Rydal to Bathurst, via Capertee and Turon Gates

Rydal to Bathurst, via Capertee and Turon Gates

A terrific yet brutal ride, with water crossings and great scenery

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distance

Distance

129.2km

road-sealed

Sealed

48.7km

road-surface

Unsealed

80.5km

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Difficulty

8. Crazy

terrain

Terrain

Very Hilly

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Time

> 10 hours

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Average Speed

15km/h

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Climb (m/km)

17.8

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Climb

2,304m

descend

Descend

2,602m

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Min Elevation

656

max-elevation

Max Elevation

1,272m

At a Glance

I love this course because it starts with a train trip.  From Rydal, it is an awesome route for experienced riders but it is a bit brutal too.  There are sections of champagne gravel, but also lengths of fire trail where we had to push our bikes up or downhill as it was so steep.

Sensory Engagement

Mountain forests, softwood plantations and agricultural properties, creek and river crossings, small towns and villages with friendly hospitality coupled with some spectacular industrial and natural scenery across this ancient landscape.

Other Stuff

We started this adventure with a ride on the train from Bathurst to Rydal (the Bathurst Bullet).  Best idea too, especially as there are no toilets at the Rydal station (trap for young players).

Note that there are parts of this route that are remote.  No phone reception out here.  There are several creek and river crossings which are impassable to vehicles after rains, so walkers / riders should just forget it then too.

Heaps more photos on the escapalicious route which is published on Ride with GPS.  Check them out here!

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Click on a tab below to view the route in your chosen app

Highlights

  • A train ride to start the course at Rydal
  • The diversity of the ancient landscape
  • Champagne gravel in parts
  • The industrial history of Portland
  • Cool water crossings on a hot day

Sights on Route

  • The First Nations landscape
  • Rydal, Portland and Capertee
  • Portland transforming in to a cultural hub
  • The industrial history of Portland
  • Coal fireplaces at Capertee's Royal Hotel
  • The scenery, especially mountains and water courses

Traps For Young Players

  • No toilets (Jan 2023) open in Rydal after the train trip
  • It is slow-going, so allow plenty of time
  • Remote locations (costly helicopter rescues required)
  • Variable trail surfaces (can be really rough)
  • No phone reception in many parts
  • Not taking a PLB and a first aid kit
  • Water can be scarce
  • Wildlife – kangaroos and wombats darting onto trails

Food & Drink

  • Rydal has a pub.  Check opening hours
  • Portland is a great little town.  Has a supermarket, pub and cafe
  • The Grove Café is worth a stop (check opening hours)
  • The Coronation Hotel in Portland is excellent
  • Royal Hotel in Capertee is gold. Capertee also has a great servo
  • No food resupply points between Capertee and Bathurst
  • Water can be limited if rivers and creeks are dry
  • Bathurst and surrounds have so many options

Camping & Accommodation

  • So many options for wild camping on this route.
  • The Coronation Hotel in Portland
  • Royal Hotel in Capertee is an option.
  • Turon Gates is a serviced camping area (fees apply)
  • There are heaps of spots on the Turon River.  Car/4WD campers stay along here too.
  • Bathurst and surrounds have so many options.

Best Time to Ride

Cooler days, especially in Spring and Autumn.  Winter is OK (I can cope with the cold) but I avoid the heat in summer (this area can crack 40 degrees).

What’s the best bike for this route?

This is a tough choice because there are sections of sealed roads, some champagne gravel and some really crappy trails (up and down).  There's also rocky and eroded sections on the fire trails, as well as rocky river beds that are slow-going and force a rider to stop and push.

As a minimum, it's a gravel bike.  The escapalicious crew tackled this route as a gravel ride on a combination of gravel and cyclocross bikes, with 40-45mm tyres (one rider had 35mm tyres).  We coped OK but on reflection, 2 front chainrings would have been much more helpful than just one.

Other riders (or bikepackers) may prefer to choose a hard tail MTB, or lock out the rear shocks on a dual-suspension MTB.  Tyres 2.0-2.6 would fit the bill.  Again, 2 front chainrings would be helpful.

Do I take anything special on this course?

A PLB and a first aid kit are a must, and we make sure we know how to use them.  Generator hubs, or the extra weight of a battery bank is also a good idea for devices.

If it's a warm to hot day, this is an area where hydration is key.  There are fluid and food refuelling options in the towns and villages of Rydal, Portland, Capertee and Bathurst (depending on the time of day).  If the creeks are flowing, then filtering their water for bidons is possible for top ups.

Route Difficulty

This is a crazy tough route for 2 days of bikepacking, and brutal for a one-day gravel ride.  I've rated it as an 8-Crazy on the escapalicious difficulty ratings.

Ride Notes

Detailed ride notes will be updated on the website soon.  However, there is a Cue Sheet on the published Ride with GPS route which riders can download and "print", or "save" to your own device.  GPX files can be generated from any of the Apps above too.  I reckon you all knew that already.

Good parts: The views.  The river crossings on warm to hot days.  The champagne gravel.  The wildlife.

Tough parts: Oh wow, those hills we had to push our bikes up.  The heat in summer.

Crappy parts: Rocky and eroded trails.

Would I do it again? Maybe.  Wait, ... yes.  But I'd want to ride it on a bike with tyres wider than 45mm.

Traps for young players:  This route is for fit and experienced riders.  That's a major trap if you're not both of those.  Also, the lack of phone reception, as well as impassable creek crossings after heavy rains.

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