Posts Tagged ‘Cycling’


Starting train station: Wentworth Falls
Ending train station: Glenbrook
Total distance: 84km
Strava link

My eyes had been on the Erskine Range Trail that connected (according to Google Maps) the Kings Tableland Road to Warrangamba Dam. I didn’t know if it existed, and whether it was passable. Well, it exists, and it is closed.

Instead I followed the Anderson and Oaks trails to Glenbrook. They are little fire trails through the beautiful Blue Mountain bush a long way from the hustle and bustle of life.

Kings Tableland Road

Kings Tableland Road

Kings Tableland Road

Kings Tableland Road

Oaks Trail

Oaks Trail


Starting train station: Windsor
Ending train station: Windsor
Total distance: 104km
Strava link

It is a pleasant cycle along the Hawkesbury River on both sides of the river from Windsor to Wisemans Ferry. There are ferries to cross the river at Sackville and Lower Portland. The southern side is bitumen the whole way. On the northern side, it is mostly a sand road north of Lower Portland.

The River is buzzing with water-skiers, and most places where you can enter the water are taken by houses, camping grounds or waterski companies. Following a dead-end road to Half Moon Farm brings you away from the activity, where a half moon is possible.

Half Moon Farm

Half Moon Farm

Half Moon Farm

Half Moon Farm

Half Moon Farm

Half Moon Farm

Hawkesbury River

Hawkesbury River


Welcome to the first of a series of posts on cycles that are a day trip from Sydney.
Starting train station: Blackheath
Ending train station: Woodford
Total distance: 77km
Strava link

Hanging rock is an amazing pedestal of rock hanging out from the cliff-face edge overlooking the Gross Valley in the Blue Mountains. I was there at 7am with no-one but me, the gentle breeze and the early morning sun. Some other lookouts in the area include Pulpit Rock, Perry’s Lookdown and Anvil Rock. Hanging Rock is only a short 7km ride from Blackheath station along a good quality dirt road.

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

The bike

The bike

Ingar pool is beautiful, peaceful pool 15km downhill from Wentworth Falls with about 10km along a moderately bumpy dirt track. The road is blocked off for cars, and only the occasional lost cyclist makes it there. It is a very steep drop and then climb to make it to Woodford station.

Ingar Pool

Ingar Pool


Today the skeleton felt strong. With only minimal luggage, the slopes were a breeze and the kilometres to the highest motorable pass in the world zipped by. Only on the way down did I realise just how high we had climbed – over 2000m into the beautiful Ladakhi heavens.

Coming down from Khardung La

Coming down from Khardung La

Jessica and I left at 7, mentally prepared for 40km of climbing. China was invading, it seemed. Whole squadrons of army trucks were climbing the pass. Squadrons of tourist taxis were also plying the roads, and the standard Indian men on motorbikes.

And then there was the skeleton and Jessica.

Jessica climbing Khardung La

Jessica climbing Khardung La

This day was the finale of the trip. This day was the biggest climb to the highest place. We had both cycled so much in the highest mountains in the world. Now was the icing on the cake.

My energy music – Infected Mushroom – pushed me up. In fact, it gave me too much energy, I went too fast, laughed with joy too much, and had to stop to recover my breath. I realised I could do this, but I didn’t have a lot of buffer. My body had made enough haemoglobin, but I wasn’t fit for Mt Everest – yet.

The top of the pass was one big traffic jam. A squadron of army trucks was returning, and there wasn’t enough room for everyone. I (and hundreds of others) stood in the exhaust as the jam was resolved.

Traffic jam near the top

Traffic jam near the top

I arrived at the top, cheered Jessica on from the prayer flags and gompas above the road, and then we went into ‘one of the highest canteens in the world’ as it started to hail.

Jessica arrives at the top

Jessica arrives at the top

In fact, just next to the ‘one of the highest canteens in the world’ was the highest. It was about 20 feet along the road, and a whole 398 feet higher, according to the sign. There were also two miraculous neighbouring signs at these two key altitudes.

Khardung La summit. Not sure of the altitude though.

Khardung La summit. Not sure of the altitude though.

Khardung La

Khardung La

The way down was nothing short of spectacular. The rain stopped, and the evening sun bathed the whole valley in a soft, yellow light. After the 10km before the pass were rattled down, it was a smooth, bitumen road, and a beautiful and incredibly long decent into Leh.

The way down from Khardung La

The way down from Khardung La

The way down from Khardung La

The way down from Khardung La

We passed a guy who had walked from Germany in one year. Pretty quick..

This guy walked from Germany.

This guy walked from Germany.

Arriving in Leh, we were starving. The skeleton ate 3 main courses.

Gompa above Leh

Gompa above Leh


We are climbing Khardung La tomorrow. Terrain is no boundary. We are going to bash on regardless.

Bash on regardless

Bash on regardless

It was an uneventful return to Leh. We got our permit and ate a lot (again). I don’t want to stay a skeleton. 🙂


We got a cheer from the Dutch tourists. Later we got a round of applause from the French crowd. We were superhuman cycling in this heat. Little did they know we only cycled 5km to the river, swam, and lay on the sand.

The skeleton basking in the sun at the Zanskar River

The skeleton basking in the sun at the Zanskar River

We don’t seem to get around to much cycling. After cycling alone for nearly a month, it’s nice to have someone to talk to. There’s also no goal of the cycling. We’re just killing time before our flights back home.

On the way to Nimmu

On the way to Nimmu

Tomorrow is Leh again, and then the highest road in the world – Khardung La.


When I got up this morning, I expected to be sleeping in Leh this evening. A sudden decision to be on the move with the New Zealander Jessica saw us climb and descend in the heat through barren, rocky landscape to end in a Sesspool.

Jessica climbing in the sun

Jessica climbing in the sun

Jessica wanted to go over 100km to a place called Lamayuru and then meander on back in 2 days, doing a few side trips. My friend Mark had said that there was a lot of climbing on the first day, and.. There was a lot of long climbs in the very hot landscape. We didn’t make it over 100km. We made it just over 60 before retiring in a nice café and eating a lot.

Drahtesel in the sun

Drahtesel in the sun

The confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers

The confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers

We spent the late afternoon visiting an old Buddhist cave, and the evening talking.