I wanted to go and watch my son ride in the Kona Dirty Weekend today (Saturday 3/5). 

It would have been easy to jump in the car and drive the 40km or so, but that's too boring.  Besides, as a driver, you don't get to see a lot of the scenery.  Electric Assistance Bike time!

The selected route was to get to Gorge Rd at the beginning of the gorge, then turn off Gorge Rd at Bachelor Rd Castambul (just past Corkscrew Rd).  Bachelor Rd is the beginning of the Mawson Trail.  After about 100m, a sharp left past a gate brings one on to Stone Hut Rd, a public road with restricted access.  This road follows a ridge right through to Croft Rd, passing through grazing land, a vineyard, some native forest area and part of Montacute Conservation Park.  The trail has several (read many!) fairly steep sections, some of which I had to walk.  A few short sections were also too muddy to ride.  These appear to have been churned up by heavy 4WD's, possibly in relation to the recent Parks control burn adjacent to the trail.

Return was via the same route, at least until Marden.

Motor use was minimal both ways between home and Bachelor Rd, to ensure enough battery available for the real hill, and lights on the way home.  (Didn't run out of battery.)

Map here.



Total distance: 67.4km (outward, 33.4)
Riding time (rolling, including walking): 4:50:04
Average overall: 13.9km/hr (outward: 13.0)


I left home perhaps 10 minutes later than I should have, so I missed the start of the KDW by about 5 minutes.  For the homeward trip, I left at about 4:20, so as to be off of Gorge Rd before sunset (I was).


A very pleasant day.

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I had to stop halfway down some of the hills - If you are stopped, you have control of your speed.  One hill down early in the descent, I didn't do that, and I couldn't stop until after the bottom - the back end was trying to skate out.  I don't suppose it was helped either by not letting the tyres down a bit - 75psi in the front and 85 in the back on touring tyres. Brakes are good, though; I had the frame modified to take v-brakes, definitely needed for a bike of 29kg and a rider of 105.

I think much of the "road" has been graded recently, in preparation for a control burn by the Parks people, that was done in mid-April, except that they chewed up three or four climbs in clay sections something shocking with the fire trucks.

Well done. This is on my bucket list for winter. I had read Virginia's blog post and was very inspired.

I'm interested in how much the electric assist helped on the climb up?

I wonder if this route in reverse back to Valley Rd might be suitable for the return leg of this year's H'eroica ride (which travels out via Blockers and Mawson Roads.

My take - the problem with Valley Rd descent is:

  1. Strictly bikes not permitted in that part of park (sign is only on way in though, cant remember seeing on on way down from Fox, so probably defensible)
  2. Valley downtrack has gradients in excess of 20% and is quite rocky - IMHO it's only really suited to MTB with knobbly tires. You could get away (as it looks like David did) with roadish (25-32mm) tires on Stone hut - but it's still a lot worse than Blockers/Mawson in terms of quality.
  3. There's some "surprise" gates on the Valley downtrack. As in you come round a corner at a rate on knots and surprise - better pull up quick. It was tough enough on a MTB with discs and decent tyres - wouldn't like to be in that situation in a group ride with skinny wheels and vintage brakes/pads

Still either Stone Hut or Valley are a great ride and worth checking out for recon - you might have a different opinion of what an old Peugeot is capable of !

Some of the "gentler" climbs I could do with pedalling and electric assistance.  When I was walking, at least I didn't have to pull the weight of the bike, using the motor to do that.

Reading Virginia's blog, it is possible that I may have ridden a liitle more than she did, thanks to power assistance and a regraded surface.

I would have climbed further/walked less if the gearing was lower.  I run 32-28 as the lowest (motor drives through chainwheel with a 48-tooth driven ring).  I reckon a 32-32 would have helped a lot, but as the 32-28 will get me up Cherry Plantation Rd in Belair NP, or Whitewood Dr at Upper Sturt, I don't particularly see any need to change it.  Besides, all 4 of my bikes now use the same cluster sets, 11-28 7-sp (except the BSA doesn't have the 11t fitted).  This makes spare-parts stocking easy.  Besides, using a 12-36 cluster would make the steps too big for ordinary road use; even a 11-32 would be pushing it in that regard.

Not too proud (or stupid!) to walk when needed.


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