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Some spend their long weekends at the beach.  Bike SA staff member- Julian Ferguson – took to the Murray River with a bunch of mates – and bikes. 

I love going on holidays. And I love riding bikes. My favourite – going on holidays by bike…

My friends aren’t really what you’d call “cyclists” – so when I suggested we try a camping trip by bike there were a few frowns. While it was a little bit tough at times… the group loved it. There was sweat, tears and smiles – and some newly converted bike tourists.

I thought I’d share a little bit of practical info about the trip for anyone looking for a little bit of inspiration.

Difficulty level – Medium

Medium – nothing too tough – but we had a few new riders that struggled a little – and the last day has some off-road riding that might need a bit of extra leg power and grunt – and would be a lot easier with a MTB.

The Route

Day 1 Mannum – Caurnamont (51km) (packed lunch – however there’s a general store in Bowhill if you don’t want to carry food) 

Day 1 Map

Day 2 Caurnamont – Punyelroo (59km) (lunch in Walker Flat)

Day 2 Map

Day 3 Punyelroo – Mannum.  (63km) (Lunch in Walker Flat) 

Day 3 Map

The Logistics 

Park your car at Mannum – pack  some food and camping gear and you’re sweet. There are enough stops along the way for food and drink if you want to pack light. The joy of this kind of route is that it’s a loop ride so there’s no need for car hopping. To make life easier – give a slab a beer to a friend and ask him/her to be the support driver over the 3 days and carry your gear.

What To Bring

Bike + Helmet+ Smiles (and plenty of water).

To be perfectly honest – our bikes were pretty terrible – and unsuited for bike touring. (Just check out the photos). But hey we made it.  I suggest packing plenty of snacks, water and sunscreen and some camping gear, spare tubes and all the usual stuff any self-respecting bike tourist would think to bring.

 The Highlights

  • The first day along the river is glorious – and the second day has some sweet views of cliffs
  • Caurnamont Lakeside campground is pretty special (and bizzare) place. A hidden gem.
  • Walker Flat is a great little spot for lunch.
  • The last day on the dirt road has some great views of the valley
  • Tail wind – it’s glorious.

Some photos to inspire you. 

A glorious view on Day 2 near Swan Reach.

A glorious view on Day 2 near Swan Reach.

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That feeling of elation after a long day in the saddle…

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A cheeky Father/Daughter set-up at Caurnamont Lakeside Campground.

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Day 2 on the road. One of our friends Tess who has the most inappropriate bicycle for touring but managed to be quicker (and happier) than all of us.

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One of the many river crossings along the way. (They’re free and operate 24 hours a day).

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The obligatory group shot on Day 2 of the trip.

 

Bicycle SA will be running their Gourmet Food and Wine Annual Tour (9 days) in September this year, and their epic biennial Outback Odyssey (5,6,7 and 16 days) trip in May through the Flinders Ranges. These trips are perfect for seasoned and new cycle tourists with a taste for adventure.