Ennui Gone .. or .. Back to Normal

Look carefully – there is a rainbow 😀

The past two weeks have seen Bluey and I out and about pretty much as normal. Yes, we had to dodge some crappy weather and Yes, we got a bit wet once or twice but the two 100k weeks see us back into goal seeking. 100k per week – 4,000k for the year.

The majority of recent days have been without wind – an unusual condition for Tasmania. This has led to frost overnight and fog in the mornings.

The sun is gaining strength though and an early morning stroll around the garden (when there is no breeze and no fog) feels like you are under a huge “Tastic” bathroom light as the radiant heat from the sun hits, warming you but not the surrounding cold air.

Most of my recent cycling has been around the Norfolk Plains – rides often undertaken and written about in these posts. I have been starting out later to avoid the frost and fog and some of the trips have felt almost spring-like. By 12.00 until 3.30pm the sun has often warmed the air a bit and the birds reckon it’s time to go cruising, looking for a mate. Also out looking are the frogs. Roadside and paddock edge drainage ditches are a-croak with activity. It sounds like a couple of hundred people are over there clicking dog clickers. Presumably the water freezes overnight and the frogs save themselves by keeping in the lower levels.

Masked Lapwings nest on the ground and have little fluffy bundles on legs as chicks that run about from the word GO. The parents are very protective of their young. In recent years more and more local Lapwings have adopted bits of the grass verge outside houses (called Nature Strips) as their base of operations. When they have young the adults squark at and dive on passers by. This would be OK except that they have a boney spur on each wing, so they are weaponised. Their voice is loud and harsh, sounding like Martians saying “We come in peace” just before they blow your head off (reference to movie “Mars Attacks”).

Click HERE to find out more.

I have already had my first Masked Lapwing close encounter for the season and there is still a month of winter to go. I have also been closely inspected by more than one Magpie but they are not in attack mode yet.

Another bird often seen has been the Goldfinch. Hundreds of these birds are snacking on the hawthorn berries. When you cycle past one of the extended roadside hawthorn hedges your presence makes the birds take to the air – it looks like a huge Mexican Wave with birds rising as you pass by, settling back down after.

The Black-Headed Cockatoos have disappeared. I guess they have eaten their fill from the pine trees.

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As well as riding there has been some bike maintenance happening. Bluey the trike is running very well and as I don’t have the spacer yet to allow mounting the double chainring it needed no work. Brompton, on the other hand, decided it was fed up with gear changing.

Mine is a 6 speed model with a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub and 2 speed derailleur.

The derailleur works like no other. Mine decided it would stay on the largest sprocket (lowest gear). A search on the ‘Net showed this is a common problem and I had soon viewed Youtube ‘experts’ advising on how to fix. Things still unclear I finally came across a young woman who explained things in words of one syllable using good camera technique and by 10.30am I knew what I had to do. Disconnect the hub, take off the chain tensioner and the chain pusher.

In true Tasmanian Cullimore style, by 2.30pm I had no gears working and bits everywhere. 😣  

I managed to reduced the hub to 2 gears out of three and the chain was still on the big sprocket on the derailleur.  The hub gear problem was mine – you shouldn’t change gear when the gear-changing chain isn’t connected. Naughty! I had to take the hand controller apart to fix that one.  Opened it up and then immediately lost the critical 2.5mm allen key under the shelving in the shed while juggling to keep the various tiny plastic bits in place.  I only have the one 2.5mm key. I suspect most people don’t have any.  Much scrabbling about and I found it and got it out. More time wasted but I did find a lot of muck to clean up hidden under the shelves.

I looked at how the controller works inside and couldn’t fathom it.  Put it back together and noticed gear 3 was now showing in the indicator window.  Ah, I had fixed it – but not sure quite how.  A bit like I fix the computer; by turning it off and turning it on again? Now I had all 3 Sturmey Archer gears but still only the low gear on the derailleur.  So I went back over the “Pusher’s” working bits, took things off again, re-tightened them, re-oiled them and checked cable tension. Often this sort of work feels like you are just doing the same old thing over and again but this time it worked!  Now I had all 6 gears.

The good news is that it’s still all working after a couple of 10k rides around town. Success!!!

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Ride of the fortnight.

The ride from Forth

We have been riding over the same territory for some 6 months now and it was time to take the trike apart and put it in the back of the car.

Bicycle Network NW Tassie group was holding a ride up past Devonport. I was interested in cycling in that area as there have been recent reports of a shared trail being developed running from Latrobe to Wynyard – a decent sort of distance. Some parts are already in place, some are in development and some are still a glimmer in the planner’s eye. BUT I did read that Devonport to Ulverstone is underway as is the link between Latrobe and Devonport. So, I will find out more on this ride. Maybe.

It was a cold, frosty, misty start to the day. Thankfully the car had been loaded the afternoon before. The cobweb above is frosted and looked quite nice. -1°C as I drove out of Longford having scraped the ice off the windscreen. I left the fog behind just before Deloraine.

I got off the Bass Highway at Latrobe and went to look at the shared path being built there.

This is the site of the shared path – it will run along the Mersey River down to Ambleside, a suburb of Devonport. As you can see, one side of the road runs up against a crumbly cliff face while the other has the river lapping up against it. The river is tidal here so how can this be done without building something that gets washed away?

Answer. A solid rock base is built up and the track placed on top. As I drove along I spotted cyclists and walkers using this unfinished track – so people to use it won’t be an issue. Why has it stopped here though? I found out the reason later in the day. A bit further on a pair of Wedge Tailed Eagles are nesting and work has stopped until the young have fledged.

I arrived in Forth in plenty of time to meet the group, so a stop for coffee was in order. A takeaway later I drove to the Sports Ground where we were to meet.

By the time I had the trike out the car and ready to ride some 20 people had turned up for a day out. 5 people elected to tackle the optional shorter route down to the Berry Farm for a coffee while the remaining 15 took off for the longer ride.

At 2 kilometers along I checked Ride with GPS. It was working OK. Unfortunately another 1.7 kilometers are recorded and then it stopped. So my recorded figures for the week are some 28k short. Bugger.

I didn’t realise though as we cruised up the gradual climb alongside the Forth river past small holdings with green paddocks and the odd cow or two scattered about. Then we passed through a tract of remnant woodland.

Still alongside the Forth River.

However, we were due some significant climbing and we turned left to cross the river to get into it.

From this point climbing became the thing – three separate climbs in all. I upped the power and could just stay with a couple of the slower riders. Touring recumbent trikes are really not good climbers. However, after each climb there was an enjoyable descent and I could easily see how at first the 2 wheel diamonds started to roll away from me but then, after a minute or two, I caught them up and had to brake to the bottom so as not to go over them. No point in overtaking as they would only have to pass me again on the next climb.

Eventually we came out of the hills and entered into rich soil country where more than a couple of cows can be raised. The dark brown, chocolate coloured soils are renowned for their growing quality. We passed a field full of varieties of leafed veg used in salads – stuff that wouldn’t stand a chance around Longford in the frost.

Getting on a little and before the final descent we stopped at Braddon’s Lookout.

From the Lookout we could see across to Cradle Mountain c/w snow.

Then it was a short cruise back into Forth where to discover Ride with GPS had turned the 32 kilometres cycled into 3.7ks!

Now, just to prove to Ken I did the whole ride –

Ah – the squeal of brakes reminds me. I had better clean out the drums before my next ride.

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!

6 thoughts on “Ennui Gone .. or .. Back to Normal”

  1. Hey Tony! I didn’t know you’re also uploading videos on YouTube. The Tasmanian landscape looks great, but the climbs realls seem to be tough…I never rode a trike though, isn’t it hard to keep the front wheel down, because of the majority of the weight at the rear of the trike?

    Can’t wait for more impressions of the tasmanian countryside!

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    1. Hi Denis. No, the front wheel doesn’t rise. Greenspeeds were designed to share the weight on all three wheels so that helps. I can’t accelerate enough to lift the front either! In fact what usually happens is wheel spin on the rear – like when we ride a gravel hill or the road is a bit damp.

      Basically though touring trikes are slow up hills so we gear down and spin. It just looks tough.

      Glad you like the scenery. I just marvel at how lucky I am to have ended up here in retirement.

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  2. Looks like some really nice rides and a quite scenic video. Not so sure the Troopy/4WD should have overtaken you at that spot at 1.08, but never mind. I saw a news report that said Hobart had its 4th driest July – was it that dry in Longford? We certainly had many, many nice days in July… which meant we ended up with only half our normal rainfall. That’s concerning, especially since the “outlook” back in May was for a very wet winter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to have been wet – a lot of paddocks have sitting water on them. But we have had a good number of frosts indicating clear skies. Hobart is often dryer than here. I will check with BOM.

      Like

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