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Bicycle Network announces the Sydney to Newcastle Challenge

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Alia Parker's picture
Ride's end: Stockton Beach, Newcastle. Sydney to Newcastle Challenge. Cycle Traveller

New South Wales has scored a major break in improving cycling conditions along the east coast with the announcement of a new annual ride: the Sydney to Newcastle Challenge.

Spearheaded by Bicycle Network Victoria, which runs the hugely popular Bupa Around the Bay and SCODY 3 Peaks Challenge, the inaugural ride will take off on Sunday, February 16, 2014.

The ride is not a race – it's a world-class challenge for people to tackle the distance and the hills at their own pace.

The promotion of a classic ride along the busy stretch of coast between the major centres of Sydney and Newcastle is expected to help cycling awareness and infrastructure in the region, much in the same way the Sydney to Wollongong ride has boosted bicycle traffic and infrastructure south of Sydney. Parts of the route up to Newcastle are currently hazardous for cyclists, with only the most confident tackling those sections.

The event itself will also provide a safe passage for cyclists, with traffic control and rest stops provided for event participants.

"NSW riders have been crying out for a testing one-day challenge ride. Bike riding is booming as people realise it’s a great way to improve your health. But our roads are often hostile environments for riders in small groups or going solo,” Craig Richards, Chief Executive Officer of Bicycle Network said.

"To ride from Sydney to Newcastle without traffic management and back up support is taking a big risk. Rightly, only a handful of intrepid cyclists do it. We’re taking care of the worries so riders can focus on what they do best – pedaling hard and enjoying the camaraderie. They get to enjoy the type of conditions riders should experience every day."

Organizers expect the Sydney to Newcastle Challenge to grow into one of the country's premier bike rides, with the scenic coastal setting linking two major cities expected to be a major draw card.

As a rough guide of the challenge ahead, the main Freeway and Pacific Highway route between Sydney and Newcastle is about 156km. Bicycle Network said details of the exact route will be released before entries to the challenge open for Bicycle Network members on Monday, August 5, 2013. Entries for the general public open a week later on Monday, August 12.

You can find out more about the Sydney to Newcastle Challenge and join the mailing list on the Bicycle Network website.

Image: Ride's end, Stockton Beach Newcastle. Source: Visit Newcastle.

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