Where to Start ?

It’s been a bit busy recently. Well, if you are retired and used to a slower pace anyway!

Ride 1.

Cycling has fitted in around other social activities. Let’s begin with an easy one – but a grumble.

We are at the Woolmer’s Bridge over the Macquarie River.

What’s to grumble about? A certain type of person driving past likes to hurl glass bottles at the edge of the road / bridge walkway. A number of times I have cycled this bridge and spent some time clearing glass from the surface. This day was one of those.

Ah. Enough whinging .. let’s get positive.

Penguin B&B

Before Christmas we had a few days away at the north coast town of Penguin. The accommodation was about 4 kilometres out of town, up in the hills. A really nice spot.

I had brought along the Brompton but, when I took it out the car, I found it had a flat. It was in the rear tyre of course – more complicated to get to. So I chose a calm morning (weather and me) and pulled the wheel out. The Brompton has a tool kit that tucks into the bike frame and I chose to use it. The tyre levers are small but actually worked! I had another set with me .. remember this for later.

The inner tube was extracted and tested in water. No bubbles of course – why do all my flat tyres have difficult to find leaks? I chose to fit a new inner tube and was stymied immediately. The valve stem would not fit through the hole in the Brompton rim! The removed inner tube had not deflated so I decided to re-fit it hoping that it would not go down for the short ride I wanted to do.

Brompton ready to go.

Ride 2.

My idea was to see if I could ride up the exit hill. It was steep.

17% – beat me

Ride with GPS told me the ride up was 10% but the ride down was 17%. I choose to believe it’s 17% because the hill is really bloody steep. I was in bottom gear in Mountain Drive and the 3 speed hub and the 2 speed derailleur and the front wheel was lifting as I pushed the pedals down. Trying to lean forward to put more weight over the front wheel, I still could not keep the wheel down. It felt unsafe to keeping going. So I stopped. With such a low gear I could not get going again! End of ride.

Short ride – steep hill attempt

Ride 3

By the end of December I was getting dangerously close to hitting my target of 4,500 kilometres cycled for the year. However, there were quite a few ks to go. To tackle the problem I decided to take a ride to Westbury and back. Colin’s shoulder was playing up but he wanted to hit his annual target too, so we set off together but our paths would split after Bishopsbourne so he could continue on a shorter ride.

A ride to Westbury

All went well along Wilmore’s Lane. We cycled along with the day proving to be a delight. Sunny, no wind and small clouds adding to the view. A day for much sunscreen as the UV was predicted as Extreme. I was plastered in the stuff and wearing so much gear the only things picking up any Vitamin D were my legs.

Towards the end of the Lane we came across a sheep in the road. It ran back into the entrance to a farm which had a fence, wall and cattle grid. While we wondered how to get the rather large animal back where it belonged, it eyed up the cattle grid, backed off a couple of times and then jumped clean over it. Hmmm. Grid not really wide enough then?

Along Bishopsbourne Road we tried to identify the various crops growing in the paddocks.

This was a field of what looks like some sort of mauve-blue daisy. I suspect it’s a bit more than that though.

I know this one – Poppies. After a small season last year due to limited international demand, it would seem there is an improvement this year. Quite a few poppy paddocks around – but if I told you where they are I would get into trouble!

Roadside Blackberries

Yes, the roadside blackberries are coming along well. In Autumn us cyclists often pass people with buckets picking the berries.

This one is mysterious. The plants look like common yellow daisies but the amount of land given over to them must mean they are something of value. I wonder what?

After cycling past all the above, Colin and I had split up and I was well on my way to Westbury. I was now in the section of the ride which was hilly. Slow, steep climbs and short, sharp descents. Nothing long enough to worry just hills which add to the scenery.

Soon I was entering the outskirts of Westbury and making my way through the maze of 5 acre blocks into the Main Street. From there I cycled down to the rec grounds, through the cricket stumps and up to the cafe in the country supplies shop.

The Cafe had a signing in Register and hand sanitiser but seems to run under then philosophy of “We are not the Police”. I signed in and realised that only one person had signed in before me for the day. Seven or eight people were in the Cafe. I don’t understand the problem. Why don’t people register?

Thinking about this while watching people in the Cafe, I decided to cancel my Spirit of Tasmania booking for late February. We are not getting a vaccine until March at the earliest and it appears we can’t trust the general public to do the right thing to assist the Tracers should we have an outbreak. Best keep out of the way and not be on the wrong side of any border closure.

After Westbury I decided to return via the Meander Valley highway down to the junction with Station Road where I would head back into the quiet lanes.

On the way back to Bishopsbourne I passed this field. I can recognise this one -peas.

I have climbing peas in the veggie garden but they are finding it hard to climb against the winds and they are not producing much. Next summer I may follow this example and plant bush peas.

Soon we were back at Bishopsbourne with the battery indicator showing a reasonable amount of power left. So the level was upped to 4 and off we went back home along well known roads.

(2 Jan 2021 – added video).

A sunny ride through the Norfolk Plains across to Westbury

What else? Oh yes, Bike E is off the road. Initially with a broken spoke in the rear wheel. I wanted to remove the tyre but then found I had left the tyre levers at Penguin!

Also, as I checked the derailleur to see why things were sounding odd, I found a broken part. So the Bike E remains off the road. 20 year old derailleur parts are hard to come by. Will I be able to use a part from a modern derailleur? Answers next year.

That can wait – all that remains is to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

In the next episode I will lay out my goals for 2021.

Stay Safe everyone. 🎉🤪

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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