Having recovered from a minor operation, I have finally been able to return to cycling and today completed a small circuit to the south of Armidale. A great feeling and sense of achievement! Spring means the opportunity for an early start, usually frost free with beautiful mornings and crisp mountain air and I usually have the road to myself, except for occasional wildlife and the odd car. I refer to this circuit as the Kelly’s Plains circuit. It is approximately 22 kilometres and is a loop circuit that begins as a steady climb through south Armidale.
I view the climb as a series of two steps. I begin my loop on the creek lands and a slight gradient takes me past The Armidale School (TAS) and through MacDonald park.
I begin to climb south hill, weaving up the tree lined streets along the path of least resistance.
This area is one of the oldest parts of Armidale and contains some beautiful old houses and gardens and is worth exploring on bike or by foot.
At the top of the first step is The Armidale Teacher’s College, a fabulous building from the late 1920s’. It is always worth a stop on the front steps as the view is amazing. This building is also open to the public and has an interesting history; its basement once held art works from the Art Gallery of NSW during WWII.
The next climbing step I choose to go through Armidale cemetery as it contains a wonderful tree lined avenue of mature Elms which is a delight to cycle under.
Once through the cemetery I am almost to the top and it is a relatively easy gradient to the southern edge of Armidale.
At this point I can join a separate cycle/pedestrian path that runs parallel to the main road and heads south out into the countryside and the area known as Kellys Plains. The cycle path does not last for long, but at this time of the morning, road traffic is almost non existent. Kellys Plains is an open slightly undulating plain, that in its early days was called Pleurisy Plains, as the winter winds would howl across this naturally open plain. However today there is not a breath of wind; making cycling an easy and relaxing activity.
The attraction of this cycle circuit is that I can add extra loops if time and energy permits. However today, I will stick to the standard circuit. Kellys Plains road comes to a cross intersection with Platform Road, with most traffic, including myself turning left and east along Platform Road. If I was to turn right, I would eventually come out onto the New England Highway.
Platform Road has a very slight gradient before levelling out at the railway crossing. Once across the line the road swings south into Heathersleigh Road I trundle along just a few more minutes and then take the next left turn and head east again along Knobs Road.
This is a pleasant stretch of road that crosses Gostwick Road and becomes a gravel road. Up until now, all the roads have been sealed. Fortunately I aways ride a hybrid or a mountain bike. The road undulates eastward through attractive farmland and if time permits I could follow it for some distance and add on another loop. Today I will take the left turn into Simmons Road and head north and back towards Armidale.
Simmons Road follows a ridge line and has good views over to the east. The road is a quiet alternative to the busy Dangersleigh Road, which is just east and parallel with Simmons Road. Simmons Road eventually terminates with Dangersleigh Road and I turn left and cycle easily back into Armidale on a slight decline. I continue north through east Armidale ending up at Creekside.
Creekside Cottages is offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the delights of cycling in the Armidale region. Bikes are available for use on local rides or for hire on longer trips. My preferred bike is a hybrid bike that suits a range of road conditions. The bike’s seat height can be adjusted as well as the height of the handle bars.
However, guests are welcome to bring their own bikes. I have a lockable shed on my property for storing bikes. A bike and rider pick up service is also available at an extra rate for extended adventures. Contact Jennifer for additional information.