30 Days of Biking (April 2021 – Week 2)

It’s Thursday April 8, the start of Week 2 of this challenge.

The first 7 days were ridden in great Autumn weather. The news is that “Winter is Coming”. Tonight there will be a change bringing air up from Antarctica; snow is predicted above 700 metres. The next 7 days may be cool.

April 8 : I rode a short ride this morning. Brompton to the Bottle Shop for the weekend’s supply of beer! Then a short detour down to the boat ramp just in case a platypus was working close to shore. I have lived here 10 years and seen one there, once. I keep checking. Ever hopeful.

There was a bit of news today which will affect ongoing cycling. Kia Launceston has got hold of a tow bar for our car and it can be fitted next Wednesday. Being able to tow the trailer will mean I can plan some days away with the trike, including going on the next NW ride out of Forth at the end of the month. It’s good news.

Distance : 4 kilometers

Weather : 15°C early, 22°C during the day, cloudy, breezy and rain developing.


April 9 :

The Drive. This Ride with GPS entry will now be deleted!

Lots of driving today – with Brompton in the boot. I had intended to have a crack at climbing Jacobs Ladder while checking out the possibility of us riding the trikes out to Ben Lomond National Park, camping and riding up Ben Lomond using the ladder. If you watch the video in the above link you get some idea of the climb – but “most dangerous road in Australia”? I thought that was the highway I cycled along heading to Adelaide! Oh, no, that was only South Australia’s most dangerous road.

Back to today. Ben Lomond doesn’t seem to have been officially named using the joint First People and the European name. Perhaps because we are unsure which to call it. This is from Wikipedia :

The Tasmanian Aboriginal palawa kani name for Ben Lomond is turapina[3] and was recorded in various word lists as turbunna, toorbunnaor toorerpunner.[4]:369, 421[5]:995[6] The meaning of this name is uncertain, but the suffix bunna/pina is thought to denote tableland or plateau and linguistic research suggests that the stem tur/tura means bluff or precipitous cliffs.[7] Modern etymological researchers of the Palawa lexicon assert that, in addition to turupina, there were several names related to Ben Lomond.

I have just read a newspaper article by an ex-Tasmanian Attorney-General using turbunna, so perhaps it will be called turbunna/Ben Lomond sometime in the future.

Turns out it’s a good thing we didn’t just load the trikes up with camping gear and head out of Longford aiming at turbunna/Ben Lomond. The climbing involved to get us anywhere near Jacobs Ladder from home is out of the question – 1,250 meters plus. Even with 2 batteries and no luggage I can’t climb that much in one go. No re-charging up there either so getting home would be hard. Today I realised my National Parks pass was still on the windscreen of the X-Trail. I was too cheap to go past the NP gates, pay the daily fee and try to cycle Brompton up the ladder, so I turned around at the gate.

Instead I returned to Longford and cycled a little ride to get milk for coffee tomorrow instead. How humbling but still riding a day in April.

Brompton tucked in nicely at Marcus’s IGA waiting for loading

One day we will return to turbunna/Ben Lomond, with the trikes in the trailer and have a crack at climbing the ladder. The current Strava record holder for the climb is no surprise – Tasmania’s Tour de France podium achiever -Richie Porte. We will not disturb the record when we get there.

Distance : 2.9 kilometers.

Weather : cool, 12°C, sun and cloud


April 10 :

Oh dear – definitely a “kick up the bum” needed today. I delayed until 2.30pm then the thought of missing a day’s riding and failing the pledge pushed me to the brink. I tipped over, grabbed the Bike E and did battle with the low temps and wind around Longford.

The sun is getting low, cool enough to look out the jumpers. Misery!!

Distance : 7 kilometers

Weather : cool, 12°C, quite a blow on to cool things down and stop a rider in their tracks.


April 11 :

Another shorty today – a cycle around town then down to Hill Street for a bit of shopping. One reason for this is that it’s still cool and windy!

As I passed by a cafe named “Stickybeaks”, I noticed a group of bikes parked outside and one was a white recumbent. It looked a bit odd but I didn’t go and have a “Stickybeak”.

I realise I need to get out of the “short ride” syndrome brought with the cooler air. The weather gurus on TV take pleasure in telling us that Autumn is crashing and the colder weather has arrived. It’s depressing.

To “kick my backside into action” I have teed up rides with Colin for Monday and Tuesday. That will get me out and about. Then, on Wednesday, I will have a day cycling around Launceston while the Kia gets it’s tow bar fitted. During this enforced stay in Launceston I have plans for purchasing warm gear for the winter months, some of which will help with riding!

Distance : 13 kilometers

Weather : 6°C overnight up to 14C during the day. Windy, cloudy. The next few nights will be down to around the 3°C mark. Death to any remaining tomatoes!


April 12 : At last, a longer ride

Today Colin and I had a slow ride out to Bishopsbourne. The gravel trucks are still giving Wilmore’s Lane a miss, which is good.

As we rode into Bishopsbourne it became obvious that a group of cyclists was catching us up. Turned out to be a group from Hobart up here to ride our quiet roads. They camped at Deloraine then rode to Longford via Bracknell, camped and were now riding back to Deloraine. One of the bikes was the recumbent I spotted yesterday. It was actually a tandem. Normal riding position at the back with a recumbent front – like the Hase Pinot but an English built version (name I didn’t catch).

They certainly look interesting – but Sue will NOT be getting on the front of one!

We wished them well on their ride – back to Deloraine via Heartbreak Hill.

Our ride continued, slowly. We yarned away and made some half plans to take the trikes to Devonport one day soon for a ride around the trails there. If we can get two trikes in the trailer, if the Kia tow bar gets fitted on Wednesday and if all goes OK then maybe we will aim at a ride on the Scottsdale Rail Trail too.

To work on the plan, when I got home I tipped up the trailer and pulled my trike into it using a couple of pulleys; just to see if it worked. It does. It made loading easy.

Then I called Colin and he brought his trike round. It fits in nicely, rear wheel first. Stage one complete – we can get both trikes in the trailer and tie them down. Easily and without the need to remove the seats or fold them up.

On that successful note I finished the afternoon with a nice cup of tea.

Distance : 30 kilometers

Weather : 5°C overnight. By 9.30am cool and cloudy but no wind. Even so, I wore a jumper plus windproof top and gloves and still arrived back chilled. Were we not going fast enough? Perhaps it’s time to forgo the shorts?


April 13.

Dawned dark and cloudy. The bottom rainy end of an ‘almost cyclone’ that yesterday devastated a number of small towns in West Australia will wash over us in the next two days.

I checked the Bureau of Meteorology radar and found that, so far, only a small amount of rain was falling on the west coast. We are good to go on a ride to Nile.

A good long ride

The ride starts by riding out to the Midland Highway via Woolmer’s Bridge. Today the wind was not really noticeable along this stretch. The clouds seemed to be breaking up a bit and the sun poked through, lighting the paddocks filled with straw coloured grasses and hungry sheep.

A bit of sun lighting this property which is stocking Highland Cattle and Alpacas.

The leg into Evandale was a bit windy (Colin says very windy) but the hedgerows kept some of it off. A coffee and a Pepper Steak pie taken on board at the Bakery were fuel for the next bit.

The ride from Evandale to Nile is, basically, a 10 kilometre straight running past the gun club and out through a well farmed area. The road undulates so it’s rare to see too far ahead; good as it’s better not to see an unending road tapering off into the distance! It is nearly always windy here and today the wind was definitely behind us as we barrelled along at 24/25kph. After a few kilometers we slowed down in order to save energy for the return.

The clouds are back

We turned just past Nile and began to head back, now into the wind. Quite a strong wind. Casting the wind aside, riding this road is good. We have good visibility and traffic is usually light and careful around cyclists.

To Evandale says Colin

When we got back to Evandale we thought about another coffee but decided to plug on. The route back to the Highway then along through Woolmer’s was basically ridden with a side wind and with plenty of hedge material to keep the breeze off. We managed to get home before the rain started.

Distance : 62 kilometers

Weather : 16°C, windy, near rain – some spits


April 14 :

Was to be a “ride around Launceston” day while the towbar was being fitted. The weather report was for strong winds and tempestuous showers so I gave that idea away.

Instead I walked around the town doing a few odd jobs. At one point I walked past the Paddy Pallin outdoor shop. Fancy that – my old, donated japara Paddy Pallin test was featured in the window – striking that balance between “how we used to do it” and “isn’t it great now”.

My old Paddy Pallin japara grounsheetless tent
One of the tent’s last trips – to Myrtle Park. On this trip it showed it’s waterproofing was no longer working. A heavy dew made quite a mess.

Japara tent was replaced some 8 years ago with a modern, completely inbuilt groundsheet and mosquito netting; a 2 person tent which I still use today.

Anyway, at about 12.30 I received a call. The towbar had been fitted to the car BUT they found various connections were not right. Yes, the wrong model towbar had been ordered for our model. Back to the drawing board.

I arrived home about 2pm feeling a bit sore and tired from dragging around Lonny for 4 hours. BUT I have to go out on the bike!! Also, I have to check that Brompton rides OK after I replaced the inner tube earlier this week. I was umming and arring when I saw an email telling me a requested library book is in. So I took Brompton out for a short ride to the Library and down to the boat ramp to make sure I had put the rear wheel in right and all 6 gears are accessible. A short ride proved it is and they were. In Addition .. I saw a platypus in the river downstream from the ramp. That’s two sightings in 10 years!!

Distance : 3.7 kilometers

Weather : windy, cloudy, sunny (between clouds), 5° overnight and 18°C during the day.


One last item for this blog, should you still be reading it:

Back in the ’60s I worked for the Ministry of Transport in London. It was the done think to read the Evening Standard newspaper on the train trip home (no internet in those dark days). In particular, the adventures of a buying clerk called Bristow were followed. On our ride to Nile I got to thinking about Bristow; it’s surprising what one does think about while riding. Today I Googled Bristow and came up with a whole website dedicated to his cartoon strip adventures. In particular – The Great Tea Trolley Disaster of ’67 – which is exactly what I was thinking about yesterday after passing the scene of “The Great Longford Potato Truck Roll-Over of ’21”.

The scene of The Great Potato Truck Roll-Over. The squashed hedge has been removed, fences repaired, sheep back in paddock and not a loose potato in sight.

For more nonsense and some riding – call back next week…..

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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