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I knew this was not going to be a pleasant half-day ride as the weather forecast was for gale-force winds around the coast. Even though I was not expecting to be following the coast, the wind’s effects carried inland as well.


My son, Matthew, had decided to paddle his sea kayak from Huonville to Hobart on one of his days off work and asked me if I would mind bringing his car back to Hobart for him. I said it would make for some good exercise for me to ride from home at Lauderdale to Huonville, collect his car and drive back home.


Matthew left home at about 4.10am to commence his paddle at 5.00am. My departure time was a lot more civilised – 8.50am.


My mountain bike is a steel-frame 21-speed Specialized Hardrock with some adaptations:


    sealed bottom bracket cartridge

    suspension seat post

    suspension head bracket

    front and rear pannier racks

    Shimano SPD clipless pedals

    Continental TravelContact tyres.


I took 2 bananas and 3 drink bottles with water.


The distance I guessed was about 55 kms and estimated the trip would take me between 3 and 4 hours.


My route was to be through Rokeby, Howrah, Bellerive, Rosny then across the Tasman Bridge on the downstream footpath. From there I would take the bike track into Hobart and continue along Davey Street to the Southern Outlet. This highway runs to Kingston. Approaching Kingston the road branches off to the south and eventually passes over Vince’s Saddle before descending to Grove and Huonville.


As I left home the weather seemed quite reasonable, with mild winds from the north-west, no rain and temperature about 13oC.


I was frequently down to granny gear, especially on Rokeby Hill and Rosny Hill via Rosny College.


As I rode onto the Tasman Bridge I became aware of strong gusting winds blowing across from my right. I was on the left hand footpath with a high side of the bridge level with my head (helmet). About half way up the bridge I was blown into the side of the bridge violently. This had never happened to me previously, even though I frequently ride to and from work in Hobart (see details at My Daily Commute). I thought this was just my own stupidity for over-balancing and kept on riding. Soon after this I was once again thrust into the bridge railing. The obvious decision was to walk my bike across the remaining three quarters of the bridge. Even then, strong gusts tended to push my bike and me across to the railing time after time.


Nobody else was riding on the bridge while I was crossing.


The trip to Hobart was good along the bike track with a following wind.


Travelling up the Southern Outlet I was once again down to the granny gear and plodded up at about 7 to 8 kms/hr.


I was looking forward to a fast ride down the other side towards Kingston but, with what still seemed to be mostly a head wind, I had to pedal quite hard to maintain a reasonable speed.


The next climb out of Kingston was also a granny gear hill and seemed to go on for ever. I had several drink stops here and ate one of the bananas.

Although the wind was still strong it was bearable. The hills continued down to the Sandfly crossroad and then up over Vince’s Saddle. More drink stops and rest breaks up this section of road. I ate the second banana here then enjoyed the downhill to Grove.


Near the Apple Valley Cool Store I heard my phone ring but was too slow to answer it. I guessed it was Matthew and rang him back immediately. He told me about his tough trip up the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and that he had made it to Kettering but did not want to continue on to Hobart.


I continued on to Huonville, changed into non-bike clothes, packed up the bike and drove Matthew's car back to Kettering to collect him. On the way I had a 10-minute nap at Vince’s Saddle as I was feeling the effects of the bike ride. We enjoyed a snack at Margate and arrived back home at about 4.00pm.


Total distance was 58.5kms. Total elapsed time 5 hrs 15 mins. Actual riding time 4 hrs 5 mins. Average speed 14.6kms/hr.


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