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The Tour Down Under

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The Tour Down Under

Table of Contents Why Visit the Tour Down Under!......................................1 Planning!..........................................................................2 Budget!........................................................................................................................2 Airlines!.......................................................................................................................4 Locals Only - Airlines and baggage!...........................................................................5 Car Hire!......................................................................................................................6 Baggage!.....................................................................................................................7 Bringing Your Bike!......................................................................................................8 Where to Stay!............................................................................................................8 What to bring!..............................................................................................................9 Weather!....................................................................................................................10 BUPA Community Challenge!...................................................................................10

The TDU!........................................................................12


The Tour Down Under

For the international visitors!..........................................14 Drivers License!........................................................................................................14 Roads!.......................................................................................................................14 Service Stations!.......................................................................................................15 Riding on the Roads!................................................................................................15 Internet and Mobile Phone!.......................................................................................16 Bike shops!...............................................................................................................17 Finding Water!...........................................................................................................18

Food and More!..............................................................19 Special Needs Diets!.................................................................................................19 Wineries!...................................................................................................................20 Coffee!.......................................................................................................................21

Where to Ride!...............................................................21 Other Stuff!.....................................................................22 VeloNomad Guided Tour and Concierge!.................................................................22 More Reading!..........................................................................................................22


The Tour Down Under

Why Visit the Tour Down Under The Tour Down Under is an amazing Pro Tour event held annually in Adelaide, Australia. Australia holds a certain mystique amongst foreigners – we’re far, far away, we’re often hilarious, we love beer and have strange animals. We also have very hot weather and even enjoy riding in it. Oh, and we produce fabulous wine which, serendipitously, Adelaide and its surrounds are well blessed by the presence of. Regardless of whether you live outside Australia, or are a local, I highly recommend checking out the Tour Down Under. The TDU provides an unparalleled opportunity to mix with the riders each day, and witness multiple passes of each stage. In my opinion it’s more fun than doing the Tour de France. The Tour Down Under is a laid back, cruisey event far removed from the pressure and highly regimented organisation of something like the Tour de France.

Enjoying Willunga

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The Tour Down Under

Planning Budget The major cost for international visitors will be airfares, though it’s cheaper to fly to Australia than from Australia. Expect to pay anywhere between AUD$1500 and AUD$2500 (roughly: €1215-2026 or £975£1621) for flights to Adelaide in January from Europe. Flights from LAX will run you to around AUD/USD2200 at least. Australia is quite an expensive place to visit with a high cost of living. If you’re visiting on Euro or Sterling though, I think you’ll find it much of a muchness and you’ll have a reasonable amount of purchasing power. For those coming from Europe, the UK, the States, Canada and Asia, going out for dinner can be an expensive exercise, although the quality and diversity of food in Australia is excellent (more on this later). There’s a wide variety of price points and generally speaking a decent dinner will cost you at least AUD$20 for a main. In terms of budget, I’d allow something like the numbers below. All costs are in AUD.

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Item

Cost

Unit (total or per person per day pppd)

Airfares

1200-2000

per person

Hotel

100-300

per room (twin share)

Food

50

per person per

Notes - Car hire is only really needed if you intend to drive around on day trips, so no need to worry about this if you’re just staying in and around Adelaide and riding your bike. If you need car hire, budget $40 per day. - $50 per day per person – $10 breakfast, $10 lunch, $30 dinner including a drink.

There are plenty of cost saving ideas such as the ones below. • Breakfast – buy some cereal and have breakfast in your digs. Better still, make and take my own high protein cereal called the Ola Mix. • Make your own lunch and take it on day trips – VeloNomad musettes are perfect to carry your lunch in. • Dinner – pubs are great value as are Thai, Chinese and Malay restaurants. • Accommodation – stay in long term accommodation or stay outside Adelaide. I think accommodation is quite expensive (though that admittedly is relative). So if you’re on a tight budget you might look for something outside Adelaide, or look to secure a 1-2 week holiday lease. Real estate agents usually have holiday rentals, so check out companies like Ray White - there are numerous outlets in Adelaide. 3

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You could also email me about this and I can do some hunting around for accommodation as part of my trip planning concierge service.

Airlines Are you local? Skip straight through to the Locals Only Airlines section (below) for airline info. Don’t skip too far though as there’s some useful info and links in between.

Make sure before you book that you’re not going to be on a 747. Boeing 747s, for me at least represent a flying experience reminiscent of flying in the days of the Wright Bros, or that plane in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Getting to Australia means long haul flights. If you’re coming from Asia, the middle east, the EU or UK, the good news is you’ll likely be flying on newer planes like Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s. If you’re flying an airline that still flies 747s (British, Qantas and a few more), reconsider whether you want to fly on this airline (frequent flyer points and cost aside). Most of the Asian and Middle Eastern carriers all fly spanking new jets on long haul flights. There are a few refurbished 747s flying around, and whilst some of them aren’t too bad, they don’t hold a candle to the B777s, B787s or A380s. Also worthy of noting is the fact that Qantas and Emirates have formed an alliance (read more about the Qantas Emirates alliance). This is going to be awesome for those flying to Australia from Europe, the UK and Middle East, but it won’t come into effect until April 2013. Adelaide is served by the following airlines (with airline code): • Qantas – QF 4

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• Virgin Australia – DJ (short haul international and domestic) • Virgin Australia - VA (long haul) • Singapore Airlines – SQ • Cathay – CX • Malaysian – MH • Jetstar – JQ • Air New Zealand – NZ • Emirates Airlines – EK (from 2013) Adelaide Airport’s website has the most up to date information. For flights to Australia check Expedia.com.au or your other favourite booking engine, website or travel agent.

Locals Only - Airlines and baggage Lucky you! Only a few hours to fly, but, what’s this?

An airline baggage snafu! Unlike our international friends, we lowly locals are reduced to paying for baggage. Well, unless you fly with Qantas, then you get 1 piece at 23kg (32kg for Qantas Club members, including 32kg for travel partner). For locals, your best bet is on Virgin or a Qantas flight (not Jetstar). I am able to get my bike and gear for four days into an EVOC bike bag and keep under 23kg when flying domestically. 5

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If you must fly Virgin or Jetstar, Virgin is more cost effective for baggage. At the time of publication, these numbers were correct.

Airline

Baggage

Cost

Qantas

1 x 23kg

Included

Virgin

1 x 23kg

$12

Virgin

2 x 23kg

$32

Jetstar

1 x 20kg

$18

Jetstar

35kg

$40

I’m able to get enough kit into an EVOC BIke Travel Bag

Car Hire You won’t really need car hire unless you plan on heading out to some more faraway places like the Coonawarra (more on this later). Adelaide is pretty cyclist-friendly, and is not a large city so in most cases, using your bike or walking (or catching a cab) should be sufficient. If you do, though you should be fine for car hire as most visitors will be on their bikes. There will be a few international visitors getting cars though, and since Adelaide isn’t a huge city, there aren’t unlimited supplies of hire cars. 6

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Your best bet, if you’re really keen on driving out of Adelaide, is to book a car.

Baggage For international visitors, the best baggage allowances are on: Singapore (35kg) Emirates (30kg but you can push it to 35kg) Virgin Australia (2x23kg). If you’re a Qantas Club member you’ll also get 2x23kg. Make sure you book your entire trip on one ticket through to Adelaide. If you book a domestic stand alone flight - for instance an Adelaide-Melbourne return that’s not part of your entire booking - you’ll be subject to the baggage limitations of that domestic ticket and Australian domestic baggage allowances are very restrictive. You’ll want to try and have a stop in Australia and include any domestic flights on your international fare. If that’s not possible, skip to the Locals Only section to read about the domestic baggage restrictions. I’ll have a baggage tool to help you find the best baggage allowances for your flight available very soon. Make sure you’re on the VeloNomad mailing list to find out when it’s ready. So, bringing your bike from overseas is very doable. Make sure you check out the Bike Bag Reviews page and Taking Your Bike Overseas article for more information on taking your bike overseas on the plane. 7

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Bringing Your Bike If you’re coming from overseas, bringing your bike will be a snap. Read more about bringing your bike in the Taking Your Bike Overseas article. You can also download the Taking Your Bike Overseas ebook here. There’s a paid and free option. The guide goes into great detail about the ins and outs of taking your bike overseas. Briefly: if I was coming to Adelaide for a week of riding, I’d bring my bike. Baggage allowances cater for the extra baggage and it will save you money. Taxis won’t be a problem as Australia has bigger cars. If you need a bike bag, definitely check out the VeloNomad bike bag reviews page.

Where to Stay Your best bet is to stay in Adelaide. There’ll be a large influx of visitors so you’ll want to book by October the year before to make sure you secure accommodation. Although there’ll be lots of accommodation in surrounding areas like the wine regions, staying in Adelaide gives you access to a lot more restaurants and also drinks with the riders each night at the Hilton. 8

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The Tour Down Under

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Most hotels like the Hilton, Stamford and so on have hotels in Adelaide. There are plenty of hotels in Adelaide. I stayed in the Stamford Plaza, which was in a great location - right across the road from where the final stage is. You can find more Adelaide hotels on Wotif.com or on Expedia. It could get a bit pricey staying in Adelaide for up to a week, but we’ll discuss that shortly.

What to bring Packing for a cycling trip can be tricky business. It is very easy to overpack, especially if you have the luxury of being allowed a lot of baggage. Most of us have a minimum list of “stuff” we “need” to bring on a cycling trip. Given the weather (see next section) I’d be inclined to pack kit, and casual clothes, for hot weather, but definitely pack a couple of things (including for on the bike) in case it gets cold/wet. You’re not going to need 3 jumpers - 1 will do, especially if it’s only for a week. Some articles I’ve written on this subject are: • Packing for a bike trip - the spare essentials • Cycling trip packing list (free download) For 3 days in Adelaide, I just packed one jumper, one pair of jeans, thongs, Nike trainers, cycling gear (1 set of kit, but 2 is more appropriate), camera, a few tshirts (ok, I lie, 9

What to bring!


The Tour Down Under

10 - count ‘em - 10!) and other ancillaries. You won’t need any mechanical/service gear. There will be a substantial number of cyclists around who will have tools, and if you run into trouble, go to a shop.

Weather Feeling hot, hot, hot! Hot damn, Adelaide is a hot place in summer. And dry. Hot and dry. Like the Sahara. You will need many beers to ward off the heat. So make sure you pack for extreme heat, but bring cooler weather gear too. Australia is a bit like that - stinkin’ hot one minute then rain and cold the next. Do check out my packing list info above, it will come in handy.

BUPA Community Challenge Whilst not on the same level as Etape du Tour, the BUPA Community Challenge is a 127km sportif (with options for shorter distances). Entries remain open until mid January or about 2 weeks before the TDU but book early to avoid disappointment. I’ve not done the BCC, but if you need training or nutrition information, check out the below articles and guides. • Nutrition for Etape - for those who haven’t done a reasonably long sportif in the hills before, making sure you eat right is pretty important. This guide makes sure you do everything right 10

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in terms of nutrition. (Although it’s impossible for me to stop you having sneaky little donut blowouts.) • Training for Etape - this will be useful for anyone tackling the BCC. Or you could check out the VeloNomad cycling training plan (subscription based). More info about the Bupa Community Challenge is available on the BUPA Community Challenge page.

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The TDU Watching the TDU is pretty awesome. One of the best parts of the TDU is you stay in one place and ride out of Adelaide (which does not take long) with lots of other cyclists to one of the vantage points. Often, you’ll be able to watch several passings of the peloton. This is usually true of the Willunga stage where you can smash out to the beach to watch a sprint then head up Willunga to watch the peloton pass twice. The police protecting the TDU are MUCH more laid back than the TDF gendarmes. You’ll be able to ride up the road in the same, or opposite, direction to the race until just a few minutes before the lead riders appear. As soon as the last riders pass you can alight your bike and keep going. There are none of these getting-pulled-off-the-road-6-hours-before-the-ridersappear shenanigans (yes this happened to me, TDF Stage 13 2009). You can even smash back down off Old Willunga Hill into Willunga to watch the finish AFTER the riders pass over the hill. Like I said, pretty awesome.

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Riding back with team Liquig as


The Tour Down Under

After each stage you will often ride back with the actual riders which is awesome (especially when you burn off the Liquigas lightweights). Come on! Where else can you ride back with the pros after a stage. Then have beers with them at the hotels. It’s crazy! Most Aussie pubs in Adelaide will have the TDU on during the day (if not, just ask them!). In France you can sometimes struggle to find a pub with the Tour on.

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For the international visitors Drivers License You can drive in South Australia if you have an International Drivers Permit (IDP). If you have an IDP, and your local license, you can drive an equivalent vehicle as permitted by your local license, on Australian roads. You can read more here.

Roads Driving in Australia is pretty straightforward; the roads are a lot quieter than in Europe. NOTE: In Australia we drive on the left side of the road! The roads are usually pretty wide (at least compared to France and Spain) and are well signed. There are no toll roads in Adelaide. Unlike NSW, where local councils seem to delight in seeing who can provide the most ruinous roads in the country, South Australian roads are pretty good. As an international visitor, you will have minimal hassles driving around as the roads are wide, and the area fairly sparsely populated.

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Service Stations Australian service stations are colloquially referred to as “servos”. Servos serve as a handy spot to get some Gatorade, water, emergency Mars Bars and more. You can also get free water at servos but don’t depend on them having water - unless you’re happy to fill up from the taps in the toilets (if there toilets at that servo). In the area I live (near Byron Bay), none of the servos have water available (except from the toilet/bathroom taps) and in many cases the water is borderline potable. That’s another thing - most, but not all, Australians service stations have toilets.

Riding on the Roads Australian roads are diabolical. There is some deep seated issue in Australian motorists that causes them to lose all sense with respect to how they treat cyclists. Adelaide is a little (not much) better than Melbourne, but motorists are nowhere near as encouraging as drivers in France, Spain, Italy and the rest of Europe. I think it has something to do with our sparse population, expansive roads and terrain and our sense of not needing to share limited space with a lot of people. What this means for you is, you need to be very careful when riding around.

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Internet and Mobile Phone If you’re an Aussie visiting the TDU, skip this section as it’s likely you’ll already have internet on your smartphone. Australia is a funny old place. Wired internet in hotels can range from being heinously expensive to “free” (you and I both know “free” means it’s built into the cost). We don’t have broadband everywhere, so if you stay outside Adelaide you might not have access to fast reliable internet. However, wireless internet is a different kettle of fish. There are three providers of wireless internet (or mobile broadband) in Australia – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Telstra by far and away have the biggest and best network, which is progressively being upgraded to LTE or 4G. Most smartphones will work on all the Australian networks. If you’re from the USA, make double sure of this as the US operates, or used to, mobile networks on different spectrums to those in many other countries. I’ve tested an iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 on Australian networks and European networks and both work on Orange France, Vodafone Spain/France/Suisse/Germany so if you have a phone that works on these you’ll be fine. If you have a tablet, all providers have plans for tablets too, but I think you’re better off putting a SIM in your phone, then tethering to your phone. 16

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• Telstra $30 prepaid starter kit: $30 for 700MB of data in 1 month • Optus Prepaid Social: $30 for 28 days including 500MB of data and unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter and more. • Vodafone Prepaid: $30 for 28 days including 500MB of data . These plans are generally for recharges. So you’ll need a SIM first. These are available at telco outlets, lots of service stations (petrol stations), supermarkets and post offices. You might need a passport to buy a SIM so make sure you have ID. My advice is to stick to the Telstra network. Optus’ network has much lower speeds and slightly less coverage and Vodafone’s coverage is woeful outside metro areas.

Bike shops There are lots of bike shops in the Adelaide CBD, and lots in the immediate vicinity. Here are some starting points below. If you need others, just Google “Adelaide Bike Shops”.

Shop

Address

Bicycle Express

124 Halifax St, Adelaide

JT Cycles

266/274 Pulteney St, Adelaide

Giant Adelaide

Shop 2-3 53-67 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide

Treadly Bike Shop

10/5 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide 17

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Shop

Address

Little Black Bike

224 Franklin St, Adelaide

Mega Bike

197 Rundle Street, Adelaide

Finding Water The water in Adelaide isn’t awesome, but it’s potable. You can pretty much fill up at most service stations but don’t expect pristine water. Adelaide struggles for rainfall (or did, until recently) and has water of lesser quality than, for example, Melbourne. But, it’s not like drinking water from the Ganges - you’ll be fine drinking it as Australia has quite exacting water and food standards.

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Food and More The food served in Australia is, I think, the best and most varied in the world. It can be a little pricey in places (a result of our high wages and compliance costs) but you will find the quality and variety second to none. All needs and tastes are catered for, as are most price points. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding anything to suit your requirements. In Australia you can tip in restaurants, but it is not mandatory nor expected.

Special Needs Diets I have to admit, Australia has the best selection of restaurants, cafes and food diversity anywhere in the world. Adelaide is no exception. Even if you have special needs requirements like gluten free/coeliac, vegan or something else, you’ll be fine as the variety of food available, and general understanding by restaurants of a broad range of requirements, ensures everyone is catered for. Supermarkets all stock gluten free bread and other products as well as loads of vegan substitutes for bacon and so on. The local seafood is seriously good with the Great Australian Bight, and Oz in general, being rich in great seafood.

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Wineries Adelaide is blessed with some amazing – and I do mean AMAZING – wine regions nearby. South Australia’s reds in particular are renowned, as are it’s sauvignons, chardonnays and semillions. The regions are: • The Barossa and Eden Valleys (71km) – search for Barossa wineries • McLaren Vale (40km) – search for McLaren Vale wineries • Coonawarra (300km) – search for Coonawarra wineries • Clare Valley (138km to the north) – search for Clare Valley wineries Don’t be deterred by the distance of Coonawarra and Clare Valley – 140km is a quick day trip and 300km can be bookended onto a 2 day getaway. You can get accommodation in the Adelaide Hills and ride out to stages, though obviously this means you miss out on being in Adelaide for the buzz. If you’re on a tight schedule, the Barossa and McLaren Valley offer outstanding wineries. Some of my absolute favourite Shiraz and Cab Sav vineyards are in the Barossa including: McGuigan, Jacobs Creek, Wolf Blass, Lehman, Saltram, Henschke, Penfolds and many more. The Bowen Estate in the Coonawarra produces ridiculous reds. The Coonawarra can be visited from Adelaide or on the way to Melbourne. Rymill, Wynns and Penley estates are also in the Coonawarra. 20

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Coffee Whilst Adelaide isn’t as blessed with as much seriously great coffee as some other cities in Australia (like Melbourne), there are still a few great places to be found. Many riders will head out to Glenelg each morning for a coffee, so you won’t have trouble finding people and following them west to Glenelg and finding people to ride along with to the stages. Your best bet is to check out wherespresso.com and if you have an iPhone, download the free app, which will help you find coffee. Note: I own Wherespresso!

Where to Ride Adelaide is blessed with loads of climbing (the Adelaide Hills) right outside Adelaide. Within 30 minutes of leaving your CBD hotel you can be in the hills. Your best bet is to simply pick a vantage point for the day then ride out to it. You’ll find loads of other cyclists doing the same thing and can just tack on with them. Generally there will be one KOM each day so you can head out to that, or else a sprint point then head for a pub to watch the finish. Hahndorf is an awesome old German town which is readily accessible by bike. 21

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Here are two of my rides from 2011. • Strathalbyn Stage 4 • Old Willunga Stage 5

Other Stuff VeloNomad Guided Tour and Concierge If you’d like help booking your trip in Adelaide, drop me a line as I can help book accommodation and plan itineraries.

More Reading Here are some useful articles for further reading. • Taking Your Bike Overseas • Cycling Trip Budget Planner

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Tour Down Under Guide  

The guide to planning a trip to the Tour Down Under. Download the guide here: http://www.velonomad.com/tour-down-under/

Tour Down Under Guide  

The guide to planning a trip to the Tour Down Under. Download the guide here: http://www.velonomad.com/tour-down-under/

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