This comes to you as an invitation for a challenge ride as a “you might be interested” note. I am organising a mountain bike ride from Devonport to Dover from the Sunday the 30th of November to Friday the 5th of December. Anyone/everyone is welcome to come along with the theory of the more the merrier.
It’s around 480kms on a variety of surfaces but generally on some form of road with a bit of off road stuff in between. From Devonport we head up and over the highlands, back down through to Ouse and the Derwent valley and then over the back of the mountain through to Dover - so there’s a bit of pedalling to be done!
The distances per day are reasonably high but, apart from the ascent of the Tiers the riding is reasonable and we’ve got all day.
The format will generally be the same as the annual “February Ride” that I organise in terms of accommodation and food but will be semi-supported with a trailer/s to carry gear. It won’t be a tail car as such as, for a fair percentage of time, the car won’t be able to follow us. It is more likely that the vehicles will scoot around us and set up a stop point in front of us and wait for everyone to get through. That way we will have a process of being able to get your food and coffee stops on a regular basis as needed.
The evening stop points are going to be limited according to the distances we can cover each day so we will probably have to camp at least at one stop point. There is the opportunity to camp at each stop point. Depending on the number of people coming along we might not have much choice given the scarcity of accommodation in some locations. Organising accommodation is up to you. Similarly organising food is up to you.
I am still working through the various stages but at present it looks something like: -
Sunday - transport to Devonport and then around 40kms to Sheffield
Monday – 90- kms to Liffey
Tuesday – 70+ kms to Miena including the tough climb up the tiers
Wednesday – 90kms to Ouse - downhill
Thursday – 80kms to New Norfolk
Friday – 100+ kms to Dover
These numbers are pretty big but we’ve got all day! If we average 15kmph then an average day starts at 8:30am and we should be finished and settled in by 4pm. The last time I did this ride was in 2004 and we did it four days – madness! We started at 7 and some days finished at 7 – ouch.
If you are not going to make it on any one day then the support crew is going to come in very handy so you need to be very, very nice to them at all times!
In terms of the nitty gritty arrangements and costs the following is what you will likely be up for : -
Insurance: - this is not a commercial enterprise so there is no insurance coverage for you. It is the same as any bunch ride you go on. It is up to you to decide whether you are going to turn up and whether you will act appropriately. No-one is going to tell you what to do so you are responsible for your own actions. If you want insurance you should organise your own for whatever consequences you think may occur. Recognising that – if you are acting inappropriately – someone will ask you to leave – either nicely or otherwise.
Transport: – You need to get to Devonport before 12pm on Sunday the 30th. You need to get home from Dover on Friday the 5th. In between – if you are going to use the support vehicles you need to support them in terms of costs. Their costs are going to include petrol for the vehicle and food and accommodation for the support team. If you are not going to use an organised support vehicle then you can organise your own – easy.
For those who might be planning not to ride every day then you need to manage your transport from finish point on one day to start point on your next day. It is not a given that you will get a seat in a support vehicle – or if you do you will be following their regimen and not yours.
Accommodation: - You are going to be responsible for your own. At each stop point there is going to be a camp site. Similarly, there is going to be a variety of options for other forms of accommodation. It is up to you to organise. I can assist, as necessary, in coordinating other accommodation but “assist” is the word.
Food: - You are responsible for all your food requirements. That means if you want a half strength decaf soy latte in a glass at the appropriate temperature somewhere on the road between Lachlan and Judbury – then your organising skills are going to be tested. If you are using the support vehicles then you can use them to carry your food and drinks in your containers.
By the time we get to the start point we will have a pretty detailed schedule of where the support team will be and when and that will allow you to plan what you need where and when in terms of food, clothing, drinks, etc.
Navigation: - Again – you are on your own. There is a trail book provided by the Tassie Trail network and you can order that on line from their website at http://www.tasmaniantrail.com.au I recommend everyone get a copy which is a download at $17. Things have changed a bit since the last time we did this so there are a significant number of way-points noted in the 30 pages of maps provided. That means you can program the trip into your GPS and are unlikely to get lost - !?!. I assume that when one of us programs the trip into our machine we will be able to transfer them somehow. I just hope we have kids interested who can do that sort of stuff! In any event the trail book has 70 pages of detailed information that is well worth the read.
Break-downs: -The bain of all cyclists is a good old fashioned equipment malfunction. Apart from the start point in Devonport we are unlikely to be anywhere near a bike shop until you get home. You need to be ready for this. There might be some other riders with some mechanical skills coming along but the primary responsibility for having a road/trail/track worthy bike is yours. That means you need to have spares of whatever you need spares for – just like any bunch ride - likely to last five days. If you are half way from Miena to Ouse and need to pull out from a mechanical that means you need to have had a plan in place to get home – and – ideally that plan will work.
If you are interested or might be interested – let me know. All I need is an expression of interest so that I get an idea of the number of people interested. While I don’t have much to organise I need to get an idea of volume so I can start negotiating space at the various stop points along the way. That won’t lock anyone into anything. People will pull out at the last minute for all the good reasons and people will come in at the last minute as opportunity arises. I always assume that the first will outweigh the second, and things will go smoothly from there.
All I need is an email or a phone call to add you on my list. I will send out periodical updates on what is happening and what the known logistics are. Again, there is no commitment on your part – no different to any bunch ride or the multi-day February Bunch Ride – it is up to you whether you turn up on any day - or not.
Bicycles.net.au - personal message to - BenevolantDictatorD
Depends how many bumps you can absorb I think with trailer support options of bike type could be more open, however some of the trail look pretty rough. That said, for me, the less that can go wrong the better. Repairing disc brakes vs rim brakes while out on the ride?
Found a link to a blog with some great pics from a few years ago may help give some idea of the terrain
Here's a link to some pics https://plus.google.com/photos/112129650393270637350/albums/5617134878433066193?banner=pwa
and some info http://www.tassietrails.org/tasmaniatral
Some of those photos bring brought back some magic memories from our last trip.
The Mersey river crossing is one that we will scout the night we stay at Sheffield so that we can make sure it is passable before setting off the next day. Our trip will be in late November so I am hoping we will get across this time. Same theory with the bit after Ouse in terms of whether we get across on a bridge or not.
I think we'll just forget about the Arthur's Lake section - too hard for too little return. last time we did it after a bit of a wet patch and the "track" was non-existent.
One of our guys on the last trip did it on a mountain bike with "city" tires on. He had a bit of fun on some of the muddier sections but otherwise had no problems and certainly rolled better on the flat stuff than we did. I think the key here would be fitness levels - you could do it on a CX bike if you have a bit extra in terms of capacity. I think trying it on a tourer would be a serious challenge - one that I wouldn't consider.
YOu should talk to Peter Mellows fom Wild Bike Tours he is putting together a group to do this ride, I think he already has it planned. May as well make use of the 12 seater troopy and 12 bike rack trailer.
I met a guy a few months back, around my MTB riding trails up Shale road near Latrobe (not far from the beginning of the trail). He had come over from Ballarat and he was attempting the ride on an electric assist commuter bike.
I never heard about a police rescue so I suppose he made it. We had a chat at the time, he had no GPS, just maps and camping gear, he was keen! He also was the guy that is on the other end of the line when you ring 000 in Victoria. Nice bloke.
Gday to the dictator
I have been having a look at this ride for a while and your proposal looks tempting, I was wondering if you knew what the logistics of getting my bike and me from Dover back to Devonport for the ferry ride home would be like IE are the bus companies accommodating for bike and man
Tassielink run regular services around Tassie including Dover. I've used them several times on bushwalking trips and have found them to be helpful and accommodating. I know that they will carry bikes, as on a tour there a few years ago a fellow tourist's rented bike broke at Tarraleah and Tassielink carried him and the bike on to Hobart. I'd be sure to book and tell them about the bike though, as bike carrying capacity may be limited if there are a bunch of riders wanting to bus.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
Always good to see interest in a planned ride.
So, for a bit of clarity, again this is not a profit making venture. If anyone wants to sign up with an organiser/provider then that is all good. All I'm doing is setting the dates for a bunch ride.
As Ron noted there are options to join at any point or to leave at any point as long as you take responsibility. However, there will be at least two support vehicles so if you want to lock in transport arrangements then we can do that as necessary.
at this point I am hoping for 20+ riders which will allow for a number of "additionals" at those necessary camping spots. That means bbq's and simplicity for breakfasts and other meals etc. The more we get coming along the easier it gets for everyone.
Thanks Ron K for the link to Tassielink that all looks good, I have been eyeing off this ride for a while so your timing is good benevolantdictatorD now to start earning a leave pass
This might help you as you ride:-
https://col125.mail.live.com/default.as ... id=flinbox
Thank you stredda. I will be watching with interest.
I have a question that I have not had the courage to ask previously. Is it true that mountain bikers bathe, shall we say, "less frequently?
I have been reading the stredda blogg, and find an apology is called for.
My insinuation that Mountain bikers are "suspect" in the bathing habits is clearly mistaken. River crossings obviously do the trick
Carry on riders.
Great blog and photos!
I've only got about 1200km under my belt so far and I've never done more than 52km in the one ride (on the road - all MTB) but I would absolutely love to do something like this one day - in fact this just became a goal of mine!
See you in a few years when I don't get a sore bottom after 30km!
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp
A few quick questions...
I think I counted 9 riders all up - is that right?
What sort of training - or simply experience - would one need for this trip? What sort of distances would you need to regularly be riding beforehand - I think Stredda you mentioned at one point 82km being your longest ever ride!?! And how much road vs off-road riding would you need to be doing beforehand? Despite owning an MTB in my 1200km only about 30km of those are off-road atm (though I plan on increasing that ratio in future).
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp
Ahead of Stredda having recovered enough to put the last couple of days on his blog - my thoughts on the trip.
The format for this trip is pretty similar to the other multi-day bunch rides that I have been involved in over the journey. We had nine riders all up with the last day only having eight. We had a wide variety of abilities and age groups. We had two support cars (thanks team) and a covered lockable trailer (thanks Master6). Our riders ranged from two from Canberra, one from Latrobe and the balance from Hobart and surrounds. We also had a third rider from Canberra along on the trail but he did his own thing and rode with all his gear. Two of us had very limited mountain bike skills. All of us would be considered fit and healthy.
My summary would be that it was another of those iconic rides that get remembered for a long long time. I think more so because we did it as a group and, being supported, were able to do it and enjoy the freedom of the bike rather than carrying additional payload. It was a "talking tour". Most of the rest of the bunch were able to chat and talk as we traveled along. I spent most of my time trying to keep up!
For those interesting in doing this ride - please do - it is an amazing way to see and experience a large part of Tassie that most people would never get to enjoy. Even a couple of hours pushing the bike up the Caves 'track' was more than worth it for the memory banks. In terms of navigation - mostly ok - we did it a couple of ways. One of our riders had a GPS and followed a thread all the way. The rest of us used the maps supplied by the Trail people. We got lost a couple of times. The first time we missed a sign but we navigated our way out of it easily. The second time was my fault and we weren't looking for a sign and went 20kms past the turnoff. We found our way back with the help of a mobile phone and the "Garmin-man" who had found the turn-off earlier. Which way you might choose to do it doesn't matter either way really - the GPS option clearly would have assisted us - or perhaps a bit more attention on my part might have been better.
Some days we averaged around 13kms per hour. One day around 22kms per hour. The more technical the sections the slower the speed. There were lots of highlights and stredda picks them up quite nicely in his blog. As a rider with limited mountain bike skills I was close to being terrified on some of the downhill sections and incapable of riding up many of them. Those with some skills clearly enjoyed those sections more than me.
With nine riders travelling at speed we had a few "offs". At least three journeys over the handle bars - one from a snapped handlebar - but we all got up and walked away. After mine I was even more hesitant on the downhills! Before leaving I had considered a PLB (personal locator beacon) but baulked at the rental cost from Parks. I would recommend that you have one if you decide to do the trip or any part of it.
I'm still trying to sort our the highlights of the trip but there were so many of them I couldn't do justice to the rest by picking out a few.
In answer to what level of fitness you need to do this trail - the short response is "none". However - if that were so it would take you a long long long time to complete the trail. If you travel at a pace that suits you then you should be able to ride for eight to ten hours a day quite easily. The only issues you would have with limited range is the need to manage food stops and provisioning.
And lastly - the only down side of the trip - the Lachlan Hotel. Although stredda writes nicely of it the rest of us had a bad experience there. If the lady is smiling at you it probably means she has your wallet already. For a number of us this nights stay was one of those bad experiences that Tassie tourism just does not need. Its great that the pub is open again. I'll wait for the next managers before I go back. Strong words but well earned.
So - get yourselves organised and go see some magic parts of Tassie, experience some great times and have fun along the way. Also - make sure you join the Tassie Trail organisation and give them an additional donation as well - the money spent is a pittance compared to the work they put in on our behalf.
Thanks for the update Benevolent, I've also read Stredda's last blog entry. Bummer about the missed turn-off though.
This ride really has whet my appetite; ever since acquiring my MTB I've been looking at MTB videos like the 9-day Peru downhill and the NT Croc Trophy and thinking how much fun it would be to partake in one, though those two examples are obviously quite hardcore... I think the Tassie Trail might just be within my reach (budget and experience) with another 12 months training under my belt! Now to convince my wife to give me a week off to do it...
Of course it's something I wouldn't tackle alone, and would certainly welcome the opportunity to ride with others in some sort of semi-organised effort. I originally thought you organised this ride every February but after re-reading your post you mention you last did it in 2004, so I'm guessing you won't be organising it again anytime soon. In the meantime I'll keep an eye out for anyone looking to get a bunch together next year and come next May I'll evaluate the feasibility of being able to do it this time next year. I'm also assuming that late November is the 'best' time, weather-wise, to do this ride? It looks pretty wet as-is so I'm assuming it only gets wetter as the summer advances?
At the very least, next time I need motivation to get onto the bike or push it just that little bit harder, I'll think of the trail and tell myself that the harder I work now, the easier the trail will be! I'll also have 12 months to work on getting a couple of mates to come along; time to go and sow the seeds now...
2015 Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1, Suunto Ambit2 Black
2011 Schwinn Sporterra Comp
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