Rapha presents Life in the Peloton!
We are back for the first episode of 2023, and I’ve kicked off the new year in much the same way I finished 2022 – with a cross-border bike packing trip across Australia! This time, it’s The Rat to Radelaide.
If you’re picking up on the vibe that I’m loving these trips, you would be right. My Road to the Worlds trip really ignited a passion for this style of riding, and I love taking you along for the journey to show you what it’s like out there, in the hope it will encourage you to explore some of the incredible places in your own backyard by bike.
Inspired by my September trip, I set out to design the ultimate journey to fill the week-long gap between the Australian National Road Championships in Ballarat, and the Tour Down Under in Adelaide – 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 select 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 the real Aussie outback. 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 – was everything I had hoped for.
I hope you enjoy following along on our journey across The Rat to Radelaide, and I hope it 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.