(Sept 24, 2020 – written by Dave)
As many readers would know, we currently live in Sydney, Australia – Sydney is in the state of New South Wales (NSW). Due to Covid, we are more or less banned from leaving our state. For starters, right now all Australians are prohibited from leaving the country. There are some internal Australian state borders open but not for us “NSWwegins”. We are presently only welcome to travel to the Australian Capital Territory. All other states currently say that we are too risky to have as guests. It’s hard to know but the officials are now saying that the international travel ban will last until March 2021. The state borders may or may not open, one day soon, who knows!
BREAKING NEWS: DATELINE 24 SEPT: South Australia (SA) may have just changed their views on us NSWwegins – they may let us in as early as next week. Runny nose types need not apply. Details to follow.
While we live with uncertainty, at least we are having some wonderful spring weather and a bike ride is possible. We’ll have to stay within the NSW state borders but it’s a big state and there is much to see. And at least now it is finally warm enough to head west toward the NSW outback. The good folks out in Central West NSW have developed a 5 or 6 day cycle loop cleverly named “The Central West Cycling Trail” (CWCT). We live 4 or 5 days ride from the start of the loop. The plan is to ride out to the loop, do the loop and then ride back home via different route. It’s not Japan or some exotic international destination but NSW has super low Covid numbers and riding here means we don’t have to get on a plane. Life could be worse, so off we go.
For this trip, we’ve “downgraded” our bikes. We use to have fancy, lightweight carbon fibre forks on our gravel bikes. They were nice but they didn’t technically allow us to mount racks in a way that didn’t violate the fork and/or rack warrantees. To rectify this we ordered new beefy steel forks from an American company called Surly. We wanted the features on the 2021 model so we had to order them shipped over from the USA – they aren’t for sale in the Australian bike shops yet. There was some drama getting them here but eventually, even with Covid shipping delays, it worked out. Being a new model, they were only available in bright lime green – we couldn’t have that so we got them powered coated black before having them installed (lucky that we live near a bunch of auto body paint shops).
From a “bike geek” standpoint, the forks look a little odd. The old forks had 1 ½ inch steerer tubes while the new forks are only 1 1/8. Other than the steerer width, the geometry of the new forks is the same so the bikes handling hasn’t changed. The “ultra geek bike” person would probably now ask if steel rides different than carbon. Well, for me, I think the steel dampens the road vibrations more but…. oh I know… cut it out… too much bike nerd stuff! Apologies to the last few remaining non-bike-geek readers who’ve made it this far, but congratulations all the same.
We’ll be joined on our CWCT loop by a fellow Sydney rider named Roman. He’ll be riding from Sydney to the far side of the CWCT loop. He may bail there to head further west, or if that plan doesn’t work out, he’ll complete the full trip back to Sydney with us. Like us, Roman enjoys his coffee. Seeking out the best cafe for a morning brew will no doubt become a focus of this trip. In fact while we are officially calling this trip the Central West Cycling Trail Loop, but we thought about calling it “Adventure awaits, but first coffee…”.
The cafe around the corner from our place here in Sydney recently installed this fancy new neon sign in honour of our cycling adventures. (Ok, maybe the sign was always part of their broader marketing strategy but what the heck, we’re claiming it!)
Weather permitting, we start on Sunday. Timing here is important as Sunday is the first day of the Swift Weekend Campout (see link). Swift and Kitsbow are working together to get mostly US based folks off the couch and into the woods for the weekend. We are joining their campout this weekend and think by doing so, we’ll be just about as far away as possible from all of the other campers (social distancing – please keep at least 1.5 continents between yourself and the next camper).
The fun begins as soon as we get our coffee! Blogs to follow depending on WiFi out west.