18 June 2017
Last October, on a lazy weekend, we decided to bike to Simpsons Gap. We knew that the transition from spring to summer was well underway, and that daytime temperatures would be hot, so we decided to start our journey early. The bike ride is about 24km from our house, so we figured it would take about 2 hours to bike it (although, not having ridden in a while, I was allowing for closer to 3 hours!). We packed a picnic in the saddle bags, and then off we went a little after 0700 to meet up with a friend who was cycling with us. Here‘s the official trail information.
The first 7ish km are from Alice Springs to Flynn’s Grave. You’re riding in the street, but fortunately there’s not a lot of traffic, especially at 0700, so it didn’t feel claustrophobic to be on the street with the cars.
Flynn’s Grave is a landmark in Alice Springs. It’s located on the opposite side of the street that you’re riding on, and it’s definitely worth checking out. The man it commemorates is John Flynn, a minister who lived and worked in the Outback over a century ago. His persistence for better rural medical care is what led to the establishment of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
From this point, it is another 17km to Simpsons Gap. The trail easily meanders past various Outback plants, like Mulga shrublands and grasslands. We were on the lookout for kangaroos and rock wallabies, as well as the perenties!
This was our first time on the trail, and the views of the MacDonnell ranges are breathtaking. The trail is well maintained, and wide enough to ride two abreast. There are also multiple interpretative signs along the way that explain the current and ancient landscape.
About two hours later, we made it to Simpsons Gap. We parked up the bikes and then found a shady spot under a tree to enjoy our view and eat our food, and to drink lots of water. Even though it was only 0900, it was getting warm and we knew we didn’t want to be out in the hot sun at 1200. We chilled for about half an hour, and then back on the bikes we went.
The way back felt a little longer, and the hills a little harder, but that’s probably because it was inching up past 30ºC, and we were starting to bake. But, we made it back by 1100, after biking more than 40 km. We felt pretty good about our day! We even went to the Central Australian Aviation Museum on the way home!
If the video in the begnning doesn’t work, you can find it here.