How did it go?
Just over a week ago my wife joined me at Yalara and another cycle tour was over. This tour certainly had some great highlights. Like fantastic scenery for most of the way, getting away from the sealed road for over 750km (or 50+% of the tour) and meeting new people along the way.
Not everything goes to plan. So you always need to have a plan B. E.g when the bike pump broke, I didn't foresee this happening and needed to ask my partner to help out. It all panned out okay in the end, but meant I needed to change my route which was originally going to take me via Finke to a slightly more populated route out to the Stuart Highway.
For this trip I added an extrawheel trailer to the mix This allowed me to carry the extra water and food between resupply points. I was very happy with the trailer. It did its job well. I was able to carry about 2 weeks supply of food and 3 days (14 litres) of water quite comfortably in it. The trailer tracked really well both on the dirt and sealed sections and a lot of the time I would forget I was towing it. I also felt more comfortable moving some of the weight off the bike and to the back, as I think it did make the bike itself easier to handle on the dirt.
Because I used the extrawheel trailer I had an additional dynamo. This was connected to an e-werx which I used to keep my camera (Panasonic GX-1) batteries and lights (ay-ups) charged. This worked well, as up front I had my pedalpower+ which was used to keep the iPhone and Garmin charged throughout the trip. I did have an issue though with the pedalpower+, about halfway along the dirt tracks the wires became loose and also the battery inside would be disconnected slightly. It became worse and worse during the latter half of the trip, but did last (just) till I got to Yalara. I was disappointed in the fact it didn't survive the trip, as I thought it was better made than it actually was.
The bike was fitted with Schwalbe Mondial (47-622 (28x1.75) tyres. I had used them before on last year's tour through the Blue Mountains. The tyres were great. The grip was perfect for the different types of dirt (gravel, sand and clay bases) I was riding on. After I completed the tour, I checked the tyres and only the rear (on the bike) had a little bit of wear, the other two tyres were like new still. I will certainly be using these tyres the next time my tour takes me back on the dirt roads.
Water was a concern when I planned this tour. I researched where I'd be able to get water along the way and calculated that I should generally carry two days worth of water through the Flinders Ranges and about 3 days when I got to the Oodnadatta track. I was pleasantly surprised to find good sources of water (rainwater tank, good bore water and offers from other road users) along the way. So water never became a major concern. Also it helped doing the tour it the cooler months (April-May).
Because of the remoteness of this trip, my partner was concerned about communication along the way. There is no mobile coverage from Leigh Creek to Marla (about 10 days) and also along a number of the other dirt roads along the way. To overcome this I agreed to get a Spot Tracker. This enabled me to check-in at the end of each day so my partner and friends knew I was okay. As each time I checked in it would send them and e-mail and also update the map I embedded on my home page. It worked really well and gave my wife peace of mind whilst I was out there.
I'm already thinking of a tour closer to home (NSW) for next year and some longer ones to follow. I have really enjoyed being able to get away from the sealed roads and towns and getting to see parts of Australia a lot of people don't get to enjoy.