Plase help reassure my wife on bike touring safety

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Plase help reassure my wife on bike touring safety

Postby lostkiwi » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:32 pm

Hello all

I am planning to cycle from Sydney to Brisbane, solo, over 2 weeks in April. This will be my first cycle tour, and my wife is very agitated about the risk involved, in terms of being injured (or worse) as a result of a collision with traffic.

I promised her I would write a post that she could then read, with comments from people more experienced on touring than I am, to help reassure her that it is indeed safe.

So, with that in mind, would it be possible to get some posts regarding the safety of such a cycle? Please be honest, even if it's not in my best interests. Both myself an my wife will be highly appreciative of any comments.

If it helps, I plan to start in Patonga, and cycle along the coast until joining the Pacific Highway north of Forster. Somewhere I'll break off and head back to the coast, passing through Cresent Head, before relinking with the pacific highway to get to Macsville. Then I'll head inland, heading through Dorrigo, Grafton, Casino and Nimbin, before doing Mt Tamborine and back to Brisbane.

Thank you all.
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by BNA » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:16 pm

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Postby im_no_pro » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:16 pm

Whilst I cant offer specific advice on your route, one of these allows my GLW to relax a little more when im out on the road on my own. And with others for that matter.....

Good luck with the tour :)

Edit: Not suggesting that you will need to use it, consider it like an insurance policy, good to have, even better if you never use it.
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Postby Leigh_caines » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:06 pm

Yeah I've done most of that ride and I'd say [for what I'd Know :)
Most of it's good and safe with one bit not.... that's if you plan on the "Waterfall Way" [I saw somewhere that it was voted the "most unsafe road in Oz} [It's ok down as one is going fast enough to stay ahead of the cars but up is no go]
So if it was me I'd go vir Grafton and head up the Summerland Way.
Good Luck it should be a fun trip.
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Postby il padrone » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:41 pm

I have toured along a route very similar to the one you describe. Maps drawn here............ here........... and here. Note - this was 10 years ago now.

I chose to ride a lot of wonderful back roads, sealed and gravel, and a couple of sections of rougher forest road and 'almost 4WD' track. I only had to ride for about 30kms on the Pacific Hwy in total. Traffic was generally minimal (away from the Pacific Hwy), not ever really a problem. I had one or two run-ins with 'tools in cars' but they were in urban areas, notably Sydney's northern beaches and Port Macquarie. Otherwise I was cycling along marvellous country roads with very light to moderate traffic.

Stay away from the Pacific Hwy, it's not very much fun at all. Be aware of your own abilities and limitations, taking account of weather and road conditions. Don't always believe local knowledge - twice when sourcing local opinion about particular roads I was told "Ooh, on a bike? No I wouldn't ride a bike down there" and the ride along these roads (both gravel roads) were two of the quietest and nicest roads of the tour.

There are also a series of local maps available free from information centres in towns like Dungog, Wingham, Kempsey and Macksville that show a lot of extra details about alternative routes and scenic highlights which is not available on commercial road maps or NRMA maps.

Reassure your wife that once on the road, away from main highways, you are very safe on a bike. Have a great tour. :D
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Postby kiwirobbie » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:27 pm

kia ora lost kiwi haven't ridden your planned route so can't comment on that but found drivers very good towards touring cyclists in oz, truck drivers especially had no problems traveling about in Vic,SA,NT and WA last year make sure you can be seen, a high vis vest of some kind is a must. Have fun!!! 8)
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Re: Plase help reassure my wife on bike touring safety

Postby ksteinhoff » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:05 pm

lostkiwi wrote:Hello all

snips

So, with that in mind, would it be possible to get some posts regarding the safety of such a cycle? Please be honest, even if it's not in my best interests. Both myself an my wife will be highly appreciative of any comments.


I'm on the other side of the world, so I can't comment about your route. I tell my wife and friends, "If I get hit by an 18-wheeler on my bicycle today, cycling has added more to my life than it ever took away."

Nobody wakes up in the morning planning to die, but many do in car accidents, slipping in the tub, having a plane crash on their home, getting hit by a drive-by shooter, etc. etc., etc.

When it's my time, I hope it's fast and painless. My dad died of a heart attack while he was building a sandbox for his grandson - my son - while he was at his vacation trailer on Kentucky Lake, a place he loved.

I'd settle for that.
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Postby heavymetal » Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:40 pm

There are no dangers really. I've almost run out of water once in the middle of nowhere.

Only a few things to keep in mind. Fit a mirror, you need to see into the past (what's coming from behind).

If stealth camping (which I do) cover your reflectors and any reflector strips. on your panniers. They can be seen for miles at night when light from headlights shine on them.

Remember which nights are testosterone nights. Friday and Saturday nights when all the drunks are about. don't camp near anything that looks like a burnout strip area.

Watch out for snakes falling out of the sky. Kookaburras kill snakes by flying up high and dropping them on the road, but they usually hit a poor unsuspecting cyclist.

That last tip was a lie :D

Enjoy your tour, touring is quite safe and fun.

Kev.
There is only one BicycleWA.
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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:50 pm

heavymetal wrote:Watch out for snakes falling out of the sky. Kookaburras kill snakes by flying up high and dropping them on the road, but they usually hit a poor unsuspecting cyclist.

That last tip was a lie :D

They drop koalas ...

;)
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Postby hartleymartin » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:03 am

Make use of http://maps.google.com.au and use the street view feature to help you assess whether or not a road has a suitable verge or a cycle lane.

Water is the singular most critical issue. If your bicycle wheels buckle and you have to abandon your ride chain it up to a tree, remember where it is, take all of your water with you and walk into the nearest town.
On a hot day, you can expect to drink up to 1L per hour, simply because you will sweat most of it back out again. (During one ride, I started licking my forearms to get the salts back into my system and I tasted like sea water.)

If you plan your route out well, you can find that you will pass through small towns or villages almost every 10 or 20km, where there should be a petrol station or some sort of general store where you can buy essentials.

Mark down any bicycle shops on your route. If something goes ka-boom, ping, crack or snap, then you have an idea of how far you have to go to repair/replace it.

Overall, touring in Australia is pretty safe, as long as you plan and prepare properly.
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http://madmartysblog.blogspot.com - my cycling adventures
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Postby backroads » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:51 am

Hi lost kiwi,

I can't vouch for the safety as I have yet to do my first tour. I can give you a little advice about the roads around Port Macquarie, a safe haven for the night and someone to ride with between Port and Cresent Head, Kempsey or Macksville.

I've taken a look at il padrone's route from Port Mac. to Grafton and it looks like a pretty good way to go. I've been planning on doing the Port to Cresent Head leg for a few weeks (that will be my first over nighter) but my bike is out of action waiting on some bearings. If you want to stick to the Pacific Hwy definitely avoid it between Taree and Port Macquarie. Lots of road works, trucks and very little room for a cycle.

There's a road (unsealed in places) from Wingham to Comboyne that is very quiet and scenic which will get you off the highway. From Comboyne head for Kew, cross over the Pacific HWay and take the scenic route to Port. You could head up the H,way from Kew but there's a few km's of raodworks that will make it a little dangerous.

Il padrone's route takes you from Port to Cresent Head via the backroads. I'd recomend that way but if you need or want to go via Pacific the road from Port north to Macksville is fine. Plenty of shoulder most of the way with the exception of a few small bridges.

Good luck with your trip and drop me a line if you want a bed and shower.
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Postby hartleymartin » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:58 pm

One other really, really good idea is to use a handle-bar bag and put all your most valuable items in there, and to take that bag with you when-ever you dis-mount.

In that bag you should have your:

Wallet (ID, Cash, Credit Cards, etc)
Keys
Mobile Phone (& Charger)
Camera (& batteries/charger)
Powdered Sports Drink
Water Purification Tablets
Some High-Evergy Snacks (Muesli Bars are good, and inexpensive)
Maps
MP3 Player (and ancillary items)
Small LED Torch

This bag must absolutely always go with you when you get off your bicycle. At least you have everything you need to get out of trouble if some ******* decides to be opportunistic and steal your bike. This is worst-case scenario planning.

If you plan to do any night riding, invest well in good lights. I use a Blackburn Mars 2.0, but I supplement this with some cheap $5 Dick Smith Electronics flashing rear lights which can be clipped onto panniers, bags, etc or anything that overhangs the side racks.
Martin Christopher Hartley

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http://madmartysblog.blogspot.com - my cycling adventures
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Postby il padrone » Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:37 pm

backroads wrote:There's a road (unsealed in places) from Wingham to Comboyne that is very quiet and scenic which will get you off the highway.

And it will take you up one rather huge climb :shock: to Comboyne. I camped in bush at Cedar Party, 10ks north of Wingham and next day had 25 kms to get to Comboyne. "I'll be there for morning tea" I thought. Ohhh no!! :lol: After some lovely rolling rural roads I hit the forest and climbed..... 9kmh... 8kmh.... 6kmh.... Gave up looking at the speedo. I did visit Mt Gibraltar and climb to the top for a spectacular view. Then rolled into Comboyne for a very late lunch. But I still got to Laurieton on the coast for camp by ~5.30pm and it was a very nice ride through forests and farmland :D

backroads wrote:From Comboyne head for Kew, cross over the Pacific HWay and take the scenic route to Port.

This road does carry a bit more traffic, but still worth doing. Close to Port Macquarie you'll go past the Sea Acres Nature Park which has a very good rainforest centre and boardwalk.

backroads wrote:Il padrone's route takes you from Port to Cresent Head via the backroads. I'd recomend that way

If you ask the locals they'll probably tell you you're crazy. You take a car ferry across to the North Shore (where there is a small store). It's signed for 4WD only, but really this is only because of a few big water-filled holes in the first 5kms or so - traps for regular cars but so easy to ride the bike around and between. The rest of this road (Point Plomer Rd) is firm sand and slightly rocky gravel, almost no traffic, scenic bush and coast with some great walking tracks to do around Point Plomer. You may be lucky, as I was and spot a sea eagle.

Note - I did this ride 10 years ago, road surfaces may have changed for better or worse.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Postby gongtandem » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:28 pm

Hi Lostkiwi,
my partner(female) and I have toured (multi day)and ridden up and down NSW with VERY few instances of bad driver behaviour. We rode from Snowy Mtns to home without a single incident, along narrow shoulders and even non existent shoulders without drivers showing anger.
My partner feels pretty comfortable in traffic most of the time, except heavy city traffic, but your journey should be fine.
We always make ourselves visible with flouro cycling shirts or jackets (we may not like the look of them but they work!) and our panniers are bright and reflective.
We always ride with lights when needed and obey the rules (when cars are about).
We wish you well on your journey and please let Ms Lostkiwi know that my partner would have no hesitation in riding that journey (she is keen to cross the Nullabour in a year or so).
All the best. :D
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Re: Plase help reassure my wife on bike touring safety

Postby backroads » Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:40 pm

Hey lostkiwi,

you might want to take a look at this web site http://www.seanbrindle.com/
They have an ID kit that you can stick on your helmet or bike. It won't stop anything happening to you but if something does you will be identifiable and your next of kin or help can be notified.

I never carry any ID when I ride so I have subscribed for a kit. The cost is low and the funds go to a good cause.

happy travels
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