Life in Self-Isolation

We noticed the above in the Kings Meadows shopping centre last Sunday. We tried to earn a roll but the butcher had run out of sausages!! Bloody Hoarders.

Sue and I have entered into self-isolation as we both have chronic conditions that COVID-19 would seek out, latch onto and maybe finish us off. So, for the next few weeks / months, our outings will be limited to weekly shopping, solitary dog walking and lone cycling. Each outing finalised with much hand washing. Hand sanitisers are marked by their absence in the shops and pharmacies, so soap and water it is.

I immediately broke self-isolation by going to visit Colin and Jeanette. I had been trying to move out the boom on the Magnum XL. With the collar used to hold the boom in place removed, I was unable to shift the boom out. I tried riding around on the bike expecting the pressures and movement to get it loose but this didn’t work. I tried shifting it with a hammer and a wooden drift. No good. So I enlisted the assistance of Colin – at a good social distance of course. With us both tugging and pulling and hammering with drift – it finally moved and pushed out. I rode the trike back home still without the collar, expecting it to loosen up some more. What did it do? The exact opposite. The action of the chain running on the chainring must pull the boom in as by the time I got home the boom was back where it started.

Luckily our work had loosen it and, by asking Sue to sit on the trike and hold on the brakes and me heaving on the boom, I was able to shake it loose again. It is now ready for minor adjustments to get it right. What’s that? – why was the boom extension needed? After our ride to Mole Creek I had changed the seat position for more comfort and to take pressure off the coccyx. Although the seat doesn’t slide back and forth, the changes led to a greater bend at the knee – too much for comfort.

I have been keeping active by competing in the Cycle Life Challenge (CLC) held on the website cycle365. Kathleen (The Goddess) organised the 2020 round of CLC. The rules are similar to Coffeeneuring – you get out on your bike 7 times during a given period. While out and about, you take a few pictures to prove the ride happened, show others where you live and, while you are out, a purchase is made contributing to the local community. So far I have completed 3 rides.

What makes it interesting is reading the ride reports of the others. They are mainly riding in the US with a few others in Australia, England, Germany plus one guy in Malaysia.

Here are the links to my entries :

CLC Ride #1

CLC Ride #2

CLC Ride #3

The Challenge may peter out this year as more authorities bring in full-scale lockdowns preventing people leaving their homes except for necessary shopping. Currently I can still lone cycle – will this privilege last?

Last subject for today. Some comments on the Bafang 250W mid-drive motor which may help people thinking about fitting one.

I have now ridden 1,000 kilometers using the motor. The system is running well and the only problem has been the hand controller used to turn the power on and select the power level. I have caught 2 of the units with my sleeve and both times pulled the left button back so that it sits out of place.

Left hand side of the unit it pulled back – out of place

Now it hangs there quite vulnerable to another catch unless it is held close to the body of the switch with an elastic band. This works well but the bands tend to disappear during the ride! Phil has fixed the first switch I damaged and I will be able to fit it when it’s sent back. Unfortunately Phil is sick at the moment so it won’t be returned until he has recovered.

Riding with the 250 watt motor is quite different to the 750 watt. It turned out the 750 was limited to 500 in the controller but, even so, the 250 when run at lower power levels is noticeably weaker! On the good side this means I am needing to put more power into the pedalling. On flat or slightly undulating roads and with an unladen trike, I have covered 120 kilometers with one charge of the battery. This is good. However, load the trike up with camping gear and point it up hills and it’s another story. The 55k ride up to Quamby Bluff / Golden Valley ended with an almost empty battery. On that ride I maintained low power levels for half the journey and then upped it to mid range power levels to ascend the hills. Level 6 of 9 was the highest used and that only for a short period.

So, to be assured of finishing a good daily distance on a tour, it will need a second battery. I am working out the modifications to the battery holder to give enough space to allow two batteries to sit together. By swapping them over at midday it will allow a comfortable 100k using good power levels (and take up half the night recharging!).

Half the ride to Mansfield. Quite a climb.

With such a set-up I would feel comfortable about climbing something like the hill between Mansfield and Whitfield in Victoria – a section of road linking two of the rail trails together. As it is I am not confident of completing the main part of the climb using a single battery.

That’s it for today. Keep safe everyone. Wash those hands. Cough into the crook of your arm. Stay a safe distance from others. Remember – the COVID-19 virus stays active for up to 72 hours on plastic surfaces.

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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