All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
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I am planning a 4 week tour of Tasmania next January. I have completed some smaller tours around SE QLD on a cross bike but that bike has now been scrapped and I am now looking at purchasing the Vivente World Randonneur. To avoid packing the bike in a transit box and all the hassles that go with transporting a bike on aeroplanes, I am thinking of buying the bike in Tasmania. I realise I will need to transport it by plane on the return trip but it will reduce the chance of damage, avoid having to throw away a perfectly good bike box only to have to buy another on return and only require one breakdown of the bike. However I am not keen on setting off on a trip on an untested bike.
Have others here done what I outlined? What do you do with bike boxes when you arrive at your touring destination? Any other ideas/suggestions? Not related to my situation but what do people do with cases that folding bikes fit into?
The VWR is an excellent value-for-money choice, but I would consider the risk of setting out on an untried bike a little greater than the risk of transport damage or the inconvenience of packing a bike. A bike box is only $15 from Virgin and free from many bike shops, so hardly going to break the bank, but the airline boxes are bigger and so less disassembly is required.
Assuming you are in Brisbane or nearby, you can get a direct flight to Hobart on Virgin or to Launceston on Jetstar, so handling of the bike will be at a minimum and the risk of damage will be low. Both airlines now allow the purchase of additional baggage at reasonable prices so you will be able to avoid exhorbitant excess baggage charges.
I have travelled 3 times to Tassie and twice to NZ with bikes, using a wheeled bike bag so no question that I'm going to throw it away. The solution is simple - you organise accommodation that has storage facilities for left luggage.
I'd recommend you fly in Hobart on a Thursday or Friday and set out on Sunday. That will give time to assemble the bike and have a look around Hobart. The Saturday market at Salamanca Place is great way to kick off a visit.
For more information, read my Giro Tasmania journal. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
BTW, I think I still have some hard copies of the Tassie bike touring map if you want one...
Remedy for your problems
Otherwise, if flying your only real options are:
- buy a new Qantas box for the return;
- unpack the box at somewhere like a YHA where they may be willing to store it for you (flattened);
- go to a local bike shop in Tassie for a shop bike box (beware these may be quite small); or
- use a bag like the GE Bodybag, maybe with some packing cardboard or foam.
To Tassie I much prefer the Spirit (but I live in Melbourne). Travelling elsewhere in Australia I have used the Qantas boxes (once) and found somewhere to store it. In much earlier times I travelled with the bike simply with handlebars turned and pedals removed - oh for the good ol' days. Once we just rolled up at Launceston Airport and handed the bikes over to luggage staff as they were with bags removed Travelling to Europe for 3 months, where storing a box would be more difficult and the box weight is an issue on the flight, we used the GE Bodybag with no packing and the bikes travelled quite well.
If i was you, I'd ride the bike before taking it to Tassie. It's actually not that difficult to travel with a bike. I've travelled overseas and nationally and only once has my bike been damaged. The damage was easily fixed.
The VWR website gives explicit detail on how to pack your bike and even ways of stashing your bike box at an airport. My favourite is the bike box behind the drink machine at launceston airport.
I also agree that taking the ferry is awesome and much more fun than flying.
Thanks to those who have replied.
It seems that purchasing and riding the bike for some time before setting out on a trip is the preferred way.
I will try and find accommodation that will store the bike box while I am in Tasmania. My experience in the past has been they don’t want to store travel bags. A large flattened box maybe even more difficult. Agree that the cost of boxes are small but it seems such a waste to dump and then buy another a few weeks latter. Hiding it somewhere and then finding it gone on your return with no place to buy another could be a real problem. I would prefer to finish the trip stress free.
I have looked at using the ferry but it just about doubles the cost of travel from Brisbane to Tasmania. Agree that the boat would be awesome. However flying is awesome also, it is just the hassles of actually getting to the airport, checking in and security that I detest.
Ron: Thanks. I will be in contact within the next week or so.
I found I do still have some copies of the Tassie touring map. Coffee? Chat? Map?
That sounds a good idea. I am going bush for a week so will contact you on my return.
It is the map I have linked to on this page of my Giro Tasmania tour journal. Actually it is the first edition, but contains largely the same information in a somewhat different format. It is a fantasic resource for cycle tourists and really it's all you need to tour.
If you are in Brisbane I have more copies available, otherwise you are probably better of to contact Discover Tasmania and ask them to post you a few copies the latest edition (they actually sent me 20 copies).
If you are planning a tour in Tassie it's well worth reading the sites I've linked to. There is a wealth of information available there.
I noticed the Bicycle Tasmania site now also has a shorter two-week Giro route (with car support) as well as the three-week route.
Don't forget to add a few lay days to these itineraries to visit some of many places of interest.
For the best detailed and most useful maps for cycle tour planning in Tasmania I'd strongly recommend the Tasmap 1:250000 map set - four maps cover the whole state, or you can buy them individually for the area you are touring. They show all the minor roads and some forest tracks together with a reasonable indication of topography via contours and colour-shading.
Sample of a section of the South-east map
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