You may have spotted some cool custom-made bikes around Newcastle decked out in locally inspired paint jobs. One depicts the Pasha Bulker, another Silverchair’s Frog Stomp album cover, the Shortland Ferry and, ironically, the Adamstown rail gates (yes, that source of ongoing commuter frustration).
These quirky bespoke bikes are the brainchild of Ben Ogden, owner and operator of Newy Rides, a brand spanking new tour operator that helps visitors unearth Newcastle’s hidden gems.
Growing up in Parkes, Central NSW, Ben was a typical country kid. Without beaches and the surf, bikes were king. Even though he moved to Sydney and had a job that took him around the world, bikes remained a big part of his life. He once started a food truck on a custom made three-wheel Dutch style cargo bike!
Ben's travel, hospitality and business background plus the fact he's a keen cyclist is a great recipe for hosting bike tours and thus Newy Rides was born.
Newcastle is home to an amazing coastline, which will always impress, but I like to take people to the hidden gems that can often go undiscovered. There's a prolific street art scene, coffee culture and restaurants all worth visiting in Newcastle.
Newy rides peels back a layer of Newcastle's history, showcasing the makers, produces and artists that make up the fabric of Newcastle.
It’s not strictly cycling for fitness, it’s combining being active with visits to Earp Brothers Distillery in Carrington or Styx Brewery and foodie places along Beaumont St. Places people wouldn’t necessarily get to if they were doing it themselves.
We hope guests will feel like they are riding with friends, like they're being let in on the local’s secrets of the city.
When people google what to see in Newcastle, the Anzac Memorial Walk, the Bathers Way, monuments and a bit about street art will crop up.
We want to show people the less obvious and paint a picture of Newcastle as a proper city destination, not just a nice place to come for the weekend, go to the beach and have a beer at Honeysuckle.
Local heroes and some of our great street art definitely, but mostly showcase Newcastle’s culture.
Newcastle’s got the culture scene with beaches as good, if not better, than Sydney’s eastern suburbs. We’ve got this amazing CBD on the beach and we’re fanatical and obsessed with coffee that’s reflected throughout our suburbs. You could easily come to Newcastle and miss that.
I want people to finish the tour and then jump online and start researching their move to Newcastle.
Yes, it’s mostly flat, quite bike friendly and safe compared to say a place like Sydney. Newcastle has much more room and so much more connectivity between suburbs on safe cycle ways.
I think it’s a great way. While you can see the key attractions by car or on foot, a bike allows you to get off the tourist trail. And most people can do it, having learned to ride as a kid.
Launching 5 Dec 2020
The Essentials x The 'Burbs - Premium half day tour
Includes; a local guide, custom made bikes, drink tastings and lunch; basically everything.
Saturdays and Sundays
Departs from Nobbys Beach and covering 10-12km. The tour ends at Hamilton Station of Newcastle Interchange. All equipment included.