All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
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Next March a friend and I will be cycling from Port Augusta to Darwin, straight through the centre of Australia (3000 + km). I currently have a tour hybrid that takes 700x32 wheels. I have been advised to get thicker tyres due to having to veer onto soft ground when road trains come past. Now I really do not want to buy a whole new bike, and it seem the biggest tyre that will fit is 35 max! I have had a look and I am thinking of getting continental tour plus tyres. This will still be 32, as they don't make them in 35. Any recommendations or advice will be greatly appreciated. Particularly from anyone who has done the ride. Aggh sorry about the essay length question.
March has a reputation for being stinking hot up through the red centre, and Darwin will be in the middle of its wet season. If you must travel at this time, plan to start each day as early as possible (before dawn).
I have done parts of the Alice Springs to Darwin leg, and yes, you will have to watch out for road trains. While the road itself is fairly wide and in good condition, there is not really any shoulder to ride on, so if a road train does approach from behind, its best to just get off the road and let it past.
As for the tyre situation, Continentals have a good reputation for puncture resistance across its range. If you can find a tyre with a kevlar belt through the centre section, that will be worth looking at as it adds a layer of protection against punctures.
I don't think that soft ground will be your main problem on the side of the road. It will probably more likely be sharp rocks and plants and shrubbery with thorns and prickles which will deflate a tyre.
Thanks for the tips. Hmm so going with as much puncture protection as possible might be the best thing. I know there is some kind of fluid you can line your tubes with as well. Guess I was just worried about my tyres being too thin and the possibility of having to deal with soft edges on the side of the road. We won't be reaching Darwin till end of may. Start near adelaide in March. Will be warmer than we would like but are pretty restricted for time!
Feel free to throw anymore valuable info my way...
Thanks so much Be
Generally if the road is sealed, the sides of the road are OK. If it is a dirt side-track then the edges get very soft, and the road is probably heavily corrugated.
The end of May is the end of the wet season, so you should be OK up in Darwin (its still hot and humid, it just doesn't bucket down each afternoon)
You don't say what your accommodation choice is. Camping may be the better option as motels/pubs etc may be spaced too far apart for a days ride.
Getting further north, Daly Waters Hotel has a nice shady campground with a pool, and a cold beer. Mataranka Springs can provide you with a relaxing thermal (34c) swim and I would recommend the Katherine Gorge campground which is about 30km on a sealed side road from the township of Katherine, but a cruise on the Katherine Gorge is interesting.
There's too much to list in one go. Just get maps and heaps of travel brochures to help plan daily distances, food stops etc and you should go OK.
You will also meet heaps of grey nomads with their big 4wd's and even bigger caravans and they are always good for a chat.
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