Family riding parks
Getting out riding is good for all the family. Simon Vincett suggests six great capital city parks that are perfect for all age groups.
Kids love riding bikes and parks are a great venue for them, offering off-road paths, playgrounds and picnic shelters. That’s all the makings of a great family day out!
Different kids have vastly different abilities at different ages but the accepted wisdom is that until aged nine at least they should not ride independently with road traffic (even crossing roads). The best way to supervise is riding closely behind. This way you can see what’s going on and talk while you ride as well.
How far your child can ride depends on their individual strength and stamina, which can vary greatly. Start modestly with rides of just a couple of kilometres and ask your child regularly how they are going. The ride must be fun and it’s quite possible you won’t ever arrive where you intend to go. A five-year old might ride 15km if they’re having a fun time and the ten-year-old might independently complete a 70km day but your child might not have a bar of this.
Helmets are required by law in Australia for all kids on bikes, whether they are riding themselves, sitting in a bike seat or in a trailer. Until aged 12, kids can ride on the footpath. You can also ride on the footpath when accompanying a child under 12 riding.
To find kid-friendly riding spots near you, experienced riders point out:
> Paths beside waterways are flat, scenic, cool and often offer cafes and food and drink outlets.
> Aim for a place or time that isn’t too busy with walkers or other riders.
> Paths beside railways and through linear suburban parks can be good options for there-and-back trips, and often offer cafes and food and drink outlets.
Try the forums and organisations mentioned with each ride for more riding ideas in your area.
Kurrangga BMX Track
> Beginner, intermediate and advanced BMX tracks.
> Lots of other paths, playgrounds in the parklands
> Marshmallow Park on Glen Osmond Road has a little bike track with tunnels and a playground suited to under fives.
> Ride across towards Victoria Park to the car racing track for some laps or to Rymill Park for an ice cream.
> Car parking beside BMX track or by the corner of South and East Terraces.
More about Kurrangga BMX Park http://bit.ly/q2VFKv
Thanks to members of Adelaide Cyclists for sharing the local knowledge www.adelaidecyclists.com
Sydney Olympic Park
Homebush, Sydney / 35km or bike paths
> Enjoy the architecture, the naval heritage or the mangrove ecosystem of this diverse site.
> Various cafes throughout the park.
> Bike hire at Bicentennial Park and Blaxland Riverside Park http://bit.ly/rpuc2L.
> Accessible from Olympic Park train station and Sydney Olympic Park Ferry Wharf.
Suggested ride routes http://bit.ly/pqHSAY
Sydney Olmpic Park www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au. Thanks to Bicycle NSW for sharing the local knowledge.
> Spot ducks on the lake, deer on the bushy fringes or model planes flying.
> Playground for kids aged five to ten.
> BBQs with seating.
> For further exploration, ride south along the creek until the golf course.
> Car entry from Stanton Road West.
Thanks to members of Australian Cycling Forums Queensland forums for sharing the local knowledge http://bit.ly/w4qzf7.
Clarence Foreshore Trail
Kangaroo Bay to Howrah Beach, Hobart / 10km return
> Scenic coastline riding with two bluffs to ascend for views.
> Refreshments at Bellerive Boardwalk and playground, picnic facilities and fish and chips at Bellerive Beach Park.
> Explore the fort at Kangaroo Bluff historic site (accessed off Gunning St).
> There is a slope down to Howrah Beach so riders will need to control their speed on the gravel.
> Car parking on Kangaroo Bay Drive in Rosny.
More maps of the ride http://bit.ly/o2lkqJ.
Thanks to Cycling South for local knowledge www.cyclingsouth.org.
This trail is being improved. Keep track of progress by following http://bit.ly/qx6MsI.
Point Walter to Point Heathcote
Attadale, Perth / 14km return
> Cool, riverside riding on a flat path.
> Excellent playground at Point Heathcote Reserve. This is the best base for riding with younger children to make sure they get to play if they can’t ride all the way.
> Cafes nearby.
> Car parking at Point Heathcote Reserve and Point Walter Reserve.
More on this ride and bike paths around Perth perthbikepaths.com.au.
Thanks to Robert Firth and members of Australian Cycling Forums Western Australia forums for sharing the local knowledge http://bit.ly/oDkatq.
Templestowe, Melbourne / 10km return
> Nice bushy feel.
> Superb adventure playground at Finns Reserve.
> Mia Mia Aboriginal Art Gallery, Learning Centre, and coffee shop.
> Electric and wood barbecues (wood provided).
> Some paths might be a bit hilly for less strong riders.
> Car entry from Fitzsimmons Lane.
Parks Victoria Westerfolds Park information http://bit.ly/ocpCiA.
Bicycle Network Victoria Main Yarra Trail info and map http://bit.ly/rfVpXp.
Mia Mia Gallery www.miamiagallery.com.
Thanks to members of Bicycle Network Victoria forums for sharing local knowledge www.bicyckenetwork.com.au/forums.
For more tips to enjoy riding get yourself the Little Bike Bible www.bikebible.com.au.
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