A Ride from December 2017

I thought I had this ride documented in these pages but no, it occurred while I was reporting in another blogosphere.  When thinking back to it and comparing mind to ride notes copied from the other,  I found I  had remembered things differently – so imagine how screwed it will get in my mind on another year or two!  Better copy it to this blog.

Touring on a B, even a simple overnight affair, means attention to detail in the packing.  You only have two bags to fill – the front “Touring Bag” and a rear rucksack.  The rear sack balances from a small rod fitted under the seat and the weight is taken by the rack.  A method I unashamedly copied from folks who pioneered this and displayed “how to” on the ‘net.  I thought I had used the 1 person tent bought late 2017 but I had remembered the wrong tent!  I now think this was the trip that caused me to get a smaller tent!!  In fact, how I got the 2-person Apollo into the Brompton bags I can’t imagine.

I did two rides towards Liffey Falls on the B but only made it on the second.  The pictures shown here are the combination of shots from both trips.  Anyway – here we go ………

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Week ending 17th December 2017.

The main ride of the week was back to Liffey Falls. I drove the route last week to check out the gravel road after heavy rains and found a lot of the loose largish stuff had either been washed off or driven in to the surface – it looks OK for 16″ wheels now. So, here we go.

Brompton Ride 3

This way to the Falls. I didn’t park in the gutter this time – I remembered the biting ants living in there from my last visit.

Cycling today is in normal Tasmanian early summer conditions. 28 °C predicted, windy and terrific to look at. By the time I reached the pictured sign all of the above had kicked in and the wind was keeping the flies away. Only one bidon on the bike and it was empty by the time I reached Bracknell so it was filled with cold water from the shop (better than their coffee).

Liffey II Pic 3 small

Some significant roadworks have occurred after last years floods. These gabion walls are pretty strong and will stop the water washing the road away again.

Brompton Ride 4

Some damage from high winds last week

Brompton Ride 5

The road ahead – getting a bit foresty

Once again the next bit of road seemed to be flat but was, in fact, a steady climb. With the Brompton and my legs this meant 1st and 2nd gear work for a lot of the way. It was nice to get a bit of flat road and get into 3 or 4th gear now and again. I didn’t focus on speed though and enjoyed the countryside with time to watch the birds. My first sight this season of a Lark ascending needed a stop and a watch. They must have specific song making abilities to sing on the inhale and the exhale to produce their sound all the way up the climb. As I got higher the signs of last years flood damage was becoming more apparent.

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This gulley looks like it was scoured during the floods. It is full of non-native wild flowers that seem to like the conditions and would piss off the Society for Growing Australian Plants no end.

Bob Brown is a major eco player in Australia. He campaigned against the damming of the Franklin River in Tasmania (for hydro-electricity generation), took on the forestry industry for it’s non-sustainability and logging of old-growth temperate rain forests and eventually became a Greens Tasmanian State and then Federal politician. He lived at Liffey for a while in the pre-pollie days and more recently has created the Bob Brown Foundation. He also gifted the Bush Heritage Australia his 14 hectare property at Liffey to form the Oura Oura reserve.

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Bob Brown’s house snuggling into the hillside.

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The entry to the land Bob Brown donated to Bush Heritage to become the Oura Oura reserve.

Onwards and upwards and, here it is, the gravel road once more. Before I reached it I was pushing the bike and load uphill as the low gear is simply too high for me at this sort of work. The gravel was still cyclable thank goodness. I think there were 3 hills I had to dismount and push to climb but the rest of it was OK until I reached the final downhill bit before the turn off for the camp ground. The downhill I started to descend before the brain thought “hmm this is steep and slippery”. I had read that Brompton braking left something to be desired and, yes it does. The rear brake was not powerful enough to hold back bike, me and 18kg of camping gear on a hill like this. To be fair, it is a bike made for commuting in London! Anyway, with a bit of careful front brake usage and luck we slithered and slipped down through the loose stuff and got to the bottom the right way up.

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Made it – camping next to the Liffey River.

I chose a site, set up tent and brewed a cup of Russian Caravan. Settled back to watch the antics of an older couple (well, probably not my age) who had taken over 2 camp sites, had two vehicles and who seemed to be a couple rather than two friends. They spent well over 2 hours unloading stuff, setting stuff up, preparing several tables at both ends of their area and generally being busy. So I had something to watch, a puzzle as to “WHY” but they were quiet in their busyness so it was just entertainment for Tony. In fact there were several other feral looking camping set ups around but nobody made noise.

While the camp area looks and feels calm these days, it has a nasty secret. I have copied this from Wikipedia.

“The area surrounding Liffey Falls was a meeting place for Tasmanian Aborigines for thousands of years prior to Colonialism in Australia. The Liffey River was originally called Tellerpangger by the Panninher clan who occupied the area. In 1827 a significant massacre of up to sixty of the Pallittorre clan by European colonists took place during the Black War.[4]

The massacre with sixty dead or wounded is reported in The Sydney Morning Herald as happening at Liffey Falls. Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser reporting on 6 July 1827 (page 4, The Natives) on a dispatch from Launceston notes that

“They were surrounded whilst sitting round their fires, when the soldiers and others fired at them when about 30 yards distant. They report that there must be about sixty of them killed and wounded”.

Today there is nothing here to mark the event.

The evening meal was a bag of freeze dried goodies which turned into a tasty pasta bolognese. My first from a Tasmanian company based in Hobart. I found them on the Net while looking for something made more locally than the usual American or NZ offerings. I suspect the Tasmanian ones are sourced from the company making freeze dried meals for the Army. Whatever, they taste good and have a high energy rating!

It rained overnight and, for a while, sounded like it had set in for a wet ride home. When I woke though the rain had stopped and the sun was starting to hit the higher trees.

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Early morning sunshine after a wet night

I went for a walk around. Not too far as cycling shoes are not that comfortable for walking distances. It used to be that the only walk from the camping area was up to the Falls. As that was 3 kilometres away it was out of the question for today. So I followed another track and found a walk that links the Liffey River Reserve to Oura Oura. It begins in a grove of Myrtle Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) trees and Man Ferns.

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The start of the walk into the Liffey River Reserve

Myrtle Beech is a Temperate Rainforest timber much prized as for cabinet making as it is easy to work and gives rich reddish-browns to pink colours and has good grain. It also can be put through a roller peeler to make quality veneer.

Man ferns (Dicksonia antarctica) are called Tree Ferns in New South Wales. They can grow to 15 metres and look stunning when they have a layer of snow on them.

I will have to return to “do” this walk as the atmosphere at the start was so welcoming.

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The first sign in after this one showed axe damage.  Some people!

But, it was time to go home. The folded bike had fitted under the fly overnight so it was dry. The bag under the other fly was also dry. Some water had made its way into the foot of the tent – can’t see how as yet. The outer fly was very wet. I bundled everything in their appropriate bags, boxes and stuff and got it all back in the rucksack and front bag.

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Getting some Yoga in before travelling back to Longford

After the initial flat travel out of camp and past a spread of blackberry that a couple of workers had been spraying yesterday (“Hey, Stop Spraying while I pass Please” I yelled) I arrived at the steep slippery hill. I walked up it pushing the bicycle. This proved to be the only hill I walked up today.

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Early morning shadow on the hill being walked up.

The wind behind and the downhill took me nearly all the way back to Bracknell pedalling in high gears and cruising well. I do like how the luggage system sits on this bike – it’s all centralised and quite secure up to around the 35 kph mark anyway.

When I got to the last couple of legs of road I know so well, I was faced with a pivot irrigator puzzle. The unit on the left was setting up a drift of water across the road – light and travelling with the wind it was basically a travelling mist. The one on the right had a heavy spray driven by a “taka taka” ratchet system which was spraying a good semi-circle onto the road with a little bit at either end hitting the hedgerows. This took a bit of timing to manage. Follow the spray on the road and then nip through the last bit while the spray hit the hedge and before it retraced its steps back across the road. Got a bit wet but as the day was heating up it was just right!

Liffey II Pic 14 small

Till next time.

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 is good!

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