Following our Devonport days in early April, I returned to Longford and then settled down to make the most of some decent Autumn weather.
On arriving home I found that Colin had just returned a positive covid test. Both he and his wife were both now isolating, enduring the impact of the virus but, as they are both fully vaccinated, not quite sick enough to be hospitalised. Colin had left me 2 days before I returned home. Had he caught covid before or after we parted? To check I did a RA home test each day for the next 5 days – all returning the single bar – negative – result. With an incubation period of up to 7 days that meant I was probably in the clear.
Just after I got back a Ute was driven into the side of our car as Sue passed the entry / exit to the main store in Longford. The driver accelerated through the Give Way signs straight into a passing Sue. She was not hurt but the car was severely damaged iwith both doors and both wings on the passenger side copping it. The Insurance company has given us a rental car but it is not expected that our car will be fixed anytime soon. Indeed, the Assessor at the bodyworks chosen by the Insurers has been off work with covid, then there was Easter, then the Anzac Day long weekend, so a significant backlog has built up. For the moment I have nothing to tow the trailer to take the bikes to different riding areas.
Right up to the last week of April the weather allowed plenty of rides out on the Norfolk Plains. Then it got rather wet. I had a Bicycle Network ride planned for the 30th but cancelled that a day or two before due to the forecast offering us rain and plenty of it for the day; plus nobody had signed up for the event anyway.
There was one standout ride for the month :
Bishopsbourne, Blackwood Creek, Cressy and back
Before I cancelled the Bicycle Network ride I felt I had to test ride the route. My version of the ride would include riding to and from the start point at Bishopsbourne. Ideally I would have been able to take the trike to Bishopsbourne in the trailer but because our car is still at the repair shop (indeed, still awaiting damage assessment) I would have to cycle it there. This would turn a 50k ride into a nearly 80k one. So I decided to ride it before the event to make sure two batteries would be enough for the distance and the climbing (560 metres) plus the prevailing winds involved.
I did modify the trike in the days before the ride. As the seasons are now moving towards Winter and I would be doing no camping trips for a while, I replaced the 46 tooth chainring with the slightly larger 52 tooth job, thus giving me another couple of gears at the top end for a higher cruising speed.
Setting off towards Bishopsbourne it was obviously going to be a great cycling day. Blue skies, a bit of wind coming in behind and not a splat of rain in the air. There was something in the air though – yes, it’s parachuting spider time !!
Here is an excerpt from my previous notes on the spiders which generally appear in April / May :
“During the ride we noticed that the parachuting spiders are growing in number. These are spiders which climb a bush, spin a length of silk into the breeze and when everything is right – hop aboard and go for a cross country flight.
When we stopped at Bishopsbourne to phone home so the cakes and coffees were ready, I had silken threads hanging off both me and the bike. Colin was not so affected – I was riding first on the road!“.
To date the spiders are few and far between, rides ending with only a couple of lengths of spider web hanging off me and Bluey.
Today’s ride proved great for bird spotting. It started with some Eastern Rosellas along Wilmore’s Lane. Then followed flocks of hedgerow Sparrows, a few Swamp Harriers, Grey Herons hanging on power lines over a dam, White Cockatoos, Galahs, some Green Rosellas and even a few Native Hens dashing across the road at one point.
I pulled up at Blackwood Creek. Something was going on with the mounting holding the display, front light and OSMO camera.
I moved the front light to another mount to take weight off, took the camera off and moved the display to a less stressful position and got ready to go again.
Just down the road from the Blackwood Creek junction is a set of 3 large dams. I expected them to be empty after the dry summer and the first one was. The lower was still reasonably full – I suppose gravity is used to feed from the higher ones. Below the dams were a lot of pivot irrigators and green paddocks so the system is working.
When I stopped I noticed the wind had increased. So far it had been behind me and remained so until Cressy. I rode up to the Rustic Bakery, it was open, a coffee was ordered and I waited in the queue outside for a latte to be delivered through the window. I hadn’t been to the Cafe recently and was impressed with their covid customer flow path.
After coffee and a battery changeover I had to ride on Cressy Road to get out of town, aiming for the left turn that would take me back to Bishopsbourne. Recent roadworks here have not supplied a cyclist friendly hard shoulder on the widened road. Nor an easily accessible gravel edge. It was an uncomfortable and traffic busy 400 metres to the junction, all the time reminding me why I don’t cycle Cressy Road!
Now the route was along Green Rises Road, heading directly into the wind. This often happens as a north-westerly is the predominant wind pattern for the Plains. I have ridden this leg in the past on my old Vivente touring bike with the wind pegging me back to under 10 kph the whole way. Today, with the help of the mid-drive, I plugged on at a more respectable 15 kph.
Eventually Armstrong’s Lane came into sight and I resisted the lure of taking it as a short cut. Instead I continued west to reach Liffey Road to ride it back to Bishopsbourne. At Bishopsbourne I pulled into ask Sue to put on the coffee machine as it takes around an hour to build up to full working temperature.
From there is was a very well known path back to Longford mostly with wind assist once more.
The video of the ride was marred by poor sound – so I cut out my attempts at commentary and added some music.
During the week I had advertised the Oztent plus all accessories on Gumtree. A bloke was coming round to check it out on the evening of the above ride. He did, he liked, he bought.
Stats for 2022
Going well this year. April goal exceeded at 107% while the annual goal is at 42% after 4 months.
I am wondering how the weather and my perseverance or lack thereof in May will affect the figures! Without the car / trailer to take me to different routes and no new cycling innovations, it may become a bit of a slog to chase kilometers. What can I come up with? We shall see.
’til next time …………………………………………….