Week 4, 2018. Including a “magic” ride

Total for week :  132k              Total for year :  365k

Vivente :   101k                          Brompton :   31k

The weather this week has been up close to 30°C early in the week and got hotter as the week went on – eventually we even had a 36°C day with a strong dose of humidity to flatten our spirits.

Longford Loop 1

Early morning – getting ready for a day harvesting along Bishopsbourne Road.

Monday and Tuesday kept up the standard with the usual short loop early in the mornings but with a 7k extension.  Then things changed.

Wednesday was a ride along the levee banks in Launceston on Brompton.   The gears are now working well and I made full use of all 6 while riding and checking out changes to the town.  There is one short, sharp climb for which I changed down to first in advance –  but still could not cycle to the top!  Trying to stand and pedal on this bike for the first time – well, I was a bit clumsy and some bark was removed from my knee when it struck the handlebars (!) thus finding out it wouldn’t work.  Oscar the dog thinks this is great – he spent quite a time licking it clean that evening.

Brompton first aid

Brompton gear maintenance position.  Cushion for my knees ! Wall to bang head on.

Thursday – the day of MAGIC.  I have said before that “there are some days one is just meant to be riding”.  Thursday was one of them.  I was a bit bored with the standard loop and reckoned I had now tuned-up the legs after the December lay-off for something a little further.  A 30k loop from Deloraine seemed to fit the bill and as Sue was busy doing other stuff, off I went.

Deloraine - Exton - Osmaston Loop

(Wow! that works.  A map created in Ride with GPS, a screen shot and export to .jpg.)

So the plan was to ride a 30 kilometre loop with 293 metres of climbing all in the picturesque Tasmanian countryside on a day starting at 20°C and going upwards.

The ride began along River Road going out of Deloraine.

Exton Loop 4

River Road – upper reaches.

The trees shaded the road a little and the grass on the edge of the road was a touch greener than the bush further away.  Obviously the Pademelons (small wallabies) thought so and I saw 4 all within 20-30 metres of each other.  With each encounter, first a head popped up out of the grass, then they turned and hopped off into the bush away from this pesky cyclist.  A bit further on and a Bennett’s Wallaby (bit bigger – about human waist high) bounded across the road.  I kept an eye out for snakes but none had been seen by the time I arrived at Porters Bridge Road junction.  Quite a few birds were about including the calls of the rain bird (Fan Tailed Cuckoo) and the Grey Shrike-Thrush (Joe (or Doe) Whitty after it’s call)

I turned onto Porters Bridge Road and proceeded to climb the first hill of four.  Another Bennett’s Wallaby crossed the road and a pair of Kookaburras almost started to “laugh” but I wasn’t on the Brompton so they stopped!  Then.  The sighting of the day ! A stick on the roadside moved – heading towards the bush. It was the most brightly coloured Tiger Snake I have ever seen.  Underparts were coppery, the neck seemed to be yellow to orange and down it’s back were the most brilliant yellow/orange stripes on a light skin.  The ones I know from south of the state are generally black with dark yellow striping sometimes visible.  The northern Tasmanian ones have obviously decided to camouflage themselves better in the Savanna like conditions we are currently enjoying (dry summer = straw coloured fields and bush).  Sorry – no snake pictures – I was travelling uphill and Mr T disappeared quickly.

Down to the Junction with the Meander Valley Highway then got on the cross road to Osmaston.  On the way there was a blue-tongue lizard sunning itself on the roadside.  I would have liked to take it home as they love snails and slugs and other garden nasties.  I didn’t think it would like the idea of being placed in a pannier though and I suspect moving it would be illegal.  I tried to get it to move off the roadside but it was quite happy catching a few rays there.

Exton Loop 2

So I walked back and took a picture instead.

Another right turn and I was on Osmaston Road and heading for “Heartbreak Hill” as it used to be called by Deloraine cyclists when I lived there.  The name seems to have gone out of use but the current cyclists I know seem to avoid cycling up it!

Exton Loop 1 last

It’s sad but pictures just can’t show steepness.  It’s 3 ks of uphill, lots in the 6%+ gradient with a max of 7.3%.

Today I decided to see if I can cycle up “Heartbreak” on the Vivente.  Tried before on a 24 gear Dahon and failed.  No chance on the Brompton with it’s high, low gear.  Off we went.  Eventually V & I topped the climb having bottom-geared it for a while but made it relatively comfortably.  Still to find a hill I can’t climb on this bike.  I understand there is a likely candidate north-west of Deloraine but I am not too excited about finding it!

After that was another 6ks past the Tip, outskirts of Deloraine, the school, the Eldercare centre, down to the river and along the shared paths before a walk through the Main Street up to the Deloraine Deli for lunch.  A great ride in the great Tasmanian tradition – downhills followed by climbs with very little flat road involved and those downhills are over just too quickly.



Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. it's now 2023 and I have 3 bikes. 2 e-recumbents and the Brompton.

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