The Outback Odyssey

The Mawson Trail is South Australia’s iconic off-road trail destination, offering 900km of a truly unique experience from Adelaide to the outback’s Flinders Ranges. Having run our biennial Outback Odyssey since 2002, Bike SA offers some tips to those up for the challenge of taking on this epic trail.

The right bike

This is no trail for your road bike you commute to work on; you need the right gear for this. The Mawson Trail can be a roller coaster, sunshine one minute, rain the next, and you need a bike that will get you through. Mountain bikes are the way to go, they’re versatile and can help you navigate the diverse terrain you will face. Give it a few test runs before you take on the challenge to get comfortable. (However, we do know people that have tackled the trail on cyclo-cross bikes, single speed and even on a unicycle, so anything is possible!!).

Prepare yourself

You’re in for a long ride ahead, 900km to go. Prepare your body first and start putting in the hard yards so when you’re ready to head off your body knows what it’s in for. If you’re struggling along the way just enjoy the scenic surrounds and push through. Our general rule of thumb is the fitter you are, the more fun you’ll have on the trail.

Only bring the necessities

Come prepared, but not over prepared. Make a list of what you really need and bring just that. Ask yourself if you really need two pairs of fluffy bed socks. If you do end up leaving something behind there are towns along the way where you can pick up any extra necessities. (But if you’re going alone, make sure you bring enough gear in case your bike packs up. We’d highly recommend spare tubes, derailleurs, spokes to name a few essentials.)

Remember you’re at the mercy of the weather gods

The Mawson Trail can bring anything. And in terms of weather, you never know what to expect. Be prepared for stinking hot days, but also those cold chilly nights. Remember to pack some arm warmers and thermals just in case you get caught out.

Plan carefully

This ride is an enjoyable challenge, but you have to know what you’re in for. Solo trips are hard, especially for first timers who don’t know what to expect. (Have a read of a few solo blogs or blogs with partial support to get an idea of what it’s like ). We’d suggest reading up before you go, and checking everything from accomodation to weather, to gear. Always do your research so you know what you’re in for and let people know exactly when and where you’ll be on this epic ride.

Want to tackle the Mawson trail but aren’t ready to do it alone? Join Bike SA in 2017 for an epic 5, 6, 7 or 16 day adventure along this epic part of South Australia for our fully supported event called The Outback Odyssey. The adventure begins in May 2017.