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Bike Riding in Canberra

Home > Canberra > Day Trips | Family | Free | School Holidays | Sport
by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun!
Published March 27th 2016
Enjoy the sights by pedal power this weekend
Bike riding around Canberra would have to be one of the easiest cities in the world to do so. With bike lanes on all the roads, warning signs to motorists and sealed bike paths around all the attractions, seeing Canberra by bike is an easy and scenic way to explore this fascinating city. For the casual bike rider who likes to exercise and combine this with some scenery along the way, there are numerous bike paths around the city to choose from. Some cyclists prefer riding on the road and others love the thrill of mountain bike riding. Whichever your preference, strap on your helmet this weekend and use pedal power to explore Canberra on these popular bike routes around the city.

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Bike riding around Lake Burley Griffin is a popular way to see the sights

For the Casual Bike Rider...
Firstly, riding a bike is something that most people assume that everyone can do. Pedal Power ACT has recognised that some people may get to adulthood and have not yet learned how to ride a bike, and therefore are missing out on some of the city's attractions and enjoyment. See the Cycle Well program for more information about adult tuition on how to ride - it's never too late!

If you are a visitor to Canberra and you would like a casual ride around Lake Burley Griffin, you can hire bikes from Mr Spokes bike hire to get you equipped. Mr Spokes has recently been taken over by the ACT Government as part of the City to the Lake project. Or alternatively, if you live in Canberra and have a bike at home, you can also catch a bus with your bike to get you to a starting point. 80% of Canberra's Action buses are fitted with bike racks at the front to transport your bike - see here for more details.

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Free bike racks on Action buses with room for two bikes. Source: ACT bus

If you prefer to ride into the city, Canberra's main arterial roads and parklands have bike paths so cyclists can ride through the city for work or leisure. See the ACT Cycling Map for the network to help you get around. With such a bike riding culture in Canberra, there are also bike racks and cages located all over the city to tie them up to.

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Bike racks on Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin is a popular choice for casual bike riding, with its flat paths and iconic scenery. It has a well sign posted cycling path, with a variety of routes to choose from depending on your ability and time. Take the scenic 4.9 km Central Loop between the bridges, the 9km Eastern Loop or the 16km Western Loop. See the map below, or get a closer look here on the ACT Tourism website.

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Lake Burely Griffin Cycling Loop. Source: ACT Tourism website

Lake Burley Griffin would have to be the most scenic casual bike ride in Canberra, with iconic landmarks and plenty of cafes to stop at for a cold drink. Popular cafes and eateries along the routes include the Bookplate Café, The Deck, Snapper on the Lake Fish and Chips, cafes along the Kingston Foreshore, food vans at Westside Acton Park, Ivy and the Fox Café and there is a coffee van located outside the National Carillon on weekends.

Situated right in the middle of the cycleway, just underneath the International Flag Display on Queen ElizabethTerrace, is Doms. This location makes it one of the most popular spots to have a break for a coffee, drink, gelato or lunch whilst out and about enjoying Canberra's cycle ways.

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Stop for a break at Dom's, on the edge of the lake

In the north, Lake Ginninderra has a 7 km cycling path for casual cyclists to enjoy the recreational area around the lake. Situated near Belconnen Town Centre, take in the views and stop off at the many picnic areas along the route to enjoy the scenery. In Gungahlin the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve has a variety of flat bike riding trails between 5.5 km return and 12 km return. Spot wildlife and learn about the history of this fascinating, protected area. In the south, Lake Tuggeranong Circuit has an enjoyable and flat 6.7 km bike path around the man made lake. With birdlife, BBQ areas and playgrounds to ride by, it is a popular area to exercise and bike ride in Tuggeranong.

For the Road Cyclist...
If you are happy to ride on the road, the back roads west of Canberra on Tourist Drive 5 are popular with road cyclists, between Cotter Reserve and Tharwa in the south. Often cyclists are seen taking a turnoff to the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex to fit in a drink at the Moon Rock Café before continuing on in either direction.

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Scenic road cycling on Tourist Drive 5

Popular uphill road cycling routes in Canberra include the sealed roads (and off-road management tracks) up to the Capital's Lookouts. Ride up Mount Ainslie (842m), Black Mountain (812m ), Red Hill (734m) and Mount Pleasant (663m), for challenging rides with views to enjoy at the top.

The National Arboretum also has a scenic loop road with challenging hills, where you can enjoy a bike ride with the benefits of beautiful scenery. The Forest Drive Loop at the National Arboretum is a popular and scenic bike ride through the forests of endangered trees. With bike racks located at the Arboretum, you could also include a rest and a drink at the cafe, before continuing on to ride up to the scenic Dairy Farmers Lookout for views over the Arboretum and city.

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View of Forest Drive and the National Arboretum from Dairy Farmers Lookout

There is also the Criterium Circuit at Stromlo Forest Park for those who want to try out new bikes, test their speed or teach kids how to ride their bikes. This facility has a 1.2 km circuit which suits all ages and abilities - on weekends it is particularly popular with families. There is also a children's cycle path and playground for them to enjoy this facility also.

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All ages and abilities on the Criterium Circuit

For the Mountain Biker...
If you prefer mountain biking action, there are numerous downhill tracks and facilities around the city outskirts, with cyclists coming from interstate to test themselves on Canberra's hills and long track rides. As mentioned above,Stromlo Forest Bike Park is a popular venue to bike ride for all ages. This world class facility located 15 kms south west of the city. Opened in 2007, the park has 50 km of mountain bike trails coming down the mountain which are popular with competitive sportspeople and recreational users of all ages and abilities. There are downhill runs, dirt jumps and even a "playground" to test your bike skills. The Bike Park draws in mountain bike enthusiasts (and TV presenters!) from across the country to test their skills at this extensive facility.

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Sunrise's James Tobin testing his skills at Stromlo Forest Bike Park in 2015. Source: Stromlo Facebook

For those who are interested in exploring more of Canberra's mountain biking regions, why not start with a small section of the Canberra Centenary Trail, the Bicentennial National Trail (which runs through the National Arboretum), Canberra's National Parks and fire trails (including Googong Foreshore fire trails) and for a family friendly bike ride, check out the tracks at Sparrow Hill in Kowan Forest. Namadgi National Park also is a favourite for many Canberrans and visitors to the city. For those visiting Canberra who need a mountain bike to hire, contact Capital Bicycle Hire in Evatt for a fitting.

This list is just a taste of bike riding options in Canberra. Make up your own route with your favourite views and cafes included in it, or take on an established path to challenge yourself each time you get on the bike. There are more routes and bike tracks not listed here, however if you enjoy your cycling why not join a local cycling group or Pedal Power ACT to get involved.

When our family goes bike riding, as casual cyclists, we enjoy having something to enjoy at the destination - whether it be a playground, coffee caravan or lookout. Another favourite option is to stop at this scenic location (below) with other Lake Burley Griffin cyclists and have a rest on the grass, before a leisurely ride back to the car. Wherever you go this weekend by pedal power, enjoy the ride.

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Snapper Fish and Chips in Yarralumla - take your fish and chips down to the lake and take in the view

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Why? Enjoy the scenery and wilderness at Canberra's doorstep
When: All year around
Where: Canberra, ACT,
Cost: Free!
Your Comment
Definitely taking my bike with me, next time I go to Canberra!
by Jasmine Crittenden (score: 2|144) 1713 days ago
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