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Australia

Outback Odyessy: A tour in outback Oz

518 km over six days (25 - 30 September 2002)

A pleasant ride following the Mawson Trail from Adelaide to Wilpena Pound with some six hundred other cyclists, about half being hardy off-roaders doing the Trail itself and the rest on-roaders

For the on-roaders, the daily distances varied between 50 and 90 kms each day on metalled roads of varied quality, including some shockers. Being an organised supported ride, all of life's little necessities were hauled from camp to camp leaving riders to take just themselves at whatever pace was comfortable to the next camp. Being September the temperatures were already getting hot so along with many others I mostly rode to finish before the afternoon sun became too much; of course, there were plenty of pubs, cafes and so-on along the way that slowed many of us down a bit. Nothing like a Coopers Ale to add some sparkle to that last few kms to the camp

The only hill of any consequence for the on-roaders was up and over Horrocks Pass. The local police closed the road to other traffic so we could make the climb in a light drizzle that didn't do much except make the road slippery for slick tyres. We had had to wait in Wilmington for all the riders so that we could go over the pass in a single bunch, while we waited a pie, a sticky bun, some lollies and other assorted goodies had seemed like a good idea but as the climb started so did tummy rumbles, it wasn't one of the most comfortable climbs I've made, still the downhill was a relief even if I couldn't let the trike go flat out on the wet, slippery surface. The next bit of road was flat but the surface was shite and there was quite a gathering at the next pub in Stirling North gathering strength and resting the backside for the final push up into Quorn. Some of us took the train!

The Pitchi Ritchi Railways 'Transcontinental' took us from Woolshed Flat into Quorn in real style, the ancient steam engine hauling wooden carriages of a lost age, our bikes crowded into a couple of flatbeds at the back

As we got further into the outback there was plenty of wildlife amongst ruined farms and settlements, and best of all, it was possible to have these places all to yourself for awhile; nothing like being by yourself in the middle of nowhere in almost silence with just 'roos and eagles watching you

The last camp was just outside Wilpena Pound, a spectacularly senic place and from there the trike went back to Adelaide in a truck while I took a bus. As always it was a bit odd to zoom thru the same places we had ridden thru

Odyessy ride logo

 

Was it good?   Absolutely

Do it again?   By myself, yes

Who organised the ride?   BicycleSA