Australia Day Ride 2023

It’s the 26th January – Australia Day. It’s the date that the First Fleet, loaded with 753 convicts and their children, arrived from Great Britain in 1788 and claimed British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia. Unsurprisingly the First Peoples are not happy with Australia Day celebrations being held on what was for them – Invasion Day.

There is a lot of chat about changing the date to something, anything other than the 26th January – leaving that date for recognition of the overriding of aboriginal sovereignty and the destruction of society that followed.

One suggestion is the 8th of May. May Eight. Sounds like “Maaate” – very Australian!

Oatlands and District bike ride

A bit of uphill on this one – total climbing 633 metres

Today is a public holiday and a bike ride has been organised by Bicycle Network, Tasmania. Starting at Oatlands in roughly the middle of Tasmania, the idea was that we could attract riders from both the south and the north. It sort of worked as there were two of us from the north joining with the nine from the south.

I hitched up the trailer, put the trike in and drove down the Midland Highway to Oatlands. There was hardly any traffic which was unusual and made for a comfortable drive. The scenery is appealing to me at the moment. Lots of grassy straw colours with very green trees and shrubs standing out like the proverbial. You can really see the contours of the hills with the different shades of “straw” created by distance and elevation.

Unfortunately the sky didn’t match up only adding grey to the scene.

On arrival at Oatlands I found a parking spot, unloaded and took off up the Main Street looking for coffee.

There were no cyclists anywhere and it was a bit like a ghost town, the wind was cool and the clouds were breaking up. Most businesses were shut but, at the far end of town, there it was – an open coffee shop. I loaded the trike with a takeaway coffee plus a slice of carrot cake intending to have breakfast while I waited for people to arrive.

Oatlands is famous for its working flour grinding windmill and it’s stone houses. In fact it is said to contain the largest number of sandstone buildings of any Australian town, over 150. It has a preserved Georgian townscape primarily built by convict labour in the early 1800s.

I bet that chimney is not in use these days

This topiary has come on since I saw it last – looks ready to gallop down the Main Street

By the time I took the above shots and cycled back to the car with the takeaway inserted into the front bidon, a heap of people had arrived and were busy unloading e-bikes off the large rear racks needed to carry them.

Wow – the sky is really clearing but the wind is still cold

I found the leader, David, and reported that Ken would not be coming – I had had a text from him earlier confirming his non-arrival.

The group ended up comprising 11 people with 9 e-bikes, 1 e-trike and 1 pedal power. I think it’s the first time I have ridden with a majority e-bike group.

Off we went along the shared path running alongside Lake Dulverton. It started wide and bumpy and then narrowed to almost a single track and got bumpier.

I kept up with the 2 wheelers but was quite shaken up by the point where I decided to hit the road leaving the others to ride the even narrower track. Before I left it there were some tight bends and tight squeezes – one where I had to avoid a large rock on the right and a washout on the left. There wasn’t much room for the Greenspeed XL wheel span.

Riding towards Parattah the group was now riding with me alongside them on the road. Not much traffic so it was quite relaxing.

We stopped just before Parattah, collected everyone then turned left to ride Inglewood Road. An undulating tarmac country lane again with very little traffic. This we rode being careful to keep the ride leader in front. We had to turn right before the road went under the railway – a turn, David warned, easily missed.

After approx 5 kilometres we made the right turn onto a gravel road. This road must have been damaged by the recent rains as the council had repaired it by dumping huge amounts of blue metal all over the surface. This was not good for triking as the individual chunks were large and, in places, reached quite a depth. So this section was bone shaking with rear wheel spinning up hills and the front wheels pulling one way or the other as they hit drifts of blue metal. Not my favourite leg of the trip and it was not easy to keep up with the 2 wheelers.

After 5 or 6 kilometres we arrived in Parattah.

There, after regrouping, we turned left and started along Tunnack Road. This section was surfaced and a bit busier traffic wise. It was also quite a hill to climb. There were some descents and on one I let it rip a bit and overtook 2 of the e-bike women. They had their revenge by cycling past me on the next climb.

There were roadworks and new chipseal had recently been laid. This was chipseal of the bumpy kind. It felt like the seal had been installed and lightly rolled but they had forgotten to come back with the heavy roller. Not as bouncy as the gravel road but not too good. I had a close inspection of the chipseal and could see the gravel “grain” size was consistent, it’s just that the gravel used is towards the big size. Perhaps it will settle as cars and trucks do more rolling.

I had two batteries with me both initially charged to 80%. The plan was to change them over at the lunch spot. This meant I could use more power than normal to climb and this allowed me to generally keep up with the group.

We continued along through Mount Seymour and Baden where we turned right towards Stonor. There we stopped outside the Stonor Community Hall for lunch.

The Stonor Community Hall

Once upon a time every small community had their Hall. Before the strides to automate agriculture these villages were a hub for all the people living and working on the land. Today the halls are hard to keep open due to lack of people in the community and cost of upkeep.

The sky was quite grey again
The quiet country lane we were cycling

My lunch comprised the carrot cake I bought earlier and a couple of Lamingtons that fellow riders brought along in recognition of Australia Day. For non-Australians a Lamington is a piece of sponge lightly covered in chocolate sauce dusted with desiccated coconut. They are believed to be named either after Lord Lamington, who was the Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, or his wife Lady Lamington. I guess they liked them! You could see it the other way round – were they named after the cake.

Back on the bikes we headed away from Stonor (and there are a lot of stones here) before turning right to head back to Parattah on another bouncy dirt road – Black Gate Road. This one was quite well graded though and I could easily keep up once the initial climb was over. With so much rear wheel slippage on this ride I had better check the tyre later.

The loop had us returning to Tunnack Road ready for a decent descent to Parattah. Yippee. Once again the trike and I headed the posse as we shot down the hill only braking to allow the leader to stay in front. David also enjoyed the descent and the others dwindled in our mirrors.

Parattah Railway Station

We stopped at Parattah and took a look at the disused railway station. Yes, those rails do look used. There are several goods trains coming through every day but no passenger trains for many years.

Looking north towards Launceston
Points or Signals – I don’t know.

The route back was pretty much as we came – along the Oatlands to Parattah shared path. Some riders elected to use the road this time but most of us did a bit on both road and shared trail.

Ending quite late in the afternoon we had a bit of difficulty locating a suitable coffee house but finally found one. Being a public holiday the rates were up – 15% surcharge so the shop owner could afford to pay staff holiday rates. The main thing was though – the coffee was good.

That’s it. We all packed up and took off heading north and south having had a good days ride.


A couple of weeks back Colin and I had an overnight car camp at Devonport. This time we chose the Discovery park in East Devonport which got us away from the hooning which disturbed our sleep at the Bluff.

On the first day we set up camp then cycled down to Latrobe. The now not-so-new shared trail is looking good and quite a few people were using it.

The second day we rode to Don then circled back to the new bridge at the head of the Don River. After crossing, we returned via the normal pathways. When we were in town a few months back cycling through Devonport was tricky as the pathways were impacted by a large development going on. We could now see it was the building of a new hotel plus it’s landscaping. All complete, it was much easier to cycle past now.

We found a kids road training park and we took a tour round.

First – wash the trike
Then fill her up

Next we had a look at the skateboard park. I had a go at cycling up to the first level but the backward tilt on the trike had me worried. I tried a couple of different ones but – NO.

Firebox stove

Here’s how my journey into twig stoves is going. There is now a Firebox G2 in the collection and I trialled it at home using briquettes rather than wood for cooking kebabs.

Tasty Kebabs using the “Firesticks” as skewers

Collin and I had another round of Firebox kebabs in Devonport. It worked well and, given we had an afternoon sea breeze (gale) to contend with, the briquettes were ideal.

Some followers have expressed an interest as to how the stove goes so, fire bans permitting, there may be more.

I haven’t set any cycling goals for 2023 as yet but the first month has gone pretty well. I’ll continue to think about it!

’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!

One thought on “Australia Day Ride 2023”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: