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.
(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:
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:
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 Mar 2022, over 40 riders are registered (including 2 returnees) so we are very close to full. Northbound has one place spare while Southbound is waitlist.
We do have 2 places for 15 days Karumba to Birdsville (nearly 99% sealed).
The Queensland Outback Rail-Road-Ride is a series of road bike rides, in 3 stages, matching Queensland’s growing network of sealed ‘development roads’ with the (shrinking) rail network. Each stage begins or ends at points serviced by 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 193 km. Stage 3 includes options to ride 3 trains: Inlander, Gulflander and Savannahlander. Day by day details available on request.
Start date 11 May 2023.
1: Qantas 101, Charleville to Longreach via Isisford in 5 days (no rest days)
2: Min Min Lights, Longreach to Mt.Isa via Winton and Boulia in 7 days (incl 2 rest days)
3: Gulf Country, Mt.Isa to Georgetown (near Forsayth) via Karumba and Normanton in 12 days (incl 4 rest days)
We’re keeping 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