Rejuvenate yourself this spring!
It's time to de-stress by putting down your phone and getting on your bike to go for a ride around Perth.
On 22 November, Go for a Ride Day is designed to inspire us all to get moving.
The origin of the special day is unclear, but the timing is perfect for Australians wanting to soak up the fresh spring air and tone up in time for summer. While the idea of Go for a Ride Day is simply to get out and about by taking any kind of ride - car, bike, horseback, kayak or even Segway - our guide zooms in on Perth's bike trails.
Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise that has the added benefit of letting you breathe in the sea or country air and watch the world go past at the same time. And Perth is the perfect place to do it. So dust off your bikes, or hire them from one of several outlets, and go for an invigorating ride before it gets too hot to do anything but swim.
Where Are Perth's Best Bike Trails?
Perth is riddled with bike paths for all abilities. A ride around Rottnest Island's beautiful bays, along Perth's beach paths or a short section of the Swan River are ideal starters to rebuild fitness or for the young and inexperienced.
Once you're feeling energised, tackle a longer ride, such as the picturesque Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Trail, which is still graded as easy. From here, several trails of various grades will help you build up to some exhilarating mountain bike riding in the Perth Hills.
Go for a Ride around the Rivers
The banks of the Swan and Canning River waterways seem endless, taking you to panoramic lookouts, through parks and reserves, past riverfront mansions, and right along the city waterfront.
Ride Around the Rivers is a collection of trails and loops, allowing you to select anything from a short 10 minute section right up to a full 50km riding along Perth's picturesque river banks. The further you go, the greater your chance of spotting dolphins along the way. You'll also find plenty of cafes, places to relax and photo opportunities.
Download a map from the Department of Transport and set off to the Causeway car park on Riverside Drive to select your bicycles from About Bike Hire. The Narrows Bridge, 3km south along the river, allows you to loop back through the parks of South Perth, the bike path taking you north again to the Causeway - an easy ride for kids.
Alternatively, keep cycling past the base of Kings Park on Mount Eliza, along Matilda Bay and on to the tranquil riverside suburbs and yacht clubs. The path starts to get a little bit hilly at times here, and there are some sections where you'll have to ride along the road, which can get a bit confusing; let your map guide you. When you reach Mosman Bay, take a break at lookout points near Mosmans Restaurant and Chidley Point.
After crossing the Stirling Bridge at North Fremantle, the trail takes you to Blackwall Reach and Point Walter Reserve. This is where you begin to feel as if you're no longer in a city - a great place to stop for a picnic and a dip in the river.
From here, views across from the bike trail to Perth City open up as you head through more reserves and on to Point Heathcote lookout. Cruise past the South of Perth Yacht Club and Raffles Hotel to cross Canning Bridge and start heading north again into South Perth. Cross the Narrows Bridge, and you're back to the start.
Reward yourselves with a good feed at The Point Bar and Grill overlooking the river right next to the car park.
Go for a Ride along the Beaches
Riding along the Perth coastline is an invigorating gift of fresh air and freedom. You can start at almost any point as the walk and bike paths run right along the beaches. The Department of Transport maps are at the following links: Sunset Coast Northern and Sunset Coast Southern.
There's a great bike hire place in South Fremantle, South Beach Cycles, and Spinway has a series of automated bike hire terminals at various locations around Perth, including Fremantle, North Fremantle and Scarborough.
Burns Beach to Marmion, or vice versa, is a popular section of the Perth beaches bike trail, with signage telling you about the local flora and fauna. The trail takes you past Sorrento Quay and Hillarys Boat Harbour - the perfect place to stop for refreshments - and on to Marmion Marine Park.
South of Marmion, continue on to Mettams Pool at North Beach. Kids will love splashing around in the rock pools and snorkelling at Mettams, and there are more great cafes along the North Beach strip and into Trigg.
Scarborough is next, with its new waterfront development, including the Olympic size outdoor pool. If you can haul yourselves out of the water, it's worth continuing south to the beautiful green City Beach reserves and an oceanfront cafe restaurant for lunch. For families, The Kiosk at Floreat is perfect, or check out Odyssea and Hamptons at City Beach itself.
The southern stretches of Perth's beach bike path continue by winding through Swanbourne to the iconic Indiana Cottesloe Beach, where you can find even more ways to fill up on great food or just rehydrate. There are great oceanfront cafes along Marine Parade too, and of course you must have a quick dip at one of Australia's most famous beaches.
Go for a Ride through the Swan Valley
Treat yourselves to some revitalising bike riding around Perth's delightful Swan Valley wine region. Cycling from winery to gift shop to art gallery to gourmet food outlet is a wonderful way to indulge while getting fit all at once.
The 30km Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Trail follows West Swan Road from Guildford, on a path shared with walkers, and is graded as easy. Interpretive signs enrich the journey with stories of historical characters who have helped to shape the region.
Allow a full day trip from Perth for this bike trail. While it can be completed in half a day, you'll be stopping continually at the Valley's famous fresh produce stalls, or to browse shops selling local crafts and snack on cheeses or freshly baked treats. There are plenty of cellar doors and breweries too, but take care - bikes can be wobbly!
Make sure you stop at the fabulous Mandoon Estate for lunch, complete with cellar door, brewery, art gallery and playground in beautifully kept grounds on the banks of the Swan. You'll also pass Providore gourmet food store, Margaret River Chocolate Co and Windarra Honey - all impossible to resist.
Maps are available from TrailsWA.com.au or the Swan Valley Visitor Centre, located at the start of the trail. Note that this isn't a loop trail, so you'll need to either ride back or park cars with bike racks at each end.
Spinway has a bike hire terminal near Jarrah Ridge Wines, or to get to the bike trail from Perth, hire bicycles in the city and transport them by rail to Guildford. Go for a ride around the town itself before you set off to explore the grand and picturesque 19th century buildings of one of WA's oldest settlements.
Go for a Ride in the Perth Hills
When you're ready to take on something slightly more challenging, there are several bike trails in the Perth Hills of various kinds from short and easy to bum-numbingly long. Start at Munda Biddi Mountain Bike Hire in Helena Valley.
The most famous mountain bike trail in Perth is the Munda Biddi, which meanders all the way from Mundaring all the way to Albany on the south coast. While 1,000km might be a bit much to take on just yet, the trail can be tackled in short easy sections, without leaving the Perth Hills. This is a fun experience for cyclists of all ages who are new to mountain biking.
Other easy bush tracks are the 41km Railway Reserve Heritage Trail loop and the 75km Kep Track, also popular with walkers and horse-riders. Both trails follow old railway lines with scenic views and are ideal if you want to go for a ride on a rougher surface before taking on more challenging mountain bike routes.
A slightly more difficult but exhilarating loop, great for learners, is Forsyths Mill, 11km east of Mundaring. This is where you get into real mountain biking, with obstacles, sharp turns and log ramps. The track has a shorter loop for beginners too.
Experienced mountain bikers will want to go for a ride near Kalamunda, where a network of trails include some very challenging experiences. With the Camakazi Trail being one of the more moderate, you get the picture. One of the most difficult is the Lancaster - not for the faint-hearted!
Other Places to Go for a Ride
There are some excellent forest rides in the Peel Region, especially around Jarrahdale and Dwellingup. Langford Park in Jarrahdale is especially popular for all mountain biking abilities, located in a pretty area with wineries and cafes around to help you make a day of it. Turner Hill between Pinjarra and Dwellingup also comes highly recommended as an enjoyable mountain bike ride for the whole family, with some challenges.
Kings Park provides some easy bike paths in Perth for young learners, with longer, hillier trails through the gorgeous bushy areas and manicured gardens for some great aerobic exercise and unbeatable views of the city. End your ride at Sticky Beaks cafe, which has a playground for small children, or Zamia Cafe at the spacious May Drive Parkland - ideal for larger groups and older kids. Click to find out why Kings Park Is the King of All Parks
Rottnest Island is so famous for its bike paths that it hardly needs a mention. Take your bikes across on the ferry or hire them when you arrive. The paths circle the island with some steep hilly sections - exhilarating when you're riding down them! Delightful sandy bays and lovely views help to distract you from your aching legs, and you'll end up feeling utterly refreshed. The island is a relatively safe place for kids to cycle around, as no vehicles are allowed.
Paul's ECO E Bike Tours
A post on bike riding in Perth wouldn't be complete without mentioning Paul's ECO E Bike Tours - easy guided tours on electric bikes, so all abilities aged 14 and up can join in.
The average distance for these tours is around 40km, and along the way you'll gain a fascinating insight into the flora, fauna and indigenous culture of the Swan Coastal Plain and Rottnest Island. Be ready to go swimming or snorkelling if it's a hot day.
Tours cost $65.00-$75.00 or $100.00 for Rottnest Island.