information for riders

Riders please note…

This is not an organised event. It is a loose collection of people riding towards Canberra on a roughly similar schedule. There will be no sag-wagon, no drink stations, no first aid backup. You and you alone are responsible for your own safety. Whatever situation you may get yourself in, you’ll have to get yourself out of.

Having said that, we are a welcoming and friendly bunch, and we will truly be chuffed to have you joining us, or doing your own ride using our resources (see below).

If you are planning to join us for the main ride, or if you are interested in attending an information night, please fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page. Even if you plan to ride separately, it would be cool if you could let us know so that we know roughly how big the whole event is. Note: this is not an official sign up, it’s just to give us an idea of numbers, and so we can notify you directly of planning developments. 

The 2020 route

Main ride options

You are welcome to join us for any section of the ride according to your time, location and abilities. The 2020 main ride will be departing from Federation Square in Melbourne at 9am on Saturday the 21st of November. Below we have proposed different ride options to suit different levels of cycling experience and time commitment. 

  1. The weekender: The first day we will be riding about 100km from Federation Square to Warburton. Those wanting to make a weekend of the ride can ride back to Melbourne the following day, or to Lilydale and then train back to Melbourne. Those who can’t ride 110kms could also train to and from Lilydale.
  2. The 3-4 day ride: Following Warburton we’ll be riding east through Noojee and Walhalla and then across north east Gippsland through Maffra and Bairnsdale. Those wanting a 3-4 day ride could either ride south from Maffra and catch the train to Melbourne from Sale, or continue on to Bairnsdale and train home from there. This is the next easiest/most logical point to leave (or join) the ride. This section of the ride includes gravel roads and some decent-sized climbs, so will require some degree of fitness and experience. There are towns at fairly regular intervals or nearby, so this section could potentially be done without camping gear (subject to availability. Do your own research).
  3. The one week ride: After about five days and 500km we will reach the approximate halfway mark at Orbost. There is a rail trail from Bairnsdale to Orbost, so rides wanting a week-long ride could ride to Orbost, then back to Bairnsdale and catch the train back to Melbourne.
  4. All the way to Canberra: The entire route crosses the alps and goes through some remote areas. Riders will need a good amount of fitness and experience. In Canberra we will be staging some sort of event outside parliament house which will likely involve some politicians. If enough people make it to Canberra and need to get home to Melbourne, we may look into hiring a bus/van, but this is totally speculative at the moment.
  5. Do it yourself: If you like the idea of the climate cycle, but want to do it alone or with your friends, go right ahead. You are welcome to direct your supporters to pledge an action on this site, and we can provide you with materials such as climate cycle stickers and business cards that you can hand out en route which explain what the climate cycle is and how people can support it.
    You don’t even have to ride the same route that we are. A couple of other great options are the route of the 2018 Climate Cycle or the Hunt 1000 route. Or you can ride from somewhere else in Australia. Do it! Our aim at the moment is to finish in Canberra on Thursday the 5th of December, so if it’s possible you could meet us there in a show of strength outside parliament.


Some key details about the ride

Please note: these may differ depending on circumstances, but it should give you a decent idea of what to expect.
  • The entire route of the 2020 Climate Cycle to Canberra is challenging, and will require at least some experience of long distance bike riding and outdoor adventure activities. It will traverse sealed roads, gravel roads and rail trails. It will include large climbs and remote areas. It does not include very rough singletrack or 4WD tracks. A bike with 35mm tyres or wider should be ok, given the rider has reasonable experience.
  • There will be the opportunity both to camp and stay in accommodation. Last year we had about a 50/50 split. Camping equipment will almost certainly be required if doing the entire route.
  • We are aiming to do the entire ride in less than two weeks. We will be riding around 90km per day average.
  • If you are planning to travel by train as part of your ride, make sure to check the Metro Trains or V-line website for any service disruptions (there is a lot of work going on at the moment, make sure to do this).
  • Download the Vic Emergency app before you go so you are aware of any fire danger.


All riders please abide by these principles

While doing the climate cycle you will meet many people along the way. If our previous experience is anything to go by, the large majority of people will at least show some interest or support in what you are doing. But you may also encounter people who disagree with you and your views.

Don’t be afraid to state your views clearly, but please be open and respectful to everyone you talk to. You don’t have to agree with everything they say, but do your best to connect on a simple human level. You may be surprised by how much we all have in common. If you can’t do this for whatever reason, that’s ok, you can always walk away.

Our aim is not to aggressively confront or shame people who may not share our views. Not only is this bad manners, it is counter-productive to the aims of the climate cycle. Our aim is to try and build broad-based support for climate action, and this will not be achieved by zealotry.

How will it be managed?

We have little idea of how appealing this idea is, and therefore how many people might turn up and want to ride a significant distance with us. Obviously we want as many people as possible in order to increase the impact of the ride and also because bike riding is great, but we’re not event managers and this isn’t a ‘proper’ event in any conventional sense.

If, say, we have five to ten people, things would basically sort themselves out. But if thirty people turned up and wanted to ride with us, honestly we’re not really sure how we’re going to do it. We would want to avoid having one big peloton on the road as that would be a danger to us and other road users, and we would want to avoid the kind of situation where thirty people turn up to the same hotel at the same time all wanting a room to stay. Chaos!

The way we kind of picture it is a loose affiliation of riders on the road within a day or two of each other, kind of riding together but kind of not. But who knows.

The point is that this whole endeavour is somewhat experimental, so be prepared for some trial and error, and perhaps a little confusion. It worked great for the first edition last year, so we’re hoping the same thing will work this year, but with more people. We see the climate cycle not so much as a group or an event but an idea. It belongs to everybody and nobody.

Further information and inspiration

We are planning to have an information night some time before the ride, depending on interest. Please let us know via the contact form if you are interested. feature story on the Climate Cycle to Canberra 2018

Blog post on

Adventure Cycling Victoria podcast featuring the three climate cyclists from 2018