Reading “Out There and Back” by Kate Leeming, is potentially bad for my legs. It’s causing me to daydream about more serious riding. She describes her trip through NSW, as part of the overall trip around Australia, and it sits on the edge of the possible. There’s longer, harder days than I’m used to involved, with some serious climbs, but there’s no theoretical reason why I couldn’t ride all the way up to the North Coast. Here’s a tentative route, with distances:
- Sydney to Kariong – 86km
- Kariong to Cessnock – 99km
- Cessnock to Dungog – 76km
- Dungog to Gloucester – 64km
- Rest-day in Gloucester (distance covered since the start is 325km)
- Gloucester to Walcha – 145km (via Thunderbolt’s Way, of course)
- Walcha to Armidale – 65km
- Armidale to Ebor – 78km
- Ebor to Grafton – 118km
- Rest-day on Grafton (distance covered from Gloucester is 406km)
- Grafton to Casino – 100km
- Casino to Uki – 83km
- Uki to Wilson’s Creek – 53km
- Collapse! (distance covered from Grafton is 236)
That’s a total distance of 967km, over 2 weeks. I’ve done 600 on 9 days on one of the Big Rides, if I recall correctly, but this is a bit more challenging. There’s a 10 hour day there, assuming 15km/h with no stops. More credibly, it’s dawn to dusk. The Grafton to Casino leg was done last year in just under 6 hours – 18km/h – but that was fairly flat. Climbing up from Gloucester to Walcha is a bit tougher 🙂
Getting back to Sydney would have to be a shorter option , I think. Not that this isn’t doable in reverse, but I think that a few days to relax and recover before returning would be a better use of limited holiday time. Maybe a week off the bike, followed by three days back to Coffs, and the train to Sydney, leaving a couple of days to reintegrate into city life to round out a month’s “holiday”.
By the way, this is not Kate’s route exactly. She started in Canberra and came into Sydney via the BlueÂ Mountains to Epping. From there she (and a friend) went to Peats Ridge, up to Cessnock and over to Port Stephens, before going through The Myall Lakes national park to Buladehlah. Then they went to Gloucester and up to Armidale, before going through Grafton and up the highway to Byron. Finally, they went though Lismore and Kempsey and then heading basically north over the border.
Reading her exploits is hard work, let alone following in her tyre tracks. The first few chapters summarise her prior trip across Russia by bicycle – it sounds positively masochistic.