Loop the Loop, 4 March, 10am, leaving from Market Town.

Because it grew out of a process, not drunken bar talk, the waterway bicycle loop I have identified as a potential big project for my city, Newcastle, is starting to gather some interest. I’ve been having behind the scenes meetings about technical matters, and it scares me to learn, there are no real impediments, other than those you could expect, that are just bureaucratic in nature. Moreover, there is genuine interest from people, with informed views. Better than those, are commoner responses, such as my dear mother’s. She dreams of the day she has an excuse to own a mobility scooter, with which to complete the loop stopping at craft stalls [sigh].

Image: Tom Hatton

On Sunday the 4th of March, I plan to lead anyone interested in a visionary bike ride, on a loop of the loop. We’ll leave from Market Town at 10am, and follow Cottage Creek to Jenner Parade, turn South onto Beaumont, West onto Darling, continuing North/West along Melville Rd until we reach the rail line. From there we will detour over the Lambton Road bridge, to connect with Styx Creek beside Broadmeadow High School. North then along the creek with District park to our left, shimmy past the Wespac Base Heliport, then the wider part of Styx Creek in the direction of Hamilton North. We detour around the old gasworks (hold your nose) then reconnect with more salubrious shores next to the TAFE. We finish with a more leisurely ride along Stage 1 of the loop, that has already been built, that which follows Throsby Creek, back to the Newcastle Yacht Club, where you can all tell me how clever I am. Have your own bike, your own means of fixing your flat, and no expectation that you will get anything trying to sue me, if you tumble into the drink.

Along the way I plan to bother you all with brief commentary, explaining why this particular route deserves more attention than old chestnuts like heavy rail to the city. Almost anyone in the city can see themselves reflected in it, even if for some reason they can’t ride a bike. It will be good for public health, mobility (especially of school kids), users of mobility scooters, our greenhouse credentials, sustainable development, air quality, reducing urban sprawl, the health of our waterways, affordable housing, tourism, recreation, and maybe even the birds.

14 Comments

  1. Vicki says:

    I will be there, weather permitting, as I don’t like to ride in heavy downpours!

  2. Steven says:

    Hi Vicki, you’re right, it would not be a great day in the rain. Assuming fair weather though, we have Mark McClean coming along (http://hamiltonnorth.wordpress.com/knowing-me/) , plus someone from the newcastle city centre committee, our mate Bernie… an all-star cast of movers and shakers, gradually coalescing.

    • Vicki says:

      Great! I know others who may come along too. If the weather is bad, can it be rescheduled for a later date so we don’t miss out?

  3. Steven says:

    Of course. If it’s seriously rainy, I’ll post a morning announcement here on the blog that it’s cancelled. If it’s just dreary, we’ll go ahead, and I’ll lead another group the following Sunday, “by popular demand”. Thanks Vicki! By that stage, lots of people might start leading tours too.

  4. Jess says:

    Sounds good, I will only have a real option to go if it’s baby-transport friendly, but the stopping/ starting nature of the pace sounds promising. Well done, I’m looking forward to
    Hearing more about the development.

    • Steven says:

      One or two sections are a bit tricky. You will need to get off and walk slowly. Don’t take false security (as some cyclists do) thinking there is safety in numbers. The hardest bit is where we pass the wespac heliport. But you can take another way, detour at district park tennis courts, and rejoin the group at the North end of Denny Street

  5. Jess says:

    Ah. Okidoki. The bike is pretty robust and bub seat up in front handles bumps with glee- inducing ride quality. I’ll judge it on The day or do a reconnaissance mission before hand. Cheers!

  6. Jasmine says:

    I take it this may be more of a mountain/commuter bike friendly ride rather than a road bike ride? If there are off road bits I might have to adopt my mothers bike for the day!

    • Steven says:

      90% will be fine on a road bike, and the grassy bits we will be walking. My view: pose value must always, ALWAYS come first ā€” and that really is a nice new seat on your road bike šŸ™‚

  7. Sacha Parkinson says:

    Steven, do you know how many kms this ride will be? as an indication, how long do you expect it to take? Thanks, Sacha

    • Steven says:

      Hi Sacha, it’s just under 7km. Normally and on open road, I could do that on my racing bike in roughly 12 minutes. But in this case, with stops, we’ll be looking at finishing just before midday. So I guess that means you’re committed šŸ™‚

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