Rat to Radelaide

An epic cross-border bike packing journey through the harsh Aussie outback – The Rat to Radelaide. Six riders from different corners of the cycling world set off across the land, from the Victorian country town of Ballarat, headed for the city lights of Adelaide in time for the start of the Tour Down Under.

At the end of 2022, I undertook one of my first bike-packing trips since moving home to Australia. I set off, alone, from my home in Lancefield Victoria, headed for Wollongong NSW, the site of the 2022 World Road Championship. Along the way, I connected with some friends and fans of the pod, some came along and provided company for a few kms of the trip, others met me for a beer at the pub at the end of a long day in the saddle. This Road to the Worlds trip really ignited a passion for this style of riding, so to kick off 2023, I decided to design another cross-country bike-packing trip.

So, inspired by my September trip, I set out to plan the ultimate journey to fill the week-long gap between the Australian National Road Championships in Ballarat (the Rat), and the Tour Down Under in Adelaide (Radelaide). And so, the Rat to Radelaide was born – the journey across.

The idea was to replicate the spirit of The Road to the Worlds, but this time, to share the experience, with all its inevitable highs and the lows, with a group of riders. Putting together the perfect group was difficult – we didn’t necessarily need to know each other, but we’d need to be able to mesh quickly and work well together over five long, hard days of up to nine hours in the saddle.

While the group selection was hard, in the end, the dynamic between the six riders on the trip is what really made the journey what it was. I was joined by road cyclist Peta Mullens, gravel specialist Ella Bloor, bike packing enthusiast and current pro, Lachlan Morton, Aussie cyclo-cross champion and road cyclist Tommy Chapman, and the renowned cycling journalist Rupert Guinness. It was the perfect group, with lots of bonding, no blow-ups, and the ideal blend of experience, humbleness, energy, and determination to make it across to Adelaide.

We didn’t take the easiest, or the most direct route, instead it was selected to take us through the heart of Australia, to places that we’d never seen before and give us a taste of what the real Aussie outback is like. I’ll admit my route selection was unpopular at times, and on some particularly long days it would’ve been nice to cut a few corners or jump on the highway instead of the dirt. But all in all, the route was incredible, and seeing the outback of Australia and experiencing the harshness of it for what it is – the heat, the red dirt, the country bakeries and classic outback pubs – it was everything I had hoped for.

I hope The Rat to Radelaide inspires you to get out there and explore for yourself. Remember, trips like these don’t need to be epic or punishing, they don’t even need to be all that long, but seeing the country by bike is an unforgettable experience that I highly recommend you try for yourself.

Rat to Radelaide stats

Day 1: Ballarat to Echuca

Distance, 254km. Ride time, 8:51:40. Kilojoules used 5,773. Average temp, 36 degrees.

Day 2: Echuca to Swan Hill

Distance, 199km. Ride time, 6:55:48. Kilojoules used, 3,333. Average temp, 38 degrees.

Day 3: Swan Hill to Mildura

Distance, 249km. Ride time, 8:34:17. Kilojoules used, 4,620. Average temp, 35 degrees.

Day 4: Mildura to Loxton

Distance, 190km. Ride time, 6:38:40. Kilojoules used, 3,300. Average temp, 31 degrees.

Day 5: Loxton to Adelaide

Distance, 259km. Ride time, 9:29:07. Kilojoules used, 6,050. Average temp, 33 degrees.

Listen to the Rat to Radelaide edition on the pod now:

Released: June 22, 2023