National Folk Festival 2009 – Getting there

waiting to board gx270 for canberra
eddy ave

Well, As I mentioned, the lease on the Prius ran out. Unfortunately it ran out on the Monday and the festival, in Canberra, started on the Thursday. So I had no car. I looked at renting a car, but decided instead to get to the festival by bicycle and bus. It was a good chance to try out my bicycle camping equipment in a place which was very close to any amenities, should I need to get anything that was missing. Before I went there I purchased a one man tent. Something that fits in the panniers on the bike. I caught a Greyhound bus from Central Station to Civic in Canberra. At each end I had about a 5km ride, so all in all it was very easy. However, putting the bike on the bus turned out to be a bit expensive. It was $71 for my ticket and $49 for the bike.  The only hassle was that I had to buy the ticket and then call to have the bike added. This meant that the bike was not on the ticket. It would have been cheaper for the bike, if it was boxed, but that was not practical for me as I had to ride to and from Central station. I chose the train over the plane as it was cheaper and over the train as there were more options as to the time that I travelled. I wanted to get the the Folk Festival in the afternoon so I could set up my tent and then go to the opening festival.


So I hopped on the bike and road to the station. It was an easy ride. I got there early to allow time to sort out what to do with the bike in case there was anything extra I needed to do. But it was very easy. I waited when the bus arrived and then put the bike under the bus, panniers still attached. Nothing unexpected, not hassles or issues. The man just wanted to check that I had also payed for the bike, as it was not on the ticket (as mentioned above).


The bust trip took longer than it should because of the Good Friday Holiday traffic. The toilet stopped working, so after Goulburn we stopped at a rest stop so people could go. Otherwise everything was easy. The bus was about 80% full. We arrived a bit over an hour late into Canberra.

National Folk Festival 2009
giant bike

Again things were easy. I got the bike off the bus, hopped on it and rode out the the festival. It is a gently up hill all the way with a cycle lane for all except the last section. I should have realised I could go in through the front gate. Something to remember for next time. I actually went in the back gate, where the cars and campers go in. You have to go around the back of the show grounds and the road is a dirt road. There must have been a queue of about 50 cars waiting to get in. I casually cycled past all of them, put on my arm band and went in. They had a new system this  year and the arm band had a bar code. So you had to have your bar code read every time you go in and out.

National Folk Festival 2009

National Folk Festival 2009
tent and bike

I rode around a bit to find a place to camp. Found a spot and set up my tent for the first time. This took a bit of effort as I found that there is a strap, that I had going over the top of the tent, that had to go under the tent. I also found that about the only thing the pegs do is stop the tent from blowing away. They are not needed to hold it up. It is held up by the pressure of the poles. Quite clever really. So as the sun set I put up the tent. I then took my bike down to the secure bike parking where I left it all weekend. The Canberra group Pedal Power ran this handy and useful facility and were quite friendly.

I know some people thought I was crazy to travel to the festival like that, but I think that they are crazy.


  1. Great blog post! I’ve been thinking of out-fitting my bike for more long-distance bike riding.
    Did you purchase a new, lightweight tent for this trip? Or is this your regular tent?

  2. No, I bought a new bike sized tent. That was always my intention, a giant tent for car based camping and a tiny one for bike based camping.
    You should fit out your bike. I only had two panniers. Normally when I go camping I used to have 4. This allowed for cooking aparatus as well. But at the NFF i was able to just buy food.

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