Registration is now open on the Audax website.
“My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn’t write
What the night pencilled in” Leonard Cohen
We always try and sit down a few days after the Newcastle Overnight ride and look back on the ride
The forecast in the week leading up to the ride was undoubtedly a tad on the grim side, 50mm of rain and thunderstorms forecast. After almost two years of lockdowns, cancelled cycling events and other covid restrictions, we took the view that it would take more than a bit of bad weather to nudge us into another Saturday night on the couch.
On the Friday and Saturday before the ride however the forecast improved and it was a very pleasant surprise to ride to dinner at York Lane Bar and then stand at Observatory hill above the city lights with barely a drop of rain. There was a pretty undeniable tailwind pretty much the whole way, it was easy to forget about it and just kid yourself that you were pedaling unassisted. Turning the corner for the last few hundred metres into the baths heading into the wind was a rude shock and a reminder that really the ride was very kind to us this year.
We hit 335 people registered which we believe may well be a record for us. Exactly how many of those foolishly stayed home we do not know, but the crowd at Observatory Hill certainly seemed pretty sizable.
A combination of the weather forecast and some organisational hiccups meant we needed to pull the plug on the second tea Stop At Budgewoi. This is always a hard one with riders spread between about 1am and 7am, a difficult location and a long drive for Volunteers. In hindsight it was a good idea to pull it as most riders rode through Budgewoi in moderate rain and a steady tailwind, we suspect few would have been inclined to stop for long in the slim shelter of a roadside marque.
As it was, the Ocean Baths Cafe was open from about 4:30am doing a busy trade. We truly appreciate them opening early for us as there is always a degree of incredulity when we ring to discuss our ride plans. While the number of riders going for a dip in the pool was a little low this year, it is quite understandable as the majority were thoroughly soaked already.
As always there were a couple of odd stories from the night and we would feel remiss not to share some.
We generally discourage riders from going hammer and tongs on the ride as it puts them in Newcastle around 3am. Try as we might, we can’t convince the Newcastle Baths to open their cafe quite that early and generally speaking there is not a lot happening at the baths at that hour. This year however by some accounts the earliest riders found themselves interrupting a romantic rendezvous in the baths. The exact details of which will likely stay between the consenting adults and this first batch of speedy riders, but we as organisers are chalking it up as another reason to slow down and enjoy the ride.
A similar lesson was learned by a gent who was seen cycling furiously out of the Mt White tea stop chasing his mates who had departed off down the road. He reappeared a few minutes later saying, “Why hurry, it’s warm and dry here and there is food to eat”.
At the opposite end of the ride our applause goes to a hardy group of three women riding together who found themselves dealing with a flat tire and a stuck thru axle on the highway outside Newcastle around 7am. With heavy rain falling and the light of day bringing an increase in traffic, they were apparently spotted using a cycling shoe to hammer out the stubbornly stuck axle. When this failed A Woolworth delivery truck came to the rescue with a vague promise to deliver them somewhere closer to Newcastle. Only two could fit in the truck so one was left to ride solo. Of the two who went in the truck one rider appeared at the finish around 10:30 am and the other has not been seen.
We would like to tip our hats as organisers to the resilience of all these three women, the one left alone to ride on, the one who made it to the finish and the last woman who may well be happily munching away in the back of the grocery truck.
And somewhere in the middle we have to congratulate two gents in their early late 50s who despite never having ridden more than 60kms, tackled the ride on a pair of older mountain bikes. Starting from Lane Cove, and then rather unfortunately taking a wrong turn at Budgewoi (every year quite a few riders seem to take this unsanctioned detour) , their total ride was probably closer to 200km. A very good effort gents and proof that really the only prerequisites are a functioning bike and a modicum of fitness.
Standout riders in our most inappropriate bike awards have to go to Garth (an organiser) and his mate Pete on the home welded tall bikes. These garage creations, born out of lockdown frustration, made it all the way in surprisingly good time. Peter on the second tall bike was apparently so tired towards the end he couldn’t climb back on so had to stop only near handy mounting rails. While they may look precarious by all accounts they are very stable and have the added bonus of not needing mudguards as the water flung off the wheels doesn’t go high enough.
Also worth mentioning was a very keen bloke on a TokyoBike Mini Velo, a bike designed for Japanese apartment life and the grocery run. Apparently it was a moderately challenging bike to ride with its short wheelbase and limited gear range. Well done on making it to the finish and barely looking tired.
To wrap up, can we express our immense gratitude to everyone who turned up to ride, thanks for engaging with our slightly off the wall vision for a good time on a Saturday night.
Massive thanks also to our sponsors, Omafiets, York Lane Bar and K-Lite Dynamo Power.
The Winner of the Dynamo Wheel and Klite dynamo setup was a nice gent called Brent who has stoked to win such an awesome prize.
Photo Credit: Oliver Cashman, David Thompson, Jason Lynch.
229 256 people registered already we weren’t sure if we even needed to offer prizes this year. But just in case you needed any extra encouragement to sign up for the best ride of the year, how about a giveaway?
Simply register for the Newcastle Overnight ride and we will draw a name at random next weekend (Sunday 14th November), we will then be in touch to hopefully get the setup installed before the ride on the 20th.
Registration open now
Registration is now open for the 2018 ride! Head on over to the Audax website to register: https://www.audax.org.au/portal/rides/register-calendar/980-newcastle-overnight-2018
Here’s some important information for riders who are new to the event:
This is an unsupported ride. There is no sag wagon. If you need to leave the ride for any reason, you will either need to make it to a train station (not many after you cross the Hawkesbury), or call a taxi (or a very kind friend).
We encourage riders to help each other. If you see someone in distress, offer to lend a hand.
There are 2 free coffee-and-cake stops: Mt White and Budgewoi. They are both by the side of the road.
The other popular place to stop for food is the 24-hour McDonalds in Gosford.
Even with these tea stops you will still need to be carrying snacks and water.
You must comply with Audax lighting & visibility rules:
– 2 headlights (for redundancy)
– 2 taillights (for redundancy)
– red rear reflector
– hi-viz reflective vest or bandolier
Audax Lighting Rules:
Reflective Garment Guidelines:
Compliance will be inspected at event check-in.
There is no marking or signage on the route. You will need to download the map to your phone or other device before you start the ride. Otherwise it’s actually very easy to get lost! There are several turnoffs that are often missed. So just download it. See it here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28628349
And so it’s done again for another year: a whole lot of people riding an awful long way and having a rather nice time.
With a little over 200 riders (including some very last minute registrations, tut tut…), we were treated to a beautiful warm evening with a gently southerly tail wind.
Massive thanks to our tea Stop Volunteers at Mt White: Mike, Natti and Naomi. And at Budgewoi: Victoria, Prue (who also snapped some of these great photos) and Benjamin.
These guys give up a whole night of sleep and miss the joys of the night riding to keep folks fed and watered and we couldn’t have run the event without them. Riders often express that this is one of their favourite aspects of the event and how much it help them get through the dark hours. This year at least three struggling riders were given lifts by our courteous tea stop crew, which is truly going above and beyond.
Thanks to the Audax Club of Australia for supporting and insuring our ride. If you have gotten the long distance riding bug, check out their rides calendar as they have rides on throughout the year.
Thanks to Dieter at York Lane Bar, not only did he work furiously in the kitchen to make sure folks got fed but then he jumped on the bike and joined us for the ride as well. It’s marvellous to be able to start the event and do registrations at York Lane and we appreciate the support.
Also massive thanks to our prize sponsors.
Metro Cycles in Newcastle
Ghost Gum Bikes in Newcastle
K-lite Australian made dynamo lights
Wheely Convenient mobile bike mechanics
Omafiets Dutch Bicycles in Redfern
Killen Bikes. Custom frame builder in Newtown
This year we experimented with drawing out a random completed Brevet card at the finish. This experiment was hampered somewhat by some Newcastle lout stealing our Brevet box sometime between later afternoon Sat and the wee hours of Sunday morning. We did really put a box there honest:
Anyway, some bright spark early finishers started a pile of cards, and it was from this pile that Maisey from Ghost Gum Bikes and Kerry from K-Lite drew at random around 8am. The winner was Rachel Hayden who was extremely excited to take home a set of Bikepacker Pro 1,200Lm dynamo lights.
Most Inappropriate bike:
This is always a hotly contested category and this year was no exception.
Honourable mentions should go to:
Ric on his long tail and extremely heavy cargo bike (who made the very sensible decision to bail at Gosford)
Amanda Cleif (who won last year for riding a fat bike) on a rather lovely vintage road bike complete with wicker basket, tea set and croissants packed for the morning. This is not exactly wrong, in fact it’s almost spot on perfect, but it needed a special mention somewhere.
Bart riding the “Omafiets snack wagon” an Omnium cargo bike with a mailbox full of chips on the front.
But really, anyone who saw these guys riding knew they had this prize in the bag, and so the award for most inappropriate bike has to go to “Team Reddy-go”.
These bikes, for the uninitiated, are rather heavy, use solid rubber tires (drastically increased rolling resistance), have only three speeds, and a limit range of seat adjustability. In all honesty they make riding across town a bigger challenge than usual, and so riding 180km on one of these bikes can only be regarded as herculean. Top marks to Jason, Justin and Jose. Jose gets a particular mention as his longest ride previously was in the order of 30-40km., what a step up!
This either the easiest or the hardest prize to win depending on your perspective. We would suggest its the hardest, as even riding slowly, simply being on the bike for 13+ hours is a massive effort.
This year the award goes to Kai:
Kai was actually nominated for the Camaraderie award by several people. But the very great lengths he went to to ensure other riders were looked after also put him towards the back. Kai would have finished with Team Ready go but disappeared within sight of Newcastle baths, meaning the clock kept ticking. His disappearance was interpreted by the ride organisers as an attempt to avoid being nominated for last arrival or even for other awards so we left the clock ticking, current presumed riding time is now 168 hours plus.
His nomination from Jason, which we have copied below:
“Kai made it his mission to leave no-one behind. Riding at a walking pace up Mt White with a rider suffering bad cramps to provide company and added safety. When team ReddyGo approached we could see them from a long way off due to the awesome reflective vest Kai had. This would have been a great comfort for the cramping rider as there seemed to be a larger than normal number of boy racers on that section of the highway this year. Team ReddyGo had two very close calls on the bends of between Cowan and Mt White. After the Mt White stop Kai was aware a few riders had taken a wrong turn at berowra and ended up on the motorway. So at the next main intersections, where an absent minded rider could make that same mistake, he stood and gave directions to ensure everyone went the right way. He continued to act as broom wagon along the ride ensuring that the slower riders got the encouragement and support they needed. I rode with him for the first half of the fernleigh track as I had become last on the road after a few too many Instagram stops. Kai’s conversation almost made me forget about the fact that I was climbing along there. Jose (also from Team ReddyGo) had the pleasure of his company at the very rear of the ride from about the midpoint of the fernleigh track to the very end. At which point Kai disappeared. If it wasn’t for the fact that everyone at the baths knew him I would have questioned whether Kai was a real person or a mythical trail angel. Sent to provide support to those who needed it and vanishing without a trace.”
As fitting for a “mythical trail angel” this blurry polaroid is the only photo we have of Kai: He wins a $100 voucher for Omafiets Dutch Bicycles in Redfern
Award for Camaraderie:
This years award for camaraderie goes to someone who goes to enormous efforts to bring good spirits to their riding and is a huge motivator and supporter for others cycling. In past years this award has gone to riders who have helped others in a moment of low spirits, with mechanicals, crashes or other disasters. But this year we wanted to take a back step and reward someone who does the hard yards week in week out motivating others to ride and breaking down barriers to involvement in the cycling community.
Jullietta Jung has for the last several years organised a sizeable contingent of riders to take on the Newcastle Overnight. Partially as a logical flow on from her work with Sydney Night Rides, and partly just from her normal enthusiasm for all things cycling. This welcoming and encouraging group are always a pleasure to see on the Newcastle Overnight, playing music and looking out for each other. After volunteering at a Tea Stop last year, Jules was riding again this year and is very deserving of the award.
Jullietta wins a custom stem kindly donated from local frame builder Sean Killen at Killen Bikes
Special mention should also go to:
Sean for fixing a fellow riders gear shifting problems right after stopping to fix his own flat when he probably just wanted to put his head down and catch up with other riders.
Josh for fixing another riders stripped crank with a brand new crank in the nick of time at 8pm on the Saturday night.
And thats a wrap for this year, look forward to seeing you all next year !
scroll down below for the link !
Will close midnight Friday though (so we can print the cards)
in other news there are a few road closures in preparation for a car race in Newcastle next weekend but there will be a way around… apparently locals say ride to the end of Darby street across to harbour ride to Nobbies then turn right and go to the baths…
weather forecast is good, light winds, no rain….
Yes Sat 11 Nov is the day.
its important to be seen out there in the dark. We must follow the Audax lighting rules so two independent lights front and back, a reflector and some form of reflective clothing
monkeysee is offering all ride participants a 15% discount on all monkeysee products including the monkeysee harness and monkeysee elasticated belt.
To claim your discount use the promo code NEWCASTLE at the checkout.
we will also have some reflective gear available to buy at the start !