A well-serviced mountain bike with suspension, good gears and chunky tyres will be needed. If you have rear suspension, you will certainly be a lot more comfortable, but it is not necessary to traverse this route. A hard tail mountain bike without rear suspension will make your ride a little less comfortable and may put some strain on your hands and arms as we are often riding on rough tracks and dirt roads but it is still suitable for traversing the track. We suggest wearing well-padded bike gloves if you do not have rear suspension.
It’s not a race and you ride at your own pace except for a couple of short sections, where group riding is required for safety. The route will take riders on station roads, minor roads, mountain trails and national park tracks, with a short amount of highway at the start and the end of the Tour. Riders can also expect steep, hilly, rocky, sandy, flat and undulating sections – something for every level of riding skill. Only in a few sections is the riding so steep or sandy that riders will need to walk their bike. The riding is possible for all people with a good level of fitness and having done some bike riding as preparation. Riders without reasonable mountain bike skills will be slower and do more walking, for instance over sand, through wash outs and hill climbs - but on the bright side, your skills will improve over the tour!
Because we are cycling in the tropics and days are long, it is a requirement that each rider needs to carry at least two litres of water. A CamelBak or equivalent is recommended.
As we ride from the coast up to the Atherton Tablelands and back down again there is a lot of up and down. Many inclines are fairly gradual, with the odd really short sharp hill. To enjoy this Tour you will need to do as much hill training as you can beforehand, but at least a few times a week for the month before the ride. Distances vary from about 30 to 100km a day based on the track condition, remoteness and difficulty. Therefore you will need to be able to comfortably ride about 10 to 12km per hour in uneven terrain to feel confident you can finish the whole Tour. There is vehicle support on most of the route, but this is mostly for mechanical and medical issues, and can’t be relied upon for whole days off.
The tour starts and ends in Cairns – usually from the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre office, located at Cominos House, 27-29 Greenslopes Street, North Cairns.
Yes, transfers are included in the tour fee.
Luggage may be dropped at the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) office at 27-29 Greenslopes St, North Cairns from 9am-4pm on Friday, the day before the tour starts. On the last day, luggage will be available for pick up from approximately 3pm at the CAFNEC office. Our crew can arrange for luggage pick-ups on the departure day if you are staying in the Cairns CBD. You will receive an email about this closer to the tour date.
This is a camping holiday and you will need to bring your own tent. There are luggage limits, so it is important that your tent is small and compact. To make the most of the ride, it is important to ensure that your camping equipment is in good working order and appropriate for the ride. Remember that you are likely to experience a variety of weather and wind conditions, so you need to be appropriately prepared…. Otherwise you might be an unhappy camper.
All luggage, camping equipment and anything that cannot be taken on a bike, must be packed each morning and stowed in a ‘luggage trailer’. The luggage trailer will be to be driven to the next location where it will be ready for riders to collect on arrival. Luggage will not be available throughout the day. For each day’s riding, riders are asked to pack what they need and are capable of carrying in a small backpack (water, small snacks, sun cream, etc.). Lunch, fruit and water refills will be made available at designated locations for the whole group during each day.
Each camp site is at a different location and has varying levels of service. If a swim is available then showers will not be provided unless the weather is cold and wet. At some locations there will be a limited number of showers and this may require a short wait. Overall, it is expected that some degree of change to one’s normal routine should be expected in the shower department.
In order to conserve water, it is envisaged that washing can take place with one bucket of warm water and brush at any location. The bucket will first be filled with cold water either from a creek or a tank and then poured into the hot water generator before the warm bucket is drawn off. Some locations will have a mains water supply, but conservation of water should be expected.
There will be a few options. First, a cold room for food storage will move from camp to camp and medical supplies can be kept here (however this will not be accessed by riders during the day). Second, on most days but not all, support vehicles follow riders and vital/urgent medicines can be kept in an esky in one of the vehicles. It is imperative that riders with these requirements give organisers plenty of lead time to work out arrangements.
Swags are typically too big and we need luggage to be compact. Check out the “What to Bring” tab for a list of what is needed.
We have done half week participants as long as transport can be organised by the participant, but it is not the norm. The cost would need to be negotiated with the organising committee.
Internet and phone reception is intermittent with coverage unlikely even with a Telstra network for as much as 50% of the Tour. Charging facilities will be available some of the time, but can’t be relied upon on a daily basis given we also have a lot of other equipment to run with the generators.
We believe this ride provides a fantastic opportunity for families to participate in a great adventurous experience together. There are many parts of the ride which children will love riding but some sections are quite steep and some days may be too long, so families will need to have the means to transport bikes and children on those sections. Our rider support team will be happy to advise on the best sections for children to ride. Family luggage can be carried in our transport van and adult-sized bikes can be transported in our bike trailer.
FNQ is in the tropics, so the weather is typically hot and humid, especially on the coast. However, the bike ride is in the driest month of September and much of the route traverses altitudes above 500 metres. This tends to make it cooler at night. Average daily temperatures on the coast at the time of the ride vary from 20–28 degrees C and on the Atherton Tablelands 13-26 degrees C. In years’ past we have experienced tropical storms and wet weather during the ride – so just in case, some wet weather gear is recommended.