Coasting through Tasmania
The perfect way to travel Tasmania’s lovely East Coast is on a bicycle. That’s the promise behind Bicycle Victoria’s Great Tasmanian Bike Road in February, 2007.
The ride starts at the Launceston Festival on Saturday, February 10, and finishes in Hobart the following Sunday. The route winds through Pipers Book, Branxholm, St Helens, Bicheno, Swansea, Orford and Richmond.
There is a rest day at Swansea, where the ride stops for two nights, which gives you a leisurely chance to explore Freycinet Peninsula.
It’s ‘the biggest party on two wheels’ says Bicycle Victoria, because hundreds of people take part in these rides. Not unnaturally that takes a deal of organising, but Bicycle Victoria has been there, done that, for some five Great Tasmanian Bike Rides now, and anyone who has taken part in one knows well how efficient — and friendly — the whole event is.
This will be a 445km cycling holiday of nine days. The average day’s cycling is 55km, giving the speed merchants a chance to try other coastal delights — maybe swimming or fishing — but even first-timers are able to complete the ride in easy stages.
Plenty of side attractions along the way can stretch the day out, because this is never a race.
There’s plenty of time to escape and walk along one of the many pretty beaches, hang out in one of the local cafes or hang back from the crowds and drift along. It’s go at the pace that suits you and if you prefer to walk up hills, who cares? There’s always the exhilarating descent! (However, one of the further attractions of the East Coast ride is that the hills are not especially demanding.)
At the end of the day, tent up, gear stowed, you can wander over to the Café de Canvas for a well-earned drink, dinner and some lively homegrown entertainment.
Anyone whose done one of these rides will advise first-timers to get in some training. It doesn’t have to be hard but it should be consistent. ‘Stay in the saddle for a couple of hours at least two or three times a week,’ says one veteran. ‘If you put in the training, it becomes more enjoyable.’
Our enthusiast sums up:
‘It’s a wonderful way to actually see the countryside instead of speeding along. Plus you are in a maintained environment and the numbers are there to reduce hazards like cars.
‘If you give up at any stage during the day, the sag wagon will pick you and your bike up so you’ll be in camp in plenty of time.
‘Best of all — it’s good fun.’
For more information visit Bike Victoria’s new web site dedicated to their rides