NSW outback bicycle tour
Having time during the Christmas / New Years period in January 2009 opened up an opportunity for having another look around in my home state NSW. This opportunity was made perfect by the fact that my mate Dean from our cycling club just bought his brand new touring bike over Christmas and was now keen to check it out under real touring conditions. So we planned to tour the outback, places where non of us has ever been before, where the roads are level and the people are friendly and the stress of the city can be left behind.
The initial plan was to go on the Countrylink train service to Broken Hill, get off at Ivanhoe station, start cycling from there to the Mungo National Park and the keep going South to the Murrumbidgee River. We then had to simply follow the river to the East to Wagga Wagga from where we could catch another train on the Melbourne-Sydney line back home.
This plan included rewards such as being back in Kangaroo and Emu country, taking benefit from the long daylight hours in the Australian summer, exploring new territory which promised to be flat and easy to ride and meeting the famously friendly outback people in towns with an average population of around 300. The challenges would be the sheer heat of the summer and the fact that there would be sections of the trip where there is no chance to stock up on water, food, bike parts for over a day, in fact the chance to meet any other person during a whole day's ride would be very dim.
Checking the weather forecast before booking the train ticket promised daylight from 6:00am to 9:00pm, temperatures in their 30's. Also calling the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the local petrol station in Ivanhoe confirmed that the roads, paved and unpaved, would be suitable to ride a bicycle and also confirmed which farms / stations in between towns would be inhabited or abandoned.
So we just packed the bikes and went ahead...