November 2022, the wrap

The weather has continued to be “interesting” for the back half of November. We had the 2 day “Golden Valley overnight camp” interlude with temps reaching into the mid 20s then things crashed again. Nevertheless, the Spring has brought out a new crop of snake signs.

One had to pick days for getting out on the bike. There were no more “windows” for overnight rides in November.

We had booked to ride Sally’s Ride in Launceston. This is a charity ride which runs alongside kanamaluka / River Tamar after riding the West Tamar highway for some 10 kilometres to Legana. Rides of various lengths up to 100k can be undertaken, each with its own set of rules. We chose the 35k ride.

Colin would be on Red Magnum (Maggie) which I rode in this ride a surprising 4 years ago! I haven’t been back as there was such a hassle. A 3 wheel recumbent – the ride authorities were not amused. This year I had choices – electric or not – 2 0r 3 wheels – recumbent or not.

I haven’t ridden Grey Brompton any sort of distance for a while and, thinking about an unpowered Colin on Maggie, I decided to Brompton it. I needed to get some distance in on it first to ensure the standard bike riding muscles could manage 35k. I checked the bike over – all OK. Muscles – a bit wanting!!

Then I went to Launceston for a muscle training ride. I know part of the West Tamar highway is not bike friendly where it winds around past the Trevallyn Power Station tailrace that empties into kanamaluka / River Tamar. I thought maybe there is a shared path from the Tailrace park running down to Kings Park in Launceston that I could use instead. We tried to trace it a while back but were repelled by a stairway not ridable by trikes. Here is the story of my search.

To Riverside by Brompton

We’ll return to the sad story of Sally’s Ride in a while. For now though here are some general ride snippets from the second half of November.

More Flooding

The road to Woolmer’s Bridge

Both the Macquarie and South Esk rivers have risen and fallen irregularly over the past few weeks. Here the Macquarie has risen, flooded nearby paddocks then receded. The paddocks remained full as they can soak up no more water.

Can you see the pivot irrigator?

This irrigator stretches out over the paddock right in the middle of the water. I think it will be a while before the farmer has to fire it up.

Apparently during one particular spectacular flood event that had the Macquarie River sweeping over the road near Woolmer’s Bridge, an unnamed youth attempted to drive his Ute through the flood waters. The Emergency Services keep warning people not to do it but people still reckon it’s OK – and then disappear downriver. Anyway this young man and his ladyfriend had to spend some 3 hours on the roof of their vehicle waiting to be rescued. Eventually the Swift Water Rescue Crew and their vessel managed to get them to safety. The police stated that “maybe they will be charged with driving past a road closed sign”. What’s this MAYBE??!!

When we cycled up to have a look the Council was at work preparing the road surface where the flood waters had torn up the asphalt.

Lastly in this section on flooding, there are new scars visible on the Tiers. I noticed them when riding to Bishopsbourne after a landslip closed the Poatina – Miena road. Then I came across a Tasmanian YouTuber with drone who has been creating videos of the recent rains. Here is the one about the Poatina road land slip :

The road remains single lane only some 4 weeks later

This week the cycle race, Tour of Tasmania, cycled Stage 3 – Longford to Poatina. They usually climb to the top of the Tiers but, due to the single lane access above Poatina, they only went to the Village this year.

Flowers

Lots of blooms

The wet spring has brought on the flowering shrubs and trees really well. The above bottle brush is in our garden and I pass it each time I go out to the bike.

White bottlebrush

Along Armstrong’s Lane there is a stand of white bottlebrushes.

Thick lush flowers this year

The bees love both the red and the white “bottles”.

Hawthorn flower abounds too

This is the rarer pink variety – found this one at Bracknell.

Solar Power

For some time now I have been filling the bike batteries with solar power. I’ve been using an inefficient roundabout way to do this – charging a 12v dc battery, inverting the battery power to 240v ac and using the standard bike battery charger that come with the kit. Inefficient it may be but, given enough time, this system charges the battery even in winter.

160 watt solar panel charging 12v battery

This is not really useable as a system to charge while cycling or if camping in a non-powered site somewhere ‘cos the equipment is bulky and heavy.

This month I have explored the possibility of removing the 12v stuff from the equation. This is done using an MPPT boost controller that converts the 14-16 volts coming out of the solar panel to the 41.7 volts needed to charge 36v batteries. There is a Chinese MPPT and an American one. I chose Genasun from the US as it needs no setting up and is said to be waterproof.

Genasun boost MPPT controller – such a small box!

Eventually I had the Anderson plugs wired properly and a blown fuse replaced, the correct connections on the solar panel and …. yes, it charges directly AND I will be able to ride the bike while charging. Some motor controllers don’t allow that but the first test of this system showed it will.

The remaining item to make this work “on the go” is a solar panel for the top of the trailer. That will follow.

Sally’s Ride

Waiting for the off at Royal Park, Launceston

Sally’s Ride was a bit of a let-down for me. Colin and I met at the start line and these days, 4 years on, there was no problem with Colin booking in the Magnum.

The newspaper report the next day

I am pictured – in red on the far right just after crossing the start line.

As soon as we hit the first hill though I realised I couldn’t keep up! We rode off into a strong headwind and the wind plus the hills plus too little time riding the Brompton (plus just plain getting older) meant we soon lost sight of the other riders. Colin kindly hanging about waiting for me.

So we rode on up to Legana – 10 kilometres – at which point I turned to ride the wind back to the start. After another k or two Colin did the same. As well as the above factors, the West Tamar highway is not a nice place to ride and this Sunday morning there was a constant line of traffic buzzing past – very noisy and sometimes a bit too close.

We had a coffee at the start line food van, discussed the issues of the day and then went home.

Finally – Yet another Video !

Yes, I am afraid so. This was made to give an idea of the Longford – Golden Valley trip.

One of the few sunny days in November

’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 is good!

9 thoughts on “November 2022, the wrap”

    1. Hi Tempo. Don’t know about the lower rides but the 35k used to be a 40k ride up to the “Fish and Chip Shop”. It now turns at Rosevears where there is a riverside park. I expect this is good as there is space for refreshments and toilets – but I didn’t get there to find out!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hello Tony & Ernie, lots to digest. That river damage is a bit depressing. But i see you’re fighting the good fight, going solar. Keep peddling. Regards, Terry

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    1. Thanks Terry,

      Yes, the Councils have a lot of work to do to fix things up. They can be happy though that they are not repairing roads and bridges on the mainland. How’s your trike going?

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  2. Thanks Tony, Tas damage looks heavy duty, Mainland is vast. Terrible no less. New Trike is pretty amazing. Clocked up nearly first 100k, had the puncture, learning to dodge potholes, want to go camping over Christmas. New mirror & flag are a boon for safety, more respect by cars. Yet to meet a P plating ute though?! The trike is a game changer, I just want to ride every day & with no sore bum or numb hands, I can. Thanks for now. Cheers.

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  3. Ah, so good to see the solar solution you’ve figured out and that it is working well! I wouldn’t worry about Sally’s Ride too much – the weather has been terrible so you didn’t have many kms recently behind you to help out. Perhaps next year won’t be quite so terrible weather-wise in the lead-up. Hope you will make your km goal for the year. Oct and Nov were a bit brutal for getting much mileage in.

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    1. Thanks Emily. All I have to do now is add a flexible solar panel to the trailer! Great that I am getting to understand how it will work and doing so testing of times to fill a battery etc. The kilometre goal is in sight I only need three of four more good rides. Weather and festive season shouldn’t prevent that. I had a chuckle – Oct and Nov may have been brutal but you are pressing on through it all. Persistence personified.

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