CYCLING in the Northern Rivers Region
Ballina has an extensive network of bike paths and the local council produces a local bike path map (below). There is a popular beach loop of around 12km and the Bicycle path to Lennox Head is currently complete as far as Skennars Head, about 10km each way. Lennox Head is around 25km round trip with some on-road riding.
More mapped routes and course notes are available on our Road Riding page. Maps and hire bikes are available from our shop on River St, details are on our Bike Hire page.
We also provide a full workshop Servicing and Repairs and carry a wide range of Parts and Accessories.
Around the Region
Across the Ballina, Byron and Lismore Shires there is a wide range of cycling facilities for all types of riding and ability levels.
There are currently nine skateparks suitable for freestyle BMX in the region with plans for development of another park at Alstonville. BMX Racing is also popular across the region, although currently there is no track in Ballina. Details of both freestyle and racing facilities are on our BMX page.
The region is also well suited to mountain biking and road riding with details of various rides and facilities details on the Mountain Biking and Road Riding pages.
Local Cycling Conditions
Ballina has a humid sub-tropical climate with an average rainfall of around 1800mm. During the summer months riding conditions can be quite humid when it is raining, but still pleasant.
Summer is warm with temperatures ranging from 18-28C. Winters are mild with temperatures averaging 8-20C.
Most roads in the region are sealed and well-maintained, although the the patchwork of potholes and patches on some back-roads is reminiscent of the cobblestones of northern France!
Major roads within the Ballina Shire are well maintained with a reasonable shoulder. Minor roads generally don't have much of a shoulder, but have low traffic volumes.
Pacific Highway (old & new)
The old Pacific Highway is still in use in some places at the moment while the bypass and upgrade is being completed. This road is extremely busy with high volumes of car and truck traffic and we recommend cyclists avoid it for their own safety.
Sections of the old Pacific Highway that have already been bypassed, such as Tamarind Drive are fantastic for riding on and we can't wait for the bypass to be finished so that we can ride the rest of it.
The new Pacific Highway is basically a 4 lane freeway. It does have a wide shoulder that some cyclists ride on, although we recommend against cyclists riding on the bypass because of the high vehicle speeds, and the dangers of crossing on-ramps and exits. Most local are roads are much more scenic and enjoyable.
Where to ride in Ballina
Ballina Bicycle Paths
Cycling in Ballina offers something for everyone, from leisurely rolls along the many kilometres of sealed off-road paths to beaches, National Parks, mountain bike parks, BMX racing and skate parks as well as hundreds of kilometres of quiet country roads, both flat and hilly.
The Ballina Shire Council bike paths map is a great place to start. The maps are available from The Bicycle Emporium, from the Ballina Tourist Information Office on River St and can be downloaded below.
Longer rides out of town see our Road Riding page, which includes maps of ride routes and course notes with details of the route, coffee shops, local features and hazards. Most rides are also suitable for riders on hybrids and town bikes depending on your level of fitness.
And for all your cycling needs, from repairs and servicing to those crucial things you left behind, come in and see us at The Bicycle Emporium.
At the risk of introducing a note of doom and gloom to an otherwise cheerful site, we feel obliged to make cyclists aware of their responsibilities under the law ... lest you fall foul of the local constabulary and end up spending valuable beer tokens on traffic infringement notices!
Helmets & Lights
In NSW, it is a legal requirement that all cyclists (including children) wear a helmet that meets Australian Standards, that they have a bell and reflectors. When riding at night and in low light conditions cyclists are also required to show a white front light and a red rear light visible at 200m.
NEW penalties for not wearing a helmet include increasing the fine from $71 to $319. Much cheaper to buy a helmet!
Check out our full range here.
Traffic Laws & Fines
Cyclists are also required to to obey all traffic laws, give way at intersections, stop at red lights and stop signs, etc.All traffic penalties for cyclists carry the same fine of around $70 per offence. Some cycling traffic infringements also incur loss of demerit points from your car license.
Children under 12 may ride on the footpath. Other cyclists may only ride on the footpath is accompanying a child (or children) under 12.
Cyclists are legally permitted to ride two-abreast and this is often the safest approach. In some instances, it is more prudent to ride single file for safety or as a courtesy to other road users. We'll let you judge that one for yourselves remembering that what you do reflects on all cyclists.
Locks & Security
There is no law against not locking your bike except the law of the jungle. Bike theft is an endemic condition of society, but also preventable. Buy a good lock (not a cheap one) and use it. If you're not sure of the best way to lock your bike come and talk to us. If you would leave your car there overnight or walk there after dark, it's probably safe to lock your bike there.
Car Racks & Carriers
Finally, when carrying bicycles on a car rack, the vehicle number plate must not be "obscured", which as far as we can tell means "nothing at all can hang in front of the plate". The current fine for an obscured number plate is $405 + 3 demerit points. Fines and points are doubled during holiday periods.
You may remove your regular number plate from the car and put it on the bike rack (as long as you remember to put it back!).
You can also purchase an auxiliary plate just for your bike rack here for $40.