Results for

“A 10-day Normcore Bicycle Tour through the Australian In-Back.”

Australia is known around the world, as it well should be, it’s one of the Earth’s seven continents. And like any globally-known proper noun, a lot of what we think we know about Oz is only half true—if that. For example, those without firsthand knowledge might expect a land overrun by curious marsupials and legions of venomous snakes, a giant island beset on all sides by ravenous saltwater crocodiles and great white sharks. The uneducated might expect Foster’s to be sold at every shop, or assume the people of this land to be so exacting in their barbecue rituals that adding just a single shrimp to the barbie is a common, every day practice. We were not exempt: our heads were full of these and other whimsical expectations as we packed and prepped for our Australian Normcore Bicycle Tour. Okay that’s not entirely true, everybody knows the Foster’s thing is a myth but dude(s), WE DID expect to see at least one Koala. Dead or alive, it didn’t matter. That’s not true either, we hoped to see a living Koala in a living Eucalyptus tree. Point is, we were open to Experiencing & Exploring the real Australia exactly like Lewis and Clark (and the Corps of Discovery) Experienced & Explored the real Louisiana Purchase, in 1804.

“At any rate, we know exactly what you’re thinking, you’re thinking: why Australia?, and why in the form of a Normcore Bicycle Tour?”

That’s easy, but first some background. For a year now—basically throughout all of 2015—Yonder Journal’s Bike-Packing Campaign has been dominated by mountain ranges, weather and high adventure. You know, tough terrain in harsh environments. Everywhere we went it snowed, the air was thin, the animals were menacing, and by and large we were left to fend for ourselves. And we loved it. The rides, our experiences, the whole thing, it was dynamite, all of it. But Dead Reckoning isn’t JUST about a one-dimensional, stock-standard interpretation of adventure. It’s also about culture, and stuff. For example, Lewis and Clark didn’t shoot bears and ford rivers 24/7, they also traded with American Natives, participated in celebrations and rituals, and dedicated a large amount of time to observing (and recording) the natural world around them. Their purview; flora, fauna, mores, traditions, costumes, customs, all of it—EVERYTHING! Yes, they were in fact adventurers, but they were also anthropologists, archaeologists, botanists and emissaries.

And so, because it’s known for being warm, flat-ish—listen, we knew about the Snowy Mountains, it’s not like we don’t have maps for Christ’s sake (though maybe we didn’t appreciate the angles and the cumulative nature of gain in respect to “undulation”)—and rich in a culture similar-but-different to our own, we chose to explore Australia. And with an eye to truly experiencing Australia’s culture as much as to dominating its topography, we decided to travel as incognito as possible, as Americans on vacation! Thus, Dead Reckoning’s inaugural Normcore Bicycle Tour was conceived.

The only thing left: the creation of a rough Route Outline. We needed something well-researched and solid enough to deliver on our cultural corps of discovery mandate, but flexible enough to alter should we become tired, over-stimulated and/or bored. So we did what anyone would do in our situation, we emailed Stevan from Attaquer for some “on the ground” insights into the nature of his country, we contacted Chris Tank, our resident route-planner, and we did some interneting. Our research turned up a number of interesting things, and led us to our decision: Syd 2 Mel, a Normcore Bicycle Tour.

OFFICIAL SYD2MEL POSTER Artwork by Thomas Slater.

Six FYIs

  1. Nearly every pub in rural Australia will say it’s a hotel, chances are it’s not. This has to do with the pre-cellphone, pre-internet, pre-New Wave days when pubs were the only places in any given rural Australian town worth a salt. So if you were passing through and got pissed up you could just pass out there. Pretty smart. But now that we’re in the post-Bieber era most of these places are just pubs, NO Vacancy. Don’t be fooled.
  2. You won’t find Foster’s in Australia. It doesn’t exist there, we Seppos have been duped by the Mad Men, or at least the Mad Men’s progeny. If you’re expecting to follow up your daily ride with a hulking oil can of thin yellow disgusting beer then you’ll have to bring it over with you from the States.
  3. No one ever puts just A-NOTHER shrimp on the barbie. Think about it; who would just put ONE more shrimp on the barbie? I’ll grant that maybe one fell off the prep table, or was discovered in the cooler (or eskie as they say down there) floating among the vegemite and Carlton’s you’d probz throw it on. But no one in their right mind ever asks for just one more shrimp to be barbequed. That’d be asinine.
  4. It gets hot enough in Australia to make the roads melt. Take this into account.
  5. Don’t expect a casual Koala Bear sighting. These little dudes and dudettes pretty much just get high on eucalyptus and chill. Think about your stoner friends, when do you ever see them out running around?
  6. This is a Normcore Bicycle Tour. The whole idea is that you’ll have access to food and beverages along the route. We’re not suggesting that you simply throw caution to the wind and go on a ride with fate and the hapless gang. That’d be grossly irresponsible especially considering Australia with all its venom, fangs, and ozone problems. You should definitely plan ahead. For instance if, say, you want to stay at Wogal Hut, you’ll need to get provisions in Talbingo, its the last store before the hut, plus they have a great selection of canned tuna. The Food packing list below is devised to help you figure out the amount of food you should plan to carry daily—not for the whole week.

Human & Bike Setups

01
Normcore Touring Cap

Plucked from a local store en route for a reasonable price. Could lead to being mistaken for a hunter (not a bad thing!). Says both, "I'm unique," and "I'm conscious of sun damage."

02
Oakley Jawbreaker Road Prism

Basically from the future. Actually they literally let you see into the future. They also say, "I'm active AF but I also know what's up."

03
Homo Sapiens

Curious about the world, deftly maneuvers a bicycle, enjoys sleeping in motels, great at cracking jokes.

04
Polo

The paradigm of traditional Normcore gear. Short sleeves say, "I can get after a Tom Collins," while the button up says, "What's your portfolio looking like?"

05
Specialized SWAT Pro Bibshort

Originally intended to function under a pair of Modesty Shorts, we found them totally able to stand on their own. Pockets on the thighs and back for #FullCargo without a jersey. YOU NEED EM.

06
Specialized Recon

Full lace for a delightfully vintage and non-technical look—plus a custom fit. Passable for impromptu powerlunches. Pair with white socks. DUH.

01
MFS Artist Residency Kit

The Zio Ziegler Jersey and Karan Singh Cap form a potent combo. Draw some attention, make a statement. Be sure to be consistent with your cap loft.

02
Porcelain Rocket Charlene

Your bulky gear depository: clothes, bathroom kit, book, electronics, sandals, spare hat. You can lash objects to the outside.

03
Gas Tank

Wallet/Camera/Phone/Glasses holder.

04
Porcelain Rocket Half Frame Bag

This bag is great for holding stuff, which is what a bag should be great for. Food, emergency clothes—you choose. Leaves plenty of clearance for bottles.

05
Specialized Rib Cage II w/ Tool

Holds your water bottles—which you're going to need, it's hot down here, I mean look at this picture—plus it has a minitool for those quick adjustments.

06
Specialized Diverge Expert X1

Truly one of our favorite bikes. Comfy all day, descends like a monorail, hits gravel, dirt and pavement with aplomb. Tubeless Roubaix Pros, SRAM 1x11 Rival, it's everything you need.

Bike Setup Context: K-Ks, K-Us, U-Us

  1. Known-Known: We planned to ride along fire roads, gravel roads, back roads, and only very occasionally busy highways. We wanted to be self-supported in a variety of casual environments; you know, sandals, t-shirts, swim trunks, and a credit card or two.
  2. Known-Known: Rather than sleeping on the ground and “camping,” which would have been too adventure(y), and which would have unnecessarily limited/stunted interactions with the locals, we planned to sleep in those motels, huts, and shacks we found along the way.
  3. Known-Known: We planned to eat in restaurants/pubs and snack at servos along the way. That said, we needed a set-up that would sustain us through any of the many substantial gaps between services we would encounter.
  4. Known-Unknown: The fire roads—we knew they existed but we didn’t know whether they’d be more fire or more road.
  5. Unknown-Unknown: 105 in the shade.
  6. Unknown-Unknown: Sneaky 70s.
  7. Unknown-Unknown: Sneaky 17s.
Packing List

Food

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Snack Bars 2-4/day Clif Bars (Mojo & Normal)
  • Nuts 4-8 oz/day Mixed and salted baby!
  • Gels/Bloks 2-4/day Clif Shots and Bloks (caffeinated is the move)
  • Water Bottles 2+ Keep those bad boys topped off... honestly two bottles is basically suicide—plan on like nine
Packing List

Clothing

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Padded Bibshorts 1 Specialized SWAT
  • Overshorts 1 Mission Workshop The Stahl
  • Gloves 1 Specialzied BG Ridge
  • Cycling Hat 1 MFS by Karan Singh
  • Socks 1 Specialized Wool
  • Shoes 1 Specialized Recon
  • Helmet 1 Specialized Airnet
  • Vest 1 Mission Workshop The Orion
  • T-Shirt 1 Bootleg AC/DC (to impress the locals)
  • Sun Hat 1 Sun Blaster with Long Brim and Neck Curtains
  • Sunnies 1 Oakley Frogskins
  • Motel Underwear 1 Icebreaker
  • Motel T-Shirt 1 Something that's cool and SO YOU, this is for going out on the town!
  • Motel Sandals 1 adidas slides or Lunas
  • Motel Shorts 1 Something swimming-compatible
Packing List

Gear

  • ITEM QUANTITY SUGGESTED
  • Seat Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket Charlene
  • Frame Bag 1 Porcelain Rocket Partial Framebag
  • Top Tube Bag 1 Revelate Gas Tank
  • Mini Tool 1 Specialized EMT PRO MTB
  • Bottle Cage w/ Tool 1 Specialized Rib Cage II
  • Patch Kit 1 Rema of course!
  • Tubes 1 FRESHIES!
  • Tire Levers 1 Whatever's in the toolbox
  • Bottles Lots We brought some with lil smoking crocs and snakes and palms
  • Frame Pump 1 Specialized Air Tool Carbon
  • Spare Parts Assorted Chainring bolts, bailing wire, spokes, pliers, brake pads, nuts & bolts, tire boots, zip ties, etc.
  • Knife 1 Whatever you can find in Syd
  • Headlamp 1 Snow Peak Mola with fresh batteries
  • Teeth Stuff 1 Whatever 9 out of 10 dentists recommend
  • Book 1 Kyle went with Warlock by Oakley Hall and Daniel brought Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
  • Lighter 1 Bic
  • Sunscreen 1 MAX SPF WATERPROOF LARGE VOLUME
  • Lip Balm 1 Something with SPF
  • Gorilla Tape Couple feet Wrap it around your seatpost #2EZ
  • First Aid Kit 1 Homemade (Google a list)
  • Power Adapters 2-3 Plug Type I
  • Ear Plugs 1 If you're a side sleeper, make sure they fit all the way in your ear

Critter Bingo!

 

If you visit Australia, be on the lookout for the stunning wildlife that teems the land. Unfortunately we had no trained guide to help us spot these creatures, which represent just a small selection of the diverse and fascinating biodiversity of Australia.

Death Adder.
Saltwater Crocodile.
Friendly Bogan.
Box Jellyfish.
Wombat.
Ian Thorpe.
Grey Kangaroo.
Red Kangaroo.
Bunyip.
Redback Spider.
Duckbill Platypus.
Kylie Minogue.
Tiger Snake.
Great White Shark.
Coastal Taipan.
Crocodile Dundee.
Drop Bear.