Cycling the Munda Biddi Track in Australia!

John and I are currently in Western Australia. We came to cycle the Munda Biddi Track. It is a 1000 km biking track through the western coastal area of Australia. We hired bikes for the journey. Although we only cycled a few days of the planned 21 day journey, we are cycling miles every day, via rail trails, combined with portions of the Munda Biddi. The MBT, is not a touring track, despite the many photos of beautiful, fairly flat sections. It is absolutely a mountain biking track with some very challenging elements.

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Bear in the trail

While cycling the trail yesterday, I encountered a bear in the trail. After the attack this past week in VA, it was intimidating to know that the bear saw me, went into the brush along the trail, and I cycled by, within about 15 seconds.  It was a young adult, much like the one in our friend’s yard last winter and less than a mile away. could have been the same bear.

Other than that. the foliage is beginning to turn. The buckeyes are the only thing turning right now, but they generally begin to acquire red leaves about 6 weeks after the vernal equinox. The river is low. Deer are grazing in the river, where the river grass is growing.

Our beautiful, old “blue bridge” is gone. They build a new, concrete structure and removed the beautiful, rusty, old, steel bridge for safety reasons. I miss it terribly, but am glad that we got a year of rides over to it and hours sitting on the bridge, swinging our feet like children as we spotted trout in the river below. Such memories a a sweet gift.

Go make your own breeze and remember; if you aren’t having fun, you’re in the wrong gear.

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Kids July class

We are having fun in the July summer sewing camp. Here are pics: DSC_0034I’m a stickler for technique. Starting from the beginning, the students learn that they will get the best results by always pressing those seams. DSC_0033One student is making a blouse with shaping darts in the body of the shirt and the bust. DSC_0032Two are making pajama pants as a first project. DSC_0029Everyone learns that pinning is essential. DSC_0028I do teach them to trace their patterns, so they can be re-used. DSC_0026 It’s not work, it IS funDSC_0025Careful cutting is important for a good final result. Good scissors are a big part of that. DSC_0024 Read that pattern twice before taking a step.DSC_0023 Fabric selection is very individual. DSC_0020Day one, everyone traces DSC_0018 DSC_0016 I highly recommend books from the Singer Sewing Reference Library, especially “Sewing Essentials”.DSC_0015 Homework!DSC_0013 Tomorrow, we will cut these out.DSC_0008 Working on a collar.DSC_0006Threading the machine is repeated over and over, so when these folks get home, they’ve got it down. DSC_0005We are having a great week. These students will make pj pants, a pencil skirt, a sleeveless tunic, a zippered pillow, doll clothes and a clutch. Not everyone will make everything, but Everyone learns a lot, gains a lot of confidence and leaves having had a fun week. 

Our next session is Aug 11-15. There is a class at the Chesterfield Hobby Lobby from 9 am – noon and at the Short Pump Hobby Lobby from 3-6 pm. Hope you will join us, there are openings. All you need to  do is email me for a registration form.


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Regarding the New River Trail

Twice, as I tried to cycle from allisonia, I flatted. As I walked out, with my bike on Wednesday, I noticed a great deal of broken glass in this area. I don’t know of a single cyclist who would break glass on a trail, nor would the equestrians. I feel the same about the walkers. Yet, someone is breaking glass along this segment of the trail. Be prepared for this. Have a pump or co2, decent patches or Kevlar tires.
This is very unfortunate on such a wonderful trail.
Both days this week, I also encountered large snakes sunning themselves along the trail. One was not inclined to move, no matter how much I prodded him. Yech.

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The New River Trail… Or is it trial?

We are in VA again for a while. Having arrived on Sunday, I hit the trail on Monday morning, early ( on retiree time). I got on the trail at Alisonia and cycled toward Pulaski. My son had told me about the Draper mercantile and I was anxious to check out my new community.
The last time I tried to cycle from Alisonia, I flatted my rear tire within 6 ft. So I was anticipating actually getting to ride this time. 2 miles into the ride, the bike, my recumbent, was making a sound it shouldn’t have been making. A quick inspection revealed that this was the left rear rack brace ribbing the axle because the screw that should have been holding it was gone. I repositioned it and continued on. The mercantile at Draper had a bike shop! How fortuitous 🙂 the sign said “open” but the door was locked, so I assumed the owner must have run next door to the mercantile. I settled in for a comfy wait. I really thought it best to get a screw for that rack sooner, rather than later.
20 minutes into my nap, I mean my wait, someone who had been working on the porch of the mercantile walked past, so I asked about the whereabouts of the bike shop owner. He said the shop is closed on Mondays. Darn. Well, I could just ride another 4 miles and get the screw from Pulaski Bikes. 4 miles later, at the end/beginning of the trail, I couldn’t figure out how to get from the trail into Pulaski. darn! I cycled the 4 miles back to the mercantile, looking forward to lunch and rehydration. When I arrived, it was shut down tightly. The person I had seen earlier was a contractor and all the cars, those of cyclists enjoying the trail…… Strike 3 for me. I cycled home. The silver lining; I got a lovely 16 mile ride in.

Fast forward to Wednesday.
Woohoo, I’m ready to go again. My sweet husband and son have found trail access and parking that is free, rather than the $4/day that I used on Monday. Yesterday, I rushed in to the Pulaski bike shop to pick up that screw and darn if they don’t open until 11! Missed out again, but today, I would get there, because when I was there last, the owner mentioned that he had a tire that would fit my front wheel (16 x 1 3/8). It’s an odd size because my recumbent is a vision short wheel base recumbent with under seat steering and has one 26″ wheel and one 16, which is usually thought of as a wheelchair tire. I hadn’t bought it because it wasn’t Kevlar and I strongly believe in Kevlar tires. The tire on my front wheel was original to the bike, though, making it a teenager. I needed a stop-gap tire until I could order the Schwalbe Marathon tire.
I couldn’t wait until after 11 to ride, so I hit the trail earlier thinking I would get to the bike shop when I finished. Going in this direction, the trail seemed very different. Not so much river view, less grade, more houses. It was very nice, though. Quite a few fresh rock falls/landslides were in evidence. 1.5 miles in, I flatted. My poor, dry rotted tire had a HUGE hole in its paper-thin wall. Here I was with no pump, but a pack of Skabs.
To push this particular recumbent, you have to tilt it back like it’s popping a wheelie and in a slightly bent-over position, push it like a wheelchair. Not too bad for short distances, but a mile and a half……. Prolly not! A half mile along, a couple stopped and offered me some “Fixaflat”. Sadly, the hole was too big and the faf couldn’t seal it up. Sadly, it made the tube too wet to put a Skabs on and just use the faf to inflate the tube. Wish I had thought of that sooner. Ah well, back to pushing. Another half mile and I arrived at a road crossing and waited, hoping some cyclist would come along and have a solution. While I waited, I took the wheel off in hopes of removing the tube, drying it and patching it in case someone came along with some co2.
Dang! I only had one tire lever with me. I’m starting to feel a little like a character in a minor tragedy. Fortunately, as they say, ” my Daddy didn’t raise no fool” and I determined a key on my key ring that was obsolete (see I’m learning) and used it as a second tire lever. Got the tube out and patched with a Skabs ( useless, useless patches, in my opinion) and put the tube and tire back in place. Now, I wait. Rain comes and goes. Then the original couple of good Samaritans return and give me the last of their faf. The Skabs immediately releases itself and the tire flats again. I lock the bike up and hoof it back to the truck and drive back, get the bike and go directly to Pulaski Bikes to BUY -THAT-TIRE only to find they are closed on Wednesdays.
Here endeth the lesson! Keep your equipment in proper repair and carry your “kit”, properly stocked at ALL times.
FYI, my bike is not a rattle trap. We just returned from that vacation with bikes on the trailer. Many screws were vibrated loose by the travel. When traveling with your bicycles, check ALL screws before using the bike. Our trailer is a utility trailer and John leaned hid bike on the side of the trailer and the vibrations nearly sawed through his seat post. Whenever possible, use a carrier designed for bikes.
Go make your own breeze and remember, if you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong gear.

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Introducing newbies to riding a bike

A couple that we are friends with has been wanting to begin riding the trail. The lady hasn’t cycled in a very long time and so had no bike. She did go out and bought one, but I think it’s a child’s bike. It’s very small for her. In any case, the couple came to the house yesterday evening wanting to head over to the trail.

We headed out and the small bike didn’t allow my friend to straighten her knees more than 90degrees! Needless to say, she wasn’t getting any power behind her stroke. We raised the seat 2″ and she got a better stroke, but the length of the bike and height of the handlebars still has her balled up. We actually cycled nearly 3 miles before she was in such pain that she jumped on the chance to get in the car with my knight-in-shining-armour who showed up with our truck just as she was ready to quit. Thank you John!

Anyway, I’ve got to find a way to help her enjoy this “wrong-size” bike until she is hooked on riding again. I’m hoping if she gets psyched about it, she will be willing to put out for a bike the right size, even if it’s still a mass-produced discounter bike. It’s really difficult to convince someone that a $150 saddle is worth the expense, or that it’s OK to spend $500 on a bike, if they aren’t in love with the activity yet. And it’s tough to fall in love with the activity if that darn cheap equipment makes riding uncomfortable!

Today, John and I will make some PVC rod holders for our bike racks, so we can carry our fishing rods with us whenever we go over to the trails. Gotta go for now.

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Cycling greenways in the southeast

We have just returned from a 3-week trip around the south-east to mid-south US. We went to Memphis to see our baby graduate from Rhodes college, and to Austin to visit another child and then came back along the gulf coast.

We took the bikes, hoping to break up the sedentary travel with some healthy cycling. The cycling made the driving/riding portion of the trip much easier. We only drove 3-4 hours most days, but tried to find greenways and bike paths to cycle on for 5-10 miles whenever possible.

We discovered that Knoxville is bike friendly in the sense that it’s bike path/greenways are good for transportation within the city. We enjoyed the Cumberland River trail from the public golf course to Broadway, where we had a nice lunch at Broad Rock cafe. And we discovered that Austin, which is considered a very bike friendly city has virtually no dedicated bikeways, though it has a lot of bike lanes, blocked by autos. It does have hike/bike trails, where the pedestrians haven’t a clue how to share the trail with bikes and they have a veloway, which is like a retired go-cart track (3 miles) that goes NOWHERE!

We tried to find the Levee Trail in Baton Rouge and did enjoy a 10 mile out-and-back on the Baton Rouge Mississippi River Levee Bicycle Path. We had to pay for parking to use it and again, it didn’t take us anywhere in the city, but skirted parts of the city along the river. We enjoyed it because we saw a lot of birds and it was generally a very nice trail to ride, but definitely nothing like Minneapolis with it’s fine bike highway through the city.

My favorite ride was on the side-walk or cement boardwalk along the gulf coast from Pass Christian, MS to Gulfport, MS and beyond. It’s along the ocean, the other users of this trail or path seemed very content to share it, it’s pancake flat and on a good day, you can get a very generous push from the wind in one direction or the other.

We also cycled the Creeper trail in Wytheville, VA for a bit and the New River Trail in PUlaski, Va briefly. The Creeper was very heavily lined with Poison Ivy (we found this true on the Ladybird Lake Hike and bike trail in Austin also).  The wild rose is blooming this week along the Creeper trail is offers a wonderful, heady fragrance to the rider. I highly recommend cycling it right now, if you have the time!

Now, we are home in WV and able to cycle the Greenbrier River Trail again. It, too is heady with fragrance from the apple trees and the wild black cherry trees. Again, I highly recommend a visit in the next 2 weeks to take advantage of that.

Gotta go. We are canoeing today and I’ve got to go get my fishing gear ready.


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