On Wednesday 23 September 2009, Sydney awoke to an eerie orange gloom, with the Harbour Bridge and Opera House barely visible through the murk. I had chosen this day to experience the BONZA BIKE 4 hour tour of the City’s attractions, following the worst reported dust storm in 70 years. No worries!

On my arrival at Bonza’s office, situated in the Rocks, the oldest settled part of Sydney, I was welcomed by Rachel, our guide for the tour, who ensured we were supplied with a cycle that fitted, together with the mandatory helmet. Our group for the day consisted of five other people, from the USA and France. It was reassuring to find others of my age group. (Young at heart!)

We set off at an easy pace from Circular Quay, along the waterfront opposite the Opera House and then passed beneath the Harbour Bridge; both still partly sheathed in fog. At the first hill climb, the bicycle coped better than I but the resulting view from Observatory Park, well rewarded the effort!

A little more riding and sightseeing brought on a thirst! And so an old tavern was visited. Interestingly it possessed a cellar, once used to detain victims of the pressgangs and a tunnel once existed from here to the lower Rocks, for the victim’s discreet removal.

The rest of the tour brought on many such stops, for example a kiosk specialising in Australian meat pies garnished with gravy and mushy peas. My American companions sampled the wares, but the French declined.

We continued our ride through all the major icons of Sydney, the Bridge, Hyde Park, Mrs. Macquarie’s Point and of course the Opera House.

Although Sydney is hilly, the bike tour involved hill climbing for a short distance only, and most riding was on sidewalks or within parkland. The mountain bikes provided are equipped appropriately with road tyres. The bike ride certainly enabled our small group to view places, out of reach to tour coaches, and without the hassle of boarding and alighting from a 40 seater. There’s more legroom on a bike too! All in all, a very healthy way to tour.

If you’d like to know more email me: charmaine@hallmarktravel.com

Meet me in the gallery!