Women Who Cycle, Nicola Rutzou

“Parramatta is such a nice, relaxing place to ride,” says Nicola Rutzou, founder of Women Who Cycle, a blog dedicated to getting more women into cycling. “Recently I rode to Prospect Reservoir and, along the way, I went into Parramatta Park to do a lap.”

Living in Concord and riding in and around Parramatta for 11 years, Nicola finds city easy to reach on two wheels, thanks to a network of bike paths that extend north, south, east and west.

“From my home, I follow local streets to the northern bank of Parramatta River and, from there, a bike path leads me all the way into Parramatta CBD. It’s flat, safe and scenic.”

One of Nicola’s favourite places to cycle is Parramatta Park, 160 years old and made up of 85 hectares of glorious greenery — dotted with 19th century buildings, stunning gardens, shady trees, swathes of bushland and pretty picnic spots.

For cyclists, the drawcard is the 3.2 kilometre loop. Nicola thinks the best time to go is the morning, when the weather’s cool and there’s a real fitness vibe.

“It’s the most amazing place to ride, with lovely sweeping bends and little hills,” says Nicola. “I also love the living history. Parramatta and the river are such a huge part of Sydney’s past.”

What’s more, the loop suits two wheelers of any kind. Nicola says, “Cyclists of all levels go there, from triathletes doing fast loops for training, to kids who are learning … It’s great for beginners. If you’re nervous and don’t want to ride from home, put your bike in the back of your car, drive to the park and cycle at your own pace.”

In addition to being a cycling destination, Parramatta Park is an excellent starting point for longer rides. The loop links to the Parramatta River bike path, which travels east along the water to Sydney Olympic Park and beyond, as well as to another path that runs north, adjacent to Old Windsor Road.

These days, cycling is one of Rutzou’s passions. She rides between 100 and 130 kilometres per week, writes feature articles for Bicycling Australia magazine and runs her blog.

“I’m so in love with cycling, I love sharing it with other people, especially women.” says Nicola. “Women don’t take up cycling for many reasons, including the perception that it belongs to middle aged men in Lyrca. I want to encourage them to get out there — the more we do that, the more normal it becomes, and the lower the levels of angst. The fantastic facilities in Parramatta make it all the more possible.”

Nicola Rutzou

Nicola Rutzou
Cycling enthusiast and founder of Women Who Cycle