The Mawson Trail goes to the heart of the South Australian outback, covering 900km from Adelaide to Blinman in the Flinders Ranges. The trail is a must for any adventurous cyclist. Bike SA’s Outback Odyssey has been taking groups along the Mawson Trail since 2002. We spoke to Paul Beerworth, a Canberra local (who grew up in South Australia) and came along for our 2015 Outback Odyssey. Here are 5 reasons why he loves the Mawson Trail.
1. The Views
The views are a highlight for everyone who rides on the Mawson Trail. From the Barossa Valley to the Outback, you’re in for a treat.
Paul: I think that the variation from the Adelaide Hills, through the farm lands of the mid-north into the Flinders, where it is stark, magnificent and never-ending. I remember the day we were riding through up Parachilna Road, every corner it just changed, the rocks, the colour, all the time.
2. The Challenge
The Mawson Trail is no easy task but that’s why it’s so loved. The challenge is what keeps people motivated to keep pedalling. One minute it can be sunny and the next pouring with rain so you need to be prepared for anything on the Mawson trail, both physically and mentally.
Paul: I think it’s doable. I was 64 when I did it, I’d been riding for quite a few years, been mixing Mountain bike. The first climb out of Adelaide was tough. I think Canberra has enough trails to be able to train on a variety of terrain to get ready. You just commit to it, you’ve got all day and you ride hard or as easy as you like.
3. The Camaraderie
There’s no doubt that you form special bonds when cycling and this event brings about the best in people.
Paul: We met new people, but we also renewed old acquaintances on the ride, people we’d ridden with on previous tours. My son teamed up with a couple of younger blokes and they had a great time… the camaraderie of riding the last 20km was something special.
4. The Locals and The History.
Along the way you’ll be stopping at local towns no doubt meeting some of the local people. Having a chat at the pub is a sure fire way to find some quirky characters but you’ll also find the region has some fascinating history, with abandoned ruins peppering the landscape.
Paul: For me, it was going back and living my family’s roots. [Paul’s Grandfather served as a mounted policeman, and his parents farmed up near Hawker]. There’s a lot of history in the area, Quorn is a very historical place, when it used to be connected by rail. If you’ve ever heard of The Goyder’s Line – there were some government decisions, crazy decisions, to go up north and farm, which ended disastrously.
5. Beer at the pub
Who doesn’t love a cold beer after a long day on the bike? Believe us, after 900 kilometres in the saddle, having a beer in the tiny town of Blinman tastes amazing.
Paul: Well, the pub in Blinman just makes it that bit better. I was pretty chuffed even more so because I’d ridden it with my son. I still remember hearing my son saying: ‘Wow, this is where the Outback starts’. He realised how big and vast this place really is. That was a great feeling.
The Outback Odyssey is a 900km ride over 16 days that ventures along the Mawson Trail from Adelaide into the South Australian outback. Join Bike SA in May 2017 for a fully supported tour which includes 5, 6 & 7 day options.