Things are a bit Covid

Yes, like a long awaited, unpleasant, house guest Omicron has arrived in the State. Already over a 1,000 people a day are getting infected. We will not be using caravan parks for a while after my experience in Ross last week.

Some interesting ride plans have been cancelled and cycling will remain limited to local rides. Yesterday I found a write-up of an interesting exercise from a few years back – originally blogged on another web site.

Guntoneering. A Bike Life cycling (BLC) challenge to persuade cyclists out and on their bikes during the American Spring ( Australian Autumn). The challenge: to ride your bike once a week for 7 weeks. To prove the ride take describe the route and purchase an item from a local shop. To prove – write up the ride and take pictures.

This challenge ran alongside Coffeeneering which asked cyclists to do the same in the US Spring but the purchase was a coffee.

Both challenges were fun and, because they were popular, you got to see a lot of different local neighbourhoods. My favourite was a ride around the French parts of Chicago – it didn’t look anything like the Chicago we see on the News or in Movies!

This is what I wrote in 2017 :

Guntoneering 2017

Here we are preparing for a second season of Guntoneering. If everything goes to plan I will be completing the challenge while cycling in Tasmania and Victoria. So I needed a theme which worked while at home and on a tour. PIEs came to mind after I had a really nice Beef Vindaloo pie at Tarraleah last weekend.

What will I find out there? Obviously it will have to be a different PIE each time – hopefully ranging from the bog standard industrially produced low quality, mechanically reclaimed meat pie (once only to contrast against the far better boutique bakery products) to the really exotic, heavily spiced number.

PIEs are served in a number of ways. Sometimes in a paper bag with nothing else; sometimes with a full salad; sometimes with hot chips; sometimes on a plate; sometimes with plastic and sometimes with “proper” eating irons. There will be a whole world of variety to deal with!!

Looking forward to beginning.

Off we go: PIE #1 – Pepper Steak Pie from JJs in Longford

Saturday March 11, 2017, 8 km (5 miles) – Total so far: 8 km (5 miles)

This was a cracking start to the BLC – a really good pie. OK, there was a ride too; short, sweet and of some interest.

Start (42k) and finish (50k) odometer readings. Approx 8 ks only today. Finish odometer is a poor picture but you can see the 5 of the 50!! (which is a rotten weekly total).
Typical Longford streetscape. A mixture of brick and weatherboard houses, road junctions with small roundabouts, trees, trucks parked waiting for Monday and plenty of Utes. Can you see the truck?
The brickworks on the outer edge of town. Natural Gas was piped to Longford to feed the works and, once here, it became available for domestic users. Over the past 6 years the cost of gas had risen strongly and now we are being threatened with failing supplies. Why? Because Australian Gas is being exported to Asia with an insufficient quality left for domestic use. A problem for Management!!

(Actually the above info was a bit wrong. The real problem is that we don’t have a domestic purchase price – Australia has to buy it’s own gas at export prices)

An old store which once housed the local supermarket. It now has a landscape suppliers and a fishing shop working from it.

After passing the Store I made my way down to JJ’s Bakery and ordered the first pie of Tony’s entry in the Guntoneering challenge.

The Bakery is housed in an old Mill building. It’s a busy place and crowds of lycra clad cyclists are often to be seen outside. The coffee is a bit “hit and miss” for quality and depends on who makes it. The pies are of a consistently good standard – so says Sue. Let’s test it out.
This pie looks the business. Served on a plate and with real knife and fork plus tomato sauce.
Upon opening it is filled with proper chunks of steak. The taste – really peppery. The gravy – thick though moist. This pie is very, very good!!

Today the coffee was OK too so the small journey was worth it. BUT wait. What’s happening on the Village Green situated almost opposite JJ’s. Aha. It’s a classic car meet! I had seen the signs posted a few days ago but had forgotten. A car club is touring Tasmania and they are stopping here and there to display the cars. It’s our turn today. So we went for a look.

Parking Anatolia Vivente on the Village Green
I wonder if I could mount something like this on the front mudguard (fender)?
There is nothing like cars of this age. I like it that people spend the time restoring them so I can look at them.
Two Austin 7s. They look great on the Village Green and, on the road, they get away with being nearly as annoying to speedy motorists as cyclists – because they are cuter than cyclists. Whoops. Correction. Too general. Some cyclists are also cute !!

I am not cuter than an Austin 7, so I went home.

The last Tassie Pie for 3 weeks: PIE #2 – A Stockman’s Pie from the Cressy Rustic Bakery

Sunday March 19, 2017, 42 km (26 miles) – Total so far: 50 km (31 miles)

I decided I would cycle into the countryside and then head back to Cressy for a Pie cooked in a wood-fired oven at the Rustic Bakery.

The route is generally one I have documented before heading up Wilmore’s Lane, then left onto Bishopsbourne Road before hanging another left and heading to Cressy.

This rail crossing in unpersoned – drivers are supposed to halt before crossing the lines. Nobody does. 50% slow down to a possible stop speed if a train is seen. 50% would be in a bit of bother.

The Market sign I have seen many times as I pass through Bishopsbourne. It never has a place or time on it. I assume that if you live really locally to Liffey you know where the market is held and on what days. Or, just may be, this is a sign for a market that once was and is no more.

I have had reports that the Liffey campgrounds have now reopened after the winter deluge washed away much of the infrastructure. When I return from Victoria I will see about an overnight camping trip there to check it out.

The above is an example of road sign failure. Give this one another winter / summer and we will not know where we are going if we turn left.
A wait point to the school bus. Here I was inundated by little bush flies. They come down from the mainland on northerly winds and die off after a few days.

I pulled in at the school bus stop to try to call Sue to co-ordinate our lunch at the Bakery. Sue was not answering on either the mobile (cell) phone or the land line. Brushing the little bush files off I made a mental note to look out my fly net to take to Vic. to stop the pesky things getting in my ears, nose and eyes. At this point I was half way along a lovely straight road cycling with the wind behind me up in the higher gears. I realised that the work I have been documenting in these pages has actually strengthened my leg muscles !! Where early in the year I ventured into the “big” ring at the front occasionally for downhill work, today I had been using it quite a bit to travel along the flat (with crosswind), up shallow climbs and certainly along this road with wind assistance. Should be good for Victoria then.

Today’s pie. A Stockman’s Pie filled with a bottom layer of mince, then an egg in the middle and topped with a bacon topping.

Got to the Bakery in Cressy and found the car parked, windows down slightly, Oscar watching me from the rear seat and Sue encamped in the Bakery enjoying a lunchtime sandwich. I joined her with my Stockman’s Pie and a Latte. The pie was interesting with it’s 3 layers of tastiness – also with good pastry around it. Another winner.

The Rustic Bakery – the scene of today’s BLC purchase.

On the Great Victorian RailTrail in search of “homemade” pie: Pie # 3 : A Chicken Satay Pie in Yarck

Sunday March 26, 2017, 55 km (34 miles) – Total so far: 105 km (65 miles)

This pie was eaten as I cycled the Great Victorian Railtrail between Alexandra and Bonnie Doon.

Yarck is a roadside / railside settlement of a few houses and cafes. All 4 cafes are in a homemade pie war competing for the dollars passing through in cars, trucks and bicycles.

Which to choose. Well the “Giddy Goat Cafe” is being unpleasant to cyclists according to notes on the ‘Net so not that one.

This is the cyclist UNfriendly cafe in Yarck.

I chose “Buck’s” and the pie was pretty good. Could have had more of a Satay flavour but it was O. K.

Chicken Satay in Yarck

The Beechworth Bakery: Pie # 4 : The Ned Kelly

Monday March 27, 2017, 27 km (17 miles) – Total so far: 132 km (82 miles)

This is today’s pie. Ned Kelly was a bush ranger who ‘ worked’ around these parts. I suspect he never had a pie quite like this – but who cares !

The Ned Kelly pie – Steak, bacon and egg. Who could want more.
The famous Beechworth Bakery

The Milawa Cafe: Pie # 5 – Moroccan Lamb

Monday April 10, 2017, 57 km (35 miles) – Total so far: 189 km (117 miles)
The Cafe
The pie

I am now back home in Tasmania, fixing up the links to CrazyGuy and wondering where to go for my next pie – which will have to be eaten this Easter weekend.

Our new internet connection to the wonderful world of the Australian National Broadband is not working! We have a real person coming to check out the connection next Tuesday. Just now we are surviving on a WiFi link which sort of works – so I will be catching up with everyone’s travels and experiences in the Bicycle Life Challenge after next Tuesday – hopefully.

Just a short ride for Easter Sunday: Pie # 6 – Cape Grim beef and mushrooms

Sunday April 16, 2017, 5 km (3 miles) – Total so far: 194 km (121 miles)
Cape Grim is in western Tasmania and gets prevailing Westerly winds which are some of the cleanest in the world. The Cape Grim brand uses this to promote it’s beef grown in the area.

As I set off I noticed an interesting new feature provided by the odometer. When the temperature is in single digits the little screen is almost unreadable – the LCD numbers blending into the background. Great – I now have a built in thermometer!

I think it also needs a new battery as on the final few days of the Vic ride it stopped registering kilometers for several minutes. Or, maybe, just a new odometer!

So, one pie to go. I have exhausted all local suppliers and so will have to head out – probably towards Launceston.

I am still working with phone and wireless internet as Telstra still hasn’t got our shiny new National Broadband connection working. Tomorrow is the day they tell me and then I will be able to catch up with you all.

And so – to complete the Challenge: Pie # 7 – Pepper Steak of the mundane variety

Saturday April 22, 2017, 18 km (11 miles) – Total so far: 212 km (132 miles)

I have found pies at all the Longford and Cressy gourmet pie outlets and so today I need to go a little further afield. Which is a bit of a pity as it really looks like rain.

I cycled out of Longford and turned right at the Illawarra Roundabout to head towards Perth. Perth is a town approx 8 kilometers from Longford and was settled in the early 1800s (1821) because it was possible to cross the South Esk river at this point. The main Hobart to Launceston (or Launceston to Hobart if you live in the north) road crossed here.

The main road still goes through the middle of Perth and traffic grudgingly slows to 50kph while doing so. The work for the first part of the Perth by-pass is about to start, the plans were released last week and it seems the locals are up in arms about it. I am not sure what the problem is having looked at the plans on the Net after hearing the impassioned plea to sign a petition this morning when visiting the local Newsagents. This will take some more research!

The Illawarra Road this morning. I wanted a picture featuring heavy goods vehicles but sod’s law dictated that there were none in sight for the 5 mins I waited for something to happen. Set off cycling again and then they all came past!

The Illawarra Road is not a nice cycling road. In places there is a very wide hard shoulder but in others, particularly as you enter Perth, there is no hard shoulder at all. Anyway, got there in one piece.

First things first – to the chosen Cafe for a pie. I chose this cafe because 2 years ago we last went there and the pie Sue had was disgusting. Full of gristle rather than meat. We took it to the counter to show the assistant and she wasn’t at all impressed by our comments and then ignored us. The place is under new management so let’s see how we go now.

There were a couple of people in the Cafe when I entered. The Barista ignored me as did another assistant cutting sandwiches. After quite a few minutes with no staff interaction another lady came out from the back, smiled and did the customer-focus thing. So I ordered a latte and a Pepper Steak pie. I started the challenge with one from JJs in Longford and now to end with one in Perth.

This was a pie of the mass-production type. It actually tasted OK but had no meaty chunks in it. So, better than gristle but not much character. The latte by contrast was pretty good – so the shy Barista who makes no eye contact with customers does produce a good drop.

No Emily, I did not use the sauce!

After the Cafe I decided to look around the back streets and make my way down to the South Esk river. Perth has more than 40 historic buildings and apparently there is a walk map which one can obtain from the Post Office. Not today though as it is shut.

Across the road from my Cafe is Ut Si. This is a Cafe in an old church building. I would rather have gone there but they don’t sell pies. Meals in Ut Si involve trendy ingredients and foreign names for the dishes. And they are very tasty! The Cafe closed a while back and was bought, re-opened and re-named by some people from NSW. It didn’t work so it was sold again and it’s nice to see it open again with the old name.

After a ride around I cycled out of Perth trying to visualise the path of the by-pass. It looks like it will impact on a whole group of newly built houses – maybe that’s the trouble.

The rain held off. I finished my input to the Challenge. It has been fun and has got me out cycling – thank you Goddess Kathleen for firing it up for the second year.

Now we have the Coffeeneuring to look forward to later in the year.

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.

5 thoughts on “Things are a bit Covid”

  1. Perhaps things will have settled in time for trips after the school holidays are over and tourist numbers drop? I’d be comfortable in a cabin with ensuite in a caravan park, but I’m just glad this wave coincided with January heat and school holidays when I don’t tend to do too many weekend rides anyway. I remember your pie tour (though 2017 seems a long time ago now) and it just reminds me that you have to eat a lot of average pies before you come across a great one. They are probably forever off my list of foods I can eat, so please enjoy the good ones for me going forward!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get the booster shot later this week so will be as fully covered as you can get by end Jan. That coincides with the kids going back to school so will have a think about things then. January heat – are you having any? Please send some down here as the last few days have been distinctly cool!


      1. Hot and steamy here, you can have it! 32-35 and 70 percent humidity. Yuck! The flies are exceedingly atrocious with all the humidity. Hope the booster doesn’t make you feel icky. I think when the kids go back to school cases will surge even more, but holiday destinations should be safer… maybe. Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great! Thanks for your sharing. You have the experience of participating in the challenge is really interesting. I also want to participate in the same. Although Covid causes us to delay a lot of activities, there is nothing we can do about the increasingly complicated epidemic situation. I hope everyone will be healthy and hope the covid epidemic will end quickly so that we can return to our daily activities. And I hope I will be able to take part in some challenges for cyclists in the future.


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