All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
As a track rider in my youth, and now a road rider, I confess to some intrigue about touring. I gave up carrying things on a bike as a teenager, when a long length of rope, that I had found, found its way into the front wheel of my paper round bike. My nose is still out of shape, like some of my other parts.
The purpose of this thread is simply to pander to my intrigue about touring, and report the sightings of those actually seen "doing it".
Seen today, travelling up Grasstree Hill, toward Richmond (Tas), two well laden tourists, resplendent in vivid yellow jackets, turning the necessary low gears to get the load over the 5km ascent. I was tempted to turn around and have a chat, however they still had about 3km to climb, and despite their cheery greeting, looked like I should not steal their breath for the time being.
I wonder how many cycling tourists hit Tassie each summer. From the beginning of December to end of February, I would see a cycle tourist on most of my rides. When I consider that I spend about 15 hours each week out on the roads around Sorell and Richmond, I realise that there must be lots more that I dont see, not to mention those that take routes outside my usual courses.
Give us a quick report on cycle tourists you spy.
I rode the Giro Tasmania in 2009 - like you, I'm a long-time roadie, and ironically what sparked my interest in touring was joining Bicycle Victoria's Great Escapade from Launceston to Hobart via the east coast back in 2008. I didn't much like the crowd, but really enjoyed the ride and was hooked - I bought a touring bike and have since toured NZ as well as Tassie. Now my road bike languishes unridden most of the time...
I'm going back to NZ soon, and will also return to Tassie to tackle the Western Explorer before heading off to Patagonia to ride the Carretera Austral.
Actually, riding up Grasstree Hill was not particularly difficult at all. There is a link to my Tassie tour journal on my blog which reveals which hills I found difficult, if you are interested in reading about the cycle tourists impression of your beautiful part of the country.
Oh, and BTW, I toured in October/November and encountered only three other tourists, but it was early in the season I suppose, and of course you rarely catch up with those who are travelling in the same direction.
Can I report myself? I did take a self portrait On the downside to the OP's focus on sightings I stayed at two Munda Biddi camp-sites in the last few days and not a sight of a cyclist . Apparently I missed one who visited earlier in the day at one camp-site going by the logbook and at the other camp-site, there was no entries for quite a few days. Pretty disappointing given the development of the infrastructure.
I did see a Ranger but, which was good and bad. Bad because he caught me in a control area without a permit and good because he updated me on some road changes. Nice bloke BTW who let me off not having a permit. Only person I saw whilst riding outside of towns/main roads in four days.
Promise to keep in positive from now on
Great thread idea BTW.
I think the OP is asking about sightings in Tasmania...
I am happy to have sightings anywhere. If I could arrange it, I would keep a watch on all cycle tourists from a satelite
How many cycle tourists are on the roads of Australia on this very day?
Can't help on that one but you can follow a few if you so wish at CGOAB. Also I like following the Cycling Dutch Girl's travels.
I use my Google Reader to be kept up to date the progress of the riders I follow.
Ime most of the cycle tourists I've seen all over Australia are from o/s when I've been riding or touring and while on holiday with my wife. Aussies are still reconciling their Tour de France ambitions to understand the appeal of touring. We have a great country for epic tours, think for example of GJ Coop or that Dutch girl. There are also many possibilities for mini tours close to big cities that go through quiet roads and interesting terrain. Many urban Australians fear their own country sadly and I don't see that many touring when I'm out riding the roads around Melbourne but recently on a GOR tour I saw 1 Japanese, 1 American and 1 Aussie over 11 days.
PS I've just hosted for the 3rd time an intrepid Italian tourer who has notched up 1 million kms travelling all 5 continents in 29 years. He left for Tasmania on the boat tonight so you may see him somewhere in Tassie over Xmas /New Year. He does amazing daily distances on his loaded CX bike and will be 65 in Feb.
Which continent did he forget ??
Well, it hardly seems much of an adventure riding around your own back yard. If I travel to a distant part of the country perhaps, but I find it difficult to get interested in touring round the familiar local roads of SEQ. Maybe that why the tourists here are mostly foreigners - they are escaping their own familiar surrounds for someplace else.
Personally, I've spent half a lifetime exploring the many quiet back-routes around Victoria. Favourites are always worth a revisit......
Errinundra Road riverine rainforest
......and then there are always new roads that crop up which I am riding for the first time in delight.
International cycle-tourists often miss many of the highlights as they rarely stray too far from the famous tourist routes like the Great Ocean Road, Beechworth or South Gippsland Railtrails, Great Alpine Road etc. These are well-deserved of their reputation and make great rides, but a lot of the real gems are more hidden from view (eg. the Grampians, the Goldfields region, the Strathbogies, Tolmie to Whitfield, the Freestone Creek Rd......).
Last edited by il padrone on Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My experience is the same, except that it applies mainly to WA, but the principal is the same.
On this last ride I got time for example to explore the Jarrahdale Prisoner of War No. W20 camp which I haven't been able to before now. I find that a very informative experience. I also got to ride and explore new areas that I haven't been able to visit in the past. I also still learn more about my camping style with each ride or walk.
So to me it is all good; whether it is an overseas I been there ride or a it is weekend in my own backyard.
As a long-time member, magazine editor and rides coordinator of a motorcycle touring club, there would be few roads worth travelling in SEQ and Northern NSW that I haven't covered, many repeatedly. And whilst I've also ridden some of these roads by bicycle, the motivation just isn't there anymore. Since then my sights have been set much further afield - trekking in Nepal, bushwalking then touring in both Tasmania and New Zealand. Next will be a continuation of my tour of New Zealand, then South America - Patagonia - the Carretera Austral - Fin del Mondo...
Last edited by RonK on Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Getting back on track, if you do make a sighting of Armando on your Tassie trip Pete, you can ask him in your best Italian what happened to the other continent. My schoolboy Italian is adequate for only rudimentary conversation. But heh what's a continent here or there, he's done more touring than I'll ever do in several lifetimes.
It's easy to understand the predilection of international cycle tourists to mostly stick to the known as they often are on a timetable and want to see as much as they can. We as locals know the gems that reward seeking out. As for the back yard reference, the mention was intended to convey the paucity of local tourists availing themselves of some fine touring opportunities around Melbourne if pressed for time. We have a marvellous hinterland within say 150 kms of Melbourne that offers so much for the expert and the neophyte alike. I never tire of these places but equally understand the wanderlust of the more intrepid tourer seeking out faraway lands. All I want to see is more sightings, as we all know touring is god's work.
Just reading through the thread and noticed you did the 2008 Tassie Ride. My wife and I also did that one riding recumbent trikes.
Two years prior we did Devonport to Hobart via the Midlands unsupported. Enjoyed that more than the organised ride as we could ride to our own timetable.
Here in Albany West Aus we get quite a lot of international cycle tourists coming through usually on the way to tackle the Nullabor. I occasionally get to meet them and we have put a few up from time to time.
Male mid 30s, Canadian (we chatted). High-viz red shirt, heavily loaded touring bike including BOB on highway north of Nowa Nowa (Victoria) on the Brutham-Buchan Road, heading to Buchan, then riding towards Canberra. 800 metres further back, female early 30s, high-viz orange shirt, comfortably loaded front and rear panniers, also Canadian. Low on water. They declined water and said they were hoping to buy water in Buchan.
Male, high-viz yellow shirt, early 20s (we chatted). Front and rear panniers, with yellow JoeBlow floor pump sticking out of rear starboard pannier. On Barton Highway (NSW) heading towards Murrumbatman. Low on water, also declined water. He was going to buy water in Murrumbateman.
Man mid 30s, high-viz pink shirt, rear panniers only, Barton Highway (ACT) heading into Canberra. No need to offer water.
I don't ever decline water when offered, if only for an on the spot drink. If water is offered ... how can you decline water? I still haven't bought a bottle of water, in anger or in need, not once. I can only imagine what touring costs, if a rider is regularly buying water. I'm a heavy user of water, never using less than 6-9 litres a day, nor carrying more than 3lts of processed water, at any one time. On plenty of days I'll use as much as 12+ litres of fresh water when touring. The MSR Expedition ceramic water filter that I have is good for 5000 lts, supposedly. No putrid green water or muddy puddle has ever turned me away.
I feel insulted when my offers of crystal clear and thoroughly processed water are declined.
"But on steep descending...Larson TT have bad effect on the mind of a rider" - MadRider from Suji, Korea 2001.
"Paved roads ... another fine example of wasteful government spending." - a bumper sticker.
Two sightings yesterday, on Tasman highway, heading toward Hobart.
First, French man, lives in US, came to Australia, hired car, toured Qld, NSW, and Vic. Bought a single speed bike and headed out from Devonport. He has zig zagged around the North East of Tasmania, with trips to Lake Leake and Wine Glass Bay mentioned. Previous cycling experience was a regular short ride to work in the US. He has a large red bag balanced on the handlebars, gym boots, and flat pedals. He had a sore left leg a few days ago, so adapted to "more pedalling " with the right leg. Now he has a sore right leg. I chatted with him just south of Buckland, walking up a hill. He enquired about the flatest way to Hobart, and had already heard of the route through Sorell, thus avoiding Grasstree Hill on the alternative Richmond route. He plans to go from Hobart to the west coast; I certainly hope he is prepared for more walking.
Second sighting. On Finger Post road heading into Richmond. A couple on a tandem, towing a two wheel trailer, with a dog cage containing Tiffany, a smallish Terrier type dog. They left Mt Gambier on 7/12/11, travelled the Great Ocean Rd in Victoria to Melbourne, Spirit of Tasmania over Bass Strait, Devonport, Launceston, down the east Coast to Richmond. Saw them again at the Richmond Bakery; obviously been well advised about eating places. I know stuff all about touring, however I had the firm impression that they were on top of the game. (and, could they hammer down hills!)
I do hope all goes well for the French man.
Thanks for the reminder about this thread.
I spotted a couple riding along Curtin Avenue, Cottesloe the other day. They where not loaded up but by the looks of the bikes (seriously setup touring bikes) I would say they where tourers. Unfortunately I was driving the other way so didn't get a chance to chat.
Armando was on page 17 of Hobart Mercury on Thursday 29/12/11. I saw him on Friday, heading out along the East Derwent Highway, presumably for Grasstree Hill and Richmond. Unable to speak due to divided road. I have tried to post the newspaper item, however I get a message saying it is too big
Thanks master6, coincidentally I was planning my own Tassie odyssey as it too hot to be outside today (40degrees in Melbourne at 6:30pm). I half expect him to lob on my doorstep within the next few days given the speed at which he travels. He's quite the media savvy rider and often has cuttings he shows me from newspaper articles featuring him as he passes through.
I mistimed my attempt to intercept il padrone and his 14 mates who were due to ride out of Richmond (Tas) for Triabunna this morning, however all was not lost in my "meet the cycle tourist" endeavour.
As I headed up the Tasman highway, I spied a New Zealand couple on the lower end of Bust Me Gall Hill. Man was resting under a tree, off the road, so I rode up to lady and had a brief chat. It is always interesting to discover a little about our visitors, and I suggested that they might like to stop at the Tasmanian Bushland Gardens, a few km before Buckland.
A group of about a dozen, from Shell Harbour in NSW, found pedaling up Grasstree Hill toward Hobart this morning. They have done Launceston, Campbelltown, Swansea, down the east coast, and finishing in Hobart. The seemed impressed with Tasmanian weather. Nice to have had a brief chat with a couple of them.
Jeff Orange Socks
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