Bike Life: Tech, trike and trail adds to the ride
Words by Kevin Crockett
Cycling – is it just about the riding? Not for me it isn’t; I need more from the experience. My riding has a couple of added attractions to provide a bit more incentive to ride.
I ride a recumbent tadpole trike that I made myself. Being something of an electronics enthusiast, I added amateur radio. Through various methods, it allows me to talk with other amateurs both locally and in all parts of the world as I ride, as well as displaying my location via www.aprs.fi.
Using these capabilities, I provide mobile radio communications for the annual O’Keefe Marathon. That’s right, the blue trike.
Then I made a legal conversion to electric-assist. Sure, it means carrying a battery and motor even if I am not actually using it, but it provides an energy top-up for getting over that dreaded hill or when you have little left in the tank. Why struggle when you don’t have to?
Next came a few accessories, starting with Arduino micro-controller-activated flashing rear and front lights, hazard flashers, stop light, and reversing light so I can see behind when riding at night.
A video camera followed, then a tablet that runs an app for controlling the camera and providing an image of what is in its viewfinder at any time.
Other apps I use include Ulysse Speedo Pro for speed, elevation, compass, and the like; Bike Computer Pro for navigation and trip recording; music for company and relaxation; and anything else that is available from a tablet.
There is also display lighting when required for special occasions. Most of this is still experimental but it all works quite well.
So that’s the bike. My other passion is the trail – or, more specifically, the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Living beside the O’Keefe, I compiled a history of the long-gone railway that ran between Bendigo and Wallan from 1888 to 1968. This history can be seen at www.axerail.coffeecup.com.
The stations along the way – Strathfieldsaye, Longlea, Axedale, Knowsley, Derrinal, Heathcote, Tooborac, Pyalong, High Camp, Moranding, Willowmavin, Kilmore, Bylands, Leslie, and a few sidings here and there – are no longer to be seen.
You can still see where they were and imagine what things looked like back then – if you know what you are looking for. Every time I ride the Trail, my mind is taken back to those days that you can no longer see. In my case, I try to add to the history in case I have missed something.
The O’Keefe Rail Trail is a valuable resource for local cyclists and it is still growing with improvements and additions. The recently restored and installed rail wagon, HY 16625, at the Axedale Station site is just one example. Of course, you won’t see it unless you get out and about on the Trail.
Now, there’s an idea. Have a look at the history site, hop on a bike and ride to Axedale, checking the history along the way.
Who knows, I might see you out there.