Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

johngwheeler
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Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby johngwheeler » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:13 pm

Hi,

Does anybody know of any off-road trails that could be suitable for Gravel / Cyclocross bikes (i.e. 30-40mm tyres, but no suspension)?

I've tried a few trails around Lane Cove & Ku-ring-gai parks, but found these to be very rocky / lots of tree-roots, and not suitable for my CX bike.

What I'd like to find is a trail that has reasonably smooth dirt, grass trails or smallish gravel without "rock gardens". A smooth fire-trail or rail-trail would be ideal.

Anything like this around Sydney?

Thanks!

John.

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Bunged Knee
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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby Bunged Knee » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:47 pm

Have you heard of Wylde MTB Trail from the Entrance Range Road, off Elizabeth Drive, Cecil Park, NSW near the M7?

https://www.westernsydneyparklands.com.au/places-to-go/wylde-mtb-trail/

There`s a brochure and map of this trail in this url.

ps, I haven`t been there as I don`t have a Cyclocross or MTB.
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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby tcdev » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:04 pm

It's been a while but the fire trail along Woronora Pipeline from memory would probably fit the bill for the most part. I believe it starts at Heathcote Rd, and may even be more easily accessible there, but I've always accessed it via Oliver St, with a bit of a rock scramble down to the Pipeline Tail (carrying your bike for a few mins - you should be no stranger to that!) You can follow the trail all the way to Woronora Dam, stop and have lunch etc overlooking the water, then reverse out for a 20km+ round trip. A bit of a climb in there as well but of course that's the fun bit on the way back!

Hopefully this is public:
<https://www.strava.com/activities/321500778>

The good thing is you can catch a train to Heathcote Station and you're not far from the trail.

In fact I've just bought a new set of off-road tyres, and should make a point to do this again in the next week or two (it's been too long)... you've inspired me! ;)

Disclaimer: I've only ridden it on MTB but from what little I know about gravel grinding/CX and your description, I'm pretty sure it would be suitable. I have ridden it with a mate on road tyres and no suspension, and he survived!
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johngwheeler
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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby johngwheeler » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:21 pm

Bunged Knee wrote:Have you heard of Wylde MTB Trail from the Entrance Range Road, off Elizabeth Drive, Cecil Park, NSW near the M7?

https://www.westernsydneyparklands.com.au/places-to-go/wylde-mtb-trail/

There`s a brochure and map of this trail in this url.

ps, I haven`t been there as I don`t have a Cyclocross or MTB.


Thanks for this. Looking at the brochure, it does seem to be MTB specific, so would probably be worth a recce on MTB before attempting on the CX bike. But good stuff nonetheless!

Thanks,

John

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby caneye » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:39 pm

just got my CX back bike and keen to try out some trails.
will be following this thread very closely.

have you looked at Quarry Road Trail (from Hornsby to Dural)? it's got a big drop and climb near Berowra, but otherwise looks decent?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbx0Dv3aTmU

johngwheeler
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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby johngwheeler » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:56 pm

tcdev wrote:It's been a while but the fire trail along Woronora Pipeline from memory would probably fit the bill for the most part. I believe it starts at Heathcote Rd, and may even be more easily accessible there, but I've always accessed it via Oliver St, with a bit of a rock scramble down to the Pipeline Tail (carrying your bike for a few mins - you should be no stranger to that!) You can follow the trail all the way to Woronora Dam, stop and have lunch etc overlooking the water, then reverse out for a 20km+ round trip. A bit of a climb in there as well but of course that's the fun bit on the way back!

Hopefully this is public:
<https://www.strava.com/activities/321500778>

The good thing is you can catch a train to Heathcote Station and you're not far from the trail.

In fact I've just bought a new set of off-road tyres, and should make a point to do this again in the next week or two (it's been too long)... you've inspired me! ;)

Disclaimer: I've only ridden it on MTB but from what little I know about gravel grinding/CX and your description, I'm pretty sure it would be suitable. I have ridden it with a mate on road tyres and no suspension, and he survived!


Thanks for this - sounds like it will be worth checking out.

Cheers!

John

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby johngwheeler » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:58 pm

caneye wrote:just got my CX back bike and keen to try out some trails.
will be following this thread very closely.

have you looked at Quarry Road Trail (from Hornsby to Dural)? it's got a big drop and climb near Berowra, but otherwise looks decent?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbx0Dv3aTmU


Thanks for the video. It looks OK, but it's hard to see whether the surface is all rocky or a mix of dirt & gravel. It looks smooth enough for a CX though.

John

robbo mcs
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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby robbo mcs » Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:22 pm

What you want to look for to start off with is unsealed roads. These are graded, and good enough for cars. The quality is much better than fire trails in general. Also they tend to be not as steep. Because they are unsealed there is virtually no traffic. There are loads around the far outskirts of the city, particularly on the north and north western side. Around the outer parts of the hills, hawkesbury, etc. A lot of them are shortish roads that go to a dead end, but some are a reasonable length and you can do loops.

Unfortunately I haven't found a good resource that differentiates between sealed and unsealed roads. Generally i find them in my travels, or by looking around on maps and checking on google satellite view or street view. Strava heatmaps is often helpful as well. If you see a road where all the strava traffic suddenly goes from reasonably busy to quiet at a certain spot, then it is a fair bet that the road surface has changed :wink:

I think doing some of those unsealed roads is a good start if you are new to gravel, so you can get used to it before heading for something harder

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby johngwheeler » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:39 am

robbo mcs wrote:What you want to look for to start off with is unsealed roads. These are graded, and good enough for cars. The quality is much better than fire trails in general. Also they tend to be not as steep. Because they are unsealed there is virtually no traffic. There are loads around the far outskirts of the city, particularly on the north and north western side. Around the outer parts of the hills, hawkesbury, etc. A lot of them are shortish roads that go to a dead end, but some are a reasonable length and you can do loops.

Unfortunately I haven't found a good resource that differentiates between sealed and unsealed roads. Generally i find them in my travels, or by looking around on maps and checking on google satellite view or street view. Strava heatmaps is often helpful as well. If you see a road where all the strava traffic suddenly goes from reasonably busy to quiet at a certain spot, then it is a fair bet that the road surface has changed :wink:

I think doing some of those unsealed roads is a good start if you are new to gravel, so you can get used to it before heading for something harder


Great suggestion! I'll check out th Strava heat maps; I wasn't aware of this before.

Thanks,

John

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Warin
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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby Warin » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:06 am

If you have an android phone than OSMand can be configured to show the road surface (where it is present in OSM).

Mountain bike trails (that have been entered into OSM) can be viewed here https://mtb.waymarkedtrails.org/#routel ... 8!151.5784 There is also a setting for 'normal' bicycles.

You can improve the OSM data yourself, the above 'waymarked trails' is updated daily .. OSMand about every month or two .. you need to pay to get OSMand take in more than a few updates.

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby caneye » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:47 pm

Looks like the NSW Audax group has got a gravel ride organised at Bilpin.

http://www.sydneycyclist.com/group/auda ... ch-25-2017

photos of previous ride ..

http://www.sydneycyclist.com/group/auda ... ilpin-ride


approximately an hour's drive north (depending on where you live).

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby robbo mcs » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:27 pm

johngwheeler wrote:
Great suggestion! I'll check out th Strava heat maps; I wasn't aware of this before.

Thanks,

John


Best to do this in strava route builder. You can overlay heatmaps over the top of "osm" or "standard" maps. They do have "satellite" there as well, but the resolution is not as good as google maps for trying to see the trail surface.

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby trailgumby » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:53 pm

If you are looking for a hit-out, there is a maze of 4WD management all through Ku Ring Gai Chase National Park that you could ride a crosser on. They are a little towards the rougher end of the spectrum - a mountain bike is still faster unless you are a skilled rider. But they will get you on the dirt and out among some pretty amazing views, Best place to hunt them down is on nobmob.com and look up Terrey Hills. You can go from Terry Hills to Turramurra almost completely on dirt - a good 60km loop is not hard to put together.

Other options are the Oaks Trail and Anderson's in the Blue Mountains. You can get there by train. A lot of guys park at Glenbrook and rain up to Woodford, then ride back down the mountain. Or if like me you are a bit unhinged, give the train a miss and ride up first before coming back the other way. nobmob.com trails database again.

Other options are The Great North Road from Wiseman's Ferry. Convict-built dirt roads. Spectacular views as well. Again, can be rough, but still rollable and negotiable without suspension. The hills can be pretty steep though.

If you can, definitely go tubeless. Besides the better ride quality and improved traction, it minimises pinch flats.

Wylde will be a hoot on any bike, but be aware that when it gets even slightly wet it is diabolical to ride. The trail is clay-lined and gets deadly slippery with the slightest hint of moisture as the mud sticks to everything, fills up your tyres and does not release until you hose it off with high pressure at the wash bay. It has gotten a fair bit rougher as people have continued to ride it in wet conditions.

Does that help?

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby johngwheeler » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:00 pm

Some great suggestions here - many thanks to all!

Sounds like unsealed roads and the tamer fire-trails would be a good start. I'll look around the Terrey Hills / Ku-ring-gai Chase area.

Cheers,

John.

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baabaa
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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby baabaa » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:23 pm

If you are just starting out and don't mind a bit of a walk, a push and sometimes a shoulder carry then some of these tracks and paths are worth a look.
https://trailwalker.oxfam.org.au/wp-con ... 17_WEB.pdf
Take your time and check out the sights which when you can see the water, are very fine views indeed.
Part of the fun is seeing new stuff, sometimes getting just that little bit lost and then having to turn around.
Also up in the blue mountains are plenty of great rides. Closer to Sydney, the old dirtworks/ convict 100 is doable on a cx bike, just go slow on some of the steep down hill parts (alas, I still do come off, often but manage to fall towards the hill and not down them) Lots of good rides around these parts but you need to ride or drive out to them first.
http://convict100.com.au/course-overview/100km/

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby caneye » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:05 pm

trailgumby wrote:If you are looking for a hit-out, there is a maze of 4WD management all through Ku Ring Gai Chase National Park that you could ride a crosser on. They are a little towards the rougher end of the spectrum - a mountain bike is still faster unless you are a skilled rider. But they will get you on the dirt and out among some pretty amazing views, Best place to hunt them down is on nobmob.com and look up Terrey Hills. You can go from Terry Hills to Turramurra almost completely on dirt - a good 60km loop is not hard to put together.



hi mate, thanks for the tips. how do you rank the Perimeter Trail relative to all the other Terrey Hills & Kuringai National Pk trails?

i hit up the nobmob website. lots of useful information. noting that Perimeter Trail is suited for beginners and after a week of dry weather, i decided to have a go on my CX bike (with 28mm tyres) over the weekend. and boy oh boy .. it was a real eye-opener to me.
- half the trail is very rough with big fist-size rocks, boulders, tree roots too. i had to go slow to pick the best line. was concerned about pinch flats too.
- every time i gained some speed, i'm forced to slow down because of flooding/standing water <-- many spots were still flooded with a couple of inches of water. is this normal? (having said that, March was unusually wet). thank goodness for CX disk brakes. rim brakes would've been utterly useless.
- there were also patches of sand to catch you off-guard.
- and horse crap to keep you focussed .. lol ..
- the pinches were short and challenging.

i was going to ride all the way till the end of the Long Trail but i started too late and ran out of time.

overall, it was good fun. i went very slow for the reasons above and avoided any flats. a CX/gravel bike will require a minimum of 700x40 tyres i reckon.
can't help but think i would have had more fun with my old 15yo 26-inch MTB!

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby trailgumby » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:23 am

Yeah, it gets a bit rough after bad weather and there are some severe erosion gullies in places, especially either side of that low creek section behind one of the horse studs.

Unless it has been dry for a few weeks we tend to start at the Japanese School at Booligal Rd and avoid the boggy areas between there and the Nerang Rd entrance where I think you came in (from the fire station?).

The good news is that a dry smooth line tends to form relatively quickly as the trail sees a lot of bike traffic. The trail is a hoot on a hardtail. I should get the fork on my old 26er fixed.

The loose babyhead rocks is a thing on most Sydney fire trails unfortunately due to the sandstone terrain. 40mm tyres might be a good idea if you can fit them.

Long Trail is probably less technically challenging for the most part, although it has its moments. Think of those moments as a chance to develop your skills :) Standing in the "attack position" and learning to "go light" over obstacles rather than ploughing into them will improve your speed and comfort no end.

:idea: if you join nobmob and hit up user "christine" she runs Australian Cyclocross Magazine with her partner and she'll be able to point you in the right direction. MWCC does a bit of CX racing on Saturday mornings in the surrounds around JJ Melbourne Hills BMX track at Terrey Hills at different times during the year, and they are members. Dave Musgrove at Cell Bikes is also into it and they do a bit of riding around North Head of a weekday morning before heading into work.

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby trailgumby » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:37 am

If you don't mind steep stuff, Cascades is also worth a look. Overall it seems to be a bit better maintained, but again the steep descents are prone to lots of babyhead rocks after heavy rain. And we've had a *lot* of rain over the last few weeks in Sydney.

The Cascades itself is very pretty.

I used to think angry people came and dumped the rocks on the trail/riding line when I first started riding :lol: :oops:

The important thing is to keep your speed in check on the downhills especially down heath track because you'll be hitting the down ramps off the water bars* virtually blind in some places. Until they've been knocked out of the way you can suddenly find yourself landing on a bunch of big loose rocks. In a couple of instances the trail also turns sharply left at the bottom of the waterbar and if you carry too much speed you'll be airborne and into the bush.

Once you've done the Four Gates you'll know you've been out in the bush for a ride :wink:

* like a speed hump, but designed to carry water off to the side of the trail before it gains too much momentum and destroys the trail.

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby Jawa » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:09 am

I know the Blue Mountains isnt Sydney per se but id think its a gold mine for CX riding. As most roads splinter off the highway for a few km's many of them revert to dirt fire trails and many take you to look outs or some sort of destination. Added bonus despite being dirt many have been covered by google maps so you can check them out beforehand.

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby Kev365428 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:31 am

I consider most of Sydney's street to be cyclo-cross trails.

Kev.

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby caneye » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:24 pm

Gravel event (in Sept) organised by Bicycle Network ..

https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/grave ... the-event/

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Re: Gravel / Cyclocross trails in Sydney area?

Postby thomas1987 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:35 pm

caneye wrote:Gravel event (in Sept) organised by Bicycle Network ..

https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/grave ... the-event/


I don't understand why they won't put up the actual route on the website. Makes it hard to decide which route to do.

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