Roads / Traffic
The roads around the Orange region vary greatly in quality. Expect a chipseal surface with patching and some potholes. Many of the road routes follow quieter roads, sometimes single lane, so expect little shoulder. Riding single file is highly recommended on higher traffic routes and a must if you venture on to the highways.
The majority of local drivers are courteous and will pass you with plenty of space. Please thank drivers who make an effort to pass you safely, it will be appreciated and will help improve the cycling community’s standing amongst locals.
Unfortunately you will come across the odd driver who is determined to close pass. I’ve found riding in pairs seems to elicit the greatest annoyance for drivers, so if riding with another, moving to single file when a driver is behind you will often help.
Road Gear Recommendations
Tyres 25mm+ with lower pressures, run tubeless or with supple tubes like latex. Always carry food, water and spares. A Garmin Varia Radar is a highly recommended piece of kit. Go for visibility – daytime running lights and brighter clothing.
Common in forested areas. Kangaroos and the odd wombat. Be careful descending Mt Canobolas or through the pine forest descent on Back of Mine. Keep an eye out for dogs, especially in the smaller villages and on quieter back roads.
Summer – Normally quite dry and hot, but cooler than surrounding Central Western towns. Maximum’s in the high 20’s / low 30’s. A drier heat than on the coast. Mild mornings. Every few years we’ll get a cool and/or wet summer. Easterlies bring cooler days.
Autumn – Perhaps the best time to ride. Mild to cool days. Less rain and wind.
Winter – Cold. Frosty mornings. Days often start in the -5°C to 0°C range. Maximum’s often stay below 10°C. Snow possible. Watch for black ice on the roads in the morning if there has been rain followed by a frost, especially on Northern shaded corners.
Spring – Winter weather often runs well in to Spring. Tends to be windy. September and October are cool to cold. November can be hot.
What to Wear
The eternal question. I spend far too much time making this decision. Here’s a rough guide to my choices based on temperature. To help with the decision I use the app Epic Ride Weather for forecasting the weather on routes and rides. Highly recommended.
The following clothing recommendations are based on the temperature range in which most of the ride is spent.
Note: if you are heading west, the temperature will be around 5°C warmer once you drop down from the Orange plateau, possibly more in Summer.
Above 23°C – short sleeve jersey with no base layer and if it’s really hot some lightweight bibs.
18°C to 23°C – short sleeve jersey & summer base layer. Regular weight bibs.
14°C to 17°C – either short sleeve jersey + base layer + light gilet or thermal short sleeve jersey (Black Sheep SS Elements) + base layer. Regular weight bibs. Light merino socks.
10°C to 13°C – thermal short sleeve jersey + base layer + arm warmers. Gilet. Lightweight full finger gloves. Thermal short bibs (Velocio Thermal Bib Short). Light merino socks. Possible toe covers.
5°C to 9°C – as above with leg warmers, winter weight socks, a second base layer (warmer) & toe covers. Merino glove inners with lightweight gloves. Thermal headband.
Below 5°C – two base layers (summer vest under long sleeve winter weight) + long sleeve winter jersey and jacket / gilet. Bib tights. Winter socks. Neoprene booties. Winter gloves. Merino beanie.
The most important part of any ride. Fortunately Orange has some excellent options for coffee and food, including the following cyclist favourites:
Byng Street Local Store (7 days) – a local institution. Plenty of seating including big tables inside and stools around the verandah if you want to keep an eye on your bike.
Academy Coffee Roasters (closed Sun) – another popular haunt with local cyclists, located just up from Elephant Park. Small but does great coffee and food. Indoor and outdoor seating.
Anything Grows (7 days) – indoor and outdoor seating in this garden café. Food made on premises, great for lunch.
Bills Beans East Orange (7 days) – long-running, small corner café on the Eastern side of the tracks. Limited seating.
Mad Hatter (7 days) – great little café operating from a shipping container on the street at 147 Lords Place. Outdoor only. Good coffee, snacks, egg and bacon rolls and burgers. A Sunday coffee ride regular.
Good Eddy (weekdays) – small but mighty. Fantastic coffee, limited food menu but excellent.
Crema on Lords (7 days, mornings) – hole-in-the-wall style. On Lords Place. Open from 5am weekdays / 6am weekends.
Racine Bakery (Mon to Sat) – french style bakery serving coffee alongside sourdough, sandwiches, pies etc. In the Woolies carpark.
Out of Town
Larder & Home Lucknow (7 days) – part of the Byng Street Group. Perfect for large groups with big outdoor tables and lawn. Woodfired pizzas for lunch on weekends and some beautiful homewares as well. Another Sunday regular.
Providore Millthorpe (7 days) – a Sunday coffee ride institution. Good coffee and food. Casual seating outside with a small courtyard. Good sized bluestone gutters across the road for soaking up winter sunshine.
Hotel Canobolas – an Orange institution. Beautiful Art Deco pub on the main street. Good range of beers and local wines. Bistro and wood-fired pizzas.
Gladstone Hotel – run by the same folk who run Hotel Canobolas. Located on the corner of Byng and Hill Streets. Great verandah to sit, enjoy a post-ride beer and keep an eye on your bike. Food by the excellent Gong Thai.
Carriers Arms – excellent wood-fired pizzas, burgers and counter meals. A great range of craft beers on tap. Modern meets old-school wood paneled pub charm.
Bike Shops / Mechanics
Velo-city – Pete Willis is an absolute gentleman and the owner of this one man repair & servicing shop. He can also help you out with your bikepacking or hire needs.
DGs – an excellent range of bikes, clothing and accessories, particularly MTB. Servicing and repairs. Brands include Specialized, Norco, Ibis, Yeti and BMC.
Ron Boulton – located on Lords Place. Old school shop with bike sales, repairs and servicing. Brands include Scott and Malvern Star.
Renshaw’s Pedal Project (Bathurst) – worth a stop on your way to Orange. Some of the best bike mechanics in the Central West. A large range of bikes including Trek, Focus and Cervelo.
Orange Cycle Club – focused on track cycling although has also run road races in the past. facebook
Orange Mountain Bike Club – very active club with a Summer racing series at the Lake Canobolas Mountain Bike Park. Works hard to build new trails and maintain the existing ones to a high standard. website | facebook
Bunch rides can be a bit sporadic in Orange but usually there are Saturday and Sunday groups. These are no longer managed by any of the clubs but you can usually confirm what is happening by asking a question on the Orange Cycling Enthusiasts facebook page.
On Saturdays a fast paced group usually rides leaving from the East side of Jack Brabham Park at 7am in Summer / 7.30am in Winter.
Lattesippers: No drop ride (until the last 5kms) that leaves from the windsock at Jack Brabham Park. 7.30am in Summer / 8.00am in Winter (time changes with daylight saving). Distance usually around 70km over rolling terrain. Speed varies depending on who turns up. Sometimes breaks into different speed groups. Coffee in Millthorpe / Lucknow or back in Orange.