17 young women are taking over Parliament today – here’s why

A squad of 18 young women from around set to ‘take over” parliament house tomorrow, when they step into the seat of an MP for the day, carrying out one concrete decision, presenting a report on gender equality in politics and potentially speaking to parliament. They are also looking to pass a motion to recreate the position of Minister for Youth. (left) Ashleigh Streeter and Caitlin Figueiredo. Photo by Karleen Minney.Caitlin??? Figueiredo??? still remembers the first time she told her class she wanted to be Prime Minister of . Her teacher told her to sit down; she was a girl and girls needed “more realistic” dreams.
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Now 22, the Canberra law student runs her own social enterprise, helps oversee n projects for the UN and sits on various boards and charities. Last year, she was named a Global Changemaker by Michelle Obama at the White House.

On Wednesday, Ms Figueiredo joined forces with 16 other local girls who share her ambitions for high office in a “takeover” of Parliament House.

“We’re here to send a message, we are powerful,” Ms Figueiredo said, as the team gathered on the lawns of the House Wednesday morning.

The young women, aged between 17 and 30, each hijacked the seat of a federal MP, as part of a global “takeover” in parliaments and boardrooms across the world to celebrate International Day of the Girl.

In , women hold less than a third of all seats in parliament, and fewer than a quarter of ministerial portfolios.

New research from Plan International, which organised the takeover, shows half of young n women see their gender as their biggest barrier to becoming leaders.

The charity surveyed more than 1700 girls aged 10-17 and 530 men and women between 18 and 25 years of age about their views on gender equality and politics as well as their aspirations.

While two thirds of 15-17 year old girls aspired to be leaders, by the age of 22-25, less than half of women shared those goals compared to 60 per cent of men the same age.

Ms Figueiredo spearheaded Wednesday’s action, along with Ashleigh Streeter, 23, to close the “dream gap” for n girls and demand a gender balance in parliament. The pair said it was more than a token photo opportunity, and each woman carried out at least one concrete decision by the day’s end on behalf of their MP, as well as helping to write speeches, draft motions and raise questions in Question Time. After stopping by the party rooms of Labor and the Greens, the team presented Plan International’s newly released ‘She Can Lead’ reportto the Prime Minister and sat down with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

So where would they start if they were in the top job?

“I’d ban sexist advertising and commentary in the media,” said 18-year-old Asha Clementi, who stepped into the shoes of Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie for the day.

According to Plan’s report, most young women agree, with fewer than one in four women believing men and women were treated equally by the media and 82 per cent saying more attention was placed on their looks than men’s. #girlstakeoverpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/rZPIHRAVeR??? Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) October 18, 2017Spoke today about gender pay gap, #GirlsTakeOver Parliament & women in leadership. Which leading n women do you most admire? pic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/8OhlWIPWyR??? Andrew Leigh (@ALeighMP) October 18, 2017A report by @Plan showed a gap b/w what girls aspire to + the opportunities available to them. Let’s change that. #GirlsTakeoverpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/6eoiw2nQ67??? Tanya Plibersek (@tanya_plibersek) October 17, 2017

Newcastle startup Herb Urban takes the guess work out of gardening for those who want to grow their own

TINKER TAILOR: Jared Lawlor, founder of Herb Urban, with an example of one of his smart garden systems. JARED Lawlor has a green thumb but when he moved into a Tighes Hill house a few years back he grew it –and a business – to next level proportions.
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Mr Lawlor andpartner Heidi took the sun for granted until they settled in thesouth-facing home, which enjoyed little drenching natural light beyond a small patch at the front fence.

“Being so used to growing herbs and veges we didn’t know what to do so I put my skills to the test,” says the electrical engineer.

He ran PVC pipes along a wall and developed a complex watering and plant nutrient system which quickly drew comments.

“Friendswere like ‘wow, that is a great idea’ and I soon realised it was and started to look at ways to simplify the system so the end user who didn’t have time or the inclination to do the tech stuff but wanted a garden could just set it and forget it,” he says.

Today Mr Lawlor’s startup Herb Urban is thriving, with plans to retail its smart gardening systems nationally and globally. It offers automatedgardening systems including vertical farms, urban farms and automated green wall systems, all of which turn on a controller with sensorsthat ensure plants receive the right amount of water and nutrients.

Greening spaces: A Herb Urban installation in Newcastle.

“It is a zero waste system – there is nothing out there on the market like it and I’ve designed this from scratch in Newcastle,”says Mr Lawlorof the product that he makes in the Islington co-workspace of carpenter Stu Pinkerton.

Watch my garden grow: The controller of the Herb Urban system is in the large box, which controls the water and nutrients given to the garden.

“The plants only get given what they will use and nothing more or less so they are living in a perfect state.”

Herb Urban will soon release its first commercial product, a DYI “plug and play” product allowing customers to buy and setup the system at home.

Out of the box: Herb Urban garden systems are horizontal and vertical and made to measure for urban spaces.

“The first units will be delivered around Newcastle but the product will be refined so we can go interstate and globally,” says Mr Lawlor.

He and his partner have long grown their own produce, keen to cutwaste associated withsupermarkets.

Mr Lawlor says Herb Urban grew from a pure desire to give people the ability to grow their own food without having to think about it.

“People who can gardentake it for granted, the knowledge base you have to build up over a long time; ifyou are gardening conventionally you have to cultivate soil and put time and sweat into it,” he says. “We wanted to take the guess work out of it.”

Mr Lawlor, a participant in The Business Centre’s Start House 100 innovation course, says many clients live in central Newcastle andwant to grow their own produce for sustainability and health reasons.With manyhavingan oversupply of produce, heplans to create a community of sharing via a local farmers markets stall or an online forum.

Penrith great Mark Geyer has endorsed Garth Brennan for the head-coaching vacancy at the Gold Coast.

IN THE HOT SEAT: Garth Brennan is tipped to be announced as Gold Coast coach on Thursday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollPenrith great Mark Geyer has endorsed Garth Brennan for the head-coaching vacancyat the Gold Coast, amid speculation the Titans will confirm his appointment on Thursday.
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Brennan is believed to have emerged atop a list of coaching candidates including sacked South Sydney coach Michael Maguire, Brisbane assistant Jason Demetriou and Ipswich’s coaching brothers Shane and Ben Walker.

Brennan’s credentials include winning the NSW Cup with Penrith in 2014 and the NSW Cup-NRL State Championship double this year after cutting his teeth as the club’s under-20s coach in 2012-13.

The former Newcastle Wests and Waratah-Mayfield fullback, who still lives at Stockton, also coached the Knights into the National Youth Competition finals in 2011.

“If it is true, geez, that’s a great result for the Titans because not only have they got a great coach, but they’ve got a great bloke,” Geyer said on Triple M Sydney on Wednesday.

“He’s got good intestinal fortitude. He’s all about making the player better. He’s not into politics. He doesn’t like the shit in the game. He just gets straight into what’s important and that’s the players and their performances on the footy field.

“They need a bloke to go in and be a great mentor and also going to be firm, but fair.”

Another premiership-winning ex-Panther, Martin Lang, wished Brennan luck and added that he is “going to need it”.

Lang said Brennan’s greatest challenge would be in managing enigmatic superstar Jarryd Hayne.

Hayne fell out with former Titans coach Neil Henry, who was subsequently sacked with a year to run on his contract.

“Everything I hear about him is very good,” Lang said of Brennan. “He’s got a great knowledge, good relationship with the players.

“But at the end of the day it will come down to how he handles Jarryd Hayne.

“I know these NRL jobs are few and far between but that’s a tough job to go into.”

Lang reckoned there were worse ideas than for the Titans and Panthers to trade Hayne and Matt Moylan if Brennan got the green light.

Moylan reportedly fell out with recently re-signed Penrith coach Anthony Griffin, missing the NRL finals campaign this year.

“Maybe he should swap him for Moylan at Penrith so Hayne can go to Sydney where he is happy, I don’t know,” Lang said. “But as a first-time coach Garth will know everybody needs to be treated differently.

“In many ways you have to treat someone like Hayne like a thoroughbred racehorse.

“But you have to set standards and if they are broken you have to pull everyone in line whether they are paid $1.2 million a year or $80,000.”

Lang said Hayne was just one dilemmaBrennan would faceat the Gold Coast.

A call on which consortium will buy the Titans off the NRL is not expected until November.

It is unclear whether Brennanwould relinquish his roleas New Zealandassistant coach at the World Cupjob if he securesthe Titans job.

Halfback Ash Taylor has also delayed contract extension talks until the Titans’ future is clearer but he becomes a free agent on November 1.

Other Titans can’t wait – prized utility Tyrone Roberts announced a surprise move to English Super League club Warrington from next season.

“There’s the club ownership, player retention, re-signing Ash Taylor, Roberts has gone to England – it’s a big call taking on the Titans job,” Lang said.

Dissecting the Amerika dream

Making independent films anywhere is never easy, but it’s that much harder in a country embroiled in a debt crisis.
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All really good Greek actors are working at two theatres simultaneously and making films on the side just to make ends meet, says Yannis Sakaridis, who nevertheless managed to round up a formidable cast in his film Amerika Square. The good thing, from a film-maker’s point of view, is that all the privation makes you nimble.

“You get really good practice when you work on a Greek film. We did this film in four weeks. A lot of people do it in less time. There is a lot of talent at the moment in shooting and acting, really good crews and I guess the weather always helps.”

Sakaridis lived in London for 18 years, so he has a point of comparison with an arts environment that is relatively flush. “And I realise that Athens is really a very modern place for art, with amazing theatre, music and novels being written. People matured very quickly after the crisis, I think. You miss something but you get something. I mean, there is obviously not enough money. But there is a lot going on.”

Amerika Square is an adaptation of a novel by Yannis Tsirbas that deals with another of Greece’s immediate issues: the fact that this cash-strapped country is the first staging post for refugees from Syria trying to get to Europe. The eponymous square is an unofficial meeting point for those new arrivals, those hoping to leave and the so-called “travel agents” who will supposedly smuggle them across borders.

“In the ’60s it used to be a place where all the artists used to be, but then it moved on,” says Sakaridis. “In the last few years it’s been like Casablanca.”

In the original novel, Victoria Doesn’t Exist, the story was told from the point of view of Nakos (Makis Papadimitriou), a fellow-traveller with fascist party Golden Dawn, whose personal sense of grievance is grounded in the fact that even in his late 30s, he still lives with his parents and can’t hold or generally get a job. His friendship with Billy (Yannis Stankoglou) goes back to their shared inner-city childhood, but Billy is almost the opposite: cool, liberal, curious, possibly harbouring a secret wish to do something heroic in his life.

In the film version, Billy becomes the central character, watching aghast as Nakos becomes increasingly fanatical. He can’t let him know about Tarek (Vassilis Koukalani) – the third major character – a Syrian doctor he is hiding in the basement of the cafe he runs. “We wanted to have three stories because we wanted to see the three representative ideologies and ways of dealing in that area,” Sakaridis says.

The average Greek is sympathetic to the refugees, who have had significant support from the current Greek government, Sakaridis says.

“Because we are a refugee nation. Thousands of Greeks came from the east, or their grandparents or great-grandparents like mine. My grandparents came from Istanbul in 1922 so I’ve got in my DNA a sort of refugee mentality.”

What is most remarkable is that Greece has produced a film like Amerika Square – now its national Oscar entry – which has been lauded by the international film press as “one of the best European films to date on the subject of immigration in all its painful implications”. That’s pretty good going on no money.

Max Lees Classic for two-year-olds announced as new race on Newcastle calendar

The Newcastle Jockey Club hopes to grow the Max Lees Classic into an established race for two-year-olds after confirming the event will be held for the first time on Sunday, December 3.
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HOME COLOURS: The Kris Lees-trained Admiral Jello, second from right, running third in the Newcastle Cup last month. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The NJC has been working with Racing NSW about forming an annualrace to honour the late Broadmeadow trainer, who had 20 group 1 wins and wasmost famous for his work with 1977 two-year-old triple crownchampion Luskin Star.

NJCchief executive Matt Benson said the Max Lees Classic for two-year-olds would be held over 900 metres and carry prizemoney of $50,000. The Robert Thompson Cup will also be part of the December 3 meeting.

“I think the aim is to develop it into a bigger race in the future,” Benson said of the Max Lees Classic.

“The timing is perfect at the beginning of December.It rolls into the Inglis race in Sydney and it’s before the Magic Millions at Wyong, so those horses are hunting for prizemoney at that time of the year [to qualify].

“It’s a perfect opportunity, over a wonderful start for two-year-olds at 900 metres, with a lovely camber and 430-metre run home.

“You couldn’t hope for a better firstor second-up run for a two-year-old, so hopefully trainers will factor that into their plans.”

As for the Newcastle course proper, Benson hoped to have racing back with the rail in the true position for the November 4 meeting.

On October 7, racing was held on the course proper for the first time since the successful September 15-16 spring carnival meetings,however the rail was out six metres to protect the dethatched and recovering inside section.

The rail will be out to nine metres for this Saturday’s eight-race meeting.

“The track has obviously come back from the grooming that we gave it in the winter, and that’s been a good thing,” Benson said.

“We’re still wanting to get the track management right but I think we’re on the right path, and you never stop learning.

“We are aiming to be on the true for November 4, VRC Derby Day, to maximise field sizes and betting confidence on that day.

“We’ve got some requests into Racing NSW about various programming issues so hopefully we’ll find out about those soon.”

On Wednesday, the Kris Lees-trained Admiral Jello was $2.90 second favourite for the six-horse listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday with TAB Fixed Odds.Glyn Schofield has been allowed to ride Admiral Jello at 54kg, 0.5kg over the declared weight.

The Lees-trained Zestful was $19 for the group 3 Nivison (1200m) at Randwick and Danish Twist was the $4.20 favourite for the group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Newcastle trainer Paul Perry’s Conchita opened at $10 for the listed Alinghi Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

Meanwhile, the Newcastle racing fraternity was in mourning on Wednesday after news ofthe passing of popular identityFay Wallace, the wife of late Broadmeadow trainer Ray Wallace.

AAP reports:Chris Waller’s decision to open a Queensland satellite stable has returned a reverse benefit for the champion trainer.

Waller sent Unforgotten to his Gold Coast base in July for some remedial work with stable manager Paul Shailer and theassistance was evident at Canterbury on Wednesday when she won her maiden at the third attempt.

“It’s been a good team effort. She’s shown us promise and just showed she was a bit immature so we sent up to spell in Queensland,” Waller said.”She’s done all her work with Paul Shailer at the Gold Coast and they didn’t want to let her go.

“Fortunately we got her down here, she’s a very talented horse.”

Unforgotten, which was second to subsequent group 1winner Ace High at her previous start at Kembla Grange, swooped down the outside to win the Schweppes Handicap (1250m).

Unforgotten was the first leg of a Waller treble including I Am Serious and Best Guess.

Waller said his only regret with Unforgotten was she had missed suitable black-type races over spring.

“She probably could have been up and going a little earlier but maybe she gets to Melbourne for Cup week,” he said.

** David Hayes says the cheapest investment in racing is to engage an in-form jockey.

Lindsay Park’s senior trainer followed his own advice at Caulfield on Wednesday, combining with Kerrin McEvoy for a double, including the day’s feature, the group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes with Formality.

McEvoy touched out the Lindsay Park-trained Vega Magic on Redzel in The Everest last Saturday and Hayes said when the jockey leads from the front he’s hard to get past.

Formality and stablemates Tulip and Catchy were three of Melbourne’s best-performed fillies as two-year-olds and Hayes said they had all trained on six months later.

Originally the three were on a path towards Guineas races, the Caulfield and Thousand versions run last Saturday, but only Catchy made it to the males race when finishing third to Mighty Boss and Kementari.

After running a fading 11th in the Golden Rose at Rosehill last month, Hayes decided to freshen her up the Melbourne carnival.

“She drew wide and we elected to go forward and unfortunately so did the rest of the field in Sydney,” Hayes said.

“To bounce back off that hard run is superb.

“Full testament to Lindsay Park. She’s been able to go out into the paddock, go on the water walker and has freshened up beautifully.”

Hayes said he was disappointed with his riding instructions to McEvoy in the Golden Rose and didn’t tie him down with too many on Formality.

“Today I told Kerrin to let her go under her own steam,” Hayes said.

“If they want to go hard follow them, if they won’t to go slow, lead.

“He’s a very hard man to get past as we found out on Saturday.”

Formality will now head to the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on November 4 where she will be joined by Tulip and Catchy.

Sent off a $5 chance, Formality dug deep to score by a long neck from Jukebox ($4.20) with Lone Eagle ($31) 1-1/4 lengths away third.

Craig Williams, rider of the runner-up, said Jukebox ruined his chances by over-racing early in the race.

“She (Formality) was a lot smoother and relaxed through the race whereas mine really wanted to get on with the race and that could quite easily have been the margin he was beaten,” Williams said.

What’s selling: Hot auctions, a new suburb record and quick sales

Hot auctions, new records and fast sales SOUGHT AFTER: This classic circa 1912 residence, “Felixstowe”, was one of the original residences of Cameron’s Hill where Hamilton began and sold for $1.66 million after its first open house.
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PLENTY OF INTEREST: The Billy Tea shop at 26 Murnin Street, Wallsend was sold at auction for $635,000 after an opening bid of $500,000.

BIG RETURN: This Broadmeadow residence sold for a suburb record of $1.25 million on Tuesday, four days into a marketing campaign.

TweetFacebook What’s selling around town?A snapshot of hot auctions, new records and fast sales.Buyers looking for a seachange secured Hamilton’s historic Felixstowefor $1.66 million on October 13, one week into an auction campaign.

The price guide for the classic four-bedroom residence on 770 square metres at201 Denison Street was set at $1.3 million to $1.43 million but First National’s George Rafty said there was “some 60 people through” the first open house.

The sale price is the second highest on record, according to PriceFinder data,for a residential sale in Hamilton. Another home in Denison Street sold for $1.79 millionlast year.

The auction of the well-known Billy Tea Shop in Wallsend “drew a good crowd” on October 14, according to Elders Real Estate’s Sue Odgers. The historic site at 24 Murnin street sold for $635,000 to local buyers after an opening bid of$500,000.

A renovated federation residence at 153 Everton Street, Broadmeadowhas set a suburb record, according to PriceFinder data,selling for $1.25 million through private treaty four days into its marketing campaign.

Selling agent Sam Tsiaousis, of PRDnationwide Newcastle Lake Macquarie, said he had nearly 40 groups through the first open home and six keen to purchase before a local buyer secured the property on October 17.

“That Hamilton end of Broadmeadow isstarting to see similar prices to Hamilton, especially the federation homes,” he said.

“They’re selling quick and are achieving similar prices.

“If you’ve got something special to sell, like this one, I don’t think the market has dropped in that way.”

The sale of a four-bedroom home on 658sqm at 7 Moase Street in Wallsendby Street Property Group’s Damon Sellis, has registered a new street record of $552,500.

A three-bedroom home on 407sqm at 180 Bridges Road,New Lambton was sold by McGrath Estate Agents’ Todd Mason for $510,000 to a Sydney investor in its first week on the market.

Noel McFarlane Real Estate sold a five-bedroom home on a 662sqm block at 23 Lyons Close, Edgeworth on October 16 for $512,000.

Thornton Realty sold a three-bedroom cottage at 49 Devonshire Street, Maitlandfor $246,000 on October 13.

Ban won’t effect existing two-stroke machines

New requirements will force pollution controls on two-stroke engines from next year, but not existing machines.The small engine retail sector is getting ready for the biggest overhaul in two-stroke machines in history as the ban on non-compliant small motors looms next year.
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has been forced to jump in line with pollution controls in other nations.

While some say this is just another case of government over-regulation, the Outdoor Power Equipment Association (OPEA) says was lagging well behind other nations in engine pollution controls for small machinery.

The major victim of the ban on non-compliant two-stroke motors will be cheap Chinese copies coming onto the market.

There is no ban on machines using two-stroke already in use, with the final deadline for non-compliant imports taking hold on June 30 next year, with wholesalers and dealers given another year to sell off stock.

The OPEA says was 20 years behind other countries on small engine pollution controls. A two stroke lawn mower put out 40 times the emissions of a car, and a brush cutter as much as 10 cars. “Standards were overdue,” the OPEA’s Gary Fooks said.

“ in 2018 will adopt international small engine emissions standards, we will accept USA and the equivalent EU standard which covers spark ignition (petrol/ LPG) up to 19kW (25Hp) and boat engines. Diesel is not included. I’d say 52 per cent of what we buy now meets the standard,” he said.

“So what will pass? Handheld machines (e.g. chainsaws) – you’ll have better quality chainsaws, slashers etc. 2 stroke and 4 stroke, ground supported machines – mowers, pumps, generators –held to a tougher standard, and only 4 strokes will pass.

“Outboards and marine engines– four stroke and Direct Injection 2 stroke.

“Nothing you own now will be restricted and this appears to be the greatest fear people have.

“I don’t think rural and commercial operators will notice much change. Serious users are mostly already buying quality equipment and brands that already pass.”

Mr Fooks said the machines that won’t pass the new Federal lawsinclude “cheap and cheerful Chinese copies” that sometimes put out at 20 times the pollution of compliant machines.

“Rural and commercial operators who buy serious gear probably already have the clean machines. It’s the cheap and cheerful $79 machines sold in the giant city hardware’s that won’t pass muster.”

Victa stopped making two-stroke mowers last year.

The Land

Ride2Work Day becomes a pedalling odyssey

Journey’s end: Newcastle Herald reporter Scott Bevan arrives at the office at Honeysuckle, almost three and a half hours after he set off on his aged bicycle in southern Lake Macquarie. Picture: Max Mason-HubersWhen confronted with ridiculous challenges, there are usually two voices in my head. There’s the voice of reason, saying, “No, don’t do it”. Then there’s the other voice, which, in this case, soundsvery much like my Senior Deputy Editor’s, exclaiming, “Yes, do it!”.
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I couldn’t hear the “no” for the enthusiastic shouting of my boss on Tuesday.

And that’s how I agreed to participate in the national Ride2Work Day. “Why” is another question altogether.

This was a ridiculous challenge for a couple of reasons. The first wasmy ride to work was to be more like an odyssey. I would be cycling from the southern part of Lake Macquarie toNewcastle, a journey of about 33 kilometres.

The second reason was that I’m no MAMIL (Middle-Aged Male in Lycra). I’m more of a reptile. At 52, I’m a MAM. My bike is also well-worn.It’s a red Shogun, which I bought more than 20 years ago. It’s a marvellously durable bicycle, defying the years and rust. The Shoguneven has an original front tyre. That’s not an issue if you’re just riding to the shops, as I usually do; for a long trek, there was a reasonable chance this would turn into Push2Work Day for me.

Anyway, I ignored the “ridiculous” bits, as only a MAM can, and embraced the challenge. Wearing my best gym shorts (the ones with elastic still in them) anda pack on my back, andcarrying a bottle full of water and a belly full of anticipation, I set off at 9.07am on Wednesday.

No sooner had I put my feet on the pedals than a north-easterly skitteredacross the lake and smacked me in the face. That infernalheadwind was to be my constant companion.

Tracing the lake’s south-western shoreline was therapeutic. The riding must have been making me lookpositively youthful. A tradie in a ute near Rathmines waited for me to pass, saying,“It’s harder for you, son.”Son!

When I hit Wangi Road and endured the long climb towards Toronto, I felt positively decrepit. Actually, from my thighs down, I felt nothing at allbut aching. I also felt a little exposed, withthe whoosh of trucks travelling at 80 km/h just metres away. Still, there’s always someoneslower than you. I passed a young bloke,Nathan, who was walking to Warners Bay.

The run down throughToronto was sweet relief. The fallingof rain as I crossed the Fennell Bay bridge was not. Thankfully, there were only a few drops. From Booragul to Warners Bay, I didn’t have to contend with motor vehicles; I was on the bike and pedestrian path, allowing me to glance at the lake. On the path, I passed the first cyclists I’d seen since setting off. I wondered how many were participating in Ride2Work Day.

HALFWAY: Scott Bevan and his trusty bicycle on the foreshore near Speers Point during his epic pedalling commute to work in Newcastle.

To get an idea of that, as I pedalled towardsHillsborough, I stopped in at Cheeky Bikes. Owner OliverPringle said more and more people cycledto work most days.

“Traffic congestion is getting worse, and cycling is getting easier, with electric bikes,” he said. I was tempted to buy one of those, there and then, on the company card.In the workshopwere Matt Miller and John Ebeling. They praisedme for riding to work. I felt smugly self-satisfied. That is, until“Ebo”mentioned he cycled to work most days –from Maitland.

SUPPORT: Matt Miller (left) and John Ebeling at Cheeky Bikes, Warners Bay, repairing bicycles and giving moral support to our pedalling reporter. Picture: Scott Bevan

Following the Cheeky Bikes boys’ advice, I rode along the edge of the Newcastle inner city bypass,acting like a tortoise beside the motorised hares tearing past, as I climbedthe hill to the Cardiff turn-off. From there,it was gloriously downhill to Kotara and across to the Fernleigh Track –well, the last few hundred metres of it –and a cafe popular with cyclists.

Fernleigh Cafe barista Djalar Donovan said it had been an average morning, with about 20 riders stopping by. Then Louise Shearston arrived. She had just ridden from work, a nearby indoor climbing centre, to buy a drink. But she was participating in Ride2Work Day –“I never usually ride on a Wednesday”.

Scott Bevan takes a break at the Fernleigh Cafe in Adamstown.

One common callamong the ridersI had met was a need for a larger cycle network to connect communities and encouragetwo-wheel commuting. What’s more, having shared roads with motor vehicles, I reckon there’s room for more bike awareness. It’s not enough to have “Watch out for Bicycles” signs and logos on the road; that has to be translated into respect, irrespective of the number of wheels below us.

Scott Bevan on the last leg during his long ride to work. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

I traced the Honeysuckle foreshore and arrived at the office at 12.31pm. I had ridden to work. I felt great. It would be impractical for me to do this every day, as I would have only a couple of hoursat my desk before riding off again. Hang on. Now that I think about it, perhaps every day should be Ride2Work Day. Say “yes!”to that, Senior Deputy Editor.

Fernleigh 15 from Adamstown to Belmont on Sunday

ENDURANCE: Vlad Shatrov goes back-to-back at the Fernleigh 15 in 2016. I won’t be anywhere near him on Sunday. ABOUT a year ago a few mates of mine found an old photograph of me.
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Taken at sunset on Waikiki Beach sometime in 2011, the picture shows me, mid-stride, emerging from the water in a pair of red shorts.

“No joke, that is the best you’ve ever looked,” my mate told me immediately after he pressed the button.

And he was right.

I’d spotted him on the sand a second before he snapped the picture, sucked in my gut and puffed out my chest, while pretending it was all completely natural.

Then, after showing me at my peak physical health, my mates pulled up a more recent photograph.

I’m asleep in the back seat of a car on the way back from the airport after a trip to Bali.

I have drool on my face, I’m unshaven and my hair is revealing what I’ve been trying to hide for years; I’m going bald.

But the most striking thing about the picture, and the most embarrassing thing for me, is my gut.

The seat belt is grasping my stomach underneath and across the top, accentuating my shame and outlining the exact dimensions of my belly as if it were an anatomical diagram.

It was me at my absolute worst.

After showing me these two pics my mates bet me that I couldn’t return my body to its Hawaii heyday.

I was 102 kilograms and I’d need to get down to 82kg.

They gave me a generous 12 months to do it and three of my mates, let’s call them Dylan, Mitch and Dave*, even put some money down.

$2100 in total.

My weight loss missionstarted slowly.

Very slowly; my first run (walk)was a 50-plus minute 5 kilometre ParkRun.

Then running became more enjoyable, I started taking a salad every day for lunch and I cut out beer.

With the help of another mate, let’s call him Clayton*, I shaved about half an hour off my 5km time.

I started to love running, I was addicted to it and I quickly lost weight and felt great.

I’m not telling you this story because I’m something special.

After all, I’m just doing what I should have been doing for years and there are many more people with far more inspirational weight loss stories.

I’m telling you because I’m hoping it might encourage you, if you’re in the same situation I was in 12 months ago, to get out and go for a run.

You won’t regret it.

This weekend I’m competing in my first proper run –The Fernleigh 15 –and I literally can’t wait.

Next month, I’ll runthe Central Coast Half Marathon, and after that a marathon.

Because the thing I’ve learned about running is, once you start you can’t stop.

And if you haven’t registered for the Fernleigh 15, it’s not too late.

*Yes, that is their real names.

Commercial Property: Carrington hotel being sold as a leasehold asset

MAKEOVER: New life was breathed into the Criterion Hotel when it was refurbished in 2014. The bar and restaurant trade is strong.The sale of aleasehold asset at Carrington’s Criterion Hotel presents “a great opportunity”to enter the hospitality pub scene, according to Deane Moore ofMoore and Moore Real Estate.
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The Criterion Hotel in Bourke Street was refurbished in 2014 and Mr Moore said it offered “good restaurant and bar trade”.

The leasehold asset is being sold for $215,000 with 12 years remaining on the lease.

The business includes bar, restaurant, poker machines, outdoor areas and upgraded accommodation.

BAR REMOVEDThe historic Terrace Bar, on Hunter Street, has been withdrawn from the market due to personal reasons after being listed for sale this month through Colliers International.

DARBY SALEThe Cooks Hill Commercial Centre on Darby Street has been sold for an undisclosed sum after an expressions of interest campaign.

The site is zoned B2 Local Centre and is returning a net rent of approximately $1.505 million per annum.

Knight Frank’s Ross Cooper said the iconic property attracted “a lot of interest” through the marketing campaign before being sold to a local group on October 13 who will “continue that refurbishment and upgrade of the building”.

GOOD TENNANTSColliers International’sByrne Tran said 45 Enterprise Drive, Beresfield offered “a high quality investment property” in “one of Newcastle’s most popular industrial precincts”.

The property is located at the northern end of the M1 Motorway and Mr Tran said is leased to a good tennant until August 2020.

The property has a rental return of approximately $178,000 net per annum plus GST and is set for auction on November 9. Interest is expected to start around the low $2 million mark.

It comprisesan engineering facility with office areas over two levels and benefits from having a workshop and adjoining warehouse area.

DOER UPPERRaine and Horne’s Steve Dick said a Raymond Terrace property, at 44 Port Stephens Street,offered the potential for a small business to own their own building.

“If it has strong bones and a great location, which this has, someone can turn it into their own style and space,” he said.

It is set for a November 16 auction with bidding expected to start around $300,000.