Christmas in Canberra.
Those three words don’t often inspire one to deck the halls, but on this occasion I was pleasantly surprised.
Canberra, capital of Australia, has often received a bad wrap, labelled boring by those that don’t live there; however if you are a cyclist, whether that be mountain bike, road or rocking it with the family on bike paths, Canberra has an ingrained cycling culture that Sydney, Melbourne and many cities around the world would be envious of.
From the packs of road cyclists on a Saturday morning, through to riding internationally known trails at Stromlo, Marjura Pines and Kowen Forest, and a multitude of bike shops, Canberra has the variety of terrain, well planned cycling infrastructure and a relaxed lifestyle feel that encourages and feeds this local cycling and mountain bike community.
With limited time available and multiple family commitments during my stay, I was able to visit one of the lesser known trail networks, known as Bruce Ridge.
Bruce Ridge Mountain Bike Trails
Located behind the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Canberra Stadium, the Bruce Ridge mountain bike trails weave throughout this nature reserve, connected by a variety of fire roads and surrounded by bike paths. The trails built here are not too technically challenging, and have been thoughtfully bulit to create a flow that is fun to ride and reasonably easy to navigate.
There are a multitude of options and loops to create for a customized ride experience. While not formally signed, if you head to the top of the ridge, towards one of the two reservoirs, you will find a variety of trails that peel off the top of the ridge, in all directions.
The trails and riding reminded me of the Kurrajong trails at the You Yangs, near Melbourne, but with more dips and rises. Able to be ridden by all riding abilities, but with enough features and flowing sections to make it interesting for more advanced riders.
I look forward to future visits to Canberra and experience the Mt Stromlo trail network – let’s hope it happens before Xmas 2013!
A detailed trail map of Bruce Ridge can be found here. Many thanks to the Friends of Bruce Ridge for their efforts in establishing this mtb trail network in Canberra.
Canberra is well connected for a variety of transport connections. Driving from Sydney, expect approximately 3.5 hours along the Hume and Federal Hwy. Those driving from Melbourne can expect an all day road trip of 8 hours, along the Hume Fwy and Barton Hwy.
Eat & Drink:
Lonsdale St Roasters – So good they set up two locations 500m apart. The best coffee experience in Canberra, roasting a variety of beans on premise and serving quality cafe fare.
Wagamama – Dependable chain offering excellent noodles and quick service
Local Bike Shop:
Too numerous to mention. Check out Ride Canberra for a comprehensive list.
Riding Guides / Tour Companies:
mtnbike.com.au – Offers weekend tours with pick up’s from Sydney to Canberra, covering off the key trail networks in Canberra, including Bruce Ridge.