All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
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I recently had a stroke of inspiration, in that I want to cycle from Sydney to Brisbane. However although I've done plenty of cycling, I've never done any touring. There are so many questions I could ask, however it would be just as productive reading some good tips/guides, so if anyone could point me to any online documentation then that would be greatly appreciated.
I do have one question though, in regards plotting my destination. While playing around with the idea of this ride I went onto google maps and plotted a general course, despite knowing nothing about the any of the locations or landscape. As a general rule of thumb if I could avoid the Pacific Highway then I did, even if in some cases it was quite a detour.
My question is, in reality, is deciding where to go without local knowlege, based only on how you feel in the morning possible, or will I continually run into problems, such as picking routes that are to hilly, dangerous, too spread out for accomodation, etc.
What is the cycling etiquette? Is it structured, as in to plot out your course, destination by destination, or is free spirited, as in to arm yourself with a map and peddle away on a bike and see where it takes you?
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Oh, and if anyone could give me any links to general info for cycling Sydney to Brisbane (places to go through, routes to avoid, etc) that would be greatly appreciated as well.
Many thanks all.
[Edit - Corrected spelling mistake, thanks for posts]
Last edited by lostkiwi on Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I like your thinking, get out there and give it a go. I am about to start a Melb-Syd-Bri tour in October. I've only done a couple of tours but I'll try to answer some of your questions anyway...
If you google around a bit there's all sorts of touring info on the web like what to pack and how to pack it, even equipment reviews. If you have some specific questions about equipment etc let us know. A lot of things boil down to personal preference.
As far as a route and distances, I generally work on 100km days. Terrain and elevation play a big part. Have a goal for the day to reach whether it be a town with a motel or a site to camp depending on what accomodation you want. If you are prepared to camp you a much more flexible.
Each day you can make minor adjustment as required. A good tail wind and terrain might mean 150km? A windy rainy day might mean a rest day or a half riding day?
1000km from Syd to Bris would be about 10 riding days for us with a few rest days thrown in if needed. Hills generally aren't a major issue if you take your time but having said that don't ride an excessively hilly route if you don't have too.
Having a route and plan that is too structured might stress you out when it becomes unstuck. Be flexible.
I've heard all the advise about avoiding the highways etc but the flip side of that arguement is that the highways are serviced better for towns and accomodation. You're never far from help.
Our tour in Oct will largely follow the highway up the coast, detouring occassionally.
If you're a keen rider but haven't toured before I'd recommend a shakedown tour of a few days to get the feel of what works and what doesn't. Even two 100km days with an overniter will do the trick. Carry everything you'll carry for the Syd-Bri tour.
Hope some of that helps.
I toured up the east coast from Sydney to Queensland 10 years ago. I did it solo and had a great trip. There are plenty of good roads to take as alternatives to the Pacific Hwy. One section of the Pacific Hwy that I rode along north of Kempsey was the worst bit of riding on the whole trip - great wide road with sealed service lane, but man, the trucks!!
I also found that many of the local town information centres had very useful free tourist maps which showed lots of extra roads and attractions that I had not found information about before the tour. In some sections of the north coast I used these maps for navigation by preference.
Be flexible with your route. I modified my plans as I went, partly because of some wet weather that had brought the rivers up in the mountains, where I had planned to go. Instead I stayed closer to the coast. This meant I had plenty of towns to use for supplies, and at the same time I could use some little-used back roads to move north.
I only rode 2 or 3 sections of dirt roads in the journey. Most memorable, and worth doing, were the Monkerai Rd northeast out of Dungog, and the Point Plomer Rd (track) north from the ferry crossing to North Shore, other side of the river at Port Macquarie. Both roads locals worried about 'on a bike' - both were delightful bush roads with negligible traffic.
Check out the Hema series of maps as well, they're fairly detailed. Also guides to the Bicentennial National Trail
The Killarney to Ebor, Ebor to Barrington Tops and Barrington Tops to Jenolan Caves sections are all ridable in some sections, but best done with a MTB set up for touring.
All the best for your journey
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
I mean this as help, not criticism - I think the word you're looking for is etiquette
For me, there's nothing like a good 1:250,000-ish scale map - on paper - showing elevation, road quality, etc. You can study it every night and plan ahead. I haven't done this trip though, so I should observe better message board etiquette and not try to advise you!
Perhaps take a meandering back route half way between the Pacific Hwy and the Newell Hwy, visiting the Nandewar Range behind Narrabri, and The Warrumbungles prior to camping roadside in Tooraweena. Mind the cat-head thorns left, right and centre there, though. Rylstone - Lithgow - Bells Line of Road - Windsor - Sydney. Bail options via regular trains are to found at Lithgow and Windsor without the fuss of pre-booking nor boxing a bicycle.
Live every day as though it is your last - one day you will be right...
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