The idea of cycling remote Outback Australia trails with support became Outbike in 2004.
It started with Alice Springs to Coober Pedy in 14 days, all dirt but not too difficult, via the Old Andado Track, Western Simpson Desert, Dalhousie Springs and Oodnadatta. In 2005 the Bike ‘n Wheels Expedition was added, riding Gulf-to-Gulf across the continent, from Port Augusta to Karumba via Birdsville in 30 days. The G2G continues to be one of Australia’s most iconic rides, occurring every 3 years. Next is May-June 2022.
In recent years, rides have included Charters Towers to Charleville, loops and rail-trail routes in South East Queensland, combinations of Victoria’s Rail Trails and tracing along SA’s Limestone Coast.
In 2016 and 2018 Outbike ran the Tour du Front, 23-day rides of the WW1 Western Front from Niewport on the North Sea to Basel Switzerland in collaboration with Belgian Carl Ooghe, an ace battlefield cycling guide.
Outbike events generally run with between 6 and 20 participants.
Outbike’s outback rides are all-camping. Where we run rail-trails and back-roads rides we can be either camping or accommodation (or offer a choice). Europe rides so far have been all-accommodated.
Outbike has been ‘under our command’ from the launch in 2004 to 2007 and back with us again since 2014. Rides are not running all the time – typically we run several events each year.
Outbike and Arcadia Travel are co-owned.
20-21 February 2021: Loopy Rail Trail Weekend is a relatively modest 80+km circuit, starting 1pm at Blackbutt and ending there 24 hours later. The route takes in the BVRT to Yarraman, then along Upper Yarraman and Palms back-roads to Cooyar for an overnight (pub or camping), then the Mt Binga route back to Blackbutt. About 35km is gravel including the rail trail. Altitude ranges from 350m to 650m (some of it is hilly). E-bikes are welcome. Our bus follows the last rider on the road sections and carries riders’ gear. Meet at Blackbutt or catch our transfer bus from Noosa, Sunshine Coast or Caboolture there and back. Event is confirmed. Cost is $50 per rider plus camping or accom. Bus return transfers are $50 to $70 per rider. We look forward to develop more weekends on this theme.
More information and booking link on our Facebook page @outbikeaustralia
The 2021 Queensland Outback Rail-Road-Ride is a series of road bike rides, in four stages, matching Queensland’s growing network of sealed ‘development roads’ with the (shrinking) rail network. Each stage begins or ends at points serviced by NSW or Queensland Rail and with the event we aim to also show how point-to-point outback cycling can match well with trains. These rides are camping, in towns, beside remote pubs and rest areas. Distances vary from 64 to 230 km. Longest days are 209 and 230 km. Stage 4 includes options to ride 3 trains: Inlander, Gulflander and Savannahlander. Day by day details available on request.
22 April 2021: Dig Tree Dash, Moree to Charleville via Cooper Creek in 13 days
6 May 2021: Qantas 101, Charleville to Longreach via Isisford in 5 days
14 May 2021: Min Min Lights, Longreach to Mt.Isa via Winton and Boulia in 9 days
23 May 2021: Gulf Country, Mt.Isa to Forsayth via Karumba and Normanton in 12 days
(1) 4 May to 6 June 2022: Ride Gulf to Gulf, Port Augusta to Karumba, trans-continental across Australia in 30 days. In Sept 2020 we confirmed this event to run. The dates include the transfers, from Adelaide and on to Cairns.
(2) 10 June to 12 July 2022: Ride Gulf to Gulf, Karumba to Port Augusta. With strong registrations for 2022 (at end of 2020), an additional Gulf to Gulf is now confirmed. It will run southbound. The dates include transfers, from Cairns and on to Adelaide.
As of Jan 2021, over 20 riders have registered for the first (northbound) event. New registrations will now only be accepted for the second (southbound) event. Entrants can ask to be ‘waitlisted’ for the first event should places become available.
More rides will be scheduled for mid-2021 and beyond as we get clear of the Covid cloud. We’re thinking we’ll keep the focus in Southern Queensland, from several days up to a week, and working in themes of rail-trails, back roads and gravel. Maybe a tour for e-bikes too?
Beyond 2021, as well as the 2022 Gulf to Gulf ride, we’ll be hoping to return to SE Australia for events where we can offer rail-trails in Southern NSW, Victoria and SA, with bus transfers between the rides.
More about past Outbike rides and ideas for groups and clubs can be found on our ‘legacy’ website: outbike.com.au
Testimony from one of our returning riders:
“My introduction to Outbike was in 2016 when I signed up for the inaugural Tour de Front. Thanks to Ralph and Carl the tour was a great success, from both the WW1 historical perspective and the challenge of cycling the length of the Western Front in 23 days.
Again, thanks to Outbike I have been able to cycle rail trails in Victoria and coastal roads and trails in South Australia with excellent organisation and back up from the tour leader.
Another challenge I can highly recommend is the Gulf to Gulf. It will test you physically and mentally but there is an enormous sense of achievement at the end of the ride.
Outbike gives you the opportunity to see parts of the country you may never have visited or thought to cycle.”
T.B. from Queensland, 2020