Another week – another 100k

Yep – done it again.  The CLC2018 ride gave me a good start, the Friday River Road run helped and the rest was ridden on the Brommie.

On Saturday I decided to trial what seemed to be a new bike track between Perth and Breadalbane.  There have been major roadworks here for the past 2 years or so building a dual carriageway link as part of the upgrades happening to the Midland Highway.  The old road was not used and it appears that as part of the works a bike path has been installed alongside the old highway.  The connection out of Perth requires a ride along the Midland Highway until a right hand turn is reached – hopefully the Council will develop a riding path to get cyclists to the old road safely.

The initial part of the old highway runs in a cutting blasted out of rock.  There is not enough room for a cycleway until you are through that bit – but once through there it is.

I have practiced my YouTube skills a bit and have a video I created this morning.  You can see it Here.

At the end of the vid there is a shot of a sign to Gibbets Hill.  There is a bit of history here as written up in Wikipedia :  

In 1837, five years after the practice ceased in England, the body of John McKay was gibbetted near the spot where he murdered Joseph Wilson near Perth.  There was great outcry, but the body was not removed until an acquaintance of Wilson passed the spot and horrified by the spectacle of McKay’s rotting corpse, pleaded with the authorities to remove it.  The location is still marked by a sign reading, “Gibbet Hill” on the right when heading to Launceston. This was the last case of gibbeting in a British colony.

I cycled up Gibbet Hill Rise hoping to find a sign or the gibbet or anything further about this.  Nothing.  The road had a number of nice, neat lifestyle houses on lifestyle blocks a far cry from a rotting corpse.  Please note I do not say “Lifestyle” with a sneer like some do.  I am happy for people to develop a more relaxed lifestyle – I know we enjoyed it when on a lifestyle block in the bush in the Huon Valley.  After keeping goats and ducks and managing veggies and fruit I am now quite content do veggies only on a much smaller scale!!

The clocks go back (I think it is) tonight as we come off summertime.  It will be a bit of a relief as it is dark in the mornings and the sun comes up late.  This means early morning rides are out due to squinty drivers finding it hard to see a cyclist.  What will next week bring?

Totals for week :

Total for week :  103 k            Total for year :  1,383 k

Vivente :   72 k                          Brompton :   31 k

CLC Ride #4. The Longford – Carrick Loop

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I haven’t had a longish ride recently.  For one reason or another the time hasn’t been available.  So I was pleased to be able to fit in this 55k ride today.  “I am Well Pleased” as the Brits say (I have obviously been watching too many of the London Recumbent Club rides on YouTube!) as the weather today was really good cycling weather.

I got my act together but not quickly.  I sold the canoe on Saturday and spent some time in the shed yesterday working out how to use the newly available space.  I moved heaps of stuff from stacks against the walls so I can add some extra shelving to what is already there.  The stack stuff became intermingled with the riding stuff and the riding stuff hard to find.  Then I decided to pack a pannier with rain gear – just in case.  All this meant I pulled the bike out, shut the shed roller door, opened it up again to find something, closed it, opened it up again ….  and this went on for far too long and reminded me of Scott’s trip preparations.  In the end it didn’t rain so I needn’t have bothered.

Now this ride may or may not be accepted by Goddess Kathleen the Great as a CLC ride because I didn’t take the real proof picture.  There were reasons as you will see.  And they may be mitigating.

I pedalled slowly out of Longford enjoying the wind-free, sunny but cool airs.  I had two cycling tops on as it really was a lazy breeze that movement created.  The “Frosty Boy” top is windproof to some extent and did keep things warm.  There are a couple of 5 acre blocks at the top of Catherine Street I am keeping an eye on.  Both will be building soon and I am just interested in how the general works are proceeding.  Today one block has been fitted out with sheep to keep the grass down – that explains the serious barricades made out of pallets around the trees they planted.   The other seems to be digging the trench to take power and phone to the house site – a job requiring a reasonably deep pocket.


Onto Wilmore’s Lane and up Rip, Rack, Roar and Rumble once more.  Nothing much changed here other than things greening a little after the recent rain.  At the junction with Bishopsbourne Road I stopped, removed Frosty Boy and dug out the camera.  Tried for a shot of some water birds in the protected Lagoon.  While stopped I also sent a message to our dog-loving neighbour advising I was out for a ride – could she collect Oscar to assist her working in the garden please.

Carrick 1 Small

Parked by the rail crossing.  Cars going over it actually stopped this morning.

Carrick 2 small

Distant birds.  They are black swans.  Honest.

I took a couple of other shots at full 42 times optical zoom but the results were rubbish – too much movement.

Cycling on along Bishopsbourne Rd I noticed a number of black beetles scuttling along the tarmac but couldn’t identify them.  A stop at the Bishopsbourne Sports Ground toilets was necessary and the Men’s door was firmly locked.  A gentle push at the Women’s door and I was in.  In thanks to the Ladies, I made sure there were no signs of a visit including returning seat and cover to the down position.  I wonder if this is a physiological game being played by the Council.  Lock the guys out of their domain, force them to use the Women’s and with thanks and appreciation for their surrounds they take more care?  I doubt it.

Down to the church and turn left for the run down to Pitt’s Lane.  By now legs were feeling good and speed naturally increased.  I think of the battery indicators in electronic gadgets – an outline of the battery and a colour inside showing how much power is left.  My outline leg would be almost full at the moment.  I stopped at the junction with Pitt’s Lane.

Carrick 3 small

The closest we get to the Tiers today.

The hedgerows here were showing signs of Autumn.

Hawthorn and Sloe berries plus Rose Hips were colourfully displayed.  In other places people are busy picking blackberries which are plentiful this year.

Carrick 6 small

Pitt’s Lane is a backroad linking two roads into Bracknell.  At the end I turned right heading towards Carrick.  Pitt’s is not a busy road and only one car passed on the way to the junction.  The road to Carrick is rather busier with most traffic travelling at 100kph.  As usual, when a vehicle was approaching from behind one came from the front too and I formed a mobile chicane.  Again as usual, I was looked after by 80% of passers by.  The two double trailer, double story sheep trucks came a bit close though and the wind blasting off them was interesting.

Some time ago, in another blogging universe, I posted pictures of poly houses being erected.  It looked like they would be growing strawberries and as I cycled past today I saw this is so.

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It is quite an operation.  There are approx 30 of the tunnels shown on the right with another row of 30 behind.  Today all have strawberries dangling and a group of pickers could be seen working it’s way along one of the tunnels.

With no wind and feeling good and the leg outline power indicator well above 50%, the undulating back end of the road was soon completed and I popped out onto the Meander Valley Road heading into Carrick.  On the way I passed the Mill (on the Liffey River) which has been recently repurposed from a Cafe and Restaurant to an Antique Centre.  It will be interesting to see how long it stays open because the bottom seems to have dropped out of Antiques and many of the shops that were around have given up.  Maybe old furniture just doesn’t suit modern houses and all older houses have enough (a suggestion I attribute to our Oscar sitting neighbour).

Carrick 9 small

It was then a few seconds of pedalling up to the Carrick Arms and the associated Cafe.  Sometimes an old guy is sitting across the road on his pusher seat, watching the traffic go by.  He waves a lot as he knows most drivers.  I give him a wave and, after a bit of thought, he waves back – but he wasn’t here today.  Hope he is OK.


THEN.  Horror.  The Cafe was closed.  This has happened before but the Publican organised an egg and bacon roll.  Today it was a different situation as the Pub has new management.  I asked for a roll and coffee and it took a bit of chatting before all was OK and the Chef assured the owner he could and would knock up a roll for me.  And he did.  2 eggs, lots of bacon in a large Turkish bread roll.  Thank you both.  The new owners told me that had expected a “soft landing” in their new place in Tasmania (coming from Brisbane).  Instead their first weeks were very hectic as customers deterred from using the Pub and it’s Restaurant by the previous owners, returned in droves.  So, to cope, they shut the Cafe and concentrated on renovation and re-opening the Restaurant.

During the conversations and the eating and the coffee I totally forgot to take a picture – and I feel it wouldn’t have been polite anyway!  Thanks for the roll – let me take a picture of it!!  But contribute to the local community I did and did so again on arrival back in Longford by telling others about the place and setting up a plan to return for an evening meal in the next week or so.

The trip back was by a slightly different route to the out but generally it was more of the same and all very enjoyable.  I rode 54 ks according to the tripometer thingo and the leg outline was at 50% after the egg and bacon roll top up.

Now to plan Ride #5.

Back to the 100 plus CLC 2018 #3

Last week I only managed 42 kilometers – as explained in my last post!  Well, what with the trip south and then some stormy weather what should I expect?

Totals for week :

Total for week :  42 k            Total for year :  1,175 k

Vivente :   28 k                          Brompton :   14 k

BUT, I have had a resurgence this week and topped the 100k once more.  Generally this was riding the Bishopsbourne route a few of times and the “Heritage Ride” out past our two World Heritage Listed historical convict sites, Brickenden and Woolmers.  On the Heritage ride I saw that the roadworks to replace the picturesque wooden trestle bridge over the Macquarie River is happening – slowly.  Here is a picture of how it looked before work started :

Woolmers Bridge small

The bridge goes under water when the river floods (every year or so) and the debris hitting the bridge is probably not that good for it.  The deck is a “pick a plank” with gaps between planks and signs at either end of the bridge advise cyclists to dismount – as if (isn’t that right Kathleen?)

Anyway, it will soon be a thing of the past.  Here is some footage of the roadworks and the old deck taken with my new Fly12 (I am still getting to grips with video editing software using iMovie).  Using the Fly is safer than holding up a ‘phone!

Woolmer’s Bridge – a last look

And Now – CLC 2018 #3.

Today I cycled the Deloraine out-and-back on Brompton because it was supposed to be raining,  The B is easier to cart in the car when it’s wet and preferable to hanging the V off the back to collect road crap.  However, although the weather was grey, it didn’t rain.  In any event it was not Ride #3 as I only  bought a coffee in Deloraine and this isn’t Coffeeneuring.

So Ride #3 was a short trip after the main ride for today – to the Longford shops for drugs and booze.  So that this would qualify for a CLC ride I had to take a few detours on the way home – and this was also necessary to get my weekly total up over the 100.  Tomorrow will be wet and Sunday a no-ride day as we have the Longford Area Gourmet Society meeting at ours and we have to set up for 10 people – theme this week is Vegetarian.  As we are a 2 person household this takes a lot of moving stuff about so no ride on Sunday.

I loaded onto the bike a bike lock and cleared out the front bag to make room.  The cycle to “Hill Street at Brown’s” is via backstreets and then the footpath.  Most people are OK about bikes on footpaths but some seem to think it is illegal.  Only nice people met today.  I visited the Pharmacy for my drugs, Hill Street for the crisp bread we have tried to remember for a couple of days and, lastly, the bottle shop for some Tasmanian sparkling wine for Sunday.

BTW: We aren’t allowed to call the stuff Champagne even though it uses the same grape varieties and brewing methods.  The development of the grape types is going gang-busters here as the mainland growers are finding their cool climate grapes reacting poorly to climate change.  They are moving some of their production to Tassie.  A snippet of news we heard this week is that Tasmanian “champagne” grapes are selling at 177% above grapes from some areas in South Australia and Tas sparkling is doing really well in Internation competitions.  Arras was particularly noted as a winning drop – which is why it was out of my price bracket today!

The detour home took me down to the boat ramp on the South Esk.  The bottle of sparkles can be seen poking out of the bag.  In fact it fitted nicely in the section meant for a water bottle.  It was a bit unnerving though as the cork and neck often pointed at my left eye and some of the going was rough.

Longford Boatramp

A bit further on and I passed the Longford Caravan Park.  It has been very busy over summer and today is a bit light on.  Next weekend though will see it packed as the Easter holiday makers fill it up.  Easter is a full-on 4 day weekend to be filled with fun as it is the last hurrah before the weather cools down for winter.

Longford Caravan Park Pre-Easter 2018

Past the caravan park the track takes me up to the velodrome and as I went past I noticed this chalked onto the footpath.


Arthur Stace was known as Mr Eternity. He gained fame as a reformed alcoholic who converted to Christianity and spread his message by writing the word “Eternity” in copperplate writing with chalk on footpaths in and around Sydney for about 35 years, from 1932 to 1967 (Wikipedia).  When we lived in Sydney from ’74 to ’84 someone or someones were still spreading the word.  Now we have a Tasmanian example.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit up with Eternity on NYE 2000 and I am sure I remember seeing it depicted on the bridge in fireworks in later New Years Eves.

Gradually I progressed home and to prove purchases here they are :

CLC 2018 Ride 3 Proof

Till next time …….

Totals for week :

Total for week :  105 k            Total for year :  1,280 k

Vivente :   82 k                          Brompton :   23 k

CLC 2018 Ride #2.

Not too much cycling this week – so little that I have no chance of making the 100k weekly target.  I read the CLC reports from those who crank out 100k almost before breakfast and think “Wow!” – but I can live with cycling in the slow lane.

Some happenings from this week.

Brompton sent me a reminder e-mail regarding their recall to replace a bothersome batch of bottom brackets.  I checked my serial number again and I am still OK.  Good – and I feel thankful that the company is taking the time to fix a problem that occurred on a couple of bikes.  I don’t think the exercise will cost as much as the car air bag recall!  Oh yes, checked our X-Trail VIN and we are OK there too.

I received some comments re using a phone as a video camera while going downhill on the B.  Basically the advice could be summed up as “Don’t be so bloody stupid”.  So I have ordered a Fly12 headlamp / camera combo after being introduced to one last weekend.

BTW – here’s the video

And now to this week’s CLC ride.

I add to the Deloraine town economy this Friday.  I arrived for the weekly Friday ride to find the weather looking a bit crappy.  It was 12°C – which is not really cold but felt cold ‘cos we have been experiencing somewhat warmer weather for quite a few months now. It was also looking a bit grey and rainy.

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The sky on arrival – not the nice blue colour we have gotten used to.

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I “warmed up” as I waited for the others by cycling onto the footbridge then up and down the road a couple of times.  Then it was back to the car to rug up with more layers.  How do we handle winter?

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For those who haven’t been here before, this is the start of the ride along River Road.  I couldn’t find the original so had to make do with this mirror image picture I took and produced last year.   To view the original, just cover the right hand half and you will get the feel of the “tunnel” we ride through to begin.

Friends arrived and off we went to the junction with Porters Bridge Road.  Today the air was still and there was very little bird song.  On sunny days the air is full of bird chatter – this grey, silent day felt like we were all just waiting for the storm to arrive. BUT it didn’t.  I was riding at a pace I felt comfortable at and rode with the group for the first 4-5 kilometers through the flatter paddock area.  When we reached the first of the hills I was immediately dropped!  No worries – just pedal and enjoy the ride.  One member turned at about half way to the junction and headed back to the ‘Cycle Pub’.  The others politely waited for me at the junction before starting the return leg.

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The blue bike is always in the lead.  The next bike back is electric and travels second spot and the ones hiding are a new Vivente and the B.  At the junction the bush all around was quiet and the only sounds were us talking and blowing our noses clearing them for the ride back.

After some chatter and the picture someone said “OK – coffee shop?” and we started back.  I stopped to clear a dead wallaby off the road and by the time I remounted I was already well back.  So, like the ride out, I pedalled along at my own speed and enjoying my own company and a comfortable trip back.

My purchases in Deloraine.  1 latte and a round of raisin roast but these were not photographed.  Then I went up to “Wholesome House” in Emu Bay Road.  It is, as it’s name suggests, a health food shop.  There I purchased two packages as shown below.

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The large bag is a couple of scoops of my favourite muesli mix which does not include all the extra sugar found in supermarket boxes.  The second bag, that looks like it contains picked up Oscar droppings, is a bag of Jumbo Licorice Bullets.  Yes, they are from the health food shop so they must be healthy!

The storm still hasn’t hit as I write this up but it is coming.  The weekend is flagged as wet and windy so how many more ks will be done this week is an unknown.  I think I will  just accept this week as being a bad one and start again with determination next Monday.


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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

Downhill on Lake Leake Road

We were on our way to Howden, south of Hobart where we will be visiting for the next few days.  First though we were taking the opportunity to divert off course a little to have lunch with friends at Dolphin Sands just north of Swansea.  The way to go is down to Campbell Town and then across country to the coast via the Lake Leake Road.

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Lake Leake Road is a wonderful 60+ kilometre road of light traffic and sweeping bends as it climbs up and over a 500 metre hill range.  A motorcyclists delight which I have savoured a number of times when riding motorised 2 wheels.

Today my ride began at the highest point on LLR because it is quite a climb up from Campbell Town and the day wasn’t long enough to do both parts.  Anyway it is much nicer to ride down!

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‘Ere we go !

We stopped at the Information Board at the point the road starts down and I unfolded the Brommie.  Sue drove off and I began the descent.  I held the phone in front hoping for a reasonable video.  Once over 40kph it proved impossible to cycle one-handed!  Every bump moved the front wheel and I was over correcting as the front tried to take off somewhere other than straight ahead.  No good.  I had read it is not possible for normal riders to ride these bikes with “no hands” but I can’t ride one-handed once a bit of speed is on.  Never mind – I continued and, with two hands paying attention, speeds of 40+kph were safe.  The stiff “seabreeze” coming head on prevented some truely remarkable speeds occurring but it wasn’t long before I could see the sea and the granite hills of The Hazards and knew the first 15k was coming to an end.

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There were warning signs advising bends for the next “x” kilometers.  These feature regularly.  Then – after a nice ride – the Hazards could be seen !

Once out of the woods the breeze blew nicely straight into my face and I had to spin along in 3rd gear to keep any sort of speed up.  After the descent the countryside seemed to be passing awfully slowly.  Across the paddocks I could see the east coast highway but it didn’t seem to get much closer for quite a while.  The questions in my mind were “how busy was it?” and “how many caravans were travelling today?”.

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Closing in on the highway – look how the colours on the sign mirror those in         real life

It proved to be a quiet day on the highway and with the breeze now coming in onto the left shoulder 4th gear was do-able.  As I passed a couple of items of roadside interest I was able to stop and get pictures.

On the left are shots of Wet Marsh Creek.  Back in the day the sign was changed as shown in the 2007 picture of me on the maxi-scoot.

Onwards towards Swansea and the Dolphin Sands turn off.  On the left along Dolphin Sands road there was once a walnut orchard – part of an experiment to see how they would grow in the area.  It can’t have been very good as a couple of years ago the trees were pulled – but the irrigation remains.  We think the late spring frosts the area has (even though it it not far from the sea) knocked the trees around too much.

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Did anyone see “From Dusk to Dawn”, the zombie movie?

The road leads to an area of of sand dune territory which has been divided up into 5 acre  lifestyle blocks.  Initially they were used by people for the building of shacks or setting up permanent caravans mostly for use as holiday homes.  Then Tasmania’s east coast was discovered and the area was much in demand from interstate buyers and block prices rocket in about 2 years from $50,000 to $350,000.  Permanent residents then built permanent houses and the area is now home to many interesting people (mostly retired) who bring a variety of skills (and stories) to the community.  Intermingled with the new are older residents who find a ready market for their tradie skills and local knowledge of how things are done.

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End of the Road.  View from Dolphin Sands across to Swansea

A delightful lunch was gratefully received and the above was pretty much the view from the dining table.  Then it was back in the car, hitting Hobart just as rush hour was at it’s peak so a slow trip south to Howden followed.  While passing through Hobart, we saw two heavily laden touring cyclists on Viventes (like my other bike) biking the footpath through the docks and up Davey Street. Although they were being held up by walkers striding homewards they stayed ahead of us for quite a few blocks.

Oscar was not the only one glad to arrive and have a stretch.  The next report should be of a ride in the Huon.