Adventure Local; Adventure Cycling in Western Australia
We discover the inside line on adventure cycling in Western Australia with Perth resident and Apidura Ambassador, Jack Thompson
‘I got into adventure cycling a few years ago. I did the Transcontinental Race in 2016, and have completed long-distance tours in Japan, China, Taiwan and throughout Australia. I’m now focusing on new challenges as an Apidura Ambassador, and helping new riders get into adventure cycling by leading guided tours.’ – Jack Thompson
What’s the best thing about being a cyclist in your area?
I’m based in Perth, Western Australia, and although it’s a relatively flat part of the world, we make up for it in other areas – like the weather, and our natural surroundings. Our winters are very mild, and although it gets warm in summer, it’s never too warm to ride. Our coastline is so vast and amazing too, and interaction with wildlife is common. At least once a week I’ll see dolphins in the Murray river, kangaroos in the bush and sometimes snakes slithering across the road.
What sort of riding can you do?
Perth caters well for most types of riding. There is great road riding to be had along the coast and up in the Perth Hills, and the mountain bike community has been hard at work establishing world class trails just 40 minutes out of town. You’ll find it’s not uncommon for people riding in the Perth Hills to deviate away from the tarmac either, and explore the huge number of gravel roads on offer there. Just make sure you don’t get lost in the bush!
Where is your favourite riding to be found locally?
My favourite place to ride locally is just north of Perth, in an area called Chittering Valley. It’s just far enough out of the city that most riders don’t venture there, but the roads are quiet, enjoyably lumpy and surrounded by orange groves. It’s incredibly picturesque, and away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It just ticks all of the boxes for me.
South of Perth, in the Margaret River region, you’ll find what I consider the best riding in the whole of Western Australia. Surrounded by vineyards, local craft breweries and a rugged coastline, it doesn’t get much better for exploring by bike. It’s important to know your way around this area though as a lot of the good riding is difficult to find.
What is the best time of year to visit as a cyclist?
November to February is the best time to ride in Perth. This generally coincides with the warmer summer months, but as I mentioned, it can get quite hot, so be sure to pack sun cream and stay hydrated. For the nature lovers, October and November are worth considering, as it’s not uncommon to see humpback whales and their calves migrating north along the coast.
Is there much of a local cycling culture – or bikepacking culture?
The bikepacking scene in Perth is very new, but it is certainly on the rise and I’m doing my best to foster it by starting some grass roots events and guided tours. There are a multitude of good bike shops around Perth, and the coffee culture is up there with the likes of Melbourne. As I mentioned before, the Margaret River region is probably home to the most iconic riding and camping spots.
Are there any events in the region that adventure cyclists would be interested in?
The Indian Pacific Wheel Race, one of the world’s most prestigious ultra-distance races, starts right here in the city, in Fremantle. As well as that, we are in the process of setting up a world series of adventure bike races, called Adventure Bike, which we are looking to kick off in Perth in 2018. For those that are looking for a shorter adventure, closer to two days as opposed to two weeks, the series will be perfect.
For more information on Jack’s guided tours, as well as general advice for adventure riding in Perth and Western Australia, visit jackcyclesfar.com