Bike Ride May 2018

Notes about an 8-day cycling adventure in a loop starting at Albury, then through Culcairn, Wagga Wagga, Gundagai, Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Jingellic, Granya and back to Albury. Train to and from Albury to Southern Cross.

The Participants
Rick (the writer).

Total Distance Travelled
490 km for Rick and 515 km for Noel.

Best Scenery
On the second last day riding along the Murray Valley Highway beside the Murray River although there was a lot of up and down.

We stayed in motels and hotels. All adequate. All gear carted in panniers.

How we Navigated

  • I had an iPad and Noel had an iPhone, each running Maps.Me for navigation. Both devices were in waterproof holders in view on our handlebar bags. Maps.Me has useful features such as off-line mapping and automatic rerouting. It sometimes suggests unnecessary deviations off main roads which may result in hills, unmade tracks or goat paths. We have learnt to detect these suggestions and work around them when needed.

  • Noel used Strava to record each day’s trip. Strava records the route, elevation, speed and many other useless parameters. He uploaded the information to the internet at the end of each day.


  • Not really lost, but Noel got ahead of me, did not follow the map and missed a turnoff. He rode for about 12 km before I realised he had gone the wrong way. I contacted him by mobile and he turned back.

  • I lost my long fingered cycling cloves when we stopped for a break on the climb up to Batlow although I did not realise they were missing. About 10 mins after we sat down in a cafe in Batlow for lunch, a lady approached us with the gloves. I asked her how did you find us and she said she just looked for the bikes in Batlow. She found them about 10 km from Batlow on the road. I thanked her very much and she restored my faith in human nature.

  • Left my drink bottle in the General Store in Bellbridge (near Albury) where we stopped for a morning coffee. We rode about 5 km before I realised it was missing and went back to get it.

Biggest Disappointment
Arriving at Laurel Hill expecting a coffee at the General Store. Before the trip, I found a street view of the store on Google Maps and it looked like a good place to stop. See this photo from Google Maps. However, when we arrived it was closed and derelict. See this photo. Found out from a guy in the hotel in Tumbarumba that it had been closed for about 8 years.

Food Issues

  • Had dinner in hotels, restaurants and the RSL. All good meals.

  • Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea along the way where possible. Some days we took lunch with us.

  • Kept a supply of raisin bread, butter and marmalade with us for some breakfasts.

  • At Culcairn, the motel offered pizza for dinner delivered to your room. It was good.

  • At Wagga Wagga, the owners were on holiday and there were other people running the motel. We had dinner in the attached restaurant and it was good.

  • At Jingellic, the chef was ill, so the menu was restricted. The owners cooked dinner and did a good job.

Best (Worst) Uphill
Between Tumut and Batlow. See this elevation profile.

Warm for first few days. Colder as we climbed into the mountains and we encountered some drizzling rain, then cleared up lower down. Last day was very heavy fog riding alongside the Murray river.

Things of Interest

  • 64 solar panels on the roof of the Nangus General Store and 100 panels on the roof of the Tumbarumba motel.

  • The ruins of the Squatters Arms Inn at Cookardinia. See this photo. Built in 1848.

  • Tumut. An unexpected pleasant town.

  • Ruins of the old road bridge into Gundagai over the Murrumbidgee river flood plain.

  • My dream house on the road between Tumut and Batlow. See this photo.

  • The fire stations in some of the NSW country areas were better that I expected. The Telstra exchange for the area was often beside the stations.

  • A few nice General Stores along the way. See these photos of Mangoplah, Nangus and Jingellic.

  • Road workers lunch room near Culcairn. See this photo.

Strange Accommodation

  • Hotel Granya. See this photo. No mobile service (base station currently being built). No internet. Had to pay for satellite internet. Accommodation block at back of hotel once used as a drug rehabilitation centre. Our room had 2 single beds with no TV or anything else in the room except a heater. Communal showers & toilets. Owner the only one there and he cooked our dinner. Owner had to leave early next day but provided us with a kettle and toaster.

  • Bridge Hotel Jingellic. Cabins out the back. Cabins next to us had 3 dogs chained nearby and they yapped until the owner arrived late in the evening.

Highest Altitude Reached
1,062 m about 18 km from Batlow. See this elevation profile between Batlow and Tumbarumba.

Bike Issues
Noel had 2 flats.

Strange Place
Mantabadgery General Store. See this photo, this photo and this photo. Mantabadgery is a town of about 40 people between Wagga Wagga and Gundagai. The most dilapidated and least stocked General Store I have ever been in. It had nothing except a few snacks, papers and porn magazines. The only food the dishevelled owner could supply was pies from a freezer which he heated in a microwave. At least at Nangus, about 20 km further on, the owner cooked us some chips. See this photo of Noel. One of the best stocked General Stores was in Jingellic.

Trip Rating
8 out of 10.