Day 1: SCG to Penrith

by Stephen

A note to begin with.

It’s taken me almost two years to get around to writing these posts. I’ve often thought about writing them, but wondered how I would go about it. As a result, I’ve had to write these posts from memory. while they may be largely accurate, there be be some discrepancies. During the first week, it was my usual touring style. IE: a pannier-loaded bicycle, cycling along at my own pace. The second week was totally different, taking part in Pedal Cure 4 FightMND. I was with a group of other people and had the benefit of support vehicles, which means I didn’t have to carry my stuff on my bike. But the pace wasn’t my own. I did have to move along at a decent speed, particularly on the first day of that second week. Unfortunately, very few photographs were taken in the second week.

Pedal Cure 4 FightMND – 2020

28th February, 2020

SCG (09:29)
84.85 km
16.9 km/h
Penrith (17:38)
5 hr 01 min
84.85 km

The last time I started cycling from the SCG, it was bucketing down with rain. Today’s weather couldn’t have been any different – sunshine and clear skies. A much better start!

Sydney Cricket Ground, with much better weather!

As I was leaving, the Sydney Swans (an AFL footy club) were conducting a training session on the adjacent Tramway Oval. I had a quick chat to some of the staffers before pedalling off. My immediate route would take me up over Anzac Parade, before joining the cycleway along George Street. After a few back streets and a busy road or two, I joined the Alexandra Canal cycleway. This cycleway skirts around Sydney Airport. Unfortunately, the cycleway is slated for demolition to make way for the Sydney Gateway, which is a massive motorway interchange. Sydney Airport will also be taking advantage of that and increasing their own footprint. A nice replacement has been designed, but won’t be open for a number of years. In the meantime, a substandard temporary route will be in place.

A little planespotting on the Alexandra Canal cycleway.

After taking a few minutes out to watch planes land, I carried on. Not long after, I joined the Cooks River cycleway. This runs from Tempe to South Strathfield. It’s a fantastic path, but there are a couple of pinch points! At Canterbury, the path goes under Canterbury Road. It’s a little narrow! When I’m not riding my bike loaded, I can make it through, but at a slow speed and my head down. With my bike all loaded up, I was wondering whether I might end up having to take a detour. I decided to put it to the test.

Very narrow passage with not much headroom.

To my surprise, I made it through with only millimetres to spare. Not bad at all! An hour later, I reached Homebush Bay at Rhodes (which is not too far from where I live). I stopped there for a bit, and decided to take my drone for a little spin. I apologise in advance for the very amateur nature of the footage, as it was pretty much my first time flying it.

After my little play around, I decided it was time to move on and cross the river. The current railway bridge across the river began construction in 1952, but then cancelled. It wasn’t until the 1970s before work resumed, with the bridge finally opening in 1980. The old bridge was then pretty much left derelict for years, before being refurbished and reopened for pedestrian and cycle traffic.

The old Meadowbank railway bridge.

After reaching Parramatta, I grabbed lunch at one of the pubs. After spending too much time there, I decided I had to put my foot down and make haste on the remaining day’s distance to Penrith. I decided to reward myself with a nice large pizza for dinner.

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