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Reddy, steady, go: Three mates cycle to Newcastle using Reddy Go bikes

What started out as a crazy idea ended up with three friends riding Reddy Go share bikes for more than 13 hours from Sydney to Newcastle.

Jason Sylvester, Justin Smirk and Jose Aragon decided to challenge themselves and prove that one doesn't need a special bike or clothes to complete such a ride.

"It was Jason Sylvester's idea," Mr Smirk said.

"When he approached me with the idea of riding a share bike in the Newcastle Overnight, I thought it was a crazy, but excellent, idea.

"What better way to show that you can do what may seem to be extraordinary on what is a very simple bicycle?"

The Newcastle Overnight is an annual event in which more than 200 cyclists ride through the night from Sydney's Observatory Hill, finishing 180 kilometres later at Newcastle Ocean Baths.


Mr Smirk said the three had hoped to have a larger team, but "most experienced riders thought we were crazy" and "those who didn't ride very much were daunted by the idea of riding 180 kilometres in one night".

However, the ability of the share bike to complete the task wasn't the only thing that proved the doubters wrong.

Unlike Mr Sylvester and Mr Smirk, who were reasonably experienced riders, Mr Aragon hadn't ridden for more than 30 kilometres at one time before and was also recovering from a knee reconstruction surgery.

"Jose was our key rider in showing you don't have to be anything special to be able to do something special on a very ordinary bike," Mr Smirk said.

When the cyclists met at Observatory Hill to start the ride, he said: "All were excited to see us but many doubted we would make it. They did however wish us all the best."

Mr Smirk said the ride got off to a good start.

"We set off in the middle of the bunch and - crossing the Harbour Bridge - we were one big, happy crowd. 

"But as we rode up the Pacific Highway it was clear we were going slower than most of the other groups as they passed us by. 

"We knew it would be a slower trip so we chatted and just trundled on at our own pace. 

"We made reasonable time up to Hornsby and had that lovely fast descent into Brooklyn, then that long grind up to Mount White. 

"Heavy bike, solid rubber tyres and only three gears - it was a very slow grind up, but we made it.

"There were two stops - Mount White and Budgewoi. Both were staffed by lovely volunteers who had ample food and drink to revive us. 

"We had our own food and water to eat on the way, Reddy Gos have a handy basket, but the stops did help us revive.

"As we were slower this time, we saw the sun rise over the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie.

"There were some scary moments with some boy racers who thought they could drift on the stretch between Brooklyn and Gosford but you could hear them from a long way away so you knew to get out of the way. 

"We did not have any real problems. Jose could not raise his seat enough so Jason kindly swapped bikes with him. Other than that – no real issues at all."

He said the crowd "broke out into a big cheer" when they arrived at the Newcastle baths, even though they came in last.

"It was a very nice feeling to show those with little faith that a lot can be done on a simple share bike."

Christy Cheng, the marketing director for Reddy Go, said it was the ultimate endurance test for their bicycles and demonstrated their capabilities even in tough conditions.

"We think it's a great opportunity to let people know what our bicycles are actually capable of and put bike sharing a bit more into perspective," Mrs Cheng said.

As for a next time, Mr Smirk said: "Yes, but I might do it on a more relaxed bike first before I do it on a Reddy Go again."