Hi everyone - I'm planning a small group charity ride with friends from Melbourne to Sydney in October 2015. I'm thinking the trip will be over 9 straight days and circa 150km/day. The group is likely to contain cyclists of all levels, ages and sizes and we'll be fully supported by a van or two so my questions for you all are:

Has anyone else ever done this trip, or knows anyone that has?
What is the best and safest route that doesn't involve going over the mountains? Coastal or in land, and does anyone know a good 'cycle safe' route planning tool?
Do you have any advice, tips or suggestions on how to go about planning this?
What would be your single, must have item with you at all times whilst on the bike?

Thanks heaps in advance for all your help and advice.
Mark (aka Tubs)

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The audax people do a Sydney to Melbourne trip in about 3 days, or something crazy like that.
They should be able to help with the route.
I think it goes through Canberra and the highlands.

This discussion is also in the Touring Group.

Thanks Guys - Has anyone done the full coastal route?

My initial thoughts were:

Opera House  - Nowra - Batemans Bay - Eden - Bairnsdale - Foster - Phillip Island - Flinders Sqaure

But not sure on what the roads are like in both quality and cycling safe?

Maybe do some google streetviewing to get ideas of the roads. Weekdays on the NSW south coast would be better if you have to route through there.

There are lots of roadworks going on too, so beware google SV may not be indicative of current conditons (cross reference with the NSW RMS live traffic section of their website).

For example the section Gerringong to North Nowra via Princes Hwy is under major reconstructions with reductions in shoulder width or availability, particularly north of Berry. For this section I would use the Gerringong to Nth Nowra via Gerroa and Shoalhaven Heads route, but despite a shared path between Gerringong and Geroa, there are also very narrow or non existent shoulders in a 100km/h zone with high traffic.

Some inland routes may be easier if planning allows a choice between coast or inland.  

I've met cyclists on some of my tours who have done the route that you suggested, and they've said not to do it.  Roads too narrow, no shoulders, as well as crazies in tin pushing the envelope of their capabilities.

I haven't ridden it, but when driving the south coast started contemplating what it would be to ride (because it's so scenic, and there are lots of coastal towns relatively close together).

My conclusion was it'd be suicide on two wheels. For the reasons Dabba's outlined, but particularly for the large number of large trucks (mainly freight and logging trucks). I'd advise against it. About a year ago I was riding around Gerringong and for much of the ~15km to Berry have never felt so threatened by large vehicles - passing way too close, not changing lanes to do so, not slowing down or waiting until safe, and often little if any verge to ride on to be (completely) out of their way.

It can be scary enough in a car.

I did a similar ride more than 20 years ago.

The thing that I remember well are the semi traliers zooming past between Nowra - Batemans Bay with little or no shoulder on the Princess Hwy.

It may have improved since then...

It hasn't. At least not last year when I rode some of it. Nor when I thought about what it would be like to ride when driving it (see my comment above).

The other thing is, it's not uncommon for the Princess Highway to have lots of roadworks going on, and this often makes it more dangerous - you get traffic building up behind you waiting for the stop/go sections, and often the verge is out of action.

But if you do take that route, you can get most of the way to Cronulla on bike paths, then ferry across to Bundeena thence through the Royal National Park to Stanwell Tops and then to Wollongong along the coast. 

I guess it just depends on if you want a ride with friends with sights and stories to tell after, or you just want to get from one city to another without too much fuss.

I have ridden solo light tour style Sydney to Eden down the coast on the Princes then back up via Cann River to Bombala/ Cooma to Bungendore then Goulburn to Sydney via the Hume.

Have also done Sydney to Albury via bits of the Hume but mostly by riding the towns just off it, then back going up the Olympic Highway and through Blayney, Bathurst and the Bells Line.

Which way would I go? If you are in no hurry and can pick a time without school Holidays the coast is quite nice but you need to be truck ready to ride on the gravel just near the table drains. An escort van will help but only if you want to push on in a group and this is really not that much fun riding at others pace.

Sydney Gong Goulburn Bungendore Bombala is what I would recommend as then you still end up on the coast but the ride from Bombala to the coast is a big one.

BUT...

With 9 days I would really recommend Sydney to Blayney then just down south via Wagga, Albury and the Hume to Melbourne. The towns are well spaced, the roads are good and the country pubs/ hotels to stay in are better for town meals walking around at night ie social for a group to stay in.

Can’t help much on the Vic side as I have never liked riding in Victoria the drivers spook me too much so I end up heading back up to NSW….

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