27 September 2023

Wagga offers a warm welcome to cyclists of all stripes

| Josef Winkler
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Cyclists in a field of canola.

You will not be disappointed by what Wagga offers the cyclist. Photo: Gears and Beers.

With the annual Gears and Beers festival about to kick off in Wagga this weekend, I thought I’d share what I love about the region and why it’s a great place for cyclists like me.

Held on 30 September to 1 October, this is Wagga’s biggest cycling festival of the year.

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You can meet thousands of like-minded people and explore our region on two wheels.

If you are coming from out of town and haven’t got a suitable bike, you can hire them here in town.

Josef Winkler

Josef Winkler is a familiar sight cycling around Wagga. Photo: Josef Winkler.

I’m one of the many enthusiastic cyclists here in town, where I work in a local bike shop (Kidsons Cycles) and in my spare time I’m almost always riding my bike.

You might think of Wagga as a small rural town, but it really isn’t. It’s the biggest inland city in NSW and boasts plenty of things to do and see in town and around the region.

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Residents drive from the many surrounding towns and villages such as The Rock, Gundagai, Junee, and even Cootamundra to work here.

But why visit? Why drive from Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra?

The landscape here is a great place to start. It’s so different to the rest of NSW; we are on the outskirts of the Snowy Valleys and the gateway to the flat plains of Hay. It’s a unique bridge between the flat lands and the mountains.

I’ve lived in Wagga my whole life and I’ve seen the changes occur to the cycling infrastructure including bike paths, facilities and the trail network. Wagga is what I call mini-Canberra – where bike trails are accessible to anyone and everyone, and they all lead you to Pomingalarna.

The visitor information centre in town is a great place to get rolling and is filled with plenty of knowledge and is so welcoming.

There are some great forested hills right in town, including the Pomingalarna Multisport Complex (or ‘Pomi’ as the locals call it). This is the main mountain bike park, boasting more than 30 km of single track, a skills area, kids’ area, criterium track, velodrome and amenities.

There’s free parking, and it is a great area to hang out with the kids and go exploring. With old-school hand-cut trails, and diverse biomes within the reserve itself, it’s quite unique.

I’ve seen the famous black cockatoo and even deer running around, which was an incredible sight, and the vast landscape of the river makes for a brilliant home for critters!

But if you’re not up for the thrills of a ride through Pomi, you can just cycle around town on the mostly flat bike paths, ride through town into Wagga Beach (yes, Wagga has a real beach on the river), relax, get a doughnut from the food truck, top up your water and explore the wetlands.

You can take a ride to the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens, which include a free zoo and miniature railway, and you can also head off the beaten path and tackle the trails up Willans Hill in the middle of the city for some beautiful views of the town and the landscape.

For the fit rider, all the trails combine to form the 42-km Wiradjuri walking/riding trail. You can take on the whole thing in a day, or just pick your section and take your time.

Gravel is one of the attractions for serious cyclists.

Gravel is one of the attractions for serious cyclists. Photo: Gears and Beers.

But of course, for those coming out for the Gears and Beers, I can’t forget to mention the gravel all around Wagga! Hundreds and hundreds of gravel kilometres to explore.

Gravel roads will take you through to Coolamon, Junee, The Rock and out towards Tumbarumba. It’s an amazing region to experience this increasingly popular surface.

Riding through the famous bright yellow canola fields, along gravel roads and through beautiful historic villages with historic buildings, it’s a spectacular day’s riding and you can cap it all off with some of the best craft beer available!

I’m super keen to be riding in this event!

So if you’re in town for the festival or just planning to bring your bike out for a weekend, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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