Today I conducted an experiment to see how long it would take to commute from home to Stockton – via the Fernleigh Track, then Adamstown to the Queens Wharf and across the Harbour on the State Transit Ferry and further on almost to the Stockton Bridge.
The total one way distance I would estimate at 30-35kms., not including the ferry trip. As my long term steady average speed seems to be about 20km/h I thought it should take around 90mins. So it was that I set out on my racy old 10 speed Road King bike, fitted with a temporary front basket.
I needed to ride about 5kms to access the track at the Belmont end by road, which is moderately busy, including a Pacific Highway crossing that took me about 5minutes wait in an 80km/h zone for a break in the car traffic (no traffic lights). The Fernleigh Track went smoothly as usual, though I badly need mudguards on this bike – I really dislike crud all over the frame, brakes, BB axle and front derailleur every time it rains or there’s a puddle, and lately that seems mostly…
Anyway, I made the ferry wharf in 75 mins. via peak hour Newcastle 9am traffic. Without having a timetable, I then found that there is only a ferry at 9am and then one at 10am at this time of the morning and I was there at 9:15! Luckily there are plenty of distractions on Newcastle Harbour – and it was a test ride.
So ferry timing is very important to get right, if you’re in a hurry. In peak hours though, it leaves roughly every 20-30 minutes.
There is a neat bike path along the harbour side of the Stockton Peninsula which leads to the high level bridge and has many interesting views along the way – this bridge is not designed for bicycles or pedestrians at all, so it’s the ferry or nothing for the bike and I. That’s OK as is it a fun 5 minute ferry ride with great views. There are bike racks for 3 bikes on the ferry then it’s standing room only for cyclists. Bikes travel free with the $2-40 single one-way ticket.
The Stockton shared cycle path is a 15minute ride at a modest pace, with about 100 metres of road cycling half way. It all added up to around 90minutes ex-ferry then, as I had guessed.
Could I do this trip and return 5 days a week ? I don’t know yet, it’s long as commutes go, but it’s at least worth a try.
The 10 speed bike will need a better long distance saddle and a proper rack if I am to use it regularly though.