For Ride #1 we had 3 riders. For Ride #2 we thought it was only going to be 2 riders as Rob was busy on a Tasmanian cycle tour in the NE but then a couple drove up from Hobart to ride with us.
The ride was to Four Springs Lake – a ride I led the Bicycle Network NW Group in 2021. This time I gave a fair bit of warning about the gravel road because in 2021 one rider had rear wheel spoke breaks and he and his bike were carried out in the sag wagon. Today there will be no sag wagon.
We introduced ourselves. Four recumbent trikes were going to the Lake. Two Greenspeed Magnums, one Greenspeed GTO and one LoGo (made in Perth, WA). The rider of the LoGo was quite new to triking and so classified herself as a learner. ‘That’s OK’ I said, ‘we will just go slow’.
The day was looking good. No wind (!!!), sunny and cool – low 20s. We set off along Birralee Road and soon began to climb. Initially we rode through the Westbury industrial estate and, on the last roundabout, there were flashing red and blue lights, people in yellow purposefully striding about and Stop/Go traffic controllers. Apparently a trunk had rolled on the roundabout and had just been put back on its wheels. I am glad we weren’t on the roundabout at the time.
There was a bit of traffic on the Birralee Road and we spent our time riding single file either like above or with the left wheel on the hard shoulder to give passers-by more room. We got plenty of friendly waves and not one finger flipped or angry hoot. Perhaps 4 trikes in a line brings out people’s sense of fun.
The learner rider was having some difficulties with gear selection and was getting advice from behind. I am not surprised as the set up on her trike was 3 x front chainrings, 9 speed rear derailleur and 3 speed rear hub. 3 x 3 x 9 = 81 gears to choose from. It will take a bit of experience to be able to settle in the right gear at the right time.
We stopped after 5 k at the Egmont Reserve on the Meander River. That allowed us to bunch up again as I had been pulling ahead ( being the only trike with e assist). We then tackled the next stage up to the Selbourne Road turnoff. There were a number of uphills on this stretch with not many downhills. The hill climbing and the increasing temperatures were warming us up.
Along Selbourne Road we cruised, continuing the uphill / downhill terrain. It really was a beautiful day and we were all enjoying the day out. Our learner was still smiling.
The next stage led to the gravel road.
Initially the surface wasn’t too bad. There was a slight uphill plus the unevenness which kept speeds down but it didn’t stop us enjoying the scenery and watching the bird life as we cycled along.
Four Springs Lake is a purpose built fishery, with a lot of shallow areas a well as deep water. The Fisheries department stock it as a Trophy fishery. It gets heavy usage at the start of the fishing season in August as its low altitude means the weather is better than up in the highlands. Now, in summer, most anglers head up to the highland lakes so we had no trouble on the road meeting with fishers towing boats. We only passed one.
The last 1.5 kilometres were another story. It would seem nobody maintains the final stretch to the lake and it is worn down to the large boulders that form the road base. We were shaken and stirred and bounced around, very glad to finally arrive at the Lake. No spokes broken but coca cola very fizzy.
People were a bit quiet for a while as they thought about that last bit and the ride back up it.
We found a picnic table and had lunch. Temps of mid-20s, slight breeze and no mosquitoes made it comfortable. There were some March flies around though but no-one was bitten.
The climb from the above spot up the rocky road was interesting. The learner simply pushed her trike up the first several hundred metres. Colin let some air out of his rear tyre to “get a better grip” and up we went. Randall’s rear wheel spun a bit more than mine on the loose gravel – his shod with a Marathon and mine with a wider and softer Big Apple.
It was great to get the horror stretch over and done with so we could get back to ‘cruise and chat’ mode.
Once the gravel ended there was quite a bit of downhill tarmac going back, which was good as the learner was getting quite tired by now. The thing is it does take a while for “recumbent legs” to kick in even if you have cycled normal bikes for years. Anyway she did well, stoically pressing on, still smiling.
One of the delights of triking is going downhill and the run down to Hagley contained some beauties. 50kph with the hedges flying past while sitting inches from the ground is just a marvellous experience!
At Hagley we turned right for the last leg to Westbury. We rode on the Meander Valley Highway (MVH) which, unfortunately, was pretty busy this Saturday. There were roadworks on the Bass Highway and traffic was offered a diversion on the MVH. This had the effect of making the 5k to Westbury an experience I for one soon wanted to end. Harley-Davidson rider groups sped past, trucks, Utes and cars did the same. Judging by the driving style they were extremely annoyed by the roadworks. One diesel Ute let out a cloud of black smoke as he drew level. I have heard about this – it’s deliberately done by drivers who think cyclists shouldn’t be on “their” road.
When we got to Westbury the road widens and there is also a good footpath so we were able to choose our preferred way in. I chose the footpath for a while and was able to watch a whole 6 ball over at the cricket match on the village green – a slow bowler being knocked around the park.
As we arrived back at the start I soon forgot the hassles of the last bit and basked in the feeling that we had had a good day. I hope everyone else did too.
’til next time ………………………………….