RTA Big Ride 2004 diary

Day 4: Raymond Terrace -> Newcastle (71KM)
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We got up at about 4am this morning, having put our bikes back at the showground last night to be trucked to Raymond Terrace. We got onto the bus at the Arts Center and I basically half-slept all the way. When we got there, a few bikes had arrived, but not mine. I put my duffel bag on the luggage truck and waited, helping unload bikes as they arrived. At about 8am, mine arrived and I set off.

Raymond Terrace at 7:30
Raymond Terrace at 7:30

The first 10km or so were quiet back roads, running at right angles to each other, going through Duckenfield (where it appears that all the horse farms for Newcastle are based) and Morpeth. It was almost all dead flat, with kids on their way to school and cheering us on. We had morning tea on the outskirts of Maitland and it was good to be back on the bike again, whizzing along at a good pace.

Narrow country lanes
Narrow country lanes

Frost on the field
Frost on the field

Outside Morpeth - (C) Top Shot
Outside Morpeth - (C) Top Shot

Lunch was at Buchanan Gallery, south of Maitland. I didn't go inside, although some people did and told me it was quite nice. The grounds were fine for me, with lots of trees to sit and relax under.

The grounds at Buchanan gallery
The grounds at Buchanan gallery

The grounds at Buchanan gallery
The grounds at Buchanan gallery

From Buchanan, we went over Sugarloaf Mountain and down this dirt section behind it into bell bird country, and afternoon tea saw us at Minmi oval. From there we rolled over a few hills past new developments - they looked like gated communities and predominantly Christian from the big Christian primary school in the area.

The last section went half through bike paths (converted old railroads) and half on suburban streets. There was one quite dodgey routing decision where they took us right and right around a couple of blocks, onto a major road, then made us do a u-turn at a busy intersection onto the opposite side of the road with a volunteer trying to persuade confused drivers to stop and set cyclists through.

Finally we got to Wickham Park and set up camp near more Christian influence - a big fellowship hall directly behind the camp. I got time to catch up with Rex and got a photo of him on the Segway, and he promised that he would find time to let people see how it worked. I pitched my tent next to an Irishman, Ed, and a mate of his, Glen - both from the western suburbs of Sydney. We got on quite well and chatted about stuff over dinner, then went and had a few beers at the Wickham Park hotel (as well as a few beers at the Brasserie).

Rex on his Segway
Rex on his Segway

The Wickham Park campsite
The Wickham Park campsite

Ride Statistics

In the fuss this morning, I left my cycle computer in my duffel bag. The stats are based up my stopwatch for time, and someone else's distance recording.

DST  70.92 km 
TM  4:35:00 
Avg. speed  15.5 km/h 

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