Mason and Bird Heritage Trail
All rides on soft tail with no luggage
Ok, this ride was mainly to track the loop circuit and get some video. Hence it was a total of 5.8km. And I took nearly 90 minutes to do it because I was videoing a lot! It took me longer to drive there and back than ride. I like this ride because it is historical, and it is another way to join the Munda Biddi, so I didn't mind coming out to do this. Warm day, easy ride, got some video and home in time for a beer after Anzac Day - perfect!
Mason Mill To Mason's Landing Via Victoria Dam
Same, same but different. Today I started at the sign for Victoria Dam on Mason Mill road. I started at 2.45pm, and very close to the start is James Weston's grave, aged 2 days old (see router sheet for exact location). I rode on to Victoria Dam. From the look out over the Dam the only way down to the new Dam is via stairs - OK when on a light bike, but it would be a hassle if you were towing a trailer up the Scarp - the sealed road for the Dam maintenance vehicles would be very, very tempting!. At the bottom of the stairs is a sign indicating the trail to Bickley Reservoir. The new Dam was interesting, but the old dam was fascinating. It has been cut in half so you can see how it was made, there is a sample of the old pipeline that carried water to Perth, the display board was interesting and the water feature was pretty. I really enjoyed it.
I followed the trail to Bickley Reservoir - it soon turns into a good gravel road (solid, undulating, but heading down wards) and later it joined the Mason & Bird Heritage trail at the old wooden tramway bridge.
7.9 km on right is Boyle Lane - this turned into Bickley Road and went all the way to Mason's Landing (you can no longer get through on this route - there are fences to stop you crossing the Tonkin & Roe Highways and a train line).
I rode to Maddington train station as described, then almost to Beckenham station where I then followed Bickley Rd (the original tram way route) to Mason's Landing, then on to Woodloes House. I finished at 4pm, then rode back to Bayswater via the train line - I was home at 5pm.
Pickering Brook to Maddington Via Mason & Bird Heritage Trail
I am on the hard tail mountain bike with road tyres, as the ride is mainly road or good gravel today. It is sunny and about 20 degrees. I got a lift to Pickering Brook, and dropped at Holyroyd Road, where the MB comes out of the bush into Pickering Brook. I got talking to orchardist on Holyroyd Rd. He says this road was old railway line. He was born in 1946 and can't remember the railways, but his brother who is 5 years older can. The Holyroyd home is a little further up the road and is sited exactly where the trains left the building materials for the home in the 1920's. I started riding about 2.30pm through Pickering Brook town. It was all pretty quiet - there is no shop in the township, and Pickering Brook is at a sort of dead end, but that suited me. Just after passing the golf course, I saw the general store that looked suspiciously closed, although I did not stop to verify that. A short distance later, Canning Rd enters from the left and the traffic increases slightly - it was a sunny Winter's afternoon in the Hills so there were a few people about. However it was nothing to worry about - the road is 80 km/hr at it's maximum, you are on it only for 2 km and the cars were all very courteous. I did deviate on to Giumelli Rd, as it is right next to Canning Rd,and gets you on to a quiet road for 800m.
At Masonmill Rd I turned left. If you carry on for a kilometre or so, Masonmill Rd joins back onto Canning Rd, and this is the site of the old Mason Mill. There is a sign indicating it. Or you can stay on Masonmill Rd, which is quieter, and get to the site that way.
300 metres later on the left was an unmarked road with a sign indicating Victoria Dam. Turn up it, but immediately swing to the right of the road. If you look down the steep embankment, you will see the Mason & Bird heritage trail sign. We need to get down there! You can continue towards the Dam and turn right just before the white gates and follow the many trails back to the sign. I continued along MasonMill Rd (do not turn left in to Victoria Dam) for 200m, where it was not so steep, then turned left off the road to get to track 10m away. I then turn left on track and head to Mason & Bird Heritage sign. Don't worry - the sign is about 30 m from the road junction and the embankment is easily visible. Now stand facing the Mason & Bird Heritage Trail sign - the Heritage trail is slightly off to your left about 100m away, across Bickley Brook. There is a trail on right of sign - 10m away - so go up there. Cross Bickley Brook, which was flowing nicely, then turn right into a wide level trail - this is the Mason & Bird heritage trail. Bickley Brook is on your right. Start pedalling! You will know you are on the right trail if you come to a white gate in 100m. I also confirmed it because my GPS showed I was on an unmarked trail that joined on to Hardinge Rd.
Within another 100m, I saw a nice granite out crop on the right.After 500m of smooth old form that you would feel comfortable driving your Mum's car down the trail become rocky with steep down hill sections. There were nice views on right, including a little water fall. The trail improved bit and I noticed an old fence on right and some cleared land. Rocky rough steep down hill. But the last couple of hundred metres was steep and rough with decent size loose rocks so I walked it down. I think the photos show that! But once you cross gravel road with the rail bridge in front of you, it is all easy from then on. Obviously I stopped at the rail bridge for a look - it was quite pretty in the afternoon sun with the water around it.
The 1300 metres of gravel road to Hardinge Rd was smooth, solid and undulating - I got a bit of speed up going downhill and could get over the next hump with it. Be careful though as conditions can change. The bush looked good, but I was now going faster so I was watching the trail more.
When I joined the sealed road at Bickley Brook Recreation camp the road was now a sealed quiet road, with a gentle downhill slope.The dam was fairly busy, but no-one was on the roads really. I ducked in at Hardinge Park and had a look at the dam wall, before returning to the trail. The road is bush or semi rural until you cross under the Tonkin Highway, then it increasingly becomes suburban. The final 3 km to Maddington train station are a normal urban ride with nothing exciting to report. I was there around 3.30pm
I chose to ride home along the cycleway next to the train line. It is easy to follow, and the train line is usually only 20 or 30 metres away. It only gets a bit confusing near Burswood station - you turn left across a bridge, but the train line is 50m away on your left. Then a few hundred metres later, the road next to the train line ends, so turn left up the road at the "No through road" sign, cross Graham Farmer Freeway then turn immediately left on the cycleway to the City. I was home in Bayswater just before 5pm.
Would I ride UP this trail to Pickering Brook? You betcha! Hardinge Rd is a gentle up hill ride and only 1 km of the gravel section is steep and rough. Welshpool Rd or Canning Mills Rd are the two sealed options, and they are long steep slogs on roads with cars going past at 80 km/hr while you are doing 10! I prefer this option any day.