Cycling South Beach to Leighton

Ed

We’re going on a bike ride. It’s a non-lycra kind of affair: just seven kilometres each way, a leisurely pace, no hill climbs, plenty of stop-and-ogle moments, and coffee at start and finish. Maybe even beer.

Coming?

First, a short black at The Third Wheel, to get in the zone. Then we’ll nip across Wilson Park to the cycleway, breeze along the green stretches of South Beach, breathe in the maritime flavour along Mews Road, and approach Fishing Boat Harbour with our wits about us.

Let’s hope our bells are working. Lotta foot, bike and pram traffic between Little Creatures and Kidogo Arthouse. Yes, it is too soon to stop for an ale but we might detour down to the Bathers Beach decking for a horizon-scanning how-good-is-this? moment. Once we get past the Round House, we’ll feel more intrepid. Vehicular traffic will fade out as the Rottnest ferry terminal slips by us on our left, until we’re cruising past the Passenger Terminal and the cranes of the working port, taking in vistas we never quite get from the car. On our narrow cycle lane suspended off the side of the old traffic bridge over the Swan River, we’ll feel more evolved and connected than any driver. 

Look right, and there’s a new view of the Containbow. Look left for a mash-up of boats, pontoons and cranes. Look down; very possibly dolphins. Ahead, just shy of the North Fremantle café and bar strip, the bike path corners off to the left, taking us around the back of the Swan Hotel to Tydeman Road for our first big decision: head left towards Coast restaurant and hug the dunes all the way to Leighton, or cross Tydeman for a bit of variety.

We’ll likely do the latter, revelling in the cute residential serenity of Pearse Street and the glimpses into Stirling Highway’s back end, before stopping to admire the epic mural that heralds a stint of quiet railway wilderness. This stretch also affords the chance to test our speed against a passing train as we approach North Fremantle station.

Let’s cross over here and go coastal. The cobbled paving between apartment blocks will usher us into civilisation again, i.e. places we can stop and imbibe.

The Orange Box and Bib & Tucker will vie for our attention. A quick game of Paper Scissors Rock should sort it out. Either way, we’ll definitely stop to drink in the ocean views before pedalling back along the coast, taking the odd smug selfie. Way more fun than driving.

Pedal power - these Freo bike shops handle every cycling whim.

South Beach Cycles: Funky treadly store doing a specialty line in cargo bikes, fitted with classy timber tubs designed to carry what you’d put in a car (kids, dogs, gardening gear.)

Captain Walker: A drool-worthy range of vintage, retro, classic, fat and skinny bikes, plus attentive servicing.

Mercer Cycles: A Freo institution, brimful of a cyclist’s every want, from standard fittings to quirky extras and a can-fix attitude.

Port City Cycles: As well as vast bike, accessory and hire options, rides for serious cyclists are held on Saturday mornings.

Hiring your wheels?

Fremantle Visitor Centre: A few bikes (including kids mountain bikes) are available free on a first-in basis, 9.30 am - 3 pm.

Port City Cycles: Kids, tandems, trailers, road bikes and hybrids from $10.

Little Creatures: Get around for a day on a Creatures-branded bike, no charge.

Spinway: Swipe your credit card at the stand near the Esplanade Hotel or Cicerello’s, where the helmets are kept.

South Beach Cycles: Hybrid bikes for hire year round, and come summer, hire a cargo bike to carry extra loads.

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