Gloucester cycling mates Tim Clark and James Saunders have mapped a 520 kilometre cycle route that encompasses all the Barrington Coast as to offer. And it's all for their passion of adventure biking and their love of the Mid Coast region.
It started when the pair decided they'd like to do an ultra endurance bikepacking ride. Typically the ride can cover anywhere from 500 to thousands of kilometres and can span states. But before they committed to a ride from Canberra to Melbourne, or Adelaide to Ayers Rock (Uluru), they though it would best to try out something a little closer to home to see if they liked it.
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As they weren't quite ready to take on their ride in the heat of the summer, when the idea was first discussed, they have since been designing the route, testing it out in places and reaching out to other avid cyclists to see if there was any interest.
According to Tim, the idea has taken off more than expected and he believes it just another way to encourage people to visit the area.
"This area has become a highly esteemed place to ride," Tim said.
The region ticks all the boxes for an ultra endurance bikepacking ride. A ride needs to incorporate a range of elements like gravel, beach and remote areas.
Bikepacking means riders carry everything they need with them from food to bedding. There is no support team.
People can take part in the ride at any time. In fact, according to Tim, people already have after the route was published on the website they built in order to record interest.
They've called the route the Barrington Coast 500, as runs in two loops with Gloucester in the middle. One heads south through Bulahdelah, east to Seal Rocks, north near Old Bar and west back to Gloucester. The other heads south through Monkerai to Dungog, north through Barrington Tops and east through Cobark back to Gloucester.
Each loop is basically half the overall distance giving riders the option to stop if they have had enough.
Some may choose to stick with just the coastal run, which is somewhat flatter than the ride up Barrington Tops, which is not for the fainthearted.
"The route includes 7.5 kilometres of climbing, equivalent to riding to the top of Mount Everest," Tim said.
Other than testing out a few parts of the route that they weren't sure whether or not were suitable, neither Tim nor James have completed the full run. They plan to take it on starting Friday, August 29.
"We'll leave at the same time and return at vastly different times," Tim smiled.
"It will probably take James two days and me a full three."
The beauty of it is that there is no pressure.
It's not an organised event or a race, it's just a mapped out track to take.
It's a self supported adventure.
"People need an idea of where it's okay to ride, so having a route is best. You don't want to get struck somewhere," Tim said.
For more information about the route visit the Barrington Coast 500 Facebook page or the website www.barringtoncoast500.com/
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