Setting out in late August, JP, our Geelong store manager and devout adventure cyclist, ditched the morning chills of Melbourne and set forth, bike bag in tow to Vietnam. With a loose plan in mind, JP is currently exploring the south coast of Vietnam aboard his trusty Norco Search XR steel framed flat-bar bike.
Traversing gaps between fishing villages and local resorts, the beaches, and countryside between Vung Tao and Nha Trang make for some spectacular scenery. Check out some of the pics of his adventure on our blog. You can also follow his journey’s progress on Strava, where he’s racking up the k’s each day.
So, starting off, could you tell us a bit about how the Hunt 1000 compares or differs from other bikepacking rides you’ve done?
The Hunt will be by far the longest and toughest ride I have done. I’m allowing 12 days to complete it with a rest day or two included in that time. Previously the longest backpacking trip I have done is four days. I am really excited about being able to switch off from life and work for two weeks and just have riding along as my only objective!
In addition to the overall distance the amount of climbing is huge, up around 30,000m usually, which is somewhat intimidating and a bit of an unknown. I’ll have to see how that goes – I like climbing normally so it should be okay, but wow it will be some slow going!
The most appealing difference to the other stuff I have done would be the remoteness of some of the sections, particularly the really remote wilderness sections and Jagungal wilderness in particular. I’m really stoked to be able to ride through those places.
Can you tell us a little bit about your prep for this event?
My primary strategy has shifted from get as fit as possible ahead of time to ride myself fit over the first 3-4 days – it’s a bold strategy and we will see how it plays out!!
My prep has been quite stop start and interrupted by life and work unfortunately. I have been trying to ride at least an hour most days, and for the past month 90% of all my riding has been on the bike I will take loaded up so I can habituate to the way it feels and moves and the strain on my joints and muscles.
I have put in some over-nighters with some big days of distance and elevation wherever I can while juggling other commitments, but it has been difficult.
Due to my lack of preparation I have modified my plans from 10 days to 12 days just to have some time up my sleeve. I figure I’m on holidays so I should take advantage of that and enjoy myself as much as possible.
What are your go-to’s for food along the way? What will you pack with you to get you through?
Lucky for me I have always enjoyed bakery treats and takeaway food! My plan is to cram my food bag full when I can and see where I get too with that. I plan to carry a number of dehydrated meals as back up, but will eat real food as much as possible.
I have a pretty serious caffeine situation, and I have found specialty instant coffee that I can tolerate and will be bringing a supply of that too!
Have you made any changes to your bike set up for this particular event?
My setup has been pretty consistent for the past year or so. I ride a Kona Unit X which I absolutely love. It’s by far the most comfortable bike I have ever owned. Highlights include a Tumbleweed Persuader bar, a custom frame bag from Rockiest, and my absolute favourite – a cut down Wald 139 basket on a front rack that I got from Blue Lug – the shipping was a killer but man I love that thing! Not having to worry about cramming my tent and sleeping back into a tiny stuff sack is a dream and it allows me to pack the most important thing on a trip – extra space!
The one change I made specifically for this event was to change my tyres. I usually run bigger 2.6 but went done to a more easily rolling and efficient 2.3 tyre. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it has actually made a significant difference to my rolling speed.
We wish Mark a safe, fun, and trouble-free event. Good luck, Mark!
To see the live tracking of the riders progress, click here
There are a lot of great initiatives going on. Just as well – it has been pretty tough going lately. Everything Good Cycles does to make mental health a reality for all is actively supported by you, our members. We do not provide a ‘mental health service’. There are other important and accessible initiatives to make a real difference to mental health and well-being, like:
Cycling is so effective for well-being that riding is one of the ‘alternative prescriptions’ doctors around the world recommend for mental health. If you want to know more about just how much you are helping yourself by cycling, read more from our friends at Bicycling Australia.
Obviously, it’s a lot easier to benefit from cycling if you have access to a bike. That’s one of the reasons Good Cycles has donated 60 bikes in the last 12 months to help people participate in the social and economic life of our communities. It might include exercise, visiting friends, or getting to work. It doesn’t matter whether you ride for the mental health benefits; they happen anyway.
It takes a bit of coordination and planning to create jobs, and as supporters of Good Cycles, it’s one of the things our members enable. The research evidence is ‘strongly supportive of a causal relationship’ between unemployment and mental ill-health. Our jobs are specifically targeted for those who are under-represented in the workforce so it is also one of the initiatives that improves mental health equity. Thanks again, members.
See all of the continuous paths available around Melbourne and Geelong with Google maps in Cycling mode. The Melbourne Bike Grip Map shows you a visualisation of all of the bike paths available to you so you can max out your 5km bubble.
2. Ride With GPS
One of our favourite tools for planning rides whether short or long. Ride with GPS offers plenty of different map overlays to help you plan your route while also showing other people’s routes that you can take inspiration from.
3. arevo Journey Planner app
Another tool we use to help us plan journeys is arevo. The app uses colour to represent different types of roads or cycling paths, handy when you are looking to use off-road paths only.
Bonus points for it being made here in Victoria!
4. Park Tool’s Repair Help
Park Tool makes workshop grade bike tools, but they also have a handy website, Repair Help, to help you fix your own bike. Park Tool’s Repair Help covers everything from fixing a flat to building a wheel. Useful when you can’t make it into our shop for a service!
5. Sheldon Brown
The late Sheldon Brown was a delightfully eccentric American bicycle mechanic (amongst many other things) and he created this website to help everyone from bike mechanic nerds to everyday cyclists trying to demystify tyre sizing.
It’s a great resource when fixing up older bikes to check for part sizes and compatibility. The website is very low tech (it’s 20+ years old) but that means it loads fast!
6. Desire Lines
Desire Lines is an Australian website showcasing events, bike touring and bikepacking ride reports/essays and much more. Community driven, it always has great photos and is great for dreaming of future trips!
These are some of our favourite cycling resources and we trust they’ll become some of yours too. If you need some bits or pieces to keep the adventures going head to our online shop, we deliver Australia-wide and 100% of your purchase goes towards our mission.
Bike maintenance at home
Still want more? We’re hosting an online bike maintenance session to keep you pedaling through lockdown!
Date: Wednesday 22 September, 2022
Time: 5pm – 6pm
Cost: $25 / FREE for Good Cycles members (check your inbox for the promo code)