In a little over six months Wollongong will be the focus of the cycling world when it plays host to the 2022 road cycling world championships. In the lead-up to the worlds, RIDE Media will be presenting a series of videos showcasing the “UCI Bike City”.
– A blog and video by Rob Arnold
The worlds will come to Wollongong later this year (18-25 September) and although final details of the road race course and time trial circuit are yet to be confirmed, we have a rough outline of where the competitions will be. The start of the elite road races, for example, will be in Helensburgh, around 50km north of the finish on the coast near Wollongong City Beach.
The Mount Keira and Mount Pleasant climbs will be a feature of the closing circuits of a road race itinerary that will take riders from the far northern suburbs of Wollongong, along the coastline – taking in the glorious Sea Cliff Bridge – and then around a couple of loops closer to town.
A delegate from the UCI visited Wollongong recently to see how preparations are going and to consider the circuits that have been mapped out by the local organising committee led by #Wollongong2022 CEO Stu Taggart.
In the coming weeks, we should get a clearer picture of how many loops of the circuits will be included for each category: junior men and women, under-23 men, elite men and women (road races and time trials).
That is an outline of where things currently stand with the world championships but before the itineraries are finalised we can at least take a look at some of the highlights of a region which has earned the tag of ‘UCI Bike City’.
Early on a Wednesday morning in January, I packed my bike into the car and set off from Sydney to Bald Hill. The aim of the day was to ride the coast road to Wollongong, climb Mount Keira and take in the view of the city down below, and then return to base before a drive back home.
This #RoadTrip doesn’t document the worlds course, but it does showcase some of the locations that will feature in the racing and, crucially, the coverage of the action that will be broadcast around the world.
Local cyclists have known it for years: Wollongong is a great place to ride! There are more and more MTB trails emerging, there are bike paths all over town, and it’s possible to get a good workout if you set off in any direction.
To the north of the city is a glorious stretch of road that begged to be a feature of the worlds itinerary. The Sea Cliff Bridge is a thing of beauty. Extending over the Pacific Ocean from where the escarpment meets the coastline, this engineering masterpiece offers views that captivate as you travel south or north to or from Wollongong.
On the day of my early visit, the sun was breaking through the clouds as I made my way along the Sea Cliff Bridge, creating a postcard setting for the early stanza of my ride. Although I opted to use the bike path – perfectly positioned on the ocean side of the road – it was a blessing to ride the length of the ‘bridge’ without another vehicle in sight.
Watch the video (click the link above) and you will see why the Sea Cliff Bridge is such a highlight for tourists: the views are stunning, the light magnificent, and the road (or bike path) is as smooth as bitumen can be.
All along what will become the opening portion of the road race course come September there are destinations that beg for closer examination.
I’ll present my #RoadTrip in a series of videos on RIDE Media’s YouTube channel. In the first instalment, I get set at Bald Hill before parking the car back near the lookout over the ocean at Otford. Eventually I begin the ride, but there are many stops along the way as I take in some of the sights of a stunning part of the NSW coastline.
It turned into a great day on the bike and nothing could dampen my mood. The video associated with this story is something I’m proud of: it showcases a part of the world that cycling has introduced me (and many others) to, and it offers a reminder of how easy it is to visit some great places on a bike.
I’ve ridden these roads often in the last 30 years and know that it’s a great place for cycling. The worlds are coming to Wollongong, but that is one reason why it’s a “bike city”. The truth is, the riding options here are excellent and it simply makes sense to explore Wollongong and surrounds while riding your bike.
– By Rob Arnold
– Subscribe to RIDE Media on YouTube and get notifications when new videos are uploaded. –