A few bumps and scrapes is a small price to pay for an epic experience.
That’s what I told myself sat in Adelaide airport on my saddlesore ass admiring my swollen toe and cut chins after cycling one of Australia’s great bike trails.
From the deep outback of the ancient Flinders Ranges to the world class wine regions of the Barossa and Clare Valleys, the mammoth Mawson Trail is an outback to city trail of thrills, spills and almost 900 kilometres of pure adventure.
Boy did we earn that Barossa Valley glass chinking. We’d endured some gruelling terrain and testing moments carrying every survival essential on our two wheels, including enough food and water at times for two days, before we could really kick back and enjoy a few of South Australia’s finest.
I’m often asked why put yourself through it? Well, there are many reasons. The challenge; the achievement; the camaraderie; the people we meet along the way and the discovery of something new, to name a few, but if I had to give one reason alone I’d say it’s because I can talk myself into anything after a few glasses of vino.
Even the pain has a part to play in the game of adventure. There’s nothing like pulling yourself out of the depths of fatigue for one last push and finding a new energy. It’s like finding a key to the secret world of endurance. And it’s just a little addictive.
If you’re not convinced (or half cut) and you would rather let someone else do the hard part, maybe this supported cycling tour I did in Tasmania would be more up your bike path but watch out for invisible wormholes.
A few tips if you fancy the Mawson Trail…
Go in the cooler months: The trail is open all year round, however December to March can be fiercely hot and are best avoided.
Most people start at Adelaide: This is the sensible way to do it and gives you time to sort out any teething troubles while you’re still close to help. We did it the other way around because we didn’t trust ourselves to push through three wine regions in early part of the trip.
You’ll need to carry plenty of water: There maybe days when you can’t get water and campsite water tanks can’t be relied on.
Accommodation: We mixed it up from camping to sheep stations and wineries.
Get good maps: Maps that cover the whole route (several) are available from Bicycle SA on +61 8 8168 9999.
You’ll need transport into Blinman or back. I used Genesis Tour & Charter +61 8 8552 4000
Here’s an article I wrote in Outer Edge Magazine “In at the Deep End”
Here’s a little three-minute film I put together to give you an idea. It was one of my first so don’t judge me!