My cycling has been linked to various caravan trips for the past few years. The Brompton travelled really well in the back of the car and on the road. We have now sold the caravan and purchased a tent! At our age most people sell their van and get a bigger one but, for various reasons, we haven’t used the van much over the past 2 years and decided to let it go. This will also allow us to consider the purchase of a small car to replace the ageing X-Trail now we don’t need a tow vehicle.

I still like the concept of driving somewhere further afield, camping and cycling in the area for a few days. So, friend John had a 4 person tent plus extras he bought a couple of years ago but has never used – we did a deal.

The next day Sue and I had a practise Oztent RV4 (see above picture) set up in the garden. Crikey, we knew it would be heavy – and it is (23 kilos) and, boy, was the tent hard to get back in its 2 metre long bag afterwards!! Yep, it is said to be a “3 minute tent” and it did take only a few minutes to get it out and up but rather more to squeeze it back in that bag. This will be fun. Won’t it.

There will, no doubt, be more on this subject as the summer wears on. Hopefully all good.

More change.

Bike E at Longford boat ramp.

Last week I pumped up the air shock on the Bike E and took it for a 15k ride along Wilmore’s Lane and then down to the boat ramp.

The original -a Cane Creek AD-5

It hasn’t been the same since! The 20 year old shock decided it had had enough and deflated. Now under acceleration the pogo effect was intense and the suspension unit was bottoming out over the slightest bump.

There is a replacement seal kit that can be purchased from a couple of places in the US but a number of people on the Bike E Riders group (Facebook) advise a specific, slightly longer coil shock can be used to replace it. I found a supplier of the DNM shock in Victoria, ordered and it arrived 3 days later. Total cost was cheaper than the postage of the replacement seal kit from the US. Will it fit? Will it work?

It will standout on Bike E – looks so new 🀭

it took an afternoon, a few cups of tea, a well directed precision lump hammer and the tongue poking out in exactly the right spot to remove the bolts holding the AD-5. They were rather rusted in.

Offering up the new shock showed a few changes needed to be made to get the lower mounting point right. Just as the Bike E Riders pages warned.

That took an overnight think to work out how to accurately cut down the aluminium bush and tough plastic/nylon (?) spacers to fit. Next morning, armed with ideas, I cut the bush using a skip tooth blade on the scroll saw. Brilliant. Just minor filing after to get it right and in it popped. A bit more scroll sawing and the spacers were right too – the shock was mounted at the bottom. The top fitting was OK – it just needed a couple of washers as extra spacers and in that went too. First ride = πŸ‘πŸ½ except the cables running through the frame are now very noisy -no doubt due to all the movement related to the shock replacement or the slightly different angle of operation or even the huge cobweb I pulled out. That’s the next job – to stop the cable rattle.

Here it is – in place.

To test the shock I took it on an interesting little ride.

A test ride up Bishopsbourne Road

Instead of heading out of Longford via Illawarra Road I took the walking trail by the South Esk under the highway and railway down to the Mill Dam. This picnic area has a bumpy, lumpy gravel road servicing it. I took Bike E along it. The suspension worked OK but the lumps and the small front wheel were an interesting mix.

It was a very nice day.

Just before we come out onto a tarmac road paralleling the Illawarra Road we hit this cattle grid.

It is deep

This is not one to ride across. I did a few years back on my Vivente with 700c wheels. It must be done with teeth clenched or you may smash some with the vibrations !!

After the grid comes a very nice quiet piece of road, flat and just right for listening to Bike E noises. There was the standard “cable tapping” from inside the tubular body. There was the seat creaking. That was all. Actually the seat had ridden back while we traversed the dirt and I was really stretching; I stopped and fixed. Still couldn’t work out why the seat is creaking. One rattle had gone due to me taking the stand off.

And so onto Bishopsbourne Road. A bit more traffic here but generally not an issue. The road climbs up away from the river. Initially gently and then more of a hill after a few kilometres. Climbing the steeper bits I was pleased to find my leg muscles were working out how to propel the bike upwards spinning rather than slogging. I could feel bits and pieces being used differently to how they work together on the trike. After a while muscles unused to action began to complain a bit. Yes, this is what happened last time I did this ride. I guess it will be 6 weeks or so until they all start to work as a unit in this different seating position.

Down the Wilmore’s Lane hills yet again. I tackled the downhills carefully. When I rode this bike 2 year ago, fast downhills were a bit dodgy. The front wheel had loose, rusted and worn bearings while the suspension needed air in it. When I got those things fixed the bike descended well. Today I was pleased to find it was going to be OK with the new shock.

So, Bike E tracking well. Now to recharge the trike battery and go for a longer ride.

Colin and I intended to put in a decent trike ride on Wednesday. The skies looked bad though so we just pottered around Longford and visited Ernesto’s for a coffee. One stretch of road was heavily gravelled and we rode it into quite a breeze. A bit tricky on Bike E but when ‘back on the black’ we had a sense of achievement.

On Thursday I took an early trike ride out to Bishopsbourne for exercise and to get the ks up. In the sunny early light at one point I had half a dozen Galahs flying along – just above me. Their pink colourings showed up nicely in the sunlight.

I checked progress with Ride with GPS after this ride. Look. Just broke through 4,000 kilometres for the year. Is it possible to get to 4,500 by 31st Dec?

Stats for 2020

Finally – Change for Ken

Lastly for this week – on a rainy Saturday I visited a cycle enthusiast in Launceston. Ken had been looking for a Giant Revive for several years. This week he found one on Gumtree and asked me to take a look at it for him.

The Giant Revive DX. It’s different !

It was like walking into a cycling wonderland! The couple who were selling have many bikes and hundreds of bike bits. They also make bikes out of almost anything going.

It’s just the start !
A bedstead bike
And a chopper

While we chatted, I mentioned I was looking for different handlebars for the Bike E and before I knew it Stuart had dug out a couple for me to look at. One looked good so he gave it to me. How nice was that? The start of another thread for this blog!


Ken drove up on Sunday and we both went along t0 pick up the Revive. Another long bike chat ensued. I think Colin and I will have to ride over there and check out the collection further!

Strangely I didn’t get a picture of Ken’s new Revive so, that’s it for now.

Til next time …………..

Two Magnums to Deloraine and back – an S36O.

The stars aligned, the weather was predicted to be windy (Spring in Tassie, why would it be otherwise?), trikes were ready, riders less so but off we go. Just one thing to be careful of – the UV rating is accelerating as we approach summer.

4 panniers, 1 rack bag and 1 two-person tent

Last season I put the two smaller panniers in the space between the seat back and the pack rack. This was a less than optimal arrangement so, after a re-think, I have worked out how to “hang” the smaller bags using their carry handles. They are now strapped between the seat stay and the rack and still allow enough space to fit the Ortliebs properly on the rack. This was only possible because the Greenspeed rack is huge!

This is a much better solution. Full pannier space is available and the weight is down low. Trike is less “tippy”.

The ‘stuffed full’ look of the rack pack (see picture) is OK. It isn’t heavy gear – just a large down sleeping bag squashed in! We washed the bag during covid lockdown and it seems to like being in it’s expanded format; loathe to squash again!! I was taking it along because low overnight temps were predicted and my light quilt sleeps noticeably cool below 7Β°C.

This is the route to Deloraine

We chose to ride via Bracknell, Cluan Road and Osmaston. This would mean climbing “Heartbreak Hill” towards the end – a climb that Colin may avoid by heading to Westbury after Cluan Road and then travelling the less steep Meander Highway into Deloraine.

We soon found the headwind. It was light at first – a mere whisper of what we encountered later on. It already held us up though. To give some context, after Bracknell there is a downhill usually rolled down at 30-35kph. Today we managed just 20kph; pedalling.

Going out past Tioberry, the Skylarks were enjoying the breeze. Quite a few were flying about having finished their climb and sing for the morning. The sunny day gave us great views of the Tiers with the sky full of scudding clouds. Everything is green with growth, dams are full and sheep are simply everywhere. Big pieces of equipment are on the road as they are moved from paddock to paddock where they do things agricultural. Pivot irrigators are being fired up to keep the soils moist – this wind and sun has an amazing ability to dry everything out. A good thing for me – the nature strip mowing is made easier.

Yep – all very green.

It took quite a while to get to Bracknell where we had lunch at the picnic ground. A check on Ride with GPS showed just how slowly we were travelling – average just under 10kph! Headwinds, large load and non-touring fit legs all add up to make a slow ride.

Lunch at the Bracknell riverside reserve

Before setting off from Bracknell I renewed sunscreen on legs. My knees were getting quite red already.

Out of Bracknell we hit the downhill previously referred to but when we turned right onto Cluan Road we did get shelter from what was now a cross wind. Didn’t help much as the legs were tired by then! I felt the trike wasn’t rolling as it should and checked the brakes. Not engaged. Front tyres look OK. The drag must be just me then! I was riding balancing cadence with power usage to try and take more on myself thus saving the battery power for later. Colin was riding faster than me along this stretch.

End of Cluan Road. Time for water, snack bar and decisions

We reached the end of Cluan Road and debated which way to go. In the end Colin chose to come with me the shortest way – but with Heartbreak Hill between us and Deloraine it was a difficult choice. The road to the start of the hill runs through the Meander River valley and is very open. Today the headwinds had strengthened. It was a drag of a ride to the base of the hill.

More sunscreen was applied at the Cluan Road stop.

An unused garden date? Tall grass up to it.

As we climbed up to the start of the hill proper we passed a couple of blokes busy with fence replacement. One commented “Get’s a bit steep up there”. We know!

I rolled up it at 4kph, sometimes under. Power level 4 for the steepest bit. After it flattened out a bit I decided to see if I could climb without power. It was odd. I managed to climb at around the 3.5 kph mark but it was very hard work and something felt wrong. So I dismounted and checked a few things. Well. What do you know? The rear tyre, pumped up to 60psi before leaving, now felt flatter than the front two, which I had pumped up to 55psi. It still had air in it though so I continued slowly (with power) as I waited for Colin to crest the hill. He did and caught me up. I won’t say he climbed it with ease but he did really well climbing it without a stop.

There were a few more “ups” to climb before the final descent to Deloraine – where we immediately sought out a coffee.

On arrival at the caravan park we found the Proprietors were out and half the park, including the camp kitchen, closed (covid restrictions?). Left to ourselves we selected a spot on the river bank and set up camp. As we did so a group of people wandered through – one wearing a huge backpack . They were obviously pissed, not able to walk a straight line and shouting loudly to each other with slurry voices. Luckily they kept on walking and eventually disappeared, much to our relief and that of a female camper who was also setting up her tent on the river bank.

It was disappointing to find no hand sanitiser or soap in the facilities block. There was also no signage indicating social distancing. We did the best we could to take no risks.

Did we bring this to the attention of the Office. No we didn’t! Should have but never got round to it.

After setting up camp it was time to address the flat tyre. Checked with a tyre pressure gauge I found it to be 10psi. That’s not much at all – minimum should be 35 psi. Being the rear wheel with the NuVinci hub it was a bit fiddly to get off the trike. Once off, I pulled out the inner tube. Initial attempts to dunk it in the river to spot the leak almost came unstuck with a narrowly missed ‘head over heels’ dive into the river. Selecting a more sensible spot I was able to push the entire inner tube into the river but no tell-tale bubbles arose.

I had a good look at the inner tube and found the problem was at the junction between valve stem and tube proper. It is a vulcanised (?) junction and when the valve stem was pushed slightly off vertical a small split could be seen. Held up to the ear, yes, air coming out.

So I fitted a new inner tube and, with Colin’s help, replaced the wheel in the trike. There was a bit more of a fiddle getting the gear shifting cables back in their correct place but, once done, all worked well. Thanks Colin for the rubber gloves which helped keep my hands clean.

Time for supper. It was almost dark !!

That evening I was pleased with the extra space available in my 8 year old Apollo 2-person tent. It has two vestibules and quite a bit more space inside over my 1-person tent. All the gear fitted in under cover. The range of electrical recharging gubbins was accommodated with no problems and the large, thick, down 34 year old sleeping bag was very comfortable.

As usual, the trains hooted and rumbled past all night – giving a broken night’s sleep.

A slightly different route home for me.

The next day we packed up and headed up into Deloraine for morning coffee – and a breakfast bacon sandwich for me.

We discussed the route back and, as Colin wasn’t too keen on tackling the hills after yesterday, he decided to head down the Meander Valley highway. With the generally downhill run and a tailwind it should be easier for the motor-less trike.

I decided that, having climbed Heartbreak Hill, it would be amiss not to use the opportunity for a speedy descent! We set off on our separate routes after the coffee and sun screen application stop.

My route had me tackling a steepish climb up and out of Deloraine. This I took slowly as the legs weren’t yet ready for heavy duties. I rolled on past the School, the Tip and then the Golf Club, pleased to find that the wind was now a tailwind. I let it rip down Heartbreak Hill and watched as the speedo reverted to 20 something kph after hitting 56kph. I guess it’s a safety thing in the display to make sure some component doesn’t burn out. I saw 34kph reached during this second stage before the Da Brim on the helmet blew off. At that point I had to brake to return to pick it up. Ride with GPS reckons we did 82kph but I think that’s wildly optimistic. It often is. Certainly 60 and maybe 65 kph can be claimed.

Riding through the Meander Valley to Cluan Road had been such a trial the day before but now was a delight. A strong tailwind pushed in behind allowing the use of higher gearing giving 18-20kph cruising. Imagine the smile on my face πŸ˜ƒ

Cluan Road too was a lot easier. I travelled the hilly end and found the climbs up were easier when entered with higher speed and a pushy wind. Today I was turning off along after 7-8 kilometres to ride Glenore Road – a route I haven’t taken before. The plan was to find out where to went, assuming it would link up with Black Hills Road and take me through to Oaks Road, Pitts Lane and back to Bishopsbourne.

Rolling wide open spaces and a tailwind. Not much traffic either.

This it did. The farmlands in this area look healthy and prosperous. Imagine being those early land owners granted lands in such a good farming area. Well worth the effort to clear it. I expect these are some of the lands where the incomers had troubles with the original land owners – now known as (if I have it right), the North Midlands Nation. How would you be, some white guys come in, build houses, chop down trees, stick up fences over your land and tell you to “bugger off”. It caused quite a bit of trouble.

I thought about those early days as I pedalled through areas being prepared for cropping and paddocks full of sheep. Also some paddocks were stocked with steers – which did the usual thing of every eye watching the cyclist and one group running alongside bellowing encouragement.

These signs are popping up all over the place. Heartlands. Drive. Journey. ?? What does that mean ??
Cape Grim cattle. Dots in the distance but maybe you get the idea.

Oaks Road can be busy but today it was 4 cars in 3 kilometres. 3 going the other way and one overtaking. I then checked the battery situation and found it good. Getting a bit tired, leg sore and, strangely, footsore I opened the taps a bit and kept the trike buzzing along to Bishopsbourne. Plenty of battery still left so I opened it up even further on the run back to Longford.

On completion of the ride there was still quite a bit of power left – a bit different to the previous day when the battery was quite low on arrival in Deloraine. Just shows the impact of wind.

That’s good. First camp ride of the season done, even if day 1 wasn’t the best. Now we need to keep it up and get another in this month before things get tangled up with Christmas.

Til next time …….