Going up “The Grunter”

There’s been an infestation of electric scooters in Launceston.

It’s been some time since Colin and I cycled to Meander and up the steep hill to Huntsman Lake. A hill known to some as “The Grunter”.

I recently scheduled it but things like high winds (75kph gusts) and other stuff got in the way. On Friday the day dawned windless and almost cloud free. Great. Let’s go!!

First though – which bike to take. Bluey the trike or Ernie the Bike E. Both need the trailer hitched to the car to get them to Deloraine. Eeny Meeny Miny Moe. OK – Ernie gets the gig.

The route – Deloraine to Huntman Lake

The above is the route c/w some stats from Friday’s ride.

There are no still pictures available from Friday as I didn’t take any. I am learning how to use a 360° camera and the YouTube enthusiasts will have it that you only need the 360 camera to document a trip. So far I don’t think that’s true – well, if you’re blogging anyway.

A 2019 shot of the weir at Deloraine.

I started by parking alongside the Meander River at Deloraine. On Friday the river was not flooding as in the above picture – but I could still imagine it. I tried a still image from the 360 but it was too wide angle. Getting things close enough to make a meaningful picture resulted in too much pixeled zoom.

On the outskirts of the parking bays I backed the trailer up into an out of the way spot sometimes taken over by a feral caravan or motorhome. You know, the large ones that people have spent so much buying they can’t afford a caravan park. The spot was clear so I took it. (Yes, I know, some people get off on how many days they can free-camp. That’s OK if they are self-contained and leave no trace but I have seen plenty of shower/dish water coming out of feral vans).

Ernie was soon released from the trailer and ready to go. I only had to return to the car boot twice to pick up things forgotten.

I started by taking the riverside track down to the caravan park. There I turned right and went up to Emu Bay Road. Boy was it busy! At one point the footpath had been turned into a temporary cafe and a morning tea was happening. This resulted in a long line of SUVs parked on the road edge. There was also a lot of cars, caravans etc making their was up Emu Bay Road leaving only a narrow slot for me to cycle up. I couldn’t use the footpath – too many tables and chairs there! In two spots people wanted to access the drivers door of their vehicle – so they just walked out into my path. We avoided a crash in each instance but I was yelled at by someone pissed off that I was cycling where they wanted to be. Bloody Cheek !!!

Up to the roundabout and onto Mole Creek Road. There the traffic was quite busy but I did have a reasonable hard shoulder. I cycled on the left hand white line and people generally gave me enough space. Sometimes not the 1.5 metres the law says must be mine but nobody came too close. It was with relief I turned onto Montana Road and lost most of the traffic. Why was it so busy? Because Monday is a public holiday and it would seem people are taking Friday off too. Enormous numbers of caravans, troopies and motor cycle groups out and about.

Montana Road was its usual quiet self and the day was turning into one of those delightful times weatherwise. No wind, blue skies with just enough puff ball white cloud, 22-23°C, yes it’s hard to beat.

I noticed a lot of the Gorse is being dealt with. That which is left looks like it has the gorse bug eating it. There is quite a bit of land coming back into use after reclamation from Gorse. A fencing Contractor told me there is so much money in lamb these days farmers are spending on fencing, cleaning up and bringing unproductive land back into use.

Soon it was time to head down the steep driveway to 40° South – a Salmon and Ginseng farm. There were a surprising number of people in the cafe so I was careful to wear a mask while ordering. The Latte and Caramel Slice were welcome and delicious. I also bought a slice of smoked salmon for Mrs C as she likes their products. Walking back to Ernie I though “Now, do I have the space to carry it”. The fly fishing vest slung over the seat doesn’t have enough space but the second bag I hang off the seat frame and hide behind the vest does. That’s lucky! Wait … well planned.

Along the way I tried out the 360 camera. It is attached to a long selfie-stick and, as long as the stick is narrower than the camera, then the software edits the stick out. Of course, the software cannot edit out the shadow of the stick or the rather odd looking hand clutching the stick !

I tried it out on the bike. A bit tricky as your hands are really needed for other things on a bike and I had to hold it. YouTubers give copious advice re ways to attached stick to bike so I will have a look at that.

I also placed the camera by the roadside for some “passing by” shots. Examples of the results are in the video at the end of the blog.

One source of amusement with a 360 camera is to shoot “Tiny Planet” pictures.

The Blueys on top of the world

Or inverted tiny planets

I suspect these are OK in moderation !

After all that excitement it was the run into the Meander Valley and this was as enjoyable as it normally is. Soon the Meander Cafe was coming into view. It was also very busy in there – all tables taken – mask out again. So I took away a salad roll and headed towards The Grunter – lunch would be by the Lake.

The Grunter is the main reason I brought Ernie along. I wanted to see how it climbed a decent slope. The actual gradient of the hill was given by Ride with GPS as 13.2% in the stats for the ride on Friday but on a previous ride it was rated as 16%. I don’t understand the App and it’s gradients. Perhaps it’s to do with the time taken for the climb and the intervals at which the App collects GPS data?

That aside, I geared down on the Schlumpf Mountain Drive and upped the power level. We climbed at 8. something kph for a while. Gear 7 and power level 3. By the top I had changed down to Gear 5 and up to power level 4 and was cruising at 7.5 kph. About twice as fast as on Bluey but using more power !

Along to the Lake where I had a chat with a fisher. No good apparently – the lake level is too low, too shallow and nothing biting. Sounds like anytime I go fishing.

Then lunch and attempts to get decent shots of the picnic spot. These didn’t work so no lake pictures in the video.

Now it was time for the descent of The Grunter. I had enabled the GPS tracker within the camera, set up a shorter length on the selfie stick so it was easier to control and shot down the hill. My idea was that I would then test the display of performance figures on the video clip. Well, I understand it can be done. I can’t do it ! Yet !!

From here it was back through Meander, out of the valley and onto Lakes Highway and through to Deloraine.

On my return to the car/trailer I found a large double-axle caravan and large 4-wheel drive waiting for me to move. Nothing was said but I got the idea from the looks being given that I was in their way! Fancy that.

A day out in the Meander Valley

NB: The video covers the following :

  1. Shots along the Meander River at Deloraine
  2. A segment of my favourite bit of the ride – a tree lined, quiet Montana Road
  3. Various attempts at “cycle-by” shots
  4. Descending The Grunter – top speed 52 kph apparently. I must organise a clamp for that selfie stick or I will be in trouble with Occupational Health and Safety !!

’til next time ………………………..

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.

3 thoughts on “Going up “The Grunter””

  1. The 360 camera is very novel and interesting. That will be fun learning to play with that. You definitely look very relaxed to be going 52kph with one hand on a new gizmo and figuring that out as you fly downhill. I also think you are very brave to go into the cafes when they are crowded with people – I’m still avoiding everything indoors if I can! Stay safe down there and cross your fingers Omicron B2 stays up north.

    Liked by 1 person

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