Northern Tassie Tour – Day 1

Day 1. Longford through Launceston to Legana.

On this first tour day we began slowly. We would be riding from Longford to Legana situated on the Tamar River estuary. The Tamar River, officially kanamaluka / River Tamar, is really a 70-kilometre (43-mile) tidal estuary. We will be riding most of the estuary over the next 2 days.

The weather was windy while we were getting ready. It had rained overnight but skies were now clear. Soon it was 9.45 am and nearly time to go. Colin was due shortly for our ride start photos, so I finalised the packing. 

Finishing the loading.
The two panniers on each side sit snugly. Everything looks “ship-shape”

Colin arrived and we did a bit of OSMO video for the start of the ride, then we were rolling through Longford.

The traffic was busy so I took to the footpath. We hit the Illawarra Road roundabout at a good point – no vehicles – but running the gauntlet crossing the South Esk on the narrow bridges was interesting. I pulled over just before the narrows to let 2 extra wide trucks laden with round hay bales past.  That would have been scary a second or two later.

Soon we were able to turn off the highway onto Pateena Road. A lot of cyclists use this road and locals are cyclist aware. 

Hay bales along Pateena Road. It’s been a good year!

Towards the end Pateena Road narrows and gets bendy through Travellers Rest. One bloke in a Subaru WRX overtook us on a bend leading to a crest. His esp must have been working ok as he got away with it. 

Pateena Road. Passing an old property with oak trees hanging over the road

We were travelling north and the wind was either straight into our faces or side on. In all cases the canopy was behaving itself and was actually shading me from the sun. 

At the end we turned on to the old Westbury Road and started the climb up to Prospect. The old road runs alongside the main highway and most drivers choose to use the faster highway. Nice for us.

Almost at the top. The Reduce Speed sign has little meaning for me!

The run through Prospect was ok. It normally is because the roadway is nice and wide giving the single stream traffic space to pass a trike easily. Then came the steep downhill into the Launceston outskirts. Going down the hill was an enjoyable experience until my canopy collapsed at 45 kph. Blinded with it sitting on my head was not a good moment!  Braked, pushed canopy up, got a visual and all was OK. I found a safe spot to stop and replace the rear pole into it’s holder and then continued on, moderating the speed somewhat! After joining Wellington Street (an input stream to the Launceston CBD) we stopped at Geard’s cycle shop so Colin could buy some chain fasteners. A surprise – John, late of Cycology, now works there.  He took some pics of the trikes while telling us about his 2 hand trikes. 

We continued on from Geards using the footpaths as we were now in heavy city traffic. All was ok down to a coffee shop recommended by John. After a coffee stop, I continued on the footpath and found myself at a point where Bluey just would not fit. A lamppost had been sited on the footpath too close to a wall. Colin saw I would be having difficulty and took to the road. I had to back up to the previous junction and join the road there.  Felt like making reversing beeping noises but I refrained!

We then worked our way across to Margaret Street, a road with a cycle lane that runs parallel to the main A1 input road. We cycled the lane down to the junction with our target road out, the West Tamar Highway. The Highway was busy but generally had a decent hard shoulder for cycling on. A head wind kept us honest.

The West Tamar highway has a decent sized hard shoulder. Just a pity people can park in it!

 Things got interesting for Colin at one point. We had stopped because his flag popped out and I had picked it up. While this was dealt with a car parked in “our” lane forcing us out into the traffic to get around it. As I went Colin said something I didn’t catch. After a while I hadn’t seen Colin in the mirrors. I waited.  I turned back. He was still at the same place. What? Why. Oh – broken chain. A good thing we stopped at Geard’s then as the new chain link was pressed into service! Now we had only 1 in reserve.

Sorry for the finger in shot! Colin hard at work getting greasy
Soon we were passing through Riverside. The cycle lane a bit narrow at the lights.
Roadwork warning. It was now the 12th Feb so no works?? Unfortunately they are running behind schedule!

After Riverside the highway opens up and starts to run through countryside until it gets to Legana. This meant we had a good, wide hard shoulder to travel on – now getting Tamar river views to our right.

Just before Legana we entered the caravan park. My booking from yesterday was lost and to compensate for the extra hassle (?) we got the site for $30 – a $9 reduction. 

The park was busy. We set up with spaces all around us empty but soon the caravans began coming in and we were surrounded.   Our site was a decent size but one to our left was only just big enough for the huge motor home that took it over. We had a laugh!  With such an investment in the vehicle, how much were they paying for the privilege of being squashed on a tiny site next to us!!

Please note the bus in the picture for tomorrow’s blog – it will feature. Later in the evening another large motorhome pulled in and the person driving it went back and forth several times to get it on the site next to the bus correctly. Each time as she backed out to try again, the vehicle got closer to hitting the bins seen to the right of the bush. The last time she actually clipped the bin. Lightly. What entertainment caravan parks provide!!

Just across from our tents was a good camp kitchen – which we used later.

So it was a good days ride. Not very long but full of action continuing into the evening!

Tomorrow we will be riding quiet roads alongside the river for much of the way.

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!

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