This was a really cool semi-organised scavenger hunt style ride which took us through many back alleyways in Perth in search of clues.
They have a website here.
Read the rest at my new blog perthcyclist.net
Yesterday I threw two bikes into the back of the car and we headed out to John Forrest National Park, to ride the Heritage Rail Trail.
It is the end of summer here so everything is dry and dusty. Thankfully the area around the rail trail has escaped the bushfire season this year so everything was still alive. This trail is a mostly easy, wide trail which is a bit exposed, so it was fairly hot. It’s a well maintained trail for the most part and not technical at all.
One of the highlights is the old railway tunnel which we rode through. Here’s a video with some snippets from the ride.
I was very happy with the traction the fatty gets on the loose gravel stuff. Next step will be to do the entire rail trail (83 kms of it) and then try the Perth end of the Munda Biddi on fat.
Google cycling directions are still in beta for Perth, and this is what happened when we discovered a couple of bugs on our ride from Thornlie to Atwell which I wrote about in ‘Bike and Train: Half the Pain’.
It was a problem for me because I was not familiar at all with the area we would be cycling through, and because Google’s satellite images for Perth are so old that many don’t accurately represent the roads on the ground. If there isn’t a road on the satellite image, but the shadow of a road is there, it is usually safe to assume one has been built.
Well it wasn’t a safe bet this time!
Problem number 1 – a crucial part of Meriton Blvd has not been built yet, so we were forced to go back out to Nicholson Road.
Problem number 2 – Fraser Road stops when it gets to Jandakot Regional Park. There is a sandy track in it’s place, which is not really navigable for road bikes – it’s like a fire trail. We followed a track we thought was the right one, but it wasn’t. We ended up taking a rather large detour to get back on track.
I reported the bugs to Google and received an automated acknowledgement e-mail. The reporting process was pretty simple, you picked an option “ie the road was closed’ and pick the point at which this was a problem from a list.
The Meriton Boulevard problem was quickly resolved by Google, they send you an e-mail that says:
“Your Google Maps problem report has been reviewed, and you were right!”
Despite submitting the report at the beginning of December, I only just got confirmation that Google Maps have accepted my report regarding Fraser Road. I am not sure how they verified my report, but it seems that they have.
Google maps isn’t a great way to navigate even in the car sometimes, but I think the problems are amplified by the cycling directions because they try to route you through quiet roads. Turns out it would have been better to use more major roads as they have since been re-done and were two empty lanes with bike lanes along some of them as well.
The lesson here I guess is to use Google Maps with caution!
I went to the final of the Hopman Cup last night. Everyone seemed to be there to cheer Djockovic & Ivanovic at first, and Djokovic won his game against Verdasco, but Anabel Medina Garrigues fought gamely to defeat Ivanovic and the feeling in the Arena changed a little, with many many people supporting Spain. In fact the Anabel Medina Garrigues vs Ana Ivanovic match lasted for hours and pushed the end time of the match back to the wee hours of the morning.
All of the players seemed impressed with the size of the crowd, Anabel and Novac both said they thought the crowd was like being at a Grand Slam. It was pretty much a sell out.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand, bike parking. As the Arena is pretty much brand-spanking-new it reflects some of the ‘newer’ philosophy that people need to be encouraged to walk, cycle and take public transport to big events. That means that there is bike parking provided in the underground car park.
It’s pretty easy to get in there from the ‘old Entertainment Centre overpass’ – after you cross over the rail line, there’s now a little street that runs down the side of the Arena down to the car park.
There were only four bikes down there for a sell out crowd and we were responsible for two of them – though I think some of this is because it hasn’t been promoted!
There is space for about 4 or 5 bikes near Entrance B above ground, and that bike rack filled up as we were waiting in the queue to go in. There were also 4 or so bikes chained up to random objects. I suspect that these people didn’t know there was another bike rack available.
The racks themselves are the ‘corkscrew type’ which they already have in Northbridge. They do look kind of pretty but they are a bit awkward to use when compared to plain old U-racks which are still the most practical bike rack design that I have used.
When it was time to leave the underground car park, hundreds of other people were also leaving in their cars. One of the staff informed us that the ‘in’ ramp had been closed to traffic so we could use that without joining the queue of cars. This was great because my opposite number has a sore knee at the moment and has real trouble riding up inclines at any speed. After we rode up the ‘in’ ramp, we simply crossed the road to the overpass and home via the PSP, bypassing all the traffic jams and avoiding the train station at 2am on a Sunday morning.
I am going to see Pink at the Arena in the very near future so we will see if there are more patrons using the bike parking then.
It is certainly a great improvement on Burswood Dome (where we locked our bikes to the railing of a stairwell last time), and Subiaco Oval (where we usually find a random pole).
So next time you go to see something at Perth Arena, consider cycling there.
It’s the time of year when every weekend seems to fill up with endless Christmas parties. Other gatherings just add to the festivities, and the logistical nightmare if your friends have moved out to suburbs which are 30 or 40 kilometres from you!
On Saturday we had two gatherings to attend, one was 30ks away and the next one was 20ks from the first one – which was still 40ks from home! This would mean 90 kilometres of travel in one day. At the end we planned on parting ways, as I would go home, and Ms N would be going to yet another party!
As far as I saw it there were a few options –
1. Take the car, put a bike in the back, drive everywhere but I would ride home after the second gathering while Ms N could have the car.
2. Ride the whole way
3. Use the train system where possible – so from the city to the first party, then ride to the second party, then catch the train from there to the city again.
Ms N wasn’t keen on driving, and it was going to be pretty hot to do 90 kilometres, especially since I am not that fit at the moment!
Option 3 it was!
I still rode about 50 kilometres in total: from home to the city; from the train station to gathering number one; from gathering number one to gathering number two; from gathering number two to the train station; and then from the city home.
The train rides were very pleasant – on the way out at 11.30am there were only a couple of others on the train, and on the way home at 8:20pm there were a lot of people dressed to the nines ready for their night out in the pubs and clubs of Northbridge. They were all well behaved. The ride in the middle of the day from gathering one to gathering two was hard, and hot, and we got lost (thanks, google maps), but all in all I think it was the best option, creating a much more memorable day.
The train rides cost about half as much as if we had taken the car, and we got a good amount of exercise as well. I’d like to think other people do this type of thing in Perth, instead of just taking the default option and picking up the car keys. Even though Perth’s public transport system has many black holes and gaps, you can fill them quite effectively with a bicycle.
This is a summary post of the training rides that I have been doing in order to get me ready for the Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer. Mostly I have done these rides solo, sometimes with a buddy. They are not routes for big groups as they mostly involve Principle Shared Paths.
South Perth/Freeway/Roe Highway/Railway Parade – LOOP
The map on Bikely is here, this variation includes the Tony Discerni pathway through Maylands.
I do this one fairly frequently if I am by myself as it is 90% principal shared path.
The diversions around Fiona Stanley Hospital are constantly in flux, so all of my Freeway South rides will have slightly different wiggly bits around that area.
Bayswater/Bells Rapids via Middle Swan Road – OUT AND BACK
Middle Swan Road has a poorly maintained Principal Shared Path along it’s length. It has a lot of root damage, narrow parts, and power poles in the middle of it. Sometimes large groups of cyclists riding together to the wineries get in the way. This is the way to ride if you want to take your time and be as separated as possible from traffic.
Bayswater/Bells Rapids/Bells Lookout via Reid Highway & GREAT NORTHERN HIGHWAY – OUT AND BACK
Click for the GPS generated map of a ride I did out along Middle Swan Road/Railway Parade and then back via Great Northern Highway, crossing the river at Reid Highway.
I now prefer to ride Great Northern Highway, as it has a great, smooth, wide bike lane. There are multiple large trucks using the route so this can be off putting as they try to suck you in as they go past. The Reid Highway part is not actually on Reid Highway, there are a series of back roads with connecting bike paths running parallel to the highway which go past the Prison.
If you combine these two rides you can make a loop instead of an out and back ride. Obviously there are more climbs that you can ride around Campersic Road but I was battling a fierce headwind the time I went up there and so wasn’t up to much more than one climb!
Bayswater/City/Freeway North/Scarborough/North Fremantle/Bayswater – LOOP
This is an excellent summer ride. I ride down the Midland rail line Principle Shared Path, through the city, up the Freeway North path, then get off at Cedric Street and work through the back streets to the beach. Then you can follow the coast to Fremantle, then ride back via the Fremantle rail line.
Freeway South to Singleton – OUT AND BACK
My GPS generated map is here.
Patagoni Road has a wide sealed shoulder, the section of Mandurah Road has a rather rough sealed shoulder, and Singleton Beach Road is narrow and full of hoons, so I used the shared path.
Freeway South to Rockingham/Safety Bay Road and Wellard Road – OUT AND BACK/SMALL LOOP
I found this loop on a Department of Transport website, but the Wellard Road route is by far the most pleasant way in to Rockingham. Safety Bay Road has a disappearing sealed shoulder and a couple of two lane and very busy roundabouts to negotiate. I want to try riding down the coast, as the area in between the Freeway and the coast in the vicinity of Rockingham is not very scenic!
I hope that these rides give you some ideas. After you’ve done all these you might want to spend more time on the road or doing hills, or whatever else you want to do. The greatest thing about riding in Perth is that the number of cyclists on the road is constantly growing, and there is safety in numbers.
Here it is, the next instalment from the Ride to Conquer Cancer. This one is a slightly longer video as the scenery was a little more variable on Day 2. Hope you enjoy!
N (and many others) have been scouting around for coverage from the mainstream media and found nothing. Whilst that is slightly disappointing, at least we have the Internet. People who were at the event can cover the event, and I think that is truly great.
My workmates are all starting to complain because my fundraiser chocolates are no longer in the common kitchen. They say I should do the ride again next year and reinstate the chocolate supply. I am thinking that we might volunteer next year for a different experience and perspective.