Ride partner (Melb - Bris 2008)

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Ride partner (Melb - Bris 2008)

Postby banjo » Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:11 pm

I am planning a tour from Melb to Bris for about October 08. I'm looking for one or two ride partners. I have some touring experience but always keen to learn more. The basic plan is to ride up the coast and cover the 2000km in 4 weeks (5 weeks max).

The route, start date and details are all open to negotiation. I'm looking for someone that can deal with the unexpected, has a good sense of humour and is just as at home sleeping on a park bench as they are in a motel.

I'm happy to meet up with people en-route but ideally you are already in melb so we can meet and plan beforehand. I'm also open to route suggestions from anyone who has "been there and done that".

I've wanted to do this particular trip for years. This will be an awesome tour so be a part of it!

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cycling down to Melbourne soon

Postby littleadukibeanweevil » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:19 pm


I am just about to commence a cycle/wwoofing tour of Australia....but going in the opposite direction.

Always looking for people to cycle with for day rides, weekend rides and longer. I am very happy to sleep in parks, and basically where ever I can find a spot for my thermarest/tent :)

We sound like like minded cyclists. Would you be interested in meeting up for a coffee and cycle discussion followed by a bit of riding when I get to Melbourne?
I would like to stay around Melbourne for a while and explore parts of victoria by bike :)


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Postby banjo » Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:43 am

Gee, due to overwhelming response I thought I'd better provide a bit more info here!

By the way Rachel I hope your trip is going well.

Yes the tour is still on but I am yet to decide on the route. It will either be following the Newell to Brisbane or going up the coast via the Princes & Pacific Highways with detours and sightseeing as req'd.

I just completed a solo 8 day tour around central vic (Melb-Seymour-Shepp-Echuca-Bendigo-Melb) to put my bike, my new touring gear and most importantly ME to the test. Everything performed flawlessly which was very pleasing and rewarding. Even the weather was perfect every day.

A bit more about me. I'm in my mid 30s, fit and love riding. About 60% of my riding is commuting to work which saves me $ and keeps the miles up on the legs. I also ride with a touring club on weekends when I can. I ride about 800-1000km per month. I don't own a road bike and haven't for years. I ride a Giant XTC3 hard tail which has performed very well for me in all sorts of conditions.

Back to the Melb-Bris Tour - I'm looking for anyone interested in having a go. If you're even slightly interested, get in touch. I'm happy to team up for a 1 week leg or even just a few days. So if I get a few riders interested in riding between Syd and Bris along the coast for example, thats the route I'll take.

Riding solo means I spend more time in motels for security of my gear. If I have at least 1 partner we can go cheaper at camping grounds etc.

The dates I'm looking at are:

Melb - Syd/Dubbo Oct 5 - 18
Syd/Dubbo - Bri Oct 19 - Nov 1

On the recent central vic tour just completed my daily average speeds ranged between 17 - 23km/h. 5 of the days were over 100km with a max day of 142 (not keen to repeat that in a hurry!). Generally I got 60-70km out of the way by lunch and then cruised along in the arvo for a 3-4pm stopover. No rest days on that trip but there will be on the tour to brisbane obviously.

Hope all that gets someone interested! :-)

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Melb, Sydney, Brisbane

Postby pglbuild » Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:35 pm

Hi Banjo,

I too am looking at at similar trip, although in reverse. I live on the Gold Coast and am looking to get down to Ballarat eventually on the bike, but with Gold Coast to Sydney as a start in 2008 and perhaps the full trip to Ballarat in 09.

But I dont mind which way I do it, they tell me the prevailing wind is at your back and not mine !

With the Sydney trip in mind I have obtained a very good scenic route, from Horsnby to Brisbane. Which is neither the Newell Hwy or the Coast. It is the route of a defunct cycling tour operator used, and chosen for its back road appeal.
Basically it is Wyong, Morrisett, Kuri Kuri, Dungog, Walcha, Armidale, Grafton,Casino, up over the mountains into Beaudesert and Brisbane.

Each day is 80 to 120k and I have have details of accomodation/camping for the end of each day. I prefer a bed rather than camp, but I plan to carry tent and s bag in case the unforseen happens.

Its about 1060ks I think, and appeals to me more than the major highways. From what Ive told the Newall is very busy, and the highway up the Coast is even more busy, quite good for cycle space in some parts, but very little on others.

You may have seen there is a Coastal route listed in the lonely planet book 'Cycling Australia' but my version is 2001 so it might be a bit out of date. Its 2319k in 31 days, which might be the one you are referring to.
A fair bit of it is off the highway, so it might be OK.

Hope this helps and please get in touch if any of this works for you !


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Postby banjo » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:03 pm


Thanks for the response. I haven't seen the lonely planet routes at all. My routes were based soley on the Hwy inland or coastal. Your scenic route may be worth a look. I would be keen to see some topographic maps of the mountain section though. I don't mind a climb but by the time I get to that stage I'll have done about 1300+ km already. Looking at 20cm of road on a map on the kitchen table is one thing but getting it done is something else!

My primary reason for sticking to hwys was good gradients and shoulders. I know the Hume is excellent and you do actually get to see some of the country. Towns are never far away either.

I will do some research on your idea. If you have more details let me know. I agree with your idea of accommodation. Motels etc are more ideal but a backup tent and cooker etc is handy if you need it. Thats how I tour.

How much riding have you done like this is the past and how fit are you now? Do you ride distances regularly?Keep in mind my date leaving Sydney is about Oct 19 or 20 and I can't vary that by more than a day or two. Annual leave is already booked.

Thats enough to think about for now. Spread the word and lets try and get a third rider interested.


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Postby banjo » Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:03 pm

Phil, Got your PM. Your averages are ok. I give myself all day to do 120km. Whats the hurry! At the end of the day 20km/h always seems to be where I'm sitting on avg.

I would really like to see the file re the syd-Bri inland scenic route but I don't have broadband at home. I fear we'd be finished and pushing xmas before the download was done. As soon as I can figure out another address for you to send it I will let you know provided you are happy to share it. I'm likeing the idea of the inland route though.

I'll get back to you asap but it might be a week or two.

Enjoy your ANZAC day.


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Postby banjo » Fri May 23, 2008 9:42 pm

Got your disc with the bri-syd info. Haven't had a chance yet to sit down and really study it but will do soon and get back to you with some feedback. Thanx for sending it

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Postby sidy » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:14 pm

Hey Banjo

Just came across your message. If you are still interested in company I might be your man.
Biked from Perth to Eden (NSW) earlier this year.
Currently restless in Melbourne, looking for something to do over the coming months.

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Postby banjo » Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:56 am

sidy, good to hear from you. If your keen to team up you join me. I have Pglbuild (Phil) back on board for the Syd - Bri leg now as well.

The plan at this stage is to leave Melb on 5/10 and ride the Princes Hwy to Sydney with minor detours along the way. Travel thru Syd on the M7 cycleway meeting Phil in Hornsby on 17/10 travelling up the Pacific Hwy with various detours to Bri arriving end of Oct. Should be about 20 riding days with about 4 rest days thrown in.

I have maped what I want to do on Mapmyrun.com and will make those stages available shortly for you and Phil to check out. I'm open to suggestions for detours. The overall aim for me was to ride the coast so thats why I've stuck with the Main highways.

I'd be keen as well to hear more details about your Perth to Edan ride. I'm considering something like that for the near future. Adelaide - Darwin is my preference at the moment.

If you PM me your contact details I will call you to discuss further. I'll give Phil a call soon too, I think I already have his number somewhere.


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Postby phillipa47 » Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:53 pm

Hi there, nice to see you have a little team going there.

I'll do a repost soon to try to get some partners for my trip. It's been delayed a little, will start from Hervey Bay approximately 28th Oct. Arriving Australia 18th October, so 10 days to get down to the serious planning. Looks like you'll be finished by then?

I'm hoping you won't mind sharing some of your route plans, will be invaluable for me. Any post ride advice would also be gratefully received. I have created a mapmyrun account, but nothing to add yet.


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Postby banjo » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:27 pm

Phillipa, we will be close to Brisbane and finishing our tour around the 28th of October. I am just trying to complete my route charts now even though I'm not 100% sure where the stopover sites will be. I'll post links to them soon.

I'll PM you my contact details. If you call me when you get here I'll update you on how we have been going.


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Postby banjo » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:01 pm

Sidy, in answer to your PM.

As per the best laid plans of mice and men...Mapmyrun is giving me grief and I can't make the maps public and actually find them!! Its also not printing out elevation profiles.

I have saved PDF copies of all the stages from Melb to Hornsby (without elevation profiles). If you PM me an e-mail address I will send them to you.

The rough plan so far... remembering camping will give us more flexibility and we won't necessarily stop in the towns listed.

Dandenong - Traralgon 125
- Bairnsdale 120
- Orbost 95
- Cann River 75
- Eden 109
- Bermagui 117
- Batemans Bay 101
- Nowra 119
- Picton 106
- Hornsby 97

Kick off on 5/10
Arrive in Sydney on 16/10 (10 ride days, 2 rest days)
Leave Sydney 17/10
Arrive Brisbane 30/10 (10 ride days, 4 rest days)

I don't think we'll need 4 rest days from Syd - Bri but I'd like to have them up my sleeve. I think 30/10 is a decent target date to arrive in Brisbane but we'll probably be there on 28 or 29/10.

Maybe a rest day in Sydney to look around would be an idea?

The route from Syd has too many options at the moment. I'm keen to keep as close to the coast as possible but I think the best idea will be to sit down in Hornsby with Phil too and nut out a plan that suites all.

The motel situation sounds good. Phil can live it up every night and we will share every second, camping in between.

Actually bought a new tent and slept out in it last night to try things out. Slept great and didn't want to get out of the bag in the morning.

T minus 11 days and counting


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Postby sidy » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:56 pm


PM'ed you my email address.

Good work on the route. Its looks very do'able and its good to have a few spare days to play around with.
I have been doing my best to recondition myself back on the bike the last week or so. Not easy with these N/NW winds blowing. Good mental preparation though.
Looking forward to lots of tailwinds, warm days and dry weather

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Postby banjo » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:03 pm

3 sleeps to go. Getting itchy feet. Not much left to prepare so just relaxing now so I'm fresh for Sunday. Fingers crossed for a good westerly!

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Postby banjo » Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:41 pm

Phil, Sidy is at my place and we're geared up and raring to go first thing in the morning. The only thing left to do is put the clocks forward on the computers!

Talk to you before we hit Sydney.


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Postby banjo » Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:56 am

First ride update.....

Left Dandenong Sun 5/10 about 8am. Weather great. Covered about 150km to Rosedale. Further than expected and set a new personal best for single day touring distance for me (Sidy's is about 180). Camped in a caravan park and had a good cook up on our stoves. Great day. Averaged about 23km/h.

Left Rosedale about 8am. Overcast day, not looking good. Wind was behind us and for a few hours it rained on us. Several stops for coffee and warmth and we made it to Bairnsdale. Camped again in a caravan park by the highway which had a camp kitchen. Luxury. Covered about 120km.

Left Bairnsdale about 8am and covered about 100km to Orbost. Good days riding with good averages. Coming in to Orbost was beautiful scenery and we could see a glimpse of the hills we had to start tackling the next day. Camped at a caravan park again. Have been getting single site price for the pair of us to pitch tents. Very cheap.

Orbost to Cann River was a lot of climbing and decending. Hot when climbing at 7km/h, cold when decending and 40-50km/h. Got to Cann River and had a good feed and a cafe and did some food shopping. Set off again to knock off another 20km to make the next leg to Eden easier. Covered about 23km and camped in the bush off the highway. No hot showers tonight but another good feed of pasta and then the usual porridge in the morning.

The next day to Eden was about 85km and had some serious climbing stages. The sun was shining but the breeze was cool and in our faces all day. At about 10km from Eden we tackled a seriously long climb and then the last 4-5km in to Eden was all climbing and very little decending. Got in to Eden exhausted and had a huge feed before finding the caravan park where we are now. Went shopping and had steak on the camp bbq last night and a sleep in till nearly 8am today (Fri 10/10) which is a rest day.

Been in to town which is small but pleasant and had coffee and read the paper and found this internet place.

Stats to date:

Km - About 555 in 5 days
Punctures - Sidy 4 (and a broken spoke) banjo 1

I don't have all the exact details with me but will post those at the end probably. I'm keeping good notes.

The tent I bought is fantastic. Vango Tornado 200. Check it out if you need one. Easy to sit up in and very rugged. Has a big vestibule for storing gear which we are both using. Its been a great buy. I'm also carrying a little 3 legged stool which is priceless. Its got heaps of use and Sidy has actually bought one here in Eden for himself. We're both using Trangia cookers which are great.

Tomorrow we leave for Bermagui following the smaller coast road. Unfortunately our third rider, Phil has had to pull out so we won't be joining up with him in Sydney. Spoke with him yesterday and he's going to tackle a ride a little later on. We wish him well.

Minor Low moment of the tour to date - Leaving the bush camp and riding 20km to Genoa with the plan of getting a coffee and some more supplies. Got to Genoa at 9am and the general sotre was shut and the hotel. No signs of life in the town at all. We laughed (inside) and rode on.

Overall I am very pleased with how things are going. I'm learning a bit from Sidy about nutrition for endurance riding and I think he's picked up some camping tips from me.

Until the next update, safe riding.


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Postby banjo » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:57 pm

2nd ride update....

After a rest day at Eden we headed off to Bermagui hugging the coast on the tourist road. We both judged this day as the toughest riding yet. Covered about 100km of hills in the heat.

Camped at a nice spot in Bermagui and headed to Moruya next day which was only 80km and a reasonably good ride. Nothing too back breaking like the previous day. The caravan park at Moruya was great and the facilities excellent.

Today we left Moruya about 8am and got to Ulladulla covering 80km again. The ride was pleasant and the weather overcast but it didn't rain. Got here at 2pm.

The plan for tomorrow is to get to Nowra, only 62km and have a rest day. With a couple more days to get to Hornsby or thereabouts we should only be 1 day behind our original plan but we will be fresher and the legs will be thankful.

The only issue we are having is packing up wet tents in the morning to hit the road by 8. As it turns out they dry out quickly in the sun when we pitch in the arvo anyway. A few days ago we were even getting them out and laying them out to dry in parks as we rested and ate.

Anyway, Ulludalla seems to be a great little place. After we finiah up in the library here we're off to stock up at the supermarket and have a bbq tonight. Nearly forgot to mention we had an amazing feed at Batemans Bay this morning after the first 30km. Pancakes with bacon and eggs by the water. BRILLIANT and that set us up for the afternoon.

Thats it for now.


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Postby banjo » Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:58 pm

Now in Cambeltown. Yesterday rode Ulladulla to Kiama via Nowra, mostly in the rain. Long cold wet day. Rained all night in Kiama but ok this morning when we left.

Today rode up highway to Wollongong and on to Bulli, up Bulli pass (massive climb) and on to Appen and then Cambeltown where we have met a friend in Sydney on business who has given us access to the net on her lap top. Staying at a Formula 1 motel.

Tomorrow we will try to get to Brooklyn about 20km north of Hornsby.

So far so good, just clocked over 1000km so pretty much half way. My right knee is giving me problems but I think it will hold out till brisbane.

Thats it for now.


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Postby banjo » Sat Oct 18, 2008 10:09 am

Ok, another update, from Swansea.

Left Campbelltown at 7:30am after a good brekfast at Macdonalds. The original plan was to use the M7 cycleway but by the time we got up the hume to the M7 we were flying so we kept going straight along the M7 itself. We had no problems at all and were averaging about 27km/h regularly sitting around 35km/h. We followed the motorway to Pennant Hills road where we turned off for Hornsby. The traffic on Pennent Hills was dreadfull.

Anyway, got to Hornsby by 12 and decided to push on. Rode out on the pacific highway which was very quiet. Got to Brooklyn about 20km out where we wanted to camp but found there were no caravan parks and I wanted a hot shower, so we pushed on.

We made it to Kariong a few kms out of Gosford and stayed in a motel.

All up we covered 130km averaging over 21km/h. Our second biggest day.

Next day we headed off early again to go in to Gosford and head around the coast route thru Erina and around to The Entrance. Continued on to Swansea where we checked out the info office and decided to stay and a local caravan park. Only 79km covered but its been a good few days and we need a break.

Toaday is a day off at Swansea. We've just walked in to town to the library where we have free internet access. I'm hoping that someone is getting some value out of me typing all this! If nothing else its good notes to remind me of what we've done. Its hard to remember more than a few days back where we were and what we did.

My right knee is still playing up but only when I ride (how convenient). I'm taking some painkillers each morning to help out. The rest day today will be a big help.

Rode in to town last night to get some supplies for dinner and the bike felt like a ferrari without all the gear on it.

Stats to date: Distance covered is 1218km
About 825km to go.

I won't detail the plan for the next week because it will probably change again but we are still on track to be in Brisbane on 30/10.

Melb-Syd (Hornsby area) was planned as 10 riding / 2 rest days. We did it in 11 riding / 1 rest day. I'm very happy with how we've gone so far. We had to have a few days of 70-80km and forego a rest day simply to take in to account the amount of climbing we were dealing with.

Time for a coffee and to read the paper now.

safe riding.


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Postby phillipa47 » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:13 pm

hi banjo, it's been great reading your updates and routes.

i'm just working on my sydney to melbourne portion and was thinking of the same route you took. would you say for me it would be more descending than ascending? would you recommend the route? how was traffic? facilities? looks like i'll be doing it alone unfortunately.....

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Postby banjo » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:50 am

Hi Phillipa, thanks for the feedback. I would recomment the route along the Princes Hwy that we have done. There are sections that are very hilly, particularly north and south of Eden. My original plan was only 10 riding days from Mel-Syd but we used 11. Taking the tourist routes towards coastal spots like Bermagui will be hard work but rewarding. If you're fit you will be ok with 100km per day but you will need rest days. Also staying in caravan parks helps ease the aches and pains as you can cook easily and get a hot shower. We only bush camped once and that was near Cann River. Overall traffic has not been an issue on the highways as there is generally a good shoulder to ride on. With the right wind you can cover good ground quite quickly. Good luck with your tour.


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Postby banjo » Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:06 am

Another update...

Left Swansea for Newcastle and took the ferry to Stockton. Rode up to Newport (? don't have my map in front of me!) and took the ferry to Tea Gardens and camped at Hawks Nest.

I'm actually in an internet cafe in Coffs Harbour right now without my notes and I'm having a complete mind blank. Everyday is blending with the last!

I'll do a better update later. What I can tell you is we've covered a lot of km since our last rest day in Swansea. The wind has generally been SW which has been great but we have dealt with some seriously cold rain too. The weather has gone crazy on the NSW coast for some reason. Coming in to Coffs Harbour yesterday morning we were easily pushing 35km/h along the highway for good stretches. We were at Macksville yesterday and Port maquarie the day before (I think!).

Anyway, today is just a day to relax and chill out. We've been out walking and seen the Botanic Gardens and will check out the beach later. Looks like being a great day today, warm and sunny if not still a bit windy.

While I remember I should add in our snake count. We've seen about 8 dead snakes along the road which have been run over. Sidy actually startled a black snack near Eden when he rode past it. it reared up and was about 50cm off the ground looking at me when I went past but didn't do anything which was lucky. I past it about 1m away. Only a few days ago Sidy actually rode over a partially coiled up brown snake. He yelled out "snake" but it didn't register in time so I also ran over it. My first instinct was to pull my feet up off the pedals but i was still clipped in! And no we didn't go back to check it out.

I'm off now to have a coffee and a snack. Tomorrow we head off again. The plan is to cover 240km in 2 days getting to Byron Bay for Sunday night. That will depend on weather and winds. We may bypass Byron. Otherwise we are stil on track to reach Bri on Thu 30.


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Postby banjo » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:54 am

I made it to Brsbane!

Yes, I got to Marsden, in the southern suburbs of Bri at 1pm yesterday, Wednesday 29/10, one day ahead of plan. I even had a day off in Southport Tue 28 and went to SeaWorld so I could have gotten here earlier still.

Heres some better updates from where I left off in Coffs Harbour. I have all my notes in front of me now.

Day 13 (17/10) got to Swansea after a fairly easy days ride of only 79km.

Day 14 (18/10) was a day off to relax.

Day 15 (19/10) we rode to Newcastle and got the ferry to Stockton before riding to Nelson bay and getting a second ferry to Tea Gardens and staying in Hawks Nest at a caravan park. Long day but very interestig and great scenery. Plenty of dolphins seen on the Nelson bay ferry.

Day 16 (20/10) rode to Forster. We took the tourist road after Bulladullah to get to Forster. A lot of hot hard climbing to be done. 110km day

(Note to self - Tourist drive = hard work)

Day 17 (21/10) was a big day of 122km to get to Port Maquarie. About 10-15km from Port M we were hit with freezing sleet and rain which was the southern end of the horrible weather and hail that hit Coffs Harbour.

Day 18 (22/10) was a day on flat highways. Morning was fine but afternoon was very wet and cold. Met a couple called Sven and Caroline who were going north to Darwin. Travelling at a much more subdued pace with more gear thatn us.

Day 19 (23/10) was a very short day to Coffs harbour. We were in Coffs for lunch. Stayed at a caravan park again. Today was the third day of good (if not cool and wet) SW winds driving us along.

Day 20 (24/10) was our third rest day.

Day 21 (25/10) Headed to Grafton and had a second breakfast at Woolgoolga on the way. Winds had started to shift to the north. Sidy wanted to cover more miles than I did so he went ahead. My target was maclean but I stopped at Tyndale and got a cheap motel room covering 114km. Spoke to Sidy by mobile that night and he said he'd covered about 180km.

From here on in I'm riding solo. Sidy I'm sure will post an update on how he went when he gets a chance.

Day 22 (26/10) was a hard day riding in to the wind with me yelling at god regularly to give me a break. The roads were terrible and it was very hot. I camped at Ballina and was very happy to get there.

Day 23 (27/10) i aimed for Souhport having decided not to detour to Byron bay. I've been there before and I decided the planned day off would be better spent at Southport. It was a tough day of 126km with the last 30-40km to Southport being in quite unpleasant traffic on the Gold Coast Highway. The first 30km from Ballina was undulating before levelling out and being ok. Stayed in a cabin at Southport for 2 nights making Day 24 a day off, spent at SeaWorld.

Day 25 (29/10) I rode up to Beenleigh via the V1 bike route which I must say was a bit of a dogs breakfast but I made it. I got to Marsen in the early arfternnon finishing the tour.

The next job is to get the photos sorted and try and get some posted on here.

Overall the tour was an excellent experience. having first thought of it in 1989 it was a great feeling to have commpleted it. Every day threw up challenges of one sort or another.

I would rate this as one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I've ever done voluntarily!

I have kept detailed stats of each day but I won't bother posting those unless there is a call for them. Heres the overall ones...

Total distance = 2117km
Riding days = 21 (at average of 101km/day)
Rest days = 4
Average speed on tour = 20.1km/h

Accomodation was 1 bush camp, 5 motels/cabins and 18 camp sites at caravan parks.

With the original plan being 20 riding days and 6 rest days i am very happy with what I achieved.

Now for the next tour.......

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Postby chris641 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:18 pm

Kudos on making it!! and great reports. Bit of a sense of satisfaction to have made it i bet. :)
Fastest Century: 100km in 2:52 at 35 km/h
2008 Merida Scultura Evo Team

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Postby banjo » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:48 pm

Heres a few photos of the tour. I'm running on dial-up so there aren't many (It would be quicker to ride back to Brisbane than upload all I've got!). I haven't even tagged them or put locations down but it gives an insight anyway.

http://s378.photobucket.com/albums/oo22 ... ur%202008/


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