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, an all-gravel ride but not too extreme, 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. Next rides are May-June 2022 followed by June-July 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 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 Flanders local 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.
4-5 September 2021: Linville to Crows Nest is a 160 km circuit, riding clockwise. Start 9am out of Linville and ending there Sunday afternoon. The Saturday route is 80km, and takes the BVRT for 37km through Moore, Harlin and the Yimbun Tunnnel to Toogoolawah. Then we strike south-west on the Biarra Road, joining up with the Esk to Crows Nest Road, another 47km, mostly sealed (13km is gravel). There’s a big climb towards the end, up 300m over 5km. On Sunday, Pierces Creek Road goes north for 36km (3km unsealed?), becoming Mt Binga Road. From there to Blackbutt is 21km via Googa, Douglas and Corcoran Roads which are mostly gravel. Rejoining the BVRT at Blackbutt, it’s 23km to Linville. Overnight Crows Nest camping (or book yourself in a pub or motel). E-bikes are welcome. Our bus follows the last rider on the road sections and carries riders’ gear. Meet at Linville or catch our transfer bus from Caboolture there and back. Cost is $60 per rider plus camping or accom. Bus return transfers are $70 per rider+bike from outside Maccas in East St, near Caboolture Station (or $90 from Noosa and Sunshine Coast). Maximum 30 places.
18-19 September 2021: We’re returning to do the Linville to Nanango 130+km circuit, this time counter-clockwise. Start 10am out of Linville and ending there Sunday afternoon. The Saturday route is 66km, and takes the Mt Stanley Road (sealed 24km). Western Branch Road (gravel 14km), River Road (50% sealed 9km), Bullcamp Road and Mylett Lane (gravel 6km) and again the Mt Stanley Road into Nanango (mostly gravel 13km). Sunday is the ‘Link Trail’ route (mostly gravel, some rough, 20km) to reach the BVRT a few km out of Yarraman. Enjoy the BVRT (all gravel) to Blackbutt (15km), Benarkin (5km) and down the range back to Linville (18km). Overnight Nanango camping (or book yourself in a pub or motel). E-bikes are welcome. Our bus follows the last rider on the road sections and carries riders’ gear. Meet at Linville or catch our transfer bus from Caboolture there and back. Cost is $60 per rider plus camping or accom. Bus return transfers are $70 per rider+bike from outside Maccas in East St, near Caboolture Station (or $90 from Noosa and Sunshine Coast). Maximum 30 places.
23-24 October 2021: Wondai to Moffatdale is a 110 km circuit. Start 12:00 noon out of Wondai and ending there Sunday afternoon. The Saturday route is 40km, and takes the SBRT for 14km sealed to Murgon and a few km beyond on gravel. Then riding the back roads of the Moffatdale Wine Region. Overnight BnB, cabins or camping at Yallakool Park beside the Joh B-P Dam. On Sunday, ride back 13km to Murgon for breakfast, then north on the climb up Boat Mountain Road to Tablelands, a little out to the west, followed by a southerly run across the farmlands, reconnecting with the SBRT at Tingoora village. The final stretch is gently downhill back to Wondai. E-bikes are welcome. Our bus follows the last rider on the road sections and carries riders’ gear. Meet at Wondai or catch our transfer bus from Noosa/Cooroy/Gympie there and back. Cost is $99 per rider plus camping or accom. Bus return transfers are $90 per rider+bike. Maximum 15 places.
More weekends are planned for Aug-Sep-Oct and will be posted early July.
Also see our Facebook page @outbikeaustralia
19-20 June 2021: South Burnett Loopy Rail Trail Weekend from Wondai to Proston 120+km circuit, starting out of Wondai and ending there Sunday afternoon. Saturday 56km on the SBRT to Murgon, then rural roads to Hivesville and a mostly gravel route to reach Proston. Overnight camping (or pub). Sunday 67km, back to Hivesville then rural roads to Wooroolin, rejoining the SBRT for the final 15km. E-bikes welcome. Bus support on the road sections. Cost $50 per rider plus camping or accom. Bus return transfers $90 per rider from Nambour Station.
12-13 June 2021: Linville to Nanango 130+km circuit, starting 8-10am out of Linville and ending there Sunday afternoon. Saturday 66km on the BVRT via Benarkin and Blackbutt to Yarraman, then the mostly gravel ‘Link Trail’ route to Nanango. Overnight camping (or pub or motel). Sunday is also 66km, east via Mt Stanley Rd, Mylett Lane, Bull Camp Rd and River Rd, descending to the Upper Brisbane Valley, then Western Branch Rd and Mt Stanley Rd back to Linville. E-bikes welcome. Bus follows the last rider on the road sections and carries riders’ gear. Meet at Linville or catch our transfer bus from Caboolture there and back. Cost $60 per rider plus camping or accom.
20-21 February 2021: 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 Upper Yarraman Rd and Palms Rd 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 welcome. The 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. Cost was $50 per rider plus camping or accom.
(1) Northbound 4 May to 6 June 2022: Ride Gulf to Gulf, Port Augusta to Karumba, trans-continental across Australia in 30 days. The dates include transfers, from Adelaide the day prior and on to Cairns over 2 days after a rest day in Karumba.
(2) Southbound 11 June to 13 July 2022: Ride Gulf to Gulf, Karumba to Port Augusta, trans-continental across Australia in 30 days. The dates include transfers, from Cairns over 2 days and on to Adelaide on the final ride day. There is a rest day in Karumba 13th June before riding starts on the 14th.
(3) Half Rides of 15 days Northbound (limited places):
a. Ride the SA section, Port Augusta to Birdsville, 5th to 19th May, flying out of Birdsville on the 2oth to Brisbane on REX.
b. Ride the Queensland section, Birdsville to Karumba, 21st June to 3rd July, flying into Birdsville on the 19th from Brisbane on REX.
(4) Half Rides of 15 days (limited places):
a. Ride the Queensland section, Karumba to Birdsville, 13th to 27th June, flying out on the 28th to Brisbane on REX.
b. Ride the SA section, Birdsville to Port Augusta, 29th June to 13th July, flying in to Birdsville on the 27th from Brisbane on REX.
As of late Jul 2021, almost 40 riders are registered (including 4 returnees) so we are very close to full. Once we reach 22 participants per ride, we will open a waitlist to take further expressions of interest.
The 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 200+ km. Stage 4 includes options to ride 3 trains: Inlander, Gulflander and Savannahlander. Day by day details available on request.
Start date 27 April 2023.
1: Dig Tree Dash, Moree to Charleville via Cooper Creek in 13 days (incl 2 rest days)
2: Qantas 101, Charleville to Longreach via Isisford in 5 days (no rest days)
3: Min Min Lights, Longreach to Mt.Isa via Winton and Boulia in 7 days (incl 2 rest days)
4: Gulf Country, Mt.Isa to Georgetown (near Forsayth) via Karumba and Normanton in 12 days (incl 4 rest days)
Further weekend rides will be scheduled for late 2021 and early 2022. We’ll keep the focus in Southern Queensland for the remainder of 2021.
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.
Internationally: (1) We are keen to run ‘exploratory’ rides of 3-4 weeks on the growing network of trails in USA and Canada. These could be in an affordable format with just a maxi-van in support. (2) We will again offer rides in Belgium-France with Carl Ooghe. Themes will include general history, culture, food and wine – as well as key WW1 and WW2 sites.
Club charters: Outbike has access to touring 21 passenger mini-coaches and heavy-duty enclosed trailers. Typically, on a trip of several days, we can take up to 18 bikes along with luggage and camping and catering gear. For a remote bike ride of week or more, 12 riders is a good number.
More about past Outbike rides and ideas for groups and clubs can be found on our 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