IS it the overcrowded lifestyle; the need to ‘get away from it all’ or the search for serenity?
Whatever the reason, Nelson Bay residents are increasingly turning up in Tilligerry.
Some paddle over in kayaks, have lunch on the waterfront and depart. Others turn up in a mini bus, trek around the town and disappear into the sunset.
Some rock into town in cars with a ute or two full of pushbikes and give our cycleways a workout.
News Of The Area caught up with the Nelson Bay Champagne Bike crowd recently as they prepared for their outing.
They looked something like a poor man’s version of the Tour de France – with a difference, carrying bottles of ‘champers’ with them as a reviver.
When asked about the Highway Patrol, the dreaded breathalyser and the booze bus, they showed little concern.
One member said that the riders watered the champagne down with orange juice.
“This way we ensure that we remain well and truly below the limit,” she said.
The dynamic group of about 15 cyclists has been pedal pushing for about two years.
They take turns in plotting an outing.
Riders don’t know the exact route to take until all is revealed on the day. They have ventured as far afield as the Fernleigh Tunnel, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and ride every second Friday.
The $1.3million makeover of the waterfront park at Lemon Tree has greatly increased the number of visiting day trippers, mobile home tourists and picnickers, much to the delight of the now thriving waterfront cafes and restaurants.
By Geoff WALKER