In the previous post I wrote that the Bike E wheel was ready. Well, I didn’t ride into Launceston to pick it up as Mrs C and I had a few things to do – so we drove.
In the previous post I wrote that the Bike E wheel was ready. Well, I didn’t ride into Launceston to pick it up as Mrs C and I had a few things to do – so we drove.
The weather is scheduled to produce rain and wind shortly so I thought I had better get a ride in today. It started foggy so I had to wait until that cleared and all was sunny and still at 9.30am when we rolled out.
My plan was to stitch two loops out of Bishopsbourne together and see how far it took me. Looks like around the 45k mark.
With no wind the climb up Wilmore’s Lane’s hills of Rip, Rack, Roar and Rumble was easy and I was soon at the junction with Bishopsbourne Road. The only issue was a truck plus trailer of the gravel carrying type had shot passed – I hoped it’s destination was close by so the rest of the ride was safe from the monster. Too big for the backroad and travelling way too fast.
At the corner I received a phone call advising that the new wheel for the Bike E is ready for collection. That’s good and a job for tomorrow. With no wind still, the ride to the start of Armstrong’s Land was enjoyable as was the ride along the lane. No traffic to worry about – the gravel truck must have business elsewhere – worth a cheer!! Up the lane two vehicles were parked partially blocking the road. I wondered if they were running cattle across the road as that happens in these parts when the farm comprises paddocks on both sides. No – it was just two guys having a chat and I passed with a shared wave and smile. That’s OK – the road surface can be a bit mucky after a cattle crossing!
At the join with Green Rises Road I stopped for a sip or two of water. What a surprise – the wind had suddenly sprung up and was getting quite strong. It was a headwind into Bracknell from there. The sign says this is a Neighbourhood Watch area – a bit out in the wilds and there are no houses to be seen for neighbours to watch!
Normally I turn right here but today it’s left
At Bracknell I rode into the riverside reserve to see if any touring cyclists were staying there. BUT there is a notice advising that, as from March 2018, overnight stays are no longer allowed. Regulations and competition are given as the reasons – but there is no caravan park near here! I suspect the Bracknell Pub might lose a bit of business now.
The back streets of Bracknell are somewhere not explored by me so I rode around some and found this house. Looks like it was once a church and is what one could call, unusual. The tower and the roof are clad in fish scale slate. That looks expensive to repair!!
Out of the back streets and up to the Bracknell Roadhouse. A grand name for 2 bowsers (1 petrol and 1 diesel) and a small general shop. Searching through my bike bag and then my pockets I scraped together $3.20 – which was the exact price of the Oatmeal bar I fancied. Now I had no cash or plastic with me at all.
Look – I remembered !! My Ride #7 purchase.
Up to Pitt’s Lane and along to the river bridge and a stop to eat the bar. The bridge was rebuilt last year and it was interesting to find two small holes in the deck through which the river can be observed.
The wind was now a rather nice, healthy tailwind and it blew me up Pitt’s quite fast. As we progressed I noticed that my left foot was tightening up. Odd. I could not actually pedal as something was stopping movement! Initially it seemed all was in order but then I spotted my shoelace had come undone and wrapped around the pedal/crank join. It would not come loose. I managed to unclip the shoe but could not find a way to unwrap the lace and bike speed was dropping. Taking my right foot out of the cleat I realised I never stopped putting my right foot down – so the whole operation felt wrong. When cycling and motorcycling is was always left leg down and then take any other action required. In the end it worked OK – not a very cool looking stop but we did get to a halt without tipping over and nobody saw. I re-tied the lace, tucked it in the velcro strap that stops it getting loose (?) and set off again. Funny that, I have used this bike, shoe and pedal combination for over 10,000 kilometers in the past 4 years and never had trouble like that.
The wind blew us nicely back to Bishopsbourne and I estimate it’s strength was around the 25kph mark. I stopped at Bishopsbourne to check the shoe / lace combo and all looked OK. I also did practice stop using the right leg!
Autumn. The poplars are almost bare ready for winter
From here on it was well cycled territory and I drifted off into thought land as one does. I got to thinking about the Penguin – Turner’s Beach ride and the railway it parallels. The rail is used by approx 4 trains a day from Devonport to Burnie (i.e. through Penguin) but once past Penguin it is no longer used. There are talks happening about turning the track past Burnie into a Rail Trail but a strong lobby group is pushing to keep the rail arguing it could be used for a light railway. This is the same argument that is holding up further work on the Scottsdale to Launceston disused railway Rail Trail. I think the question is now stuck in a Parliamentary Committee so nothing much will happen either way for a while.
While I was ruminating, the storm clouds had been gathering but the rain held off until later in the day so my ride finished dry.
Tomorrow I may have a Ride #8 to pick up the Bike E wheel – if it isn’t raining.
What? Well, it’s like this.
I set up a new WiFi T100 on the Brompton yesterday and a quick check showed speed readings although it seemed to be speed reading a bit high. However, today the T100 did not work. The screen lit up but nothing that should come from the sensor registered. Checked the sensor distance to magnet on the spoke and it was OK. Checked the T100 “manual” which is a sheet of paper with simple pictures – distances within spec. Also checked the internet and found on a general cycle web site that the distance, magnet to sensor, should be within 3-5mm – and it is. Checked the magnet lines up with the white line on the sensor – it does. Opened up the sensor and found a small battery and pulled it out. OK, which way does it go back in? Can’t remember! Where is the plus or minus sign on the fittings to tell me? There isn’t one.
I have already written about the Bike E and early week weather in my previous post for the week
The Vivente and I rode the Armstrong Lane country 40k loop twice this week.
The wind at the beginning of the week seems to have blown away our warm weather. Both days of the loop it was a cool start at 10°C. I am now wearing the “Frosty Boy” top and new merino/lycra mix leggings. These are the first bit of anything with lycra in it for me. Nice and warm and comfortable to ride in. They should be good for the Victorian riding I will be doing in a wintery July. Currently there are heaps of grasshoppers on road – some small and brown and some bigger with yellow bodies. I wondered if we have Locusts in Tassie so I checked Wikipedia – it is possible they are locusts. I had better catch one to check it out.
It is also the start of “Ballooning Spider” season. A couple of years ago these spiders were thick in the air between Westbury and Longford and the event even made it into the National Geographic magazine. The article available HERE is focussed on Launceston but the real centre was Westbury. This week a few flying webs attached themselves to us as we rode along and a couple of thick jumbles of threads were spotted sailing in the wind. As there has been no major flooding I am expecting the numbers to remain on the small side.
Friday was the Deloraine loop and the temperature when leaving home was 4°C. It was 7°C when starting the ride and 10°C on our return to the Empire coffee stop. With the cool air and yellowing Poplar trees – yes – we are really into Autumn.
AND NOW : CLC 2018 Ride #7 (well almost) – Penguin to Turner’s Beach
This ride is along the north-west coast and generally follows the sea – which here is Bass Strait.
It was a good cycling day as we left home and it remained the same as we arrived at Penguin. This is not always the case as the proximity of Bass Strait often means wind and/or cooler temps. We grabbed a park under a tree and took Oscar for a walk along the front while looking for a Cafe for coffee. There was nothing suitable and so I readied the Brompton, hopped on and took off while Mrs C set off to visit Penguin Markets. Oscar reclined in the back of the car in the shade and had a sleep after his busy morning.
Penguin was getting a bit tatty and so it has been given a new set of clothes. The real penguins in the area are likely to be Fairy Penguins – the world’s smallest penguin. They are smaller than the one next to B.
I was serenaded out of Penguin by the ice cream van. This van had a considerable collection of music box tunes broadcast through a fair sized speaker on its roof. I cycled out to the tune of “Mexican Pete the Bad Bandit” and “PopEye the Sailor Man”. I did not hear it play the perennial “Greensleeves”!
Exit Penguin. The residents garden the roadside verges and they are spectacular in Spring.
The road runs alongside the rail and the coast. It is pretty spectacular.
Some lucky people have houses on the “other side of the tracks” close to the beach
The road is narrow and windy and the traffic today was helpful to cyclists. Thanks to all.
Interesting. How to stage such a play? Could be worth attending to see how it is done.
We used to belong to Huon Valley Theatre and I just can’t imagine how this will be tackled. But then we did “Little Shop of Horrors” with an ever growing plant (as it ate cast members!). Still, this seems ambitious.
The views are outstanding and the day perfect. How lucky am I to be cycling this route today?
The only climb on today’s ride
Up the hill and then it was a downhill cruise to Ulverstone.
Riding the cycle path into Ulverstone along the Leven River
As you can see, the local council just loves white concrete. All shared paths are white as is the entire area around the Leven River Wharf area, visible on the far side of the river in the above picture. I got a coffee there but could not find a seat in the shade. All seats were in the middle of blindingly white concrete! I walked on, pushing bike and holding coffee until reaching an older developed area which had a more comfortable and shady setting! The temp had risen to 20°C and it was a bit hot in the sun after the ride so far.
The route from Ulverstone to Turner’s Beach is via a series of shared trails and then the Esplanade into T Beach. As I left Ulverstone I was unsure as to the exact way but a cycling couple overtook me. I asked if this was the right way and they told me it was. So I followed them as they were going the same way. It was interesting. I tagged along about 3 bikes lengths back on my 16″ wheel bike and wearing normal clothing and the bloke (in lycra on a lightweight bike) seemed to get a bit annoyed ‘cos I kept up with them. So I did all the way to T Beach! It made me feel good !!!
The Cafe at which Mrs C and I had lunch
But .. once again I forgot to take a picture of the contribution to the local community. The gummy shark plus chips was so good we were sidetracked by the eating.
I will have to do another trip – luckily there is a week to go for the Challenge!
Weekly total – it’s been a good week this week but I am unlikely to get to 2,000k for the year by end April (a secret goal).
Total for week : 166 k Total for year : 1,767 k
Vivente : 100 k Brompton : 21 k Bike E : 45 k
On Sunday we had an awful day weatherwise. Gales, driving rain and very cool. No cycling.
Monday saw the north of the state getting better and the south getting the gales. 156kph recorded on Mt Wellington overlooking Hobart and many lower areas had wind up in the low 100 kph (Lucky Tempo!). We had wind still though and initially I wasn’t going out! Instead I took the front wheel out of the Bike E and checked the bearings. Not good. There was some grease in there but it was a rusty colour! I whacked some more in and bolted things back together. Then I replaced the front and rear brake blocks that were just about worn out. A thin sliver of rubber left on each. The Launceston “Cycology” bike shop had replacement shoes – I was surprised. The brakes didn’t work well as in one arm of each not returning properly. Onto the internet and found I was working specifically on “side-pull linear brakes”. Read about plastic spring holders, springs and spring tension and didn’t understand a thing. Took the brake arms off, looked inside and all became clear. Cleaned and re-tensioned and things worked. Even the little adjustment screws actually did something.
The front wheel still didn’t seem good and complains (grumbles) a bit but I wanted to try the mods out so I set off to cycle the 15 k loop along Bishopsbourne Road and Wilmore’s Lane.
Cycling into the wind was slow going but the low gears and legs spinning like crazy had us along Bishopsbourne and into Wilmore’s surprisingly without too much effort. The real test turned out to be descending. For the descents the wind was coming from behind and I just let the bike roll. It was bad. Every bump seemed to throw the steering out and corrections turned into overcorrections and the bike did not feel so good. I braked, slowed down and regained control over the bike. Two more hills to descend and each had to be tackled slowly. Any attempt to speed up resulted in a strange wobbling and lack of tracking. Not quite as bad as downhill, one-handed, on a Brompton but getting there.
Later in the day I found a group on Facebook – the Bike E Riders Group. The members are very active, very proud of their Bike Es and the work they have done to keep them running. One member was key in the company that made the bikes. Seeking advice and logging what I thought was wrong I explained the downhill problem and over the next few hours received a lot of advice how to fix.
Deciding that the crappy wheel must be part of the problem, I took it in to Cycology yesterday but they cannot mend it. A new wheel is now on order. I had found the cup and cones are chipped and worn as are the bearings – and there was a bearing missing on one side. Cycology found a “spare” in an old box out the back and I patched up the wheel once more so I can use it until the new on arrives. The old wheel remains noisy and feels lumpy so, I think, light use only.
Mr Atwood, the Bike E (BE) Guru, suggested making sure the air suspension was set correctly for my weight and height. How to do this? Where is a chart? K from Hobart (the BE Owner) had a copy of the original manual and sent me a PDF and there was the calculation. I found the air shock was currently about 30psi under for me so pumped it up a bit to 130psi. Immediately things feel better. Now to get the new wheel and then I will try descending hills again.
Once it has brakes, handles OK and generally functions properly we will take the bike back to Huonville for K to ride.
“The Groom of the Stool” was a male servant in the household of an English monarch who, among other duties, “preside[d] over the office of royal excretion,”.
I have been asked to look after the Bike E and so in a similar style have adopted a title : : : “The Custodian of the Recumbent“.
As reported previously, K of Huonville brought the Bike E to Longford as part of his recent caravan trip north in the company of the delightful D. While K & D were staying in the neighbourhood, K took the Bike E out for a ride around the quiet, flat Longford streets but found the task hard going. That evening I was offered the Custodianship, provided the recumbent stays in my shed at Longford. I rather think Mrs K didn’t want it cluttering up the place in Huonville any longer!
Brief Bike E History. The bike is an American 2-wheel recumbent which is said to be one of the easiest ‘bents to ride. It is not radically low and the rider sits at a reasonable height for visibility. It was built for comfort and not speed. They were last made in 2002 for in that year the company went bust so this one is approx 16-18 years old.
I spent an hour or two adjusting the gears. Initially the hub gear was having difficulty engaging more than gear 2 but after some work with the control cable and adjusters it now works well in gears 1, 2 and 3. The 7 speed derailleur worked OK so there is now a set of 3 x 7 SRAM gears available. I also changed the seat position. I had an idea we were sitting too far away from the pedals and this proved to be the case. It is much easier to start off and put power onto the pedals when sitting closer.
I met up with K in the local supermarket car park early on the day of their departure and he had another ride. Although pleasantly surprised at the improvement, K reckoned the bike should remain with me. For now.
While most of the riding interest for the week has been with the Bike E, I have also listened to the whinging of the other two bikes complaining about being stuck in the shed and took them out for some spins around the area. This included a return to Four Springs Lake with two friends who were interested in the ride. We stopped at the Give Way sign with the weather station mounted on it mentioned in my last post.
I can now report more. It looks like there is a wind direction indicator, a wind speed calculator and a unit containing other stuff which we couldn’t properly identify mounted on the post. Next to that is a box from which runs a cable – probably the battery. I suspect the things we could not identify were a thermometer, hygrometer and a WiFi link to a nearby house. After our study period we rode the dirt road to the Lake and I can report the others were not impressed at all by riding on corrugated and then rocky gravel !
And now to CLC Ride #6.
Overnight Friday we had an electrical storm with plenty of thunder and lightning plus wind and rain, or so I am told. Fancy sleeping through a great weather event! There was going to be little time for a ride today as the weather radar was showing plenty more water heading our way. The winds had already arrived.
A short ride was called for. I selected the Brom and set off, heading out to support the Newsagents and the bottle shop. My first picture of the main street and Newsagent was hopeless as the sun washed out the screen on the phone. Sun, yes at this point the sun was out. The winds were north easterly and so it was a battle to the shop. Once in the main street, the buildings provided some cover from the wind and I cycled along the footpath. Doing this meant I could cycle slowly against the wind and look like I was a citizen concerned with the well-being of pedestrians – which, of course, I am.
Continuing on the footpaths after buying the Saturday papers, it was still a fight into the wind down to the Village Green and on to the quiet road around it.
At the bottom of the green is the row of houses pictured above. They are the “Spinster Cottages”. Erected by a philanthropist to house the “Spinsters of the Parish” he also set up a Trust to manage them. Great efforts are being made to end the Trust and to sell the cottages or knock them down as we don’t have too many Spinsters these days. On the other hand they do provide much needed low-cost housing. I think others are eyeing off these prime position sites for non low-cost housing.
On down past the Velodrome and caravan park we come to the boat ramp area. Here the lack of hedges and buildings let the wind hit in full force. It was quite strong.
You can’t see it of course but the trees were copping a bashing and Brommie had already been blown off it’s parking wheels at the previous stop. The sky began to look menacing.
It was going to be a race against the rain. I cycled on a little further and then turned .. and stopped pedalling .. and was blown up a small rise – accelerating as we went! Great. Up the road to climb the short sharp climb over the levee bank and, with wind assist, 4th gear was used up the levee. Turning right and down to the bottle shop – what’s this? Too early. Shut. But I couldn’t wait as the rain had started.
Cycling back up the main road with the wind behind was a buzz. I passed the cyclists cafe at full speed (34kph) in 5th gear – but they weren’t fooled, they knew it was the wind enabling this!
Got home as the rain began in earnest – heavy and wet and cold.
The evidence for today’s purchase. The papers were dry as they had been in the front bag – which was soaked.
Total for week : 109 k Total for year : 1,601 k
Vivente : 51 k Brompton : 23 k Bike E : 35 k
The Four Spring Lake ride was the “special” ride of the week. Most other kilometers were gained riding to Bishopsbourne and the Deloraine Friday ride.
Just a few “top-up” rides occurred on Sunday when I rode them on K’s Bike E recumbent. K & D came up to Longford and stayed in the caravan park in their new caravan on a shake-down trip. The rather lengthy Bike E was brought up lying on the bed in the van. Luckily an old blanket was under it as the rather lengthy chain left a bit of oil decorating it. On Sunday it looked like rain and we thought it would be best to get the bike under cover as it had been kicked off the bed the previous evening and stood in the corner outside for making a mess.
The plan was to put it in my garage and so I walked down to the caravan park on Sunday morning to pick it up. I pushed it out of the park, away from prying eyes and then took off. After my wobbly attempts at Huonville I was expecting another round of difficult “take offs” but things went quite well. I could have started in the caravan park after all and not looked a complete novice! The recumbent feels very strange after a “normal” bike and, when pedalling, it doesn’t feel very lively. I used, I think, 4 of the gears on the derailleur but didn’t try to change gear in the hub (it is a 3 (hub) x 7 (derailleur) SRAM gearing system). Steering the device is odd because you can’t lean into turns in the same way as on a “normal”. On a tight turn you have to use the trick of flicking the steering the opposite way to the way you want to go and use the “fall” in the other direction to go into the turn. Or, if that doesn’t work, panic brake, put your feet down, lift the bike off the ground and turn until it points the right way and then pedal on – but that’s not a cool look.
On Sunday afternoon I played with the gearing and found the hub gears do actually select gears 1, 2 and 3. Gear 1 – the lowest – can only be used if you keep the twist grip changer hard on the low position – probably due to slackness in the cable. There is no more adjustment at the twist-grip end so this will take a little bit of work to sort out. More of a test ride showed that, when used with the lowest hub gear setting, low on the derailleur results in a lot of pedal twiddling or, in cycling terms, a very high cadence – so hill climbing on the bike should be possible. That’s good because it would be an awkward lump of a thing to push up a hill.
K and I plan to spend a morning with the Bike E tomorrow (Monday) and see if the working of the gears can be improved. Then it goes back to bed for the journey south to Huonville.
And so another week in cycling draws to an end ………..
Totals for week :
Total for week : 109 k Total for year : 1,492 k
Vivente : 81 k Brompton : 17 k Bike E : 11 k