Riding through Richley Reserve


I was finally able to ride to the John Hunter Hospital via Richley Reserve last week, after the comments on an earlier post alerting me to this possibility. I was hoping that this would be easier than hauling my bike up a flight of stairs, and possibly a bit quicker.
It is certainly a more scenic route and riding through the bush, or pushing my bike up the hills, was easier and more pleasant than the stairs. In summer it would be even more so, due to shade from the sun.

From Google Maps

From Google Maps

The problems I encountered were that I got lost going in both directions. I took a different route each way, both times intending to take the shortest trip through the bush, according to the map. I had my iphone with me and using it could locate my position in the Reserve, but there seemed to be a variation between the paths marked on the map and the actual paths. It was not a huge problem however, I only had to backtrack twice, and if you head uphill you will eventually arrive at Lookout Drive and if you head downhill, you will arrive in New Lambton. There are some deadend tracks though, which is where I encountered the problems. On one such deadend I encountered this lizard, which I wouldn’t have seen had I been riding …image
The paths are quite wide and well defined with smaller and more rugged side paths going off them. Riding was never a problem. The bush land setting is beautiful and the tall canopy of overhead trees gives a sheltered quality to the ride.

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Vintage Spring ride report

Bob with his bike

Bob and his restored bike with handmade picnic box

What amazes me at the Vintage Rides is the diversity of the bikes there and the innovative and skilful restorations of old bikes. As well as the old bikes that are simply given a new set of tyres and ridden as rusty, much loved and practical means of transport or as showcases for other art works. Today’s ride was certainly an event which showcased all of these.

Chris with penguins on his bike

Chris with penguins on his bike

This artist who decorates his bike with his creations.

photo 1

Gareth, the creator of the Fernleigh Trackster, restored this kerbside find bike

This bike, a street find, with the upturned handlebars and bottletop bar-ends.

Bob's home made handlebars. Full photo of his bike at the top of the post.

Bob’s home made handlebars. Full photo of his bike at the top of the post.

This bike, meticulously restored, handmade picnic box on the back and handlebars crafted from an old wooden curtain rod.

Handmade cargo bike

Handmade cargo bike with baby seat and milk crate

This handmade cargo bike, able to carry two children which has been ridden to Nelsons Bay and back, a round trip of around 160k’s.

Rebecca's beautifully original bike

Rebecca’s beautifully original bike

This old and beautifully rusty bike ridden around for everyday transport.

Oliver Pink, MC

Oliver Pink, MC

And our MC with his leather helmet, goggles and waxed moustache!

All of the Spring Riders

All of the Spring Riders

Spring riders in action. Photo credit Peter McNaughton

Spring riders in action. Photo credit Peter McNaughton

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Bike watching around Newcastle today

Cafe racer

Cafe racer

It must have been the launch of the visionary Newcastle Bike Plan that brought out all the fabulous bikes today. The cafe racer above was there, I love the shiny black paint, cream tyres, leather trims and handlebars. Perfection! This is somewhat of the styling I was after with my Bennett restoration, but this one has really hit the mark with its handsome looks.

Van Moof in Beaumont St

Vanmoof in Beaumont St

And this one on the left looked like a Vanmoof. This was the best photo I could get of it, but to see such a beautiful high tech bike in Newcastle!



This Achielle was a show stopper too. My photo does not do it justice, the light was too strong to capture its features properly. It is all matt black with brown tyres, a heavy duty rack at the front, leather grips and saddle and a double top tube. Understated elegance! It had two of the biggest locks I have ever seen on a bike, its owner is certainly taking no chances.

Fantastic to see bike connoisseurs emerging in Newcastle!

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Vintage Spring Ride, Sunday 14 September


September 14 marks the start of Bike Week and, yes, there is going to be another Vintage Ride in Newcastle this year!Speedwell and rose garden

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.

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Placemaking – Wheeler Place

Wheeler Place

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

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

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

Art work above the awnings in Wheeler Place

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Riding from Kotara to Shortland and the John Hunter Hospital

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

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.

Picture 2
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.

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Bicycles in Newcastle is featured on West End Adventures

Lovely blog post about bikes and the west end of Newcastle here.

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