It’s been a pretty miserable winter in Canberra – overcast, cold and unusually wet.
Combined with the 14-hour work days that come with the start-up life (and yes Luke Healy … DMW … but I’d rather die doing something I love :-)), my bike riding has been spectacularly poor.
So rather than complain, I decided to take the opportunity to pop down to Wollongong and see our truly awesome digital guru Justine Powell and talk some business … and then go on the beautiful beachside ride north from Wollongong and back again.
I didn’t know the path – so I just rode until I ran out of bike path and returned.
The ride is spectacular. Panoramic views of the beach on one side and the escarpment on the other – WOWSERS!!
The ride was 32 km. It is very flat and sometimes a bit scary with strollers, golden oldie hoon mobiles (electric carts), dogs and joggers with headphones and a tendency to dart left or right like a trippin’ kangaroo.
I started off at Spearman Cycles and started off with the usual "Hi, I like cycling. I brought my bike, can you help me?"
Always a good test to baseline my expectations of a destination's cycle tourism friendliness. The response was friendly, but directions consisted of "Go that way, old man, and you’ll find what you’re after." No paper map. No digital map. But good intentions!
And with a sultry 21 degrees and full sun on my back I was in a great mood.
I set off struggling to keep up with Justine who was on her knobbly tyred MTB and me on my lean road bike (yes … even with tyre advantage I struggled).
We had to ride through the back streets of Wollongong until we hit the bike path. The bike paths were generally well marked but did lose a bit at intersections, plenty of rest stops and fountains and lots of places to stop for food on the way. And YES … I scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream.
Beautiful views and a range of riders from MAMILs to regular recreational riders like me.
I wound my way back to Spearman’s and stopped off for lunch at the adjacent Lechappe Cycle Cafe.
Outside with the sun on my back and the feeling of riding a bike again … this was a highlight.
Lechappe is a proper bike friendly café (although a bike rack would be good!). It’s attached to the side of the cycle shop, has a great feel, a choice of indoor and outdoor seating and a child-friendly playground. Very themed, great coffee and superb food.
While I couldn’t get time with the owner (always a very good sign when he defers chatting to serve customers), this is one of the better cafés I’ve been to lately.
If you’re a cyclist or a tourist I strongly recommend going along and enjoy the food, coffee and the excellent service.
If you are in Wollongong and can find a bike and can find some directions, get yourself on the beachside ride. It's full of stunning scenery and is well-serviced for a relaxing sightseeing bike trip.
For fantastic beachside rides in your area, have a browse through CycleLifeHQ's cycling destination list.