Waterfall to the Gong- what a great ride! From Waterfall its a fast downhill along McKell Av, then a cruise up Lady Wakefield, smelling the rainforest, and a good climb out of the park to emerge at the escarpment overlooking the Illawarra coast. Have a coffee at the Pie Shop at Otford- great outdoor seating. Often some vintage cars parked there or a few paragliders zooming overhead. Time before last, a bloke was flying a remote controlled plane, doing loop the loops.
Continue on past the crowds watching the hang gliders at Lawrence Hargrave Park and turn sharp left down the steep hill to Stanwell Park. Had a tyre blow out on this hill some years ago, but luckily managed to come to an orderly stop. No dramas this time, max speed about 62 km/h. The coast road gets a little narrow along here and sometimes motorists get impatient, but today- no one behaved badly. The Seacliff Bridge road surface is beautifully smooth and the shoulder is reasonably wide. Cyclists have been banned from the bridge footpath but I figure that if you can get that far on the road, why bother about the footpath. At the southern end of the bridge there is a steep hill and it really gets the heart rate up. Pity the old Coalcliff pub at the top is all boarded up. The Scarborough is open a bit further along.
After Coalcliff the road undulates, with some good downhills and one or two steep pinches, and progress is rapid. Austinmer beach always looks inviting and we sometime stop for a swim there. Just before Thirroul you can take the turn off to the beach and join the coastal cycleway. Bulli Beach is a picture and the Cafe on the point has good food. Almost decided to quit here and take it easy on the beach, but pressed on to Wollongong.
The path past the swimming pool and fishing harbour is narrow and often congested so we hit the roads to get into the City via Bourke and Kiera Sts. Grab a drink or snack and race to the station (best approach is along Crown St). Even the train was good- a nice new inter-urban train, with plenty of vestibule space for bikes.
No punctures, no yobbbos yelling out their car windows, even the motorbikers gave us a good passing distance, the weather was mild, everyone helped to keep the group together, train was on time- what more could you ask? A good 60km workout, plus a few more k's riding to and from Central.. Some of the group had even ridden from Tempe to the start so had done over 100 km.