It’s been a little over 8 months since the Central West Cycling Trail (CWCT) has opened, and it’s thriving! Every week, bike riders from all over NSW venture out to the Central West to soak up the country air and experience the spectacular views. We’ve got some tips below to make sure your trip goes smoothly.
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About the Central West Cycling Trail
The 400km CWCT makes its way through the rolling landscape of woodlands and wheatlands of the Central West of NSW, the land of the indigenous Wiradjuri nation. Main towns along the trail include Mudgee, Gulgong, Dunedoo, Mendooran, Ballimore, Geurie, Wellington and Goolma.
The trail is not for beginners and it’s recommended you have a reasonable level of fitness and riding skill.
If you need a support vehicle or to help organise tours or transfers, Cooper Cycle Tours can help.
Register For the Ride
If you’re planning to ride the CWCT, be sure to register your intention here.
Firstly, it will help keep track of riders if something happens on the trail (i.e. you get lost). It’ll also show the trail’s demand and help improve it for future users.
Type of Bike
With sealed, gravel, sandy, rocky and corrugated road surfaces, you’ll need a bike that can handle the conditions. We recommend a hybrid bike or a mountain bike. If you're planning to do the full trail at once, we recommend having panniers on your bicycle to carry your equipment i.e. clothing, food, water, bike repair kit etc.
Each of the routes between towns have been given a difficulty level so you know what to expect.
Before you head out to ride the Central West Cycling Trail, we recommend taking your bike for a check up at a bike mechanic. This will minimise the chance of mechanical issues along the way, so you can enjoy your riding adventures.
Each day, before you ride, be sure to give your bike a once over to make sure it’s ready for the kilometres ahead. We have an easy ABCDS check guide here.
You can start the trail at any point, which is great news!
If you are driving there with your bikes, be sure to have an auxiliary plate and light board if your car needs them, to avoid a fine. You can find our tips for auxiliary plates here.
Bus Or Train
If you don’t have a car, but still want to cycle the trail, bus or train might be your best option. You can find out more details here for these.
The trail has been so busy we strongly advise planning your accommodation ahead of time. Some of the townships you travel through are quite small and don’t have much accommodation available.
There are often some nice camping spots too however this will involve you having to carry all of your camping equipment on your bike. The Trail committee has some accommodation tips here.
What To Pack
Firstly, you need to decide whether you are only doing day trips or riding the whole route and where you will be staying.
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Day to day, we’ve got a few ideas to get you through:
- Water - make sure to pack more than you need. There will be no water available between towns so you need to pack enough to get you through a hot and tough day of riding. It is very easy to go through over a litre of water an hour in hot weather. You don’t want to get caught out with no water.
- Food - pack a little more than you think you need in case you get stuck along the way. Fruit, vegetables or even a muesli bar can be a great source of energy when you need the boost. Plus, they don’t take up much room. If you’re planning to be out for longer, be sure to take a more sustainable meal and snacks.
- Weather gear - depending on the time of year you are riding you need to pack the correct gear. On hot days be sure to slip, slop slap. On rainy days, pack your vibrant waterproof clothing along with a light to ensure you're visible. On cool winter days, make sure to layer so you can take off or put on layers as you need.
- First aid kit - if something happens to you or a fellow rider, it might take awhile before help can arrive. We have a list of 10 things to carry in your first aid kit here.
- Bike repair kit - a puncture or bike mechanical issue can happen anywhere. A patch kit usually contains adhesive and a couple of patches and/or CO2 canisters, to get your puncture repaired for the ride to the next town. A bike multi tool may be useful in fixing some mechanical issues. Unfortunately, anything big might be the end of your riding adventure.
Map - be sure you know where you’re going so you don’t get lost. Your mobile phone might run out of reception or battery so it’s best not to rely on it. You can download a physical copy of the map here.
The Bureau of Meteorology is your go to website for checking the long and short term weather forecasts. Knowing the weather will help you plan your ride better and help you prepare with the right clothing, water and accommodation.
If it’s going to be a 40 degree day, you want to start early to ensure you’re not riding in the heat of the day. Also check for stormfronts and severe wind as these both can make for horrible riding conditions and lead to accidents or injuries.
Riding Around Animals
From kangaroos, wombats and possums, to cattle and sheep, there are many animals to be aware of when riding. Their spontaneous nature makes them unpredictable, making it important to ride cautiously when cycling in these areas.
Here are a few suggestions to take note of, helping make your ride safer:
Do your research. If you are planning to ride across a long stretch of open road, particularly in rural and remote regions, you are more likely to come across some wildlife and livestock. We suggest you visit BioNet, where you can discover recorded sightings of animals across NSW. The Office of Environment and Heritage also has some more information that can be used.
Pay attention to warning signs. If there are animals located in a certain region, there will often be warning signs along the road. The signs are there for a reason - pay close attention to these and anticipate that an animal could pop out at any time.
Look out for roadkill. The sad sight of roadkill on roads can act as another indicator of animals in the area. Not only should you use this to anticipate potential interaction with them, but it is important to observe so you can avoid a potential accident or injury by colliding with a deceased animal.
Don’t panic. If an animal happens to be within range, don’t panic. It is important to remain calm, so yourself, the animal and others potentially around you can remain safe. Slow down steadily and observe the behaviour of the animal. Swerving around it, screaming or physically trying to move the animal can put yourself and others at risk. You should keep your position, chime your bell and move past the animal in a calm and safe manner; observing traffic conditions around you is also essential.
Planning ahead, being observant and remaining calm are three essential things to do when it comes to interaction with animals when cycling.
Note: Keep an eye out for other animals that can bite you such as snakes, ants, spiders and bugs. These can also cause some major medical issues, so be prepared if something does happen.
When riding in regional NSW, it’s important to be ready for an emergency if something unexpected happens.
You’ll need to know your location when calling emergency services on "000". We recommend having the EMERGENCY app, or something similar, on your phone. Using your phone's GPS, it sends the emergency services the direct longitude and latitude coordinates of your position.
If you don’t have reception on your phone, which can happen in regional areas, you will need to have an action plan. If riding in a group, one person can stay with the injured person, while another rides to call for help. Being prepared in a regional setting, can save a life.
Take lots of photos!
This riding adventure will be full of some spectacular sites so be sure to take lots of photos!
We’d love to see them here at Bicycle NSW so don’t forget to tag us in on social media using @bicyclensw or to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org