If anyone has been here, they will know Perth, Western Australia to be a predominantly dry heat with few hills (or Bergs, Alpes or Cols by comparison to Europe). But what we do have is beautiful tree lined false flat climbs through magnificent forest that bring a different perspective with every changing season that suits every ability and discipline on 2 wheels.
The Perth ‘hills’, as we call them, feature beautiful rural roads that wind through forest, orchards, horse agistment paddocks, vinyards and serviced by many a cider house or craft micro brewery – because we Aussies love our beer almost as much as we love a post ride coffee which is another thing Perth is famous for.
There really is no ‘off season’ in Perth and Western Australian cyclists have no off switch either. We are a great outdoorsy mob blessed with an enviable climate that year round riding possible.
Spring is my favourite time to pedal it out. The air starts to warm from the cold wintery months as we shed layers of lycra to enjoy windless days of temps in the high 20’s.
Winter brings about new growth in the orchards that line the roads sprouting stone fruit and citrus blossoms and new lambs and calves fill the paddocks. Crisp mornings soon warm up as the sun appears after the first climb and those coffee stops are like a brush with heaven at the end of the ride.
Autumn is spectacular again with no wind, cooler sunny days and the changing of foliage in the trees
Summer is perfect for the early starters to beat the heat but these months provide the best training with the reliable winds from all directions. Rarely in your back and often in your face it’s a real love/hate relationship with the wind – but hey, it makes us strong!
Perth has a growing gravel scene largely due to the popularity of events such as ‘Seven’, ‘Dirt’ and ‘Cape to Cape’ which takes the ‘off roaders’ a few hours south of the city to the majestic wine region of Margaret River and the great South West. The Munda Bidi trail is a world class biking and hiking trail stretching through forest and bushland of mild to challenging conditions starting in Mundaring and ending 1,080km later in Albany in the south of the state. The trail has camp facilities along the way allowing riders to take days to reach the destination or bite off smaller pieces they can manageably chew.
Mountain bikers enjoy the local hills for its 40km of fully signed single track through the picturesque national park and State Forest within 40km of the Perth city. It’s here that everyone comes together whether you’re a roadie, looking for some vert in your time trial preparations or getting dirty on the trails.
The CX collective is also becoming very popular in the winter months seeing the rain turn the vast array of swamp land and recreational reserves into world class mud cx courses. And no cx event is complete with our famous ‘hand ups’ making the atmosphere some of the happiest around.
And then there’s Kings Park Botanical Gardens, 400 hectares of bushland smack bang in the middle of the city overlooking the Swan River. This makes the perfect training ground for all cycling types with punchy little climbs up to 12% gradient. The park is used to host time trial events, cx tracks to practice your sand starts and of course roadies looking for a safe place to do some quality efforts.
By Erin Nolan