Here’s a cycling guide for all those who want to combine their two loves, whether you’re a serious lycra-clad rider, adventure seeker, or you’re after a leisurely pedal.
For more serious cyclists, you can start out early from Dickson and head north up the Federal Highway using the on-road bike lane. Turn left towards Sutton and continue to Gundaroo. It’s about 33km one-way. If you need a break in Gundaroo, grab a coffee at the quaint Cork Street Café. Then head back into Canberra.
Here you can try a hotcake stack and smooth coffee, or join other cyclists for a Campos blend around the corner at Good Brother. Head a few minutes south to Braddon for cafe options galore, including high quality coffee at Lonsdale Street Roasters or Barrio Collective Coffee.
The options are endless. Start at the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre and take the central loop from ‘bridge to bridge’ – about 4.9km. Or for a longer journey, explore Kingston Foreshore and the Jerrabomberra Wetlands on the eastern loop. For a picturesque exploration, the 16km western loop takes you to the National Museum of Australia and past the Yacht Club. The Westbourne Woods is a special treat on this longer loop.
You can start the central loop with a latte at The Deck at Regatta Point (right next to the Visitors Centre), or stop by Bookplate at the National Library of Australia for a leisurely flat white on the other side of the lake. You can rest your legs either indoors or outdoors at both these cafes.
If you take the eastern loop, be sure to stop by the Kingston cafes. Notable coffee can be found at 38 Espresso, Penny University, Bittersweet, and the Local Press Café. But that’s just the start, so you may need to monitor your caffeine intake.
A mountain biker’s delight, Stromlo Forest Park is only about 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre. Pack your helmet (and your nerve) and explore one of the many trails – all purposely built to suit a range of abilities. There’s 50km of cross country trails, plus a downhill track with a section aptly named, ‘Up the Anti’. The 2.5km Playground loop features 12 separate areas for working on jumps, rhythm and bridge riding skills.
The Canberra Centenary Trail is a mix of fire trails, walking tracks and shared paths covering 145km of Canberra’s natural and urban sites. You can easily ride a small section within hours, or attempt the entire trail, which is a three-day ride averaging just over 45km each day.
Enjoy the impressive view atop Mount Stromlo while you enjoy coffee, cake or lunch served by the friendly team at Southern X Stromlo. If you take the first section of the Centenary Trail starting at Parliament House, you can pop into Poppy’s Café at the Australian War Memorial along the way.
It’s handy to have an expert show you where to go. Mulga Bicycle Tours offer guided half-day tours at a leisurely pace so you can stop frequently for photos (and rests). You can explore the capital’s attraction highlights or Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. All tours include a bike and helmet, and an astute guide to keep your oriented.
Before starting your guided tour, enjoy a fair trade coffee and fresh local breakfast to build up your stamina at Močan & Green Grout. And did you know, these guys also make bicycles under the label Goodspeed Bicycle Co.!
If you can’t bring your own bike, book a bike hire through the Canberra and Region Visitors Centre.