Cycling In Tasmania: Deloraine to Scottsdale - 122kms

The first post-office in Westbury.

With its taste of England, I could have been riding through the countryside of Devon. Green, undulating and driving with rain, today’s ride reminded me of cycling along the A396 through Tiverton. The only difference was the native vegetation and the scant amount of traffic accompanying me along the way.

Another beautiful village along the route was Westbury. Tasmania’s most English village, it has its own village green, tree-lined streets and assortment of National Trust buildings that memorialize its early history, dating back to the 1820’s.

Originally intending to give Launceston a wide berth, my route along the A3 delivered me to the city’s mall, around which Launceston’s annual cycling classic was being held. As I tore around its barricaded racetrack, more through fright than ability, I sensed the astonished gaze of spectators as I rode by. Sheepishly awaiting my embarrassing removal from the track, I thought of those over-zealous footy-fans who trespass onto the M.C.G. before receiving an absolute pummelling by a mob of security guards. Probably far less inebriated than my fence-jumping interlopers I noticed a small gap in the steel fence. Needless to say, I took my chance and came out a winner. Free at last, I cared little for the result of the race only seconds from its start.

The old 'Lyric Theatre' in Scottsdale.
Between Launceston and Scottsdale lies the beautiful though extremely wet and cold Sideling Range. I’m told that from its lookout at the top of the climb, there are stunning views to the south-east; that’s if you’re fortunate enough to go by on a bright clear day. Amid low-hanging clouds and driving rain there was absolutely nothing on offer for me however, as my water-spewing tyres carried me past.

Sixty-plus kilometres north-east of Launceston is Scottsdale. Named after James Scott, who first surveyed the area in 1855, it serves as the major agricultural centre of the region. Still, in many respects an Anglo-Saxon community, its major industries include potato farming, dairy farming, pine plantations, poppy cultivation, mining, and of late, a growing tourist destination.

The 'Lords Hotel' in Scottsdale.

The next day’s Examiner newspaper published an assortment of interesting and entertaining articles on the Launceston Cycling Classic. The main event, which saw the early exit of Britain’s Chris Froome and local rider Richie Porte, was won by New South Welshman Neil van der Ploeg.

Weekend cyclists would have enjoyed the article written by Rob Shaw, describing the outcome of the Masters event. Here are the first two paragraphs, which had us chuckling over our cornflakes:

‘The masters race proved to be a showcase of Launceston businessmen with George Hyde claiming the honours.

Led out by jeweller Mark Matthews and commercial director Steven Brown, the 39-year-old psychiatrist led home orthodontist Scott Smith and accountant Mike Walsh.’

Author: Rob Shaw (THE EXAMINER, Monday, December 8, 2014. P.35)

Books by Mark Krieger:

‘High Spain Drifter’ is available on Amazon , Barnes and Noble, Booktopia  and other online bookstores. 

‘Lycra, Lattes and the Long Way Round’ is available on Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books

Both books are also available at local bookshops on the Mornington Peninsula: @ Rosebud Bookbarn and @ La Brocante

It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.
                                                             Heinz Stucke

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