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The Munda what?

Munda Biddi – April 2019

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter – now they tell me

Munda Biddi mean path through the forest and this runs between Perth and Albany in Western Australia. Whilst the two towns are 414km by road, this cycling route is 1015km and compliments the nearby bibbulmun walking track of equal distance.

After one too many red wines one night, former Whalie football club past players Paul, Rohan and Ewen are doing the ride south to north in April 2019.

From Tuesday 9th, you will be able to follow the ride at Spotwalla . Think of it being a SBS slow tv show. You’ve seen the Ghan, traveled in NZ from north to south and now you can watch three muppets on bikes,

For those in Perth, see you at Mr Walker on Sunday 28th for a full debrief unless we are still out there somewhere.

The Munda Biddi Route with associated huts

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Denmark to the first hut

Time to put the Boss bike to the test as I travelled along the coast and then scale 204 meters to the firat (or last) MB hut. This day probably has more trail surfaces, gradients and vistas than any other day.I stopped off at Denmark surf beach and topped up the bidons, especially on a hot day as the first climb to the wind turbines is just the start and there are no alternatives today. The new MB track is asphalt but can be dicey on the numerous corners with lots of small stones and sand. The snake ciunt was high (two) and they appear to like this asphalt heat sink.The coastal ride can be hot and tiring and from the asphalt, you move to single track (with plastic matting support) to corrugated road. The highlight apart from not running over a tiger snake by inches was Lights beach (or similar).This was far better than the oft-commented on Greens Lagoon as not all of Perth happened to be visiting this as they were the lagoon.Climbing up the mainly sealed roads is tiring in the heat and I became exceedingly dehydrated but as you scale the farmland and into the forest it spurs you on. There is a winery not a million miles from the hut however sadly it was closed but worth considering.As you get closer to the hut, the track deterioates, gets more sandy somehow and starts to climb.Tgw hut was vacant apart from a tree frog later on. A good place to kip l.

Albany to Denmark – byo roadie

The distance is about 75km however a lot of this is on bitumen to about the 55km mark. Two hardish climbs will see you doing 600mtrs or so. The issue is the the routing through Albany. Either I navigated a seperate route or there are no markers, you know, the same colour ones as the Telstra cable warnings. There are limited shoulders on the major roads so take care. Two daylight food stops including Youngs at 50km for basic food and water.

The cream is the last 10-12km along the rail trail. It does not get better than this. It does not get better than this! Allow extra time to relax on this section as well as the Hay River.

Albany

I arrived by Rex airways mainly because I was flying into Perth and so why struggle with a bike box and 5 hours on a bus plus a trip to the city? The bike was well over the 15kg limit and so be prepared to fork out about $7 a kilo for any excess. The airline will organise a taxi but mention you need a station wagon or similar for the bike box.Expect $25 to $30 to your accommodation or you could set the bike up at the airport and ditch rhe box there.

At the main roundabout intersection, you will find Coles Supermarket, complete with reasonably priced energy gels and energy bars as well as dehydrated food. Passmore cycles is over the road and has anything you have forgotten or broken. This is a town of about 30,000 so anything strange will need to be ordered in and freight to Albany needs to be factored in.

Food options are best to avoid the foreshore. Go to the sports club or The Earl of Spencer Historic Inn – Bar & Restaurant which does large mb portions, Guinness on tap and Cafreys for your iron supplements.

If you have time, please check out the ANZAC area, The gap, (a fair ride out on Frenchman’s bay) and the exceedingly excellent Limeburners Distillery om Frenchman’s Bay Road but do this on your return leg!

The best cafe I found was just after the start at Vancover Street cafe. The ones around the start of the route are ok but you can do AND deserve better.

My last trip to Albany was in 1983 and it is a completely different town. Friendly, warm and welcoming and cars / trucks give you a very very reasonable distance when overtaking and allow you to dawdle up hills without pressure. Spend an extra day here rather than Perth.

Tech – If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen…

I think I will be carrying far too much crap for sure however here is a quick rundown…

What’s in the panniers

Findme spot (orange)

The Findme gen 3 spot is a satelite tracker and is not dissimar to an EPIRB. It will track your movements every 5 minutes or so and map these. Use Spotwalla.com rather than the spotme inbuilt mapping but set this up prior to your trip. The good news is that you can segregate periods of time so you can just show the MB rather than the prologue.

There are four modes… standard tracking, an ok message, an “I need help” and the EPIRB style SOS which the Spot team will direct your local rescuer. You can sms or email the middle two options to your family.

Garmin Edge

This Garmin is infuiating to use. Installing the supplied Aus/NZ map is not for the feint hearted and I gave up attempting to add the open source maps from OpenStreetMap.org. How the tech put so much into this device but forget to make installation a doddle is beyond me.

However once installed, it appears to do what I want it for which is to keep me on track.

Garmin Virb camera

This camera has a fish-eye wide angle lense, GPS 2 second time lapse and a plethitude of other fun stuff. Used for Mapillary, unfortunately initial use on trails has been predominantely blury. My use will be for uphill and better tracks and the odd significant locations.

Canon powershot

Only once will I be doing the Munda Biddi so I wanted agood camera for those epic shots. This is not it. An almost disposable priced camera with physical zoom and a decent number of negapixels, wifi for consumi g your gpa or sending that great photo. The key is that I don’t need to fuss that much about. The weight isn’t an issue, its the size and need to use a non usb charger that’s the issue. A luxury item.

Powerbanks

I am carrying four which should get me through the 3 days of potential camping in a row. The powerbanks and other assocuated batteries are well below the limits for airlines however as batteries improve, you might find more powerbanks hitting the airline thresholds.

Power adapter

This is a 4 usb charger plus added powerpoint. This will hopefully allow recharging without the worry having to swap devices throughout the night. As an added bonus, it keeps all your cords handy (if not a little cluttered). I have now added tape to the garmin leads at both ends to make these easier to find from the standard ones.