THE subtropical climate of south east Queensland and its variable natural environments makes it an excellent location to bicycle all year round. These five rides include some of the best features of the south east including coastal, mountainous and woodland areas. For locals these rides are part of weekly circuits, while for visitors the easy access to these places makes them a good day trip option. The Brisbane City Council does have a bicycle hire scheme for those without their own wheels.
Brisbane river loop
Cyclists from all over Brisbane ride this loop week after week and never tire of it. It is particularly popular on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Brisbane is known as the river city and the Brisbane River is one of its best loved features. Sadly in recent years residents’ desire to be near it and enjoy its superb watery vistas has also been their downfall as the river has broken its banks and flooded parts of the city most recently in January 2013 and 2011. This river snakes backwards and forwards through endless suburbs and is wonderfully accompanied by numerous bike tracks. From the city riders follow bike paths out to the University of Queensland and past the Indooroopilly golf course, over the Indooroopilly bridge and through Sherwood, then over the railway line to Tennyson, Fairfield, Dutton Park, Highgate Hill and West End back to the city. The basic loop is 30-40km (click here to see a map) with several undulations.
Moonlight bike ride
This 20km one way ride from Toombul shopping centre (on a train line) through the Boondall wetlands and onto Sandgate features a number of habitats from mangroves to paperbark trees that appear rather ghostly in the moonlight to the quiet foreshores of Moreton Bay. The ride is flat but there are many twists and turns and it’s best to go with someone that knows the way the first time or with a good map. It can be done at any time of day but a moonlight ride is particularly fun. At Sandgate there are a number of good options for dining – Doug’s Seafood Cafe on Flinders Parade or the Full Moon Hotel on Eagle Terrace come recommended. There is a train station at Sandgate for those wanting the easier route back.
Mt Coot-tha is the highest peak near Brisbane City at just 14km from the CBD. It is a regular riding feature for all cyclists in the south east area and features in the annual Mt Coot-tha Challenge that is part of Queensland Bike Week. There are two routes around the mountain. The back way is a 287m climb over 2.39km at a gradient of 9.4%. The front climb is just 2.56km and has a gradient of 10.5%. Many cyclists do repeat repetitions of this 10km loop early in the morning. It might sound taxing but there are cockatoos and other birdlife to enjoy, plenty of beautiful bush, the views over Brisbane and of course once you’ve done the climb it’s an easy ride across the crest of the mountain and a very fun descent! This map outlines the ride.
Daisy Hill Conservation Park is 25km south of Brisbane near Logan and a wonderful location for those that enjoy riding through the bush. There are a range of multi use trails and some dedicated single tracks mountain bike routes as well. Koalas, cockatoos and wallabies are some of the companions you might find in the forest tracks here. A map of the routes is outlined here.
Mt Nebo is part of the D’Aguilar range and 28km north of Brisbane near the suburb of The Gap. It rises to some 446m above sea level but the ride, steep initially and then undulating, rises up through bushland to the town of Nebo about 20km from The Gap (click here for a map). Cafe Boombana is an excellent spot for refreshments at Nebo. Those feeling energetic can continue the 7.24km beyond to Mt Glorious where there are more cafes and even better viewpoints. Turn around here to come back the same way or go the long way back via Samford to Brisbane.