Thursday May 10. Arose early and Mrs C drove me to the airport. Trying Jetstar for the first time I put my carry on bag into the X-ray and it was rejected ‘cos it was full of bicycle tools, locks, pumps etc. Nothing sharp but it had to go in the hold. I hadn’t bought any hold space when organising the ticket so a charge was raised – $60. A good start.
After taking off through rainclouds the sun appeared and crossing Bass Strait the grey clouds changed to cotton balls.
That’s where I am going – Melbourne. Currently sunny but scheduled to have wind, rain, thunderstorms and hail in a bit.
Jetstar is a budget airline so it’s a step ladder off the plane and a walk across the tarmac for us. Then a hike for ages to get from the (cheaper?) suburbs of the airport into the main building and the baggage collection. By the time I arrived there I could see my bag about to disappear into the turntable exit but managed to grab it before needing to wait to see if it would reappear. An express bus into the city and a Miki card for the tram down to Luna Park and all was going well. Still no rain.
Why was I there? What has this to do with cycling? I was buying the Greenspeed Anura Trike seen advertised on Gumtree and mentioned in my last post.
I met with Georgie at the entrance to Luna Park, tried out the Anura a bit – just to make sure everything worked and then we went to a more secluded spot to do the deal. It felt a bit like a drug deal ‘cos we were making sure nobody saw the cash changing hands – as Georgie said “This IS St Kilda, remember”.
My yellow and black Ortlieb pannier fitting nicely on a bar on the back seat and complimented the colour scheme. I had read on the ‘net that it would fit OK and it did. Luckily. or I would have had to carry the bag of tools some other way. We parted company and I cycled down to the bayside cycling track and took off towards Black Rock. There was 5-6 hours to fill in before the ferry started to load. On the horizon can been seen a white and red shape (just), this is the ferry to Tassie.
Riding the trike is a different experience. The turning circle can be very tight so care has to be taken not to lift a rear wheel. Steering is easy compared to the Bike E as, with the 3 wheels, you don’t have to steer to keep balance. The brakes felt odd but then either they began working as they should or I got used to them. The leg length definitely wasn’t right – too short. I tried to adjust the boom at the front to move the pedals further away but after loosening the boom and the steering arm it just would not move. Something to be checked at home but today I would just have to pedal gently to save the knees.
The cycle path was made up of concrete sections. The 16″ wheels made a bit of a business over each joint. All OK but a bit bumpy. The trike has no suspension and relies on a flexing frame and squishy tyres and a suspended seat. When a road cut across the cycle path the associated gutters and speed humps could be worrying – but I suspect soon they will just be ridden over without too much thought.
By the time I reached Black Rock I had the gears sort of sorted out. Although the cranks say they are a Schlumpf Speed Drive, the owner David had changed this to a Mountain Drive 18 months ago. This was to help him get up hills and I think this is a good change for Tasmanian conditions. What the combination of 8 derailleur gears and the two speed mountain drive gives is a set of very low gears and a set of mid-range gears and the best way to manage the mountain drive change point I still have to work out. It’s easy to end up needing to change through the entire range on the derailleur on changing MD.
I cycled off the path and down to a Kiosk for lunch and a coffee. The sign (which can’t be read) says something about being careful in the sun – which was funny given the storm clouds and rain and me in full wet weather gear. OK, you had to be there.
Lunch time. A coffee and an Alabama (something or other) burger. It was tasty and I was ready for a refuel. One thing I noticed on the way to the turn around point – recumbents are noticed. Lots of smiles, hellos, “that looks comfortable” and so on. The cars hooting may not be so friendly but I will assume they were.
Getting back up the quite steep hill from the Kiosk was another thing. I didn’t quite get down into bottom gear before hitting the steep bit. I did cycle up it but at the point where neither foot was actually powering things along I think the wheels actually stopped turning!
Along the way about a kilometre of the path was officially a “cyclists, walk your bikes” area. Bugger that – too hard. I cycled but kept coming across these pinch points. Most I could sneak through with the trike’s narrow wheelbase but with some I had to lift the back, hope the front wheel kept pointing ahead and carry it through. Still better than getting on the road.
On the way back I cycled Middle Pier. At the end the next squall could be seen heading our way. The wet weather gear worked a treat but I was glad to come across a toilet block with a tall and wide roof that I could shelter under. Now – a bonus. When waiting like that with the trike you have a comfortable seat to sit in and watch the rain. Doing this with toilet close by was doubly good with all the dripping water !!
From there it was up and onto Station Pier where I arrived just as boarding started at 17.00 hours. The round trip cycled was 22 miles (‘cos the on board computer is set to miles – which explained my seemingly slow speed being used to working in kilometers). Boarding was a bit of a busy time so no pictures. The ferry left a few mins early, the reclining seats were a bit more comfortable than I remembered and we docked and were released into Devonport by 6.30am.
The trike fitted in the back of the X-Trail which was really good as it was raining and I had expected to need to take the seat off and maybe the front wheel. A wet and windy drive home and the Anura is now in the previously spacious shed – now filled with 4 bikes. My birthday present to self on my 72nd birthday!!
Yesterday and today there have been storms in Tassie with some part of Hobart flooded. Ken the Bike E owner in Huonville has his back yard and shed area under water. Autumn has stopped being an Indian Summer. There will not be much riding this weekend. There has not been much riding this week,