loop around Iron Cove has been a training institution for many years, but it became so popular that the council was forced to put a bit of organisation in. For this reason, you’ll see a dedicated bike lane as well as a pedestrian lane. Please remember to stay in the correct one If you see some grey wading birds with greenish legs and a curved bill, these are Japanese Snipe, which will have migrated to the bay from Siberia. The black and white Pied Stilts are resident.
You’ll also see a small island in the bay called Rodd Island. This obscure little place has an interesting history. It’s the place where the Pasteur Institute, formed by Louis Pasteur, developed the miximatosis virus to help curb the rabbit plague that was threatening Australia. In an interesting twist, the famous actress, Sarah Bernhardt was touring Australia at the time. As part of her entourage she brought her two dogs, which Australian quarantine authorities refused to let in. Pasteur’s nephew came to the rescue, offering his island and rumour has it, that Miss Bernhardt was keen on visiting and not just for the dogs. On the southern side of the bay, you’ll pass Rozelle hospital, the grounds of which are worth visiting. It was built in 1885 as a hospital for the insane and within five years contained over 1,000 inmates. Despite government attempts to sell the land to housing developers it is now home to Sydney Collage of the Arts. If you ride through you will see many buildings that have featured in popular movies such as Shine and Cosi. As you head back under the Dobroyd Parade Bridge, take care as the other side is open to traffic for a short distance. It is also home to a very popular dog obedience school, and not all of the pupils have graduated! There are a couple of good options here. Firstly, as you pass under Iron Cove Bridge you’ll see Birkenhead Point ahead of you. This is a factory outlet centre and food options are available. Alternatively, on the other side of the bridge is Rozelle. When you turn into Terry Street, keep riding straight up the hill and you’ll see them at the second roundabout. Lastly, if you turn left into Lilyfield Road and ride up the hill you will find a bike shop/café called Bicycle Garage, which has excellent coffee.
The nearest train station to the start of this ride is Petersham station on the other side of Parramatta Road. If driving, you can access the canal via Marion Street, Leichhardt or Ramsay Street, Haberfield.