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Perth Cycling Infrastructure – Middle Swan Road

09 Apr

I have to start training up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer in October, which is 200 kilometres over two days (if you would like to make a donation check out my profile page here). I decided to go for a little ride through the Swan Valley out to Bells Rapids, though this time of year there really is not much water out there, and so I am going to call them Bells Dry Rocks.

The Bikely map of the route I took is here. I could have ridden up Great Northern Highway, but I decided to check out the condition of the shared path that is along Middle Swan Road – which is mainly there as far as I can tell, to encourage people to ride to the various wineries. I also wanted to try out some back streets, hence rode along Railway Crescent up to Cathedral Avenue. Railway Crescent is a quiet country road and I think I only saw two cars as I rode along there.

I had my new Gopro Hero 2 on my bars, but I need to make more room for it as I had clamped it over my bar tape, and the bar tape is too squishy to provide a rock-steady mount. Anyway, I did a video of the West Swan Rd section, which illustrates how poor the shared path actually is in places. It looks alright when you drive past it, but from a cyclist’s perspective, there is a lot of dirt on the path, the surface has some pretty bad cracks in places, there is a section with a bunch of power poles right in the middle (with no reflective treatments), and there is a lot of glass. I got a flat after riding this section, a thin piece of glass put quite a significant slash in my rear tyre. It’s easy to see why serious cyclists would prefer the road to this path. The video is sped up to 2x speed, and the fastest I sat on along here was about 27kph.

There is also a cycling/pedestrian only bridge at Maali Bridge Park – it’s the nicest cycling only bridge I’ve seen in Perth. It comes out at Sitella winery, which is one of my favorites – perhaps because it was where I went for my birthday? We drove out that time though, and I ate way too much food!

Anyway I will be making my way out to the Swan Valley more often in the coming months, perhaps to go wine tasting! Despite the path being a bit frustrating, I think it will be good as a slow/social ride. Next time I aim to go as far out as Bells I’ll probably go via Great Northern Highway which has a nice wide, smooth and fairly new bike lane.

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