The skies cleared and the sun shone (unexpectedly) blessing riders on the Nowra weekend with spring warmth.
Thursday saw the early-escapers blow the city smoke from their lungs, to be replaced with the fresh air of the south coast. Today’s ride started at the popular and pink-bedecked Berry for a pretty ride through rolling countryside. Shaded treelined roads, grazing cows and sheep and distant mountains provided the backdrop as we rode through gently undulating country roads. From Gerroa Road we turned into Seven Mile Beach for some sand under the cleats, sea air and lunch. The return to Berry via Beach Road was very ideal country riding with picture perfect overhanging trees.
Flooded roads required David Vasey to change plans for Friday but the group of 20 riders were happy to follow his lead from the traditional starting spot under the Nowra Navy helicopter through (sometimes quite pot-holed) roads beside fields, nature reserves and a circuit of the lawn cemetery. Heading back to Nowra, the group stopped at the Hanging Rock lookout to admire the snaking Shoalhaven River and the mountain scenery. Stories were later shared over a tasty Thai meal in a restaurant housed in the old Fire Station.
Hardly believing their luck with the brilliant sunny weather and just-right temperature, Bike North cyclists gathered on Saturday morning for the traditional ride to HMAS Albatross and the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
A straight run allowed some to speed ahead and, in no time, we were at the Museum, housed in a huge ‘hangar’ next to HMAS Albatross. Celebrating 75 years, the Museum is one of the largest regional aviation museums in NSW, containing over 30 aircraft (helicopters and fixed-wing) and numerous aviation artefacts which tell the story of the development of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. The adjoining runway provided short term entertainment before we were back on our bikes again to cruise the adjoining areas, given over to aircraft support facilities.
By this time, it was clear coffee was needed but we still had 20km to go. The long Parma Road offered the most enjoyable cycling. Following the ridgeline, we were offered spectacular bucolic views of green paddocks, grazing sheep and cows and long distance views to the mountains and coastal plain. A long gradual descent to the highway was the icing on the cake. Coffee was around the corner to fuel the last few kms into Nowra.
Sunday’s ride started out of town with a short drive to Huskisson on another clear blue-sky morning.
Slowly the group wended its way along the Huskisson foreshore, dodging pedestrians and prams. We did not have long to enjoy the breathtaking scenery before we had turned off onto the Sanctuary Point cycleway which took us all the way to St Georges Basin. After a suitable interval to appreciate the magnificent view over Jervis Bay, we were back on the bikes looking for coffee.
Since Sanctuary Point, David Vasey had dangled the lure of the coffee stop. He would stop at one cafe, wait for hopeful looks and then announce that it was not the place. Five more decoys later, we were allowed to stop and it was well worth it. The coffee shop was housed in a 1950s double decker bus at Schulz’s Garden Centre – a charming setting and all approved of their caffeinated beverages. Back to Huskisson for a delicious lunch at the Husky Pub, accompanied by live acoustic music – a great way to spend a ‘lazy’ Sunday.
Congratulations and thank you to David Vasey for a well-planned, varied and scenic weekend of rides around Nowra!
Sarah Gillis & Kerry Tipton