The Spirit of Gravel
2022/23 Tour Dates:
- Please contact us with the form below to express your interest for this Tour.
This tour is driven as much by ideology as it is by amazing gravel grinding. We seek to maximise time on the bike, and reduce driving time. The tour starts and finishes in the township of Evandale, just outside the Launceston Airport.
In the four days and three nights it takes to complete this tour you will experience some of North Eastern Tasmania’s very best.
This includes the dual climbs of Mt Barrow and Ben Lomond, visiting Ralph Falls, Tasmania’s tallest single drop waterfall, overnighting at the famed Bay of Fires and a ridgetop traverse with to-die-for views of the East Coast of Tasmania.
It will mean some solid days in the saddle, however we believe this tour is an amazing, unique experience, and worth every kilometre and metre of climbing.
We will require our guests to arrive in Launceston the day before the tour departure date. A pre-tour gear check and briefing will be held in Launceston that evening.
We kick off the tour in Evandale, a short 5.5kms from Launceston Airport. Evandale is a beautiful historic town on the banks of the South Esk river, home of the Australian National Penny farthing Championship. A warm up roll of 4km on bitumen will see us hit gravel, undulating gently through farmland with impressive views of Ben Lomond dominating the horizon. Fallow Deer can often be spotted graving in the wooded paddocks.
Another short bitumen section gives way to some extended gravel, and the approach to Mt Barrow accessed by a 1km technical section of true backroad. The Mt Barrow climb is rightly a popular training route for local cyclists, with the Strava KOM currently held by Richie Porte. From the summit, we descend and continue across the top of the Ringarooma Forest Reserve, enjoying spectacular vistas of pastoral high country and Wet Eucalypt forest and a great Wombat spotting section, before an exhilarating descent into the rich green dairy pastures of Ringarooma.
From Ringarooma we ride into the epicentre of Australian Mountain Biking, Derby. The home of the world renowned BlueDerby Mountain Bike park where we stay for the night.
After yesterday’s heroics and a short warm up, we start day two climbing out of the serene Mutual Valley and back into the Ringarooma valley where you are rewarded with one of the satisfying gravel cycle climbs of North East Tasmania. Ralph Falls climb, a beautiful 10km climb with stunning views, coffee and morning tea awaits.
After a short walk and look at the Falls, we progress through a variety of flora and topography changes as we approach the coast on quality gravel roads.
After swishing through the sleepy seaside township of St Helens, we have the chance to feel sand between the toes at the overnight stop in the Bay of Fires area.
Despite the short distance covered today there is enough climbing to keep you honest.
It is a good chance to punch out some scenic kilometres and then rest up for the big day tomorrow. It’s our version of a rest day.
Heading south out of St Helens we start the day by ascending Flagstaff Hill navigating the rabbit warren of roads through the area and heading toward the Scamander River. Riding the ridge running parallel to the coast consistently reveals smashing vistas of the East Coast in all its scenic glory.
It’s a steady up and down from this point through Huntsman’s Cap Forest Reserve, exiting the forest onto the Mathinna Plains to spend the night in some delightfully refurbished shearers quarters.
Some wonderfully scenic gravel cycling awaits today, and some hard climbing.
The main goal of today’s ride is the iconic Ben Lomond Summit climb up Jacob’s Ladder. At just under 1600m, it is the second highest peak in Tasmania, a mere 35m lower than Mt. Ossa on the Overland Track.
The climb takes some time to complete. After a lengthy lead-in, marvellous views are revealed while climbing the perfectly switch-backed gravel of Jacob’s ladder. Expect the climb to take around 3 hours return with some 900m of elevation.
Once hitting the main road we enjoy some rolling bitumen before hitting the good stuff again for a satisfying chill back into Evandale to conclude this epic tour at the Claredon Arms hotel for well earned celebratory beverages.