What to ride

In the mid 1990's, Peter Thomas rode 5300 km in 87 days from Perth to Brisbane through Central Australia on a 12 speed racing bike, 50% of it on corrugated dirt roads (see "Bulldust and Pedal Power" by Peter Thomas). Mountain bikes were new at the time and he had more faith in his old bike than a new one. It proves you can do any trip on any bike if you really want, but this doesn't mean the 12 speed racer is the best choice for the trails.

I reckon the ideal bike for the old rail trails is a good quality mountain bike (ideally 29" but 26" or 27.5" is fine) with front suspension (preferably air), and wide knobbly off road tyres . If you are overnighting you will need a good quality rear rack with weather proof panniers, or a towable trailer. I prefer soft tails ( dual suspension) but it must be good quality with lockout (so you do not waste energy bouncing the rear end up and down when pedaling on the flat), but hard tail is fine as well. Avoid department store bikes- I don't think they are up to the task. When picking a mtb for the ride remember "Cheap, strong or light- pick any 2". Preferably ride a bike you are familiar with- try a few shorter rides first before tackling a full day ride. Feel free to do the ride on a penny farthing or unicycle if you wish- it will just be a lot slower and much harder work. I would love to see your photos from that trip!

You do not "need" a fat bike (but you may "want" one!) to ride any of the off road trails I have outlined here. I would not recommend one due to the extra weight, but the choice is yours. They would be of benefit in the sandy or very gravelly sections, but these are relatively short parts of the trails. See a review of a fat bike here - it is very relevant as the reviewer used it for a 700 km, 8 day ride on the Munda Biddi trail.

I prefer tubed tyres over tubeless. I rarely get flats on the Trail anyway, and a tube is relatively easy to replace. The tubeless tyres need a high volume of air to quickly reseat the bead, and the usual way is with gas cylinders. But once you run out of those, you are in trouble.

If you want to try multi day rides, see my discussion in the Munda Biddi Trail section here - it discusses panniers, trailers and bike packing

Here is a video of my wife on her first overnight trip on the Munda Biddi Trail. I recorded it in October 2015 from Collie to Logue Brook Dam, overnighting at Yarri campsite. It really showcases the beautiful trails and bush near Collie. She was riding a " comfort bike " (fitted with suspension seat post and forks, comfort saddle and a more relaxed geometry which is an upright position for easier mounting and dismounting the bike) with knobbly tyres . She  could ride the easier parts of the old rail trails of the Munda Biddi without much experience. She rode 70 km from lunchtime on Saturday to lunchtime on Sunday - a great achievement. She was riding without luggage though, and this bike would be a bit slower on the steep hills and pea gravel of Map 1 and 2.

This page is the property of Follow My Ride, a website detailing off road cycle tracks near Perth and in Western Australia.