Duramana and the Bridle Track
At a Glance
A sealed road ride past Duramana on the Bridle Track, incorporating some switchbacks down into the valley and a long climb back up to the top before returning to Bathurst.
Why I choose this course and the bike(s) I prefer to ride
I enjoy this challenging ride that takes me north of Bathurst through different scenery to the start of the historic Bridle Track which goes out to Hill End. The descent into my turnaround point just past Stony Creek mimics some of the switchbacks of Europe, hence why local cyclists call it “The Euro”. It’s a staple 6:15am start for local bunches every Tuesday morning from the RFS shed at Eglinton.
In reality, this is a ride for road bikes. I have also been known to ride my gravel bike (comfort and disc brakes) and TT bike on this course (check out the ride profile for the fast return leg). These are roads that are often ridden by local cyclists either alone or in groups. There is plenty of native wildlife on these roads, so I am always mindful on the fast descents and long straights.
- Enjoyable ride through mixed farming county
- Coasting or fast open descents
- Rural letterboxes
Traps For Young Players
- Wildlife - kangaroos and wombats
- Too quick into the corners
Camping & Accommodation
- Bathurst and surrounds have so many options.
- Camping on Macquarie River (Bridle Track)
Food & Water
- No supplies on this route
I leave the coffee shop and ride 6km out to Eglinton. I pass the local tennis complex, adventure park, hospital, Scots All Saints College, and the golf driving range along the way. I cross the Macquarie River over a new concrete bridge and then continue north to Wellington Street where I turn left at the roundabout. The Duramana Road turn to the right is about 1km along Wellington Street.
In no time at all, I leave the suburban limits and I am riding into grazing country. This is not a busy road, even though it is wide and well-maintained road. I’m greeted with a short sharp climb that gives me excellent views to the east and a panoramic view of farmlands across to what I call the Winburndale range on the eastern horizon. After a second short climb, I’m then levelling out as I ride towards the “Y” intersection of the Turondale Road and the Bridle Track at Duramana.
This is a close and supportive community locality, where you might see ironworks at people’s front gates like emus or Ned Kelly through to mannequins dressed in seasonal costume (e.g., Santa Claus) periodically throughout the year.
I take the left turn at the “Y” where the Bridle Track starts, about 15km from Bathurst. Lucky I don’t have a caravan in tow, as the sign says the road is unsuitable for vans. The road is still bitumen sealed but it declines in width and quality from this point. There is a steady climb for about 3km, where I cruise to the top of the ridge before the delight of a roughly 4km descent starts down switchbacks etched into the hillside. Towards the bottom, the road straightens up and I cruise at speed into the bridge crossing below.
There have been some close calls on corners (bike speed too fast) and also with wildlife on this last descent. Kangaroos, wallabies and wombats are often seen, and are unpredictable. I’m always wary as I enjoy the downhill section, often feathering my brakes.
The turnaround mark is just past the bridge at Stony Creek (22.6km). The sealed road continues for roughly another 15km to Box Ridge Road at Bruinbun. This can be an excellent addition to my ride, but not today as I’m time limited and I have a hill to climb before I can speed back to town.
It would be easy to say, “I just went back to town the same way as I rode out”, but that’s not going to give this ride justice. After crossing Stony Creek, I’m greeted with the 4km hill climb back to the top. I select a tempo gear and settle into a rhythm. Once I reach the top (about 27km mark), I shift to the big chainring and hook-in to the descent … 10km of rolling hills at speed. I back off once I reach Eglinton, and then spin back into town for a well-earned coffee.