So are you ready for the ride of a lifetime?
There is a lot that could happen within the 7500kms that we ride, so you need to be preparared and focused on the task ahead. Below are some tips to help you and make your ride an enjoyable one.
What is required on a 23 day 7500km ride across Australia? All your questions answered in one 30 min video in regards to camping equipment, personal gear, bike gear, digital gear and bike setup.
Stay Alert and read the road!.....Everything can be avoided with caution and diligence. THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT STEP is to ride within your capabilities and to the road conditions. The ride is not a race.
1ST DAY FEVER - This is a real bugger! And gets nearly everyone at some stage. Your classic case occurs early on in any ride, with the stricken rider bursting full of enthusiasm and going hammer down the track as if he has the hounds of hell chasing him! If symptoms are obvious, the results are even more so. Overshot corners, near misses and heaps of wheel-spin quickly progress to crashes.
The cure is simple. Keep it calm, keep it real....remember you are a long way away from a hospital. Sure and steady will get you there safely, you may be pumped up and keen to ride, but give yourself time to relax on the bike, settle in and get used to the conditions. Get the feel of things and then let the speeds build, with a much-reduced chance of injury.
HEY ROSSI, IT'S NOT A RACE - Most accidents occur when riders attempt to go faster than their skill level permits and this usually happens when one ego overtakes another. Face it, there’ll always be someone who’s faster than you, so if a rider carves by, ask yourself a few questions. Take a breath and think, "How far will it be before i'll have to scrape him of the track?" Or "What will it prove if I pass him back?" Or "If I go after him, what will it do to my chances of finishing the ride?" At the end of the day this ride is over 20 days.....there's a long way to go, a lot to see and do. You want to enjoy the scenery and the company of which is no fun from the back of an ambulance. Enjoy yourselves, but don’t overstep your abilities.
WILDLIFE - Australia has some of the most amazing creatures....while some animals may be cute, some are extrealmy deadly, also very fast and unpredictable and have the abilitiy to end your ride very very suddenly. Wild pigs, Kanaroos and Emus are the biggest animal hazard in the Outback and while they can pop up anywhere anytime, there are a few points you can consider to reduce the chance of a collision. They’re most active around dawn and dusk, so slow down when riding at these times, and keep an eye out on both sides of the track. Most of the time they travel in twos or more (especially Kangaroos) so if you see one, brake and watch out for his mates. Most animals sleep or hide in the shade during the day, always best to keep extra alert near creeks, rivers and lakes, as they will be close by. Watch out for stock signs, being aware of the type of animals in the area and keeping your eyes open are the best ways of avoiding animal-based accidents. Treat stock with the respect they deserve. Farmers make their living from their animals and don’t want people on bikes carving, figuratively, them up. Slow down and idle through, or if you come to a heard in the road, pull over and stop while it goes past, or if it’s going your way, take a wide line. Please take extra care with Snakes, scorpions and spiders as they can be deadly and need to be treated with the highest respect. If one is seen, leave it alone and tell the others in the group it's location.
OTHER VEHICLES, CATTLE GRID AND DUST - Never ever think you or the group are the only ones around because even in the most remote places there’s still a chance of other vehicles using the same track. Common sense says keep left on blind corners. Don’t drift wide, because there’s the possibility that the person coming the other way may not be as sensible as you, and be taking up your bit of the track. Crests are another danger spot so keep left on them, stand up on the pegs for a preview for good measure. Slow down at cattle grids as they can have deep washouts on either side of them. Bulldust is a big issue on some tracks, you may find that if a vehicle is coming towards you, you are unable to see further ahead. Trick is to slow down and if need be, stop where it is safe. You will often find 4WDs and trucks travelling in convoy and the worst way to discover this is by hitting an oncoming vehicle hiding in the thick bulldust. Also impossible to see other dangers such as cattle grids, washouts, blown tyres or other hidden obstacles.
OVERTAKING - Bike tyres throw stones like you wouldn’t believe, so if you are overtaking a slower vehicle give it plenty of space. Roll the throttle on steadily, move to the right as far as practicable and pass cleanly. Allow as big a gap as possible before returning to the left, because pulling in quickly will most likely result in the other vehicle being showered with rocks. And they will probably catch up with you at the only petrol station in the next town. Spare a thought for the other person as well, especially if they are on a bike. Slipping past someone and throwing up a heap of dust can be dangerous for the person being overtaken – it restricts their vision and can startle them if they are off in dreamland. Don’t squeeze in a quick pass before a bad corner or heading over a cattle grid!
RIDING WITHIN A GROUP - The key to riding in groups, is to spread out, give yourself space between you and the next rider, this will increase your safety . Never ride in another bike’s dust. Your vision is restricted, your airfilter cops a flogging, and your eyes and lungs won’t be ecstatic either.The field tends to spread out naturally, like we have mentioned above....it is not a race and the lead rider sets the pace he feels comfortable for that situation. Riding without dust in your eyes is a lot more enjoyable.
THE CORNERMAN SYSTEM - This is mega important and I can not stress how vital this system is for the success of the ride. It's based on trust. One of our biggest problems when travelling in a group is losing someone, the best way to avoid this is to use the Corner Man system. Your guide is the lead rider (Yellow vest) and no one is allowed to pass him. We also have a sweep vehicle who is carrying the medical kit, spares, supplies and extra jerry can fuel, and no one rides behind him. The lead and sweep have GPS units and two way radio to communicate to each other. At each intersection, the Guide stops and waits for the rider directly behind him to arrive, the Guide informs that rider which direction to show the other riders to go. This is called 'point duty' and is a vital and extreamly important job in order to keep the riders moving in the right direction. The Guide will stop at regular intervals to allow everyone to regroup and do a head count. The distance intervals will be discussed at each morning briefings.
LOOK OUT FOR YOUR MATES - Experienced riders always help each other out. If you see an approaching vehicle on a narrow trail, raise your left hand to warn those behind you. If you come around a corner and see a tyre in the road, or a washout looks particularly nasty, park your bike and walk back to warn the rest of the group as they come through. Every group will have at least one rider who hasn’t developed the skill level of the others. Help them out, encourage them and make sure you consider all riders. If you have to ride someones bike to the top of a hill for them, do it graciously. This whole thing about slow riders raises an interesting point. We’ve done a lot of riding in big groups and they often split into two: the fast guys and the slow guys. Guess What? The fast guys always finish last: more crashes, punctures, riders getting lost... you name it. Slow riders don’t hold a group back; riders who crash do.
COMMON SENSE PREVAILS - Most of what’s been mentioned here is straight forward common sense and many riders will read it and think. I know that! We’ve been doing that stuff for years. If that’s you, sorry we’ve wasted your time, but if this manual avoids just one rider from going under the front of a 4WD or taken out by a cattle grid, then it’s been worthwhile. Adventure riding is great fun. Let’s keep it safe. Happy travels.
PERSONAL INSURANCE - The Great Australian Ride is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage to personal belongings or for personal injury, accident or illness however caused. Personal insurance is not the responsibility of Th Great Australian Ride, if you wish to have Travel insurance please arrange this prior to departure. If you are in any doubt about anything please give us a call, we are only too happy to help you in any way.