Fixes and BikeFest

My cycling recently has all been within the Norfolk Plains and all on routes I have ridden, written about and photographed many times. I am also not really getting out riding too much. Why?

Well, to be honest, I really don’t know !! It may be a reaction to antibiotics. I took one course after dental surgery in late February and then, in March, another course due to an inflamed sinus (after a 7 month wait to get to see the only ENT specialist in Launceston). I have now done my bit for the overuse of antibiotics until I return to see said specialist in May.

That said, here is a mixed bag of recent stuff related to cycling.

Hot Air Balloon.

Balloon over Longford

There is a local balloonist who runs commercial early morning flights over the Norfolk Plains. Mostly we see the balloon being gently blown over farmland between Wilmore’s Lane and Cressy but, on this day, there it was – over Longford. I was walking to the shed to get the bike out and heard the roaring of a burner fired up to gain height.

And there is was. I could see the flame but the photo doesn’t show it

It got lower and lower and then disappeared. It must have landed just out of town maybe by the Brickworks or in the carpark of the new Police Station. Could it be – cops on a surveillance mission ?

Broken BikeE.

One day I was working in the shed and a good blast of wind came in the door. It lifted BikeE off its click stand and the bike toppled over. On the way down the seat caught the bike trailer – with such force the seat was knocked off the bike.

A quick attempt to remount the seat showed it would not be a trivial task. A detailed look showed the three quick release skewers clamping the seat to the frame were bent. Not only that, there are small plastic seat sliders paired with the skewers to clamp the seat to the frame, two sliders per skewer – most of these were shattered in the fall.

All a bit of a bugger.

The picture above show the bent skewers plus one of the replacements.

First off – get some new skewers of the right size. That was an easy sentence to write but not so easy to do. The local bike shops didn’t have spares – well, the first two didn’t then I gave up asking. Skewers of the correct length were found online (Melbourne), were ordered, arrived and found to be not the advertised length. They were too long; which was better than being too short.

A die and die holder

So I bought a die holder and a die recommended to be the right size by the knowledgeable Nut and Bolt shopkeeper. The next step was to use the die and cut the thread further down the skewer so I could then cut the skewer to the correct length. This didn’t work !! The thread cut by the die was just a tad too small.

‘OK’ I thought. I should go and get a smaller die. Nah! Then the “nuts” won’t fit! Why not simply make wooden spacers. Would that work? Would spacers fit the frame? Yes and Yes. Skewer problem solved.

The next issue was the broken sliders. The BikeE ceased production in the very early 2000’s. The ‘Bicycle Man’ in the US had a stock of various spares and Ken (the original BikeE owner in Tassie) did get new sliders from him some years back. I had another idea. I recalled spotting them on Thingiverse – a site containing files for the production of items via a 3D printer. Yes, the file was still there and there was also a note from someone who had printed the sliders, had printed them as solid plastic and they were still going strong after 12 months. Just the job.

The .stl file was downloaded and I printed a slider at 100% (no filler). When checked against the broken original and the seat frame it was the right size, so I printed several more.

The arrowed slider is my printed test – looks better that the others!

The upshot is, the new sliders work, the spacers fitted and the new skewers are in place and – ta da – BikeE rides again.

Seat remounted, wooden spacers work with skewers and I need a better way to hold the motor controller ! Also I haven’t bother to cut the skewers down yet. Slack !!

A final unresolved issue – the actual seat pad is a bit floppy now. The base may have cracked in the fall. This I will look into later!

Classic and Retro bike day in Longford

It was Bike Week in early March. A time when Bicycle Network, Tasmania and the Tamar Bicycle Users Group (T-BUG) get together and develop a program of social rides, training courses and other bike related events to stimulate the public’s appetite for cycling.

One event close to home was the Classic and Retro Bike Show held on the Village Green and the open-air velodrome at Longford.

Retro bikes – Retro costumes

It was an interesting event and I was surprised to see a couple of bikes that had been built locally in the ’30s. One in Longford and one in Cressy.

There were some exotic machines on display. Some 50s and 60s touring bikes, some early carbon fibre with a sprinkling of very expensive modern carbon on show. Track cycling was a big thing in northern Tassie and a track cycling series is still held every December so several track bikes were on show.

There were old fashioned lights, both battery and dynamo which tugged at childhood memories along with old pumps and the fixings.

Then there was this bike:

a 1960’s Raleigh.

This was very much like my first bike which I was given for Christmas 1957 when aged 11 so I could cycle to school. Of course mine had a crossbar ‘cos I was a junior bloke. I think my version had metal mudguards too – this one had plastic ones. I don’t have a picture of mine, not even a black and white one, but this bike rings a bell !!

Launceston Bike Fest

The event included City Park

The Bike Fest apparently was to run alongside the Harmony Week Food Festival in Launceston. For part of the Fest, two blocks of Paterson Street were to be modified to hold a bike lane.

The totally closed block

I cycled through City Park and could see no groupings that looked like they were part of a Bike Fest. Arriving at Paterson Street I could see a series of traffic cones, Lane Closed signs but nothing to actually say what was going on. A family of cyclists were waiting at the lights with me and when the lights changed to green we crossed over into Paterson Street. They cycled off using the footpath. There was traffic using the left hand side and absolutely nothing using the right hand side – so I assumed that lane was closed making it the cycle lane. I set off using the left hand side of the right hand side of the road – riding with the traffic cones to my left. It felt wrong!!

On approach to the next set of traffic lights there were two guys in yellow jackets by a Council van. They watched as I neared them. “Am I doing the right thing?” I asked. Sure was.

The next block was totally closed off to traffic and available to cyclists in its entirety . Again, I was the only person cycling. A St Johns Ambulance was parked by the kerb – I considered falling off and giving them something to do but quickly thought better of it.

The next junction had a bike mechanic sign and some people riding bikes on training wheels but there were no signs telling us anything!!

Across the road in the Civic Square was the Harmony Week food event.

Quoting from the Government website:

“Harmony Week is the celebration that recognises our diversity and brings together Australians from all different backgrounds.

It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.​”

So I went over there. Speeches were in progress ending with a number of people saying ‘Welcome to Harmony Week’ in their different languages. It was colourful and a delight to see. I am a migrant but have had none of the hassles many of these guys have had – to get here, to stay here and to live here.

One stall was handing out information about the proposed First Nations Voice to Parliament. A topic of hot debate at the moment and one which will be the subject of a National Referendum shortly. I took a couple of leaflets, one containing the actual request for a Voice that came out of the Uluru Statement and another explaining the Referendum seeking to change the Constitution.

I wandered around looking at the food stalls, had a coffee (!) and a Korean Pancake c/w Kimchi. It was a nice texture but not enough Kimchi for me.

Back to the Bike Fest bit and I had another ride up and down Paterson Street – just because I could. One or two cyclists out and about but certainly not enough to have a crash and bother the ambulance crew. I returned to the Bicycle Maintenance sign and could still see no information re what the event was about. Then I spotted a trike. A Greenspeed 16″ wheel job – probably an X7. The rider looked at me strangely when I asked her about it. Not surprisingly as she recognised me but I didn’t recognise her! We, together with her partner, had ridden a coupled of rides on the Plains when they lived at Whitemore a year or so back!

We caught up. They had ridden from Tas to South Australia via the Great Ocean Road since we last met. They reported that, at the time they did it, the route and traffic were good as there were very few tourists on the road due to covid tourist restrictions.

After that chat there was little to do other than return to the car which I had parked over the river in the large new car park between the football stadium and Heritage Park.

I cycled down to the river and rode the levee banks back to the car park still wondering what I had missed about Bike Fest. I didn’t see any cyclists from T-BUG or Bicycle Network so did they boycott the event?

I cycling around, looking at the new carpark wondering what access bikes had to other tracks from it when I spotted a Police Car. Lured in to sticky beak, I cycled past and saw two cops who seemed to be questioning the guys out of a nearby car. I then took the trail down through the Inveresk Rail site, wondering what that was about. Then I had an idea. The carpark computer system determines the parking charges by photographing the car rego plate on the way in and on the way out. I know this because I stopped to look at the signs to find out how it worked. Could it be that the carpark system is linked to the Police database? If you are driving a car the police are interested in, could the number be recognised, a flag raised and the nearest available police car informed so it can dash off to the car park? Would seem sensible.

Continuing on into the Inveresk Railyard site, I thought it would be interesting to check out if any changes have been made recently in the Museum and Art Gallery precinct. Changes there were.

A large part of the car park has been given over to the development of a Community Garden.

I parked by 1 of the 2 large water tanks servicing the gardens. The raised beds cover a lot of the space that used to be car park.

The raised beds look like they are metal framed but when you tap them there is a definite concrete feel to them. Concrete sides coated with steel? This must have cost a significant amount to set up. It’s large and a new section is just being set up. It’s impressive and hopefully is being used by a good community group, people working in Harmony. Close by is student accommodation for Tas Uni so the produce may officially or unofficially assist with their student budgets.

That’s it for this post. I have an interesting ride or two in mind but windows of opportunity and good weather are not coinciding at the moment.

I’ll leave you with this video of part of the ride around Oatlands.

’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!

5 thoughts on “Fixes and BikeFest”

  1. I have a metric tap and die set and lots of spare skewers if you need help there.
    The couple you met, with the lady on the 16″ wheel trike, is that Rob and Lucie?


    1. Yes – Rob and Lucie it is. They said they had met you since they moved to Squeaking Point. Thanks for the info re tap and die set / skewers. I’ll pull the seat off again and see what’s wrong with the seat pad. I believe my current solution is OK but will hear in mind your kind offer.


  2. I hope all the bits of your head are fixed and recovered now. I love your ingenuity and creativity in fixing the bike-e. I would never be able to figure it out! The bike festivities looked fun though the Launceston stuff looks like a misfire. If I ever owned a home I’d get sucked in with having room to store stuff and I’d end up with a penny farthing for sure. The progress on the bike path in your next post looks promising. Good to see them doing it properly rather than doing it in a way that is piecemeal and frustrating to the rider. Sitting out rain in Bombala today, then slowly making my way back to Albury. Looks like the tour may end just like it started – frequent cold and wet days


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: