Monday, 11 June 2007

Banbury Slice Run

The 42km round trip from Lutana to Richmond and back, via Bowen Bridge and Grasstree hill is a ripper littel test of the legs, but take two bananas: one each for the top of Grasstree Hill. Yesterday's spin out and back was particularly chilly and I found myself cramped up on the final stages, partly from working harder on my old clunker to keep up with Dan (who is honestly leaving me behind in the fitness stakes!) and partly from burning more energy to keep warm on the downhills. (Never stop pedalling on a cold day downhill run!)

The route is as follows...
0.0km - Lutana: Starting at the Lutana Liberty service station, head along Gepp Pde to Howard Rd.
1.4km - Goodwood: Follow Howard Rd around to Goodwood Rd.
2.2km - Dowsings Pt: Turn right from Howard Rd and proceed across Bowen Bridge to Risdon Vale.
6.7km - Risdon Vale: Pass through the roundabout, adjacent to Risdon Prison, to Grasstree Hill Rd, and follow this across the hill to Richmond Rd.
19.6km - Richmond: Turn left off Grasstree Hill Rd onto Richmond Rd, following this to Richmond, turning right into Henry St.
Turn left up lane to bakery courtyard. Do try their Banbury slice. (Jam between two sheets of puff pastry, bakes to a golden crisp.) Yum! Return to Lutana retracing the route.

Have to say, I felt like I was holding Dan back. My legs felt OK this morning, but I was a pile of misery last night, and I should have eaten this spin for breakfast without a hassle. Can only suspect the cold weather, and lack of bananas at "the top" left me a bit bereft befor I'd finished.

Ask Dan how he pulled up. (Probably didn't even feel like he'd been out, the bugger ;-)

Friday, 8 June 2007

Getting Serious: Day 1, Stage 2, Sorell-Dunalley

Continuing the route outline for Circumcyclogation, we head from morning tea at Sorell for lunch at Dunalley on Day 1.

0.0km: Leave Sorell, heading east on the Arthur Hwy (A9) to Lewisham Rd.
5.1km: Turn right from Arthur Hwy onto Lewisham Rd, also known as Lewisham Scenic Drv. Follow this past Old Forcett Rd to Carlton Beach Rd.
12.1km: Proceed straight ahead off Lewisham Rd onto Carlton Beach Rd (NOT Carlton River Rd), following this to Athol St.
15.2km: Turn right from Athol St onto Bally Park Rd, following it onto Carlton Beach Rd to Provence Drv.
17.3km: Turn right off Carlton Beach Rd onto Provence Drv.
18.0km: Turn right off Provence Drv.
22.8km: Turn right from Carlton River Rd to Sugarloaf Rd and proceed to Carlton Bridge.
23.4km: Proceed straight ahead off Carlton Bridge, along Fulham Rd.
25.8km: Connellys Marsh is a small seaside hamlet. Continue through along Fulham Rd.
33.8km: Lunch at the chippy, on the canal bank or at the Dunalley Pub, across the bridge.

Bikely Now Part of Cycling Plus Stable

We here at Circumcyclogation depend pretty heavily on Bikely for our mapping. This cyclist-specific frontend for Google Maps is the state of the art in cycle tour research tools, providing up to date maps, satellite images and route profiles for just about all of the planet.

So today, reading my email and finding that Future Publishing (publishers of Cycling Plus and Mountain Biking UK) are now in charge of Bikely, I couldn't help feel this service is going to a new level. Great news for cycletourists!

From the email...

Meet the new Bikely team - June 2007

It's little more than a year since Jules launched Bikely but in that time it's really struck a chord with the world's bike riders helping us find and share great routes all over the planet.

Now Jules is handing the Bikely baton on to Future Publishing - we're the people behind the top British cycling magazines: Mountain Biking UK, Cycling Plus, What Mountain Bike, and Pro Cycling we also do plenty of biking stuff on the web too through our magazines' websites and forums.

Everyone here lives to ride and we've been big Bikely fans for most of its short life - we're not going to mess with a winning formula but we do have big plans for Bikely and our new website, click on the link to find out more.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Bendy Bikes

A bicycle tour of Tasmania involves flying or boating in from "mainland" Australia, and the airlines can be as crappy with bikes here as they are anywhere in the world. The solution may be a folding bike.

My personal fave brand is Bike Friday because of value and design, while Dan has on occassion expressed interest in a Birdy. Both are fine, compact tourers, with Friday's offerings being billed as "performing like a conventional bike", while some Birdy test rides we did at last year's bike expo in Melbourne, revealed that to be a fast, stable and comfortable mount. So, what are the advantages of a "bendy bike"?

While often a little more expensive for a given equipment standard, and a little heavier overall than a good roady, a folding bike will carry your panniers as well as a conventional ride. This, coupled with the convenience of being able to bag it up and have it look "not like a bike" to airline staff, are obvious considerations on both sides of the argument. Then there's the fact that a quality 20 inch wheel is both stronger and lighter than an equivalent 700c and has a smaller centripetal mass (means it's easier to spin up) than a bigger one. On the downside, smaller wheels have a little more rolling resistance and are harder and a little more expensive to get quality bits for. Panniers mounted on a small-wheeler will result in a lower centre of gravity than on a similar conventional bike, too, and a lower centre of gravity can result in slightly better rolling resistance.

So, depending on your needs, a "bendy bike" may be more suited to your touring needs. As I already live in Tasmania, and don't need to argue with airline staff over when my bike will get to Tassy, I'll probably stick with my Giant Iguana 650c hybrid tourer, but if my budget this year allows for a road bike, I see a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket in my future.

Other brands worth a look, but a little lower down the price scale include...

The "brommy" is a little on the heavy side, but damned fine quality, while the Dahon, an affordable favourite can be a little flexy, but is a great performer.

Tasmanian Road Rules

There are cycletourists circumcyclogating Tasmania, either partially or fully, every day of the week, so it's not like Dan and I are planning anything new. That's the point, ordinary people can cycle extraordinary distances.

Of course, it's important that cyclists obey the road rules, as much as for the reputation of cyclists in general, as for personal safety and consideration of other road users. Thankfully, our friends over at Bicycle Tasmania have distilled the bicycle specific rules from the Tasmania Police Traffic Code.

Additional to the cycling-specific rules, all the usual ones apply. Ride on the left on two-way roads, obey speed limits (yellow ones are advisory, but can be enforced in some circumstances, white ones are compulsory - and yes, I know cyclists capable of breaking some speed limits), you have the same basic responsibilities and rights as motor vehicles, give way to the right unless otherwise signed, first to a roundabout has right of way (although don't push this one on a bicycle, Tasmanian drivers seem to have no idea how to use a roundabout), and so on.

If you're planning to cycle Tasmania, Bicycle Tasmania's comprehensive site should be an important part of your research, as should membership if you plan to stay for a significant length of time. Worth comparing the optional membership insurance policy to your travel policy, too, it may cover things your travel insurance calls "high risk".