Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tips?

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Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tips?

Postby gerardvok » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:40 pm

Hi. Thinking of spending a few days in Adelaide to see the Santos riders, and to do a little riding also. Wondering if anyone has ridden the stages of the tour down under in previous years? A friend mentioned the ability to ride with pros during certain warm-ups but this sounds somewhat unlikely and I havent found anything online to corroborate this.

I've never been to a race like the tour, and wonder if anyone has any suggestions about pre-race riding, or even just tips on watching the race (eg: do you have to pay to get anywhere near the finish line? etc).

Thanks
Gerard.
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by BNA » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:52 am

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Re: Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tip

Postby Ross » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:52 am

I've been to a couple of TDUs and going again this year. If you know your way around and are up for 100km+ of riding you can ride out to the various stages. You will want to get to the stage early as they close the road plus there will be hundreds of other cyclists all trying to get prime viewing spot too. You don't have to pay.

You can sometimes ride back after the stage with pros as they mostly ride out to each stage and therefore have to ride back to where they are staying (generally in Adelaide CBD).

You may want to take a small backpack (camelback without bladder?) to put suncream, snacks, drinks and merchandise etc in as you will most likely be out most of the day and not be near any shops so you will need to be self sufficient.
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Re: Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tip

Postby gerardvok » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:11 pm

Hi Ross. Thanks! That's perfect information.. exactly what I was after.

May I also ask if you have had any experience with shipping a bike via an airline? I'm likely flying down due to schedule, and may need to take my bike as check-in. I plan to call the airlines today, but first hand info re boxes and how well the bike is handled in loading is helpful.

(that's an extraordinary YTD mileage total btw! you must chew through tyres..)
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Re: Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tip

Postby jcjordan » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:38 pm

gerardvok wrote:Hi Ross. Thanks! That's perfect information.. exactly what I was after.

May I also ask if you have had any experience with shipping a bike via an airline? I'm likely flying down due to schedule, and may need to take my bike as check-in. I plan to call the airlines today, but first hand info re boxes and how well the bike is handled in loading is helpful.

(that's an extraordinary YTD mileage total btw! you must chew through tyres..)


I have been taking a gang from the ACT to the TDU since 2005 and the advice above will make you trip easier.

We normally stay in Nth Adelaide but this year are staying in the city. Which makes getting to the key points of any stage really easy. My only suggestion would be to avoid the actual routes in the hour before the riders come through. The roads are generally open but the traffic levels are fairly high and can be slow going.

As for flying with your bike I would suggest that you avoid Virgin. I know that someone will disagree but my experiences have been nothing but bad. So far over the years we have seen them break 3 bikes and loose one. We have also regularly find they have left bikes behind and then you are left with coming back to the airport hoping it will arrive.

I fly alot with Qantas with a semi soft case from Scicon and have yet to have a single problem.

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Re: Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tip

Postby Ross » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:26 pm

gerardvok wrote:Hi Ross. Thanks! That's perfect information.. exactly what I was after.

May I also ask if you have had any experience with shipping a bike via an airline? I'm likely flying down due to schedule, and may need to take my bike as check-in. I plan to call the airlines today, but first hand info re boxes and how well the bike is handled in loading is helpful.

(that's an extraordinary YTD mileage total btw! you must chew through tyres..)


I lfew to France a few years ago and used a hard case for rhe bike. A few downsides to that. A fair bit of disassembly of the bike (and subsequent re-assembly) to get it in the case and the case is fairly weighty empty (about 14kg) so by the time you add the bike and a few other bits and pieces it's up over 25kg which can mean excess luggage charges. QANTAS wanted to charge me $1000 for excess baggage just for CNB>SYD leg. After I protested at this (IMO) outrageous expense they lowered it to $500. I had no choice but to pay it. I flew Etihad the rest of the way to Europe and back and they didn't charge me any excess. And QANTAS didn't charge me excess on the return trip even though I was only flying on a small Fokker Friendship and not a 747, go figure.

The couple of times I've been to Adelaide I just use a soft case that I bought from Wiggle (NLA but I think it's the same as the Wiggle Honda Team use). Just need to take front wheel off and turn handlebars sideways to make it fit in the bag. Bike has never been damaged...so far (touch wood :!: ). Another friend last year took his bike down in a hard case the same as the one I used in France and he didn't pack it properly and the frame cracked.

Airports also sell cardboad bike boxes (about $25) but I see these as having the disadvantages of both a soft case (lack of protection) and you need to disassemble the bike to make it fit. Or you can get a bike box from your LBS usually for free as they are only going to throw them out.

You can get around the excess luggage issue to some extent by pre-purchasing when you book your ticket. Even with the soft case it is a good idea to do this as some airlines restrict you to one piece of checked luggage up to 25kg.

Another tip, don't put any bike tools in your carry-on luggage in an attempt to save weight with your checked luggage. I did that going to France and QANTAS tried to confiscate my pedal spanner. They let me put it in with my bike but claimed it was a "weapon" and wouldn't let me keep it in the hand luggage.

Getting a taxi from the airport to your hotel can be challenging too. A bike in a case (soft or hard) needs a van (won't fit in a station wagon if they have a cargo barrier in back) to transport it. The cabbies and airport staff in Adelaide are pretty clued up on TDU and bike transportation so there is usually some vans coming along when the flights arrive,but allow 15-20 mins wait because there will be 20 other cyclists in front of you all wanting the same thing!

Speaking of taxis, we got the personal mobile number of the driver that took us to the hotel and then rang him directly a week or so later when we were ready to go home.
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Re: Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tip

Postby Redbull » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:18 pm

32kg if you are a Qantas club member for sporting goods.


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Re: Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tip

Postby jcjordan » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:35 pm

Redbull wrote:32kg if you are a Qantas club member for sporting goods.


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23kg if not a member but if you buy a second bag online before you check in its really reasonable

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Re: Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tip

Postby gerardvok » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:16 pm

Update for interest sake:

Hi guys. Thanks for all the good information. I eventually got cold feet about putting my bike on a plane without a decent (read:expensive) bike bag/case. Friends were driving down in a van before me, so I bought a Thule bike rack that fits on the tow ball, to carry 3 bikes. Allowed those driving down to have extra room by carrying 2 of their bikes on the outside, and I was planning to buy a bike carrier anyway. All worked out well. I'll still consider making some sort of case for my bike at some stage but this time it did the job perfectly and also allowed us to transport the bikes between stages when needed.

The rack is phenomenal. It was expensive but will be used a lot. I recommend them highly:
http://www.thule.com.au/details.php?p_i ... _G2_3_Bike
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Re: Santos Tour Down Under 2014 - riding the stages, and tip

Postby Ross » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:15 am

I used my Wiggle soft case again, as did my friend, and we had no dramas.

Walking around the airport the Scicon Aero Comfort 2.0 TSA Bike Bag seemed to be the bag of choice for a lot of cyclists. These are still a soft case but have an internal frame that protects the bike.

http://www.bikeroar.com/tips/travelling ... rt-2-0-tsa

http://www.wiggle.com.au/scicon-aero-co ... -bike-bag/
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