Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I planned to ride from Petersham to Bicentennial Park along the Cooks River. A member at the co-op told me about the bike path along the river when I told her that I wanted to do a day-long bike ride. I discovered recently that Bicentennial Park is not so far from the Inner West – I caught the train there with my bike for my first meeting of the Frog & Tadpole Study Group a few weeks ago and wanted to ride all the way home afterwards, but decided to wait until a sunny day with time to explore.

    Yesterday was glorious. Cool autumn breeze, warm sunlight, the clouds like ice-cream swirls high up in the sky. I left at midday and rode down the hill to the river. The Cooks River Cycleway is a series of connected paths that follow the stinking mangrove river upstream, past soccer fields with young people in bright synthetic colours and parents cheering and blowing whistles, past yellow playground equipment and five-year-olds learning how to ride bikes and skateboards, past fenced industrial estates and houses with gardens, under highways and across roads.

    The path ended at Strathfield Golf Course. I stood on the corner of a suburban street and checked the map on my phone. Dazed from riding, I clumsily dropped my bike on my leg and scraped the skin. When I found a route I continued through the back streets of Homebush to another bike path along a trickle in a storm water drain, which might be the Cooks River before it travels under the suburbs. I rode alongside a deserted sports field with little Red-browed Finches scattering from the path and arrived at the wetlands and Bicentennial Park.

    Deeper in the park, I stood on a bridge in the mangrove forest while families on bicycles thundered across. And then I decided to go further.

    I rode around the wetland sanctuary and across to another park, Millennium Parklands, around Sydney Olympic Park and across the highway, behind the Archery Park and through Newington Nature Reserve to the top of a high, sunny hill overlooking sports fields, rising apartment buildings, five different stationary cranes and a glimpse of Parramatta River. As I sat on a broad wooden bench eating an apple a Black-shouldered Kite hovered in the air above the long grass.

    Down the hill I came to the ferry wharf. I thought about waiting for the next Rivercat back to the city, but it was still early afternoon and everyone was out. So I went further, along the River Walk packed with families and cyclists with wheels slowly turning and bells softly ringing. My squeaky brakes scared a few people as I rode through birthday barbecues at the riverside Armory. At the end of the walkway the Silverwater Bridge towered above. I looked at a map, and I went a little further.

    On the other side of the river I rode through Rydalmere, past power stations, under power lines, over submarine gas lines. In the back streets I suddenly felt the heat of the sun and worried that I hadn't eaten enough food or drunk enough water to sustain me. I wondered if I had gone too far.

    Finally I arrived at Parramatta city centre, near the wharf for the ferry that would take me back home. I ate my lunch from a glass jar and looked at the calm little canal that, if you follow it back downstream, becomes the wide Sydney harbour and then the sea.

    On the way home I stood with my bike at the helm of the Rivercat, braving the freezing wind so I could watch the mangrove-lined river become the mansion-lined harbour.

    At Circular Quay I weaved through crowds of tourists and buskers, under the Harbour Bridge and climbed to Observatory Hill. My friends were waiting to watch the supermoon rise over the city. As the sun set I looked to the west and saw Parramatta River lit up like a golden path.

    I had travelled such a long way on my bike – 40 kilometres in total. When I came home I had dinner with my housemates; their little dog Julietta cuddled up to me and licked my scraped knee. Then I cried in bed for a long, long time. From exhaustion, perhaps. Or maybe this is just a strange time in my life, when I wake up in the morning and cry and then ride half way across the city and then come home and cry some more.

    I'm going further into myself, and further into the world.
    • Share

    Connected stories:

About

Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.