What to Expect

Independent Riding

Tour de Cowra the only Bike North event where the rides have no Ride Leader or Sweep. You are free to ride at your own speed through scenic NSW countryside.

Each day there a number of rides on offer, catering for all skills and fitness levels. The routes are published on the Bike North Calendar website well before Easter, to allow you plenty of time to discuss the alternatives with your riding buddies. The routes can be downloaded to your favourite cycling app, like Strava, Garmin or RidewithGPS to assist in your navigation on the day.

For all rides at Cowra, each morning, there is a briefing session at The Rose Garden café where the routes will be explained and a paper copy of the map route and cue sheet will be provided. It is essential that you ensure you have signed on to the ride of your choice. Bring your own pen. On completion of the ride, it is imperative that you sign in, otherwise the ride organisers will be ringing you and then come looking for you!

Over Twenty Years of Collective Experience

Bike North has been coming to Cowra at Easter for over 20 years, so there is plenty of culminated knowledge of the roads and which roads are ideal for cyclists.

Preparations:
The organisers will be visiting Cowra shortly before the event. All the routes will be driven in their entirety, to check there are no surprises, and tweak rides if necessary. They will also visit with all the people who make our Bike North visit a success: The Van Park (HQ), Rose Garden Café, the Bowlo, Imperial Hotel, Woodstock Hotel and Koorawatha Hotel.

Cowra and surrounding Area

Cowra and the surrounding areas offer ideal cycling country. Some of the rides are flat. Other rides are slightly undulating, offers good views of the countryside and plenty of time to admire your surroundings.

There is plenty of accommodation in Cowra available for all different budgets. Be warned that last minute accommodation may be hard to find – so book ahead.

Cowra is also a great place for your non-cyclist friends. If you have never been, then The Japanese Garden is well worth a visit.

The beauty of Tour de Cowra is that you don’t need to cycle every day. Since all the rides start and end in Cowra it means you can have a day off and visit the Japanese Gardens, the Peace Bell or the Prisoner of War Camp. The four-minute Hologram in the Tourist Information Centre should not be missed.

Social Activities

Bike North is a welcoming bike club and usually provides a number of social activities. There is a cheese and wine afternoon that all registered Tour de Cowra participants are very welcome to attend. Also, we usually nominate a hotel or club where we will be going to have dinner, so, you can book your own table and come and join us. Keep an eye on this website for updates.

Tour de Cowra 2023

Dates

Friday 7th April -Monday 10th April 2023

Routes

Day 1 – Friday  – all rides involve a visit to Woodstock for morning tea.

Day 2 – Saturday – features Canowindra where there are pubs and cafes for refreshments.

Day 3 – Sunday – All rides go South East – our long ride goes to Wyangala Dam, the shorter route is a scenic trip to Pine Mount. Bring your own food!

Day 4 – Monday – we go to Koorawatha and stop by the Koorawatha Hotel for morning tea.

Memories of the Tour de Cowra 2022

Here are some images from this year’s very enjoyable Tour de Cowra, run over four days at Easter.

The tours began with a daily briefing and then the fun began!

Different bikes

Tour de Cowra can be fun on any roadworthy bike – your favourite tourer, road bike, gravel bike or recumbent. All the riding is on road.

It is a good idea to have your bike serviced before you come since there are no bike shops in Cowra and remember it is Easter – a public holiday!

(Thank you, Trevor Nash for this photo.)

Open roads

Here are some views of the roads we travelled down in 2022 – you could be riding down roads like these in 2023.

(Thank you, David Vasey for these two photos.)

What you need to know

COVID-19 Safety

Your Safety is important to Bike North and the Tour de Cowra organisers.

Bike North rides will continue to be subject to the following conditions:

  • Riders must be double vaccinated and carry proof
  • Pre-registration is compulsory
  • Physical distancing of 1.5 metres must be maintained at all times
  • Riders must not attend Tour de Cowra 2023 events if sick, have cold or flu or flu-like symptoms, a close contact, etc
  • Riders who become Covid-19 positive within (approximately) 5 days after participating in the tour must immediately advise the tour organisers
  • All riders are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer
  • Registration for, and participation in, a Bike North activity includes consent for contact details from the ride log being provided for contact tracing purposes
  • Riders must bring and wear a mask when NSW Health orders require (e.g. going into a coffee shop, toilets and on public transport & vehicular ferries).
  • The registration fee is not refundable if you decide to withdraw from the event.

Any updates to Tour de Cowra will be published on this webpage and in the weekly Bike North News email.

General Information

Tour de Cowra will then be open to all bike riders and not just Bike North members. The routes will include rides suitable for every level of rider.

As has been the case in every other year in Cowra, the ‘Bike North cyclist HQ’ for participants will be the Cowra Van Park. Of course, you must arrange your own accommodation and can choose to stay in the Cowra Van Park, (tell them you are with Bike North when you book your spot), or somewhere else.

The following information may help you consider joining us at The Tour de Cowra:

Food and accommodation

You are responsible for organising your own transport to and from Cowra, your accommodation, and food.

There are 3 major brand supermarkets in the centre of town, several restaurants, a couple of clubs and a few pubs with bistros. Be aware that shopping and eating out options are limited on Good Friday.

There are several Motels, Hotels, and 2 caravan parks suitable for accommodation. The Cowra Van Park is close and handy to the ride launch point (and where we set up camp HQ); whereas the Cowra Holiday Park is a couple of km’s outside of town.

Rides

The scheduled 2023 rides are listed on the right, click on the links to see which rides you might like to do.

Remember, you need to register for the rides beforehand. This is the same as any Bike North ride in Sydney. You register by clicking on this link: https://www.bikenorth.org.au/cal/ and changing the month to April (if necessary).

All rides will start and finish at the Rose Garden Cafe/Visitor Centre, Cowra. The cafe is located on the corner of the Mid Western Hwy, Grenfell Road (B64) and the Lachlan Valley Way (B81), on the west side of the Lachlan River just over the bridge.

Briefing Times:

  • Friday        8:45am     (Welcome to Cowra)
  • Saturday    8:30am     (Briefing update)
  • Sunday      8:30am     (Briefing update)
  • Monday     8:30am     (Briefing update)

Rides will have no leader or sweep so you therefore need to be self-sufficient in that you take sufficient supplies for the ride, a mobile phone, ensure you can repair punctures and make minor mechanical adjustments. You can ride at your own pace, but please do not ride alone. You MUST pre-register for each ride, and sign to say you have returned safely, on your return, for which you must bring your own pen. If anyone is not back in a reasonable time, a vehicle will be sent out on the route to make sure all is OK.

Any Day Rides.
If you would prefer to “do your own thing” but don’t know of a good ride that would suit your abilities, then, this year, we offer three rides that you can complete on any day over Easter.
Last year we offered the opportunity of “Any Day Rides” and the people who took up the offer seemed to really like the idea.
The rides are fairly flat, with a height gain/loss of around 200m over 28km, 37km or 48km. The Maps and Cue Sheets for these rides will be available every day at Cowra. You must sign on and sign off from the rides in the same way you would any Cowra ride. (Otherwise, we will come looking for you!)

Riding Independently

Tour de Cowra offers an opportunity for riders who have ridden in and around Sydney with Bike North to develop their skills to ride independently. There are a number of things you should consider before coming to Cowra:

No Ride Leader or Sweep.

You will be riding independently, there is no-one showing you the way (Ride Leader) or waiting for you (sweep), nor are their people acting as sign posts indicating which way you need to turn.

Maps & Cue Sheets

Each day there are a number of route options. You will be given a Map and a Cue Sheet showing you the way to go, alternatively, the routes can be downloaded to your favourite cycling app, like Strava, Garmin or RidewithGPS to assist in your navigation on the day.

Cat Heads

Remember the Cowra is full of a prickle grass called a Cat-Head.  They will give you numerous punctures in a second.

Do not put your tyres on anything that is / was or ever could be green! – You have been warned!

1st Aid Kits

It is strongly recommended that you carry a first aid kit suitable for bicycle users. At Cowra, you will be riding in small groups without a Ride Leader.  You will often be riding through areas with no phone reception, so, you can’t phone for help. Having a kit yourself gives that extra security when riding on your own, or with other groups.  It means you can generally respond more immediately, if something happens, which is crucial.

Bike North leaders all have first aid kits. Leaders attending Cowra rides will be carrying their kits.

Of course, if you already have one, feel free to bring it along.

Not just useful at Cowra:

Carrying a First Aid kit is a good habit, not just at Cowra, but on any bicycle ride you take. You never know when you might need it!

Ride in Groups of at Least Four

Consider if you were to have a major accident. What would you do? It is essential that you ensure you ride in a group of four or more. Then, one person can stay with the injured person, and, one can go for help. Remember there is little or no phone coverage in the Cowra area. Don’t rely on being able to call anyone.

Re-Grouping

As there will be no leader, and small groups may not all be riding as peloton, re-grouping is beneficial at the tops of hills and at corners.

Tail Lights

Even in daylight a tail-light is a huge advantage. Cars coming up on you are warned of your presence by the light. It is a huge safety advantage to yourself. If there are a number of bikes riding together then a snake line of lights is certainly an additional safety factor.

Bike in Working Order

This is a bicycle holiday – don’t let the bike let you down. Ensure your bike has been serviced and you have a number of spare tubes and repair kits and know how to use them. Remember the Cowra area is full of Cat-Heads. A spare tyre could be highly advantageous because sometimes you cannot always get the cat head out of the tyre. Lights may need batteries – bring them too! There is no bike shop in Cowra.

Club Jersey Day

On Saturday, let’s all wear our club cycling jerseys.

Camp HQ

Bike North has a central location in the Cowra Caravan Park where you can get the latest updates and Bike North Information and is the focal point for social event. There will be a notice board with the latest information. Look for the Bike North banner! The Bike North banner will be the locale for the “Wine and Cheese” gathering on Saturday evening.

Social Activities

Dining
Cowra has numerous restaurants to try. 

The Masala Library in Kendal Street, for one, always offers great food.

This year, we suggest on:

Friday 7 th April, 6pm – Cowra Bowling Club, 16 Brougham St, ph 6342 1836, a short walk from the town centre.
Saturday 8 th April 7pm – The Imperial Hotel, 16 – 18 Kendal Street, ph 6341 2588 right in the centre of town.
Sunday 9 th April 6pm Cowra Services Club, 101 Brisbane St, ph 6341 1144, also in the town centre.

Many Bike Northerners will be at these venues, please phone and book your table.

Wine and Cheese Evening Saturday 8th April 5pm – This will be held, as always, at the Cowra Van Park in Lachlan St. Bring your own beverage of choice and appropriate glassware, cheese and nibbles will be provided.

And now for the Other Important Information.
This year we will not be providing the bananas, muesli bars or jelly beans as we have done previously at the beginning of the rides. So just remember to pack these for yourself if it won’t be a Cowra ride without them!

What To Do When Not On Your Bike and Ideas for the Non-Cycling Family Members

You don’t have to ride everyday – you are on holiday, remember? Cowra has plenty to keep you busy, for a whole day or after your ride is over. Try the Japanese garden and Cultural centre, the Japanese War Cemetery, the Prisoner of War Camp, World Peace Bell, Bellevue Hill Lookout, the Art Gallery or the Lachlan Valley Railway Society. The Visitor Centre is always worth a look, especially the hologram presentation of the Cowra Breakout. Unfortunately, the Aquatic centre will not be open over the Easter break.

See Tourist Info. https://visitcowra.com.au/#welcome

A final consideration before you register:

Your Bike and equipment

There is no bike shop in Cowra. Bring lots of spare tubes, perhaps even a spare tyre and make sure your bike has been recently serviced. A puncture repair kit and a good pump are essentials as are two (or more) water bottles, sun screen, and snacks for the longer rides. We have rarely had rain at Easter but it does happen, and the mornings and evenings can be quite cool at this time of year. Days tend to be warm to hot, but it is advisable to have cycle clothing suitable for warmer and cooler conditions.

How to register for Tour de Cowra

You MUST register to ride in Tour de Cowra, watch out for an article in the weekly Bike North News telling you when registration is open. To register click on any of the registration links on this web page.

Any updates to Tour de Cowra will be published on this webpage and in the weekly Bike North News email.

Registration Fees

Members:  $10

Non-members: $45

Non-members please note that if you wish, before you register, you could first become a member (click here).  This may save you some money as the membership fees are $35 for individuals, $50 for families and $25 concession.  You will be given a membership number.  Then, register for the Tour de Cowra as a member by typing in that membership number.

If you become a member then you can go on any of the Bike North rides that are on offer, many rides in Sydney are only open to Bike North members. To see what rides are coming up, click on the link: https://www.bikenorth.org.au/cal/

Each individual must register: 

If paying for more than one person, please make individual payments. Please don’t register Mr and Mrs Smith as one person.

The registration fee is not refundable if you decide to withdraw from the event.

The Payment System:

As part of the registration process you can pay online straight away using a Credit Card or Google Pay. This is by far the simplest and quickest way to pay. 

You could still pay your fee into the Bike North bank account using the reference code you are provided when you register but this requires manual intervention to match your payment with your registration. Paying online is a much easier option.

Once you have registered and paid you will be sent an confirmation email.  

The registration fee is not refundable if you decide to withdraw from the event.

How to register for Individual Rides

Registering for Rides

Each day there are a number of rides available, see righthand column. You need to register for each rides: register for rides (click here). The organisers need to know how many people are going on each ride as they will be printing a map and cue sheet to give you on the day.

Rides – Sign In and Sign Out

At the daily briefing, at The Rose Garden Cafe, you will SIGN OUT on this ride, so we know you which route you are taking. The organisers will provide you with a map and cue sheet so you know which way to go. (Remember this is independent riding.) Also, remember that the routes can be downloaded to your favourite cycling app, like Strava, Garmin or RidewithGPS to assist in your navigation on the day.

On your return from your ride you must SIGN IN, so we know you are back safely. Bike North wants everyone who rides to return safely. If you SIGN OUT for a ride and haven’t SIGN IN then the organisers don’t know that you have got back safely so they will be ringing you, ringing your emergency contact, then coming looking for you.

Any Questions?

If you need help, please contact one of the organisers at  cowra@bikenorth.org.au .   

Photos