Home > bicycling, Travel > No shoulder to die on…riding in Australia

No shoulder to die on…riding in Australia

So my bike arrived safe and sound in Australia and after a long hard week of work I had the weekend to myself in and around Sydney. I had a triathlon on the Saturday evening and was planning a long ride on the Sunday but needed to make sure I had put the bike back together properly and that it was working so booked in a short ride in the early afternoon.

The Triathlon was west of the City at the Sydney Olympic rowing basin so I looked for rides around there. There was a short one called Bowen Mountain and something I did want to try out was some climbing while I was in and around the Blue Mountains. There were a few notes about it on the web and it looked good.

It was easy to find thanks to the GPS and having driven in New Zealand and the UK in the past wasn’t too hard to figure out the “wrong” side of the road driving thing. Soon enough I was parked, had the route planned out (about 20k) and off I went.

I instantly got a sense of Deja Vu!  The road is just wide enough for two cars to barely pass each other with little room on either side. When I was in England I find that the roads there were also very narrow and I didn’t feel safe at all. Eventually I had to find a really quiet off the beaten path route where cars were few and far between (although I didn’t expect huge horses!) then it was fine.

I was willing to give the UK roads in general a pass as they were properly laid down sometime around the time of King Arthur when cars were waaay in the future. But Australian roads were first planned and laid down in about 1950 it seems and at the edge of the road there was always a cliff it seemed and about 2-3 feet of nothingness where a shoulder could fit.

So here is my wide general statement on Australia. They seem to plan things around an English model.  While here in Canada we tend to follow American road planning in Australia they took the English model. While American roads tend to be wide with at least a bit of shoulder, English roads are narrow. There is plenty of room in Australia for wide roads, but that just wouldn’t feel like the home country.  I also found that anytime you compared Australia to England you got a mouthful on why that is sooo wrong, then they returned to their Cricket and BBC shows….

Anyways I digress. The road was narrow but interesting. See satellite view below.


At about 10km there is a turn off to the mountain. At the top I turned off my Garmin as I needed a rest and I forgot to turn it back on on the way down. Too bad as I did get up to over 60kph..wheeee!  But I missed that little bit so that is why the map and elevation graph has a bit of a gap in it.


Still gets steep towards the end and was fun to do that.  Soon enough was back at the car. The bike worked fine, except I was using my Mavic CXP 22s as I didn’t want to risk my pricey Eastons, and there were sluggish. 

With a successful ride behind me headed to the basin and my 5th tri of the year!!

Categories: bicycling, Travel
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