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“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.

Coaches

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.

Benefits

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.

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