The final day of the tour – Legana back to Longford
This was a day I was not looking forward to. Yesterday had been really nice but today we would be cycling through Launceston, up through Kings Meadows and Youngtown to get to the shared paths into and out of Perth. Busy places. I expect much footpath riding. We had planned to return via Deloraine which, although we have done that ride many times, would have been a quiet country lane ride right to Longford.
Stop moaning Tony!
We de-tented and loaded up the trikes. I checked my failing panniers and found the idea of linking the dry bags to the strapping was working OK. A bit of yellow bag poked out at the bottom but all was held in place well.
As we rode off down to the park Office, Colin almost had a go at riding down some steps as a short cut. One step was a step too far though so he returned to ride with me.
After waiting for some time to actually get onto the Highway, held up by the passing traffic, we rolled along to Launceston enjoying the deep hard shoulder. There was a slight tailwind and we barrelled along nicely.
Once again the day was sunny, warm and destined to get hot. When we hit the start of the Launceston CBD we hopped up onto the footpath as in these inner city areas there is a great shortage of cycle lanes. There are some but if they are part of a planned layout that genuinely tries to assist cyclists, I will eat my helmet! I know some cyclists from TBUG who worked with the Council to install the lanes but do find it hard to see their input!
Anyhow, we rode up to the Mall, turned left and headed down to Civic Square. The square has been extensively redesigned and renewed recently; a job that took months and months. We all wondered what was going on behind the fencing.
Once every 2 weeks a multi-cultural food evening is held in the Square. We keep meaning to go to it but never get there.
After a great coffee (Colin rated it second only to the Jubilee Bakery for this trip) we set off, again on the footpaths as we were now proceeding the wrong way up the one-way system. Cycling on the footpath in the CBD is banned but, well, the trikes could be our mobility devices! Myrtle the Turtle in the US always calls her trike a mobility device and, as such, even gets it on planes free of charge and with minimal dismantling. Try that at Launceston Airport and I would expect a different outcome. Apparently the US Airport authorities are not allowed to question her as that would be discrimination. Something seems a bit awry there!
Up Charles Street – this one has a cycle lane. Narrow and always disappears at a junction but it is there and was rideable. Down to Wellington Street where I was surprised to see a sign with a bicycle on top telling me it was 3 kilometres to Kings Meadows. It looks like a piece of cycling infrastructure but that’s as far as it goes. Once onto Wellington Street and then Hobart Road there is very little support for cyclists. The traffic along Wellington Street was heavy and we rode on the footpath. This wasn’t pleasant as driveways were frequent as were road crossings and poles and lamp posts narrowing the track. Luckily few pedestrians were using the path.
It was now uphill and I had upped the power level. Even so it was hot work grinding our way up to Five Ways and the junction with Hobart Road. Then there was a short descent into Kings Meadows proper – still on the footpath.
A pedestrian dodging few minutes as we navigated Kings Meadows and then we had a chance of using cycle lanes again. They are there, starting and stopping in odd places with, again, no assistance to cyclists at junctions. The real problem is the cycle lanes double as parking lanes and plenty of people need to park in them during the week! If you try to cycle the lanes then you regularly have to push your way out into the traffic flow to get around one or more of the parked vehicles. I found this a tedious, driver annoying affair and went back to the footpath.
Slowly, slowly, getting hotter and hotter, I ground my way up through Youngtown enjoying this experience not at all. Somewhere along the way I passed Colin as he bought something at a service station. I was thinking “I can see why so many triking videos on YouTube start with a car journey to the trailhead!”. Cycling in busy traffic with little cycle lane support is just not fun.
Eventually I crawled out of Youngtown, went over the little old bridge and got to ride out of town on a decent hard shoulder. It was still uphill but now I could just pedal without being on the lookout for potential collisions all the time.
At this point I realised I was ahead of Colin so I sent him a text to say I would wait at the start of the shared trail to Perth. “Continue on ” he replied. After waiting at the start of the Perth trail for a while (fully in the shade of the canopy), I texted Colin again suggesting I wait at Feast Cafe in Perth. Along the path to Perth I went.
Cycled to Feast only to find it closed!! On a Wednesday? Oh well, another text to Colin “Cafe closed. I’m going home!!”.
Riding through Perth is very easy now following the opening of the by-pass. So it was a quiet ride down to the next shared path which takes us to Pateena Road. As normal, the ride along the Illawarra Road and over the South Esk bridges was rubbish!
I arrived home and found the temperature was 30C – no wonder I was feeling a bit hot. I put the trike in the shed and then went and found a beer, sat and quietly enjoyed it. Sent Colin a text – yes, he was home and OK. The Tour was over.
The next day I sorted the trike and camping gear out.
A shot video to end the tour. The SD card filled up while I was filming in Launceston.