The Ride Back to Alice

Bike Preparation:

If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start getting your bike ready for the Ride. The main areas to check are: Servicing & maintenance up to date, new or near new tyres, chain and sprockets in top condition. Unless you’re an expert in this area I highly recommend you have a professional check the bike over for you and advise you on expected life of these items under fully laden long distance riding. Good preparation is a great investment in a trouble free ride.

Important: Your bike is your “home” for the duration of the Ride. You must be self-sufficient and carry everything you need (including spare fuel) with you.

Fuel: The distance between fuel stops can be up to 254kms so it’s important that you know the fuel range of your fully laden bike. If your range is marginal for these longer stretches you will need to carry extra fuel. Strong head or cross winds can increase fuel consumption dramatically so be conscious of this and ride accordingly. It’s no fun sitting on the side of the road waiting for a support vehicle. The support vehicle carries a limited amount of fuel for emergencies only.

Premium fuel may not be available in some remote areas so it is recommended you talk with your Service Advisor about the effect this may have on your bike’s performance. 

Tyres: Tyre wear on a ride of this nature could be very different to what you may normally experience. Your bike will be heavily loaded, many of the road surfaces will be coarse and the tyres will be running hotter than usual. All of this can lead to a rear tyre lasting considerably less kms than you may be used to.

Rider Preparation:

If you are new to long distance riding it’s a great idea to do some practice runs of about 600-700km (in a day), fully laden, just to make sure everything works properly and also to check your fuel range (see point 3 below). Remember you’re going to be doing this day after day for a month and you don’t want find out on Day1 that your windscreen (highly recommended for this ride) is at the wrong height and buffets your helmet giving you a headache after a few hours. Other things you’ll be paying particular attention to are:

1.     Can you suitably attach all of your gear so it stays safely balanced and secure all day on bumpy roads and in strong cross winds. Swags and other larger items are heavy. If not really well secured they can move, become loose and potentially cause a hazard to you or riders following behind.

2.     Is your riding gear up to the job? Travelling the length and breadth of our vast country will bring you in contact with all types of weather. It’s advisable to bring appropriate riding gear to cater for all extremes. A correctly fitted and approved full face helmet is also strongly recommended. The sun, rain, rocks, large insects and small birds can all hurt the unshielded  face.

3.     How far can you go on a tank of fuel? On your practice run, reset your trip meter, take some spare fuel with you and actually run your full tank until it’s empty, then you know your range. Alternatively have someone follow you with spare fuel. By mindful of the prevailing conditions when you do this test ie. Head wind or tail wind etc and use that test as your benchmark in those conditions. A strong headwind can reduce your economy by up to 25%.

4.     The wind noise created on most bikes is significant and can cause headaches, fatigue and even long term harm to your ears. Many riders use earplugs to reduce the problem and/or specialised products like Earmolds which can also pipe your favourite music straight to your ears.

Rider Safety:

1.    Please ride safely and obey the Rules of the Road at all times.

2.    Ride in a staggered formation except on narrow roads where you should follow in Indian or single file.

3.    Leave a safe distance to the bike in front. Look ahead to see what’s happening in the group which might impact on you. Check your mirrors regularly.

4.    Don’t exceed the speed limit to catch bikes ahead of you. If you lose sight or the group in front there will be corner markers to indicate where to turn and you will have details of your destination.

5.    When overtaking slower riders please do so safely and with consideration for the other riders. Do not overtake on corners or double white lines.

6.    At the rear of the rider group there will be a Tail End Charlie and/or a Support Vehicle. Unless otherwise agreed to by the Ride Coordinator, please keep yourself between the Road Captain and the TEC and/or the Support Vehicle.

7.    If you need assistance please signal a Support Vehicle by waving your arms above your head.

8.    Most importantly, enjoy the ride and have fun- but not to the detriment of your fellow riders or other road users.