Some evenings Sydney just really turns it on , that perfect touch of warmth in the air, the Jacaranda trees blooming, the sun just gradually nudging the horizon. And so it was, after a couple of years of bad weather, that we had what most would describe as perfect conditions for the Newcastle Overnight ride in 2022.
Dieter from York Lane Bar was happy to host us for dinner again and we really cant stress enough how much his support has meant to us over the years.
215 registrations is a good number for us, 315 registered last year but the rain probably saw a good number stay home. Suffice to say there were a lot of riders at Observatory hill and the nice riding conditions we reckon led to a bumper number finishing at Merewether Baths.
Next year we will likely return to finishing at Newcastle Oceans baths when it reopens post renovations. That said, it was nice to visit a different magnificent sea pool. In a funny illustration of the somewhat impossible task of being a ride organiser we had at least one complaint from someone who didn’t like the ‘fancy’ cafe food at Mereweather and missed the hot chips from Newcastle Baths. This somewhat flies in the face of the consistent feedback every other year that people don’t like the hot greasy mess that Newcastle Baths generally presents as breakfast fare. We just generally laugh and take it in our stride, filing it away with the email we received one of the very early years saying “Really enjoyed the ride, good fun, nice route but why did it have to be so dark?”
This year saw a relative scarcity of “inappropriate bikes”, perhaps the lingering effects of Covid making us all soft or perhaps because we failed to organise any prizes.
We would like to redeem ourselves so have in fact sourced some beautiful printed T-shirts for all our nominees (and also for volunteers)
Leading the way was Jason on a modified single speed BMX with a sidecar attachment. Now this is just a bike that screams inefficiency but the real challenge is that it is in fact very difficult to turn left at any speed above about 12kms/h without tipping over. Perfect for whipping around a circular track where you only turn one way, not so perfect for a long windy ride to Newcastle. A moderate counterbalance in this case was provided by the life-size skeleton , angled as far as possible out the side to give Jason a fighting chance of getting around the corners in one piece. Just imagine hurtling down the descents at Mooney Mooney or into Gosford while being aware that even a minor course correction could see you flip this contraption.
Special mention also goes to Lindsay and Bill on a beautiful classic steel racing tandem. Both part of the Dulwich Hill Cycling Club assisted cycling project, Bill is blind and so for a spirited adventure such as this requires assistance. We think there is something wonderfully quirky and poetic about a sighted rider guiding a blind rider on a 175km bike ride in the dark.
Massive thanks to our tea stop Volunteers from Mt White, even on a glorious summer eve its still a wild thing to find yourself perched on the side of the road making hot cups of tea for strange cyclists. We are enormously indebted for these folks giving up their time (and sleep). Thanks all those who generously donated as well, we covered our costs for another year which is always a good thing.
Photos courtesy of Oliver Cashman, Ben Porter, Jason Lynch and Rohan @”Suburban Dirt”