Tour de Byron (for beginners): Stage 1

Have you noticed how popular bike riding has become?  And how seriously many take a recreational ride on the ‘treadly’?  Not content to just ‘get back on the bike’,  some are even willing to don padded lycra which enhance their posterior curves!  While such dedication is not for us, Kenn and I have got back into riding in a low key, purely recreational manner. We have uncovered a series of short, easy yet scenic bike rides, in and around Byron that we, very much tongue in check, like to think of as the ‘Tour de Byron.’

We were inspired to buy new bikes and hit the bike trails following a visit to Rottnest Island in Western Australia, where bikes are the transportation of choice. The island is only 11km long and 4.5km wide, making it easy to explore with a number of great trails to follow.

collage-3

Soon, we were zooming  up and down car-free, paved tracks exploring beautiful bays, jetties, beaches and a beautiful Lighthouse. Even the pelicans said ‘hello’!

I had forgotten how exhilarating it is to roll along with the wind in your hair, putting in a bit of effort here, gliding along there. We even spotted a couple of quokkas and a great pub. Perfect for a well earned refreshment after such strenuous activity.

rotto-pub

Back on the east coast, we set about getting ourselves some bikes. This was not an easy task as there are ‘bikes’ and then there are ‘real bikes’. Not wishing to remortgage the house, we decided on fairly basic, comfortable models. Mine is a lovely grey and white number with a retro feel,  complete with basket. It also has a lovely padded seat; no need for lycra! I will admit to finding the gears a trifle challenging … a work in progress.

With bikes sorted, Kenn and I explored the bikes paths and rides in and around Byron. We thought that like the famous tours, we would allocate a stage to each ride, beginning with the easiest.

Stage I of the Tour de Byron: the Suffolk Park Bike Track

This is a great track for beginners and one of my favourites. I can roll down the hill from my place to the Soccer Grounds.

avenue-to-football-ground
Past a lovely avenue of trees and
community-garden
the ever expanding community garden with the children’s playground in the distance.

A little bit of cross country riding and I am at the roundabout in front of the BP service station on Broken Head Rd. Here I have to dismount and walk my bike across the road, but it’s no hardship because I have time to admire the waterlilies beside the path.

waterlillies-2

Having crossed the road, I remount and ride around the Pub and past the Suffolk shops. I resist the urge to stop at the Bakery for a coffee and cake. I tell myself, I haven’t burnt enough calories yet.  I weave through Suffolk Park until at the far end of Alcorn Street, I reach the official beginning of the bike path. There are various exit points on this part of the path which lead directly onto the beach as well.

path-begins
The path  meanders through the heath, following  the sand dunes and comes out just south of the High School

It is a lovely feeling riding along the path with the scents of the bush and the sounds of the surf and birdsong all around.

bush-path
It’s not too hot, as there is quite a lot of dappled shade to keep you cool

Occasionally, I encounter someone walking along the path, usually with their dog. I haven’t run anyone over …  yet. I’ve noticed that people tend to move very quickly when I call out as I ring my bell, ‘ Beginner bike rider coming through!’

My favourite part of the track is crossing Tallow Creek. The light on the water is always changing, always beautiful.

tallow-creek
The storm is building up in the distance

It’s also a test of my riding. A certain amount of speed is necessary to stay steady and not wobble on the wooden bridge.

bridge

Over the bridge, I leave the beach behind, following the track back to Broken Head Road. Here I could turn right and ride into town or turn left and ride home. I choose to ride home. A 6km ride is just perfect for this beginner!

 There are various bike rental shops in Byron if you don’t have your own or you’re visiting offering reasonable rates. It’s a great way to see more of the Bay than the main street.

I hope that you will join me on the next installment of my Tour de Byron,  as I discover more easy rides,  putting  pedals to the test in and around this beautiful town.

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