Had a chance for a ride this afternoon so decided to ride a loop around Lake Illawarra from home on the Montari. It was a good ride, uneventful except for a small problem with a dog and its owner at the boat ramp at Port Kembla. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable excursion. Some low cloud, mild temperature and no breeze to speak of.
While most of the ride is on quieter backroads or offroad cycleways, there are a few lengthy sections of high (and fast) traffic along the Southern Freeway north of Albion Park Rail and the Princes Highway. Both fast roads have a mixture of on and off road cycleways, however the quality and predictability of them is a problem. Many of the offroad cycleways are works in progress, poorly signposted and difficult to decipher from actual footpath. This confusion creates problems in that the path sometimes just end and you find yourself bunnyhopping back into the traffic lane. Don't get me wrong, the cycling infrastructure around here is great, and it's getting better all of the time, however the incomplete nature of a lot of it is frustrating and potentially dangerous. Recent research is suggesting that the most dangerous interface for cyclists is when they are joining or re-joining traffic and at intersections generally. Despite this (or perhaps because of it) the road designers continue to just dump cyclists back into the flow without any warning when their construction budget runs out. In the end I judged it safer to remain on the road and cycle predictably and defensively than to run the gammut of incomplete pathways.
Despite these observations I felt pretty good with the ride, and made sure to stop and smell the roses (or rotting seaweed). The 50k loop took a leisurely 2 and a half hours of riding time.