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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Murray 1200 day 4

A rest break at....

Brim, one of the small.....


art towns.....

on the way to


Beulah, a sort of mini-museam at a roadside stop.

Hopetoun Cafe, old mates Ian, Pete, Dave (Simon Hidden)

Ian, U.S. Randonneur Mark Thomas, Pete, Simon Dave

All the food groups!

Tiffany, Ian, Pete, Richard, Dave

Some of Simon's mates in the Hopetoun Cafe. These ladies have cooked for riders in his Mallee Routes tours and raise money for the Hopetoun hospital in the process.  The lady in the red and white t-shirt came outside to check out our bikes, "You don't get many bikes with a windy thing on it" she said when she saw mine. I could only agree.

Richard near Woomelang

Richard near Woomelang

Richard near Woomelang

Roadside Paddymelon

Richard hams it up with Paddy melons. Unfortunately I believe they are poisonous.

Notebook in the Woomelang toilets

Sparks of life in Woomelang

Underneath a large, very welcome community shed in Woomelang


Typical boot contents, drink, tools, drink bottles, bright jacket, spot tracker.


Manangatang, last

stop before Robinvale.

A last bite to eat after Manangatang, flies still very much around.

Done! and in at a comparitively civilised 10pm on day 4.

Glyde velomobile....

On Dome's car.  He had done huge km's in the car from Sydney to retrieve the Velo from Mount Gambier in South Australia.

Not that much went wrong with the trike, here was one thing, the elastic holding the lid down got untied.

Manangatang on the way back in the car ...

Using bikes and

bright posts to cheer up the town.

Breezy Manangatang shelter shed.

Sea Lake Junk shop

Sea Lake Op-Shop, and

Out the back.
Murray 1200 day 4

Unlike the previous night I managed to get a bit of sleep and left Warracknabeal 7ish with Richard. It was quite a battle of headwinds into Hopetoun, but we did ok, and caught up with a lot of the gang in the Hopetoun Cafe.

Some of the stretch into Sealake was really good while other bits were quite hard, with alternate tail and headwinds.  I quite liked the tactical riding our bikes let us do, speeding up at the base of hills to get over them with a minimum of extra effort.  We had lunch in Sealake and Richard overtook me soon after.  I was ready for a sleep and lay down by the side of a road for a few minutes, my Buff keeping away the worst of the flies.  Alex passed me as I was having some extra lunch, and we crossed over most of the way to Robinvale.

There were fairly trying conditions into Manangatang, but we had a support visit from Pete and Simon in a car who offered food and water.  I stopped for a bit in Manangatang, then it was off for the last 60k. I had a bit of food at the side of the road and it got dark soon after that.  There wasn't a shoulder on the road, just raw bitumen to fall off. There wasn't much traffic though, and the road was a bit of a technical problem so I could concentrate on that and my lights rather than the number of remaining km.  Finally Robinvale!  My front tyre was a bit flat but I didn't bother pumping it and wobbled in the last few k's to be greeted by Simon at the caravan park.

So I'd done it but quite a bit harder than 6 years before when I was riding with a group and getting up early to ride!

What worked and what didn't?

Worked well:

Mallee Towns: These towns were a consistent delight, small, vibrant with friendly people.

 The leaning trike with fairing as a vehicle for this sort of ride.  Virtually nothing went wrong that wouldn't happen on a touring bike. So I had punctures and steering a bit out after crashing into a rock but they were mostly fixed at the roadside.

Buff: This kept the flies off, the sun off, the cold away, and maybe made me slightly more aero

Spares and tools. With lots of these, I kept myself going as well as supporting Alex and Dome on occasions.

Water Bottle. Cable gland and tube from Bunnings fitted to a standard 2 litr milk bottle worked very well. Richards Camelback leaked and I think he is a convert.

SMS communication and Spot tracking. Spot tracking meant anybody with the correct internet address including the ride volunteers could keep track of riders. All the volunteers were riders themselves and so were not alarmed at someone getting in at 2am. Whenever I felt a text to Simon Watt would help things I would send one, and always got a calm reply. Superb and reassuring, even on my fossil phone, see pics below.

Worked Ok:

Lights and GPS.  I need a bit more practice at using and charging these. Some on the ride had generator driven lights and gps and therefore a much easier time of it. It would be worth carrying the multiport charger with me and not leaving it in my overnight bag, so I could get charging of lights etc. underway pronto. Radbot 1000 rear lights with non-rechargeable batteries worked well.

Not so good:

I hadn't really worked out how to use the Shield X light I'd bought for the ride, and it was slightly out of control. Will have to work this out before trying it again. 

I need to be a slightly better Audaxer, eating at restaurants when they come up and maybe resting under trees a bit less.  I missed restaurants on day 1 (Balranald) and 2 (Urano), and things might have gone better if I hadn't.

Drinking on the bike: I need to work out a good energy drink for bikeriding.  I was chopping and changing a bit on the ride and would be better just sticking to the one thing.
"Team Elite" all the recumbent riders who attempted Murray 1200 finished within the time limit, right to left Richard Ferris, Dome Deli, Steve Nurse, Pete Heal. Photo Simon Watt
On from here: If you are interested in my leaning trike, most of the plans you need to make one are available for free on the thingiverse via this link . This includes the tailbox, frame, 3d printed frame separators and bottom bracket housings. At the moment the steerer and front fork have not been documented.

If you are slightly less ambitious, this link provides a way to print models of my leaning trike, a velomobile, a recumbent bike and other cycles. Also included is a boardgame, you only need a printer to make the boardgame.

Overall:  I'm not really cured of recumbent bikes and leaning trikes yet, but with this ride I think my trike has come of age, and I don't think I need to do anything more to to prove that it works.

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