Yesterday, on a glorious day sandwiched between the rain we have become accustomed to this past summer, nineteen people, and one dog, converged on Marketown with our bikes and Steven Fleming of Cycle Space took us on a guided tour of Newcastle’s inner city canals. The ride was interspersed with short breaks where Steven outlined his ideas about how this route can become the loop linking the bike paths of Newcastle, with bicycle oriented developments built in strategic locations to complement the entire loop. Guest speakers of note on the ride talked of other projects: Fernleigh and how it was implemented, how the lobbying for the Hannell St crossing achieved a safer solution for this black spot on Route 6, how the drains/canals could be used and how they are not as dangerous as some think they are (and we speculated as to how a bike path would be placed on these shortcuts, and if they can be used, they will revolutionise the speed potential of bike travel through the city). Steven’s vision is that, even if we cannot convince our city or industry leaders that this will provide an innovative and creative construct for bicycle transport in this city, we can all start using it as a de facto track now, a not unattractive idea …. He also floated the idea that funds statutorily required to be contributed by developers towards infrastructure development could be directed towards this concept.
On the ride were many who have previously influenced local government and who are involved in development of our city centre.
Reflecting the diversity of the group, every conceivable type of bike was there: trendy single speeds, mountain bikes, Dutch bikes, road bikes, a folder, a cruiser type bike that looked like a bicycle version of a chopper motorcycle, vintage ladies bikes, a Velorbis, a touring bike, a Gazelle, every type of bike you could think of, in fact.