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The Guide


Nik on the Karri Trail at Margarets River, WA

Top Tips for cycling NT & WA:

  1. To keep water colder – put a sock on your water bottle – soak & use evaporative cooling while riding
  2. Head net for flies – get a big one with an elastic around neck if possible as flies will try to crawl up into net through neck section once on. Ensure it’s big enough to get around your broad brimmed hat/helmet! (see 3. below)
  3. Slip Slop Slap! –
    a. Slip!on a LONG SLEEVE shirt – believe it or not a L/S baggy cotton shirt is far cooler than a lycra cycling shirt! Let the wind cool you as you ride.
    b. Slop! On 30+ suncream, it’s a must out here; very high UV area in NT/WA. Cheapest & non-greasy cream we found was Farmland 30+ from Coles supermarkets.
    c. Slap! On a Hat - “Hard hat” broad-brim hat attachment for your helmet! – fits around your helmet with minor modifications to give you fantastic full head and neck sun protection – the best available! Neck protecion only is not enough, only a broad brimmed front also will protect your face up north!
  4. Carry good spares, especially a spare tyre – bike shops with proper touring tyres are v.few and far between (especially Broome to Geraldton). Spare spokes and tubes etc are also vital if you want to do this without having to hitch a lift.
  5. Green PET plastic bottles (eg “Sprite” 2L bottles) tend to get less hot (water) than clear plastic containers whilst carrying – (a bit better) cooler drinking water. Wine bladders are also good at that but are more likely to rupture (take precautions in case this occurs!).
  6. You don’t HAVE to live on tinned food! Whilst the heat will limit how long you can carry stuff, fruits & veg WILL survive in your panniers! (NB – you can get a silver waterproof pannier cover for your food pannier to reduce the temp inside it, or use cooler bags inside panniers for your food). Just avoid the high water content fruits & veg that will suffer from heat the most eg ripe tomatoes, zucchini etc. Apples last well.
  7. Winds & Climate Info – check out the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website at www.bom.gov.au. Knowing which way the wind may blow in seasons can be the difference between pleasure and pain! The address for windroses is:
    www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/wind/
  8. It can take 5-8 months to casually cycle through WA from Darwin to Adelaide, depending on how much you want to see. (keep in mind that some people do the 14,500km national Hwy in 9-11mths, which is considerably less than the 25,000km or so to see most of the coastline alone, without the red centre or Tassie!).
  9. Most of Australian bikeshops carry only Shimano (or equivalent style) components for Mtn bikes in stock, but can order some others with a wait. Road bikes can often get Campagnolo gear easily too. Keep this in mind if bringing a bike from overseas.
  10. Cr-Mo bikes are stiffer, thus less road shock than Aluminium bikes, but slightly heavier – but with water varying 2L (2kg) each day as you use it you’ll probably NOT notice any difference in overall weight unless you’re in very hilly country (ie the east coast or not in Australia at all! – this is a fairly flat country by world standards).
  11. There are very very limited places to weld Aluminium in the outback, only major towns and cities will have TIG welders, whereas most outback roadhouses have normal welders for steels, so stronger and weldable CR-Mo bikes aren’t such a bad option, although having said that Aluminium technology for current bikes is very strong –match your bike to the use you’ll put it through.
  12. Maps – you can get topographic maps that detail terrain/hills etc from the department of land & property info in NSW

Other tips in the book:

  • Getting to Australia
  • Australia arrival guide
  • Bike and accessories
  • Health
  • Eco-camping
  • Getting started in Darwin



     

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