The Wild ON and OFF Ride of… Hornsby Heights West

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This is a 15km hop on, hop off ride, including as much or as little of OMV as you want. To cover a longer distance, it follows the western fire trail contours of Hornsby Heights, which intersect with deep little creeks that channel run off from Hornsby Heights to feed Berowra Creek, far below.

The Simon and Ulolo firetrails (5.5km) are part of Berowra Valley National Park. You’ll want to hop on your bike for the ripper downhills and you’ll love all the gorgeous views across Berowra Creek to Galston as you pedal along all the lovely fern-lined level-ish bits. However, every downhill on this route has a savage uphill, so just ride as far up them as you can and then hop off and push your bike up these pinch climbs. Try not to get discouraged- I often am during this wild on/off ride ! Mental attitude can really make or break your experience of it… Unless A) you have attained that magical ratio of cycling physics- namely a lightweight body with powerful legs… or B) you are the proud owner of an e-bike!

ON Park along Quarry Road. Enjoy the rollicking downhill trail head of OMV and follow Turkey Run through the jump spot, dropping in under the conveyor belt bridge to Lava Flow.

OFF Say goodbye to all the nice, flowy bits as you go through the access road tunnel. Ride up this singletrack as far as you can then push your bike up the many technical rocky climbs below the TAFE. (Determined riders can bust a lung to wrangle themselves and their bikes up all of this, however.)

ON Ride up the dirt ramp to Hornsby Park, turning left onto Peat’s Ferry Road. Cross Bridge Street turning left onto the short footpath then right into Roper Lane and a very rare piece of vintage Hornsby laneway. Turn right into Silvia Street, left into Carrington, right into Rosamond, and finally left down Clarinda Street to the Simon Trail head and bicycle unfriendly BVNP gate. Everything is rideable for the first 2km…

OFF The concreted fire trail climb is so steep it’s like a wall. At the end of the concrete there is a sneaky bit of singletrack to the left. (It’s actually Strava segment!) Riding it makes you think how amazing BVNP could be if new singletrack trails for cycling were created to access and experience more than just a tiny fraction of our newest National Park on a bicycle.

ON & OFF From here all (but one) fire trail climbs are rideable, but it is a steady ascent from ‘The Outlook’ up to the end of Ulolo trail, then downhill via the telegraph poles cutting to a gate near the cameras at the western beginning (or end) of Galston Gorge. Ulolo trail has the best scenery on this ride, with views right across Galston Gorge to the Crosslands Road paddocks!

ON Ride the excellent 3km cycle lane along Galston Road west to Thompson’s Corner where it inexplicably ends. To return to OMV, there’s unfortunately no option but to ride in the busy traffic lanes of Peats Ferry Road. Before Service NSW, use your speed to merge into the middle (straight through) lane because all traffic in the right lane has to turn right into Bridge Road. Thankfully, the speed limit is 40 through ‘Old Hornsby.’ If not doing coffee there, cross safely at the TAFE pedestrian crossing, returning to Quarry Road via the Hornsby Park OMV trail access ramp from which, you can enjoy riding any of the custom-built OMV mtb trails back.