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 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.
27-28 March 2021: Our second Loopy Rail Trail Weekend is Wondai to Proston creating a 140+km circuit, starting from 7am out of Wondai and ending there Sunday afternoon. The Satrurday routes is 65km, and takes the SBRT to Murgon, then rural roads to Hivesville and a gravel route to reach Proston. Overnight camping (or book yourself in the pub). Sunday is 77km, first back to Hivesville then cross-country on back roads to Wooroolin, rejoining the SBRT for the final 15km. 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 Nambour there and back. Event is open for bookings on Eventbrite. Cost is $50 per rider plus camping or accom. Bus return transfers are $90 per rider from Nambour Station.
More information and booking link on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/loopy-rail-trail-weekend-wondai-to-proston-tickets-143548656897
Also see our Facebook page @outbikeaustralia
20-21 February 2021: Loopy Rail Trail Weekend was 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.
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.
On 1 Feb 2021 we made the decision to postpone from 2021 to 2023 (start date 4 May 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 Forsayth via Karumba and Normanton in 12 days (incl 4 rest 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, this additional Gulf to Gulf is now confirmed. It will run southbound. The dates include transfers, from Cairns and on to Adelaide.
As of Feb 2021, nearly 30 riders have registered. 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 weekends 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.
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 ‘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