Updated: Nov 28, 2019
Two Gorges is challenging in many ways, attracting Lycra-clad weekend warriors in their hundreds from all over Sydney. It is one of the most popular road cycling routes in our city. During the week, professional cyclists who represent our country, or visiting athletes from overseas, use this route for event training and race season preparation and a few hardy, brave souls actually cycle commute to work and back via the Gorges !
Both Gorges, and sections of the Pacific Highway have exquisite scenery and all the road surfaces are excellent, except for the potholes along Bay Road between Chilcott and Arcadia Roads. If you are lucky and early, you may even encounter a Lyrebird or a Bush Turkey on the climb up to Chilcott Road from the ferry, or perhaps enjoy some friendly banter with the RMS ferrymen on duty. The ferry actually moderates the traffic, so it is not uncommon to reach the horse paddocks without any cars squeezing past you.
Ascending or descending the Gorges to Berowra Waters or the historic Tunks Bridge truly tests one’s skills, focus and fitness. But once out of Galston Gorge, there are bicycle lanes along Galston Road through Hornsby Heights where one can relax and socialise. There are intermittent bike lanes and good road shoulder all along the Pacific Highway, and excellent new bike lanes along the suburban parts of Berowra Waters Road.
The safest, and most enjoyable way to ride this 42km circuit is anticlockwise: Galston > Hornsby > Pacific Highway > Berowra Waters > Arcadia > Galston (via Blacks, Bayfield, Knights, Bevan & Crosslands Roads) An average cyclist on a good road bike, stopping only for the ferry, will manage this in 2- 2.5hours. The pros do it in just 1.5 hours!
NOTE: Despite hundreds of cyclists using this circuit (with no alternative east/west linking route except Galston Gorge to cross the sheer-sided Berowra Creek) RMS has put up NO bicycle warning signs for drivers. Roads are narrow, and there are blind bends and tight switchback corners, so ride single file up the gorges. Avoid cycling through Galston Gorge during peak traffic hours- particularly WEST up to Galston village. As traffic congestion worsens on our inadequate surrounding roads, more angry and frustrated Sydney motorists are being funnelled into commuting via Galston Gorge, so be prepared to experience some verbal abuse and/or be hooted at- even though it's easier and quicker to overtake a cyclist than a slow, bad gorge driver! Don't ride beyond your abilities going downhill. When cornering, keep your speed under control, enter wide, exit narrow, keep eyes ahead and please stay on your side of the road.
POINTS OF INTEREST
DID YOU KNOW? If Strava is to be believed, the fastest male and female times to cycle up Galston Gorge switchbacks from Tunks Creek to Montview Road, Hornsby Heights, are around 6 minutes ? Hmm... do I smell e-bikes in the Leaderboards?
DIFFICULTY & DISTANCE: 42km. Because of motor vehicular traffic and gradients of the roads, this route is unsuitable for inexperienced or casual road cyclists.
3 GORGES: Add Bobbin Head (+22km) after riding Galston Gorge, by taking Edgeworth David & Burns Road from Hornsby CBD and turning left into Bobbin Head Road.
CLUBS & BUNCHES TO SPOT: Odd Spoke, NWCC, NRS, NSCC, Turramurra CC, GPM-Stulz, Möbius Future racing, NSWIS, Team Cherrybrook & more.
FACILITIES: Toilets, Coffee and water at Berowra Waters, either side of the ferry. Excellent coffee and friendly service throughout Galston Village, from: Vintage Pantry, Sugar & Salt, Steamyard, Galston Deli & Local Collective. Andy' s on Arcadia Road is another favourite coffee stop with cyclists.