Stories from another month of wheeling around the Norfolk Plains of Tasmania.
Yes, without a car with a tow bar I am still cycling around the Plains unable to take a bike to a more distance start point. This should be remedied in early June as we are told the damage to our car will be fixed up ‘as good as new’ by then.
At the end of April I was expecting I would find it difficult to get out and about, keeping up the health giving cycling schedule, as I was feeling the cold! In the event I found it easy to fit in with the good days and managed to meet the May distance goal and, in doing so, kept up with annual goal too.
Some thoughts about the month’s weather – as it affected my cycling.
Overall we in the north didn’t get as much rain as the east coast and the south of Tasmania. Rain was often predicted but it didn’t come across as far as Longford. That caused some missed ride opportunities (heavy rain predicted that ended up a no show) but not too many. I soon realised that the rains were tending to miss our bit of the state and got the rides in by taking a chance of a soaking. Mostly this paid off.
Winter is fast approaching. Early in May we had some delightful days, sunny, warm (16-17°) and little wind. Things began to change and we had some very windy, cold days which made the eyes water and nose run while fingers went numb. Towards month end it was often foggy with grey skies, light winds and getting very much colder as we run down to June 1, the start of Winter. Indeed the first couple of frozen bird bath days came along in late May.
To combat the conditions I dug out a variety of riding clothes to suit. Sometimes I was a bit optimistic and the ride was a cool one, sometimes the coverings were just right and I was only too warm once! All my Chinese single use hand warmers left over from last winter have now been used up and last week I got in a supply for the coming month. They work well with mitts – warming 4 fingers, keeping the blood supply going to them.
As the month progressed I was able to watch the changes to the Hawthorn hedges. The leaves were gradually blown away to become compost somewhere. The red berries gradually disappeared as the sparrows and (I think) Silvereyes ate them. The loss of the leaves began to show up nests lodged in the branch clefts where a bird had had a little home and raised a brood over the spring/summer. Now all but the strongest nests are being dislodged by the winds, falling and becoming compost for the hedge.
Flocks of Starlings wheel around the sky. Not as numerous as in other countries where they form shifting shapes called Murmurations. Cornell Lab discusses the phenomena. Click Here to view.
A few Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos have attacked the pine trees along the way but not yet had a serious raid while the White Cockies continue to make their raucous, rasping call all over. Up by the Dog Hotel on Bishopsbourne Road the paddock is often full of Masked Lapwings (Plovers) seeming intent on pinching all the worms which come to the surface to escape the waterlogged soil.
Actual Rides !
As already reported, all rides have been along well known routes across the plains and all have had detailed reports before – so I am not repeating them.
I did attempt a 76 kilometre ride on my birthday. One kilometre for each year of age!
The day was very windy with a north-westerly source. This meant I would ride into the wind on the way out and have it behind coming home. My preferred conditions.
I admit that when I got the Carrick I had had enough and so cancelled a small extension that would have the ride adding to 76k, turned around and went home! All up a 60k day.
There have been some good looking rainbows.
Bikes and Maintenance
I am pleased with Bafang !
While riding Ernie I have been thinking about how to carry stuff on it. Currently I am still hanging a fly fishing vest over the back of the seat but this isn’t the ultimate solution.
The rear of the bike needs to be freed of the battery and I am in the process of getting together tools and equipment to move it to just in front of the seat. I believe getting on-off the bike will be OK but not sure how to bail out quickly should the battery catch fire!
I have purchased a RivNut tool, got me some rivnuts and a new battery mount and will get into it next week. Initially the freed up space will allow a backpack to hang off the seat but I will work out a rack of some sort. I have a desire to carry two batteries and, in Spring, to see how far I can then go on the bike – a long day ride.
When the rear wheel motor was added there wasn’t enough space for the old stand – so I have been leaning the bike against stuff. After trying a couple of stands and working out fitting one is a bit difficult on a weird bike, I remembered a device called a Click-Stand. I knocked up a prototype using electrical pipe and a wooden crutch and it worked. Using the prototype length as a guide I ordered a Click-Stand (from Canada) and it appeared on my doorstep surprisingly quickly.
The stand comes with two elastic “bands” to hold the brake levers in the “on” position to stop movement. It gives a surprisingly solid parking position and packs away easily.
Due to hand arthritis I have found wood-turning difficult in recent years. Small items are OK but to turn for any length of time is already getting sore and will not improve as time goes on.
So the wood lathe was sold this month and a 3D printer ordered.
I have a few things to print for the bikes. A replacement display holder for Bluey is needed as the current gaffer-taped job just isn’t pretty. There are wooden parts showing the passing of time on both bikes now and I will be able to make better looking plastic replacements. I understand the life on the items may be limited (depending on the filament type used) but – what the heck – it will be easy to print new ones! In theory anyway – I have to master Autodesk Fusion 360 first (a ‘free for personal use only’ CAD package).
Stats for Challenges
I am getting on well with my Annual Challenge to self – and exceeded the May Challenge. That was surprising.
May June go so well !!
And Now for Something Different
Autumn is the season for fungus. OK, I have grown a bit more beard but not I’m not talking face fungus!
How about these guys?
I just keep coming across these along the roads and in the churchyard. Haven’t tried any yet. They may be tasty, give you a funny turn or just kill you. I leave well alone.
Along Bishopsbourne Road I watched pumpkins growing in a garden approaching harvest. Several were inside the fence but one had escaped and grew on the roadside verge. It was taken. I see it was a taken in April but I didn’t notice the notice until May.
Using the wood I collect from the roadside while cycling over the preceding months.
That’s it ..
’til next time ……………………………..