CLC 2018 Ride #1. Downhill into Hobart

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Instead of a trip from the summit of Mount Wellington I compromised and went to Nieka.  This ride will be the last of this series in southern Tasmania and the first of my Cyce Life Challenge.

We arrived at Nieka; I unfolded Brommie and went to pick up the camera.  What do you know?  The SD card for BOTH cameras are back at Howden after I took them out to load pictures into the laptop last night!  Never mind, I have the fall-back ‘phone in the camera – I think.

Nieka to Hobart 1

The top of the road.  This cyclist was one of a large group pushing heavily for the crest.  There was little breathe left to acknowledge an odd looking cyclist waiting to set off from the top.  As you can see, the day was another top day.

 

Nieka to Hobart 2

When we arrived in Tasmania in the mid-80’s the trails on kunanyi / Mount Wellington were only for walkers.  Then a few were opened up to cyclists and now, it seems, bikes are acceptable anywhere.  The Pipeline Track and the track down to Fern Tree running from Nieka are linked to the Hobart water system infrastructure.  Nowadays water is also drawn from the River Derwent but in the early days – this was the only water supply.

Nieka to Hobart 3

On tracks like this there are all sorts of hardware off to the sides piping water down into the Waterworks Reserve used to service Hobart.   Today I began by rolling down the “Old” Huon Highway enjoying the views of kunanyi from the road.  After the ’67 bushfires many large gum trees on the mountain were killed off by the extreme heat generated.  In the 80’s we could see many of those trees standing out with their stark white barks and limbs with no leaves.  They are known as “Stags”.  Today the regrowth has hidden most of the Stags and, I assume, a number have now fallen down.  So the view is of a sea of green up to the altitude at which no trees will grow.  At Strickland Avenue I turned off.

Nieka to Hobart 4

The view is of the start of Strickland Avenue.  Mt Wellington (1271 metres) is in the background and the white tower on top holds TV broadcasting equipment.  There are two towers and they used to be one for the national broadcaster and one for commercial TV.  I don’t know if that remains true.   I continued to roll – down Strickland Ave.

Nieka to Hobart 5

There are many homes snuggled into the bush off the Avenue.  It is a delightful place to live and so close to Hobart.  It would be a nightmare in a bushfire though.

Nieka to Hobart 6

The road runs down to the Cascades Brewery.  The Brewery was established in 1824 using the clean waters coming off Mt Wellington.  It is now Australia’s oldest Brewery.  The complex includes cafes and gardens as well as offering tours of the Brewery.  From the gardens runs a shared walk/cycle track along the Hobart Rivulet through what is now called the Hobart Linear Park.  That is my route today.

Nieka to Hobart 7

The Rivulet just below Cascades.  A bit dry at the moment as we haven’t had a lot of rain.

Nieka to Hobart 8

A typical view of South Hobart showing houses up close to the Rivulet.  In the winter parts of the track are in the shade most of the day and it is not unknown for frost to lie all day.

Nieka to Hobart 9

In the early days the Rivulet was also used to power water wheels and drive industry.  These metal posts date back to the 1800s.  The buildings that can be seen through the trees is part of a very expensive retirement set-up.  Not one we will be living in.

Nieka to Hobart 10

The track ends about 2 blocks from the centre of Hobart.  In the ’67 fires, the bush around the Rivulet was a conductor of fire almost into the city.   Here the Rivulet remains  sort of in it’s natural state but soon it becomes a concrete channel in the interests of health and hygiene.

Nieka to Hobart 11

Soon the Rivulet goes underground as roads and businesses take over the surface.  I have  met people who have taken a lilo trip down the Rivulet through the tunnels under the city and out past the Hospital during a high water flow condition.  I believe this is now impossible due to “improvements” (read controls) to the route.

Nieka to Hobart 12

In the city symbols like this identify where the Rivulet flows underneath.  I have tried in the past to find out exactly where it pops out into the docks – and where it originally exited.  I failed on both counts.

Now it was time to support the local Community.

Nieka to Hobart 13

Purchase 1.  A coffee of course.

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Purchase 2.  From the Brisbane Street Farmer’s Market I bought a kilo or two of South Arm Pink Eye potatoes.  Well, they were from Fawcett but that’s close enough to South Arm.  Pink Eyes in the supermarkets are a poor facsimile to the “real stuff” from the Arm.

That completes Ride #1 of the Challenge.

Total for week :  118 k            Total for year :  1,133 k

Vivente :   27 k                          Brompton :   91 k

Downhill into the Huon Valley

Aha.  I seem to have a theme going – downhill!!

Bullock Hill to the Huon 1 Small

Mrs C dropped me off at the highest point between Kingston and Huonville and then drove off.  I got the bike together and had a look around.  A fantastic day.  A not too busy Huon Highway.  A descent to Mountain River and then on to the Huon River was planned.

Bullock Hill to the Huon 2 small

This is the start of the way down.  Hard shoulder – yes.  A white line, inside that yellow reflectors and inside that about 10cms of space before shitty gravel drops away from the road.  Traffic travelling at the prescribed 100kph – at least.  OK, better be careful.

I set off and found most drivers were helpful.  Thanks to you all.  I cycled on the white line except where things are a bit dodgy and then I cycled in the middle of the lane to stop people thinking of passing.  Mostly white line work though.  Speed up in the 30s but I didn’t try and take a video on the phone after learning my lesson a day or two back.  Down to the Dip Road turnoff I thought I would roll up to 50kph but only made it to 49.6 before braking and turning off.  Disappointing and Bugger.

Bullock Hill to the Huon 4 small

Dip Road.  And does it ever!  Here we go down to Mountain River using this rather steep gravel road – see the remains of the dust flung up by the last car driving past?  Rear braking and wheel skidding I slipped down the steep parts and on to the corrugated lower sections.  The views were amazing.  I rate the Huon Valley as one of my favourite places in the world and I was lucky enough to live in the valley for 10-12 years back in the mid 80s-90s.

The hill range in the distance is the Kunanyi / Mount Wellington range and so lets acknowledge the traditional and original owners of this land, the muwinina [mou wee nee nar] people.

Bullock Hill to the Huon 5 small

As I get lower, “Sleeping Beauty” becomes visible.  This view of the range is special to the Huon Valley and under today’s morning light, it seems just an outline.  Going back to Howden this evening the face was totally in the late sun and all her “wrinkles” clearly stood out.  One day in the long-ago past, I walked to the top of her nose – a peak called Collin’s Cap.  I started in shorts and tee shirt but by the time I got to the top I had every piece of clothing in my backpack on – it was really cold up there.

Today the road took me on down to Mountain River Road and tarmac.  I rode along through an area of small acreage farms and other houses with small gardens really well looked after.  The scents coming at a cyclist were many and varying from a rather pongy farmyard smells to flowers blossoming by the roadside back to dead things in the ditch.  Very rural.

At the end of MRR I had to rejoin the Huon Highway for another 2 or 3 kilometers until the turn off the Ranelagh was reached.  I took this and proceeded to Huonville via this backroad wending it’s way through apple orchards.  Back in the 1970’s the Huon Valley produced many, many boxes of apples which were sent off to Great Britain for sale during their off season.  Then GB joined the EU and the market shut almost overnight.  Orchards in the Huon were given government money to pull out their trees and start over with something new.  When we moved here in the mid 80s orchardists were experimenting with new apple varieties and export methods aiming at the USofA.  Then Asian markets came into focus and because Tasmania doesn’t have FruitFly we were able to get product in.  The orchards have expanded once more and different apple varieties were grafted onto existing rootstocks and a good trade to South Korea, China and Malaysia amongst others was built up.  Not just apples either – cherries, nectarines and so on.  BUT this year FruitFly has been found in Tasmania and things are looking a little problematic again.

Bullock Hill to the Huon 6 small

As I cycled towards Ranelagh I saw apple trees that have already been picked.  There are some high fruits remaining but most look like the above – no apples left.

Bullock Hill to the Huon 7 small

This above is a sign of the times.  Grapes are getting into the valley.  Well, they have been here for some time and the cool climate varieties for Pino Noir and Sav. Blancs have been grown and producing well respected wines for many a year now.  However, climate change is resulting in cool climate grapes no longer growing in South Australia or even Victoria.  They can be grown still but the climatic conditions there mean they don’t hit the ultimate qualities demanded by the consumer willing to pay top dollar.  So the businesses are moving their cool climate grape production to Tasmania.  At this stage we don’t yet know what will happen with the FruitFly – have we stopped it in it’s tracks? will they spread from their northern toe-hold?  BUT it looks like an expansion of the grape/wine industry may provide another avenue for work and earnings.

I cycled on and around to Huonville.  While there we had lunch with friends and I had a ride on Ken’s Bike E recumbent.  It looks OK in the picture but it was really weird trying to push off and then get the second foot onto the pedals before momentum ceased.  Especially as I found it was in 3rd gear~!  I did get going and rode along some of the local footpaths – the streets being extremely busy with drivers trying to live up the Huonville’s nickname of Hoonville.  After some time I was able to get going quite well but the steering was incredibly light and, well, odd – um.. not to say twitchy.  I think it would take a day or two to really feel at home on this machine because I found I was using a lot of arm pressure where I should be using very little.  I assume this is due to riding “normal” bikes and is something that would be sorted with more riding.

Bullock Hill to the Huon 8 small

OK.   No movement on the Challenge as yet.  That will start tomorrow when I will take another descent – this time into Hobart and a Coffee Shop!!!

Week 2, 2018

Total for Week = 39 kilometres : Brompton.  Total for year = 154

Some time ago I tried to ride the Tasman Bridge and got there to find the cycle tracks closed for maintenance. To bring Oscar (Maltese-Shit..su) to the Vets (3rd time to Bellerive from Longford – 200k away) this time we decided to assume he will pass the final exam (after cruciate ligament/patella surgery) with flying colours and so will be more mobile than before. This meant we could take the caravan down to Cambridge (16ks outside Hobart and on the Bellerive side of the river) and spend some time in the Hobart area.

Continue reading “Week 2, 2018”