The Indian Pacific Wheel Race (IPWR) course does not follow the most direct route from coast to coast. We have a particular adventure in mind for racers and cycle tourers. The course is intended to create a truly memorable adventure. Riders will travel 5,500km through deserts, wineries districts, rolling hills, winding coastal roads and tough alpine regions.
The 2017 race route, and most current course, can be found here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/18777910.
Please note: this course is subject to change.
The 2017 route notes can be found here: http://bit.ly/2pUH3TQ
These notes were created by 2017 racers and can be used by anyone wishing to ride or tour the course. Please note that operating hours can change regularly in some remote areas and this data may no longer be accurate.
Similar to the Grand Tours of cycling, the Indian Pacific Wheel Race course has a number of distinct sectors with very different characteristics. We are not interested in the records for the fastest crossing from ocean to ocean, we're more interested in the story of the adventure and creating a fascinating race. The sectors are:
1. The desert (incl the Nullarbor Plain);
2. Rolling hills of the famous wine districts of South Australia;
3. The iconic Great Ocean Road; and
4. The Australian Alps.
In a nod to the missions of the early Australian overland cyclists, riders will travel through the heart of Australia's major cities. They will not be by-passed in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race. In the early days overland cyclists attempting record-breaking rides were welcomed by huge crowds in the major cities. While those days are gone, we want riders to be cheered on by those following the race. We want racers to pass through the usual day-to-day business of the cities. Racers will pass office workers, city-goers, kids on their way to school and shoppers. At the right time of day racers might find themselves in the middle of cycle commuter traffic or being passed by (or passing!) a bunch ride.
The course will starts in Fremantle, Western Australia. Riders are encouraged to dip their rear wheel in the Indian Ocean, as tradition dictates, sometime before commencing their ride.
The course ends at the iconic Sydney Opera House. Riders are be encouraged to continue riding to Bondi Beach to dip their front wheel in the Pacific Ocean to end their ocean-to-ocean Indian Pacific Wheel Race adventure.
Never stop moving.
Ernie Old (1874–1962) was infected with the cycling bug as a young bloke between duties as a soldier in the Boer War and World War 1. Despite some good results in races in rural Victoria in the early 1900s it wasn't until his 70s that Ernie became a celebrity.
At an age when most were in a cemetery or very close to one, Ernie, in his 70's, challenged himself to ride from his home in Melbourne to every state capital – a feat he accomplished before his 76th birthday. He continued to zip around Australia on his bike well into his 80s and made his last long ride from Melbourne to Bendigo in 1960, aged 86. His trips were mostly solo and without support, carrying or finding what he needed to survive along the way.
The photo shows Ernie finishing a 4,000km ride from Melbourne to Brisbane and back in 1947, aged 73. He was welcomed home with a ceremonial lap of the main arena at the Melbourne Show. Greeted as a celebrity by huge crowds, Ernie Old proved that travelling the huge emptiness of Australia by bike was safe and enjoyable at any age.
Ernie's autobiography, By Bread Alone, is definitely worth checking out.
Photo: National Archives of Australia