A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Why Cycle Across The Nullarbor?

Perth to Adelaide....3500km of remote wilderness...not much water, lots of wind...and not much of anything else...the "Nullarboring" so they say?

photo credit: SA Tourism

I'm not so sure. Frankly the world is a small place...and our time on it, is short! There is something quite appealing about pushing oneself deeply...and stripping back life to the basics. We fill our lives with the noise and chaos of the day to day, and forget what living really is.

This is no mid-life crisis for me, I've felt the need to do this kind of adventure for a very long time...

Maybe out in the expanse of outback Australia I'll get a reminder of how small and insignificant we are, how we need to make the most of our time here? Hell, I may even inspire others to do the same?

And on that note I have another, slightly less selfish, reason why I am doing this trip. Sometimes we are reminded of ,the fragility of life when we see others stuck down by the immense misfortune of illness. My wife, who works in the medical industry, must see this every day, and has had to develop deep professional fortitude to handle it. Her and her colleagues, are all hero's in my mind!

Most of us are not up close to such pain most of time, and when we see people suffer, it hurts. Rather than wallow in this I'd prefer try and do something more proactive about the situation: and that is hopefully raise some money for a very good cause.

So that is why I'm riding for Cure Cancer Australia...maybe that money will save someones life?

Anything you can do to help this cause would be fantastic, you can donate here if you feel like it...

About My Route

The Nullarbor itself is only one section of this whole journey. Starting in Perth, I plan to ease into things with some shorter days while I head south through Margaret River and down to Cape Leeuwin. After that there are some hills and spectacular forests to negotiate, before joining up with the southern coast and the first really remote section out to the oasis-like town of Esperance. 

If the weather is good, and the bike and I are in OK condition, I'll consider a very remote route up a 4WD track through Cape Arid, but more likely: I'll take the more well beaten path north up the highway to Norseman which is the last chance for decent supplies before the scarily long and remote Eyre highway cuts across the plains towards the Nullarbor itself. There are roadhouses about every 200 km here and I'll need to carry enough water to get between them no matter what the conditions. Food is equally a problem as there is only "trucker" type food available at these outposts and I'll be burning huge calories each day.

But of all the concerns, its the wind I'm most worried about. The theory goes, the area experiences a prevailing westerly wind...but it can seriously blow, and from any direction in reality. Look at the last 2 weeks for example:

Source: http://wind.willyweather.com.au

Not many Westerlies! But I should hit at the area at the calmest possible time of year on average, so that at least improves my odds. Indigenous Australians in South West Australia have ‘season’ for this short period of relatively calm weather in April and May, it’s called “Djeran.”

Should I make it through all that, the route ends after turning south from Port Augusta, and I'll probably head through the Clare Valley to finish up in Adelaide...3500 km later.

Monday, 6 March 2017

6 Weeks to go....training!

Departure day is approaching fast...and there never seems to be enough time to train! But that has been the focus, along with collecting various bits of gear needed to do this safely. The big purchase was a new bike which I'll give a full rundown of a bit later. But the reason behind this was that my tried and trusted "Bianca" which I've ridden already from Adelaide - Melbourne and Melbourne - Sydney, and across England and Scotland on my first fundraiser. I just don't trust she will survive hauling a heavy load across the outback:

Bianca on the Great Ocean Road
Bianca is a modified cyclecross bike with racks added...she's fine for week long tours but too liable to break down for me to risk a really remote trip with.

As for training: well to get a good kick-start I gave up alcohol for two and a bit months and kept increasing my distance each week since Jan. That helped me lose a fair bit of weight and get me focused properly. My long commute to work is my training base...and I've been adding on one bigger weekend ride most weekends, up to about 145km so far for those and about 150-180km covered on the weekdays. Doing all that on top of a full time+ job isn't so easy but not too much I can do about that...

Of course no amount of training can really prepare you for the sustained nature of a long tour hauling heavy loads, so, my strategy on the trip itself has to be to start slow and build up fitness as I go. Cue laughter from my wife who knows how impatient I am!

The next big job on the list is to do an overnighter somewhere to test the bike fully loaded and see if I can remember how to camp!