The Brompton is loaded into the car in it’s folded state. Then it is taken out at the destination, unfolded and made ready for the ride. On last Friday’s Deloraine ride I got that far, kicked out the back wheel to ready for THE OFF and found it didn’t feel right. The front tyre was flat.
So I put it back in the car and came home. A few days later I was able to give Brompton some attention. I took the front wheel out expecting the worst. It is a 14″ wheel shod with a Marathon and I expected a struggle on my hands to get the inner tube out. To my great surprise, nothing of the sort. The tyre peeled off the rim in a perfectly ordinary way. Much better than dealing with the tyres on the 16″ Greenspeed Anura.
What was a surprise though was – no holes in the inner tube could be found. Dunked in a bowl of water, nothing. No bubbles. This was odd, rather like a problem I had on Bluey some time ago. Flat tyre, no punctures, no valve issue. Is some sneaky person getting into the shed and letting tyres down? Is there an Imp or a mischievous Sprite in the shed? Who knows. Anyway, I inflated the tyre and let it sit for a while and then, as it didn’t go down overnight, I stuck the wheel back in the bike. All ready for next Friday!
Always supposing I can get the dynamo wires back in correctly of course.
So, what else happened recently? Well, Colin and I tried the Deloraine S24O ride again and this time succeeded – except it happened as a S(ub)36(hour)O(vernight) ride. The winds were so bad on Saturday it took us too long to ride to Deloraine to keep within the 24 hour timeframe and, anyway, we don’t have to rush. We are retired!
Day 1. Longford to Deloraine
We left at 10.00am and arrived at the Longford Caravan Park at 17.00 hrs. 7 hours elapsed time although, to be fair, that did include food and coffee stops!
We set off into a strong wind. Wilmore’s Lane lead us straight into it. Add the hills to the wind and we made slow progress along this well known bit of the road. Our trikes were encumbered by panniers and other bags hung on the back. I meant to weight my collection when I got home – but forgot of course. It will be interesting next time to weigh and find out what extra I am carrying.
The sun is currently high in the sky aiming for the summer solstice in a few days time. This means the UV is very high or extreme. My fair skin doesn’t like it much and so I have invested in a face cover that I found in a fly fishing shop. Fly fishers have to take care of all that UV reflecting off the water as well as that coming in from above so they seem to be leaders in skin covering. So, this was the first outing for the whatever it is called.
Turning into Bishopsbourne Road the wind almost became a cross wind. Not quite though as it was coming in from the front, righthand side. Still a major speed restrictor.
The demand for poppy products is down this year due to an international oversupply and the US suddenly realising they have an opioid crisis. Apparently their Doctors prescribed too much of the stuff thinking that maybe it wasn’t as addictive these days.
There are some areas of production still and we cycled past this one.
Along Bishopsbourne Road we came across a pivot irrigator who’s end spray was tossing water across the road covering a 180 degree spray zone. We waited while it “TacTacTac’d” it’s way around, waiting for our time to dash through. We waited in the wrong spot though and received a full drenching. It is impressive just how much water they throw out and how cold it is when soaking through shirt and trousers! So in both our attempts to do this ride we were soaked before reaching Bishopsbourne.
This time it was OK though. By the time we were heading down to Bracknell, the wind and sun had dried us out. To get to Bracknell we needed to turn right and then it was “head into the wind” time again. We pulled into the park at Bracknell and found local lads had emptied the toilet paper from both men’s and ladies toilets all around the area. It looked like white crime scene tape. A bloke came to talk to us. He was part of a Motor Home Campervan club chapter camping up at the Footy grounds. The Footy Club was preparing a Christmas Dinner for them to have that evening. We chatted for a while and he told us he had spent the previous day in the hills behind Swansea locating and moving his mate’s sheep away from the current bushfires there. He also told us the toilets at the footy grounds plus another lot in town had both been hit by the toilet paper unrolling / crime scene tape gang. He tidied up the mess here before we could spring into action.
We plugged on into the wind cycling down to Cluan Road. There we were into cross winds once more but this time the roadside banks and hedgerows gave us a bit of shelter from the worst of the blasts. We were cycling along a road with a lot of eucalypts roadside though and it was a bit of a worry wondering if the heavy gusts would blow a limb or a whole tree across the road or onto our heads.
At one point a bunch of motorcyclists who we had espied at the Bracknell Pub came past. One berk on a 2.5 litre Triumph Rocket III seemed to be trying to pull it up into a wheelie (in this crosswind!!??) as he passed Colin. By the time he got to me, he just decided to open up the taps and rocket past as close as he could. I once read that these things can do 0-100kph in 2.9 seconds – if you can hang on and not spin the rear wheel. Luckily for me this rider handled it OK.
Towards the end of Cluan Road there is a series of hills with “Crest” warnings. On this ride nobody decided to overtake us at the Crest. It was a relief to leave Crests and swaying gum trees behind as we turned left onto the backroad to Deloraine, head on into the wind once more.
The views were great and picture stops most welcome.
I had warned Colin about “Heartbreak Hill”. Those of you who have been here before with me know that it is a bit of a challenge. Approx 3 kilometers of climbing including the “foothills”. There is quite a stretch in the middle with gradients around the 8% – and they seem to go on and on! I don’t recall if the hill sheltered us from the wind or not. I suspect it must have done for some of the climb but I was just too focussed on how the trike and motor (not to say me) would cope. In the end we climbed mostly in power assist 2 but had to slip up to 3 for the steepest portion so I could keep up the cadence and protect the motor from overheating.
Colin plugged away and climbed OK on Red Magnum and we were both relieved when we got to the top. After the climb it is a pleasant descent past the golf course to a right hand turn for the road to take us into Deloraine. One more climb and a fast descent to the river and we are done. Just round the corner and into a new Cafe for coffee.
We got ourselves a powered site by the Meander River and gradually settled in for the evening.
Sitting having a cup of tea we watched a large platypus swim by. Not long after a smaller one cruised past. I tried for a picture but by the time I had located the animal and then zoomed in all I got was:
At dusk I went for a walk down to a pontoon on the river. As I watched another platypus a woman turned up. Chatting to her I found out that she belongs to a group monitoring wildlife. Her job is to monitor the platypus here. Anne then showed me some videos that she has made with her phone. In one she was videoing a platypus swimming over the weir a little further downriver when a second platypus walked over her feet! She is doing a great job and is very knowledgable about the estimated 12 platties in this short stretch of the Meander.
I walked back into a noisy area. The Deloraine Rodeo was on in the showgrounds across the river and the loudspeakers were, well, loud. The pub up the hill also had a band that had fired up. Around 22.00 hrs the Rodeo wound down and their band wound up! It was well after midnight before all music stopped.
Deloraine to Longford
The next morning dawned sunny and STILL. No wind!! We took a while to de-tent and pack up because it was just so pleasant watching the birdlife around us. Eventually the lure of coffee took us away and into the High Street hunting for a brew.
After breakfast we headed out – the first order of the day was a climb up past the school.
The climb was taken slowly as leg muscles were not yet working properly. According to “Ride with GPS” this was actually the steepest climb of the ride. Luckily it was not the longest. The wind remained non existent as we enjoyed the ride to the top of Heartbreak hill. Last time I descended this I achieved a top speed of 70kph but it was quite scary. This time I braked a bit on the higher part and then let it rip. 61kph only. Not so scary as there was no traffic in front or behind on this run. I stopped at the junction with the road to Exton and waiting for Colin. He didn’t appear. After waiting for a while I turned around and started back and then his flags came into view. A much more sensible person he had descended calmly and safely, stopping for a picture or two.
It was a lovely day as we cycled towards Cluan Road. Hardly any traffic to worry us, it was a very nice ride.
Colin got the bit between his teeth along Cluan Road. He made really good time and I kidded him that he must be solar powered – after he said how much he was enjoying the sun and no wind. Whatever it was, his performance along this stretch was very good.
We pulled in at Bishopsbourne for a pit stop. There was a cricket match in progress and there was room between a couple of cars for us to pull up and watch for a while. The sun and pleasant temperatures worked it’s magic and we didn’t want to leave. Eventually we had to though. So, back on the road we were both feeling the trip in our legs and the cycle back to Longford was a bit slower. I was also feeling the need for sleep and had to be careful not to doze off laying back in the seat and cruising along at peace with our ever more strange world. A wonderful way to finish a ride.
I can report that the face shield(?) works very well. I get a little bit of mist over the glasses at slow speed but generally my breath comes out of the holes provided at mouth level. A bonus is I swallowed none of the tiny flies that infest the roads and not a few larger ones just bounced off. No sunburn. The device works well and feels good while only generating a small amount of extra interest from passers by.
Next week will be interesting. First off we are going south and I hope Ken and I can have a ride alongside the Huon River.
On the way back I will be dropping the trike off at Pedalec Phil’s place so he can do some work on Bluey. Then it will be ready for Victoria and the rail trails.