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  1. #1
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    Travel from Perth to Sydney: Greenspeed GTO, a Diamondframe and a trailer

    I am 'thinking about" a 4000 km trip as mentioned in the header with my 21 y.o. son. I am 60 y.o.

    The Greenspeed GTO 32 spoke 20" wheels has Stelvio 28-406 (20 X 1 1/8) tyres. Can I put Schwalbe Marathons on instead to improve lifespan? Will the Marathon (or Plus) fit the rims?? Should I change the rear wheel from a 32 spoke to a 36 spoke wheel? I have Greenspeed GTO spares like you would NOT believe;-)

    The diamondframe bike will be purchased in Perth - probably used for my 6'2" son and will at least have a Brooks leather saddle... The racks will probably be built in the fashion of Paul W's design...

    I will not use my Bob Ibex because of the airfreight cost of taking it to Perth. Instead, I plan to buy (in Perth or by mail-order) a robust 2 wheeler freight trailer described as "About as basic as they come, but still more than functional. This trailer will haul up to 40kg on its 630 x 425mm bed. 13kg in weight and any colour you like, as long as it's black.......
    Quick and easy to fold and store
    20" steel quick-release wheels
    Strong & durable steel frame
    Quick & easy to use mounting hitch "

    For the 2 of us doing the 4000km trip (in less than 40 days), are there any glaring omissions? The road route is strictly bitumen.

    In 2006 I rode the Savannah Way via Domadgee and Boroloola and Roper River along mainly gravel roads on my diamond frame touring bike (26", 48 spoke wheels) with Bob Ibex trailer. It was a robust/tough trip but easy to do plodding along.

    On the bitumen, the road is different. Water is less available and there are fewer trees so I will need a tent and sleeping bags.

    Comments? Suggestions. Naturally we will bring some warm (3 season) sleeping bagspads, TYVEC, and clothes. Should we expect rain along the trip (June-August) between Perth and Sydney? I know there will be somne frosty days, but wool and layers will take care of that - along with 3-season bags and sleeping pads in a tent.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I did the bit between Sydney and Melbourne in October. And Rowan has done the bit from Perth to Melbourne.

    First, you do know that June-August is the middle of winter in Australia, right? And Australia does get snow.

    If you're doing the bit between Melbourne and Sydney during that time, you'll be going over the Dividing Range, and it is ski season then. There was still snow up there in mid-October when I went through, and one of the nights I spent there was the coldest night I've spent on a tour, with a low of -6C. And that's spring, not winter!

    Between Melbourne and Sydney you shouldn't have any trouble getting water ... there are lots of towns, and there will be lots of trees ... and hills.

    And yes, you should definitely expect rain ... especially in the Melbourne area ... especially after I move there in August.


    Rowan can fill you in on the rest of the route.


    Here, this might help for weather info: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/#climatemaps

  3. #3
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    Hey Machka,

    Thanks for the info, but I will not go south into Adelaide and Melbourne, but will head "straight east" from the Pt. Pierie (spelling) area, heading through the West Wyalong, Orange area. I want a rather direct route through some of the countryside I worked in a century and a lifetime ago ;-)

    I am not particularly concerned about the weather as I lived in Canada and know how to go camping at minus 35C, and how to dress for winter running at -43C.

    Hence, I ask about the trailer to carry some extra gear for ourselves, not to mention the water.

    If anyone knows answers to the more technical details, PLEASE let me know - otherwise I'll have to start asking Rachel and Mick at Greenspeed and a few others.

    I HAVE read Rowan's bicycle travel contributions on the web.

    TIA
    Ken

  4. #4
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
    The diamondframe bike will be purchased in Perth - probably used for my 6'2" son and will at least have a Brooks leather saddle... The racks will probably be built in the fashion of Paul W's design...
    If you are expecting to purchase a touring bike and/or Brooks saddle off the floor in Perth, then good luck. There are basically only two bike shops here that having anything touring related. They are Bike Force South Perth and Balmoral Cycles in Victoria Park. Do not expect too much. Also Brook's prices here in Australia are horrendous.

    If you plan to purchase the bike here, then you should either order it ahead of time or plan for a long-wait whilst in Perth.



    I will not use my Bob Ibex because of the airfreight cost of taking it to Perth. Instead, I plan to buy (in Perth or by mail-order) a robust 2 wheeler freight trailer described as "About as basic as they come, but still more than functional. This trailer will haul up to 40kg on its 630 x 425mm bed. 13kg in weight and any colour you like, as long as it's black.......
    Quick and easy to fold and store
    20" steel quick-release wheels
    Strong & durable steel frame
    Quick & easy to use mounting hitch "
    The comments above also apply to the trailer.

    Should we expect rain along the trip (June-August) between Perth and Sydney?
    Yes. It is winter. Keep in mind you will also be crossing the Nullarbor so wind, road trains and the big distances between food/water sources will be issues.

    I suggest you check out the Bureau's website for climate information.

    Andrew
    Last edited by Aushiker; 11-25-08 at 07:21 PM.

  5. #5
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    Perth

    Thanks for this info.

    I will order the trailer mail order from one of the AU suppliers. I have a nice Brooks B17 sitting on my own diamond-frame here (the one I used between Cairns and Darwin), and I can bring it for the AU trip, or my son can bring one of the "spare" B17s that I have sitting, and waiting for use, back in Canada.

    Then of course, we can fly into Sydney (instead of into PER) and get a used bike for Andrew there, and take the India-Pacific train across and bicycle back. In fact that may be what we will do because of more flights - or even fly into Melbourne and train to PER from there ... and bicycle to Sydney....

    Info, info, info ----->> decisions, decisions, decisions :-)

    It seems the best direction to take regarding the wind is to go west to east. The rain?? Well, wear rain gear - and sweat in it. At least the tent and sleeping bags "should" be dry - if we don't find a hotel ;-)

    Thank you ALL for such thoughtful commentary. All of you are doing most of the hard thinking for me. I LIKE it :-)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    G'day

    If you are going to fly into Melbourne or Sydney check out the Bicycle Network Australia forums. There are a lot of helpful members (particularly in Melbourne) with touring bikes and/or experience who may be able to help out with a tourer.

    Also double check you can take the bike on the train. Some train operators (e.g., Victoria and WA) don't allow bikes on trains.

    Andrew

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    Bikes..

    Hey Andrew!!

    Like I said, you guys are doing ALL of the hard thinking for me.

    OTOH, it is really amazing what can be disassembled and stuck into a box or two. My GTO fits nicely into 2 suitcases, and I have lots of room for other "stuff". Then of course, I have been on AU trains before and in 1st class there is a lot more "wiggle room" for baggage/boxes :-) Having a backpackers/hostel card may be useful. OTOH, I can plead ignorance (due to my 60 yo age) :-)

    It only takes some extra AUD to make things work well ;-)

    Ken

  8. #8
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    The Greenspeed GTO 32 spoke 20" wheels has Stelvio 28-406 (20 X 1 1/8) tyres. Can I put Schwalbe Marathons on instead to improve lifespan? Will the Marathon (or Plus) fit the rims?? Should I change the rear wheel from a 32 spoke to a 36 spoke wheel? I have Greenspeed GTO spares like you would NOT believe;-)
    Ask either the Greenspeed people, or Bike Friday. There is a lot of info on small wheels and tyres on the Bike Friday website. I know Marathons are available in 20". I don't know if you'd need them - sounds like you'll be on tarmac most of the time.

    The diamondframe bike will be purchased in Perth - probably used for my 6'2" son and will at least have a Brooks leather saddle... The racks will probably be built in the fashion of Paul W's design...
    If you're flying into Sydney consider buying the bike there from Cheeky Transport, which is a great touring shop; if in Melb I'd recommend St Kilda cycles. Cheeky have Allegro and Surly tourers if that's what you want. Cannondale tourers are pretty readily available in Sydney and Melbourne. The Vivente tourer is an *excellent* value bike if you can find it (eg. at St Kilda), steel semi-compact frame, strong ++, comes with Tubus racks and dynohub and lights. I have no idea what the touring market is like in Perth. You would definitely be able to find a good flat-bar (hybrid) tourer, not sure about drop bars. Do some research and email ahead.

    Are you planning to fly into Sydney, or straight to Perth? I'd probably fly straight to Perth myself rather than Sydney - train - Perth - bike - Sydney.

    Brooks saddles aren't stocked by most bike shops, there are a few in Melbourne or Sydney but you're unlikely to find one walking in off the street.

    I will not use my Bob Ibex because of the airfreight cost of taking it to Perth. Instead, I plan to buy (in Perth or by mail-order) a robust 2 wheeler freight trailer described as "About as basic as they come, but still more than functional. This trailer will haul up to 40kg on its 630 x 425mm bed. 13kg in weight and any colour you like, as long as it's black.......
    You cannot be serious - that trailer weighs more than most bikes! 13kg = 28 lb. So, say 13 kg trailer + 10 kg gear + 5 kg food (you'll be buying frozen stuff in some areas) + 10 kg water = a lot to pull. Can you get by with a lighter trailer, and add panniers to the trike if the weight is too much for the trailer?

    For the 2 of us doing the 4000km trip (in less than 40 days), are there any glaring omissions? The road route is strictly bitumen.
    I don't know any details about the route you're taking. Look in the Aust/NZ regional forum, there is a post there with some details about Oz touring in general, you might find some links to other info sites.

    Oh yeah, if you don't travel down to Margaret River then along the WA timber country, that would be a glaring omission.

    Comments? Suggestions. Naturally we will bring some warm (3 season) sleeping bagspads, TYVEC, and clothes. Should we expect rain along the trip (June-August) between Perth and Sydney? I know there will be somne frosty days, but wool and layers will take care of that - along with 3-season bags and sleeping pads in a tent.
    Basically this is almost the worst time for cycling in terms of weather. At least the prevailing wind will be a tailwind for most of the way.
    You won't have too many sub-zero nights, but yes a bag that's good to -5 is probably a good idea. Some good local brands are Macpac (NZ) and Mont or One Planet (Aust) but if you're from NAmerica you'll get a good down bag cheaper at home than over here.

    -- edit: BTW by sub-zero I mean sub-freezing, not sub-zero-Farenheit.

    Tents - well I like my tarptent, but it might be a bit small for 2 for 40 days. Macpac olympus and minaret are great tents but expensive. Eureka make a range of cheaper tents that are OK. Most of the other brands seem to be US brands so I'm sure you can get a good idea of what's available by looking at some MSR or Black Diamond or Sierra Designs tents at home.
    I presume the tyvec is as a groundsheet or to cover the bikes? BTW it is not readily available over here unless you know someone who orders for a builder.
    Cycling-specific rain gear is easily available in the big cities but if you want an eVent jacket maybe get one from home, it will probably be cheaper.


    It only takes some extra AUD to make things work well ;-)
    Hey a six-pack of beer sometimes works just as well.
    Last edited by Cave; 11-26-08 at 07:56 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cycotourer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post


    Then of course, we can fly into Sydney (instead of into PER) and get a used bike for Andrew there, and take the India-Pacific train across and bicycle back. In fact that may be what we will do because of more flights - or even fly into Melbourne and train to PER from there ... and bicycle to Sydney....

    )
    If you are considering training from the east to the west coast then you need to catch the Indian Pacific which runs from Sydney to Perth. You can't catch a train directly from Melbourne to Perth. You would have to catch The Overlander from Melbourne to Adelaide and connect to the Indian Pacific there.

    In regards to climate: north of Sydney winter is dry, sunny and beautiful, whereas VIC, SA and southern WA tend to have cold, wet winters. You will likely get plenty of sub-zero nights along the way, especially through western NSW, and through Orange and over the Blue Mountains. You certainly won't get any snow along the way from Perth to Sydney with the possible exception of the central western tablelands of NSW, but it will only be a day or so worth of light snow, if any. Hardly enough to call it snow by northern hemisphere terms!

    Enjoy the ride. Better to do the Nullabor in winter than summer!
    Around the world on a bike? You must be psycho!

  10. #10
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    Trailer

    13kg trailer?? Why?

    I just toured with the Carry Freedom Y-Frame (small) trailer in Cyprus. It's light (5.5kg), it folds down in a minute, and you can strap on it a water resistance bag (like the North Face BaseCamp 90lt). And it can be loaded with 45kg of freight, which is sufficient for any touring purposes.

    My girlfriend sewed a simple shoulder bag for the trailer, so hauling it on the airliner wasn't a trouble.

    You can order it from chainreactioncycles.com, or pick another LIGHT 2-wheel trailer.

    Oren

  11. #11
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    You'll find that trailer tiresome first day out of Perth when you have to climb over the hills to get out of the city. Go for something lighter. There is an Adventure single-wheel BoB-like trailer on eBay at the moment for $AUD250 plus freight which is cheaper than what Chainreactioncycles can offer right now. And it weighs in at a claimed 7.2kg, plus it disassembles down to a flat pack for travel, unlike the BoB.

    It's over a decade old now, but my journal for Perth to Adelaide might give you some insights if you haven't read it already (I am presuming that it was what you meant in one of your posts):

    http://www.cycling-adventurer.net/pe...ide/index.html

    You will note in there that the winds are not always prevailing from the west as tailwinds. There were some days when the southerlies were cold and tedious. I think my shortest day was around 40km. I am thinking that your schedule of 100km a day might be a little ambitious.

    Water will be an issue irrespective of the weather at that time of the year. I think it is still regarded as gold, mainly because of its scarcity or the expense of treating it to become potable (one roadhouse processed seawater that made its way through the limestone karst that predominates the terrain). Be prepared to pay handsome prices for showers and suchlike.

    Not true about bikes on trains in Victoria. V-line readily accepts them, in my experience.

    I am pondering, though, why do you want to train across from Sydney to Perth? The cost of flying with Virgin Blue or even Qantas, I think, would be much cheaper and more convenient, even with the Greenspeed in tow. It is notable, however, that the train line across the Nullarbor does run in desert country, because it is some distance north of the highway, which in turn runs through quite different coastal terrain.

    I think it's Port Augusta you would be diverting eastward from, rather than going into Adelaide. I don't have any experience of this area eastward, unless you're heading for Hillston or Griffith... but bear in mind that this can be flat country, too.

    There is a couple, Andrew and Joanne Hooker, who did a round-Australia trip on Greenspeeds, I think. I remember picking up on their journal back in 2001. You've probably already checked them out too, but if not, here is the link:

    www.where2pedalto.com
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Not true about bikes on trains in Victoria. V-line readily accepts them, in my experience.
    G'day

    There has been some recent discussion in the Bicycle Victoria forums about getting bikes on trains in Victoria hence my comment. I don't know if they have more than one operator or not, so it would pay to verify the information with the relevant train operator.

    Regards
    Andrew

  13. #13
    Senior Member cycotourer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post


    I am pondering, though, why do you want to train across from Sydney to Perth? The cost of flying with Virgin Blue or even Qantas, I think, would be much cheaper and more convenient, even with the Greenspeed in tow. [/COLOR]
    Believe it or not Rowan some people enjoy trains, and the Indian Pacific is one of the world's great train journeys. I would jump at the chance. And they will see the real Nullabor from the train. I think the OP is "on the right track" to consider this as one of his options.
    Around the world on a bike? You must be psycho!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
    G'day

    There has been some recent discussion in the Bicycle Victoria forums about getting bikes on trains in Victoria hence my comment. I don't know if they have more than one operator or not, so it would pay to verify the information with the relevant train operator.

    Regards
    Andrew
    The issue regarding urban train services (Connex) as opposed to country rail (V-Line) was resolved quite some time ago, as far as I am aware.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycotourer View Post
    Believe it or not Rowan some people enjoy trains, and the Indian Pacific is one of the world's great train journeys. I would jump at the chance. And they will see the real Nullabor from the train. I think the OP is "on the right track" to consider this as one of his options.
    Thanks for your succinct and edifying reply. Perhaps tmac100 might like to speak for himself now.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycotourer View Post
    Believe it or not Rowan some people enjoy trains, and the Indian Pacific is one of the world's great train journeys. I would jump at the chance. And they will see the real Nullabor from the train. I think the OP is "on the right track" to consider this as one of his options.
    I LIKE train travel. In a couple of days I fly to India and take the Darjeeling Mail to NJP then a steam train up to Darjeeling. The Overlander and the Indian-Pacific are 2 trips that I want to do in Australia. I am running short of time {1 year less than a year ago ;-( **.

    Carpe Diem folks :-) My train travel rationale is also my rationale for bicycling - especially when gasoline is so cheap and plentiful...... as compared to what it will cost in a decade or 2 ;-)

    Thanks for all the advice folks - especially about getting a lighter (and hopefully robust) trailer.

    I just got 2 Ortlieb panniers on sale from Wiggle in the UK. They have some very good prices right now. The panniers and the bar-bag will be a nice gift for either my son or myself ;-)

  17. #17
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    Good on you, tmac100. Despite the superior supposition by the other poster, I love train travel too. I did LA to Seattle through the Rockies in 2005, but learned that sit-up is not the ideal way to go, and that a sleeper is worth the much higher fare.

    I also travel often on trains both country and urban -- I've been known to just get on an urban train in Melbourne and ride to the end and back again, just to see what I can see.

    In France, Machka and spent quite a bit of time on the fast trains and they are certainly something else -- 200km/h without even thinking about it. We also used the extended urban trains ... all fasincating stuff. And the British trains aren't too bad, either -- we took them to get to and from London for Dover.

    There is a certain idleness in travelling by train -- a sort of passing silent picture show, and you don't have to concentrate on anything... and there is that grand feeling of dominance when passing cars stopped at railway crossings.

    Of recent times, the scenery on many train trips has been somewhat depressing here in Australia, because of the almost uniformly brown landscape caused by the extended drought. But things seems to be changing, and I know where I am we've had a reasonably good winter and spring has been more traditionally wet than in recent years.

    Machka and I have talked about doing the Orient Express at some stage. There are other Australian train journeys, too, including Melbourne to Queensland.

    I hope the journey west lives up to your expectations. I considered it back in 1997, as you would be aware, but chose the bicycle route instead.
    Last edited by Rowan; 11-29-08 at 05:46 PM.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  18. #18
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    trains..

    Yes Rowan, trains can be a sleepy way of getting off the "hectic world"... for a while :-)

    The "Orient Express" has several versions. I took the cheap version by coach seat in 1975 between Paris and Istanbul both ways. The Darjeeling Mail later this week will be in sleeping berth.

    Readers may want to look at www.seat61.com which is a compendium of all sorts of train trips in every listed country (LH toolar) - and how to purchase tickets.

    I am also looking forward to travel in January between Vladivostok and Irtutsk on Train 001 (The Rosoyya) and between Irkutsk and Moscow on Train 009 (The Baikal). These will be 1st and 2nd class berth compartments.

    The Indian Pacific will also be by sleeper. No point in roughing train tavel when you don't have to.

    But touring by bicycle and sleeping outdoors in a bush camp or ?? is just another of life's many pleasures - even when it rains ;-)

    Ken

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