Traveling through Tropical North Queensland is an experience that remains with you forever. It’s rich in lush, jungle vegetation, iconic Australian creatures, and an expanding network of world class mountain bike trails; trails that have changed mountain biking on a global scale.
This trip was made possible by the combined forces of Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Rocky Trail Entertainment. Martin and Juliane Wisata from Rocky Trail convinced me that it was certainly possible to ride a round of the Australian Gravity Enduro Series and back it up a week later with a couple of stages of the Crocodile Trophy stage race. Both events involved climbs over an hour long, descents that dreams are made of and thrills I still tell people about over two months later. I made this a little more challenging by doing it all on a bike I’d never ridden before. Lucky it was an excellent one!
Tourism TNQ put together an itinerary for the time in-between both events that saw us travel up and down the coast, on two wheels and four, meet crocodiles and cassowaries, swim in the reef, see the forest from above and below, and meet the local legends who make a unique approach to cycling such a special part of this community.
I once read journalism described as the chance to chat with people you wouldn’t normally get to talk with. A chance to ask questions you might not ordinarily have the opportunity to ask. Mountain biking breaks the ice in this way too. I enjoyed every minute of discussions that began because of an article or introduction and continued far, far longer. A series of stories that came from a shared love of dirt, people, experiences and lifestyle are listed below.
Links to web articles for SBS Cycling Central:
Barnes: Enduro Will Grow (interview with Australian Gravity Enduro Series winner, Rosemary Barnes).
Record Australian Field at Croc Trophy (news item).
What’s required to ride the Croc? (blog report after completing stage one and two).
Trail boom continues in Tropical North Queensland (interviews with key figures behind TNQ’s expanding trail networks).
When riding is only part of the equation (blog on TNQ tourism experiences that sit alongside the mountain biking ones).
Links to bike reviews for Flow Mountain Bike:
Flow’s First Bite: Specialized Rumor Expert Evo 29 (early impressions).
Shred-ette: Specialized Rumor Expert Evo 29 Reviewed (full review).
A racing vacation: Aus Gravity Enduro Round 6 for kathbicknell.com.
Photography for Australian Mountain Bike Magazine travel issue, 2014.
Images: Kath Bicknell (most), Wade Lewis (top).