After having to ride 600m up a very steep hill to get to the bakery in town we figured we earned the two coffees and apple scroll we downed.
We spoke with Matt, Sarina and Tiger, a family who were testing out their new tandem in preparation for a big trip to the UK. Matt and Sarina were on the tandem while their son, Tiger was riding his road bike. Speaking with them reminded me of an excellent article we read when we first got our tandem. It explained very clearly the roles of the Captain and Stoker (front and rear rider respectively) and helped us immensely. This is a link to ‘Advice for New Riders of Tandems’, and ‘The Proper Method’. Tandems are sooo much fun, but there are some important rules that need to be followed for successful cycling!
During conversations about our route from Scottsdale to Launceston, we had been told that the most direct route climbed up and over ‘The Sidling’, a tortuously slow and difficult ride best to be avoided. According to our random sources, the best way to go was via Lilydale. It was not as scenic but the traffic was quieter and the route was much flatter.
We set off on the first downhill section blissfully ignorant of the hard work to follow. It was not flat all, just full of steep downhills that had us easily rolling down at 50km/hr then immediate inclines that brought us right back to 6km/hr. This went on and on and on…there were some sections of roadwork and the dry farmland and smoky landscape did not help with the feeling of desperation we began to experience.
The one highlight of this ride was the Lilydale Larder. We stopped there for lunch, looking for some refreshment and reinvigoration and they provided it well and truly. The waiter offered to take our water bottles, fill them up and put them in the fridge ready for when we left. The meal was brilliant, full of fresh vegetables and hungry cyclist size.
Thankfully Bec decided not to do the wine tasting after lunch because the second half of the day was not better than the first with hills, headwind and (dare we say it…) heat! Yes, it was quite hot, although our sweat kept us lovely and cool when riding downhill. Riding uphill was another matter, along with the accompanying flies that kept working their way into our facial orifices while we were trying to keep a straight line riding uphill at 6km/hr!
The absolutely magnificent part of the day was when we rolled up to the house of Mandi and Rob, our WarmShowers hosts for the night in Launceston. Bec and I had both hosted other cycle tourists and were keen to experience what it was like being a guest. We had offered to cook dinner and bring wine as we knew Mandi worked full time and would not have time.
Mandi rides to work and both of them spend a lot of time getting around by bike so we were in the right place! The bed was fabulously comfortable and we had a lovely evening chatting over dinner and sharing stories.