Monday, August 12, 2019

Cycling In Perth Australia 2019

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Cycling In Perth Australia 2019
Perth, Australia : 3rd to 10th  August 2019
Duo Cycling Tour of PerthAustralia and its vicinity in Western Australia:
(See day-to-day blogs for more detailed routes)

I have been to Australia several times - Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, and the Blue Mountains. But I had hardly cycled there except for a 1/2-day guided cycling tour in Sydney (does that even count?). But Australia is really a huge country-continent and this time round I will be visiting the west coast, specifically Perth and its vicinity in Western Australia. And YES! I will be doing a some cycling there, but it won't be a city-to-city bike-packing. We will be going around by car and train and will cycle at several spots.

Below are the blogs of our cycling tour, click on the respective photos to read. Note: further below are cycling/travel tips, and write-ups on food and places along the route):



Here's, some general tips on cycling/travelling in Australia and Western Australia, more detailed tips will be included in the day to day blogs:

1. Traffic Directions!
    Traffic in Australia is right-hand drive, so cycle on the left. Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!
    Driving courtesy is very important in the country. So do not hog the road, stay within your lane and put on your indicators when turning or changing lanes, and give way at city-centre junctions to pedestrians and other slower traffic even if there's not pedestrian crossing.

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    Australia has fairly well developed cycling routes that run in the cities, town, villages, and country side. Some of the cycling trails are on dedicated cycling lanes, some on shared lanes with pedestrians or other traffic. Some are on paved tracks while others are on gravel or earth trails, and they go through fairly busy towns, green forests and bright blue lakeside.
    The Bicycle Network website provides cycling guides & maps for the various states & territories. The Road Rules & Laws Section gives the relevant laws and rules for cycling in the states & territories. DO NOTE that for the present wearing helmets is compulsory when cycling there. The following are some laws on cycling in Western Australia; covering wearing helmets & cycling safety, cycling on shared roads & foot paths, safe passing distance, and safe bicycles for the state.
    The most important things to note are the compulsory wearing of approved helmets, no cycling at free ways & pedestrian malls, and riding single file on footpaths.

3. Weather
     The best time to cycle in Western Australia is in April or October when the weather is mild, and rain fall is minimal. During these months, day time temperature averages about 23°C and night time averages 15°C. We were there in early August, the daytime and nighttime temperatures averaged 18°C and 9°C but near the coast it does feel colder with a strong wind. Wind speed averaged 20 kph and is stronger at the sea side.
     A useful weather forecast site for the Australia is the AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

4. Travelling By Plane And Bringing Bikes Onto Planes
    We did not bring our bicycles as a friend from GoLocca had kindly lent us his Bromptons. Just for note, most budget airlines charges for bringing bicycles on board; we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Perth by Air Asia; click here for AirAsia guideline and fee on sports equipment. The fee differs for short-haul and long-haul flights.
    Our Australian Tourist Visa - ETA Short Stay was applied on-line through EasyETA at AUD9-95. This Tourist Short Stay ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) allows one to stay in Australia for up to 3 months on each arrival within 12 months from the date the visa was granted.
5. Bringing Bikes Onto Trains, Buses & Ferries in Perth
    Full sized bikes & unfolded folding bikes are allowed onto Transperth trains during off peak times without additional chargesFerries have four parking bays for full sized and unfolded folding bikes. Full sized bikes are not allowed onto buses. Bagged folded bikes are allowed onto all trains, buses & ferries at all times. For more information on bringing bicycles onto Transperth trains, buses, ferries and stations click here.

6. Renting Cars In Perth
    As the region around Perth is quite large, we rented a car to get to the outlying towns such as Margaret RiverBusseltonBunbury, etc. Several car rental websites can be used to compare the prices of different cars from different car rental companies. We opted for
    A few points to note when renting cars:
   1. Try to rent the cars at least two weeks prior to the rental date. The rates for renting cars ne week prior can be higher by as much as 30% more.
    2. A deposit ranging from AUD200 to AUD4,000 may be charged to one's card on picking up the car, this will be debited back once the car is returned safely. So be sure that your credit card limit & balance can cover this deposit. We opted for
   3. One may pick up the car from the airport and opt to drop it off at the city; this can be done on line for an additional fee (about AUD25 to AUD30). If this can't be done on line, then check with the counter clerk when picking up the car.
   4. Insurance excess. One can opt to buy additional insurance to reduce the excess.
   5. Additional driver. For longer drive, it will be good to have an additional driver; rates for this is on a per day basis. Do note that for some company, the spouse is automatically included as an additional driver.
   6. Petrol prices vary from day to day, but try to avoid pumping on Monday as it's the highest then. Useful petrol price checker/comparison apps are PetrolSpy and MotorMouth.

7. Communicating with Each Other
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost from the rest.
    We purchased Hello 1010 simcards online and got the 15-days/6GB prepaid simcards for Australia & New Zealand at MYR59 each. These were delivered within 3-5 working days but MUST ONLY be activated in Australia.
    Alternatively, one can purchase the OPTUS pre-paid simcards at the Perth International Arrival Hall.

8. Communicating with Locals
    Most locals speaks very good English and communicating with them should not be a problem.

9. Accommodations
    Accommodations in Australia can be somewhat pricey (by Malaysian standards), but they are some budget motels/hostels around. Most of the accommodation allowed us to bring our bagged foldies into the room. Check the daily blog on our accommodation.

10. Food
    There is no lack of good food in the country. Asian and Malaysian food can also be found in most large cities.
    One should not miss the following:
    - fresh beef and lamb,
    - good seafood Margaret RiverPerth and Fremantle.
    - fish n chips from Cicerellos and Amberjacks.
    - good ice-cream from Simmos and Gusto Gelato.

11. Navigation
    We used Google Maps in Cycling Mode for navigation but there is a lag when starting off, so one would have to cycle a bit to get the orientation right. Google Maps is also useful as it shows various places of interests that were not shown on GPS units.
    Alternatively, download the MAPS.ME app together with the relevant country maps. This app can be used offline.
12. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.


Street art seen at Fremantle, Australia - August 2019.

Street art Grand Lane in Perth, Australia - August 2019.

Street art Wolf & McLean Lanes in Perth, Australia - August 2019.

Australian artwork seen along a road-cycling trip at the towns between Perth & Margaret River - August 2019.


Australia, one of the largest country in the world, an the only one that is by itself a continent offers diversified cycling experience from metropolitan jaunts to rustic rural stints.

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