March 2022 – Wrap

It’s been a good month and first quarter 2022 for cycling, allowing me to finish it with 33% of the annual challenge completed. That will be needed when winter comes in and riding reduces. The March total shows as “Goal Not Met” at 88% complete. That’s because I set it at 750 kilometres expecting to ride the Edge of The World trip – which was, of course, cancelled due to covid. After being a little demotivated in February it was good to be back in the saddle and enjoying the cycling.

As you can see, there has been a lot of riding around the Norfolk Plains in March. Ernie the Bike E has covered most kilometres as he is proving quick and nice to ride.

So, what I have seen during the month :

One day a lot of slogans appeared on the road surface. There must have been a ride of some sort happening the day before and it would seem spectators (or friends and family) chalked messages to the riders.

I should change my name to Barry !

The above is one of them. Written in chalk or flour, the ephemeral messages faded quickly and have disappeared leaving the question hanging in the air – “what was it all about?”.

Another sign :

Rat Shit ?

“Rat Shit” is a derogatory term in Australian English. Basically calling something Rat Shit means it’s of no use, worn out, badly made, broken. Imagine the response when Ford released the RS Escort over here some years back! Laugh, yes we did, nearly as much as at the appearance of the strangely named Nissan Cedric!! Anyway, not sure what the above road marking was about except that not far ahead a new load of chipseal had been spread over the surface. As the loose gravel had not been swept, the surface was indeed RS.

Early March was a time of cloudiness which improved as the month went on. There was not a lot of rain, unlike on the mainland east coast. The cattle and the sheep are busy eating the grass down leaving some paddocks looking quite bare. Indeed, yesterday I saw one flock of sheep on a bare patch of dirt eating hay from a bale. Luckily the Spring was bountiful and there are hay and silage bales galore.

On Oaks Road, just before you arrive at Carrick, is a berry farm. A strawberry farm to be accurate. Every year for at least the past 5 years I have posted pictures of new poly tunnels being set up as the area covered extends and then extends again. The tunnels are complete with strawberry trays at hip height for the ease of picking, plus a complete set of irrigation pipes. This is not the only berry farm being extended in the Norfolk Plains. I ask again “where do all the berries go?!”.

There are building works proceeding in Longford on Catherine Street – which I use as my Longford exit. There will soon be 44 new houses built there but for now the works involve putting in the drainage pipes, curbs, driveways and gutters. To start with a trench was dug across Catherine Street, a pipe laid and then gravel backfilled in the trench. Each time I ride across it, it is noticeable that the gravel has sunk – a little bit each day – as it gets compressed or scattered or both by vehicles driving across the trench. It’s OK, the trike still manages to climb out of the trench. I suppose in time it will get a tarmac topping which will act like a speed hump!

Lucie on her Greenspeed GT3

One day I was riding along trying to bond with the 360° camera when I met Robert cycling the other way. We stopped for a chat and to let Lucie come alongside. Lucie turned out to be another Greenspeed trike rider; she has a 16″ wheel GT3. The three of us chatted and swapped phone numbers and, a few days later, rode to Carrick together. It’s great to see another trike rider on the road and another contender for the Bicycle Network Recumbent Rider group.

On that, I’ve been a bit quiet with organising rides for the group but, spurred on by meeting Robert and Lucie, I am in the process of organising the next ride for the 30th April.

A misty Bishopsbourne Sports Oval

Yes, Autumn is definitely here. The cool overnight temperatures are squeezing moisture out of the air and creating a misty atmosphere for us to wake up to. The clocks will change to winter time this coming weekend; the days are getting shorter; frosts are just around the corner.

Over the years I have commented about “Riding the Gauntlet” out of Longford by taking the Illawarra Road and heading towards Perth. The problem is a set of narrow bridges where the road crosses the South Esk river. Once the vehicular lanes were in place there was very little room for cyclists. The road is a short cut between the Midland Highway and the Bass Highway much used by trucks, other large vehicles, caravaners, Utes etc. all who want to travel at the posted 100 kph or faster. The State Gov is planning to improve the road but apparently without providing a shared path access to Perth – even though a shared path has been built from Perth to about halfway between Perth and Longford.

I have been advised of the formation of a Northern Midlands Council committee to address all things cycling – including cycle/shared paths and road improvements. 3 community persons will sit on the Committee and I have applied for one of the spots. It will be interesting to see why the path extension is not on the drawing board. Watch this space.

OK. 360° camera stuff:

Silly stuff – Colin and I at Bishopsbourne
Just a trike ride – no funny tricks

Lastly, I have a booking at the Devonport Mersey Bluff caravan park for a few nights starting Sunday. The plan is to set up a base camp (Oztent plus other comforts), keep away from covid carriers and take a few rides in that area, at least one of which will investigate routes for the Edge of The World trip when it happens. My next posts will let you know what happens!

’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.

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