September 14 marks the start of Bike Week and, yes, there is going to be another Vintage Ride in Newcastle this year!
With the Spring theme, we will all be wearing our warmer weather (we hope!) gear as we ride from Nobbys to Islington Park along the Foreshore and Throsby Creek, then return to Linwood Shores Estate for a FREE breakfast kindly provided by Newcastle City Council to celebrate. Flowers and vintage bikes will be the order of the day.
En route we will be entertained by a Master of Ceremonies, regaling us with an entertaining history of Newcastle, as we ride past some of the city’s most scenic spots.
Prize categories will be for Best Women’s Bike, Best Men’s Bike, Best Women’s Outfit and Best Men’s Outfit.
Meet at Nobbys, in the park behind the beach, at 8.30am for a 9am start.
FREE EVENT, sponsored by Newcastle City Council.
Wheeler Place: Civic Theatre behind the palm trees
Wheeler Place was formerly a street, which was closed off to create a large square sometime in the last 40 years. The square is often hired out for events and is a significant “place” in Newcastle, located right beside Town Hall, the Council buildings and Civic Theatre. It has two coffee shops nearby and plenty of public seating. While there are some old palm trees, adding to the ambience of the Place, the centre of the Place is bare, to more easily accommodate events that are held there. This provides an open area often utilised by skateboarders and bike riders doing tricks. It also serves as a handy through way for cyclists to traverse between King and Hunter Streets.
View to King Street
A colourful metal table tennis table is available for public use, also increasing the recreational use of the Place.
Table tennis in Wheeler Place
Wheeler Place works as a “place” because of its prominent location and spacious car free areas, though its lack of intimacy and shade and its openness means it does not work as well as, say, Hunter St Mall. But then, it has been designed for a different purpose.
Art work above the awnings in Wheeler Place
Recently I was reading the works program of the Newcastle City Council Cycling Strategy and it recommended for Route 3 Kotara – John Hunter Hospital – Sandgate to ride via the inner city bypass then Charlestown Road then along Lookout Road and from the JHH along a future road, H23, to the Jesmond roundabout at Newcastle Road. The reverse direction is slightly different and recommends riding down Carnley Avenue beside Blackbutt Reserve.
These routes are asking cyclists to ride up, then down, lengthy hills beside fast traffic, and sometimes beside parked cars at a fast pace. These hazards are duly noted in the Strategy.
Image credit: Google maps
If you want to ride to Sandgate, which is very close to the uni, from Kotara, a much better route is to follow the tracks beside the drains, a slightly longer distance. These tracks are all flat and you can ride nearly all the way completely off-road as seen in the map above. Once you reach Jesmond Park, there is an off-road track alongside Main Road. From the uni, there are tracks throughout the campus from which you can reach Sandgate.
As for the JHH, it is on a hill so there is no escaping uphill riding, but there are much safer options along St James Road, then through back streets, then along Carrington Parade, which requires you to carry your bike up a flight of about 20 stairs. The best solution I can suggest here is a bike gutter to make this easier. The marked route going via Curzon Road is not necessary but Google maps would not allow me to remove this as Carrington Pde has a break in it where there is actually a staircase.
There is also a track through the bush behind JHH and emerging at Jesmond Park as seen in the first map. This is a much better option for bicycle travel from JHH to Jesmond/Sandgate.
Any other or better options would be greatly appreciated in the comments.
Lovely blog post about bikes and the west end of Newcastle here.
The existing bike lanes on Teralba Road
There are already some newish bike lanes on Teralba Road in Adamstown, as seen in the picture above. They work to separate the cars from cyclists effectively enough for the amount and speed of the traffic there. It seems that the Council is extending these lanes further in the direction towards Newcastle.
Work on Teralba Road
This is an important part of Newcastle cycleways as this road forms part of the link between Fernleigh Track and Newcastle. It also forms part of the link for the intervening suburbs such as Broadmeadow and Hamilton. Here is hoping that the lanes maintain the same standards as the existing ones, which not only separate the cars, they also slow down the traffic.
Cars and cyclists in the Mall
Hunter Street Mall is perhaps the best example of place making in Newcastle. It has evolved organically over decades via a curious mixture of circumstances.
A bit of a recap: the Mall was created from a few blocks of eastern Hunter Street in the 1970s when cars were totally excluded from it. The famous earthquake in 1989 hastened the economic demise of the Mall which had already begun due to the growth of suburban centres. As the centre of Newcastle needed to be revitalised, a few years ago cars were reintroduced, but at a greatly reduced level: one way only and with a speed limit of 5kph. There are very limited parking spots in the Mall, making it very safe for pedestrians and cyclists, unlike the rest of Hunter Street, which is a hellhole for cyclists at the moment.
The redevelopment of the area that was planned by GPT in 2008 did not go ahead and in its place Renew Newcastle have brought about a very different sort of development, which has lent itself to the growth of coffee shops and eateries. Its location close to the train station and convenient and free bus services has meant that it has become a hub which is easily reached without the use of a car. The nearby beaches are an added attraction.
Within the mall, there is lots of outdoor seating, outdoor cafés, trees and various other infrastructure making it very pedestrian friendly.
Growth of housing nearby, in the place of institutions such as the hospital and warehouses, has meant that there is a larger population living nearby, able to walk to the mall.
Folding bike in Hunter Street Mall
If you are into bikewatching, the Mall is the place to go in Newcastle.
How to make a pair of plus fours from long pants…
I had a pair of black dress pants which would make ideal plus fours, or pedal pushers, for the Tweed Ride: they are tighter at the waist, holding them up at the back, then loose in the upper legs. I cut them off just below the knee, allowing a little extra length for bent knees and for the seam allowance needed to attach the cuffs. Then I cut two lengths from the offcut part to use as cuffs. These needed to be double the width of the intended cuff plus an additional 2cm to allow for the hem and seam allowance. It’s best to cut them longways down the fabric length as this adds strength to the cuffs.
I then gathered the bottoms of the pants using a loose running stitch around the whole leg diameter in a contrasting thread, then pinned them to the cuffs. I used back stitch to attach the cuffs to the pants, then rolled them over and hem stitched the cuff to the inside of the pants near the back stitched seam. This could all be done using a sewing machine, if you have one, but as there is not a great deal of sewing to do, it doesn’t take long to hand sew. I had to undo part of the outer leg seams to allow for a small placket so I could get the cuffs over my feet and calves. I didn’t have enough fabric to allow for buttonholes in the cuffs, and this would have been challenging anyway due to the many layers of fabric, so I found some ribbon from hanging loops that were on an old skirt and made button loops to do up the small buttons I sewed on the cuffs.
I am so pleased with these pants that I wear them still, with tights under them. They are more comfortable than jeans and, if worn with black or grey tights, they are quite dressy.
Penny farthing and me in plus fours at the Tweed Ride