Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Shoshi
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Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby Shoshi » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:17 am

I'm planning to ride Tassie's East Coast in January and have come across a number of accounts of scary motor traffic especially between (it seems) Hobart and Bicheno. I'm a little put off by these reports and am wondering what to do. I'm assuming it's the A3 that's particularly affected -- are there any alternative routes, or should I not worry too much about this (or best not go along the East Coast)?

Rodgerbiltit
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby Rodgerbiltit » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:25 am

Having ridden the main highway (A3) both ways (fully laden), I'd say that the road is no more dangerous than any other that you'll encounter in Tassie - bearing in mind that it is a main road and peak tourist season. The woodchip mill at Triabunna being closed should mean less truck traffic, although in my experience (98% - you always get some rednecks) the truck drivers are the most courteous of drivers that you'll encounter on Tassies roads. The interstate tourists driving large 4WD's and towing proportionately larger living quarters are the ones that have given me the most dread! There is always some turkey who sees it as their duty to remind you that you are travelling slowly on "their" road and they are in their high speed steel cocoon... They crop up everywhere in Oz.
If you are exiting Hobart, a good route is via the intercity cycleway to Glenorchy and then onto (B35) the Bowen Bridge, over Grasstree Hill (C324) to Richmond. From Richmond head north on the Campania road 5km and turn right onto Fingerpost Road (C350) which will onto the A3. Then you'll get to enjoy Black Charlies, Bust Me Gall, Break Me Neck and Bugger Me Dead! The section adjacent to the Prosser River prior to Orford can be "exciting" - narrow with water on your left and sheer rock face on the right. It doesn't last long and is actually quite a feature!
An alternative route (which for the first section will have even greater tourist traffic) is to head out of Hobart on the A3 (there is an alternative adjacent route on lesser roads that will get you to the airport round-a-bout) to Sorell. Turn right onto A9 and endure the tourist traffic to and from Port Arthur until you get to just-short-of Copping (1km) and then turn left onto the Kellevie (C335) Rd, which takes you through Wielangta. This route involves dirt road and I'm unsure of its current condition. It brings you out at Orford from whence you are again on the A3.
Make sure that you make the effort to see the East Coast - it is well worth it!
You may already have been using this, but I certainly find it very useful..
http://maps.thelist.tas.gov.au/listmap/app/list/map
In the top-right "Basemaps" pull-down click on "TASMAP", then you are able to zoom down to 1:25,000 although I find the Tasmania in 4 maps 1:250,000 the best for touring.
I hope that this helps, although I know others will also highlight their experiences!

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RonK
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby RonK » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:53 am

I have cycled the full Giro Tasmania, and have cycled the east coast in both directions. The east coast route is no worse than any other highway in Tasmania and much quieter than most in Australia for that matter, so if you feel it too risky to ride then you may as well stay home.

Like any road there are some tight sections which must be negotiated with care. As Roger has already posted, the short section of a kilometer or so along the Prosser River at Orford is probably as bad as it gets on the east coast. You could avoid this section if you don’t mind riding on gravel roads, as you will see from the touring map, but it’s no big deal really.

The best cycle touring information and map is: Self-Guided Cycle Touring in Tasmania. You can pick up a free hard copy from Discover Tasmania Visitor Information Centres.

You can read my blog about touring Tasmania here: In Tasmania
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

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Leaf T
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby Leaf T » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:04 pm

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Tassie is quieter than most parts of the mainland. The only section I felt vulnerable was on the last leg heading west back to Devonport. I think it was the B71. A mirror is a good investment. Busch and Muller or Mirrycle are good ones that mount on either side.

LG
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby LG » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:27 pm

Personally I think the worst part is between Sorell and Orford, it gets a bit better from there, and more scenic. As mentioned by others the traffic volume is lower than many mainland highways but January is the peak. If you don't mind dirt roads which are steep in places I'd take the C331 from Sorell to Nugent then the C335 to Buckland. I've ridden it on my road bike with 23mm tyres and it was fine. I believe the Weilangta Rd mentioned earlier to Orford is still in poor condition but I'll ask some people who drive it regularly and confirm, its a nice albeit hilly alternative.

Please note that 1.5m minimum passing distances in areas over 60km/hr are now law in Tasmania. It is also legal for drivers to cross double white lines (where safe) to give enough space to pass cyclists. I ride daily a 100km/hr section of the A9 (Arthur Hwy) and have noticed a marked increase in space drivers are allocating this year.
LG = Low Gear

Shoshi
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby Shoshi » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:37 pm

Thanks all for these really useful tips. Mirror bought and will be fitted. I'll look into alternative routes from Hobart and Sorell between Orford. Ron, I have read your blogpost and am now looking forward to my trip!

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Leaf T
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby Leaf T » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:50 am

You'll love it. Just watch out for snakes!

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outnabike
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby outnabike » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:24 pm

I don't have experience on my bike in Tassie. But I have driven in every state in OZ. You do get perception of the charachter of drivers now and again, but it might just be a comprehension. :)

Any way 7 weeks touring with a caravan was wonderful.

I had the distinct impression that drivers in Tassie had no comprehension of what double lines and blind corners are. I mean if I am doing 90 kph with double white lines on a blind corner, it was common to be overtaken at speed, even with oncoming traffic.

If traffic was not oncoming it was an accepted maneuver at whatever speed I was doing. It made me consider that a couple of cyclists humming along might get the same treatment. :)
Vivente World Randonneur complete with panniers

Shoshi
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby Shoshi » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:59 pm

Leaf T wrote:You'll love it. Just watch out for snakes!


Oops, yes, another thing to be aware of.

LG
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby LG » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:47 pm

As an update, the Weilangta Rd is apparently still rubbish. Bridges have recently been replaced and it is due to be re-sealed but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe the end of summer? I wouldn't ride it on a touring bike until its repaired, we're currently talking large base course rocks on the surface, large potholes etc.
LG = Low Gear

Shoshi
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Re: Motor traffic on Tassie East Coast route

Postby Shoshi » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:47 pm

Thanks again for everyone‘s suggestions, all of which were useful. 600k ride completed and I loved it. The section between Hobart and Orford WAS hairy. If I’d do it again, I’d take the bus to avoid the few pick-up trucks that passed me closely at breakneck speed. Later on, there were better views, fewer cars and yes, the drivers of big trucks, sad as the logging is, were among the most considerate, even on the hairpin bends in the North East. Two snakes seen. Tassie is gorgeous and I’ll be back.

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