Nothing beats the adrenalin rush of careering through the cliffs, deep canyons and pristine bushland of the Blue Mountains on a bike.
The World heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains area takes up over a million hectares. What’s more, the region is so densely forested that the world’s oldest tree – the Wollemi Pine - flourished here undetected in a remote valley until 1994.
So it’s no wonder the area has rides of all grades and distances. There are thousands of kilometres of fire trails here, traversing ridge lines on the escarpment and descending to the valleys far below. Feel the cool rainforest air on your face as you wind past cascading waterfalls, breathtaking panoramas, fern-filled gullies and magnificent flowers. This is one exhilarating outdoor adventure.
You can test your fitness on the hilly 120 kilometre Glenbrook to Wentworth Falls or cruise downhill on the 55 kilometre Wentworth Falls to Glenbrook route. It takes you through southern side of the mountains’ ridge, named the Blue Labyrinth by early bushwalkers confused by the maze of similar, even-topped ridges.
Explore the lookouts of the Jamison Valley or follow the route of explorer George Caley on the five hour ride along Mount Banks Road. Take in the sweeping views from basalt-capped Mount Banks and stare out over Grose River Gorge. Unlike Caley, who gave up hope of crossing the Blue Mountains when he saw the dense Grose Valley, you won’t return to Sydney disappointed.
Hit sealed roads on the easy 10 kilometre Blackheath tour past Govets Leap, Evans Lookout, Pulpit Rock and Perrys Lookdown. On Murphy’s Trail between Wentworth Falls and Woodford you can stop to swim at Ingar Picnic Ground. You’ll need the relief as this three to four hour ride includes some short sections of steep climbing.
Travel through the heath and forests of Kings Tableland on the long, challenging day’s ride from Wentworth Falls to McMahons Lookout. From here you can look down on Lake Burragorang, which supplies most of Sydney’s water.
Ride from Hanging Rock to Blackheath, jumping across water bars and next to postcard panoramas. Do the 30 kilometre round trip from Mount Victoria along historic tracks. Or spend two to three hours on Katoomba’s Cliff Drive past the famous Three Sisters. The cliff-top views are so spectacular you’ll have trouble keeping your eyes on the sealed road ahead.
If you love a race, join hundreds of cyclists on the 25 kilometre Careflight Woodford to Glenbrook Cycle Classic in late June or early July. Do it with an eye on the finish line or just for charity, alongside riders in crazy costumes.
Whether you want beauty or breakneck adrenalin, you can’t beat the Blue Mountains bike tracks.