Perth Cycling – The River Loop

Source: Tourism Western Australia

Perth Cycling – The River Loop


Upon hearing the incessant chime of my phone alarm I snap out of my temporary annoyance when I remember why I am being coaxed from my slumber at 4.40am.

My cycling kit perched on a chair in my periphery, I roll out of bed and prepare for my morning ritual.

My face widens with a smile as I hop on my bike towards the city’s glow.

In Perth, cycling regularly is easy – particularly in the summer months when the sun is up before 5am.

The city is punctuated by the picturesque Swan River, which in itself is a playground for water sport enthusiasts. 

The roads surrounding the arterial waterway and its close proximity to the coast provides road riders a plethora of routes to test their legs – its popularity evidenced by the dozens of pelotons humming around the river’s fringe each morning.

Dawn in Perth and surrounds provides a stark reminder of just how many active people live in the western city – a seemingly endless stream of runners, rowers, riders and fitness junkies adorn the river’s and ocean’s fringes.

My chosen tribe is the South Perth Rouleurs, a club boasting more than 400 members from newbies on flat pedals to continental level racers.

Most mornings we meet at 5.30 at Perth’s Narrow’s Bridge, often minutes before or after other large packs of riders riding similar loops.

The ride takes in some of Perth’s most affluent suburbs, including the leafy surrounds of Dalkeith and Nedlands and the idyllic coastal suburb of Cottesloe where our former Premier resides.

On other days our loop winds through Mosman Park west of Perth, where we are rewarded with spectacular views of the river after a lung-busting climb to the water tower.

We whiz by Fremantle Port, where the game amongst us like to test their legs at one of the many unofficial sprint points along the route.

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of glancing at the ocean as I roll through Freo, absorbed by its everchanging nature and powerful presence.

From there it’s a steady roll east back towards the city, with small undulations keeping our legs and minds engaged.

For extra distance or a ride in itself you could include Kings Park – a tourist hotspot where you share the road with few cars and can often see the sun rising over the city skyline.

The all important coffee stop generally awaits us in Applecross, with Cioccolato, Steamlab or Little Horn Espresso all popular spots among riders, with decent coffee and welcoming staff.

Council-supplied bicycle racks outside these establishments are a good option to prop your steed against, but you’ve got to get in quick to get first dibs on a bike park.

Venturing north along the bike path closer to the city, South Perth is always a great option for a post ride brew.

Atomic Espresso and Mends Street Café are usually bustling with cyclists on any given morning, fresh from a variation of the Perth river loop.

As a visitor you’d be guaranteed company on a ride around the river on any given day of the week if you were willing to wake up with the birds.

The abundance cycling clubs and groups in Perth are always willing to accommodate another friendly face on two wheels.