If it's one thing we love about cycling, it's revealing new places from the saddle. Gravel riding isn't just about conquering trails; it's about forging a deeper connection with the outdoors. As you navigate unpaved paths, you're likely to encounter local wildlife and experience the serenity of untouched landscapes. Moreover, the skills you acquire while mastering gravel trails have a remarkable impact when you return to the roads. The balance, control, and adaptability you gain from navigating diverse terrains only enhance your prowess as a cyclist. Every bump, curve, and unexpected turn becomes a lesson that ultimately sharpens your abilities, making you a more confident and capable rider when you switch back to familiar road routes.
That’s exactly the experience that recently drew my gravel partner Nadine and myself to hop on a plane and travel to the other side of Australia in search of adventure. It takes 5 to 6 hours to reach Western Australia. But the gravel we travelled proved it’s not just time separation that creates profound feelings of freedom.
My Gravel partner Nadine in Jarradale enjoying the smoother sections of Munda Biddi
Discovering Western Australia's Hidden Gem
Touchdown. We arrived. I expected big kangaroos, stretches of red dry dirt, emus, and sparse gumtrees. Isn't it intriguing how our preconceived notions, often shaped by travel brochures and broadcasts, can be so far from the actual experience? Western Australia had a surprise in store for us, one that left us in awe of its diverse beauty. As we embarked on our journey along the Munda Biddi trail, our expectations were challenged in the most delightful ways.
Instagram @pedlaallday on a faster section of the Western Australian trails
The Munda Biddi trail, renowned among avid cyclists, is over 1000km in length. As we discovered, this isn’t only a weaving lumpy trail. It has an expansive network of challenging single track options. We decided Jarrahdale, Whicher and Nannup would be our start point for each ride. Whether you take the harder packed trail, or the mtb tracks, the promise adventure and wilderness is certainly delivered. What we found were not just the stereotypical Australian outback scenes but also deep forests, extensive stretches of white sand, lush plantations, and an abundance of hidden waterholes.
The Allure of the Uncharted
Our five-day journey through the heart of Western Australia was a testament to the captivating allure of uncharted territory. Armed with our gravel bikes and the reliable Strava app, we set out to explore the Munda Biddi trail's lesser-known sections. It was here that we truly embraced the essence of gravel biking - the thrill of navigating unmarked paths and discovering the untamed beauty of nature.
With Strava as our trusty guide, we mapped out three distinct routes, each promising its own unique adventure. What made this experience truly captivating was Strava's knack for leading us off the well-trodden path, guiding us through rough terrain that hadn't seen many cyclists in some time.
As I head through another waterway, knowing how to dry my equipment overnight has perks
Navigating the Wilderness with Confidence
While we took some challenging turns the Karoo Hammerhead computer unit reliability was evident throughout our journey. Paired with our Strava mapping, I’d been testing the Karoo a few months now. At all times we were always aware of our exact location, even in the remotest parts of the trail. This gave us the freedom to deviate from our original routes, exploring intriguing paths that beckoned us further into the wilderness. I’d definitely rate both the Karoo and Wahoo for their reliability.
The Versatile Tyre Choice
As any seasoned gravel rider will tell you, the right tyres can make or break an adventure. Terrain on and around the Munda Biddi is as diverse as it is challenging, requiring a tyre that can handle everything from hard-packed roads to sandy stretches and those notorious small, round rocks.
My trusted Custom Deanima complete with Classified wheels and Pirelli Cinturato Tyres
After quite a bit of research and testing on my set of Classified wheels, I came about the perfect solution - all-terrain Pirelli Cinturatto gravel tyres. These rugged companions provided the traction and durability needed for the trail's varied surfaces. With deep enough tread to hold through sand and retain traction on the looser gravel slopes they’ve also proved puncture-resistant. On a techie side note, road tyres typically puncture on the tread while side-wall punctures are more common on the gravel. Hence Pirelli have used a TechWALL cut-resistant fabric all over the perimeter of the tyre. We travel remote and often out of phone range, so walking my way out of a trail is not an option. The Pirelli, along with the squirt sealant, gave me confidence to tackle any obstacle the Munda Biddi trail threw our way.
The Gravel Biking Experience
Our days on the trail were filled with awe-inspiring sights and exhilarating challenges. We pedalled through ancient forests, passed crystal-clear waterholes and through mud filled creek beds. We marvelled at the rapidly changing conditions and the comparative tamed Munda Biddi. Along the way, we encountered a diverse array of wildlife, from colorful parrots darting through the trees, flocks of screeching wild black cockatoos and even emu fluffing their plumage at the side of the road.
For anyone wanting a getaway from Sydney roads, you’ll be facing an adventure that includes short steep climbs, thrilling descents, and stretches of soft sand and rocky terrain.
An example of some sand sections you may navigate if you sway off the Munda Biddi, Western Australia
Alongside a few years of gravel skills we also say thanks to our all-terrain gravel tyres, as we felt in control and ready for anything. Every twist and turn became an opportunity to hone our skills and deepen our connection to the outdoors.
Exploring Western Australia's Munda Biddi trail by gravel bike was an adventure that surpassed our expectations. Guiding us through uncharted territory was the thought of a cold beer, and the Western Australia pubs did not disappoint. We even hopped to Margaret River discovering some great Gin Distilleries. Bonus points WA!
Adapting your route to the ever-changing landscape is important unless you join a guided tour. And if like us you celebrate the thrill of an adventure you’ll already know, gravel biking isn't just about conquering trails; it's about embracing the unexpected and immersing yourself in often untamed beauty of nature. And if you’re a die hard roadie? When you return to the familiar road routes, the skills you've acquired navigating diverse terrains will make you a more confident and capable cyclist.
So, grab your gravel bike, download some random Strava routes, and embark on an unforgettable journey through Western Australia's wilderness. The surprises and rewards that await you will leave an indelible mark on your cycling adventures.