Head Mechanic Richard Greaney and his wife Marina have recently returned from a 3-month self-supported cycling adventure in the Kimberley with a fresh perspective on what bike touring is all about. “Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time talking to cycle tourists and servicing their bikes and I thought it was about time I tried it for myself,” says Richard. “Marina and I have always wanted to explore the top end of Australia and, because of our love of mountain biking, the Gibb River Road seemed the natural choice.” Richard and Marina plotted a route that saw them ride 3,000km from Broome, up to One Arm Point and across the Gibb River Road to Darwin – with almost two thirds of the trip done on unsealed roads.
According to Richard the harsh road conditions on the Gibb such as corrugations, rocks and water crossings were all challenges to consider when choosing and customising their bikes and BOB trailers. “We knew we’d be pushing weights of up to 60kg so after a lot of thought we chose strong 29″ bikes and then added Thudbuster suspension units to the seatposts and upgraded the suspension on the BOB Yak trailers.” Marina’s vote for the Best Part Award was the Rohloff internally geared hubs which made changing gears a breeze.
When asked what the highlights of the trip were, Richard and Marina both agree it was the many opportunities to see and do things they’d never done before. From remote bush camping, washing in cattle troughs and catching barramundi it was an adventure from start to finish. And after meeting numerous cycle tourists along the way who had been riding around the world, they also learnt that the Gibb was by far the most demanding road on the cycle touring list! On that note, here are Richard’s top 3 tips for touring the Kimberley:
1. Give yourself plenty of time;
2. There’s no such thing as too much planning;
3. There’s no such thing as too much suspension when you’re on the Gibb