How much water across the Nullarbor

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Re: How much water across the Nullarbor

Postby justD » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:24 pm

haha, yeah... I realise I have some work to do.

My longest trip in a single day is 140km thus far and, as I said, that took me 10 hours. However, I am now already 6-7kgs lighter than I was back then and I intend to lose a lot more weight by the time I start the trip. So hopefully that, together with another 7 months of training will make it possible.
I hadn't done any long rides for the past 2 months, but started with a 68km ride last Saturday and will do a 110km ride around Lake Macquarie (which has a good few hills) this weekend and in January I'll ride to Sydney (160kms) and back for the BNA meetup. Not going to attempt sleeping away from home until the major holiday period is over (late Jan), but thereafter I'll do regular weekend trips of 100kms+ in each direction.
I may not be terribly fit or fast, but I do have a fair amount of endurance, so I can do 9-10 hours in the saddle each day - or soon will be able to do that again.

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Re: How much water across the Nullarbor

Postby Moocar » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:23 pm

The way I estimate daily distances is to basically assume that on a flat tar road, with no wind, I will comfortably achieve 100km in a day. After all, that's only 6 hours on the saddle at 16.6km/h and I've usually got chunky 2" tires. From there you just load the variables:

Wind. I know it's basic knowledge, but it was my biggest realisation when I started my first tour. Wind is a tourer's best friend and absolute worst enemy! One day in the northern Flinders I faced 80km/h head/cross winds, the end result being 63km in 7 hours on the saddle. Avg of less than 10km/h. Physically and mentally, the toughest day of my life! Vice versa, I had 40km/h tail winds on another day which allowed me to comfortably pedal 175km; again, in 7 hours on the saddle.

Gradients are the other major issue. Even if your overall elevation drops in the course of a day, if you've been slogging it up any hills, then your covered distance for the day is gonna be less. If you are loaded with 30 kg of water, you'll still perform fairly well on a flat road. Once you hit the hills though, that weight really really comes into its own.

Obviously there are many other factors, like natural beauty, fun people to chat too, kebab shops... but if you keep those variables in mind when you start your day, you should be able to get a fair idea of where you'll be sleeping that night. :)

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Re: How much water across the Nullarbor

Postby heavymetal » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:32 pm

justD wrote:Planning to ride Perth to Sydney around July/August and I'm keen to hear how much water/liquid people carry with them as this will be one of the biggest differences in weight on next year's tour. As I understand there's one stretch where there's absolutely nothing for 192kms, so how much water do you need for 192kms?

That time of the year should be a lot cooler, and the winds should be favourable. That long stretch is reasonably flat (undulating) except near the border. The amount of water needed depends on your consumption, which only you can calculate. Do this on a shake down tour first.

A few tips, which I do, that I have had passed on to me. I carry one 750 ml bottle which carries water for washing and emergencies. This may not necessarily be drinkable, except in an emergency. If it's raining, it's easy to catch rain if stopped. You could take a funnel. but that is overkill. You can make them out of the black polyethylene plastic found at hardware stores. They roll up quite small. If it's raining, leave your bottles outside at night, with the funnels in surrounded by rocks so they don't blow over.

The pea gravel on the side of the road is very abrasive and is excellent for scouring pots after whatever you have cooked has dried. :D

There is one thing I highly recommend taking, and that is a fly net. They cost about $5 and go over your head. Even at that time of the year there may be flies, and they can drive you insane while riding.

Happy Touring


PS: I haven't ridden the Nullarbor. I driven it hundreds of times, and I recently surveyed it in preparation for a trip, however the guy that wants to do it with me has had trouble trying to schedule the time to do it, and my touring bike is getting close to time to get a new one.
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