02 November 2021
'Your' TA may be as fast as ten days, as luxurious as the thirty day maximum, or anything in between. Whatever your approach and fitness, you're likely to be pushing yourself to your physical limits. Wisdom dictates the self-discipline to take the least gear possible - without compromising your self-sufficiency (you should be able to sort yourself out if there's an unscheduled night out, the weather turns nasty, your bike suffers the inevitable mechanical or you take a (minor) crash).
Less weight on your bike equals easier pedalling and better bike handling. Taking a normative approach - constrain yourself to a finite volume of baggage, around 30 to 40 litres in your handlebar and under-seat bags. Our clothing and equipment list is a useful starting point - but in the end you'll opt for what work's best for you and your TA.
Drive your partner insane with stacks of gear scattered around the lounge. Invariably it won't fit, so trim your list to what you really really need and/or seek innovative solutions. Modern hi-tech is an important part of the formula - lightweight rainwear and micro sleeping bags are the 'killer apps' to keep a lid on the total volume.
Go crazy hitting the links to suggested products or for further reading. Remember to train with your bike fully laden - it's quite a different handling beast, builds up your strength, and those practice rides will help refine your gear requirements leading into the TA.
Specialist bikepacking soft luggage is the default solution. The TA includes significant sections of dinkum mountain biking. A traditional touring set-up of panniers and racks will sort of work, but can be quite a serious handicap off-road. Backpacks are best avoided to minimise additional pressure on your bum.
Anticipate long days riding in gorgeous, mild conditions, but be prepared to deal with evil-cold sou'westers and nor'west gales.
First, determine your TA strategy. Skipping from town to town in pre-booked motels or backpackers reduces your gear requirements but also your options - often forcing you to stop earlier in the day than you otherwise would. Note you'll still need emergency gear to survive an unscheduled night out.
Sleeping rough with a bivy sac and ad-hoc use of public shelters (bridges, verandahs, bus shelters etc) is austere but fast. Lightweight camping allows more comfort (and recovery) - important on such a long event. Cold food around the campsite lets you leave behind the cooker and billy - relying on dairies, pubs, fast food joints and cafés for the hot stuff.
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