The Joy of Cycling in Canberra


With dedicated bike lanes on its main thoroughfares and an intricate network of cycle paths interspersed throughout the city, cycling in Canberra is a pleasure for bike enthusiasts.

Set against the backdrop of stunning Australian landscapes, the city’s commitment to cycling is not just a result of modern-day environmental sensibilities, but a deeply ingrained ethos dating back to its foundation. Mountain bikers have myriad options for adventure amidst forests and pines, while road cyclists find solace and reward in Canberra’s numerous bike-friendly cafes and bakeries.

Canberra’s Cycleway Ethos and History

The love for cycling in Canberra is not a recent phenomenon. It’s a city designed with bicycles in mind, dating back to the early 20th century when American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin laid out its plan. The Griffin’s concept of a ‘garden city’ included an extensive network of cycleways that stretched across the city, allowing seamless, safe, and efficient travel for cyclists.

Fast forward to the present day, Canberra boasts over 3000 km of cycle paths, covering the city and its surrounding suburbs. The ACT government has continuously supported cycling as a practical means of transport and a recreational activity, introducing more initiatives such as ‘Active Travel’ in 2015. This plan focuses on integrating cycling infrastructure into public transport systems, providing cyclists with further flexibility in their commuting options.

Great ride around Lake Burley Griffin

A Day’s Exploration on Bike

A day’s exploration around Canberra on a bicycle is an immersive experience in the city’s culture and natural beauty. A highly recommended route is to start at Lake Burley Griffin, the city’s centrepiece. Pedal your way around the lake, stopping to admire the iconic landmarks such as the National Carillon, Captain James Cook Memorial, and the Royal Australian Mint.

A cycle down the leafy avenues of Anzac Parade will lead you to the Australian War Memorial, a striking tribute to the country’s military history. After paying respects, head south through the heart of the city, stopping at the National Gallery of Australia and the National Museum of Australia.

End the day’s ride at the hipster precinct of Braddon, where you can find several bike-friendly cafes and restaurants. Indulge in some great food and perhaps a locally brewed beer before returning your rental bike.

Canberra’s Mountain Bike Trails

Plenty of cycling options around the ACT

Canberra’s natural landscape provides a thrilling playground for mountain bikers. Mount Stromlo Forest Park is renowned globally for its world-class mountain biking trails. Cyclists can test their skills on the challenging descents and rock-ridden trails, or take it easy on beginner-friendly tracks.

Tuggeranong Pines, with its network of undulating trails, offers a different kind of experience amidst the tall pine trees. For those seeking a long-distance mountain biking challenge, the Centenary Trail is a must. It covers a 145 km loop around the whole of Canberra, showcasing the diversity of its landscapes.

Bike Hire Options

There is no shortage of bike hiring options in Canberra. Services like Cycle Canberra offer the convenience of delivering the bike right to your hotel. Share A Bike, an automated bike rental service, has multiple kiosks around central Canberra. A credit card swipe gets you on a bike in no time.

In a nutshell, Canberra’s dedication to making the city accessible and enjoyable for cyclists of all types is deeply embedded in its history and development. Whether you’re a road cyclist enjoying a leisurely ride around Lake Burley Griffin or a mountain biker testing your mettle on the rugged trails of Mount Stromlo, Canberra has something to offer for every cyclist.

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