Monday, 2 January 2017

Gateshead to Newcastle on Two Wheels


After days of the boys eating selection boxes, playing FIFA '17, shooting unaware visitors with Nerf guns and general cabin fever related symptoms I decided we needed to get out into the open surrounding of Newcastle/Gateshead via the form of transport known commonly as a bike!

We chatted about where to go, and what to do... Our goal to purchase a new pair of school shoes, grab lunch and see the ever-so-pretty city that is Newcastle via Gateshead.

So before we even leave the gate you need to remember a few things

Be prepared and ready to roll!
The view from Bensham Bank of the River Tyne is very nice indeed! 

Maintenance

Lubricate your bike chain and any moving parts (GT85 (or similar) not WD40)
Test your brakes
Pump up your tyres to the recommended PSI
Pack your lock (essential if your leaving your bike anywhere)
Don't forget your bike helmet (if you don't have one, get one!!!!)
Pack some snacks (essential refuel material, Snickers are great or flapjack)

Clothing
As ever in winter, it’s cold (even colder on a bike) so a good rule of thumb is to dress warm and you can always remove clothing if you get too hot: Be prepared.

As we are going to be going on a few minor roads, a bit of road safety training is required. We know some for you might think roads are dangerous for children, but a good cyclist knows how to ride roads well, and respect traffic, and the highway code, so this was a good starting point.

A rather poor photo of the Redheugh pheonix mosaic

So we started by going through the back alleys of Bensham toward Low Teams, via the old Redheugh Gatehouse, there's a cool mosaic of a Phoenix made from pebbles n stuff outside the house, we parked up here and then set off for the Staithes Café which is just down the road and round the corner. When we got to the Staithes Café we locked our bikes together, even though it's a lovely place remember most bike thief's are opportunists (just be aware).

One every tasty BLT

A cracking view of the Staiths minus Michael Caine!

Frankie flip-top head

Ooooh look at those cakes!

The Staiths Café
When we arrived we were freeezzing and a bit hungry too, so we ordered food and coffee (one of my favourite flat whites in Gateshead) Frankie ordered a B.L.T. which looked delicious, I had a bacon, sausage and egg butty (which is awesome, and totally hits the spot!). The prices are great and you always get good service, good prices and it's an excellent fuel stop if you're about to cycle/walk into town.

The Staiths Café is lovingly built into the former Taylor Wimpey sales office by Mark & Suzanne designed with a modern, clean aesthetic and a kind of general store vibe about it, and oh... did I mention the views of the Staiths, which was good for me today, as the day before I was watching Michael Caine chasing baddies around it in the Geordie cinematic gem that is Get Carter. You can sit outside if you're up to it mid-winter or bring your pooch and wrap up and sit outside on the terrace (the view at sunset on the terrace are memorable to say the least)

A frosty riverside

No shortage of cool bridges over the Tyne

That bridge!

Gateshead to Newcastle
We unlocked the bikes and very carefully pedalled towards Newcastle on a very frosty riverside path, past all the bridges towards the Swing Bridge, down the Quayside and past The Jolly Fisherman on he Quay which looks like at great place for date night in an old traditional converted public house just up from the courts. We went past the old burnt out Stereo nightclub which is covered in Graffiti (I quite like it!) then via the subway up to the new cycle road on John Dobson Street which is a welcome addition to the town for cycles especially young children and it's an absolute pleasure to ride down before locking our bikes at Northumbria University which is well lit, cctv'd and always has people walking in and out so you're bike are pretty safe if locked up.

Looks like a great place for date night!

The old Stereo nightclub plus some graffiti

We spent the day in town and had a walk around, just me and Frankie, bought some wooly hats before walking back to the University to pick up the bikes, switched on our lights, helmets on then pedalled home over the High Level Bridge into Gateshead up the hill and straight home via the cycle path! 

The John Dobson Cyclepath

Lights on afterdark!

Could you ever get bored of this view?

Two tone sunset!

Good Times!!!
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