All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
So I've got 2 weeks off, plan is/was to head to Tamworth and see some friends and my folks leaving Sydney on Sunday. Hang around Tamworth till Saturday when my bro arrives, then drive up to Byron for a week.
Am toying with the idea of changing plans slightly, leave Tamworth on Wednesday by bike for Byron, leave the car there, my brother can drive it to Byron on Saturday and meet me there, 600ks +/-, figure it would take me 3 days? (is 200k/day an ok objective?).
I've got a Kona Dew (which is my only bike with pannier mounts), i'd probably ride it if I do this. I have a pannier rack, would need to buy new bags though.
I haven't done any touring before, any comments appreciated? I guess I can search here and find what I'd need to take with me, probably need to put heavier duty rubber on the wheels to avoid constant flats (am running race tubes and med range tyres at moment).
How hard would this ride be?
Last edited by janus77 on Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
To do 200km/day loaded solo touring with hills on a flatbar hybrid as a first tour, you'd want to be super fit. Most cyclists would aim for less than half that per day, 3/4 of it at most. I met some gym instructors touring Tasmania who were doing 200km/day. My best loaded touring day ever is 144km.
Wish I could be more helpful, but I don't know the area you're planning to tour.
Re the tyres, the relatively short length of the tour means it probably won't matter unless the tyres are near the end of their life. You'll want to stick with something slick-style to tour on sealed roads - I did a tour on Bontrager Race-Lites on my 520 last year, carrying panniers front and back, and was fine. But they've worn out after a year of cycling and I'm back on some Continental Top Touring 2000s (more tread, don't roll so freely, but they'll last several years).
Be aware that the weight of loaded panniers added to your body weight increases the wear on the rear tyre, so don't start a tour with a badly worn one. Also panniers significantly increase drag, so if it's windy you make slower progress and get more tired. Good luck!
Here's what I'm thinking:
I drive home to Tamworth Sunday, Tuesday I put a bag on a bus to Byron with clothing etc in it for the remainder of my week after I arrive there. Then I ride leaving Tamworth early Wednesday, hopefully arriving Byron Saturday. My dad's coming to Sydney the following weekend, so he can bring my car back to Sydney. Then i pack my bike in a box and take a flight to Sydney the following weekend.
The actual ride can probably be done with very little gear, I have rear racks, and can just strap a backpack on the top of it (out of wind behind me for reduced drag)..
Hmm, probably stay in Uralla first day (Moonbi's are brutal, so 85k's for the first day is a solid effort with a 1000m climb). Then the next day stay at Glenn Innes, next day cross through the gibraltar national park and down the mountain.. haven't figured out the rest yet.
4 days probably best bet (if I can travel that far/fast)
this is the route I'm looking to take..
Route C to D has a long downhill section through the Gibraltar national park, the plan would be that hopefully by the last day my legs are good and I can go all day.
I'd prefer to go past Glenn Innes on the 2nd day, however I don't think there are any towns/motels further out on the way to Grafton... so probably not a bad idea to have a cruisy 2nd day since my legs may well be seizing up on day 2 after clearing the Moonbi's, then riding another 80k's across the flats to Armidale.
Suggestions? Am I being too ambitious? I plan to be on the road from 7am at latest each day, and ride for 10hrs with stops every 2 hrs or so.
How much water do you consume in a day's riding i wonder?
Well I'm pretty much ready for the tour, have just arrived back in Tamworth. Got some bar end's on the bars for comfort, couple of drink cages and bottles, nicks (never had before), gooch cream, bike top.
First day up the Moonbi's, i'd really love to make Armidale on for the first night, but i'm not sure, maybe stop in Uralla if i'm too stuffed after all the climbing.
Something that my entire family, friends and extended network seem to be worried about is safety riding on country roads. Does anyone have any opinions or suggestions on this? I'm thinking I'll get some reflective tape and put it on the bag on the back, maybe even sew a bit across the top of the pockets on the jersey I'll ride. dad mentioned i could get a fluoro flag? anyone use these?
Info on country highway riding safety appreciated.
Am quite excited now, still to decide if I head inland from Glenn Innes or Tenterfield... am leaning towards Glenn Innes, there's a really nice 20k downhill through the Gibraltar national park which would be fun.
I've found that the trucks (semis & B Double's especially) tend to give me some room but watch out as they tend to suck you sideways into the traffic cars are something else entirely I have lost two bar end mirrors to cars.They have crossed the fog line to do this as well .also there is alot of Glass on the bike side of the line as well as it seems to be the go to throw the bottles out of the window
Last edited by Postman Pat on Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Have been thinking I might get myself one of those helmet mounted mirrors.. haven't got one at the moment (i usually just look around when commuting).
Yeah, the glass and loose surface on the sides of road is a bit of a worry.
I'm taking 2 spare tubes, you reckon it'll be enough (guess I can always buy more at whichever towns I pass through.
I think that's fine - I tour with 2 spare tubes. If I get a flat tyre, I put one of the spares on, and then at night I patch the blown tube. If it can't be fixed, I buy a new one ASAP. "Worst" thing that ever happened (once, ever, in tens of thousands of km) was killing all tubes within 30km of Krakow, Poland. Valve problems on some, so they couldn't be fixed. Ended up in the middle of nowhere (rural area), sat down in a field and drank the beer I had in a pannier, burst into tears, and cycled all the way back on a tube that that had a slow leak, then spent an extra two nights in bloody Krakow (where I'd already spent a week) so I could buy tubes on a Monday morning. All part of the adventure.
Make sure you're taking a good, reliable pump. I used to travel with an extra pump, but I just rely on one now. You probably won't get flats anyway, but as long as you're prepared it's all good.
Similar story with water - if you have an opportunity to fill the bottles, fill them and drink your fill while you're at the tap, so you're ahead. Try never to run completely out of water.
Re country roads in NSW - furthest north I've toured is a loop around Newcastle-Taree-Gloucester-Maitland, which involved the entire length of the Bucketts Way and a lot of passing hoons, and I was fine. Never (touch wood) been clipped by any vehicle - play it safe, stay left, stay cool, and if you feel very alarmed by an approaching logging truck, get off the road.
Never used a fluoro flag or any such extra visibility - most I have is reflective bits on my panniers, shoes and bike. I don't have a very good record for visibility I suppose, relying on my instinct to play it safe, but more visibility is A Good Thing.
Don't worry - you're going to be fine. Make sure you have fallback options for things like where you're going to stay the night, and what you're going to do if the planned distances are a bit too big (add an extra day, etc).
Have a great time!
I thought that I would give a progress report. Janus77 meet me at my Post Office in Kootingal a bit after 8 am and we headed out to climb the Moonby's after we had climbed up the Moonby's (500 meters in 6 klm travel there was also an a long shallow Incline to get to the base of the hills ) after a short Break I turned back at Bendameer and was back in the office at about 11 am. He continued on . we averaged 14.9 klm from the Office to Bendameer on the up hill
Half way up the hill a saying came to mind
"Old age and skill will over come youth and exuberance
who ever thought this up never tried to keep up with some one a lot younger I was knackered when I got back to the office
I wish i had the balls and resources to just up and go like that. I'm hoping that my stars will align around Feb. so i can ride Mel-Syd and back. I've been planning for the past month now, and dreaming for the last 2 years. I have to one of these; i need to do one of these; i want to do one of these!!!
Was unable to get a post up a day 1 report..so here i am on day 2. stayed in Guyra 1st nighr, now in Tenterfield. 300km in the last 2 days, most notable thing is the knee pain. ice aat night and neurofen seen to be working.
writing this post from my phone which is a bit of a pain, so keeping it breif.
have beenn attacked by loads of magpies, roadkill stinks, and the feeling of blood rushing back to your gooch when you stand up out of the saddle after a long stint sitting is PAIN!
thanks to Postman Pat for the company up the Moonbis, was much appreciated.
Masochistic as it sounds, I'm going to have to try that one of these days as I have never experienced such a thing!
Ooh yeah. Pheeeew!!
Brooks saddle for you next time
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
Well done on the 300km in 2 days. That's impressive in hilly territory. Bloody magpies! Stinkin roadkill! (the worst in Australia is the smell of squished Tasmanian Devil - they're meat eaters, so they stink twice as badly)
A thought about the knee pain: it might be worth asking someone who knows about bike fitting (e.g. a good bike shop) whether you have your saddle at the right height. I developed sore, clicking knees when I had my saddle too low. But it sounds like you're going along very well, so if you're happy with your saddle height, relax and forget my comment.
Well, I MADE IT!!
So happy to have arrived, got in to Suffolk Park at about 11:30am this morning.
There was a bit of a spanner in the works yesterday arvo when I rolled into Casin0, there was a travelling variety show in town, and not a bed available, so I got myself some KFC, mentally prepared myself, and hit the road for an extra 35km to Lismore.
There's not much worse on a tour I reckon, than thinking you've arrived at your day's destination, only to find you have further to go. I've learnt 1 thing, those 5km markers are a LONG was in between.. Anyway, after 10km of being grumpy, i got over it and got out of the saddle to put the km's away. Arrived in Lismore about 6:15pm, happily knowing that there was only another 40km to get to my final destination the next day.
The stats on my bike computer are as follows:
Avg Speed: 19.4km/h
max speed: 76.02km/h
time taken: 27hrs
I must say, even with the knee pain, I feel fantastic right now, so glad to have done it. Today my knees were feeling a little better too, still swollen though.
I have a massive amount of respect for the Tour guys, I'd thought that over 10-11hrs I could do 200k's considering that they do around 240k in less time, I was wrong. I think that 150km in a day is a big wack, you can do it if you're fit, however to get up to the 200km a day mark means you need to be super fit, able to maintain good speeds on the ascents, I slowed down a lot on the climbs, occasionally I'd get off and walk a bit to give my gooch (which now has a slight callouse i'll have you know) a rest, just 30m here and there to break it up a bit.
Hopefully once my knees recover, they'll be more able to handle big distances, I might try to do a return Gong ride sometime soon just to see. I suppose having riding partners to draft also helps a lot compared to solo touring.
Anyway, i've got some photos, i'll put them up when I get a chance, just throught I'd write up a report and let everyone know that it was a great tour and am stoked to have done it. Would highly recommend to anyone considering a ride, DO IT! Would be nice to have a travelling companion next time though, solo's good, but not much to take your mind off the grind.
View from Moonbi lookout, about 20ks from start
Myself and Postman Pat, thanks for the company up the hill mate, wish that was the only hill! hehe.
First night's destination, about 153km from start, 404m to 1320m altitude, very happy to get there.
I'm fairly certain this was the highest point in the tour, just after Guyra, lucky it started to be more downhill from here, my knees were killling me, swollen and sore.
Signs saying "top of the range" ahead, are not welcome..
3/4 of the way to the top of the range.. there were heaps of Harley Davidsons on the road, a big convention at Lennox
the last hill before my destination.
First view of the ocean, cracking weather for the entire tour, very lucky.
Arrived at destination, stoked, feeling great.
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