Summer’s the perfect season to cycle. Whether you’re after the long challenging ride, or the short bimble to the shops, warmer months are the perfect time to take advantage of longer days.

Set the pace to feel the cool air as it brushes past your cheeks on the ride down to the beach, or take it slow on a seaside path.

Here’s five fabulous Sydney rides to keep your wheels turning over the summer.

1. Iron Cove Bay

Sydney's Best Bike Rides

Late afternoon on the Iron Cove Bay ride.

Distance: 7km
Rating: Easy

Known simply as The Bay, Iron Cove Bay is surrounded by Drummoyne, Five Dock, Haberfield and Lillyfield. Lining its shores is a 7km multiple use path that’s popular with cyclists and runners alike.

Mostly flat, the ride features two gentle hills, and takes cyclists past a number of different parks featuring exercise equipment. You also pass rowing clubs, cafés, bars, Leichhardt Pool and Aquatic Centre, and Drummoyne Swimming Centre.

2. Olympics Park Loop

Sydney's Best Bike Rides

One of 35km of paths on the Olympic Loop.

Distance: 7km
Rating: Easy

Just 16 km west of the city centre, Sydney Olympic Park has over 35 km of cycleways and wide multiple use paths that suit riders of any level of fitness.

It’s easy to catch a train into the heart of the Olympic Park with your bike to begin your journey.

And don’t forget there are plenty of other things to do here once your ride is finished. The site is home to a number of sporting facilities including tennis, golf, archery, and swimming centres. You can also check out various cafes and bars, plus the brickworks and heritage-listed Newington Armoury.

3. Cooks River Cycleway: Strathfield to Tempe

Sydney's Best Bike Rides

View along the Cooks River Cycleway.

Distance: 9km
Rating: Easy

Once described by Captain James Cook as a “fine stream of fresh water”, the Cooks River is a 23 kilometre meandering tidal estuary that flows from Graf Park in Yagoona to busy Botany Bay. Running through the parklands that follow the river and dozen different suburbs is the Cooks River Cycleway path.

Flat, safe and easy to access, the Cooks River Cycleway is perfect for a leisurely weekend ride, and can be accessed from parks or crossroads along its length.

4. Narrabeen Lakes

Narrabeen Lakes at sunrise
The Narrabeen Lakes at sunrise are a sight not to be missed.

Distance: 9.5km
Rating: Easy

Its name is derived from an Aboriginal word, Narrabine, meaning swan. The Narrabeen Lakes path is a multiple use path that takes riders through bird-filled parklands and around tidal lakes.

Shady and cool, the parklands feature BBQs, play areas, and picnic tables. The path links with cycling tracks that carry through to Manly in the south, and up into Mona Vale in the North, for those in search of a longer trek.

5. The Spit to Manly

Manly Scenic Walkway
Cycling from cove to cove this ride offers some of North Sydney’s best views.

Distance: 10.4km
Rating: Moderate

Embark on a delightful ride around Port Jackson, passing through Sydney Harbour National Park and Wellings Reserve, then through the back of the suburb of Fairlight before returning to the seaside at Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.

This path features a multi-use trail through the National Park, then a roadside cycle-way along Lauderdale Avenue that offers a few hills to challenge more experienced riders. Best of all, riding this leg down to Manly beach is a smart way to beat the traffic and avoid the hassle of looking for a beachside parking spot.

This story was originally published on 04/01/16