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The Cycle Route Downloads

The four route files are in .zip format. The folders needs to be unzipped and saved to a directory of your choice. You can then load individual files into the appropriate applications and GPS.


Download for Devonport to Strathan in .GPX formats


Download for Strathan to Hobart in .GPX formats


Download for Hobart to Saint Helens in .GPX formats


Download for Saint Helens to Devonport in .GPX formats

The Bikes

We can't take an electric bike by air because the battery is supposed to be too dangerous. Anyway we didn't want the hassle. Hiring bikes for a month is stupidly expensive. We decided to source our own bikes which will certainly be cheaper and we hope better. The stoker has a bike at Stuart's left over from our previous trip. The management has ordered a Bafang electric motor kit which he will fit into the bottom bracket. It has a 10amp/370Wh battery. We have extensively tested similar batteries in the UK and it should be good for at least 60km/900m of climb on one charge.

Gavin, the management's nephew who lives in Sydney, sourced for him a very nice bike. Gavin is a super keen cyclist and very quick on a down hill mountain bike course. Gavin found on Facebook a Specialized AWOL. It's a great bike for touring. The frame is steel with plenty of mounting points. The whole rear triangle can be split. It can take belt, Rohloff or single speed drive. There are good rear rack mount options and the wheels, rotors and 36 tooth cassette are new. There is a 34 tooth inner chain ring so bottom gear should be good for all but the very steepest of mountains.

Over Christmas and New Year the management will get both bikes ready for the tour. We will take out some parts and source others when we are there. The bikes will then need testing for comfort and reliability before we cycle off to Heathcote station for the train to Sydney.

We are booked on the sleeper train to Melbourne and the bikes have to go into bike boxes for this. The Australian Railways are years behind the rest of the world in this respect. It is a pain, especially as we will need mudguards in Tasmania.

Navigation by Bike

This gets easier each year, the most difficult bit is deciding where to go. And, more importantly in Australia, that the roads are bike friendly. The management plans with a combination of websites but finishes up with Garmin Connect. He uses booking.com to establish that there are places to stay in the right locations.

The Garmin Connect .gpx routes are downloaded onto his Garmin Edge 1030, and the stoker now also has a Garmin Edge 1030. The management also downloads the .gpx files onto his Android smart phone and our Microsoft Surface Pro tablet. If the Garmin 1030 fails on the road we can navigate with the stokerís Edge, if that fails we can use the phone.

We can check the route during the day on the Surface Pro if we need to. The route can be changed or redone easily on the Surface Pro. We use Garmin MapSource loaded with OpenStreet free maps if we are off line. And when there is no signal it can be sent to the gps by old fashioned wire.

Trains and Boats and Hotels

The stoker organises the transport which for this tour it is relatively easy. We have the train trip from Sydney to Melbourne return, the ferry to Devonport in Tasmania and a short bus trip in Tasmania for her to do. It is not possible to book bikes online in Australia, surprise surprise. But phone calls via Skype are cheap and there is hardly any language problem.

Location location location is the key to a finding a hotel for a cycle tour. It can be a palace or a tip but it has to be in the right place. We usually try booking.com first. If we canít find anything we try airbnb.co.uk and other online sites. In some, usually larger, places we occasionally use hotel chains like Ibis. These days we always book in advance so that we can fix the day's distance.


Stokerís Comments

The electric motor enables me to do a reasonable distance each day. I had a bad DVT 18 years ago and now have poor circulation in my left leg. I have limited movement of my left foot which makes starting more difficult and I canít pedal as hard as I used to. But then who can at our age?

I need to take anticoagulants for life. I was on warfarin but for medical reasons my GP changed this to rivaroxaban. The good side is that I no longer need to do regular blood tests so do not carry the monitor any more.

The possible downside is that rivaroxaban has no antidote yet. It would be risky if I have an accident, especially just after taking the daily tablet which I do in the evening. We are always aware that we may need swift medical treatment and have our mobiles handy.

I could stay home and maybe reduce the risks but prefer a more interesting lifestyle.