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So I'm going to Australia.

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So I'm going to Australia.

Old 11-18-12, 01:46 AM
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Chelseaandannoy
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So I'm going to Australia.

Possibly Japan and maybe southeast Asia on a very long trip overseas. I am bringing my bike but this will mostly be a "backpacking" trip. I'll be staying in guest houses, couchsurfing, and staying with a lot of friends.

My questions are, has anyone been riding in Australia? How easy is it to ride cities and outskirts?
Same questions go for Japan and southeast Asian countries.
Also, what's the best way to get my bike over there?

Side note: I ride a fixed gear 46/17 and 46/19.
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Old 11-18-12, 09:34 AM
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Rowan (my husband) has lived in Australia most of his life. I've lived there for 3 years. And we've both done quite a bit of cycling there ... thousands of kilometres in several of the states.

Where in Australia did you want to go ... it's a big country.

Also, just recently, Rowan and I embarked on a long tour and took in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan (the island of Hokkaido). We did not cycle in Hong Kong, but we did cycle in Taiwan and Japan.

I would not recommend cycling in the big cities ... catch a train to the outskirts and cycle out in the country. Country riding is less stressful and more pleasant.

As for getting your bicycle there, put it on the plane with you. However, note that some airlines charge quite a bit for bicycles, so you'll want to do some research on that. Check out this site: http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm, and then check the individual airlines to make sure you've got the most up-to-date information.

Also, when do you plan to go?



(Incidentally, we'll be returning to Australia in January. )

Last edited by Machka; 11-18-12 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 11-18-12, 10:49 AM
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It's generally easier to ride in Australian cities than in SE Asian cities. Even though I happily biked around Sydney & Melbourne (& Canberra, Hobart, & Perth), I took suburban trains to get out of Sydney & Melbourne when I started touring from each. I hated riding in Bangkok which has a nasty combination of dense traffic, heat, & humidity, and I recommend taking a train to get out. Bangkok has much better public transport options now, so I only biked there when I absolutely had to. Even in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, which isn't a bad city for cycling, getting out of the city is not good on a bike and I was glad I took a bus to get maybe 50 km out of town. For Singapore, if you're headed into Malaysia, I recommend taking a ferry from the NE end of the island to Malaysia. The road you'll then be on in Malaysia will be much better for biking than the road from Singapore via the causeway into Malaysia. Vientiane (Laos) is such a quiet capital city that it feels like you're riding around a small town. The cities I was at in Malaysia were OK on a bike, but I wasn't in KL, the largest city.
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Old 11-18-12, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Rowan (my husband) has lived in Australia most of his life. I've lived there for 3 years. And we've both done quite a bit of cycling there ... thousands of kilometres in several of the states.

Where in Australia did you want to go ... it's a big country.

Also, just recently, Rowan and I embarked on a long tour and took in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan (the island of Hokkaido). We did not cycle in Hong Kong, but we did cycle in Taiwan and Japan.

I would not recommend cycling in the big cities ... catch a train to the outskirts and cycle out in the country. Country riding is less stressful and more pleasant.

As for getting your bicycle there, put it on the plane with you. However, note that some airlines charge quite a bit for bicycles, so you'll want to do some research on that. Check out this site: http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm, and then check the individual airlines to make sure you've got the most up-to-date information.

Also, when do you plan to go?



(Incidentally, we'll be returning to Australia in January. )
I have friends in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide so definitely those cities and probably a lot others just for my own travels. I'm not a HUGE long distance rider and it's not like I will be traveling from city to city by bike (unless of course I plan it out, which I may). Basically I will be riding a lot of city/outskirts because my bike will be my transportation. I've been riding fixed for 4 years and I ride 99% downtown/urban/big city where I have been living/traveling, so cities don't bother me and I'll be riding them a lot. Did you bring your own bike when you went to Asia or no?

Thank you for that website about bags and airlines .
I plan to go Feb-April or something like that. I'll be in Australia primarily but I MIGHT go to SE Asia or Japan, not positive until I am in that area.

I actually am positive I'll be cycling the country as well, but my bike will be mostly used for commuting everywhere.
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Old 11-18-12, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
It's generally easier to ride in Australian cities than in SE Asian cities. Even though I happily biked around Sydney & Melbourne (& Canberra, Hobart, & Perth), I took suburban trains to get out of Sydney & Melbourne when I started touring from each. I hated riding in Bangkok which has a nasty combination of dense traffic, heat, & humidity, and I recommend taking a train to get out. Bangkok has much better public transport options now, so I only biked there when I absolutely had to. Even in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, which isn't a bad city for cycling, getting out of the city is not good on a bike and I was glad I took a bus to get maybe 50 km out of town. For Singapore, if you're headed into Malaysia, I recommend taking a ferry from the NE end of the island to Malaysia. The road you'll then be on in Malaysia will be much better for biking than the road from Singapore via the causeway into Malaysia. Vientiane (Laos) is such a quiet capital city that it feels like you're riding around a small town. The cities I was at in Malaysia were OK on a bike, but I wasn't in KL, the largest city.
I will not be riding Bangkok, already set my plans on not doing that before this thread hahaha. So basically what you're saying is SE Asia isn't the greatest for riding?

How was riding the Aus cities? I ask my friends about the friendliness of biking/cars and they say that people are quite uptight in Aus about bicycles. I mean, I'm used to that, riding Florida for years and Connecticut but I've ridden Montreal, Toronto, and NYC plenty of times so I'm not worried about mass traffic and cars.
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Old 11-18-12, 02:24 PM
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Australia is a big place. It depends on which part you wish to travel, on what you are likely to find. Most of the population is near the east coast, but that is also where the biggest hills are. As long as you stay in the big cities, that your single speed should be OK, but just outside these cities are some big hill that may require lower gears. Once you get clear of the Great Divide there are plenty of flat roads, but many miles between any population. A big mistake most visitors make is not realizing the vast distances involved between most of the cities, as many drivers think nothing of driving 200-300 miles in a day, but that is a different story for those not used to it. So if you are looking at maps, you need check distances and beware of hills.
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Old 11-18-12, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Chelseaandannoy View Post
I will not be riding Bangkok, already set my plans on not doing that before this thread hahaha. So basically what you're saying is SE Asia isn't the greatest for riding?

How was riding the Aus cities? I ask my friends about the friendliness of biking/cars and they say that people are quite uptight in Aus about bicycles. I mean, I'm used to that, riding Florida for years and Connecticut but I've ridden Montreal, Toronto, and NYC plenty of times so I'm not worried about mass traffic and cars.
No, I'm not saying that at all about SE Asia. I loved touring in Thailand and Laos, and Malaysia wasn't bad. Frankly, I found touring in Thailand, Laos, & Tasmania, better than touring on mainland Australia. And mainland Australia isn't necessarily bad, but I would urge you to pick your regions carefully.

I don't recall ever feeling anxious while biking in Sydney or Melbourne, but I generally don't mind biking in cities. Bangkok was definitely an exception for me for urban riding. The smaller cities I visited while in Australia were quite easy on a bike. I liked Bangkok, but I hated biking there, so I avoided riding there except when absolutely necessary.
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Old 11-18-12, 04:25 PM
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To echo other comments, Australia is just about same size as lower 48 US states. I cycled for eight months in 2001 doing one lap counterclockwise. Most of that time spent in the outback. However, in my experience, cities not too different from US - with busy streets and quiet streets. If I mentioned the busiest roads, locals would sometimes mention better alternatives I could have taken.
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Old 11-20-12, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Chelseaandannoy View Post
I have friends in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide so definitely those cities and probably a lot others just for my own travels. I'm not a HUGE long distance rider and it's not like I will be traveling from city to city by bike (unless of course I plan it out, which I may). Basically I will be riding a lot of city/outskirts because my bike will be my transportation. I've been riding fixed for 4 years and I ride 99% downtown/urban/big city where I have been living/traveling, so cities don't bother me and I'll be riding them a lot. Did you bring your own bike when you went to Asia or no?

Thank you for that website about bags and airlines .
I plan to go Feb-April or something like that. I'll be in Australia primarily but I MIGHT go to SE Asia or Japan, not positive until I am in that area.

I actually am positive I'll be cycling the country as well, but my bike will be mostly used for commuting everywhere.
Yes, we brought our own bicycles as we travelled through Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan ... and we cycled in Taiwan and Japan (Hokkaido).


February to April is only 3 months. As mev says, Australia is a big country ... it is the size of mainland US. Brisbane to Adelaide, via Sydney and Melbourne is over 2500 km, travelling a fairly direct route without taking in much else.

Also, contrary to a popular belief (something I've been told many times), Australia is not flat. Yes, there are quite large flat areas, especially to the west of the Great Dividing Range, but the east coast of Australia is quite hilly. Rowan and I rode the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge last year (http://www.7peaks.com.au/) with some very challenging climbs. See photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...7628158353695/ Some of those climbs are just north of Melbourne, and some are a bit further north. If you were to cycle between Melbourne and Sydney, at least one route would take you over the Great Dividing Range, and possibly some of those climbs. Both Sydney and Melbourne can be quite hilly too, depending where you are. Just something to keep in mind.

As for cycling in the cities, I have cycled in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. Brisbane and Adelaide were the easiest cities to cycle in at the time I cycled there, but Melbourne is not too bad, and has quite an extensive bicycle path system. Rowan and I rode a 100 km randonnee there a couple years ago. 100 km on bicycle paths in Melbourne. Sydney was more challenging. The smaller cities and towns are quite good for cycling.


February to April could be a good time period, but note that it will be hot (especially in the north). In the south (Melbourne area), by about the end of the first week of April, the big switch in the sky is flipped, and the winter rains start.


If you are going to be travelling from city to city, but not by bike, how do you anticipate getting from city to city?


Many Australian photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...7602419256784/
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Old 11-20-12, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Chelseaandannoy View Post
I have friends in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide so definitely those cities and probably a lot others just for my own travels. I'm not a HUGE long distance rider and it's not like I will be traveling from city to city by bike (unless of course I plan it out, which I may). Basically I will be riding a lot of city/outskirts because my bike will be my transportation. I've been riding fixed for 4 years and I ride 99% downtown/urban/big city where I have been living/traveling, so cities don't bother me and I'll be riding them a lot. Did you bring your own bike when you went to Asia or no?
I haven't been the Brisbane for ages so can't comment there. I don't like Sydney on principle, so I can't comment there either.

But I think you would enjoy both Melbourne and Adelaide immensely. Both are served by good bike networks comprising paths and lanes and also plain old streets.

Adelaide has the Adelaide Hills and of course is quite famous for its many vineyards and wine labels. The hills aren't really that onerous; I believe Connecticut is hilly itself, so there are probably some comparisons. The weather in Adelaide can be hot in summer (as in over 105 deg F for days on end). Melbourne is more a temperate climate.

If you get out of Adelaide to the south, you will find some flat riding and Kangaroo Island, where there is a large population of koalas, also is accessible by ferry. The Gulf of St Vincent also provides a coastal way to explore. Adelaide is on the eastern side, and while Port Augusta to the north isn't so inviting, areas to the west such as Streaky Bay might be appealing.

Melbourne is quite a busy city with some... mmmm... interesting architecture (most of which I quite like, but which causes wide debate among others), and it is very well serviced by bicycle networks. Suburban trains are very good in off-peak times and take bikes without charge. The suburban train network can get you well out of the city and on to the suburban outskirts that then open out on some nice country riding.

As mentioned, a lot the coastal riding in Victorian can be hilly, but there is flat riding through Gippsland out towards Lakes Entrance. Unfortunately, Australians love holidaying on the coast, and right through summer, the roads are congested with drivers who can't leave city habits and impatience behind.

North of Melbourne is the Great Dividing Range and access can be a bit tricky. For example, choose the route from Lilydale to Yea on the Melba Highway, rather than take the Maroondah Highway up over the Black Spur, if you are riding (or driving for that matter).

If you want to connect between cities, trains are an option between Melbourne and Sydney. I am not sure about trains between Melbourne and Adelaide -- I have only done an overnight coach (bus) service with bike.

Cheap commuter flights can be obtained on the airlines, but you might find that carrying a bike cancels out the savings with surcharges. Hiring a motor vehicle might be a viable option.

There is one thing you need to be aware of. The American dollar has devalued somewhat against the Australian dollar to the point where one US dollar buys only 96 cents Australian. So you will find things somewhat more expensive. The appreciation of the Aussie dollar is cruelling the tourism industry as people go elsewhere for their holiday kicks.

The gas price in Australia also is much more expensive than in the US (like around $5.40 a US gallon), and that has a knock-on effect through everything that is transported (and that really means everything).

I mention this not to discourage you, but so you can budget for contingencies. Your friends there might already have mentioned it.
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Old 11-29-12, 08:03 AM
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If you come over to Perth or are thinking about it I can make some suggestions. Riding is pretty good here with nice coastal paths and riding around the rivers. Traffic is okay and there are good "escape options" north and south at least.

As to flying in Australia, both Virgin and Qantas will fly your bike for about $20.00 if it is under 23 kg. They both currently use a piece charge system. Not sure about Jetstar but. I recently flew with Qantas with my bike and trailer ... story can be found here.

Also you might want to check out the Australian Cycling Forums. Lots of friendly locals to give you ideas on where to ride.

Andrew
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Old 11-30-12, 08:01 AM
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Ride on has blogged on what they describe as the "
must-do bike rides in six Australian cities". You can find the list and brief details at Ride On.



Andrew


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Old 02-13-13, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Chelseaandannoy View Post
I plan to go Feb-April or something like that. I'll be in Australia primarily but I MIGHT go to SE Asia or Japan, not positive until I am in that area.

I actually am positive I'll be cycling the country as well, but my bike will be mostly used for commuting everywhere.
And so ... what did you decide? Are you here in Australia now?
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