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Loop the Lake – then and now

The Rotary Club of Warners Bay has run the Loop the Lake  event around beautiful Lake Macquarie for 18 years; we thought it worthy of recalling how it all began.

Alan and Laurie Beard, long time members of the Rotary Club of Warners Bay, were instrumental in kicking off the first formal Loop the Lake for charity in 1997.

Alan, a keen cyclist, had been on Big Rides and observed recreational rides around Newcastle. In fact the Newcastle Cycleways movement already conducted their own ride around Lake Macquarie, called ‘Loop the Lake’, for about 20 riders. Alan liaised with this group about extending this ride into a much larger community event as a charity fundraiser.

“They were happy for me to retain the name Loop the Lake. My vision then was to raise money for a play therapist for the John Hunter Children’s Hospital. So funds from the ride went towards this worthy cause. Our first formal event had 600 riders. We did everything on a shoestring including making our own masonite signs,” said Alan.

Laurie said, “I bought cheap calico and painted numbers on 1000 square rider bibs. An it was very important for me to train the marshalls well.”

Alan and Laurie came along to this year’s event and reminisced. “It was like old times, with riders sitting under the trees comparing stories.”

Eighteen years later, the foundations that Alan and Laurie developed are still in place and organisers are very grateful for their hard work and commitment. “But we now use our data-base to communicate regularly with our members and have our own Facebook page.  We no longer make our own bibs and signs.

“To gauge how we were tracking with this event, in 2014, we undertook a rider survey. A total of 298 riders completed the survey. Of around 1800 riders, those completing the survey comprised some 16.6%.

“We found that of all aspects of the event, the route rated highest, followed by how the event was run and then camaraderie and finally food.”

57% of riders were local, 25% were from Sydney, 13% from the Hunter.

The riders were asked to give the event an overall rating out of 10, with the average overall rating 9 out of 10.

Loop the Lake raises funds for local and international charities including the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children and Mercy Ships.

You can register and find out more  by visiting or on the day at Speers Point Park, Morisset or Belmont South. This year kids under 15 are free.


Have your say

Notice of 2014 Bicycle NSW Annual General Meeting
6pm Thursday 11th December 2014
at the Bicycle NSW Office, Bicentennial Drive, Sydney Olympic Park.

full details


Lack of consultation for Castlereagh Street ‘part time’ Cycleway

Artist's impression of the original Castlereagh St cycleway

Following weeks of seeking information from both Minister Gay’s and Minister Berejiklian’s offices, Bicycle NSW is pleased to see our advocacy activity is reaching State Parliament.

Important questions were raised in Parliament yesterday by The Hon. Penny Sharpe MLC, Shadow Minister for Transport, as the community seeks understanding of the new concept of a contraflow ‘part time’ cycleway on the one way Castlereagh Street. Bicycle NSW asked for transparency and we continue to request details on how a ‘peak hour’ cycleway operating between 6am-10am and 3pm-8pm on weekdays, and 6am-10am on weekends, with loading zones in place outside these times can provide efficiency and safety for everyone accessing the CBD.

Construction of the cycleways was due to commence July 2014 for completion September 2015, however nothing has commenced nor does it seem imminent. Back in March the City of Sydney Environment Committee confirmed that the Access Strategy represented an opportunity to construct two major cycleways before construction of the Sydney Light Rail Project. If this opportunity was missed, it reported it may not be possible to commence construction of the cycleways until after the Sydney Light Rail Project and as late as 2020. So will or wont Sydney be mobilised with the agreed integrated network of cycleways?

The Roads Minister is proposing to trial the peak hour (“part time”) bike path concept for six months with an education program to ensure cyclists, local businesses and the delivery industry are aware of these unusual and unfamiliar access arrangements. Justification for the radical change has been presented as restoring loading zones including multi-vehicle spaces between King Street and Liverpool Street. Bicycle NSW is seeking to understand exactly who this compromise is being made for and the details around the concept and decision process in order to confirm is this is an appropriate response and the best solution.
Bicycle NSW also questions the claim that the trial is the outcome of extensive consultation with local businesses, residents, cyclists and the commercial delivery industry. Despite working with Transport for NSW and the CBD Alliance extensively, Bicycle NSW was not consulted on this significant change.

“We respect the need for compromise and alternative design solutions to deliver access and mobility for all transport modes. Our concerns and priorities in regards to the Castlereagh Street Cycleway are safety, proof of concept and integrity of process,” says Sophie Bartho, Bicycle NSW Communications Director.

The ‘discussions with stakeholders’, referred to by Minister Gay, we have to assume were those back in July regarding the original dedicated cycleway because Bicycle NSW is unaware of any consultation about the ‘part time’ concept, and both Minister Gay and Minister Berejiklian have yet to reveal the details of the design, an appropriate safety audit and demonstrate the recent consultation.

We ask everyone (cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, heavy vehicle operators) to continue to demand the State Government deliver their Sydney City Centre Access Strategy, including the “better connected network of separated cycleways” that the State Government recognised “will improve safety for everyone in the CBD – cyclists, pedestrians and motorists”.


11th Annual Pilgrimage to Southern Highlands for Passionate Hill Climbers

From 8th to 16th November BUG is holding its 11th Annual King of the Mountain Challenge from the pristine township of Berry in the foothills of the Southern Highlands.  Kangaroo Valley and Kiama access the ‘Bestest Cluster of Tough Climbs in NSW with 18.8km Jamberoo Pass and 5.5km Fountaindale Rd up Saddleback Mtn (with 2 x 17% sections) stand-out ‘Killer Climbs’.

Muggaccinos 1st Commandment is “Hills are your friends and mountains are your mates”. Scaling steep climbs is ‘Easy Peasy’ with a triple chain ring or at worst a compact crank (50T/34T) on the front and/or a long arm rear derailleur that will take a big cassette, say up to 32 teeth.

If you don’t have low gearing there are flatter rides around the coastline listed in The Bullsheet.

There are a few “pain-lovers” amongst Muggaccinos, as ten Muggs riders participated in its 2nd Tour de Conquer le Rhone Alps scaling all the famous ‘Cols’ and ‘Montagnes’ in the Rhone Alps, averaging just under 2,000 vertical metres climbing per day.

After two successful annual pilgrimages to Rhone Alps, last August Muggs participated in Tour de Conquer Italia – 18 days climbing in the Dolomites and Ortler Alps.

Three weeks before the pending 11th Annual King of the Mountain Challenge from Sat. 8th Nov to Sun 16th Nov, Organiser, Phil Johnston, had rec’d attendance confirmations from 31 keen climbers, albeit a few are more attracted to the leisurely pace of visiting the pubs and restaurantés in Berry ‘After Dark’.

Nearly all cyclists camp at the serene Berry Showground for a veritable pittance of $9 p/n where no bookings are req’d.  Accommodation is also available in a motels and B&Bs for the toffs.

If you fancy yourself as a hill climber and would like to tackle some of the 11 Climbs in their 9 day rides programme, even if you can only attend for a few days, the upper LHS of home page provides a direct link to the 11th Annual King of the Mountain Challenge invitation. Then you can e-mail from the ‘Contacts’ page to join the burgeoning throng or phone him on his mobile listed therein.


Special Offer – 10% off Bike Insurance

To celebrate Real Insurance’s proud involvement in the 2014 Spring Cycle, Real Insurance are offering an exclusive 10% discount* on their bike insurance products to Spring Cycle participants and Bicycle NSW members and supporters.

Whether you use your bicycle to enjoy a weekend ride with your family or friends, a commuter who benefits from a cheaper and healthier form of transport or you are someone who enjoys the challenge of competition, Real Insurance has a bicycle insurance product to meet your needs. Real Insurance provide a range of covers developed by cyclists for cyclists.

Real Bike’s Leisure product is perfect for those who commute and/or enjoy weekend rides. It offers basic cover for bicycles of up to $2,000 in value. Some of the product features include:

  • Accidental damage sustained when used for commuting, training and recreational use
  • Theft when away from home
  • Theft from inside a locked vehicle
  • Transit damage/loss (commercial airlines) – Australia wide

Real Bike’s Sport product is for bicycles valued from $1,000 up to $30,000. If offers more comprehensive cover including damage sustained whilst racing. Some of the Sport’s features include:

  • Accidental damage sustained when used for commuting, training , recreational use and racing
  • Cover for accessories and add-ons
  • Cover for extra wheels

To take advantage of this exclusive offer, simply call Real Insurance today on 1300 277 002 and quote ‘SPRING CYCLE’.

*This is a first year offer only and valid for new bicycle insurance policies which will receive a 10% discount off the premium. Offer expires 30 November 2014. Terms and Conditions apply. The insurer is The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 AFSL 241436 (Hollard) through its authorised representative Velosure Pty Ltd ABN 81 151 706 697 AR No. 410 026. Real Insurance, is a trading name of Hollard. This is general information only. Please consider the PDS available by calling us on 1300 277 002 to decide if these products are right for you.


Real Insurance SPRING CYCLE invites everyone to ‘ride the Bridge, ride Sydney’ this October

Real Insurance SPRING CYCLE will take place on Sunday 19 October, offering families the unique opportunity to cycle across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Since 1984, Bicycle NSW has been delivering cycling events for Australian’s of all ages and abilities on bikes of all shapes and sizes to showcase Sydney’s growing cycling infrastructure. In 2014 Real Insurance joins as the event’s Principal Partner; with Transport for NSW Major Supporting Partner.

SPRING CYCLE is the only event to ‘ride the bridge’ and in 2014 kids ride free encouraging everyone to dust off their bicycle, join in this celebration of cycling and be reminded to ride more regularly. The NSW Government’s commitment to encouraging more cycling is in response to the proven contribution urban cycling makes in reducing transport congestion, which delivers greater productivity, enhances public health and improves the liveability of cities.

In 2014 riders can choose to participate in one of the three ride options – the 15km Sydney Rides the City, the 55km Polygon Classic Ride and the 100km Challenge Ride.

All riders push off from North Sydney and ride over the main deck of the Harbour Bridge, along the Cahill Expressway taking in the breathtaking views of Sydney harbour and the Sydney Opera House.

Riders continue through the Royal Botanic Gardens into the Rocks and over to Pyrmont for the festival finish at Pirrama Park.

For everyone choosing the 55km or 100km ride, the adventure continues through the picturesque suburbs of the Inner West with a festival finish at Sydney Olympic Park.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said SPRING CYCLE was a great opportunity for new riders to see Sydney at its best. “SPRING CYCLE is ideal for new riders and families with children. The 15km ride from North Sydney to Pirrama Park in Pyrmont is safe and simple, and as part of our Sydney Rides Festival we’ll have plenty of entertainment and information on offer for riders of all ages.”

Jon Leighton, Bicycle NSW Board President, said “SPRING CYCLE has captivated NSW and Australia for over 30 years and we are thrilled to have Real Insurance join our partners including Transport for NSW and the City of Sydney. Together we are creating a better environment for cycling by working together to showcase Sydney’s connected cycle ways, the increasing popularity of bike riding and the importance of an active lifestyle. The bicycle is a symbol of freedom around the world and SPRING CYCLE is proud to fundraise for TAD Disability Services Freedom Wheels who customise bikes for children with disabilities. To watch a child unable to walk, to find their mobility and freedom on a bicycle is inspiring”.

SPRING CYCLE announced an impressive line up of Ambassadors who all share the love of bike riding, and a commitment to encourage all Australians to ride regularly. Katie Brown, elite road cyclist; Jayme Richardson, Paralympic bronze medal cyclist; Todd Philpott, Paralympic World Record Handcyclist; the Para-cycling Tandem World Champions and Record Holders Michael Curran and Matt Formston; Sunrise sports reporter Mark Beretta and SBS Cycling Central host Mike Tomalaris.

“Real Insurance, are very proud to be associated with the SPRING CYCLE for 2014. The SPRING CYCLE is a long-standing community event that celebrates participation from all walks of life and promotes healthy living, something that Real Insurance is passionate about. It’s a fantastic day out for the whole family and we look forward to seeing fellow Sydneysiders riding their bikes on the 19th October”, Richard Enthoven, CEO, Hollard Australia Group.


“The Tour de Rosie”

Bryan Doyle MP finds his regular morning bike ride is just what he needs to face the day as the State Member for Campbelltown, mentally, physically and spiritually.

First bike experience

Back in the 1970s my first bike was a three speed hub geared bike with cruiser handles. With my mates we used to tour around the ‘suburban countryside” from Bankstown to Regents Park. They were good times and good memories. But when I “grew up” and left home, the bike stayed and it would be another 30 years before I resumed riding.

Back on the bike

In 2011 I was elected as the Member of Campbelltown in the State Parliament. The sedentary parliamentary lifestyle means one needs to work even harder on keeping fit.

Previously, I’d enjoyed training with weights and martial arts, but the new working hours made it difficult to attend regular sessions. Later that year, there was a charity bike ride (run by Aqua Fit, Campbelltown Catholic Club) from Campbelltown to Camden, a distance of some 12 kilometres. My staff suggested that I should enter the event. I decided that I would, but only if I rode my own bike. So I contacted a good mate of mine, Paul Hillbrick, of Hillbrick Cycles at Smeaton Grange, who arranged the perfect bike for me, a “Ryan Bailey” signature road bike. The bike had had only one owner, who had riden the bike in the same 12 kilometre distance in last year’s charity ride to Camden before being transferred interstate. So I became the proud owner of a “Ryan Bailey” signature 18 speed road bike, and kitted up with some Paul Hillbrick riding gear (helmet, riding knicks, fingerless gloves, speedo, front strobe light and rear lights) I was ready to get on the road.


I was lucky enough to have some very wise bicycle coaches. Paul Hillbrick and Bill Peters, instructed me on the correct use of the equipment and safe riding techniques. I am a big believer that a little bit of encouragement and direction is important for new and returning bicyclists. I soon settled into a good morning riding schedule which has now grown into the locally famous “Tour de Rosie”.

“The Tour de Rosie”

“The Tour de Rosie” is an early morning ride greeting the dawn from about 5am to 6.30am. From the outset the course climbs up to the ridge along Glen Alpine, which is the highest point of Campbelltown and the headwaters for both the Nepean and Georges Rivers. After following the ridge I head down past the Duck Pond and through the undulating false flats of Ambarvale and Rosemeadow, reaching St. Helens Park before looping back. The McCafe at Rosemeadow opens at 6am and is a good place for an early morning coffee on the final run home. After reclaiming the Glen Alpine ridge it is all down-hill back to home base. The distance is around 20 kms with an average speed over 20-25KPH.

After that, home for a swim, shower and breakfast before heading off to start the workday.

In the cooler months I still enjoy a morning ride with some additional kit including: a skull cap, neck warmer, riding gauntlets, jacket, and leggings. All these, and a strong will, are required when the temperature drops below freezing in those July/August months.

Bicycle NSW

I joined Bicycle NSW to keep updated on current cycling news in NSW and to have the peace of mind about riding insurance.

Campbelltown Roads

Campbelltown is blessed with many good roads and cycle lanes. I prefer the early morning riding as the traffic is lighter. I try to steer clear of the major arterial roads, and in particular, the 80km zone ones. Riding safely and sharing the road is vital. Flashing front and rear lights, combined with bright riding gear is important. I always try to be a respectful rider. I consider common courtesy and eye contact with other road users is vital. I think having a reasonably regular route and timings has also allowed other road users to become accustomed to expecting bicycle traffic on their journey.

As Campbelltown and the greater Macarthur have continued to grow we have experienced increased traffic flows. There is a big bicycle culture in the Macarthur and we have a real need to ensure that roads can be shared. In this regard I am really excited about the fact that our major upgrade for Narellan Road, which is a regular bicycle run, will include a dedicated cycleway all the way from Campbelltown, past the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mt Annan, to Narellan.


My morning ride is probably the only part of my day that I can be guaranteed to get some quiet time. I say my morning prayers on the ride, see the beauty of the morning sunrise, plan my day, and then return home pumped and ready for the tasks ahead. Having just turned 50, I can say with some confidence, that my morning bike ride on the “Tour de Rosie” is an important part of the fitness regime and an integral part of my life.


Cycling Safety Action Plan Recognises the Rights and Responsibilities of Bicycle Riders

Roads and Freight Minister Duncan Gay has released the Cycling Safety Action Plan as part of the Governments integrated strategy to reduce annual road deaths and serious injuries by at least 30 per cent by 2021.

The Cycling Safety Action Plan compliments the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan recognizing a range of improvements are required to improve interactions between vulnerable road users and motorists.

The vision is “to make cycling a safe and positive activity in NSW” which is an exciting commitment for the growing number of cyclists. More people are cycling across NSW with a 50% increase in the number of people riding to work and leisure cycling also increasing in popularity. The increase in rider numbers is recognized in Sydney Cycling Futures released December 2013 and the development of major infrastructure improvement to ensure safer cycling across the city.

Minister Gay is delighted to release the Plan saying, “This is additional to the $33 million dollars the NSW Government is spending this financial year on cycling paths and infrastructure. It will deliver a range of actions for bicycle riders and motorists to improve understanding and compliance with the road rules, raise awareness about the importance of safe road interactions, improve bicycle safety skills and engagement between the government and bicycle user groups. It’s all about fostering safer road user interactions and we’ve worked with key stakeholders right across the road community to develop these plans, including the NSW Police Force, Bicycle NSW, the Amy Gillett Foundation, the Pedestrian Council of Australia, NRMA Motoring and Services and Local Government NSW.

A significant change for all road users is the introduction of the new 40km/h speed limit for motorists in the Hay, Kent, Pitt and Castlereagh streets. While a reduction in speed is a proven way to improve safety many are encouraging a further reduction to 30km/h with only 10% fatality risk (5-10% lower than 40km/h). The speed limit and the cyclist identification are two areas Bicycle NSW will explore further and seek clarification on the priorities.

President of the Bicycle NSW Board, Jon Leighton welcomes the Plan and ongoing involvement by Bicycle NSW. “As the peak body for recreational cycling in NSW we recognize the need for significant improvements to develop mutual respect for all road users. With the Government commitment to increase cycling as a mode of transport and leisure activity, improved safety has to be at the forefront of the strategy.”

The three-year plan addresses cycling safety and ensures a safe transition to increased participation. Education is a significant part of the plan including information for bike riders to increase their safety, road positioning and visibility. Education for motorists includes a review of bicycle related road rules and enhancing the NSW drivers knowledge test questions relating to cycling.

“Improved awareness of bike riders will improve safety, and starts with increased awareness that the road is there to share. Improving the quality and quantity of questions relating to bicycles in the NSW drivers knowledge tests will create knowledge and help improve attitudes and respect. All roads users – motorists, bike riders and pedestrians must know the rules and follow the rules. The Plan has an excellent balance between the responsibilities for bicycle riders and motorists. The strategies include safer riding behaviours and safer driving behaviours through communication and promotion, and improving rider skills and awareness by all user groups. A commitment to better road environment design and the use of visibility devices will all improve safety for bicycle riders and motorists”, says Jon Leighton.


Join or Renew NOW. Belonging has its benefits!

Membership of Bicycle NSW opens up a world of benefits and experiences for everyone who rides a bike and those who would like to ride, and helps Bicycle NSW to build momentum and volume of voice as we advocate for improved infrastructure, policies and attitudes. Together we can create a better environment for cycling.

The membership period for ALL memberships will expire on June 30, 2014. We’d like to remind all members to renew now to ensure that you continue to receive all the benefits of membership, and more. (don’t worry, you will only be paying for the new membership year: 1 July 2014 – 30 June 2015).

As a reward for our existing members and as an incentive to renew immediately, you will receive a 10% earlybird discount when renewing before June 30. Add another 10% discount by renewing online – and take advantage of the collective 20% discount. When renewing you will automatically enter our weekly prize draws to win some great prizes from our expanding network of retail partners.

The most exciting change to Bicycle NSW membership is a reduction in membership fees with growing benefits. Our individual and household membership is now called REGULAR RIDER, to represent your love of being on your bike as much as possible. If you’re an individual and renew your as a REGULAR RIDER online you’ll pay just $87 for the entire year! Our new COMMUTER membership is designed for the growing community of riders using their bike to travel to and from work. With the changes in Workers’ Compensation Law, the COMMUTER membership ensures your covered for your trip to and from work. (If your membership expires before 30 June 2014 you’ll also get the period between when you renew and 1 July 2014 FREE).

Belonging has its benefits! Not only do you get the peace of mind provided by 24/7, public liability and personal accident insurances across Australia and New Zealand, REGULAR RIDER members can also take advantage of exclusive member discounts on Australia’s best bike magazines (61% off Bicycling Australia, 37% off a Treadlie subscriptions), access to an ever-expanding range of retail and service discounts as well as discounts on our expanding portfolio of great events and courses.

And the benefits just keep on growing. All members are entitled to a free consultation with a cycling specialist from our legal partners Veritas Law Firm. You’ll also receive
 our fortnightly e-news and quarterly Push On e-magazine and many other benefits of membership. Most importantly, you are helping Bicycle NSW provide a range of initiatives that continue to create a better environment for cycling in NSW – we can’t do it without you! The more Bicycle NSW members there are, the more we can collectively influence and advocate for continuous improvements to cycling safety, attitudes and infrastructure. Join today, and bring along your riding buddies.


Safety for All is the Priority, Not Bicycle Licensing

In the last two weeks Sydneysiders have witnessed two fatalities and a serious injury as a result of collisions between bicycles and heavy vehicles. These tragic accidents stimulate people’s compassion and calls for action.

The NSW Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay has suggested a licensing system for cyclists, saying “We will look at it on a safety basis.” But there is no evidence to suggest that licensing would have made any difference to the incidents over the last few weeks or would contribute to a change of culture on Sydney’s roads. The fact that there are a host of operational challenges and impracticalities to the licensing of cyclists creates an unhelpful distraction from what should be the government’s first priority – making our roads safer.

With safety as the priority for all road users, Bicycle NSW recommends that the NSW Government immediately follow the lead of Queensland in trialling minimum passing distance legislation, requiring a minimum of one metre when a motor vehicle overtakes a bicycle rider. This will provide motorists and cyclists alike with certainty over what is a safe passing distance. We believe this simple message can save lives when it is fully implemented and becomes part of Australian driving behaviours.

In addition the government needs to continue the focus on encouraging mutual respect between all road users and the importance of everyone obeying the rules. Bicycle NSW in partnership with the NSW Centre for Road Safety, the NSW Police, NRMA, Subaru and Toll Holdings is a proud supporter of the “It’s a Two Way Street – Show Mutual Respect” Campaign led by the Amy Gillett Foundation.

But by far the most effective safety initiative is the creation of a safe network of separated and connected bicycle paths in and around our urban centres.

Other safety actions Bicycle NSW believes require greater attention are educating all road users on the rights of others to safely use the roads, practical training programs to develop rider skills and knowledge as well as education to increase awareness around the importance of visibility by wearing a light and bright reflective clothing; obeying the road rules; riding in a predictable manner, giving hand signals; and planning your route using quieter streets, separated bicycle lanes and shared paths.

Governments at all levels around Australia have committed to plans and targets to increase bicycle usage because of the significant contribution that bike riding can make to reducing transport congestion, improving our health and enhancing the liveability of our urban spaces. Registration or licensing of bikes or riders should not be considered as a priority. The focus for action should be on solutions that will encourage bicycle riding and create a safer environment for everyone to respectfully share our roads