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Best of Canberra callout – bike paths

By Gabrielle Kneipp - 9 February 2016 34

bicycle path

To continue with all things fitness related, let’s take a look at Canberra’s best bike path for Best of Canberra this week.

This town is the cycling capital of the nation with a great network of cycle paths and off-road trails. Whether it is recreational or used as a mode of transport, Canberrans love their cycling!

You probably have a few favourite trails, but if you’re new to Canberra or to cycling, you may be looking for ideas for where to head.

Pedal Power ACT includes some useful links to bike path maps of Canberra and the region, including the ACT Government’s Canberra and Queanbeyan Cycling and Walking map, here.

You can also find bike trails by scanning through those used regularly by cyclists using apps like Map My Ride (see a selection of most-used routes here).

There’s even a book, Cycling around Canberra by Bruce Ashley, that features suggested routes. It was published in 2011 but Ashley publishes updates on his website here.

Let me know your favourite track to turn the legs over in the comments below. I’ll visit the two most popular bike paths and decide the verdict in next week’s article.

What’s Your opinion?


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Best of Canberra callout – bike paths
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crackerpants 9:33 am 19 Feb 16

I’ve frequently taken the Cotter/Tidbinbilla loop road, almost always for scenic/touristy purposes (often combined with desperately trying to get a baby to have a nap purposes), not for commuting to work or rushing the kids to school. Yes, it’s annoying to get stuck behind a peleton, I just have to remind myself that their use of the road is every bit as legitimate as mine, and I’m in no hurry. The only time I had an issue on that road was on the stretch between the Stromlo turn-off and Casuarina sands, where I was behind a peleton with a few cars behind me, and the lead and rear riders were frantically waving at me to go past and getting rather cross. I know they were trying to help, but as a driver, *I* am responsible for the safety of me and my passengers, which means I must wait until *I* can see that it is safe to overtake. It’s not the first time I’ve had bike riders get cranky and weird because I’ve given way to them (on a green strip for eg.), but I won’t compromise my safety (or theirs) on someone else’s say-so.

Other than that, hats off to anyone getting out amongst it, looking after their health, and setting a great example to others (like my kids 🙂 )

wildturkeycanoe 6:34 am 19 Feb 16

Ezy said :

When you are in a group of riders there are rules – this includes using hand signals such as pointing out debri on the road to warn others behind you, to let you know if the group is slowing down. We also keep an eye on what is coming up behind us by simply shouting ‘car back’. Check out some of the hand signals here – every serious cyclist knows these: http://www.revolutioncycling.co.uk/cycling-hand-signals/

So if the riders are riding 2/3 abreast, you should see them revert to single file. This is what my riding buddies do. You have to remember that when we are out there, it is usually a time that people are still snoring – the roads are quiet and you can hear cars coming from behind.

As for the helmet laws – your’e an idiot if you are riding on the roads without a helmet. Having said that, they are talking more about low speed areas. Areas where these ‘olympian’ cyclists aren’t going to be dashing through at race pace. Now the scary fact that came out of this is that we have an extremely low number of children riding to school these days – I remember when I went to school it was hard to get a spot to lock my bike up. Now you peer into the bike lockup at schools and it’s so sparse! All of this equates to is more cars on the road – more cars dropping their kids off, more traffic during peak hour for you to get all hot under the collar about. Now I put money on it that you have waited in traffic for much much much longer than you have when you have been cursing at those cyclists on your sunday drive.

So all of you who are battling hard behind your keyboards, wait for the results of what bicycle path you should be riding on in Canberra, dust off your Repco and go for a roll. A bit of a warning though, you will be sore the next day from using those muscles you don’t use often. Yeah, who knew you used that many muscles to smile 🙂

I have never in my life seen a cyclist use a hand signal, except for the occasional turn indication.
I have never seen them merge to form a single file and that includes the peloton cruising the lake early in the mornings and the mob doing their Olympic training out towards the Brindabellas.
You do have great advice in the last paragraph, especially the bit about using the bike paths. If only more people took that advice. BTW, our local school has a quite well utilized bike cage and a cycling program to boot. They even ride to inter school sporting events instead of catching the bus but I’ve never seen them take up the entire road to get there.

wildturkeycanoe 6:24 am 19 Feb 16

Charlotte Harper said :

A bicycle is a toy vehicle? Elite road cyclists need to train on roads, surely. I don’t imagine it’d be possible to train for the Tour de France on Canberra’s bike paths, for example.

Formula 1, V8 Supercars, Go kart, Sprint Cars, Superbikes and many more sports are required to train on road surfaces. Do they get out onto King’s Highway, Cotter Road or indeed any other road in Australia or the world? No. They have their own allocated, purpose designed tracks for doing their practice on. What makes Olympic cyclists special? Why do they close off roads to do the Tour de France? These events are held on closed circuits, fenced off to prevent interaction with vehicular traffic. If it isn’t okay to let cars drive along with the cyclists during their events, why is it okay for them to use public roads to do their training?
Go and build a track for yourselves like every other road sports enthusiast or competitor and leave the rest of the road users to enjoy the “public” roads without hindrance. If you don’t agree, how would you feel about letting some race cars zoom past you doing 200km/h?

Ezy 7:58 am 18 Feb 16

Jono said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

I have been stuck behind a queue of cyclists on the Cotter Road, riding two to three abreast in big groups. Then they wonder why there is so much hatred towards them.

I quite commonly head down to Namadgi and I’ve been stuck behind similar groups riding on Boboyan Road for several kms at points where it’s unsafe to overtake. I’ve managed to slow down and waited for a safe place to go past, even if it’s been several minutes. No hatred, no anger. Maybe a handful of times in the last 20 years I’ve arrived my destination as much as 5 minutes later than I might have. How can such a minor inconvenience cause such a bizarrely disproportionate reaction?

I grew up in Tasmania and on the country roads down there I would regularly get caught for similar distances behind farmers on their tractors travelling at a similar pace. Best you don’t ever drive in Tassie – you’ll blow a gasket. 😉

Nice one Jono – more people like you please.

I would love to travel around Tasmania on a bike. A lot of my friends are doing it at the moment.

Jono 7:29 pm 17 Feb 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

I have been stuck behind a queue of cyclists on the Cotter Road, riding two to three abreast in big groups. Then they wonder why there is so much hatred towards them.

I quite commonly head down to Namadgi and I’ve been stuck behind similar groups riding on Boboyan Road for several kms at points where it’s unsafe to overtake. I’ve managed to slow down and waited for a safe place to go past, even if it’s been several minutes. No hatred, no anger. Maybe a handful of times in the last 20 years I’ve arrived my destination as much as 5 minutes later than I might have. How can such a minor inconvenience cause such a bizarrely disproportionate reaction?

I grew up in Tasmania and on the country roads down there I would regularly get caught for similar distances behind farmers on their tractors travelling at a similar pace. Best you don’t ever drive in Tassie – you’ll blow a gasket. 😉

dungfungus 8:28 am 17 Feb 16

OpenYourMind said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

spokes said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

Ezy said :

Dig this one.
If they are craving more ‘roadie’ stuff, then the Cotter/Uriarra loop is a must.

Please, please, please do not add to the Olympic wannabes that infest this road. It is narrow, with few overtaking lanes and the speed limit is between 80 and 100 with many blind corners. Putting bikes and cars together on such a road is asking for trouble and the only ones that will be hurt are the cyclists. That goes for Tharwa Road out to Namadgi National Park as well.
Think about it, you are going there for the scenery, right? What do think the tourists are doing when they drive out to the Cotter River on a Sunday morning? That’s right, they are gazing around at the beautiful hills, trees, cow paddocks and such. They may not have 100% of their focus on the road ahead and if a couple of bikes doing 20km/h pop into view at the last second as they round a bend, whilst another tourist with attention deficit syndrome comes the other way, it may quickly change the pleasant view into a horrendous scene from an apocalyptic zombie movie.
For a driver that loop can be something like this. Cruising speed….100km/h…happy, enjoying the Sunday cruise…oh, cyclists riding 3 abreast! Braaaaakes. 15km/h….no overtaking, oncoming vehicles….100m, 200m, 300m…no overtaking…turn the music up…overtake! Speed up again, then 500m later – cyclists. Braaaakes! 20km/h, no overtaking…100m, 200m, 500m, 1km. Overtake! Pedal to the metal, 70, 80, 90km/h. Cyclists again. Braaaakes! And so on and so forth for five more kilometers. Fuel consumption went from 9L/100km to 16L/100km. Relaxed and carefree demeanor turned to raging bull ready to kill. Blood pressure maxed out and patience worn through. Next bunch of cyclists didn’t get the same treatment, no slowing down, just crossed to other side of the road and planted it for 500m to get around the lot of ’em. Says cyclist riding along the center divider to his 2 mates next to him “Check out that idiot, what’s wrong with him?”
If you want countryside, there are Highways going north, south, east and west with room on the verge for cyclists so that cars can maintain heading and speed without the need to slow down or swerve into oncoming traffic.

I for one cannot wait for driverless cars, and hope road users with your attitude are early adopters.

What is the driverless car going to do in that situation? It will know the rules say it is safe to pass over double white lines, so will indeed cross to the other side to pass. Unaware to the computer that there is a vehicle coming the other way, it will end up in a head on collision on the apex. But the law said it was okay to pass. If not, the driverless car will be stuck for the entire 10km of unbroken lines doing the same speed as the cyclists. Won’t that be fun boys and girls!

One would expect a driverless car to obey the laws. A driverless car could pick a safe time to overtake and would have a much better idea of approaching vehicles than any human. I think Google car plots the trajectory and vectors of multiple objects in 360degrees. It is also being programmed to respond to cyclists hand signals and even erratic movements.

I drive around the Cotter a fair bit and I cycle around the Cotter/Uriarra loop. It’s really not a big deal for cars or cyclists so long as every shows others some respect.

The ultimate solution is the riderless bike.

wildturkeycanoe 7:55 am 17 Feb 16

OpenYourMind said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

spokes said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

Ezy said :

Dig this one.
If they are craving more ‘roadie’ stuff, then the Cotter/Uriarra loop is a must.

Please, please, please do not add to the Olympic wannabes that infest this road. It is narrow, with few overtaking lanes and the speed limit is between 80 and 100 with many blind corners. Putting bikes and cars together on such a road is asking for trouble and the only ones that will be hurt are the cyclists. That goes for Tharwa Road out to Namadgi National Park as well.
Think about it, you are going there for the scenery, right? What do think the tourists are doing when they drive out to the Cotter River on a Sunday morning? That’s right, they are gazing around at the beautiful hills, trees, cow paddocks and such. They may not have 100% of their focus on the road ahead and if a couple of bikes doing 20km/h pop into view at the last second as they round a bend, whilst another tourist with attention deficit syndrome comes the other way, it may quickly change the pleasant view into a horrendous scene from an apocalyptic zombie movie.
For a driver that loop can be something like this. Cruising speed….100km/h…happy, enjoying the Sunday cruise…oh, cyclists riding 3 abreast! Braaaaakes. 15km/h….no overtaking, oncoming vehicles….100m, 200m, 300m…no overtaking…turn the music up…overtake! Speed up again, then 500m later – cyclists. Braaaakes! 20km/h, no overtaking…100m, 200m, 500m, 1km. Overtake! Pedal to the metal, 70, 80, 90km/h. Cyclists again. Braaaakes! And so on and so forth for five more kilometers. Fuel consumption went from 9L/100km to 16L/100km. Relaxed and carefree demeanor turned to raging bull ready to kill. Blood pressure maxed out and patience worn through. Next bunch of cyclists didn’t get the same treatment, no slowing down, just crossed to other side of the road and planted it for 500m to get around the lot of ’em. Says cyclist riding along the center divider to his 2 mates next to him “Check out that idiot, what’s wrong with him?”
If you want countryside, there are Highways going north, south, east and west with room on the verge for cyclists so that cars can maintain heading and speed without the need to slow down or swerve into oncoming traffic.

I for one cannot wait for driverless cars, and hope road users with your attitude are early adopters.

What is the driverless car going to do in that situation? It will know the rules say it is safe to pass over double white lines, so will indeed cross to the other side to pass. Unaware to the computer that there is a vehicle coming the other way, it will end up in a head on collision on the apex. But the law said it was okay to pass. If not, the driverless car will be stuck for the entire 10km of unbroken lines doing the same speed as the cyclists. Won’t that be fun boys and girls!

One would expect a driverless car to obey the laws. A driverless car could pick a safe time to overtake and would have a much better idea of approaching vehicles than any human. I think Google car plots the trajectory and vectors of multiple objects in 360degrees. It is also being programmed to respond to cyclists hand signals and even erratic movements.

I drive around the Cotter a fair bit and I cycle around the Cotter/Uriarra loop. It’s really not a big deal for cars or cyclists so long as every shows others some respect.

Google cars may be able to see in 360 degrees but cannot see around a bend that is lined with trees and drops away, leaving oncoming cars invisible to its sensors. I have been stuck behind a queue of cyclists on the Cotter Road, riding two to three abreast in big groups. It was impossible [by law] to overtake some of these groups for many kilometers due to the lack of straight sections where cars weren’t coming the other way, or cyclists weren’t also approaching on their return loop. The place was crawling with them, making it a very busy road resembling the peak hour chaos we see going into the city at nine in the morning. Moving into a single file out of courtesy to let me pass would be the right thing to do but they do not do this. Cyclists will not let cars pass by giving room, especially on the Cotter and Namadgi loops, this is an undeniable fact. They ask cars to be patient and to share the road, but will not yield an inch in return. Then they wonder why there is so much hatred towards them.

Ezy 9:59 pm 16 Feb 16

When you are in a group of riders there are rules – this includes using hand signals such as pointing out debri on the road to warn others behind you, to let you know if the group is slowing down. We also keep an eye on what is coming up behind us by simply shouting ‘car back’. Check out some of the hand signals here – every serious cyclist knows these: http://www.revolutioncycling.co.uk/cycling-hand-signals/

So if the riders are riding 2/3 abreast, you should see them revert to single file. This is what my riding buddies do. You have to remember that when we are out there, it is usually a time that people are still snoring – the roads are quiet and you can hear cars coming from behind.

As for the helmet laws – your’e an idiot if you are riding on the roads without a helmet. Having said that, they are talking more about low speed areas. Areas where these ‘olympian’ cyclists aren’t going to be dashing through at race pace. Now the scary fact that came out of this is that we have an extremely low number of children riding to school these days – I remember when I went to school it was hard to get a spot to lock my bike up. Now you peer into the bike lockup at schools and it’s so sparse! All of this equates to is more cars on the road – more cars dropping their kids off, more traffic during peak hour for you to get all hot under the collar about. Now I put money on it that you have waited in traffic for much much much longer than you have when you have been cursing at those cyclists on your sunday drive.

So all of you who are battling hard behind your keyboards, wait for the results of what bicycle path you should be riding on in Canberra, dust off your Repco and go for a roll. A bit of a warning though, you will be sore the next day from using those muscles you don’t use often. Yeah, who knew you used that many muscles to smile 🙂

OpenYourMind 9:48 pm 16 Feb 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

spokes said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

Ezy said :

Dig this one.
If they are craving more ‘roadie’ stuff, then the Cotter/Uriarra loop is a must.

Please, please, please do not add to the Olympic wannabes that infest this road. It is narrow, with few overtaking lanes and the speed limit is between 80 and 100 with many blind corners. Putting bikes and cars together on such a road is asking for trouble and the only ones that will be hurt are the cyclists. That goes for Tharwa Road out to Namadgi National Park as well.
Think about it, you are going there for the scenery, right? What do think the tourists are doing when they drive out to the Cotter River on a Sunday morning? That’s right, they are gazing around at the beautiful hills, trees, cow paddocks and such. They may not have 100% of their focus on the road ahead and if a couple of bikes doing 20km/h pop into view at the last second as they round a bend, whilst another tourist with attention deficit syndrome comes the other way, it may quickly change the pleasant view into a horrendous scene from an apocalyptic zombie movie.
For a driver that loop can be something like this. Cruising speed….100km/h…happy, enjoying the Sunday cruise…oh, cyclists riding 3 abreast! Braaaaakes. 15km/h….no overtaking, oncoming vehicles….100m, 200m, 300m…no overtaking…turn the music up…overtake! Speed up again, then 500m later – cyclists. Braaaakes! 20km/h, no overtaking…100m, 200m, 500m, 1km. Overtake! Pedal to the metal, 70, 80, 90km/h. Cyclists again. Braaaakes! And so on and so forth for five more kilometers. Fuel consumption went from 9L/100km to 16L/100km. Relaxed and carefree demeanor turned to raging bull ready to kill. Blood pressure maxed out and patience worn through. Next bunch of cyclists didn’t get the same treatment, no slowing down, just crossed to other side of the road and planted it for 500m to get around the lot of ’em. Says cyclist riding along the center divider to his 2 mates next to him “Check out that idiot, what’s wrong with him?”
If you want countryside, there are Highways going north, south, east and west with room on the verge for cyclists so that cars can maintain heading and speed without the need to slow down or swerve into oncoming traffic.

I for one cannot wait for driverless cars, and hope road users with your attitude are early adopters.

What is the driverless car going to do in that situation? It will know the rules say it is safe to pass over double white lines, so will indeed cross to the other side to pass. Unaware to the computer that there is a vehicle coming the other way, it will end up in a head on collision on the apex. But the law said it was okay to pass. If not, the driverless car will be stuck for the entire 10km of unbroken lines doing the same speed as the cyclists. Won’t that be fun boys and girls!

One would expect a driverless car to obey the laws. A driverless car could pick a safe time to overtake and would have a much better idea of approaching vehicles than any human. I think Google car plots the trajectory and vectors of multiple objects in 360degrees. It is also being programmed to respond to cyclists hand signals and even erratic movements.

I drive around the Cotter a fair bit and I cycle around the Cotter/Uriarra loop. It’s really not a big deal for cars or cyclists so long as every shows others some respect.

rommeldog56 6:07 pm 16 Feb 16

Ezy said :

It really is simple. Chill out, share the road. If you are slowing down behind cyclists, use it as an opportunity to take in the surrounds a bit more until it is safe to over take. When you pass, you may even get a wave from the riders – they really appreciate it.

Oh – so its ok foe cyclists to ride 2 or 3 abreast …..how is that “sharing” ???

Anyway, if the views of wildturkey canoe concern u, what about the concept of bike helmet free zones proposed by the ACT Government !!!!

wildturkeycanoe 2:43 pm 16 Feb 16

spokes said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

Ezy said :

Dig this one.
If they are craving more ‘roadie’ stuff, then the Cotter/Uriarra loop is a must.

Please, please, please do not add to the Olympic wannabes that infest this road. It is narrow, with few overtaking lanes and the speed limit is between 80 and 100 with many blind corners. Putting bikes and cars together on such a road is asking for trouble and the only ones that will be hurt are the cyclists. That goes for Tharwa Road out to Namadgi National Park as well.
Think about it, you are going there for the scenery, right? What do think the tourists are doing when they drive out to the Cotter River on a Sunday morning? That’s right, they are gazing around at the beautiful hills, trees, cow paddocks and such. They may not have 100% of their focus on the road ahead and if a couple of bikes doing 20km/h pop into view at the last second as they round a bend, whilst another tourist with attention deficit syndrome comes the other way, it may quickly change the pleasant view into a horrendous scene from an apocalyptic zombie movie.
For a driver that loop can be something like this. Cruising speed….100km/h…happy, enjoying the Sunday cruise…oh, cyclists riding 3 abreast! Braaaaakes. 15km/h….no overtaking, oncoming vehicles….100m, 200m, 300m…no overtaking…turn the music up…overtake! Speed up again, then 500m later – cyclists. Braaaakes! 20km/h, no overtaking…100m, 200m, 500m, 1km. Overtake! Pedal to the metal, 70, 80, 90km/h. Cyclists again. Braaaakes! And so on and so forth for five more kilometers. Fuel consumption went from 9L/100km to 16L/100km. Relaxed and carefree demeanor turned to raging bull ready to kill. Blood pressure maxed out and patience worn through. Next bunch of cyclists didn’t get the same treatment, no slowing down, just crossed to other side of the road and planted it for 500m to get around the lot of ’em. Says cyclist riding along the center divider to his 2 mates next to him “Check out that idiot, what’s wrong with him?”
If you want countryside, there are Highways going north, south, east and west with room on the verge for cyclists so that cars can maintain heading and speed without the need to slow down or swerve into oncoming traffic.

I for one cannot wait for driverless cars, and hope road users with your attitude are early adopters.

What is the driverless car going to do in that situation? It will know the rules say it is safe to pass over double white lines, so will indeed cross to the other side to pass. Unaware to the computer that there is a vehicle coming the other way, it will end up in a head on collision on the apex. But the law said it was okay to pass. If not, the driverless car will be stuck for the entire 10km of unbroken lines doing the same speed as the cyclists. Won’t that be fun boys and girls!

HenryBG 2:10 pm 16 Feb 16

Ezy said :

This sort of road is extremely valuable to those that do train out on this roads – and yes, that does include weekend warriors and olympians.

Why is anybody “training” on the public road?

Can me and my mates use this stretch of road to race our billycarts?

The public road is no place for people to be playing with unregistered toy vehicles – even less a public road with no hard shoulder and 80-100km/h speed limits.

    Charlotte Harper 9:23 pm 16 Feb 16

    A bicycle is a toy vehicle? Elite road cyclists need to train on roads, surely. I don’t imagine it’d be possible to train for the Tour de France on Canberra’s bike paths, for example.

Ezy 8:25 am 16 Feb 16

rommeldog56 said :

Ezy said :

It was only a matter of time.

Can’t ride on roads because drivers get angry, can’t ride on footpaths because pedestrians get angry.

Sell your bikes. Drive everywhere.

Oh come on !

Thats not what wildturkeycanoe is saying in post 15. Its about one stretch of road only.

Well, no. WildTurkey has mentioned two stretches of road that causes him/her much rage. Which pretty much sums up ALL roads apart from highways where there are not dedicated cycle lanes.

Unfortunately it isn’t just the scenery as to why cyclists use these stretches of road – it’s the varied terrain. As an example – That steep short stretch out of the Cotter on your way to Tidbinbilla… you simply don’t get a road that short and steep on highways. This sort of road is extremely valuable to those that do train out on this roads – and yes, that does include weekend warriors and olympians.

It really is simple. Chill out, share the road. If you are slowing down behind cyclists, use it as an opportunity to take in the surrounds a bit more until it is safe to over take. When you pass, you may even get a wave from the riders – they really appreciate it.

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