11 years ago, in Minnesota, a movement began. It had a simple concept – get out and ride a bike every day in April.
Why? Well – the website explains :
In our home state of Minnesota, USA, where this all began, April is the confluence of many seasons. You can get snow, rain, sunshine, or all of those all at once! It brings together the colds of winter, with the pleasantness of summer and the urgency of spring.
We believe that if you can bike every day in April, you can bike every day of the year. There’s no stopping you.
In Tasmania we have all these things as we move into Autumn, the days draw in, daylight saving ends and things cool down before the start of Winter just a few weeks away. Perhaps that’s not quite right. We shouldn’t have snow yet but we will have frosts! I take a while to acclimatise to the cool season and sometimes need a kick up the backside to get out on the bike, so decided to give this a go.
The main communication methods with the several hundred others making the pledge to ride every day in April seems to be Facebook and Twitter. I do neither of these so will just document my adventures in this Blog. On a weekly basis.
April 1. A shopping run on Bike E. Started by heading out to Woolmer’s Bridge over the Macquarie River to add a few ks to a simple trip to the shops. I am ahead at the moment in my quest to ride 5,000 k in 2021 but need to add a few extra kilometres when time is available.
The river at Woolmer’s looked good after recent rains so, once shopping was completed, I loaded up the car and returned with fishing gear and waded up river. Caught nothing but a Redfin Perch. This fish is classified as a “rubbish fish” invasive non-native pest – not to be returned to the water. Trout, on the other hand, is also non-native but tastes nice so is acceptable and should be returned if under-sized. Brilliant afternoon weather-wise so I had a good afternoon walk.
Distance Cycled : 10.9 kilometers
Weather : sunny, mild and little wind. 22°C.
April 2. Another shopping run. This time a bit trickier as it’s Good Friday and our main purveyor of gourmet delights in Longford, “Hill Street”, is closed. So it was a much shorter run to the busy Marcus’s IGA and a scout around to see what was left. Friends coming for a sausage sizzle this evening so we needed some finger food for drinks prior to firing up the OzPig. I decided to use Brompton for this trip as it’s front bag is capacious and sits centrally on the bike for stability.
Distance : 1.2 kilometres!
Weather : cloudy all day but with little wind. 24°C
April 3. Before any riding today I decided to finally put new rubber on the trike. I have had the replacement tyres for several weeks but put off the effort of tyre removal / replacement because I know the rear wheel is hard to get out and a bugger to get back in. Today’s the day!
The two front Shwalbe Big Apple Plus tyres came off OK and the new ones were quite easy to push back on using thumbs alone. I can’t put too much pressure on these days due to arthritis but these two changeovers went well. I like the way Big Apples sit themselves within the wheel and then make various pops and bangs as you pump up to 50psi. One last mysterious thump and all sits well, ready for action.
Today the rear wheel popped out without too much difficulty after I split the chain. Then the tyre came off easily, unlike when I mended the flat at Legana a few weeks ago. The new tyre slotted home good. Getting the wheel back in and the Nuvinci correctly cabled was it’s usual fiddly job. Initially there was no gear change happening but I remembered the bottom bolt for the carrier occasionally fouled the gear change mechanism – first noticed at Legana and not yet fixed! Yes, it was playing up again, so a spacer in the form of an oversized nut did the job. All good now – full 380% gear range available.
4 old tyres were then folded up and stuck in the bin ready for the collection next week. 4 off a trike ? Well, I had an old tyre off Red Magnum which I had held onto since before my trip to Adelaide – for some reason – you know – just in case. None of the 4 had much tread on them so all useless really.
Then it was time for today’s ride. Another short trip on this Easter Saturday. I rode across to Colin’s place to return a large blue plastic box in which he had delivered some OzPig wood heater offcuts. Colin makes rocking horses and these were various unnecessary bits that have been sawn off components in the construction process. After a coffee and a couple of pieces of tasty cake I returned home OK as the tyres had remained in place on the wheels and stayed inflated. 👍🏽
Distance : 12.3 kilometers
Weather : sunny, 24°C, windy. Hmm – not very cool yet!
April 4. Time for a decent ride. With our Wives heading off to Entally for an Easter picnic, Colin and I decided to go for a ride up Cressy Road.
This road is a bad ride on a weekday, filled with gravel trucks, log trucks and many Utes all wanting to “do” their 100kph plus on a road with no hard shoulder. We hoped it would be quiet on Easter Sunday.
Wind – yes this ride would be windy.
We met up at the Brickworks just outside Longford and rode up Cressy Road. The wind was nicely behind for this leg and the traffic light. Light traffic doesn’t mean everyone behaves nicely though. Most did today but one clown just had to hold speed and squeeze us when another vehicle was coming the other way. There’s always one impatient bastard.
We stopped at The Rustic Bakery for a coffee but the crowd around the door was long, slow moving and too clustered together in these covid times, so we rode on.
Down to Brumby’s Creek where we rode along to Weir 3.
For the next part of the ride we turned left and rode Powranna Road to the Chintah Road turn-off. A good leg without too much trouble from the (now) side wind. At the junction we spotted Emus in a nearby paddock. Tried to coax them over to see us and be photographed but they were having none of it.
Up Chintah Road into the wind. Luckily after the first climb there is a good amount of hedgerow so we were somewhat protected as the road curved and bent around the paddocks. At Panshanger Road we stopped for a short while to watch model planes flying over a nearby field. Apparently there is a local club allowed to fly here. Then it was onwards, past Woolmer’s Estate, over Woolmer’s Bridge towards a group of vehicles parked at a sharp bend on the lane. We thought (hoped) it was a small white car off the road. Earlier it had cruised past us, seemingly without thinking, when there was oncoming traffic. This caused the drivers coming towards us to swerve and get out the way. We didn’t want him/her injured – just shook up enough to have a think about keeping the traffic rules !!
It wasn’t a small white car though. During the week we had heard of a gravel truck which had rolled along this section of Woolmer’s Lane and had blocked the lane for an hour or two. Now we found it wasn’t a gravel truck, it was a potato truck. The parked vehicles were owned by people collecting free potatoes and causing a traffic hazard of their own on the bend!!
Distance : 48 kilometers
Weather : 24°C, sunny, windy.
April 5. Another short one today. I thought I would just pop up Woolmer’s Road and see if any potatoes were left by the foraging hordes yesterday. Well, NO. Today the farmer and his helpers had the back hoe out and were cleaning up the fence line. Bucket loads of hawthorn hedge, blackberry bush and the odd left-over spud were being loaded onto the back of a truck for disposal elsewhere. With the area cleaned up they would be able to fix the fence and get their sheep back in the paddock.
So I cycled on, after a brief chat about wayward spud truck drivers, and turned back at the Woolmer’s Bridge. Another 10k in the stats.
Distance : 10 kilometers
Weather : 22°C, sunny, no wind.
I realised the temp for the day (Max) I have been quoting is not telling you the full story. It’s often under 10°C overnight now, warming up to the 22 – 24°C by 2-3pm. Then it starts to cool off again. For example, overnight last night it went down to 5°C and was quite a chilly 12° at 10.00am.
April 6. A season of mists and mellow fruitfulness wrote Keats about Autumn. Today we had the early morning mists and a 10°C start. Not too bad.
The sun soon burnt away the mists and by the time the concrete trucks had finished delivering the material for a large driveway across the road, it was a nice day.
Another shorty – Brompton to the shops.
Distance : 3 kilometers
Weather : sunny, no wind, 24°C
April 7. The end of week 1. All good so far – I have been out on a bike each April day even if some of the riding was local and short. It all counts. It is all documented in Ride With GPS.
Today’s ride has been one of the longer variety.
The day began at 10°C and misty again.
I had one battery fully charged with the other already having covered some 50k. I left the discharged one on and climbed up Wilmore’s Lane using it. On my previous trip along this lane, before Easter, I had shared the road with 3 B-double gravel trucks going like bats out of Hell carting material from a quarry to the brickworks. Today it was all quiet!
By the time I had got to the end of Wilmore’s the mist had gone. It was now a sunny, still day – just right for triking. The battery was holding out OK so I continued with that one through to Bracknell. There I swapped them over.
Nothing exciting occurred, so let’s just say it was a good, hassle free ride through to Carrick where I had a chat with a bloke at the picnic grounds. He was very interested in the trike but don’t think he will be buying one.
The hassle free day continued as I made my way back to Longford. All in all a good ride and another 65k into the stats.
Distance : 65.6 k
Weather : Sunny, no wind, 23°C
Will riding every day continue next week? Will the weather hold out? Is this one of our best Autumns ever?
More next time ………………..