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This one's for people living in North West Sydney. I commute to work down Victoria Rd West Pennant Hills and join up with the M2 detour to head down to Parramatta. There's a bit of a missing link from the end of New Line Rd through to Aiken St that I've had trouble finding a reasonable way around.
Normally in the mornings I'll turn left onto Castle Hill Rd, go via the underpass onto Pennant Hills Rd, hope for a red light and move across to the right turn bay into Aiken Rd. It's a bit of a hairy run with so much traffic and if the lights don't change you either have to bail and wait for one on the footpath or continue on and try and turn right at Murray Farm Rd (via the ped lights) or North Rocks Rd. Both options spend a lot too much time on Pennant Hills Rd for my liking.
On the way home it's much worse - I've just climbed North Rocks Rd, and the Haines/Oakes/Aiken rd hills which leave me a bit flat and I end up riding up the Pennant Hills Rd footpath as it's steep and the cars are going very fast and I'm going very slow... I dislike using the footpath if I can avoid it.
I've tried going through Cumberland state forest and coming out on Castle Hill Rd and then heading down Victoria Rd but there are signs up saying no through traffic to Castle Hill Rd with a $2200 fine for doing so. I'm not so sure they would really follow through with this but I'd prefer not to take on that fight.
The alternatives seem to be to head west on Aiken Rd and follow it up and around past the IBM campus and back along Castle Hill Rd, or find a way through the Mt Wilberforce Lookout Reserve. I can't see any obvious path in Google Maps, though there seems to be something promising from the end of Brett Pl.
Does anyone know the area well and can recommend a way through this bit?
I live on Crane Rd in Castle Hill and commute to St Leonards. Without the M2 at a route (I used to go the long way through Baulkham Hills to the M2 in the mornings), I've been using Aiken Rd as per the commute route below:
If you don't mind climbing and adding a bit of extra distance you could go down Highs Rd or Coonara Ave and then climb up Aiken, right onto Oakes Rd. There's no easy way through the area though. A friend who I commute with often lives down the other side of Castle Hill Rd. Even when I'm not riding with him he does the Highs/Aiken route to avoid the tunnel and traffic on Pennant Hills Rd.
You've already tried all of the variations I've tried in the past, and I've settled on this one. Definitely a good way to use up my legs at the very end of the day's return commute though. No avoiding it in the hills.
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Thanks for that. Nice commute, btw.
I'm not too worried about hills, I just hate the speed disparity they create on busy roads. I think turning left from oakes onto Aiken then Taylor and right onto Coonara might be the best option.
I find that for most of the sections in that valley you either are climbing slowly in the parking lane so you can pass parked cars without any grief. Then when descending I'm moving at 40+ (often 55+ down Aiken in the arvo) so I take the traffic lane.
n = 3 for now
You are commuting to Parramatta?
You come up Victoria Rd, WPH. When you get to the roundabout, go right (not left) onto New Line Rd. Go about 400 m down the hill, and cut across to Edward Bennett. To do this, you go in at a driveway, and spend about 50 m on a footpath. Go up Edward Bennett. That gets you to Coonara. Take care on the downhill! When you get to Highs Rd you can either head south and use Taylor/Aiken/Oakes to get to the M2 bypass at Murray Farm Rd, or you can head north for a few hundred metres to Village Green, where you can cross into Castle Hill. From Castle Hill to Parramatta is relatively easy, although the roads involved are quite busy. An alternative route may be to get into Beecroft (eg. turn left off Victoria Rd at Cardinal, and cross PH Rd at the lights) and go down the hill and up Hannah St. That gets you to within 100 m of Aiken Rd with a very short section on the footpath of PH Rd in either direction. You can cross to and from Aiken at Pedestrian lights. The Beecroft side of Cardinal is steep and does carry traffic, so it may not be suitable for your evening journey.
If you want to ride through Cumberland Forest from Oratava to CH Rd, just do it. Those signs are there for rat running motor vehicles, not bicycles. Doesn't mean it's legal for you, though I really think they would ask you to desist before seeking to impose a penalty. Some of the local roadies train through there in the morning, I've never heard of any issues. The hills through Cumbo SF are not easy on a bike anyway, as I am sure you have found. Going up Aiken to Taylor and then doing Coonara is also no fun, although perfectly legal. There is actually a way through from the top of Hill Rd to halfway up Coonara, but I have never needed that route and don't know where it is. Either way you would cross at the lights to Edward Bennett, and do the reverse route to New Line and Victoria described above.
I don't know of any way through Wilberforce Lookout Reserve from Brett Pl, and it would be steep if it existed.
Forgot I did that a bit last year when my fitness dropped off. There's a short dismount/carry-bike section to the car park at the shops, or you can go through the park if you didn't want to dismount.
Off my route list now that I don't mind the traffic again and have the fitness for the pinch climbs.
Park route - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/117412230
Shop route - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/119274726
n = 3 for now
when you come up Victoria Rd, turn left into Cardinal Ave (just before new line rd). take cardinal ave to pennant hills rd, cross over at the lights (pedestrian crossing), go down the other side of cardinal ave (steep downhill). turn right into Copeland Rd. There is a shared path on the left side for the climb. at the lights, cross directly over into Karloon Rd, which goes into Eaton Rd, which joins with Oakes Rd.
do the same in reverse in the afternoon. the cardinal ave climb will make you super fit
I ride Dural to Nth Sydney every day and come up New Line Rd and go down cardinal ave to Hannah St (runs parallel to Copeland). it is hilly, but little traffic.
if I want to use the m2 detour route, I take your route through the underpass but I ride down to the M2 on ramp and then jump up onto the SUP on the left and take this to near Murray Farm Rd. I can easily do 60km/h downhill on pennant hills rd so it is ok in the morning. if I come back that way I just ride the western side footpath from the M2 up to Castle Hill Rd rather than mix with B-Doubles
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '09 Electra Townie Original 21D
Thanks for the responses so far.
I've tried a few routes now.
Coonara/Taylor is ok, about 3km longer and quite hilly, but traffic is manageable.
Cumberland Forest is also very hilly but very quiet and I like that.
I found the path at the top of Brett Cl. It's a goat track with stairs that comes up to the WPH scout hall. Not overly recommended!
I will give the Cardinal/Copeland route a go. I hadn't thought of crossing Pennant Hills Rd.
I know what you mean about riding down pennant hills rd in the morning. *If* I do it, it's a smashfest to get down to the M2 then up onto the shared path. I don't feel nearly as nervous in flowing traffic where I'm nearly at the same speed but mind you, if anything goes wrong there aren't a lot of bail options.
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