Day 25: Oz itinerary – How to plan a 30-day cycling tour.

Oz itinerary thumbnail Finally! After 80+-hour spent in book reading, region research, map shuffling and route picking, here is the 30 days Australia cycling route itinerary (PDF) for you to download. It contains a detailed town-to-town tour plan, with “from-to-distance” information for each leg, nice map and elevation graph. I’m pretty happy with this. Here are the steps to prepare an itinerary like this.

Step 1: City Research

  • Goal: List cities to visit. To get an good overview of the country, figure out you’d like to visit. Like almost all planning, this will be part of an iterative process since in later steps, you’ll always be forced to decide which route to give up .
  • How: Do a google search on australia tourism, read the wikipedia or wikitravel entry for the whole country and major cities you. Or buy the Lonely Planet Australia Country guide book and read the introduction section.
  • Example: For me, I feel Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin are all quite interesting to visit.

Step 2: Tour or Town Research

  • Goal: Figure out how to go to each one by cycling.
  • How: For a visitor, it’s always challenging to get some concrete idea on which route to take and what does that feel like. Crazyguyonabike is very helpful to get the ‘experience’ things right for you. is a place to find cycling tour journals. Most journals are well written with nice pictures and distance information neatly sorted out. It’ll provide solid ideas of each trip, like the Princes Hwy could become quite narrow without any shoulders from Portland to Adelaide. Or, in March the temperatures of Marlee region could still get as high as 35C.
  • Example: A quick check told me that I will have to choose between “Sydney -> Brisbane -> Cairns” and “Sydney -> Melbourne -> Adelaide”. Darwin and Perth are just too far away to cover within 30 days by bicycle. It took a little bit pain to compare the two options and decide to go for the “Sydney to Adelaide” one. My route plan bought a lot from Sydney to Melbourne – Audax Australia RAID and Victoria’s Golden West. I also found that due to the wind direction, it might be easier to go from Adelaide to Melbourne rather than the other way around. (Similar thing if you go to New Zealand’s South Island and decide clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. )

Step 3: Day to Day Plan


  • Goal: To pull all information together to work out a plan with at least “From, To, Distance” information for each day.
  • How: Based on the step 2’s town research, use Google Map to get the distance from town A to town B. Remember to check the “Avoid Highway” in More Options so that we won’t end up riding on motorway.
  • Example: This route planning process made me realize that even a “modest” route like “Sydney to Adelaide” is still too long to cover within 30 days. After lots of reading and head scratching, I found that in order to cover Adelaide, I’ll need at least 37 days. It was painful but clear that I have no choice to cross Adelaide out.

Step 4: Map Making

  • Goal: Plot the key towns onto map and use elevation graph as a double check.
  • How: Calculate the distance and elevation up-and-down for every single day to make sure that you haven’t pushed yourself too agressively. This used to be quite tedious and time consuming. But with, it has become much easier.   Go register an account and start drawing, click each town in the order you have worked out in step 3 and the service will automatically fill out the rest route details for you. By the end of the process, you’ll end up with a quite nice route map and elevation graph like the one showing above.
  • Example: Here are the two maps I’ve created: Sydney to Melbourne and Melbourne to Halls Gap via Great Ocean Way. I have tried to plot the map using Google Earth, but bikely is much more simpler when you have the needs to generate the elevation map, whereas in Google Earth I just couldn’t find a way to do so.


选择“跑长途”的车子,不要求轻,但是必须结实,跑上几万公里,不能出大问题。 当然,由于这个车子要被空运到全世界各地,太重的话飞机票就要多出不少托运费,所以也不能太重。整车大约12公斤吧。 此外驮上五六十斤的东西上下坡不能有问题。 这个绝对是技术活,光是车架,据说就挑了很多款才最后选中这个捷安特的,主要原因是车架上有孔可以搭车架,放驼包。





装上变速线和刹车线后的前把。注意蓝色的旋钮,是调整前叉软硬程度的。 山地时要软,跑长途要硬一些。




裸车装好了! 后架,驼包,车载小电脑和其余的附加配件过后装。



Day 23: Ready for another week

Another day in rest. Book reading and relax. The technician, who is responsible for designing our tour bicycle, just messaged zephyr.  Said that her bicycle is ready for a test. Will go to the shop and give it a try.  There are quite a few responses in the mailing list, people volunteering suggestions on our route planning. Should keep them waiting for too long.  Will spend some time to come up with another version of cycling route plan tomorrow. (Photo credits to Cyclemania. )

Finger crossed.

Day 22: Good rest

Had a fairly good rest today: enjoyed a fine dinner,  finished a science fiction book, watched an interesting movie and had some interesting phone conversation with friends.

The book is Double Star.  By telling the story from the mouth of a professional actor, it not only shows the inner thinking of an actor, it also opens a window into interesting politics between earth and mars citizen. It’s so true when people said: “All great scifi novels have some deep links to reality. “.  If you have one weekend afternoon to spend, try this.  ( BTW, try to compare the cover of the original book and the Chinese version.  I can bet that the Chinese publisher hasn’t really read this book carefully. )

The movie is The Queen.  It captured what happened in Britain in the first week after Diana’s death. Mostly from both the Queen’s perspective and Tony Blaire’s.  The relationship between the Royal family, especially the Queen, and the government surprised me.  The whole topic of Constitutional Monarchy, the dynamic between the permanent King or Queen and the elected government leader is *just* intriguing. Although it might be something people in UK, OZ, NZ or Canada have been quite familiar, it’s just so foreign to me, someone in a country where the world history was focused in rebellion rather than political changes.

Last but not least, the phone call from friends. One of them strongly suggested us to take the trip from French all the way to Istanbul. “Just to get experience of culture diversity”. Also the shorten the stay in US “since it’s culturely unified”. 


今天可以算是毫无成就感的一天,在为梦想努力的道路上。没有为sun life写一行代码,没有为purifyr寻找可能的潜在领域,没有为出行查到任何有用的信息……有一点点沮丧和空度的感觉。唯一做的一件值得记录的事情,是早晨打电话给澳大利亚领事馆,居然一次就打通了,得知他们终于收到我们花了两天时间,在两部传真机上费力传过去的补充材料 — 但是,结果还不得而知,要等到下周……









当我一边记录,一边回忆的时候,沮丧一点一点减轻了。庸常的生活,也自有它让人沉醉的一面。也许我太着急了一些,也许,这个周末应该take a break。

Day 21: Psychological Fatigue …

Human being is such an interesting creature. I could still remember the excitement on Day 1 when we realized the possibility of this one year trip. But as time slides by, the excitement ebbs while tremendous teeny-tiny things seems to over-whelm us. Endless visa application for just one country. Cycling route planning for every single day.

After continuous 20 days work, I’m feeling tired. Need some good rest to move on. (Photo: bookstore in Amsterdam. Credits: llibreria)

llibreria - bookstore - Amsterdam - HDR by MorBCN.

I’m a big fan of Standford Entrepreneur through Leadership podcast, today Stan Christensen’s The Art of Negotiation really gave me a happy surprise. He talked about his experience as a traveler in Los Angels or sitting in the back of NYC cab to show how the core idea of negotiation goes into our everyday life. Even more important, he explains that the essence of Negotiation is not grab a larger share of a pie, but to build long-term relationship. He also brought up two principles: objective reference and alternatives. This might be a bit off topic for this travel blog, but I am pretty sure that we’ll have some serious chance to practice what we’ve learned here.









澳 航 北 京 办 事 处
地址:中国北京市朝阳区建国门外大街乙12号双子座大厦西塔10层7-8单乙 邮编:100022

订 位 部
电话:+86-10-6567 9006
传真:+86-10-6568 4011

澳 航 驻 北 京 机 场 办 公 室
电话:+86-10-6459 0296/97
传真:+86-10-6459 0298





由2008年12月1日起,澳航实施新的托运行李限额,这项政策将令旅客搭乘澳航时感到更轻松。使用购买于2008年12月1日或以后、及出发日期在2009年3月1 日或以后的机票的旅客均可享受新的行李限额。



抱着试试看的心理,又拨通了澳 航 驻 北 京 机 场 办 公 室的电话,这次是一个北京口音的姑娘接的电话,亲切、自然,熟悉各项规定,她把行李托运变更条款解释给我听(3月1日开始澳航免费托运行李重量又20公斤改为23公斤,手提行李不变),又告诉我货运部人员的手机号码,让我和他们核实“无人陪伴行李”的收费标准。


接着打新西兰航空公司(的电话。新西兰航空公司网站上的行李托运中有这样一句话:“如果您购买的是Round the World或Four Corners机票,则请查阅您机票上有关行李限额。”我们买的就是Round the World机票,我和接电话的姑娘确认,她说详细的规定要我们拿到机票后报出机票号码才能确定,但是,她告诉了我几种方案,最后我们一起得出结论,只要托运的行李不超过20公斤,就没有问题。手提行李始终是7公斤。和她通话,就像和朋友打电话一样舒适放松,她很熟悉公司的业务规定,也很为我着想,一直在用商议的态度和我讨论。













这是哈里和魔幻送给我们的背包,《Outside》杂志2007年“年度装备”(Gear of the Year 2007)的获奖作品。我已经迫不及待的想像背着它在新西兰梦幻般美丽的山石间奋力攀登,或是在西班牙巨大的输水管下漫步。








Day 15 to Day 20: Oz visa, Scope and Cycling Plan

Tons of things have happened in past a few days. I should have updated this blog more often, my bad.

First: Oz visa.

We have prepared all the materials the official tourism visa website requires, but yesterday afternoon, a lady in Oz’s Shanghai office called us up and asked for a detailed itinerary, company’s approval of leave request, Zephyr’s experiences as a freelancer and flight reservation information. We finished up all the paperwork yesterday afternoon but their fax machine seems to have some weird problems of accepting more than three pages. When I get back to home, it’s already 9pm. This morning, we managed to get the papers fax out via two different numbers, but another phone call from Oz embassy said they only got the first two pages. Z finally found out that it’s possible to scan the paper and send those supplementary as images via email to the visa office.

To me, this is simply ridiculous. Technically speaking, fax is less trustworthy yet much more expensive than email, uneasy to process and archive. But the official procedures seems to have hard coded the fax concept deep into their brain. I know it’s just impractical to issue a private/public key pair for all citizens, but for those who have the knowledge/skill to use them, why not? Oh, forgot to mention this: there is an electronic material submission gateway on the official website, but Chinese citizens have to go through the old process. Wondering why.

Second: Cut down scope.

If you’re following our tour planning process, you’ll notice that at the very beginning, we were thinking of covering all 6 continents including Africa and South America. But a careful budget planning shows that we’ll have only $40/day, which should cover food, accommodation, commute, basically everything except flight ticket. In our last post, I wrote about sponsorship. It turned out that the financial crisis is making most companies nervous enough to freeze their marketing budget for 2009. So given current situation, it’s essentially impossible to get significant sponsorship within one month or two. A traditional business problem: how to increase net profit if the revenue is fixed.

As most experienced managers have been reminded often: if the budget and time is fixed, cutting down the scope is the only reasonable thing to do. By giving up Africa and South America, we’d cut the flight cost from CNY 40k to CNY 27k per person. Even better, we could spend slightly more time in each continent since we now have 3 extra months. Even better, cutting down Africa means let go the visa headache for 6 countries. Another pile of visa application fee saved. More time in one country, more likely we could run into local life like this:

The two changes above has successfully lifted our daily budget from $40 to $72 per day.
Less is more, isn’t it?

Third: start thinking of cycling.

One purpose of this world tour is to get to know each country. Fly around is definitely the best way. Neither car rental. The car offers a psychological protection shield that will bounce off lots of ‘accidental events’, which is actually the most interesting thing in travel. We have thought about hitchhiking since it’ll give a perfect chance for us to spend long enough hours to talk to local people. It will also make the trip full of randomness. But a couple of friends have raised safety concerns which really worries Z. On last Sunday afternoon, I suddenly realized that we could cycling around with our camping equipments loaded. This way, we could move slow enough to really see a country, open enough to meet local people and cost efficient enough for us to feel comfortable enough to depart without worrying of capital shortage.

More on tour planning tomorrow.

Day 14: In search of Sponsorship

The more I read about Australia, the clearer I realized that one month is far from enough to understand this country. In dinner time,  Z and I had a serious evaluation on our budget:  we have CNY 250,000, USD 36,587, allocated for this trip. Put the flight tickets and visa cost aside, for one year trip, we have USD 40 per day for food, lodging and commute.  This is not very bad but if we want to stay a bit longer, especially to cover more distances, this is not even enough for renting a campervan. ( I did some research on hitchhiking but it turned out to be very time-consuming. It took someone 5 months to go from Adelaide to Darwin and back.  )

Are there any way to get more funding?

Right after dinner, a friend called me up just for a chat. I told her about the plan and our very tight budget.  She, being a successful business woman, immediately suggested that we should look for sponsorships.  Z and I have had some discussion on this but we gave the thought up, afraid that accepting sponsorship will force us to do things we don’t like. (I get this impression from the great marathon book 50/50. )

But after our phone call, Z and I decided to give it a try? If we could raise another CNY 300,000, ie USD 43,950, we’ll have $160 per day for one year or $80 for two years. That is whole lot better.

Then I gave Nancy a call to listen to her suggestions. After understanding what I’m having in mind, she, being an experienced marketing person, suggested a plan like this: 

0) Brainstorm a core theme for this trip. It should be something that’s relevant to my software and entrepreneur background that could make the whole plan credible. It should be deep and serious enough that could evoke thinking and discussion.  It should also be interesting enough to the people the sponsors is willing to spend their marketing dollar on. 

1) Write down the plan. Be it a powerpoint or a sheet of paper. Just something that we could send to others as a way to get leads.  “Treat it as an elevator pitch. An executive summary.” 

2) Find a couple of media as a platform to get the messages out. The bigger, the better. The goal of working with media is not to get the money, but to have a channel into the target audiences.  The wider the coverage, the more lucrative it is to the potential sponsors.  

3) Contact potential sponsors. The situation has to be a win-win for all three players: us, the media and the sponsor company.  

4) Once the major deal is closed, we could talk to Camera manufactures, Outdoor gadget or equipment companies to figure out other relatively small items.

This sounds quite interesting. The worst case is that we might end up with no sponsorship at all. But through this process, we should have a clear and concrete idea of what we really want to see in this trip. Plus I could gain some first-hand experience in fund-raising. Doesn’t sound like a bad choice, right?

Tomorrow: call some media and marketing friends and figure out a time to get people together for a brainstorm session.

PS. A checklist Z and I worked out to address the money shortage issue:

  • Increase incomes
    • Find sponsorships.
    • Take some freelance work from friends or websites like Rent-A-Coder
    • Find local labor works like fruit picking.
    • Work for the hostels we’ll stay at in exchange of free beds and food.
    • Sell photograph or travel writings online. 
  • Cut costs
    • Stay at people’s apartment or houses to save on lodging.
    • Buy fish, vegetables in wet market outside urban area and cook our own meals.
    • Stay in tents in rural areas. 
    • Hitchhike or share cars with others.