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Doing "The Big One"

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by rc36, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. I'm sure that everyone's thought about riding right around Australia and I'm certain some of you have done it, but it's interesting how little information there actually is about it on the net.

    For literally years I have said to my wife that the one thing that I'd like to do before I get too old to be able to do it is to ride around Australia.

    Now there is a major caveat and it is that I want to do so on sealed roads only. I'm not the slightest bit interested in "mine's bigger than yours" touring, wrestling awkward "adventure" bikes (joke) through mud and dust, or having a litany of bumps, scratches and injuries to boast about when I eventually get home.

    Today over lunch I brought up the subject again and, suddenly it popped into sharp relief. Here I am, nearly 61 years old and the clock is ticking. Time to stop THINKING about it and start DOING SOMETHING about it.

    So, next July, tentatively, I plan to do "The Big One", the lap of Oz in an anti-clockwaise direction, which everyone seems to agree is the ideal set up. I'd like to stick to the coast as much as possible; not interested in exploring the inland at this stage.

    What I'm after is suggestions, ideas and, most importantly, first-hand "skinny" from people who have either done it or part of it.

    Thanks in anticipation.
  2. Clicks "watch thread" and sits back in anticipation.....

    (its on my list too)

    PLEASE, keep a diary or blog or something of the planning the trip the lot...
  3. Hiway 1 is now sealed all round Australia, So you dont need to hit dirt any where, unless you step off Hiway 1 Princes Hiway.
    1400 miles of dirt when I did it, back in the early 70's,
  4. CERTAINLY planning on doing THAT!!
  5. Well for starters the forum is full of info on how to set your bike up properly. Also check out the Farriders website for excellent bike tips, fatigue management and long distance touring info.

    EDIT: check out these links I found after a quick search..

    I suggest you break your trip down into specific areas and do your research that way. Additionally, if you plan to leave mid year, make sure your progress isn't affected by the wet season - even the sealed roads go under water for many weeks some times.

    Good luck with it and keep us posted on your adventures.
  6. I've read a good few 'round Australia threads on Advrider. Sounds good! 20,000km or thereabouts, how long do you think you'll take? Camping or accommodation? Might be worth having calculating where you'll need tyres again and whether they're likely to have them -might need to call them in advance to make sure they arrive in time.
  7. So much info and so quickly. Well, I did the google maps thingy this morning, and, sticking to Highway 1 all the way, it ends up being about 11500kms which is a little less than I thought it would be. Working on averaging around 500kms a day, that works out at 23 days riding. If I allow 4-5 weeks to do the whole trip that should give me plenty of time for sightseeing, rest days, fishing and general relaxation.

    I've been touring since 1981 so I've got the packing thing pretty much sorted and I would be planning on staying in country pubs as much as possible. DEFINITELY no camping, do not intend loading the bike down with that sort of stuff.

    I generally get around 16000kms on a front tyre and around 11000 on a rear. I figure that, if I put on a new set of "harder" tyres before I go, I should be able to do the lap without having to do a tyre change.

    Um, let me revise that, somehow those figures didn't look right. It's actually as near as dammit to 14000kms, so, averaging 500kms per day would work out at 28 days.
  8. Not as if you'll be riding where there are no bike shops - unless tyre size and choice very specific

    Here's a link from some fellow Ulyssians, and also FarRiders - it's a great read http://www.auswingriders.com/Rides/2003/Around/
  9. I've got long service leave coming up in a couple of years and if everything comes together this is what I'll be doing too (although I'm ok with some dirt roads and a tent occasionally). I'm planning on avoiding the major highways and stringing together a circuit using the Hema Motorcycle Atlas. I assume you already have a copy of that? It looks like a good set of maps, although the text is way too small for use on the bike (for my eyes anyway!). I plan to transfer them to Google Maps, save them as daily rides and copy them to a GPS unit (which I don't have yet).

    A Netrider list of Google Map rides to suit this classic trip would be really valuable. I know there's plenty in this forum, but unless you already know which town you want to go to and from it's really hard to work out which ones to use (my geography knowledge isn't that good!). Add descriptions of road conditions, hazards and highlights, tourist spots, bike friendly accommodation... does anything like this exist already?
  10. There is a Netrider who was planning the same trip, can't remember who so when he does his write up you may get some extra help.
    Nibor I think it was.
  11. My comment about tyres was more to do with the fact that it seems pretty silly to wear out "sports" tyres doing a trip like this when "touring" tyres will probably last the whole distance and do the job just as well on the sorts of roads that I'll be riding. Planning ahead will always pretty much eliminate this as an issue, though, I do agree.
  12. The great thing about traveling is you come across places you have to or want to stay at for 2-3 days to gain any real appreciation of the area. 500km per day doesn't equal 5hrs riding per day and while it may be a riding holiday, you should plan to take a little longer unless you have a time limit. These trips should never be a race and I would allow at least 8 weeks to have a relaxing and enjoyable trip.

    I'd rather visit and experience a few places properly rather than blast past a heap of them. Like you said, you've been wanting to do this for a long time - so make it worth your while and stop and smell the roses along the way. You could even fly your wife up halfway round and spend a few days in a capital city or country town.
  13. 28 riding days to cover the distance is the average. I certainly plan to take longer than that to allow time to "smell the roses" as you say. As for flying the wife somewhere, thanks for that, that's a useful suggestion.
  14. A lot of guys would agree.

    Bali? Moscow?

  15. Me and my mate have been talking about doing it as well!!! Have you considered trying to recruit a few people and do a big group ride for anyone who is keen or is it somthing you want to do solo?
  16. Yeah, I know, I left myself open for that, didn't I?

    Not really considering a group ride. I think it's something that you really need to do by yourself, but I could be wrong...let's see, I remember that I was once, back in 1978...:)
  17. There are a couple of around OZ stories on the Horizons Unlimitied Website plus heaps on Travel and Touring. Although you seem to have a fair bit of experience already give it a look anyway. I just finished Ted Simon's Dreaming of Jupiter which if you don't already know is about his around the world (including OZ) adventure in 2001 on a BMW R80GS at the young age of 70. He first did the trip in 1973, at 42 on a Triumph which he published as Jupiters Travels. Another book is Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook which is full of practical advice and tips.
    Good luck with your prep It's certainly a trip I think all of us want to do at some stage and I look forward to hear how it goes.

  18. Sounds good. I'm keen to do the 'big one' too, but after some distance on my current ride I have concerns about how practical it would be as a tourer, with its shocking tank range and comfort issues. And I'm keen to not go solo, so finding a mate to go with is also on the cards. And would carry a bit of camping gear but mostly staying in pubs.
  19. rc36 ... we are of like mind!

    3 weeks ago I made up my mind to do "the Big One". It's been on my mind for years, and a number of factors has made me bite the bullet and do it while I can (I turn 62 this year).

    I did plan to leave June/July 2010 and allow 3 months to do it. But last week my eldest son tells me he's getting married in winter 2010. I told him I got in first, so plan around me if he wants me there - I'm not deferring the trip for another year! Jeez, it took him 10 years to pop the question, but it's taken me half a lifetime to commit to this trip! We'll work something out.

    I'll stay on bitumen, using Highway 1 as the basic focus for the ride. I'll take excursions that might appeal and are feasible, and I'm prepared to stay awhile if a place really takes my fancy.

    Work? Well, if I worry about that, I'll never do the trip. I'll do the trip and then worry about it.

    My main focus at the moment is buying an appropriate bike. I want to have it by Jan 2010, do some short trips and then Phillip Island at the end of Feb, all to sort out the relationship with me and the new bike. The Honda Firestorm has been OK for what I've done to date, although it's been tough at times coping with its ergonomics (or lack thereof). But it's been a good, reliable and fun machine.

    Whatever I buy needs to be comfortable and suited for this trip. Am thinking of a Yamaha FJR1300A - I guess I've lusted after one of these for many years, and find it hard to contemplate any other similar machine.

    Any comments (particularly any relevant to the trip ahead of me) from an owner of one of these?

    rc36 - here's a website I found while looking for road conditions info -


    Am trying to find info on the internet that helps me determine maximum distances between fuel providers, especially in northwest Qld, NT, and WA.

    Hey, isn't it fun even at this stage of the trip?
  20. Seems like I have stirred up somewhat of a hornet's nest. Thanks for all the good advice, guys. I'm still in 2 minds about the group thing. I tend to think that, if you go solo, you have a lot more flexibility, but then again, travel in a small group has a security factor that is attractive too.

    Oh, and yeah, it sure is FUN!