June Long Weekend - over 2000 bike riders enjoyed the Rail Trail!
Reflections from Roberta
Monday 8th June 2020: Spent the morning removing Bago Forest mud off the Toyota Hilux, then at 11.30am a friend rang to give me an update on the Tumbarumba-Rosewood Rail Trail happenings over the weekend.
There was an astonishing response, Tumbarumba was swarming with motor vehicles carrying push bikes. The main street was awash with cars and people, most in cycle gear. There were so many people at the bakery and Nest Cafe they ran out of food, the same applied at Gone Barney and the Rosewood Store; it was an influx to the town never seen before .
The enthusiasm in my friend’s voice convinced me I should hop in my Ute and go see for myself what is happening, no doubt it will be more subdued being the last afternoon of the long weekend. Apparently a landowner maliciously blocked the rail trail at one point, involving an emergency response by Snowy Valleys Council and Police; hopefully there will never be a repeat.
I drove through Batlow, and there was only an odd car in the street and a small group out the front of the Café, the rest of the street was bare. Arriving in Tumbarumba, the main Street 'The Parade' had forty-six cars lining the street, push bikes were all along the footpath and a line of people out the front of the bakery said it all. I pulled in and mingled with the crowd, there was a large contingent from Wagga, another two couples were from Leeton and Cooma.
It was lunch time and although I would have liked to get a snack, the line-up was up the street was too long for me to wait around, so I drove around to Nest Café, it too was flat out so decided to go back to the IGA and get an ice cream. Once inside the shop it was packed to the gunnels, At the checkout I ask the lady if the rail trail has made a difference? She said weekends are flat out!
I arrive at the Rail Trail Track-head, there are cyclists resting, others arriving from having ridden from Rosewood, three cyclists I passed on my way to the start soon cycled off into the distance. I then mount my steed and was heading out when I realised it was pretty darn cool, eleven degrees, so return to the Ute to get another layer of clothes. Looking rather puffed up, I set sail again for Rosewood warm as toast, stopping to talk to other cyclists and walkers. Everyone eager to share their story, most were from Wagga, which rather astounded me that so many were here this day. The tally of cyclists I passed was forty-seven and six walkers.
Arriving at Rosewood I call into Gone Barney, they too are still busy with plenty of cars in the car park and the dining area full. I then head to the Rosewood Store and choose a Mars Bar an orange juice for lunch. The owner said he too has been flat out, weekend had seen his takings double, he was very happy with the trade he was getting from the rail trail. Out front and around the Gnome Park there are 24 cars parked, and hour earlier I am told were forty plus, most with bike racks; a group were having lunch in the park.
Talking to some of the people, they all sang the rail trails praise, saying it was better than they expected. On the ride back to Tumba I stop to talk to two delightful young ladies, they had driven from Tumbarumba out to Rosewood leaving a vehicle there, then in another car drove back four kilometres to park and walk back into Rosewood. Another couple said they could not find the start of the rail trail in Tumbarumba so drove down to Hynes Mill parked and started their rail trail adventure from there to Rosewood, Signage was a general complaint, as was the barb wire in the narrow sections which I believe is about to be fixed. Another said the electric fence trackside was dangerous for anyone with a pace-maker, that anomaly needs to see the live wire placed the other side of the fence to stop the cattle not the trackside users!
Three kilometres out from Rosewood I stop to take a photo and hear a hiss! Bloody hell, I’ve got a puncture in the front wheel. I immediately think I had better cycle to where I can abandon the bike and hitch a ride back into my Ute, but as I cycle, the hiss stops, the solution inside the tyre is doing it job in sealing the hole; each time I stopped the hiss re-started.
I am keen to get some kilometres covered when I come across some familiar faces, Samantha Phillips and her two sons Rory & Reuben, they are on their way to Rosewood. Back on the bike I step up the speed to get into the Tumba track-head before the tyre goes completely flat, arriving back with a very squashed tyre.
The people next to me are from Albury, they drove up just to ride the rail trail, the husband has a five year old e-bike that has done more than 5,000 kilometres, the wife did it tough in her non assist bike, but laughed at the irony, the husband had had hip and knee replacements so the e-bike made cycling possible for him.
On the other side of my car was a family from Wagga who were packing up to head back home, there was lots of laughter and interaction, all adding to great afternoon of activity.
With the long weekend done and dusted, I look back and think, Wow, that was some weekend.
The Wagga Wagga City Council is undertaking the development of a 51km network of dedicated cycle paths which when complete will criss-cross the city and provide residents with a safe, alternative transport option for commuting.
The $12.81M project includes five complete cycling networks which will link the outer suburbs with the central business area and end-of-trip facilities.
Dedicated city-wide cycling and sporting facilities are designed to improve health outcomes, enhance the liveability of the city, as well as attract new visitors to the city for sporting and recreational opportunities.
Our concern is that one of the cycle networks is NOT SAFE!