Looking back on the ride, I’m very satisfied with the outcome. I rode 880km over 12 days – 65 and a half hours – and felt quite capable of continuing. My schedule of 3 day’s riding, a rest day, 4 day’s riding, a rest day and a final 3 day’s riding worked perfectly. However, that depended on a routine of using motels, which is an expensive exercise overall. Not that I mind putting about $1500 into the local state economy, especially for rural tourism, for a once in a blue moon trip, but any future trips would have to be much more firmly planned around camping. I’d have to make up a list of campsites around all potential destinations over the upcoming day’s rides and and start asking people along the way if they knew of any decent places to camp.
As Brice did, I think that riding shorter days, limited to about 50km, is better. I’d still start early to get done before the heat of the day kicked in, however. Also like Brice, I’d carry less food in general and rely on cheap supermarket purchases from day to day unless I knew that I’d be away from towns for a certain period. A leisurely made and consumed sandwich in a park by a river beats a hastily swallowed muesli bar by the side of the road with 30km left to ride 🙂
Using Warm Showers is definitely a consideration, although I’m in no position to reciprocate and that makes me feel uneasy about signing on and using the service. I’ve never been one to bond easily with strangers and to ask random people for information or help, although this and previous solo bike trips have improved my sociability somewhat. A more camping-based approach to touring will mean that I have to improve further, I think.
The bike performed well. Even over that really muddy day from Port Macquarie, it was fine, given a wash and re-oil of the chain. It might be worth investing in a different saddle, but shorter days riding would also help.
Having the ability to recharge electronic devices, primarily the GPS was also wonderful. I wouldn’t exchange that for anything. It generally took about a couple of hour’s riding to completely charge the GPS, unless the route was very hilly and I was riding too slow. Having the ability to see maps and routes on the GPS was also invaluable. Paper maps have their place but I’m all for a good modern technological solution to problems, like disc brakes instead of rim brakes, hub dynamo based lighting systems and GPS 🙂
I don’t know if I’ll do a similar trip again in the near future. Given that I now know a bit more about the various parts of the NSW mid north coast, it’s possible that I could take mini-trips, like traveling three days to the Myall Lakes camping for a couple and then riding to Taree and catch the train back to Sydney. Similarly, it’s possible to take the train to Dungog and explore around there for a few days, or to Taree and then ride out to Crowdy Bay. A nice exploration would be to get to Kempsey and then ride around Crescent Head, Hat Head and South West Rocks. There’s a few years’ worth of holiday ideas 🙂