10 December 2020

Take a spin on Bega's newest bike path

| Hannah Sparks
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Cyclists on the Tathra to Kalaru Bike Track.

Bike riders pedalling on the new Tathra to Kalaru Bike Track. Photo: Mary Kite.

The first section of a new bike path that’s been three years in the making and will eventually connect Bega to Tathra officially opened on Saturday, 5 December, to a NSW South Coast community’s delight.

The Tathra to Kalaru Bike Track in the Bega Valley represents the first stage of a cycling network between the inland and coastal towns – or as the locals like to say, between the cheese and the seas (Bega being home to Bega Cheese).

Locals who attended the Ready to Ride event in Evans Park, Kalaru, on Saturday morning were among the first to take a spin on the new bike path between the existing path near the bus stop in Kalaru, and the Tathra Rural Fire Brigade shed.

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The first section will eventually run all the way to Tathra Public School, however Bega Tathra Safe Ride community group secretary Doug Reckord said locals wanted to hold an opening so the public knew the initial 5km stretch was available to ride on during summer.

Bega Tathra Safe Ride is a community group that brings energy to the Bega Valley Bike Plan, which identifies cycling opportunities in the region, including the bike path from Bega to Tathra.

Andrew Constance and community members stand on the new Tathra to Kalaru Bike Track.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance (far right) opens the Tathra to Kalaru Bike Track with community members and councillors. Photo: Mary Kite.

“I often ride from Bega to Kalaru and it’s not safe,” said Doug. “This project is about getting better infrastructure, and the region could become a mecca for cyclists because of it. We live in a beautiful part of NSW, close to the rail trails in Tumbarumba and Victoria.”

The Bega Tathra Safe Ride community group began lobbying the NSW Government a few years ago to construct the Kalaru to Tathra Bike Track and, in 2017, Bega Valley Council received a $3.12 million grant from the NSW Government to design and construct it.

The community group is already talking to parents of students at Tathra Public School about using the first stage of the path for a ‘Riding School Bus’, which would involve a group of schoolchildren, supervised by one or more adults, riding bicycles along a set route, picking up children at their homes along the way until they all arrive at school.

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Local cyclists expect the path to be popular this summer given that interest in outdoor, socially distant activities has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justin Roscoe, a mechanic at Tathra Beach & Bike, said in August the business had sold more bikes in recent months than it normally would.

At the event on Saturday, members of the public were invited to register their support for the next stage of the bike path, from Kalaru to Bega.

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Jeanette Goodrich6:30 am 13 Dec 20

Fantastic! Looking forward to riding it over the holiday season. As a lover of rail trails in Victoria and have ridden the Tumbarumba one ,the advantages of these bike paths/ trails are health,fitness and boost to the economy. Good luck with the next section to Bega ….You build it and the people will come 🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♂️🚴🏻‍♂️

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