An early start from Richmond this morning. Destination was Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula, and I wanted plenty of time for exploration when I got there! The early part of this morning's ride was a little uninspiring, up to the town of Sorell. It was shortly after this that I turned off the A9 to the alternative route via Lewisham and Dodges Ferry (a name to conjure with!).
It was this alternative route that made the day's cycling - offering great coastal views all the way as the dirt road climbed and descended across a number of hills, which only added to the overall scenery of the ride. Anyone riding to the Tasman Peninsula from Richmond or Hobart would be advised to take this route - to take the more direct route would miss a heck of a lot.
Reaching Dunalley, then heading south, a gradual forested climb toward Eaglehawk Neck. It was on the road to the campsite at the backpackers' lodge that the problems started. First of all my brand new chain missed a gear change and slipped outside the rear derailleur. Not a problem, I'll just take it apart with the chain tool, re-thread it, and put it back together.
Trouble was, my chain tool then proceeded to fall apart. I limped to the campsite, left my things there so that I could have a good look at what I could do about the problem. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the campground owner had about 17 bikes and any number of tools I could use! No chain tool, however. In the end I just about fixed it up (eventually a piece of scrap metal providing my salvation) and took it for a test ride to Remarkable Cave, near Port Arthur.
Well, Remarkable Cave lived up to it's name, Even if I did have to deal with a heap of bushfire smoke along the way (which caused me to limit my time at the Port Arthur Historic Site). Evidently there are some monster fires raging on the peninsula right now. On the ride back I heard a metallic ping - @#*$#! Yes, it turns out one of the links in the chain had been damaged in my rather agricultural repair attempts (prior to discovering the piece of scrap metal).
I limped back to the campsite (another 20km or so) after patching it together one more time, contemplating limping all the way back to Hobart for yet another new chain. Luckily, there was another cyclist staying at the campground. Emmanuel was from France, and even better, had the spare link I was looking for! We put the chain back together, then shared our food and some conversation at the end of the day.
That chain cost me three hours, and thus inhibited my exploration of the Tasman Peninsula. I am not impressed!