Melbourne – just a bit more

Thursday 5th July

We headed down into Melbourne on Tram 11, disembarked at Spring / Bourke and Sue called into  Pharmacy to get a prescription filled.  Oh dear – one has expired.  That’s OK we are told – there is a Doctor’s Surgery just round the corner.  Sue got to see a Doc and when he saw the expired Prescription was from Longford and then saw our Doctors name he was beside himself.  “I know her, she is the best GP in the world” he said.  This Doctor was from Syria and apparently during his early days in Australia our GP had helped him get settled.  So all was OK and Sue now has her complete set of drugs.

Continue reading “Melbourne – just a bit more”

Melbourne – sorry – this is a long Post

The trip across Bass Strait was the smoothest we have ever had, so it was a quiet night.

MT 1 Aboard Ship

The Deck 9 bar before the music began.  The area smelt like an Aquarium – odd


On arrival we disembarked at 6.30am and started to drive through Melbourne heading for the northern suburb of Coburg.  The lady in the GPS waylaid us and sent us up City Link – a Toll Road.  It cost $17.40 for a 7 kilometre dash along it.  I recognised the road as part of the original way out to the airport which was not built as a toll road but was “given” to the company as part compensation for adding lanes a few years ago.  We escaped from it’s grip and arrived at the caravan park at 8am and, true to their word, we were able to book in early and park up in our allocated spot.  There was a frost in the air and on the grass but the sun was coming out and burning it away.

In the afternoon I set off on the Brompton to Velo Folding Bikes to have it’s mountain drive fitted.

MT 10 Rows of Bromptons

Rows of Bromptons at Velo Folding Bikes.

I was using a map printed from Google and after a while I detoured to join the Merri Creek Walk/Cycle Trail and get away from the traffic.

MT 2 Merri Creek

The Trail, as it’s name suggests, follows a creek and I was heading downstream towards the Melbourne CBD.  It turned out to be quite a busy trail with some cyclists and lots of dog and kiddie walkers on it.  I think it might be school holiday time in Victoria.  Some areas obviously flood in wet weather and numerous detours were signposted but not needed.  It may be a number of trails that have been linked together as the width of track continually varies as does the quality of the surface.

After a while, although the printed Google map was not as detailed as I found I needed and certainly it knew nothing about Merri Creek Trail, I reckoned I should get off it and turn right, cutting across to Nicholson Street (NS) and the bike shop.  On arrival at NS I found the buildings were numbered from 25.  I needed 753.  OK, now joining traffic and trams with sometimes cycling space and sometimes not, I pedalled up NS until it petered out after a tram turnaround and then another road name and the number 1 appeared.  To quote Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, “Funny, I thought”.    I spent the next hour or so cycling up and down numerous streets including the coffee mecca of Lygon Street trying to find other bits of NS hopefully containing number 753.

MT 3 Argh

My thoughts exactly

Eventually I gave up, assumed the Google map was wrong and returned to the caravan park having covered exactly 30 kilometres of mostly Melbourne traffic on arterial roads while learning the do’s and don’ts relating to bicycles and Trams.  I am still unsure of the turning right (across tram track) etiquette.

We then got the free park WiFi link happening and I found that NS does have several bits to it separated by other streets.  Why not?  However the first bit I came across is a long section that has two sets of numbers!  If I had cycled towards the City just 2 more blocks I would have found that the numbers gradually counted down to 1 and then began again at 800+ and included 753 – the bicycle shop.  How strange is that?  As yet I have found nobody who can explain why.  It just is.

On Tuesday we drove to the bike shop using the GPS (which seems to have forgotten all about toll roads now) and had the bike there by 8.00am ready for it’s surgery.  The car was then taken back to Coburg and left in the caravan park while we spent the rest of the day travelling on trams in and around the city.  Mrs C was delighted to find 2 pairs of proper quality shoes going for a bargain price at the Victoria Markets so the shoe cupboard in the caravan is now fully loaded.

MT 5 Cafe at QVM

In a Market cafe awaiting the appearance of Sue’s shoes


A long day.  we started by catching Tram 11 to the city and then we separated for our days activities.  I caught another tram (96) up to Velo Folding where they had my Brompton ready.

MT 4 Tram

Number 11 Tram before it filled with commuters.

On the way I visited a Telstra shop to get a new card for our prepay Internet modem.  This detour took around 1,5 hours due to the distance to walk and the incredibly slow processes involved in Telstra Shop work.  I exited with what should be a working portable WiFi connection to the Internet for use during the trip.

Collected the bike, paid up and headed for the Capital City Trail.  I thought I would cycle about ⅔ of it and then head north to Coburg.  The first part was OK through to Melbourne Zoo and then I got lost.  Pulling out the phone I found the Ride with GPS app was tracking me OK and pointed out where I slipped off course.  This was to occur a number of times during the ride and taking it’s advice I could backtrack and make good.

MT 6 Bike in river

Rusty old bike in water – Capital City Trail

The next section was very interesting as the trail runs under railways, highways and the Westgate Bridge.  So much to see – bridges, cars, power lines, trucks, trains, buses, cyclists, walkers, lurkers, unsavoury river views and old bikes thrown into the water. Not a bit like the ride from home out to Bishopsbourne.

MT 7 Bike Track

The trail then runs through Docklands.  I hadn’t expected anything much from this section and was very surprised to find that the multitude of new high rises overlook river views and marinas.  Lots of pedestrians out and flowing across the shared path so – look out.  The route goes on until it gets to Southbank where the pedestrian traffic is full on and cyclists have to take great care (but you do mutter “get out the way you *&^%ing idiot” sometimes).  Once under Flinders Street Bridge the trail immediately changes to an atmosphere of parks and rowing sheds, space and almost quietness. There are some moves to replace the sheds with “development” but any developer is taking on the top end of town as elite schools, businesses and citizen groups lease the sheds and really enjoy their rowing and really don’t want to move.  To get them out the offer would have to be mega-impressive.

The trail now follows the Yarra River upstream via the Yarra Trail past famous cricket, football and tennis stadia.  Very popular with joggers and cyclists and, as it is mostly a narrow track, care has to be taken.  Further up the walkers acquire dogs and/or prams both of which add more hazards the cyclist must avoid.  We then move through an exclusive area of terraced gardens leading down to the river from “manor houses” sited on high and flash looking Girls Schools c/w boat houses and ramps for launching their sculls.

MT 8 Yarra

Oh yes.  I could live here!  Just couldn’t afford the RATES let alone the purchase price of the houses.  Thank you for allowing the cycle path to traverse your patch and us to have a sticky at an exclusive lifestyle.

It was about at this point the newly fitted mountain drive began to sound like a bird.  The trail was very up and down with quite steep inclines.  I was getting tired so the lower gears were getting a work out and the chirruping began.  What to do?  Firstly work out if it was the drive.  This took a little while isolating the sounds (which came and went) to the drive and not other things on the bike.  BUGGER.  OK it has to go back to Velo Folding.  I looked at “Ride with GPS” on the phone and found it wasn’t too far to the shop and continued pedalling around the route squeaking away up the hills.  Sometimes walkers stared in surprise at the old fellow on a folding bike sounding like a Starling.  Sooner than expected I arrived at the Nicholson Street crossing where I began my Capital City Trail experience and took the bike back to Velo Folding.

The mechanic who fitted the drive eventually had a look and a ride and found nothing.  He thought I had mistaken the squeak in the seat springs as a drive problem.  I sent him out again and on his return – yes – he had heard the drive making noise.  The bike was left with him and I returned to the caravan, via trams 96 (back into the City) and 11 (out to Coburg), ready to get tired and emotional with a beer or three.




Week #26 2018 – ‘ere we go, ‘ere we go, ‘ere we go !

Quote of the week from somewhere in the netverse :

Never engage recumbent cyclists in conversation about their outlandish machines. They’re referred to as ‘bents’ for good reason. They’ll extol the virtues of their bicycles until your eyes glaze over. You’ll wish that, like a muskrat, you could gnaw off a limb in order to escape.

Sorry dear readers, I will try to keep the evangelical recumbent nonsense to a minimum.

Continue reading “Week #26 2018 – ‘ere we go, ‘ere we go, ‘ere we go !”

Week #25 2018. That was annoying

What’s annoying?  This website has been found by silly people who, during the week, posted a heap of rubbish comments. What do they get out of it I wonder?  The comments have been deleted.

On to real life.  It took a little while and a few “round-the-block” rides to get the Brooks saddle set up on the Brompton in preparation for our caravan/cyclingIMG_20180624_152347 trip.  The ‘Penta-Clip’ that attaches the seat to the post provides for an infinite level of adjustment fore and aft and up and down.  I think the setting is just about there now.   The original saddle is back on Vivente and is also being worked on having replaced the Brooks.  Again, it’s nearly there, nearly comfortable but not quite.  I find it take several rides to get saddles in exactly the right position.  How different to sitting in a “deckchair” on the trike.

Continue reading “Week #25 2018. That was annoying”

Week # 24 2018 – Rain almost stopped play

Moving away from the chill mornings, this week has been a little damp.  Luckily a lot of the rain fell overnight and I was able to cycle around the damp patches.

One good Armstrong’s Lane 40k loop was ridden early which always gives a good boost to the weekly total.  The remainder of the 100k for the week was made up of local rides plus the Greenspeed on the cycle path – all of which I have discussed before.

Continue reading “Week # 24 2018 – Rain almost stopped play”

Week #23 2018 – fogs and frosts abound

Each morning we wait with bated breath – will they? won’t they? What – you ask?  Say “frogs and fosts” or “fosts and frogs” on the weather report.  So far all correct and no laughs.

For 5-6 days in a row we awoke to the infamous Longford fog overlying the white frost blanket.  By 10.30am the sun had begun to poke through and the bird bath thaw but the temperatures remained low.  In fact it was still at the flashing dashboard warning light level of < 3°C.  Waiting for a bit of warmth and good visibility these days means not much time for cycling – especially factoring in it’s only a couple of weeks until the winter solstice.

Trike in fog 1

Monday was a bike path ride and it was 2°C and foggy.  After a bit I decided to get a hand warming coffee in Perth.  This is the ride for coffee :

On Tuesday I thought I would take the trike on a loop run out of Bishopsbourne using Armstrongs Lane and Green Rises Road.

For the past few days I had been riding the Anura along the cycle path out of Perth purely as exercise to build the recumbent muscles and now it was time to try something more meaningful.  It’s not a long ride but it does have one short sharp hill within the loop and I wanted to try the trike up it.  Unfortunately the lanes between Longford and Bracknell have been attracting a lot more gravel truck traffic of late and I am looking for roads they are not on.  Would  this loop miss them?  Well, I did meet a couple.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 09.30.19

A note:  I am using iMovie to produce the videos and although I can add a still image to the storyboard it just will not display it when the movie is created.  Maybe something to do with my laptop being 8 years old and not being able to run the latest software?  I will try to come up with the answer!

Wednesday.  Decided to give the Brompton a whirl and to get a tree picture or two  for the challenge on the cycle 365 website.

Perth Railway Station 1 small

Here they are – chainsaw carved peoples representing a steam engine fireman and passengers.  They are standing proud on the second 2°C morning in a row.  And again it’s 10.30am!

After taking the pictures I headed down the back streets of Perth to go and find a pathway leading to Eskleigh House – a venue these days providing support and services for people with disabilities.  The house is also the venue for a number of art shows in the year and I recall from our early days in Longford making our way there via a backroad.  I just couldn’t think how to get on it!

Initially I cycled down to the South Esk river as I thought the path took off from the riverside area.  The sun poking through a bit of mist left from the fog was creating an attractive winter atmosphere.

Perth Highway Bridge 2 small

The view downriver to the Midland Highway bridge

After cycling downriver the path / road came to an end and it was necessary to head towards the town again.  So I did.  As the road closed in on the Midland Highway I thought maybe the route was off to the side so I cycled along the footpath by the highway.  Soon it joined a side road and that side road ran back down to the river.  Ah yes – this was more like it.  Through another riverside access point (no doubt very busy in summer) I finally found the path running under the highway, then up a climb away from the river and out onto the back road I remembered.  So that’s where it is !!

Road to Esklie small

There followed a very pleasing 2-3 kilometre ride up to the gates of Eskleigh with no traffic at all.  I could hear the churning of vehicles on the highway but they were invisible and soon ignorable.

Esklie House small

(From the Eskleigh Foundation history pages) : Eskleigh was built on land granted to the Richie family. Captain Thomas Ritchie built a new house on the riverbank, just down river from the present dwelling, and by 1833 had a flour mill operating by water power.  But natural disaster seemed to plague the mill.  It was washed away in the Great Floods of 1852, and then rebuilt, only to be destroyed again by fire just a few days after Mr Gibson purchased the property in 1867. In 1870, Mr Gibson began to build his new home (now Eskleigh), for which he harnessed the water power provided by the old mill race to run a generator.  This provided electric light for the house and the outbuildings, and it is believed that the home was the first private dwelling in the Southern Hemisphere to be electrically lit.  The farm progressed and it became famous for it’s merino sheep.  In 1943 a Mr B Gibson inherited the property, decided it was too big for him and so began a trust to enable the house to be used to provide assistance for people with disabilities.

From the Eskleigh gates I retraced my wheel marks and headed back to the “station” to pick up the car and head home for a warm-up.

On Saturday I rode the Armstrong Loop again but this time on Vivente and from Longford.  This added 40k to the weekly total.

Sunday I was back on the cycle path to cycle another cool, sunny morning and get some more ks in on the trike.  One disappointing feature is that now the road has been bypassed by the highway people are beginning to use it as a place to dump their rubbish. I don’t understand – how hard is it to put garbage bags in a bin?


On that grumble I shall close for the week.

Total for week :   127 k            Total for year :  2,440 k 

Vivente :   39 k                     Brompton :    18 k                  Anura : 70 k





Week #22 2018. A bit sick but 100k ridden

Well, sort of “friendly-fire sick” – I had a bad reaction to the flu and pneumonia vaccinations which were poked into different sites on the same day.  Vacs. Tuesday lunch time and Tony off the bike until Friday!  Feverish, no sleep, aching .. lots of aching, no desire to do much at all.  Proper Man-Flu syndrome.  I would be awful with whatever to is that Emily has!!

By Friday I was inhabiting the body once more and thinking about the measly 30k ridden so far for the week.  I decided to get out and about on all three machine (in turn, silly) and see which was the most comfortable.  Basically none met the specification re comfort to aching arm and aching hands – so I rode Vivente gently along to Woolmer’s Bridge for a picture followed by a slow Anura ride around Longford (probably the most comfortable of the three bikes).  At the end of the day I realised it was now the 1st of June and the bike/bridge 365cycle monthly challenge for May was over.  Never mind, here are the pictures:

Bridge #3

A little bridge across Back Creek, Longford leading to the “pick your own” berry farm.  Basically the small creek doubles as a drainage “ditch” for the farmland it flows though.  I have seen people fishing off the bridge and understand there are trout in here.  Not sure I would eat any trout caught though as who knows what farming run-off would be involved.

With the winter light contrast is strong and the phone camera has trouble dealing with it.  This can be seen in the following picture.

Bridge #2

Woolmer’s bridge in the process of being replaced.  The old wooden bridge in over to the right and the new structure is being built to this side of it.  Quite a large construction job is going on with driven piles and concrete; the sound of lots of banging, scraping and shouting and diesel engines fills the air.  Down by the river in the car park / boat ramp area are a number of worker facility huts.  If we have a rain event they will sail off downriver nicely but I am sure the project plan has an Appendix that details how to speedily get them on trucks and to higher ground before polluting the Macquarie River.

Saturday and Sunday I tooled around Longford on the Brompton getting shopping, (weekend beer, milk for lattes, newspapers to see what Trump is doing etc) and then packed the Greenspeed into the car (both days) and went for a ride along the cycle trail Perth to Breadalbane.

On both trips I met several cyclists most of whom smiled, said Hello and generally were civil.  One guy must have thought I looked hilarious as both times I met him he roared with laughter.  I am pleased to have brighten up his day but sad he couldn’t even say “Hello”.  Several “oldies” (i.e. retired like me) had electric bikes.  One bloke stopped for a chat and in the conversation let it slip his was a 1,000 watt motor.  The legal limit in Tassie is 250 watts.  Anything over that and the bike has to be registered and you have to have insurance just like a “real” vehicle.  He was not worried – “only cycle on paths like this, Mate.”  Oh, Good.

Along the way on Saturday I stopped for a picture for the June 365cycle challenge.

June Tree #1

The June challenge is to take a picture of your bike by a tree of interest.  I thought I would start with a small but well formed gum tree.  Bill commented, when setting the challenge, that sometimes it is difficult to get the whole tree in.  This was the case here.  I walked back until against the road embankment walking over a damp, newly seeded sticky underfoot area that will become a nice verge by this time next year.  Just couldn’t get far enough back and as a phone camera’s wide angle to zoom is worked by the operator actually moving closer or further away from the subject I didn’t get the top of the tree in.  I can do better – we have the whole of June to go yet.


Riding the trike is proving interesting.  Now I have fitted the pedals for cleats and am clipping onto the pedals it’s quite an improvement.  With the old “rat-trap” pedals I could not use the toe clips they came with as my shoes would not go far enough forward to be comfortable.  Plastic toe clips are not “bendable” or “openoutable” as the old metal ones from yesteryear were, so I could not make them fit.  I took the toe clips off but then it was impossible to try any sort of way to remove the weight from the none-pushing pedal.  When I tried the pedal moved as I released pressure and either the foot then returned to pedal in the wrong place or the foot fell off the pedal all together.  Neither was good.

With cleats I am now able to work out how to pull back one leg while pushing with the other.  Why bother?  Well, when pedalling uphill looking at the birds, the clouds and enjoying the recumbent lifestyle (i.e. without thinking about the cycling process) speed drops right off.  Yes, it’s possible to drop yet another gear and keep going comfortably but, when you focus and spin the pedals more effectively, the gear change is not necessary and speed goes up 2-3 kph rather than down the same!  I can spin using the pull-push method for a little while at the moment but then the muscles complain.  I haven’t yet completed the 500 – 1,000 miles I am told it takes to get those recumbent muscles built up.


Other news.  I phoned the Auto-electrician about the caravan only to find he is on holiday this week!  We leave in 4 weeks so I hope he is re-energised by the holiday and gets started on replacing the rear lights soon.


Total for week :   114 k            Total for year :  2,313 k                

Vivente :   41 k                     Brompton :    21 k                  Anura : 52 k