Last Sunday, we joined a small group of Sydney Easy Riders for this route but, as it happened, we were only able to do a small part due to a commitment with a friend that afternoon; inspired by the route, however, we returned today to enjoy the whole ride.
We live in the southern north shore of Sydney which means, if we want to go anywhere north, we are pretty much forced to take the stop start Pacific Highway towards Hornsby. Or that’s what we had believed until, again last week, we were shown another way. A back way. A way that minimises traffic lights, narrow lanes and idiot drivers. A way we shall always travel from now on. Oh glory!
For those that care, here is a link to the route in Google Maps.
We took the motorway two junctions north and came off at Berowra, our usual exit for the Old Pacific Highway.
I haven’t written much about this road before although it’s pretty much the default morning ride for a substational number of motorbikers living in Sydney, at least in the northern side of the city. It’s a beautifully maintained undulating, winding road, with opportunities to dig into corners and show off your shiny motorbike to the many other riders who are, always, out and about at the weekend. The only problems with this road are low speed limits (60kph in some places!); police, ready to catch someone accidentally exceeding these crazy limits; and quite a few idiots who believe that this road is the place to pretend they are Valentino Rossi or (popular in our household), Maverick Vinales! The latter problem often ends in fines, bruises and much worse. It’s kind of no wonder the first two problems exist.
Still, it’s a great place to ride and check out other motorbikes in the process.
We had a quick break at the Old Road Cafe, a friendly, rustic place with clean toilets, reasonable coffee and lots of other motorbikers.
We then rode further north, enjoying the tighter, quieter bends of this stretch of road being further from Sydney. Many will make it as far as Brooklyn or the Old Road Cafe, before turning back home but I reckon the later stretch of the road is much better. The road is narrower with cuttings of sandstone banking the route, and gorgeous gums hanging over, creating a much more rural experience than the earlier stretches.
I’ve learned so many skills over my two and half years of riding, the trouble is that I’ve learned but I haven’t actually managed to implement many of the learnings. So, I’ve been trying to practice individual skills every time I am out. Today, I was concentrating on my body position, pointing my shoulder towards the direction I am turned and, wow, it’s actually making a huge difference. And these roads are just perfect for this, a great way to build my confidence.
But I digress. We reached the end of this stretch of the Old Pacific Highway, and took a left towards Wiseman’s Ferry. We followed this not great but not terrible road for about 15 minutes before turning right towards Wollombi on arrival at Central Mangrove.
We’ve travelled this road in the other direction on a previous trip, it follows a ridge line before dropping down into a valley where it then appears to follow the river line, a day away from flooding on the previous time we took this road. There is also an awesome stretch of tight bends, including the notorious “Lemming Corner” with the reputation of catching out many over-confident riders, I took it carefully.
At Wollombi, we continued straight on towards Broke on a narrow road, less well maintained than others we had experienced today, potholes had been patched, at least, but evidence of heavy rain damage was still there.
At Broke, we filled with fuel, Gary likes to run his fuel tank down to fumes, one day this will catch us out but not today.
The final, very long stretch, of the day was 140km towards Windsor in Sydney’s north west, another day trip mecca for Sydney motorbikers and a real treat, with great surfaces, bendy bits and stunning views across the tree topped ridges towards the southern end as we approach Colo Heights.
It was clearly late in the day as we passed the iconic Grey Gum Cafe as there weren’t many bikes parked there, the weather was glorious today so I am certain business had been good.
We had a final break at a roadhouse in Colo Heights where I made Gary take a picture of Rita and I, I reckon this one was the best:
We arrived home around 4.45, having left at 9.15, it was a solid 400km of riding. And very happy we were to have been given the idea by the Sydney Easy Riders group, always worth getting in the occasional group ride, even if you can’t do the whole ride as you never know what new adventure you might get introduced to!