A combination of several different rides I have written about already, This ride goes from Mortlake to Parramatta up the Northern side of the river around Parramatta park and back down the under the M4 to Homebush park, Rhodes and back to Mortlake.
Definetly a harder ride, due to its distance and the road sections through Parramatta, but perfectly suitable for a good halfbike rider or a trailer. Total distance is around 40km.
For an easier version, ride up to Parramatta have a coffee by the river and return to your starting point by Ferry. Beware that the weekend ferries out of Parramatta can be very crowded and difficult to get bikes on.
As with other rides I would start at Mortlake so you arent waiting half an hour for the ferry, weekends it starts 10.30, then every half hr till 5.30. Link to the ferry Timetable: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/usingroads/vehicleferries/index.html
Supplies can be got at the IGA just up the road from the ferry. Havent found public toilets in this area, but they are available on the Putney side. 200m up the road and back down the hill to the water past the big curly slide and water park.
Continue 500m up Pellsier rd then drop steeply left down Dyson st and onto the Cycleway. Follow it along past Kissing point,under the Ryde Bridge, and around to Meadowbank ferry wharf. Last stop here for refreshments or toilets.
Continue on for several Km along a scenic path that tracks through mangroves and parks. Regular signposts keep you on track along to Silverwater bridge then Rydalmere Ferry wharf. Shortly after the ferry, keep left despite the signs and onto te new section of trail. This takes you back to the old rail then past UWS, James Ruse drive and out to Macarthur st. Cross the pedstrian crossing and left across the bridge then right. This takes you right up to the ferry wharf. Beyond that you can cross back to the north side of the river and continue through the centre of parramatta.
If you follow the path west it takes you safely under all the main roads and across to a narrow bridge into Parramatta park. Plenty of excellent spots to stop and rest here including several cafes. The loop is 3.1km long and has a nice crisp little hill to keep everyone honest.
From the Western corner of the park, Westmead train station is only a 100 or so metres away, if you need an escape.
To return via silverwater, the quickest way back onto the bike path is along Hawkesbury road, the main road to Westmead hospital. There is no dedicated bike lane but traffic speeds are generally low. On reaching the traffic lights at Great Western Highway, go straight and look for the path entrance on the left once across the M4.
You can now follow the path east along the M4 all the way back to homebush.
This path is easy to follow, across several smaller streets, over James ruse drive and out to Martha St.
At the far end of Martha st, duck back into a patch of bush and out to Adderly st West.
You now follow along the side of the M4 for several km, cross Silverwater rd and onwards until you get to Day st and Bunnings. Dont stop and buy powertools, (maybe a saussie sizzle on the weekends though) follow the path under the M4 and back into the Olympic park area.
The nicest route from here is the longest, you could easily shortcut through the Olympic preccint to Bicenntenial park if required, but I would follow the path along the western side of Haslams creek, lots of little diversions and paths to explore and many sheltered spots to stop and rest in the shade.
Pop out at the start of the Bennelong parkway, then back into the Badu mangroves a few hundred metres later. Another beautiful area, well worth the industrial slog along Adderly st. Follow the signs left to Rhodes, around the new foreshore and onto Blaxland Rd.
You can cross back to Meadowbank here if you want or head along Blaxland rd to cross Concord Rd. Follow the wide footpath south with the traffic before ducking under the trees.
The Kokoda cafe is here and has a beautiful and solemn walk detailing the history of that conflict. The path through the hospital grounds can be rough and sometimes hard to follow, but the view of the river at the end of the point is worth the effort.
If in doubt follow the streets which can take you out to the point and around the hospital on a cycle lane.
On the eastern side of the Hospital the path is quite rough around the Dame Edith walker centre and the large paddocks. You can bypass on the rd, but most commuter bikes with decent tyres should get around most of it. A skinny tyred road bike would find it harder. This is the last hurrah of your epic ride, so give it a go! It turns into cement on the other side and leads you to Deakin st Mortlake, only a short ride from the punt.
Shorter variations could be Meadowbank, Parramatta, rhodes or Meadowbank, Parramatta, ferry to Homebush then back through the mangroves to Rhodes.
A great exploration of the river, with a lot of history, scenery and quite a few kilometres under your belt.