Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’


“Where are you guys going?” asked the kid in his souped up hoonmobile who had pulled over as I inched up the hill in the dark.

“Newcastle,” I replied.

“F*ck me!” I guess lots of people had been wondering what these hundreds of cyclists were doing cycling though the rain in the middle of nowhere in the dark.

Newcastle Overnight checkpoint at Mt White

The Newcastle Overnight is an annual event where a wierd bunch of people (including me) leaves Observatory Hill near the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 9pm to cycle through the night to Newcastle, 173km to the north. It includes some longish ascents and descents in the dark to Gosford before the brain enters spaced-out mode, cycling past the Central Coast beaches and lakes when all are sleeping and only the crazies are out.

I met with Jo again. We have met on several of these rides and shared stories about the crazies. The famous one is of the 20 year old guy walking down the street naked at 3am near Budgewoi holding nothing but a branch. The event pulled the brain out of its inner processes to focus on the now. Once focussed, I had passed. No evidence photo was taken. Only me, Jo and dozens of others had seen it.

This year, no naked guys with branches but I did pass 80,000 km on the bike, just a few km from naked man road.

80,000km for the bike

Just after 80,000 on naked man road I passed a hungry man. There was no Budgewoi checkpoint this year and nothing open for about 20km. Luckily I like taking a lot of stuff on these trips. Although I couldn’t interest him in a kitchen sink, he was interested in some fruit cake and bread.

As is usual on these trips, you start together, have short stints cycling with others and having a chat, but most of the time is spent in a meditative brain state. I started cycling with Jo, and we met up again at the end.

Before departure in Sydney
Made it! 173km later in Newcastle

Thanks to Josh and Annie who both Jo and I had chatted with en route, for taking us back to Sydney in the car!

With the weather forecast of rain all week, I have decided to not cycle in the Snowy Mountains this week (through snow, sludge and freezing temperatures) but rather to take the Newcastle Overnight cycle as day one of my cycling holiday north of Sydney.

https://strava.app.link/l29O1teCnlb


The world, Australia, New South Wales, metropolitan Sydney, the Bayside Local Government Area (LGA). With COVID-19 my horizons have been shrinking. With ‘the worst yet to come’ regarding hospitalisations, my cycling playground is now the Bayside LGA where I live. There is lot there, and today I checked out the perimeter and the innards and saw beach, marsh, ships and planes.

Sandringham beach

Sandringham beach

The Bayside LGA has the airport at its heart and Port Botany with all its ships and cargo containers on the eastern flank. With the ultra-dangerous airport freeway tunnel on the south side of the airport the only way to pass on the south, my trip today was divided neatly into two halves – the eastern Port Botany side and the southern Botany Bay side.

Here is a link to the strava map.

The East Flank

The foreshore at Port Botany is marshy with short stretches of beach.

Port Botany

Port Botany

Port Botany

Port Botany

Port Botany

Port Botany

Port Botany

Port Botany

The innards of this arm is suburbia

Kingsford

Kingsford

Gorilla

Gorilla

and industry.

Industry

Industry

The South Flank

There he stood on the grassy hidden path his eye all red and puffy. “Can I have some of your water to flush out my eye?”

He had a seed in his eye. My thoughts were COVID danger, but I should help him. I gave him my water bottle and stood back as he flushed out his eye, once and then again a few minutes later with a second attempt to get rid of the seed.

This was a part of my LGA that I wanted to discover for some time. I had seen what looked like a bridge crossing the swamp through the bushes behind a locked gate. There are other ways to get to this place – little tracks branching off into the bushes that pass under the freeway and through the soggy wetland.

Bridge

Bridge

BMX paradise

BMX paradise

Marsh

Marsh

Grassy path

Grassy path

Lookout

Lookout

Then there was the sandy beach looking out over the airport runway. I was the planes land and take off. Maybe I saw the 500,000 Pfizer vaccines arrive from Singapore. They were meant to have arrived today.

Plane landing

Plane landing

Plane takeoff

Plane takeoff

Beach

Beach

A tongue of sand reaching out into the bay at Sandringham reminded me a bit of Vlieland in the Netherlands with its endless plateau of sand. Admittedly this tongue of sand is a bit smaller, but it was beautiful all the same – and just 20 minutes cycle from home.

Sandringham beach

Sandringham beach

Sandringham beach

Sandringham beach

Inland, parallel to the beach is a thin strip of grassy parkland following a little creek. Evening cycles along there make me feel like I have escaped the bustle – even if only for 20 minutes.

Grass

Grass

Grass

Grass

There is a lot of see in Bayside LGA. This will be my playground for quite some time to come.


From a breakfast on the balcony with a multiculti crew, to cycling on a dirt track in the dense bush, to admiring the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in the sun, to a record amount of bike-hate abuse hurled at me on the Pacific Highway. A day of differences.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

It was peaceful and quiet in the Royal National Park. From a beautiful view on the cliff-faces above the coast, I plunged into the dense forest, leaving the main road for the little dirt track that followed a stream.

View from above

View from above

Royal National Park

Royal National Park

Dirt track

Dirt track

Road block

Road block

Then a long trip into the city, swapping between cycling on the main highway, to trying to navigate my way down small bike paths, when I could find them. The weather was beautiful for my arrival in Sydney.

Opera House

Opera House

Unfortunately the road-rage against cyclists continued. On the 20km stretch north from the city along the Pacific Highway, I had as much cyclist hate yelled at me (and tooted at me) than I have had on my whole 2-year trip from Europe (all of this hate has been in the last few months since I entered Australia).

Anyway, Sydney is a beautiful city, with lots of lovely family and friends living here. Iā€™m looking forward to my time here to finish off an amazing 2016.