|Australia by bike, well part of it anyway...
While planning a trip to Australia in June 2005 like many travellers nowadays I quickly reached for the laptop and keyed in some Google search strings. Many of the results were links to great tourist resources like Tourism Australia. As I planned to travel a lot by bike I dug further, looking for cycle touring information. I was inspired by some of the great stories, trip journals and blogs that fellow travellers had compiled. So I figured I'd do one too... as I went... here it is...
I'm going to start by compiling a list of www links I find useful or even invaluable as a Canadian travelling overseas, you can find them to the right and I'll describe each tour individually with a link to each in the menu to the left.
A quick bit of background is in order as I am already two weeks in to my trip, having arrived in Melbourne, Australia on June 17, 2005. Right away I should tell any of you planning to travel with a bicycle that the customs/quarrentine official at the Melbourne International airport scrutinized my bike tires very closely. At first I thought he was after contraband which of course no sane individual should entertain transporting but as the conversation unfolded it turned out he was concerned about agricultural contamination like cow shit! Well there are very few cows on Quadra Island and even fewer, like none where I've been riding my mountain bike on the local forest trails and the guy was convinced. However when I head to New Zealand I intend to scrub my bike down like it is going for 'best in show'!
Over the last two weeks I have been spending time with some family just outside of Melbourne and engaging in a rigorous cycle fitness regime riding 4 times a week. Luckily my mother's place is at the top of a 500m hill which means everything is downhill from here and there's a gruelling climb to finish every ride. I've averaged I guess 40 km each ride with the longest so far being over 75 km. Tomorrow I'm going for my first ride with bike fully laden to test paniers, bike and me. My first major ride will be Adelaide to Melbourne in part via the Great Ocean Road. From here you can pick up the links in the menu to the left.
By the way I'm riding a hardtail Brodie Kinetic mountain bike with semi-slick tires, a rear rack and paniers only and handlebar bag. After changing tires and riding a few times on them I highly recommend making the switch to slicks if you're going to tour on a mountain bike. I'm going to carry two roll up knobblies and tubes for spares and in case I hit any distance of off-road terrain. I estimate 15 minutes to switch two tires. Click here to find out more about my bike and the maintenance issues that arise while on tour.