Preparing for Touring

The weather is still at odds and ends, cold one day and good the next but, we want to tour. Let’s get the panniers loaded and start the season with a good S24O. There was a plan for a few days away starting tomorrow but the rain is coming in and plans to hang around until Wednesday. Some dry areas on the mainland had a good soaking yesterday – looks like our rain starts this evening.

I knew I had to ride a bit over the past week in order to keep my totals up. Even though it looked ominous with grey clouds much of the time, I did manage a few local rides to get to 120ks up for the week.

Woodstock Lagoon – a wild life sanctuary

On most of this week’s rides I passed Woodstock Lagoon. It currently has plenty of water in it, the water being enjoyed by numbers of black swans. The wetland dries out over summer and all the birds disappear so it’s probably at max pop now. The above was a rare sunny moment!

Grey clouds covering most of the Tiers

Mostly it was like this c/w a cool breeze ensuring the winter gloves remain in use. Poking out of the pannier you can see a rescued log destined for my OzPig next autumn. The log is full of water at the moment, extremely heavy and quite muddy after lying in the roadside ditch for a while. It did try to escape it’s fate later by falling out – but I heard and recaptured it.

The pannier needs a clean inside after the log mud fell off into it.

Quiet Road, cool breeze, will it rain?

It feels a bit like Spring even with the grey skies. Looking about, it definitely is happening. The Hawthorn hedges are getting a green sheen as the leaves begin to come through. Lambs, Hares, Larks, Swallows abound as the Harriers cruise the edges of the paddocks looking for dinner. A Butcher Bird does some fence sitting and nest material gathering as the Magpies watch us pass by and, so far, resist dive-bombing. Soon the Hawthorns will be in bloom and the spring show will really be on.

When checking my Ride with GPS stats I noticed that, in 2020, I have climbed 25,000 metres so far!

25,000 metres gained in 2020.

Makes you tired just thinking about that.

And now for general work!

Some time ago I added a wooden board to the top of the battery rack. This was so I could carry two batteries comfortably under the seat. On the test run – a 100k loop ride towards Ross and Campbell Town – the wooden board worked loose. That was a Fail.

I considered having a new, larger aluminium rack fabricated but instead thought about how I had fixed the board and then the two batteries to the board. I realised I could do better. This week I re-worked the set-up and have mounted the dual batteries again. So far, 60k of travelling, nothing hasn’t come loose. I am not saying it won’t – it just hasn’t yet!

Here we are – 2 batteries mounted under the seat.

Time will tell if this will work. The board is weather-proofed but it may change shape / structure when its gets wet. If that happens I will be off to find a fabricator for a new base unit!

Another job tackled was the fly which goes over the trike when at the camp site to keep dew and rain off. Whenever I have used it, it seemed the weather was bad, usually windy too. Rushing to fit the fly I found things didn’t fit where I wanted them to and, in my impatience, I did a bad job. By morning the fly was usually flapping about on the ground and the trike wet.

So I spent some time this week working out how to actually get the best coverage out of the fly and how to clip it to the trike. Prior to this I had used the pegs that came with the fly to peg it down. Now I have added a series of loops and clips to the fly grommets and, using these and a few carabiners, can fix fly to trike. It may withstand a Tasmanian windy evening.

It certainly looks the business now.

Lastly – the tent. After researching tents via Google and getting very impressed with the new technology, I have decided to stay with my ageing 2-person Apollo tent this season. A 1-person tent is great for saving space and weight but, with all the items that need charging in camp, I find mine a little squeezy when shared with cables, power box, chargers, battery, lights etc. I know, a 1-person has a vestibule but it is quite small. The Apollo will give me two larger vestibules which will hold all panniers. With the 1-person I leave the main panniers on the trike and then worry during the night “are they being nicked?”.

So, after consideration and considerable temptation, the Apollo has been located, checked for fabric deterioration (no), all pegs and poles look OK and the outer fabric has been rejuvenated with a suitable fabric protector. It looks good to go. It packs a bit bigger than the 1-person but I think (hope) it will fit under the seat, sharing the space with the two batteries.

Apollo. 2014. Bike – Dahon Speed TR. Place : Paper Beach, Tasmania

I am now ready, probably. Colin is ready, definitely. All we need is a few days forecast to be without rain and and off we will go.

Finally and at another level entirely, well done Richie Porte. A 3rd place in the Tour de France is something to be extremely proud of. The young chap who took the win is looking at a wonderful career – well done Tadej Podacar. I don’t understand how any of you manage to ride so far, so fast in 3 weeks!

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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