All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
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I reckon Cape York is one of the best rides in the country and I wonder why it's taken such a long time to find this out.
Reckon everyone should experience the thrill and joy of being out there on the Telegraph Track but have to admit the ride is a bit of an effort.
The major issue is that it's a fair distance and if you take a few side trips, where all the fun is, ie, going out to Iron Range National Park or through Cape Melville National Park it can be 1500km each way from Cairns to The Tip and because of the sometime soft road surface, numerous creek crossings and general terrain, ie, it's a bit hilly, you really need a month for each direction. You can always fly back from Bamaga or Horn Island so only need to do it one way.
Start training today for giving it a run next year: June, July and August are the best months.
I've got a new writeup on my site: Cape York.
Noted your reference to riding to the Cape "in olden times ie. more than 25 years ago". Brought to mind the stories of my mate Tony who rode to the Cape in ~1979..... 33 years ago. Pre-MTB era, he was on a touring bike with 27x1.25 tyres . 4WDs were ever present even then. He got passed by the convoys on the open road then caught up to them and went past at the river crossings while they were working out how to get across the rivers. He spoke of long stretches of corrugations, but I think Tony rode the CREB track from Daintree River to Bloomfield (lots of walking) and the Telegraph Track on the Cape.
When he came back from this tour (the whole Around Oz route) he was as fit as a mad bugger. In 1984 I toured the Snowy Mts with him, in 1985 we did Tassie . In 1987 he rode the Audax Paris-Brest-Paris 1200km 96hr tour.
2 years ago i was lucky enough to be able to go with my dad up there, we did it by 4wd.We went from cairns up through cape melville and through the telegraph track. is a truly great experience and when i'm old enough and have the time i will be doing this trip on my bike. we did the trip around cape york as well and we spent a good 4 weeks going from cairns to cairns. Beautifull place!
I don't think i can face all that dust, having done the GRR. Take most of the 4WD off the road and I would probably love it as much as anyone. But dust is exhausting. It would be great if a track could be developed on which cars couldn't go.
You can cycle down the Bicentennial National Trail - I know someone who went from the tip of the Cape right through to Tassy - most of it was on the trail.
Il padrone - have you got any photos from the trips you and Tony did? I'd love to see them.
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I'm in the very early stages of planning a trip from Cairns (probably start at the Daintree) to the Cape. Maybe next year if I'm lucky.
Brand new to touring so for starters looking to get myself a rig that would be suitable and that I can fine tune with a few shorter trips between now and then. Any recommendations on the type of bike? Not so much interested in brands, but really wondering whether a fat bike would be suitable. Do you think it would be worth the effort of pushing a bit of extra weight on the smooth sections to save the hassle over the soft stuff?
Any comments more than welcome.
I'd talk to this guy, Tom Walwyn and this guy, Joe Cruz. Tom and his girlfriend Sarah rode from Banff to the bottom of South America and met Joe on the way. Joe was on a fat bike, Tom was on a Big Dummy, and Sarah was on a regular hard tail mountain bike. Tom was really impressed by the fat bike and has got himself one, with plans to ride it down the Canning Stock Route (which has been done before on a fat bike).
Between them, I'm sure they'll be able to help you out. I'd do it. I'd like you to do it and tell us all about it. I reckon it'd be great for such a trip.
If you want any smooth sections I wouldn't suggest Cape York as a place to ride, there's buggar all of that.
The best bits of the trip, for me, were the places where there was less traffic and for some reason plenty of sand.
Even the main road is pretty soft in places.
The fatter the better.
PS Hi Pete!
Thanks Pete and GJ.
GJ, I did follow your CGOAB blog for your trip and saw your Cape York trips. Super blog btw. Definitely not chasing the smooth stuff!
I was never going to take much convincing, but I think fat is going to be the way to go.
Just so you can get a better idea as to what the conditions are actually like on this fantastic ride I've posted some additional images on the Cape York page on my website. They are right at the bottom. (Soon I'll work out how to just run these as a slide show using Fancy Box straight off the page rather than as a download.)
Started getting all nostalgic putting these together, all that sand.
I reckon Cape York is one of my great Oz biking experiences, the fun bits were more the Cape Melville, Iron Range, Frenchman's Track, Telegraph and then the Pascoe River Station Track rather than just hacking my way up the dusty Peninsular Development Road with all the other motorised travellers.
Start training now for this year's Dry Season!
Having just done the ride from Cairns to the Tip, I have to agree, it's an awesome experience.
It took me 2 weeks on a standard Giant Roam XR2 hybrid. No breakdowns or punctures whatsoever. The tyres were Continental CycloCross 700 x 35. If I was doing it again (which I probably will one day) I'd try and fit fatter tyres as there is a lot of sand on the Telegraph Track. The Peninsula Development Road was in pretty good condition, even in September, it would probably be even better (but busier) earlier in the dry season.
I returned to Cairns on the supply ship MV Trinity Bay which was a very enjoyable and relaxing end to the adventure and I would recommend this if you do ride up there.
If anyone's interested, my blog of the trip is here
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