Story Bridge | Brisbane’s best road bike rides

Brisbane’s best road bike rides

Before dawn breaks in Brisbane, clusters of tiny red and white flashing lights give away the meeting spots of local groups gathering for pre-work social rides and peloton training.

At sun up, lycra shines through on the bevvy of bike paths and Jacaranda-lined back roads whizz with two-wheeled workouts. By 7am, the coffee shops are buzzing with post-cycling banter.

Love cycling? Well, you’ve come to the right place because Brisbane loves you right back. The city’s vision of being a clean, green and sustainable river oasis comes to life in its subtropical parklands, botanical gardens and well-signed popular cycling routes through abundant bushlands, ancient rainforest and ecologically important wetlands.

And there’s no better time to visit than during Brisbane Cycling Festival.

If you prefer to get in on the action than stand by the sidelines, the Tour de Brisbane is the for you. There’s a free community ride alongside the UCI Gran Fondo World Series.

While you’re here, jump on your bike and explore the beating heart of the Sunshine State on one of best road bike rides Brisbane has to offer.

Let’s Get Orientated: City Tour

Brisbane by Bicycle | road bike rides Brisbane

When it comes to blending urban spaces with nature, the capital of the most bio-diverse state in Australia knocks it right out of the park. Stone heritage-listed architecture and sparkling modern skyscrapers happily hang out side-by-side here in Brisbane.

Behind the river skyline, the city breathes with wide-open spaces and subtropical rainforest spills into neighbourhoods each with their individual vibe. Add shop-till-you-drop districts, top notch dining and you’ve got plenty to explore on wheels.

Let Brisbane by Bicycle be your expert guides. They will saddle you up with everything you need from head to tarmac and take you on a leisurely pedal to get you acquainted with the city’s highlights and hotspots – hills not included.

Distance: See tour options
Terrain: Mostly flat
Suitable for: All levels of riders

Art, History and Café culture: Teneriffe to Fortitude Valley

Brisbane Powerhouse | road bike rides Brisbane

Prefer to be your own guide but you’ve got no bike? Pick up a city cycle from Vernon St in trendy Teneriffe. This industrial core of years passed is now converted into loft apartments, unique boutiques and microbreweries.

Tuck into breakfast at one of the eateries and then head along the riverside boardwalk to the Brisbane Powerhouse, a creative hub, that in its heydey, powered the largest tram network in the southern hemisphere.

Continue through the 37-hectare New Farm Park past giant fig trees to New Farm itself – one of the capital’s oldest suburbs. From there, Brisbane’s iconic river pathway will take you into Fortitude Valley, a gentrified district with an oh so boho vibe.

Drop your bike off at the city cycle station on chic James St. Now treat yourself to a well-earned beer, glass of bubbly or wine.

How to get there from the CBD: City Cat to Teneriffe
Distance: 9kms one-way
Terrain: A leisurely ride mostly flat along bike path
Suitable for: All levels of riders

Going with the flow: The River Loop

River Loop | road bike rides Brisbane

Brisbane’s most popular bike route for social and training rides follows the river through some of Brisbane’s must-see districts. A popular place to start and finish is the cultural area of South Bank. From there, the ride connects bikeways and quiet back roads through the city’s prettiest river suburbs.

There’s a shorter “mini-loop”, however, whichever you choose, you can cool off with a dip at South Bank’s Streets Beach to finish. It’s Australia’s only beach in the middle of the city.

Detailed maps of the full ride loop and shorter loop are on Google Maps here and here.

How to get there from the CBD: City Cat to South Bank
Distance: 16 to 35km loop
Terrain: Mostly flat along quiet residential streets
Suitable for: Moderately fit cyclists

Into Nature: The Boondall Wetlands trail

Bird enthusiasts: pack your camera gear for a nature-lover’s cycle through 1,000 hectares of tidal flats, mangroves, salt marshes, woodlands, forests, grasslands and internationally important wetlands which support high numbers of international migratory shorebirds. Cormorants, darters, egrets, ibis and herons can be seen year round.

Start at Nudgee Beach Reserve and finish at Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre where you can learn more about the environmental and cultural heritage of wetlands.

How to get there from the CBD: Drive to Nudgee Beach Reserve
Distance: 12km return
Terrain: Flat, mostly along cycle paths
Suitable for: Beginner to Moderately fit cyclist 

Strava test out. Regatta to Mount Coot-tha

Mount Coot-tha

Photo by Tracey Croke

Love a Strava challenge? Your quads will burn on this challenging climb but the rewards are worth it.

Although not technically a mountain at 287 metres, Mount Coot-tha is Brisbane’s highest peak and a training favourite for cyclists.

From Regatta City Cat terminal, take Sylvan road to Mount Coot-tha Rd and follow the signs for the scenic route (Samuel Griffith Highway). The road climbs through natural bushland teeming with wildlife before rolling a traverse to the summit.

Have a pre-climb fuel up at the café in Queensland’s premier botanical gardens or get your sweet rewards at the summit’s Kuta Café. There you’ll find Mount Coot-tha lookout which captures the best vista of Brisbane City out to Moreton Bay.

How to get there from the CBD: City Cat to Regatta
Distance: 16km loop
Terrain: Hilly and rolling
Suitable for: Moderately fit cyclists

Let’s go coastal: Shorncliffe to Scarborough

Scarborough | road bike rides Brisbane

For another pedal-turning stunner with views out to the Coral Sea, start at Eagle Terrace in Shorncliffe and link the coastal towns of Sandgate and Brighton through to the Redcliffe peninsula finishing at Scarborough.

Moreton Bay is one of Queensland’s most important coastal resources and it’s the only place in Australia where fabled dugongs gather in herds numbered in the thousands. In winter, you might spot a pod of whales swimming off the shore at Scarborough. 

Woody Point is a beautiful spot for a breather. For a bigger day out, the fearless can take a skydive over Moreton Bay to the drop zone at Suttons Beach.

For a detailed log of this ride pick up a copy of Where to Ride South East Queensland.

How to get there from the CBD: Train from Central Station to Shorncliffe.
Distance: 41km return
Terrain: Mostly flat
Suitable for: Moderately fit cyclist 

Make your own ride

Use Cycling Brisbane’s handy route planner, which utilises bikeways and shared pathways to plot your road bike rides journey through Brisbane.

Transport

Getting around Brisbane is a breeze thanks to its seamless transport system. Grab a TransLink Go Card to enjoy hassle-free travel on any TransLink bus, ferry and train across south-east Queensland. Bikes are allowed on Brisbane’s trains and city cat ferry services.

Keen to push the pedals further afield in South East Queensland? Try these cycling routes in the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.