Newcastle overnight is a semi-organised through the night ride from Sydney to Newcastle. It draws inspiration and outright copies, the annual Dunwich Dynamo ride in England.
The idea is for the intrepid masses to join together to cycle a moderately challenging distance (100miles or 160km), in somewhat unusual circumstances (the night time), and have a thoroughly wonderful time doing it.
The ride is generally scheduled around the full moon at the end of November, because the weather should be nice, the night short and the sea is warm. We roll out from observatory hill at 9pm.
We are riding to Newcastle because we like it there. Much nicer than Sydney, We wouldn’t be surprised if some people ended up staying there. Also it allows us to get a nice little bit of alliteration happening.
Riders will need to be prepared for this is an unsupported ride. This means taking your own supplies of food and water, patch kit, pump, tubes, and tools. There’s no following magic bus to sweep you up or mend your bike but fellow riders often work wonders. Riders will be expected, or rather encouraged by generous prizes to help one-another. But ultimately the the ride is unsupported. You are on your own. If you’re in trouble, expect help from others but if you just get too tired or a knee gives out or whatever, then you’ll have to find a lift or cab to get you to the nearest station.
So perhaps the idea appeals to you but you are not quite sure. Maybe part of your brain, or a mischievous friend is planting seeds of doubt. Well we thought we would take the time to put those fears to rest.
Put simply, take courage!
What if I cant make the distance? The ride is a decent stretch. It’s further than most of us regularly ride but its not unmanageable. If you have ever done a club ride maybe you covered 80kms in a few hours first thing in the morning? Imagine doing that, having a break, a cup of tea, something to eat and then doing it again. You would certainly sleep well when you got home but your legs wouldn’t be falling off. Even if you have never ridden with a club, or done long distances on the road the ride is doable. Anyone who is reasonably fit and comfortable on their bike will be able to finish and enjoy the ride.
What if I’m not fast enough? First of all Newcastle overnight is not a race, you get nothing more for arriving first rather than last. It is also not a bunch ride, there is no fixed pace and everyone will be riding at their own pace. Some people will overtake you, you will probably overtake others and almost certainly you will find others riding along at a pace similar to yours.
What If something breaks on my bike or I get a flat tyre? Then fix it dear Charlie. With what Shall fix it dear Liza? With the tools, pump, inner tube and patch kit you brought in your pocket or small bag. Seriously though, All riders should expect to be essentially self sufficient. If you are unsure about road side repairs then go along to one of the BikeWise free bike repair courses run through City of Sydney Council and North Sydney Council (http://www.bikewise.com.au/)