Cycling in Sydney - Putney Park Loop.

Location - Sydney, Australia
Ride -  Putney Park loop - from Putney Park to Ryde Bridge then around through Concord Hospital grounds and back across to Putney on the Mortlake Ferry, Sydney.
Distance -  A pathetic 12.3 km
Terrain - Mostly bike path but with a long dirt stretch in front of the horse paddocks near Concord Hospital
Difficulty - Easy - but very muddy in parts after rain
Highlights - Crossing the Parramatta River on the Mortlake punt.

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Todays effort was just woeful. Actually, a couple of day's ago really, but who's going to know.

It was a glorious Sydney day, beautiful enough to make me forget the pain from my broken rib (see the postscript to skiing with No. 1 son ) and risk an easy cycle. The doctor said 'no white-water rafting',  (do I look like the white-water rafting type), but he didn't say anything about cycling and I chose not to ask.

It's easy to cycle 20 kms on this ride by following the path in front of the Breakfast Point development as far as Canada Bay. On a nice day it's one of the prettiest rides in Sydney, following the Parramatta River along its widest stretches. For the truly fanatical, and with a little bit of cutting through streets, you can also do a much longer loop around the foreshore from Ryde Bridge to Gladesville Bridge.

Modern art by the river.

We've never done the 'truly fanatical' loop. I'm sure that if we had road bikes rather than mountain bikes we would do it easily - well that's our excuse and we're sticking to it, but we do usually manage to go further than 12 km.

I started out badly! The idea of pushing 'through the pain', I have decided, is very overrated. It wasn't so much the sore rib, cunningly masked by loads of Nurofen, but just a general feeling of lethargy and crappiness. Maybe all that Nurofen wasn't such a good idea after all.

We always start this cycle at Ryde Bridge and finish by crossing back across the river on the Mortlake Punt. There is an early turn around point where we ride past the punt on the way out toward Canada Bay.  We've never taken this option before because - well, we're not wimps - but today we swallowed our self-respect and abandoned the cycle.

Beautiful views  to Uralla and Concord Hospital

Ironically the decision to head home early wasn't driven by me - honestly.  I had recovered fairly well by then - see 'pushing through the pain'. David, on the other hand, has been nursing a sore ankle - maybe we just shouldn't ski! He thinks it was caused by the ski boots he hired. He's never really been happy with his boots and decided to try hiring a pair. Why is it so impossible to find comfortable ski boots. The more I write this the more I think we're not natural skiers. The injury didn't seem to be too bad when we set out but something about cycling aggravated it and by the time we got to the punt he could only be described as 'the walking wounded'.   I wasn't really sorry, although I had to make a show of the fact that I could have gone on, of course.

It is hard to imagine there would be horse paddocks in suburbia.

The trip back across the Parramatta River is just magical. If you live in Sydney and you haven't been on the Mortlake Ferry you should do it just once. Take the kids, they'll love it. It's free and you can walk, cycle or drive.  How many cities of four and a half million people are there in the world with an old fashioned car ferry right in the centre? My grandmother used to talk about the punt sometimes and I always thought she was imagining it, or just remembering something from her childhood, until long after she died, I discovered that it actually exists and, best of all it is situated mercifully close to where we had parked the car.

Returning home on the Mortlake Punt

It is Saturday today and the weather is just glorious again, but instead of heading off on our bikes, David and I might just sit on the terrace with a nice cup of tea, a good book and enjoy the sunshine.

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