As part of an ongoing series on Australia’s most easily accesible cycling climbs, we want to hear about your most challenging ‘Urban Alp’. Have your say in the comments below this article on Sydney’s harrowing Cottage Point climb. You can also post a photo of your favourite local climb on the Bicycling Australia Facebook page.
Akuna Bay is one of Sydney’s best and most popular rides – everyone knows about it and we are truly blessed to have such an awesome loop so close to civilisation.
Whether you take the high road or the low road there’s no escaping a steep climb on the other side.
Cafe Stop Or Ride On?
It’s always tempting to stop for coffee and maybe even cake at the perfectly-located cafe at the bottom – Akuna Bay is a great place to spend some time relaxing and talking all-things-bike with like-minded mates. Set amidst million-dollar boats and picture-perfect views, it has to be one of Sydney’s top two-wheel destinations.
Coffee and cake are great, but the reality is the longer you sit the harder the climb out will be. Over that friendly Pinarello versus Colnago banter and second flat white, your body has been cooling down by the minute. If you’re like me, that relatively quick spin up the hill, east or west, will become a tiresome slog if you’ve stopped for anymore than a matter of minutes.
Onto The Climb
Living on the Lambert Peninusla I’m fortunate to call the smooth bitumen of West Head and Akuna Bay my ‘home roads’.
But for some odd reason, probably time and energy (or lack of), I’ve always ridden straight past the Cottage Point turnoff.
That all changed when I recently thought “what the heck,” and turned left. In doing so I soon discovered what might be a contender for one of Sydney’s best (relatively) urban climbs.
Up Before Down
A sea level destination, I’d always imagined the road to Cottage Point to be a long and gradual descent.
But no … after a short ride downhill you’re met by the first climb, a slight reprieve, an even steeper climb and then the most amazing view of Kur-Ring-Gai National Park and Cowan Waters you could ever imagine.
After a few quick pictures of the spectacular panorama it’s back on the bike for yet another short but steep climb. Yes the road keeps going up!
Although nudging ever closer to Cottage Point and expecting an imminent drop, the road follows the ridge until the very end. Then, as you’d expect, it’s a virtual straight drop into the sleepy little hamlet of Cottage Point.
Hot Out There!
By the time I recently arrived there my Garmin was showing 34 degrees.
“It’s already hot,” I thought, but wanted to get the feel of the place.
“I may as well have a quick coffee, take a look around, and brace for the climb out.”
Cottage Point feels like it’s a hundred miles from the CBD, not the 35km it actually is.
It’s a mix of old Halvorson cruisers swinging on their moorings, day trippers enjoying Devonshire teas, restaurant patrons arriving for lunch by seaplane and chilled-out locals wetting a line.
It’s also the starting point for an agonising 15 – 22% climb back toward General San Martin Drive, McCarrs Creek Road, and the modern world that left it for dead.
So next time your climbing your way out of Akuna Bay turn right and add an extra 8 km and 400m to your ride. I think it’s one of Sydney’s best climbs and look forward to returning time and again.
What’s your home region’s best cycling climb or #UrbanAlp ? We’d love to hear from you! Post details below or add a photo on our Facebook page.