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roadtrains

The other travellers driving in their tin cocoons always ask: What about roadtrains?

These are a peculiarly Australian creation, invented by Noel Buntine in the 1950s, for transporting vast loads on deserted tracks in remote regions.

They are like a train, except they are on the roads. Roadtrain. Get it?

A big truck with 4 trailers. Four. That’s right although in some of the more populated regions they can be just 3 or 2.

They are big. With 4 trailers you can legally have a rig up to 51 metres long, (167 feet). That’s equivalent in length to 8 big cars end to end. When they carry diesel or some other fluid they can weigh over 100 tons.

The most dangerous are those with double-decker cattle trailers. That live load has a certain unpredictability factor.

Many cyclists have been cleaned up by them and it’s no wonder. When they sneak up behind you there’s a sense that nothing could be that long and the time it takes for the last trailer to pass is surprisingly long.

It’s the suction with that last trailer swaying along that’s the killer. A real vortex of death.

There is good news.

The drivers steering these ocean liners of the road have to be good. There can be a million dollars of load aboard. They generally take a wide berth when they overtake if possible.

If not, another vehicle is heading the other way, there’s a blast on the resonant horn a long way off to scare you into removing your bike from the road.

That’s an insurance policy that’s well worth taking out.

So roadtrains? No worries.

It’s those geriatric caravan pullers that’s the problem.