Quiet Roads, Isolated Rides

Memories. Back to the old days when we could go camping.

How are you all going in isolation? I trust you are steering clear of the lurgy – covid-19.

I entertained myself for a day or two with some Bluey maintenance and then we geared up to give the house a ‘Spring clean’ in Autumn. After living here for 10 years we are finding we have accumulated a fair bit of “stuff” no longer needed – or we no longer knew why we had bought it / found it in the first place. Once we are allowed to roam freely again we will help re-stock the Op Shops and the local Tip Shop.

So, what went wrong with my maintenance work on the trike? I intimated there had been a problem in my last blog. Nothing actually went wrong – except my brain! I was enjoying a nice quiet slow ride in the sun one day when I thought “I know. I will replace the 46 tooth chainring currently on Bluey with the 52 tooth ring in my box of bike bits”. The 46 tooth gives a top gear a bit too low and to hold any speed over 25kph the old legs are whizzing around rather more than is comfortable.

The next day I set to work. Removed the crank arm and the 46 tooth ring, found the 52 tooth, bolted it in place, attached the chain and then stood back and looked. Funny – the derailleur is sitting further back – funny – should be further forward. Took another look and slapped forehead. Berk!! I had fitted a 44 tooth chainring – the 52 tooth version had gone south with the old motor and has been fitted to the purchaser’s mountain bike.

OK. Off with the crank arm again, off with the 44 tooth and back with the 46 tooth – continue to whizz at speeds > 25 kph for the moment until Phil has his dual chainring special fitting ready. Unfortunately Phil isn’t too well at the moment so that may be a while.

The second problem was that after a couple of rides the boom was pulled back in by the forces generated by the chain. You may recall I had some troubles getting the boom to extend. Problem solved by carefully whacking it a bit. I had put the collar back on and tightened it up – obviously not enough.

So I took the collar off again, got the boom extended by sitting Sue on the trike, brakes on, tugging and pulling for all I was worth and then scientifically hitting it again with a drift and a lump hammer. Having got the extension I was after, I replaced the collar, this time getting more pressure by using a piece of pipe to extend the handle of the allen key. I hope this works and that I don’t now have all sorts of issues with a compressed main frame tube !

There we are – graduation marks visible again.

Given that, in the current Tasmanian State Government Stage 3 covid-19 control procedures, we are allowed out for solo exercise rides and that the definition of ride length hasn’t been made, I have mostly been riding short loops around Longford. They have been enjoyable with not much traffic and a lot more cyclists out and about.

My roaming around Longford resulted in finding the following :

Back Creek. Minor flooding to the left
Longford Boat Ramp. The bit I usually cycle down to is under water – see the top of the ladder?
Whoops. Out of sequence. End of ride Shiraz.

The cops have been out and about over Easter busy making sure no-one is taking a drive they don’t need to. Certainly they are making sure people don’t take off to their favourite free camp or their shack. I understand great use is being made of number plate checking software to see how far from home a vehicle is.

On Easter Saturday I decided to push it a bit and take a 30k ride returning to Longford via Perth. This would let me check out how the Perth ByPass works are going, hoping the return into Longford via the Illawarra Road and the narrows through the bridges over the river would be safe due to lack of traffic. This is how it went.

NB: I did not achieve a Max of 96.5 kph – satellites playing up again

All this week I have been riding using power assist level 2 (of 9) so that I actually exercise more. At this power level all help from the motor stops at 16kph in top gear. The amount of power supplied is based on cadence so in lower gears power delivery stops at slower speeds. Often the ‘watts being delivered’ reading was zero. On hills it fluctuated from 0W to 12W to 36W back to 0W – not much at all and I challenged myself to keep it at zero.

I adopted the same style for this ride and, after climbing the slight incline to Brickendon, zero was achieved most of the way to the Macquarie River. It was sunny, windless and quiet. A few Utes sped past but not as many as normal.

I stopped at the bridge over the Macquarie and cleaned up a glass bottle that had been smashed across the walkway. Where was that person? I would like to rub their face in it.

The ride continued out to the Midland Highway where I turned left and headed towards Perth. Light traffic made even this section nice to ride. Just before Perth there is the large, new roundabout which guides the road users either to Longford via the bypass or into Perth via the old road. I took neither, there being another option to take a nice country lane a little way to ‘Eskleigh’ – one of the original up market settler’s homes now used to provide facilities for people with disabilities. Up and back along this road proved a pleasant break from mainroading.

Now onto the new bypass and an ordinary sort of ride up to the Longford turnoff. The signs have redacted names on them – places the road currently doesn’t go to. Like Launceston. When the main part of the bypass opens these redaction plates will be unriveted and removed to reveal their secrets.

Just before the Longford turnoff I was busy talking into the OSMO when I was interrupted by a passing cyclist. I had been so busy talking to you I didn’t notice him until he was alongside. How embarrassing – being caught talking to yourself as it seemed. We chatted for a while and then he took off for further exploration of the roadworks.

We had heard that included somewhere in the roadworks would be a shared walk / cycle track. I expect it to be like the track supplied with the new road section between Perth the Breadalbane – a nice track but running from nowhere to nowhere. Mind you it does look like the Perth end of that track could be linked into Perth by the current bypass works. I hope so.

I cruised through the roadworks on the new, large hard shoulder and found something that looks like a trail opposite Pateena Road. It doubles back towards Perth so I hopped on it and went for a ride. Starting off gravel, after a while there was a section of tarmac. Then it turns to gravel again and then stops just before heading under one of the new road bridges. OK this looks good. Maybe the plan is to thread it through to pick up on the old road into Perth which is now open only for local traffic.

I returned to the roadworks and was immediately passed by ‘cops on wheels’. I was out of the way on the hard shoulder and was ignored, so that was good. The ABC State News this evening showed drivers being pulled over and questioned in Longford. They had strayed too far from home. 17 drivers caught so far this Easter Sunday statewide.

Up to this point the traffic was light but now a few trucks had come along. Just to make things difficult when going through the narrow bridges over the South Esk just before Longford. In the end it wasn’t too bad as there still wasn’t much coming the other way so the trucks overtaking could get over into the oncoming lane. And they did.

Another enjoyable ride – well, it’s hard to have an unpleasant ride !

Check out the ride

I can report that after this week’s riding the boom has stayed put – lesson – always use a lever!

That’s it from me. Keep safe. Keep happy. Keep healthy.

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.

4 thoughts on “Quiet Roads, Isolated Rides”

  1. Glad you’re getting some decent rides in still. I’ve been either doing local loops from home and also stepping up my turbo trainer rides. Certainly no more travelling to MTB trails…


  2. That looked like a really nice ride and it’s always fun to check out new trails. Glad you are getting all the mechanicals figured out, too. When I spoke to the police after the dog attack, they certainly didn’t bat an eye that I’d ridden 40kms in one direction. I don’t think it seems far to them, being car-centric. But the rules are a bit murky for what is ‘essential’ vs ‘non-essential’ in some instances.


    1. Hi Sharon.

      Great to hear from you.

      We are both fine. Aches and pains punctuated with more serious stuff but, just now, all going well.

      How’s it all going with the Nehrings?


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