I did my first ride up the Cooks River Cycleway. It is quite well constructed and they are doing more to upgrade the track. Some sections are closed with detours while they fix up the foreshore.
Apparently the Cooks River is the most polluted river in Sydney and the banks were done up decades ago with steel ribbing to protect the fore shore. The construction of the cycleway started in 1977.
Wile I did a circuit from the bottom of the track up to Canterbury road and then walked the cycleway after catching the train to Canterbury to take photos, I’ll just talk about the track heading from Canterbury road downstream to where the Cooks River meets Wolli Creel. But for now this will terminate at Illawarra Road as I have not taken photos of the final section.
The cycleway is shared with pedestrians. There are sports grounds along the route and many families with small children. Hence care needs to be taken along the whole route.
The start of the cycleway has a very narrow path underneath Canterbury Road. Trikes do not fit on this section of track as it is too narrow. To go around requires using the ramp to get up onto Canterbury Road from the upstream side. Canterbury Road can be very busy. I have had to ride up the hill to the traffic lights and then come down the other side. There is then a side road that leads to the Bowls Club. Use this road and then go cross country over the park to get back to the cycling track. It can be quite muddy here when there has been rain. Also there is no ramp on the gutter to get up from the road into the park.
There are very few hills on this section of track and the river is still tidal at Canterbury Road. The height error rate on the GPS data-logger is so high that it had trouble showing the small hills.
Starting at Canterbury Road, the cycleway passes under the lowest and narrowest bridge underpass I have ever seen. There is only room for one bike and scarcely enough room for your head. The track passes over what is the edging of the bridge and has a concrete wall on one side and a steel mesh fence on the other. I could not bring myself to ride through and had my foot out of the toe clip and pushing on the ground several times on each pass through. Cyclists need to enter very slowly to check that there are no on-coming cyclists.
The cycleway heads downstream from Canterbury Road on both sides of the Cooks River. Both tracks are in good condition and quite new. On the north side (the side with the underpass) it is bitumen for most of the way, on the south side concrete and very wide. There are two foot bridges suitable for cycling over as they are wide and there are no steps.
In this section, between the bridges is an old building, now converted to apartments. It is the old mill of the Australian Sugar Company. Apparently it was never profitable. They brought the cane down from Queensland by ship and processed it in the mill. It was constructed between 1840 and 1842 and had closed by 1855. The cycleway goes between the mill and it’s wharf where the barges brought in the sugar.
After the second foot bridge, the cycleway only continues on the north side of the river. Here it passes Ewen Park, with it’s sports grounds. On the day I was travelling the cycleway was closed from about half-way around the bend to the next bridge as they were reinstating the foreshore and rebuilding the cycle track. A detour along the local suburban street, with a temporary bicycle path made with barracades takes you around the other side of the tennis courts.
☺It was on this temporary section of path that I met two recumbant riders. One had a Trisled, made in Melbourne and the other an English trike with rear suspension. Unfortunately I did not remember the make of this trike. The Trisled rider had been riding his trike for a decade. The other man for about 1 year. They both swore by them and provided me with the final justification to go out and purchase a greenspeed GT3. I chose the GT3 over the Trisled because, as well as being made in Australia, it seemed better set up for touring. Thought the man on the Trisled said he had done quite a lot of touring on his trike. The man with the English Trike let me ride his trike a few times up and down this suburban street.
The bike track now crosses a wooden bridge. As a sufferer of vertigo, I chose to walk across this both times I crossed. Even though there are sides. The ramps at either end are quite twisty to fit into the confined space, meaning I had to slow right down. The bridge rattled a bit as I crossed.
Over the bridge there is a short section along a residential street (Lang Road) and then a crossing over Wardell Road. The track continues through Beaman Park. About half-way through this section there is another foot-bridge. Some of the maps show a cycle route going over this bridge into the Marrickville Golf Course. But there are steps at both ends so you would have to carry the bicyle up onto the bridge. The cycleway continues on past the bridge to Illawarra Road.
…to be continued with the section to Wolli Creek…
…also do it at night…
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