Riding to Uluru

A good friend of ours is leaving Alice soon.  His encouragement is a big reason I took the plunge and got my motorcycle license, and he and I ride to some of the road houses near town for breakfast occasionally.  Before he left, he had one big item on his bucket list; ride his Harley to Uluru.  As a result, he, I, and several others saddled up on bikes, loaded a couple of support cars with gear and headed out.

The park is 450km (~275 mi) one way from town, which is a long enough ride in a car. The ride is made even more fun by consisting of exactly 4 turns. Most people who ride a motorcycle will tell you the fun part is cornering. Go fast in a straight line is boring. Top speed for the ride was about 110kph (~65mph).  My bike doesn’t go much faster, hell getting there can be a struggle, and a number of the off-road bikes lose traction much above that.  To top if off, sitting on the back of a motorcycle for 6 hours is pretty painful. My street bike (the blue one in the pictures) was so uncomfortable that I tied a piece of foam to the seat.  The result made the bike a bit hard for me to mount but much more comfortable to ride.

Despite all of that, the trip was a blast. We rode in formation down. A massive earth mover nearly forced us off the road. We had a bike breakdown at the half way point, which unfortunately meant that it had to be towed the rest of the way. Another bike got a flat 3/4 the way down, but that one ended up being fixable. Still, everyone that went felt great.  A group of us spent an extra day relaxing in and around the park, and the rest headed home after one night.

Much like our last trip down, Uluru is pretty ordinary until you get close enough to see the caves and crevasses.  Riding around the rock was great because you felt really close to it while still doing 35mph.  Ashley and I spent our free afternoon relaxing and hiking around Kata Juta.  We took advantage of the cool weather to hike further into the valley than last time.

The ride back was a bit slow due to a strong headwind.  We picked the better day as the group before us go stuck in a rain storm. We spent longer a couple of rest stops than we wanted but other then that, the ride was uneventful.

I’ve got the helmet cam video from a friend and am working on a ride video. That should go up here in the near future. Pictures are here.


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