Friday, 17 January 2014

The Scenic Route - Queenstown to Cardrona (via Gibbston)

I left Queenstown via the Queenstown Trail, which is an excellent gravel trail, which is quite suitable for trikes. The path follows the edge of the lake and rivers the most spectacular being he Shotover and Kawarau rivers. The countryside is green, not only the vegetation but the rocks as well. The gorges are deep and one highlight was crossing the Edgar Bridge a suspension bridge that noticeably sways when crossed.  The trail has a multitude of different branches which are signposted with every place except the road that I needed.  I ended up heading towards Gibbston, a wine growing region. On the way I passed the Kawarau Bridge Bungee Jump, where crazy people jump off the bridge attached by a piece of elastic, bouncing up and down into the water 45m below.
Shortly after this point I realised that the trail had bypassed the Crown Range Road and had to backtrack into a head wind for around 10km.
The Crown Range Road is spectacular. It starts straight away by throwing 5 impossibly steep switch backs in the first 2km where it rises around 300m. It is then a steady steep climb for the next 5 or so km before more switch backs up to the pass at 1067m, which is the highest paved road in New Zealand. It is then a very fast (and cold) decent down the other side. I manage to get the trike to 75km/h but I did have to keep the speed down because of the corners.
I spent the night at the historic Cardrona Hotel, which was expensive but  very comforting after the ride.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

A New Adventure - Across The Ditch

Today I arrived in Queenstown, not the one in Tasmania, but the one that is reputably New Zealand's adventure capital. As I flew in amongst the mountains I wondered what I had put myself in for, those mountains look steep. The day, which is 2 hours shorter because of the time zone was spent travelling and re-assembling the trike, both went fairly smoothly, luckily I had cleaned the trike thoroughly. Once assembled I went for a test ride through the town.

The proposed trip will be from Queenstown over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Then south to Clyde and along the Otago Central Rail Trail to Pukerangi. From there I will put the trike on the Taleri Gorge Railway to Dunedin.

Distance today (estimated) 3km (just a test ride)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

King of the Mountain

Mount Wellington, dominates the Hobart skyline rising some 1200m above sea level. The weather looked like it would be slightly better than it had been so I set about taking on the challenge to trike to the top.

It was around 14ºC when I started to ride the temperature at the top was 0ºC but the wind was around 40km/h which made for a pretty bad wind chill factor. There is still plenty of snow at the top.

The flags are nearly being blown horizontal even though the parking spot is sheltered by the observation shelter.

It was a hard slog up to the top but the ride down is great.

Distance Covered 34.47km

Sunday, 2 June 2013

New Flags

Now that it is winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, being seen is all the more important.

I now have new Purple Sky designed sail shaped flags from Traumvelo in Germany.

I purchased a yellow and purple large size flags plus a medium size orange flag for a trailer. The large size flags do not seem to be disproportionate to the size of the trike.

These flags have large sections of reflective material to make them visible in headlights. For those who can't see large yellow and purple areas flouro green and orange ribbons with more reflective material are attached to the top.
The material of these flags is better than the cloth reinforced plastic of my previous flag.

I also purchased some mounting adapters because the flagpoles are thicker than the Greenspeed mounts accept. The reduced diameter was too loose so I ended up making a taper on the ends so that they sit deeper into the mounts. This has the side effect of the adapters being locked into the mounts so their is less chance of loosing a flagpole.
There was very little flapping noise from the flags although the very flexible poles slapped together during cornering.

They certainly makes the trike more distinctive.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Autumn in the Valley - Bothwell to Hobart Day 4

The wind blew hard overnight enough to keep me awake with the noise.
After breakfast I headed off on the road towards Hamilton. The map showed a road more or less direct from Hollow Tree to Gretna. This looked promising because it was shorter than going via Hamilton and involved less riding on the Lyell Highway.
 This dirt road turned out to be somewhat rougher than the Lakes Highway and sloped towards the left. After Pelham Junction the road became a downhill run and I managed a fair speed.
I joined the Lyell Highway at Gretna and after climbing the hill had a fast run down to the Derwent River which I followed into New Norfolk.
The autumn festival was in progress on the day and I stopped for a kebab at one of the stalls. The lions club members manning the road block even minded the trike for me while went to the stall.
I followed the Lyell Highway to Granton and then on the Old Main Road to Claremont. From there I joined the Intercity Cycleway, a rail trail into the centre of Hobart and home



Distance travelled today 100km
Trip Distance 293km

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Weather and Whisky - Miena to Bothwell Day 3

Overnight it rained hard, good job I was in my dry room at the Great Lakes Hotel. My tent had dried in the room overnight. It was still raining hard in the morning but it eased as I left around 9am.


I only had to ride for about half an hour before it stopped completely. The road had a mixture of up and downhill but mostly downhill as I was now heading off the central plateau.
I rounded a bend and could see for miles The road dropped in altitude considerably from that point and I prepared myself for a fast downhill, hopefully keeping enough momentum to help climb the next rise.
I aborted this run half way down, because I spotted another cyclist, not just any cyclist either, another recumbent even if it only had 2 wheels.
Andre, from Italy, was travelling my route in reverse back to Devonport. His font wheel drive bike was having trouble climbing the hills however other than warning him there were plenty more hills I wished him well on his ride.
Once off the plateau the road was a series of steep undulations. The strong tailwind didn't seem to help me up the hill at all but it made my arms cold when I stopped.
Finally I spotted the sign I wanted to see. "Nant Distillery 1km" after following Nant Lane for almost 2km I wondered if I'd gone the right way. It turns out the distillery is 1km from the Bothwell end of the lane and they made both signs the same.
I may have been the first recumbent tricyclist to visit the distillery, it's only been open 6 months.
After some quite generous tastings of all 3 of their whiskey varieties I had a tour of the distillery. It was good to sit out of the wind so I sat in their glass room and had a coffee before continuing on my way.
I made the short flat run into Bothwell. I bought a schnitzel roll and paid for a night at the caravan park ($10).
The caravan park at Bothwell has a bad reputation amongst cyclists, mainly because most of it is a huge expanse of gravel really only suited to RVs. Fortunately I went into the information centre which is in front of the park, where the lady informed me that the grassy park next to the building was also part of the camping area and that I should camp there and shelter the trike on the veranda.
I met a Korean cyclist that was travelling at a faster pace than me. He was hesitant to pay the camping fee and was thinking of travelling further. In the end he stayed, I don't think he paid either.
It was a lively afternoon at the pub, a local was having a bucks party they were fairly far gone by the time I got there. I had a few beers and went back to the campsite where I cooked some of the food I had with me to stay on budget.
Distance travelled today 62km
Trip distance 193km

Up and Over - Golden Valley to Miena Day 2

For those not familiar with the Lakes Highway in Tasmania is that it is a highway in name only, it is definitely not the preferred route for most traffic between major centres. The majority of traffic here is trout fishermen that have shacks scattered amongst the many lakes in the central highlands.
Overnight it was damn cold, I had gone to bed fairly early as most of the other campers had already gone to bed to keep warm.
Being in a valley the sun wouldn't be up for quite some time. My tent was wet from the frost, but I packed it up anyway and I was on the road by 7:30.
By the time I had climbed the steep grade from the caravan park to the highway I was already hot.
The next stage of the journey was a hard uphill slog. Adding to this was the large amount of roadkill on the side of the road at one stage there was a dead animal every 3m for a 100m. Mostly wallabies and possums but quite a few young tassie devils and couple of quolls. Being on a trike close to the ground, pedalling uphill at 2km/h, you just can't get away from the stench.
I was passed by a few upright cyclists going down the hill. When I was stopped for lunch one stopped, with his bike now on his car roof racks, and had a chat. He lived in the area but rode up the hill.
The trees gave way to low alpine scrub. Even though the sun was out, the temperature was cool. After thinking that it would take all day I finally reached the highest point on the highway. At 1210m it's probably not that high by world standards but reaching it was an achievement on this trip.
From here there was plenty of fast downhill with runs up to 70km/h. That is until the highway becomes a dirt road. The downhill was then somewhat slower as I tried to avoid being shaken up too much.
At the bottom of the hill the road is still dirt, but the surface is much smoother. They seem to have recently laid a new strip in the middle of the road and I found that the trike fitted in the channel between this and the mound of soft fine dust on the outside. The gentle grades made the dirt road almost pleasant to ride on.
I took up the offer when a couple of locals offered me a beer at Brandum Bay on the edge of the Great lake. After this rest and refreshment I continued along the edge of the lake. As I passed through Liaweenee, a place that often records the lowest temperatures in Tasmania, the sun was beginning to set.

By the time I reached the Great Lakes Hotel it was dark. I must have been a strange sight as I rode in front of the drinkers as I use monkeylights which flash LEDs in different colours on my wheels, to enhance my visibility.
A night in the hotel only cost $45. It wasn't until I tried to write my name on the guest card that I realised how cold my hands really were.
A few beers in front of the open fire soon fixed that. I had arrived at happy hour so a 10oz was only $2. Chicken Parma for dinner, a good night.

Distance travelled today 52km
Trip distance 131km