A Surprise Birthday Challenge

Ahh. Nothing like a cup of coffee seated isolated on the village green to make you see things differently!!

Now, before I get to birthday challenges, a couple of thoughts on Covid-19 behaviour and restrictions.

We have been spray and wiping anything coming into the house from elsewhere. Using Metho. It works OK on most things but with some (usually plastic bag packaging) it strips the colour and writing off the package. Where does the colour then go? I can tell you – onto the kitchen bench top and my hands!! It is easy to get it off the packets but much, much harder to get off worktops and hands. Why is this so?

Most businesses that are open have a sign up saying that the use of plastic cards is preferred to cash. However, if you only have cash it is accepted. During this week’s ride (which I shall get to shortly!), the cafe offering take away coffee would only accept card payment. The person in the cafe said “All businesses are taking payment this way. No cash accepted”. Not true. But we did the right thing by her as, luckily, Colin had a card that worked.

The Ride of the Week

We had been talking about riding one long ride a week to get some distance in for our personal challenges and to keep the muscles in tune for distance riding. This week we headed for Westbury.

A good ride of 80 kilometers

A look at the weather report showed that Monday would be the best day. It would be cold and cloudy but without strong winds. The few days after that would be windy and wet.

We met outside the Brickworks at 9.30am and set off up Wilmore’s Lane. Colin had his replacement headlight in action – replaced after the original failed following our wet ride to Mole Creek. The water damaged unit had been returned, examined in the factory and it was determined it had, indeed, failed due to water ingress. A new light followed and it worked well throughout Monday’s ride.

We rode through a dark morning with nothing unusual happening until just before Bishopsbourne. Then an unusual thing occurred – captured in the following video.

There, I said it was odd. No further problem during the ride.

The route along Pitt’s Lane and then Oaks Road to Black Hills Road is not unknown to us as it follows the ride to the Hazelbrae Cafe. Which is no more, having closed some months ago.

After Hazelbrae’s Station Road the road was less travelled by us. Immediately hilly! It seemed steep but Ride with GPS explained later the steepest bit had a gradient of 10.2%. I remain unconvinced – a couple of pitches seemed steeper than that. Especially with the 52 tooth chainring. Note to self – phone Phil and see how he is going with the proposed dual chainring spider to fit on the Bafang. A lower hill-climbing chainring will be easier on both man (me) and motor (Bafang). Colin, of course, sailed up the hills with ease!

Let the hills begin

After the last of the hills it was a straight, level ride into Westbury through the 5 to 10 acre lot outskirts. Westbury was a town where, early on, soldiers at the end of their employment were given the option of returning to the United Kingdom or take some land and settle in Tasmania. Many Irish soldiers took the land option and settled in Westbury. There is a great St Patrick’s Day held here by their descendants. The land division style around the town was also impacted by returning soldiers from WWI and (I think) WWII who were also given land in the area. The land tended to be in blocks and the town’s road system reflects this. It’s all laid out in squares and rectangles. The roads have names like Veterans Row and Settlement Road indicating the history of the place.

We cycled on and found our way into town and to the Main Street where the Green Door cafe was open for takeaways. We grabbed a couple of coffees and headed down to the village green to find a table and lunch spot. On the green there are a number of aged conifers of great height and several deciduous trees coming to the end of their autumn colours. No wind, a table, a fine lunch was had.

The light was subdued as cloud cover continued to build

The route back was discussed and we ended up choosing to cycle back by the old highway. The traffic looked like it would be light and the journey back would be different to that coming out.

The village green trees are being blown clear of leaves

And so it was that we pedalled out onto the Old Meander Highway and headed towards Carrick. The traffic was light and no-one mucked us about. The light wind that had begun came in behind and we cruised happily along to the right hand turn in Carrick where we waved goodbye to the highway.

I think it was somewhere about now that Colin’s horn fell off. Luckily it was caught and stored for re-mounting another day.

As I pedalled along Bishopsbourne Road I was checking the number of kilometers cycled and realised that it was likely I could do that “cycle your age in kilometers on your birthday” thing. It was my birthday – 74th. I thought I may need to do an extra loop in Longford but I should be able to rack up the 74 kilometers.

We pressed on and Colin suggested we could add a few k by cycling to the end of Bishopsbourne Road and go into Longford via the Illawarra Road. This we did and, thankfully, the Illawarra Road traffic was light too. A benefit of the Covid-19 restrictions. As always though, when we got to the bridges that narrow the road that’s when vehicles appeared out of nowhere. It always happens!

Cycling up the Main Road into Longford the odometer was getting close to 74 so I turned to ride up past Colin’s street. By the time I got there it was at 75!!

When I got home it was over 76 and when I checked Ride with GPS it said I had ridden 80.9 kilometers. Therefore I think I can claim to have achieved the goal. Not sure if I will make it an annual event as by the time I am 80 I think cycling 80k in a day will be like “in your dreams”. But then, you just never know!

See you 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's now 2023 and I have 3 bikes. 2 e-recumbents and the Brompton.

9 thoughts on “A Surprise Birthday Challenge”

  1. Happy Birthday! What a fine cycle your age ride. It looked like a very good ride despite a pedal and a horn falling off! I think I would have kept the spanner in my pocket for the rest of the ride just in case! My local takeaway shop is reopening this week, but credit card only like your coffee place. Some of the transfer stations have gone card only here, also… from all of our contingency planning I can tell you that even though cash is legal tender, businesses are not obliged to take it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GOOOoooooo Tony, Congratulations and well done . “Man alive, you are living the dream,” I hope I am still pedaling the magnum when I’m 75′. Those hills were a surprise, steep, good ride through the back country, though. I have a suggestion; Lets start planning 2022 Sydney – Melbourne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a thought! Amazing how a good website (NSW Coast Cycle Trail) sets you thinking. I always wanted to plan a route from Sydney using roads others than the Pacific Highway and they have done it. 2022 could just be the year.


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