MBCNSW January 2023 seven bridges night drive

Last night was the first MBCNSW night drive of the year.  This month we tried something a little bit different.   Previously inner city drives have been a bit of a failure as the group got separated and lost.   This time, we tried again with a few changes.   Firstly, we kept the route quite simple.   Secondly, we had a muster point halfway along the drive.  Thirdly, we tried to make sure everyone had a copy of the route.

seven bridgesThe drive ended up being the seven bridges night drive.   Since were were doing an inner city drive, why not make the harbour the centrepiece?     We started at McDonalds Drummoyne.  This had some advantages in terms of location and being easy to find, but parking was very limited.   We may try a different one next time.

The first bridge was the Gladesville bridge crossing the Parramatta river.    The Gladesville bridge is an impressive concrete arch bridge, built in the mid 60s.  It was the longest bridge of its type when constructed.    From there, it was a short drive to the Tarban creek bridge, a much smaller concrete arch bridge constructed alongside the Gladesville bridge.    Also part of this same bridge system is the Fig tree bridge, which is less impressive than the other two and crosses the lane cove river.

From there we had our longest stretch on dry land before making our way to the Roseville bridge.   The Roseville bridge crosses middle harbour and was also constructed in the mid 60s and forms one of only three routes into Sydney’s northern beaches area.     We would use one of the other two on our next bridge, the Spit bridge, which also crosses middle harbour.   This bridge is a real bottleneck.   Not only is it four lanes when the rest of the roads are six, but it regularly opens for boat traffic.   During peak times it is configured as 3:1 depending on traffic flow.

Our stopping point was Aquatic drive, between the Roseville and spit bridges.   We were able to keep together quite well, and only needed a couple of minutes to regroup.   There is plenty of parking here near the commercial buildings that were obviously deserted that late at night.   There were a few BMW 1 series hooning around, probably not a smart place as about 1km up the road is a favorite hiding spot of the local highway patrol.

seven bridges

Obviously the centrepiece of the seven bridges night drive was the Iconic Sydney Harbour bridge, which was largely free of traffic given the late hour.  This was also the case of the western distributor and Anzac bridge, our penultimate bridge for the night.    This is a comparatively new bridge, constructed in the mid 90s.   Most of the cars on the drive were older.    The Anzac bridge is the next most impressive bridge after the Harbour Bridge.   It flies the New Zealand flag as well as the Australian flag given it commemorates the ANZAC soldiers.

Our final bridge was the Iron Cove bridge.   As we were going westbound, we travelled on the new span that was completed about 10 years ago.   Eastbound traffic goes on the much more interesting 50s bridge.   We finished up in the same place, McDonalds Drummoyne.   Parking wasn’t such an issue as half our group of eight peeled off to return home at various points.

Generally the drive went pretty well.   I think this drive could provide a template to do occasional inner city night drives.   They don’t work quite as well as the semi-rural drives we do, but they provide good variety and an earlier night.    Given it had rained most of the day, we also had good weather – with one minor shower just as we were leaving the muster point.

Seven bridges

For this drive, I took my 450SLC.   I had the oldest car on the night.   Also on the drive we had three W124s.  An original series 230E and two cars from the first update – a 300E and a 300E 2.6.     Rounding out the classics was a 380SEC, and for the moderns a GLS, a CLA45S and a Ferrari optimized Fiat 500.  I never actually knew that car existed.

CLA45S

My 450SLC had strange problem with the indicators.   When I first used them, they flashed so fast it was like they were permanently illuminated.  The more I used them, the more the started slowing down to the regular speed.    Having noticed that, I turned my hazard lights on while waiting at McDonalds and after about 10 minutes they were working as normal.    Based on that, I turned them off.   It looked like my car had fixed itself.   However, after 20 minutes of non-use, they were back to very fast when we started the drive.   I again used my hazard lights at the muster point.   Actually useful for showing where we had stopped since I was the lead car.   They again slowed down.   But after a decent stretch of driving and rarely using the indicators, they went back fast again.  I suspect the switch may be playing up.

The indicator problem didn’t really cause any issues as they did illuminate.   We were able to successfully navigate all seven bridges and this new way of doing inner city drives seemed much better.   As well as the seven bridges drive, it would be interesting to do all five car ferries in Sydney.   However on looking at possible routes that don’t involved doubling back, the duration would be too long for a night drive.

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