After one of the wettest Novembers on record, I’ve had to get a bit creative with my route planning. The usual off-road routes have slowly been replaced with more bitumen and highways. At first this felt like a bitter pill to swallow, but the more time I spend back on the roads, the more I’m appreciating them.
This route from Canberra to Collector is a popular road cycling route that heads out along the highway and has a halfway stop at Some Cafe. We took that route as our base, but added a smattering on dirt on the return leg just to keep it interesting.
Canberra to Collector
There’s no hiding the fact that the route out to Collector from Canberra involves riding along the side of a fairly busy highway for most of the way. As you climb out of Canberra, there’s a pretty good shoulder for the first 13km until you reach the Tulip Farm.
At this point, you turn off the Federal Highway onto the Old Federal Highway, and what a treat this is! You follow the old highway for the next 15km and we didn’t see a single car for that entire section. There were plenty of road cyclists out there enjoying the quiet open road.
About 30km into the ride, you leave the old highway and emerge to a viewing platform across Lake George. The usually dry lake was unusually full with water following all of the aforementioned rain.
From Lake George you’re back on the side of the main highway again for a flat and hopefully tailwind assisted 20km pedal to Collector.
Turn off the highway at the sign to Collector and it’s another easy km to Some Cafe just as you enter town.
Collector to Canberra
Following coffee, sausage rolls, croissants and avocado on toast (not all mine), then another coffee, we were back on the bikes for the return leg.
Instead of returning via the highway, we turned right just beforehand onto Collector Road. This would take us up a steep climb and onto Marked Tree Road – the first taste of dirt under our wheels.
At the time of riding, Marked Tree Road was smooth and firm with only very occasional rough sections for its duration.
After about 18km the dirt runs out and you are back on the bitumen for a long, fast descent that takes you nearly all the way to Gundaroo. If you were looking for another cafe here, there were several to choose from and as we were pedalling through we were making plans for a return.
Gundaroo to the edge of Canberra at Forde was, personally, the least enjoyable section of the entire route. The road was fine, but there was very little shoulder to speak of and cars were flying past a little close for comfort.
With relief we reached Forde and followed dedicated bike paths for the final km home. At Forde you could just as easily join the Centenary Trail to Hall, or through Mulligans Flat, to extend the ride.