Welcome to the first edition of Tandem Talk for 2016. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas break. I had a great holiday that now seems like a distant memory. Did you know there are only 277 days left until Christmas 2016!
A lot has been happening – better go put the kettle on.
There have been two Rec Rides so far this year, and both have been well attended.
In February 11 of us (5 tandems and one lone bike) cycled from Bassendean to South Perth, returning via Elizabeth Quay, where we stopped for the obligatory photo on the new bridge. (see below) We celebrated Deanne’s birthday at Gelare in South Perth and it was great see Paul and Sheldon after a long absence.
In March 9 riders (4 tandems and 1 bike) headed to Castledare for the Retina Australia WA Family Fun Day. We cycled from VisAbility along the train line to Cannington before following the Canning River path from Kent St Weir to Castledare via Riverton Bridge. One of the things I love about cycling with WATCAC is being made more aware of my surroundings by having to describe them to our VI members, and I hope I have gotten a little better at this. I have a growing list of “things I never thought I would say” and on this ride “There’s a miniature train, a diesel, on the tracks by the river and Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers are riding on it.” got added to it. *
* For the record, “The cheese is on the left and the g-spot to the right” still tops this list. Said during a shopping stop in Harvey during a South West tour several years ago. G-Spot was the name of an ice-cream (gelare) place there.
Club rides have been a bit thin on the ground for the start of the year as several of our members have been overseas touring Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and India. More on this later.
In February 4 members (the ones who had been slacking and not training for some big, overseas adventure) eased themselves back into the saddle with a shorter than normal ride from VisAbility to Mt Henry and back, via the newly opened Elizabeth Quay. Later in February 7 other riders explored the Swan Valley and got in some practice in preparation for the Freeway Bike Hike, with Paul H ably substituting as pilot for Adriana while Hab is pedalling around India.
Despite the best of intentions of getting some further training in before the Freeway Bike Hike, both March Club Rides were cancelled due to a lack of attendees. Tandem pairs are still getting out on other, non-WATCAC rides however.
Santos Great Bike Ride
In November last year I reported that some of our members participated in the Santos Great Bike Ride. This ride takes you around the Swan River; Perth to Fremantle via the western suburbs and back to Perth along the Kwinana Freeway. In Mosman Park there is a significantly large hill. The Santos Great Bike Ride of 2015 can be marked down in history, not only as the 10th time that Adrianna and Hab have completed this ride, but as the FIRST TIME that they made it up this hill without getting off the bike. Tremendous work!
In January a group of 150 riders cycled 100km to Pinjarra to support those affected by the devastating bush fires there. Adrianna & Hab, Trevor, Paul H, Forest and Haylee participated in the ride, which raised $12,000 for the Lord Mayors Distress Relief Fund.
It all started in Guilford with a group of us sitting around at a cafe after a ride having coffee, Haylee read out an article on her IPhone that said a ride was being organised to raise funds for the people at Yarloop, Forest said “let’s do it” and before we knew it we were signed up for a 140km ride….
So on Saturday 23 January the five musketeers, Hab, Adriana, Haylee, Paul H, Forest, plus Trevor the cling on, met at Murdoch train station. The carpark was buzzing with riders of all descriptions. A big photo shoot was organised then it was time to head off. (You can find that photo here: www.therove.com.au )
Being the sensible group that we were, we opted to go in the medium pace 25 km/hr group and not the fast pace 32 km/hr group. Little did we know that we were amongst professional long distance riders and our average speed over the first 70kms was 34 km/hr, boy we were glad that we chose the slow group. I must admit though that it is easier to ride at that pace when you are in a large group of riders.
Before we knew it we had arrived in Pinjarra and it was straight to the Pinjarra bakery for morning tea, yum, yum, yum, the iced coffee was fantastic and more importantly, a cheque was presented to the Fire Chief.
It was time to get back on the bikes and the weather was warming up. In view of this we decided to just do the 100km circuit which headed back to Mandurah train station. The groups split into two, the main group headed back to Murdoch train station, another 70 km, one of our trusty musketeers, Forest, took up the challenge and completed the 140 km journey. It was a very hot ride back so the rest of us were relieved just to do 30 km back to Mandurah where we boarded the lovely cool air-conditioned train back to Murdoch.
It was a great ride and a fantastic fundraiser for the people of Yarloop.
Giro d ‘Perth
This is a wonderful Bike-Week event that involves following clues on a map to lead you to new, hidden parts of Perth. Beau and Janelle borrowed one of our MTB tandems to take part in the Giro d ‘Perth last Sunday. Beau said “As always it was good fun and we found a cool new cafe in Grand Lane in the city. I enjoyed riding on the back seat and it was a distinct advantage to be able to read a map whilst riding.”
Cycling in Thailand in Laos – Trevor:
In February, I participated in two cycling tours in Thailand and Laos. I arrived in Chiang Mai on my own for two nights before meeting up with my tour. I enjoyed some time at the Tiger Kingdom and participated in a half day Thai cooking course.
The first cycling tour of 14 days with Exodus Travel started in Chiang Mai with an international group of sixteen. We were provided with ‘Specialised’
mountain bikes but of course we did not ride all of the time. The small buses were used to transport us when it was not suitable to ride, mostly relating to time constraints or very mountainous terrain.
After a day cycling around some sights in Chiang Mai, we departed the next day for Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, visiting the White Temple, on the Way. We stayed overnight in the ‘Golden Triangle’ and visited the very interesting Opium Museum. It was there that we caught our first glimpse of the mighty Mekong River.
We crossed a Friendship Bridge into Laos and stayed overnight at Huay Xai.
We then travelled towards northern Laos and stayed overnight in Luang Namtha, Udomxia and Pak Beng. At one stage we were only 18 kilometres from the China border. After 6 days continuous, of very hilly cycling, we spent a welcome 10 hours relaxing on a boat on the Mekong River from Pak Beng to Luang Prabang. We spent two nights in Luang Prabang and cycled out to the spectacular Kuang Si Falls (waterfall)
After leaving Luang Prabang we stayed overnight in Van Vieng and then onto the Lao capital, Vientiane, a vibrant city that still had some of the French influence from the time that the French controlled Indochina; before the Communists took over. After an overnight stay, we headed back to the Thailand border and caught the overnight sleeper train back to Bangkok. On arrival at Bangkok we took a boat ride along the rivers and canals and visited the Wat Pho (reclining Buddha) and the Grand Palace. The tour finished at the hotel after breakfast the next day.
We had completed 560 kilometres over some very hilly terrain and some rough, but sealed roads, particularly in Laos.
Onto my next experience. I had arranged, through Homestay.com, to stay with a family in the Bangkok suburbs for two nights and was able to experience home life in a genuine Thai environment. My host introduced me to her Buddhist Enlightenment Centre where we both performed an activity for the children and parents attending; this simulated tandem riding (pilots and
stokers) with the blind and vision impaired. Great fun. There is no tandem riding in Thailand that I could find.
Afterwards, I commenced the second tour; a 4-day cycling tour of Central Thailand with Spice Roads. Two ladies from Canada were on this tour. The terrain was mostly flat but we cycled ‘off-road’ a little more. It was quite hot cycling in the afternoon; especially after big lunches but fortunately we only had to cycle 30 kilometres a day. En-route we saw many different crops and fruit growing. We stayed in Kanchanaburi for two nights in two resorts that were right on the River Kwai, on the edge of the jungle.
While there, we walked over the ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’; visited the POW Cemetery; the Burma Railway Museum; and had a ride on the Burma Railway train. It was a very interesting history of how Prisoners of War were used by their Japanese captors, to build this railway, in the Second World War.
We then travelled to Ayutthaya, which was the capital of Thailand until 1400 and cycled around many temples and ruins.
We cycled 120 kilometres over the four days, on this trip, before returning to Bangkok.
I spent one more night in Bangkok central and then flew home.
These type of holidays are definitely more than just a cycling experience.
The bike is the just the means that you need to be able to feel close to local people and their countries. As a result of this trip and previous tours in South East Asia, I have gained much knowledge of their history, customs, food and lifestyles.
Next issue – Cycling in India with Hab and Haylee
Upcoming WATCAC and Community Rides
3rd April Freeway Bike Hike Elizabeth Quay
8th April Bridges Night Ride Centenary Park
10th April Rec Ride Departing from VisAbility at 8:30 am
17th April Club Ride Departing from Success Hill at 8:30 am
Thank you to everyone who has paid their Membership Dues.
For those of you who haven’t please fill in your details on the attached WATCAC Membership form. A copy can also be downloaded from our website under About >> Membership, or click here: watcac.org/about/membership
We are currently updating all our membership data and contact information, so even if you have paid your dues ($30) already, please complete the form and return it via email. The same applies to our life members.
Membership fees ($30 per year) and bike loan fees ($50 for 6 months) were due at the start of the year. Payment can be made by bank transfer to WATCAC
Account Number 4196458
To help with tracking payments, please use your surname in the payment description.
In Case of Emergency – ID Options
One of the reasons the committee is asking you to fill in the membership form is so that we have current, emergency contact details for all our members. It is also a very good idea to carry some form of ID and emergency contact information with you when out cycling, along with any medical information you may deem necessary to communicate to emergency service providers. There are several ways to do this. You can
- put an information card in your pocket
- use an ICE (in case of emergency) screen on your phone
- put emergency details on a sticker inside your helmet
- wear a RoadID bracelet – this is a simple rubber wrist band with an engraved plate where all your details are placed. Think of a sexy Medic-Alert type bracelet. I have one if you want to have a look at it, or go to www.roadid.com Approximately $25 per band
- use Taggisar ICE Emergency Stickers – a sticker using QR Codes to store vital information about the individual as well as medical information which can be retrieved by others using any form of QR Scanner (found on every smartphone or available App). $9.95 for 2 stickers.
Thank you to all who attended our AGM at the end of last year. A big thank-you also to outgoing committee members Paul Metcalf (Treasurer) and Jo Burgess (Committee Member)
The WATCAC Committee for 2016 consists of:
Anthony (Hab) Collier – President
Haylee Clarke – Secretary
Trevor Maslen – Treasurer
Jennifer Musgrave – Ride Coordinator, Vice-President
Erin McGlew – Committee Member
Sue Price – Committee Member
Happy and Safe Pedalling