OUTBIKE – GULF 2 GULF
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OUTBIKE – GULF 2 GULF

7 JUN – 6 JUL 2021 – OPEN FOR REGISTRATIONS & EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST 

4 MAY – 6 JUN 2022 – CONFIRMED TO RUN 

13 JUN – 12 JUL 2022 – PROPOSED ADDITIONAL EVENT

One of Australia’s great bike touring challenges, Outbike’s Gulf-to-Gulf blazes a trail across the heart of our amazing continent.

These ancient lands reflect the heritage of many nations of Australia’s First Peoples – who lived out there admirably well – and the courage, stubbornness,  successes and tragedies of European explorers like the famed but unfortunate Burke and Wills – and the settlers who forged an existence in what was for them, a land of unforgiving remoteness.

Week One (northbound) starts in Port Augusta and explores the spectacular Flinders Ranges to reach the desert railhead of Marree.

Week Two traverses the legendary Birdsville Track.

Week Three rolls across Queensland’s vast Channel Country to Mt Isa.

Week Four rides Carpentaria’s Gulf Country to Normanton and Karumba.

Demographics:  Typically most riders are Australians, ages 30s to 70s with median age around 60 – and slightly more males than females.  On the 2019 G2G we had a majority of ladies.  Internationals have included Canada, NZ and USA.  Fitness varies from moderate to race-fit!

Background: Previous rides ran ‘under our command’ in 2005, 2006, 2016 and 2019. Between 2007 and 2012 several more ran when Outbike was in other hands.

G2G 2021 – REGISTRATIONS INVITED

Due to Covid19 limiting international travel, we propose to add a G2G ride for 2021, to run southbound, Mon 7 Jun to Tue 6 Jul 2021.

The ride will run at the usual 30 day pace, southbound for the first time, and we will avoid Mt.Isa, trying the shorter (by 90km) Cloncurry-Duchess-Dajarra road which is being improved in 2020.

The schedule gives riders the chance to take the Savannahlander from Cairns 2-3 June to Forsayth railhead and visit Cobbold Gorge.  Our transfer from Cairns to Karumba will run 4-5 June with overnight at Georgetown (where we can meet any Savannahlander riders).

The Gulf to Gulf 2021 rides Gulf of Carpentaria all the way to Spencer Gulf in 30 days.  A quarter of the route is gravel, notably the 520km Birdsville Track. Since we began the event in 2005, about 400km has been sealed. It’s getting easier – though we do like the gravel!

Half Ride? For this event we can also accept several riders looking to do half of the event, either 14 days Karumba to Birdsville – OR – 15 days Birdsville to Port Augusta. REX fly in to Birdsville from Brisbane Mon & Thu, returning Tue & Fri.

For 2021, 5 ride rest days are in Cloncurry, Boulia, Birdsville, Mungerannie and Angorichina.  There are 25 riding days.

  • 2-3 June: Option to take Savannahlander from Cairns to Forsayth.
  • 4-5 June: Bus transfer from Cairns to Karumba.
  • 6 June: Karumba has a rest day prior to the start of the ride.
  • 7 June: Ride starts.
  • 21 June: Halfway rest day at Birdsville.
  • 6 July: Finish Port Augusta about midday, transfer same day to Adelaide

Day by Day <approx distance>:

Karumba Point <70> Normanton <200 in 2 days*> Four Ways <185 in 2 days*> Cloncurry x 2 nts <120 / or rail> Duchess <60> Dajarra <150> Boulia <195 in 2 days*> Bedourie <190 in 2 days*> Birdsville <315 in 4 days***> Mungerannie Pub x 2 nts <65> Cooper Creek* <85> Clayton Station* <55> Marree <115> Copley <85> Angorichina x 2 nts <80> Wilpena <55> Hawker <65> Quorn <40> Port Augusta and transfer to Adelaide same day.

* denotes bush camps enroute (9 altogether)

Rest days:

  • Karumba has plenty to see and do
  • Cloncurry will be a day and a half. We will arrange a bus trip into Mt. Isa 120km each way.
  • Boulia will feel like our last ‘green’ place. Relax and visit the Min Min Centre.
  • Birdsville is iconic and we’ll likely arrive about lunchtime, having a day and a half. A drive 40km west out to ‘Big Red’ could be possible.
  • Mungerannie has a bore-fed warm artesian lake – however in 2019 it was empty due to water concerns.
  • Angorichina Village is in the heart of the Flinders Ranges. There is a long walk to Blinman Pools. We’ll also put on a tour of about 50km, taking a circuit via scenic Glass Gorge to Blinman village and the old Copper Mine.

Half days: Short riding days will give us time to explore Normanton, dip in Bedourie’s artesian baths, stroll around the old railhead of Marree and possibly a Lake Eyre flight, walks at Wilpena Pound, gravel detours in the Flinders Ranges, afternoon time in the towns of Hawker and Quorn. A 40km final day to Port Augusta includes the chance to get the group photo dipping the bikes in chilly Spencer Gulf before we bus down to Adelaide.

G2G 2022 RIDE IN BRIEF

CONFIRMED 5 May start from Pt Augusta, arrival Karumba 3 June. 

Note: An additional 2022 G2G may subsequently run southbound with a 13 June start from Karumba, arrival Pt Augusta, 12 July, see itinerary for 2021.  By end Dec 2020 we may have more news on this.

Riders can transfer from Adelaide on our bus on 4 May – and from Karumba to Cairns 5-6 June.

The Gulf to Gulf rides Spencer Gulf all the way to Gulf of Carpentaria in 30 days. A quarter of the route is gravel, notably the 520km Birdsville Track. Since we began the event in 2005, about 400km has been sealed. It’s getting easier – though we do like the gravel!

For 2022, ride rest days are in Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville and Mt.Isa.

The ride schedule in the first week will vary slightly from previous, with night stops in Quorn, Hawker, Wilpena, Angorichina Village, Copley and Marree.  This splits what was a long day (Quorn to Wilpena 120km) into two days, gives more time at Wilpena and moves a rest day up to Marree.

Karumba has a rest day at ride’s end on 4 June.

Day by Day <approx distance>: Port Augusta <40> Quorn <65> Hawker <55> Wilpena <80> Angorichina <85> Copley <115> Marree x 2 nts <55> Clayton Station* <85> Cooper Creek* <65> Mungerannie Pub x 2 nts <315 in 4 days***> Birdsville x 2 nts <190 in 2 days*> Bedourie <195 in 2 days*> Boulia <300 in 3 days**> Mt Isa  x 2 nts <120> Cloncurry <185 in 2 days*> Four Ways <200 in 2 days*> Normanton <70> Karumba Point.

* denotes bush camp (11 nights)

Rest days:

  • Marree is a fascinating old town, once the railhead for the Ghan.  Flights to Lake Eyre are possible.
  • Mungerannie is a pub and bore-fed warm artesian lake – however in 2019 it was empty due to water concerns.
  • Birdsville is iconic and we’ll arrive early afternoon, having a day plus some. A drive 40km west out to ‘Big Red’ could be possible.
  • Mt Isa arriving lunchtime will be in effect a day and a half.
  • Karumba has plenty to see and do for our day and a half.

Half days: Short riding days will give us afternoon time in the towns of Hawker and Quorn, time for gravel detours in the Flinders Ranges, walks or flights at Wilpena Pound, spa tub at Clayton Station, a dip in Bedourie’s artesian baths,  afternoon in Boulia, and time to explore Normanton and a possible ride on the Gulflander.

Riders:  We aim for between 12 and 20 riders.  We will accept up to 22 registrations to allow for possible withdrawals.

Crew:  Staff of 2 to 4 plus a few helpers (free trip) to give a high level of service together with 2 or 3 support vehicles.

Daily Grind:  Typical cycling distances are 80km a day on dirt roads (of varying surfaces) and 100km on sealed roads (longest 120km).

Included Meals, Nights, Transfers:

2021 Ride includes 32 nights camping (9 at bush sites and rest areas), hearty breakfasts on all days, snacks galore, lunches on 25 ride days, dinners on 9 bush nights (dine at local pubs or make use of campsite-kitchens the rest), extensive rider support and transfers on our bus from Cairns and on to Adelaide.

2022 Ride includes 33 nights camping (11 at bush sites and rest areas), hearty breakfasts on all days, snacks galore, lunches on 26 ride days, dinners on 11 bush nights (dine at local pubs or make use of campsite-kitchens the rest), extensive rider support and transfers on our bus from Adelaide and on to Cairns.

Cost:  Participation per rider in 2021 or 2022 is $7000 (same as 2019).

2021/22 RIDER INFORMATION

Bikes:  MTB recommended.  Hybrid and cross-country bikes OK if you’re expert on loose gravel and through sandy patches.  Two sets of tyres suggested, knobblies for the dirt and narrower for bitumen.  Make sure your bike is comfortable for successive long days.

Hire:  We will have a number of 27.5 MTBs for hire at $500 for the 30 days with two sets of tyres, knobblies and narrower for road (eg Maxxis Detonator 1.50″/38mm 80 psi).  You may like to bring your own saddle, pedals and bar-ends.

Transfer between Adelaide and Port Augusta:  By our mini-coach and included in the rate.  Our mini-coaches have wide-opening windows, XL-legroom and comfy reclining seats.

Transfer between Karumba and Cairns:  Taking 2 days with a night camped at Georgetown and a visit to Undara Lava Caves. Transfer, camping and breakfast is included, while meals and Undarra admission are extra.

Camping gear:  We provide Malamoo or Speedy pop-ups (pairs and singles). For mattress, we provide 2 layers, a closed cell insulation mat and a self-inflating soft foam mat – so you’ll have 5-6cm of comfort under you.  Sleeping bags are available for hire.  Spares bags and blankets are carried for colder nights.  For the campsite, we have gazebos (some with insect mesh), awnings to use on the sides of vehicles, tables, stools and comfortable chairs.  We have a shower enclosure and solar heated water bags.  On many nights we will have a campfire.

Drinks:  You may bring alcoholic drinks to have on our bush overnights but we ask that they not be consumed before 4pm – and in moderation.

Entertainments:  There’ll be a bunch of books, games and sports gear.  We have a number of documentaries and movies themed to the country we travel.

Power:  We have a generator, solar panels and battery storage to provide power in remote locations.

Breakfasts and Lunches:  Fuel up on healthy buffet breakfasts.  Pack lunch before setting out and we’ll keep it cool for you to pick up at the lunch rendezvous.  Dietary requests can be advised and we will cater for these.

Support vehicles:  We plan to use 2 or 3 of our 21 seat mini-coaches (with large enclosed trailers) and our 4wd Nissan X-Trail.  One vehicle will stay to the rear of the last rider and act as a sag-wagon at day’s end for riders in distress or who have fallen well behind.

Chores:  We will have most things covered with our crew and helpers. For the bush campsites where we have more camp set-up and to prepare dinners, we’ll run a roster for riders to assist.

Water points:  Each day we will set up water containers at points advised on the day.

Morning Tea:  Our crew and vehicles will be typically at 25-40kms intervals with thermoses, filter coffee and tea, cold drinks, fruit, cake, biscuits and other snacks.

Crockery, cutlery:  We ask riders to bring their own plate, bowl, cutlery and coffee mug and cup, best kept in a calico bag or similar.

Lunch stop:  Typically at 50-80kms with one of our crew and a vehicle on site.

Afternoon Tea:  On our longer days we will have an afternoon tea at 75-100 kms.

Volunteer non-rider helpers:  We can use up to 3 non-riding helpers for campsite, rider support and catering tasks.  It’s a great way to see a lot of Outback Australia at next to no cost.

Fitness:  Riders should have experience at completing 100km days and competence at riding on dirt roads.

Medical:  Registrants will be required to advise of medical conditions on the registration and waiver form.  We reserve the right to ask for a doctor’s letter.  If the Ride Manager becomes concerned on the event for an entrant’s ride-fitness or ability to ride on safely, they may discuss with the rider possibilities to tackle shorter distances for a day or more – combined with rest and recovery, riding on the vehicles.

Communications:  Several UHF hand-helds will be issued amongst riders.  Ride vehicles have UHF radio.  A satellite phone is carried.  In 2019 Optus had the best mobile coverage on the route.

First Aid:  Comprehensive first-aid kits will be on all vehicles.  We carry plenty of sunscreen and personal insect repellant.

Traffic:  The full ride does 2200 kms along remote highways including around 700 kms on remote dirt roads.  As it is mostly in Outback SA and Queensland, none of the roads are too busy however care needs to be taken, especially with single lane bitumen, dust clouds, passing trucks and road trains.  We recommend riding with a mirror and being prepared to pull over if a large vehicle is likely to pass closely or create serious dust (eg if it also faces oncoming traffic – or on sections where you are on narrow road).

How busy are the roads?  Traffic volumes per day, total in both directions approx (using recent annual estimates divided by 365):
Birdsville to Bedourie on the Eyre Development Road  30
Bedourie to Mt Isa on the Diamantina Development Road  45
Mt Isa to Cloncurry on the Barkly Hwy  600. FOR 2022 WE HAVE SCHEDULED THIS STAGE ON A SUNDAY TO LESSEN THE NUMBER OF MINING TRUCKS AND GIVE THE OPTION OF TRAVELLING ON THE INLANDER TRAIN.
Cloncurry to Karumba on the Burke Development Road  75
Sourced from Queensland Department of Transport & Main Roads.

Ride Guide:  We issue a descriptive day by day ride guide.

Signage:  Our vehicles will display ‘CYCLISTS ON ROAD’ signs.  Be advised we do not place marshalls and signage along the daily route.  Instructions will be given ahead of any route aspects that may be confusing.

Route Diversions:  Conditions in the Outback are subject to change due to occurrences such as rains and floods.  Diversions could range from a few hours to a few days and may involve travel on our buses.  In 2016 we made it to Birdsville with hours to spare before a deluge that held us up for 4 days – which we managed to catch up on.  In 2019 flood water closed the upper Birdsville Track from February to June and for nearly 5 days so we drove around via the Strzelecki Track, Innamincka, the Dig Tree and other dirt trails to reach Birdsville.

Participation:

* $7000 full ride (same as 2019)

Deposits and payment schedule for confirmed events:
* $100 deposit holds a ride place up until 31 December of the year prior;
* A second deposit payment of $900 is due by 31 December of the year prior;
* Full payment is due by end of March prior to the ride.

Rider Registration:  Upon receipt of your registration/waiver form and deposit, we will write back to confirm receipt and your place.

Expressions of Interest:  May be made at any time. If it is for an event that is already confirmed, we may hold a place for up to 30 days.

Cancellation conditions:
* Deposits of $100 and $900 are NON-REFUNDABLE.
* Cancellation between 1 April 2022 and the event commencement shall incur a 50% LOSS of the full amount paid.

If an event is cancelled by OUTBIKE, full refunds will be made. If a participant has to cancel due to COVID19 restrictions, full refunds will be made.

Travel insurance:  Consider a travel insurance policy to cover cancellation or other unseen events.

Fund raising for charity:  While we have not linked the event to any specific charity, if any rider seeks to raise funds through their participation they are welcome to advise us of the cause.  We can put an item on our home page with a link to help promote.

Images on the event:  We do take images during events that we may later use on social media and in promotion. Participating in any Outbike event, you acknowledge that you may appear in such images.

For expression of interest please email  go@arcadiatravel.com.au or message via the inquiry form below.