WA’s enormous plains are home to hundreds of cycle trails; among them are the 1000km-plus Munda Biddi Trail, the Kep Track and numerous rail trails that cater for touring cyclists. For the thrillseeker, there are first-class mountain-bike tracks, which encompass jumps, obstacles and picturesque backdrops. It’s an extensive collection of trails that earmarks the state as one of the most admired cycling destinations in the world; the rides mentioned here are considered some of the finest.
Most urban cycle trails are dotted with rest stops and bike-friendly cafes that provide secure parking. There are extensive cycle trails in the Swan Valley, Perth Hills, and Rockingham to Perth precincts, and even a freeway path running from Mandurah to Perth for the truly fit and fanatic. Visit transport.wa.gov.au/cycling and click through the links for a comprehensive guide to Perth metro cycle trails.
Swan River Loop | It is possible, but for a few traffic breaks and minor detours, to walk or cycle from Riverside Gardens in Ascot, through the city, along the river past UWA all the way to Fremantle, across the bridges and back to the city via Attadale, Applecross and Como (consult the Perth Metro map). Any part of the journey will provide much needed exercise, and along the way there are great points of interest: the river itself, waterbirds, shoreline picnic grounds, real estate-with-a-view, fishing spots, boats and yachts, and riverside pubs and cafes.
Greenway | A city to sea, 12km shared pathway, this loops through parks and gardens on its way to City Beach from the CBD. It begins at the Perth Train Station (the red brick pathway) and follows the rail line past Harbour Town, Subiaco Oval and Subi Markets before winding through Wembley and Floreat as it passes Perry Lakes Stadium and Bold Park for a final uphill climb and an ocean-view finish.
Narrows Interchange | This links the two city bridges and is a starting/stopping point for the beautiful path trek around South Perth. It connects to entrance points for the Kings Park bike trail.
Busselton to Dunsborough Pathway | The 31km path stretching from Port Geographe to Point Dalling has been finished two years early (it’s taken 17 years to complete!). There are a couple of different loops within the main path so it’s ideal for kids with trainer wheels, as well as prams and wheelchairs (it’s mostly flat). Best of all, you’ll get fantastic coastline views along the way.
BIKING ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS
If you’re planning on completing a long-distance ride, be mindful that you’ll be carrying at least 20kg of supplies (pack anything less and you’ll find yourself cold, hungry, or both).
If you’re riding a multi-use track, call out to walkers or horseriders long before you reach them. It’s etiquette to stop on the side of the trail as soon as you see a horse and wait to continue your ride until they’ve passed.
Avoid transporting mud from one destination to another because you could be spreading dieback. Keep your bike clean. You might think skidding is fun but it only encourages erosion. Try to choose a speed that allows you to control your bike properly.
WA is blessed with exceptional scenery, from towering forests to rolling hills and farmland, and there are a number of rides over several hundred kilometres that make the most of the landscape. At more than 1000km (Mundaring to Albany), the Munda Biddi Trail takes in the most spectacular bush scenery in WA. You don’t need to be in a Lycra-clad brigade to ride the Munda Biddi, just make sure you’ve got decent equipment and a healthy stamina. Along with native flora, you’re likely to spot echidnas, kangaroos, wallabies and numerous species of reptiles and birds. If you’re tackling the trail in sections and are looking for a challenge, head to the northern part where you’ll grind up and down the river valleys in the Darling Scarp. Sleep overnight in the purpose-built shelters (spaced a day’s ride apart): the huts are impressively equipped with sleeping and sitting areas, water tanks and a toilet – some even include a bike-repair stand. Be sure to pack a tent anyway so you can travel at your own pace rather than gunning it to reach a shelter before nightfall. Also starting in Mundaring (specifically from Mundaring Weir) is the Kep Track, which finishes in Northam. The track is aligned to the Golden Pipeline Drive Trail, one of the greatest engineering feats in Australian history (cheers to CY O’Connor). Cycling whizzes can finish the 75km track in a day but it’s gruelling in parts, so an overnight stay is recommended; the local visitor centres will help you source accommodation. The first section through the hills is the most picturesque, and from there it gets straight, sandy and punishing. Once you’re clear of the sand, however, the descent into Northam is cruisy. If you want to dodge the desert-like portion, there are several access points, so you can park and ride from the towns along the way. A great ride through the Great Southern is the Denmark to Nornalup Rail Trail. About 60km of this rail trail is open, meandering along a beautiful section of the coast, with the eastern end (Denmark) packed with great spots for trailside picnics and photos. Spring is the best time to ride it; the wildflowers are blooming and the heat isn’t unbearable. If you decide to cycle during summer, prepare to be buzzed by flies as you pass through the dairy paddocks... they are seriously off-putting and make the ride far less enjoyable. The route is well signposted and you can grab a local pamphlet for $2, which has the complete map and is easy to follow. West of Denmark has limited or no mobile phone coverage and no amenities. For a short ride that’s suitable for families, try a cycle from Margaret River to Cowaramup. The ride
is ideal for all ages and any calibre of bikes, and is best accomplished at a leisurely pace. The 13.5km trip weaves through peppermint, jarrah and young karri forest, where you’ll get a firsthand view of the abundant birdlife. Best of all, the ride finishes at one Voyager Estate... stop in and reward your efforts by sampling some of their drops.
Even if you aren’t taking on daredevil jumps, cycling in WA can be pretty dangerous to yourself and to others. It’s worth becoming a member of Bicycling Western Australia; members are automatically covered by Australia’s premium bike crash insurance ($119 per year). Bicycling Western Australia gives you the support you need to ride your bike anywhere in Australia and New Zealand. For details, visit bwa.org.au.
Mountain biking at Busselton (photography WA Mount Bike Trail Guide).
Dwellingup 100 | Held every September, the 100km race includes the gruelling Turner Hill climb... don’t make this one your first mountain-biking event.
Cape to Cape | The four-day event during October takes riders through some of the most scenic bush from Cape Leeuwin (south of Margaret River) to Cape Naturaliste.
Karri Cup | The 100km race winds through the karri forest in Northcliffe every March. Compete either solo or in groups.
Gibb River Challenge | The long distance team ride every May is a great social way to see Australia’s most spectacular Kimberley landscapes.
Details and online booking at WA's largest online events guide scoop.com.au