We've all seen cyclists, kitted out aerodynamically, with compact cranks on their bikes, Garmins on their wrists, ready for a cool 200km ride through deadlocked Sydney traffic followed by a few mountains for good measure.
As for the rest of us, we really just want the breeze in our hair, a nice view, and not to have our whole body aching the day after a ride. So where to get that desirable combination of scenery, safety and ease of ride?
Here are my top 5 places to ride easy around Sydney:
This is a 7 km loop that allows you to begin at any point around Iron Cove and ride round the bay, back to your starting point. Depending upon the degree of difficulty that you are looking for you can go clockwise around the route (this is easier with only a bit of uphill riding), or anti-clockwise which involves a pretty steep upward climb - something to work up to for most of us.
There are lots of parks to stop at along the way including Brett Park, which has a toilet that is open during the day. You can pause and take in a view of the water at any point, or even stop off and use the outdoor workout equipment at Leichhardt Park.
The GreenWay is an urban green corridor linking Iron Cove with the Cooks River. It passes through Haberfield, Leichhardt, Summer Hill, Dulwich Hill and Hurlstone Park. Still under construction, there is traffic along the second half of this route. But much of it involves riding along quiet residential streets.
Perhaps join the GreenWay where the Hawthorne Parade meets the Bay Run. If you are up to it, this is a great way to extend the Bay Run ride. Pass through Richard Murden Reserve and across Marion Street. Beside the canal you will see a small pathway, where you can ride beneath trees that cover and dapple you with sunlight on a bright day. Avoid busy Parramatta Road by climbing over the bridge that makes up part of the Taverners Hill Light Rail Station.
As you go along the rest of the GreenWay, look out for clues that show you the next direction to take. These clues will either be in the form of green signs on poles, or white-painted direction markers on the pavement. If that seems a little too hit and miss for you, check out the map of the GreenWay, or keep Google Maps handy.
Your reward at the end of the ride is the Cooks River - which is part of another favourite route with weekend bike riders and more serious cyclists alike.
Centenniel Parklands is a very popular cycling spot for its shared cycle ways, proximity to the city of Sydney and the scenery. There is also a learners cycleway within the Park so this makes the site handy for teaching kids to cycle. Rollerblading, horse riding, running and walking are also popular here so it can get pretty busy and there is more need than ever to be aware of all the other road users.
Other benefits of the site are the various activities you can do at the park lands - there are lots of water bodies to enjoy a rest by, visit the Labyrinth for some meditative walking, have a picnic, visit one of the many children's play areas or do some bird watching.
This is an old favourite for Sydneysiders , especially considering that they offer bike hire on site. Your route is entirely up to you - just meander around until you find a good picnic spot to stop and stretch your legs. It's wonderfully easy riding for all ages, there's a number of different paths, and you can choose to stay within the immediate Sydney Olympic Park area or move out into Bicentennial Park and Millennium Parklands.
I like to take the route that leads to Blaxland Riverside Park - and get childish on the adult-sized play equipment they have there.
Whatever you do, at some point make sure you head to Wentworth Common and go up the easily-scaled conical hill there that allows you to walk or cycle like a corkscrew up its sides. It's a novel ride and you will get a fantastic view from the top!
Pause at Haslam's Pier and admire this dynamic water sculpture