As a second-attempt follow up to the previous post, I did the same journey today on my 8-speed Gazelle. You would think that it would be slower than the ten speed Road King, as it is much heavier, but that wasn’t the case. I actually shaved 5 minutes off the previous time to the ferry wharf. Delays were roughly the same, so what made the difference? The Gazelle is a comfortable refined ride and very quiet on the road, taking corrugations in its stride.
On the other hand, the old 27″ Road King has a freewheel that sounds like a swarm of bees and a saddle like stone, with the narrow tyres transmitting every corrugation. I think it only feels as though it’s faster because of its harsh directness. It’s still great fun to ride though, and its low speed handling is quite a bit more nimble than the Gazelle’s (perhaps because of the steeper steering angles?).
The silence on Fernleigh Track in some places is such that I like to listen to dead leaves as they rustle behind me in the slipstream, accompanied by the faint creaking of the Brooks saddle, the wind in my ears and the soft whizz of 28″ tyres on smooth asphalt.
Anyway, about half way along the track I saw road bike riders approaching behind me, and though I expected them to pass, they took longer than I thought to do that, and I noticed that some were my age or older.
Once they had passed I pedalled a little harder to keep up, which wasn’t too difficult. I followed them and kept with them the rest of the way which might partly explain the 5 minute improvement, as I normally ride alone, at my own pace.
After splitting off from the other riders and following Teralba Road from the Adamstown railway gates, I decided to take Everton Street instead of Dumaresq Street through South Hamilton. While Everton is a bit more hilly, it felt slightly safer than Dumaresq, from a dooring and car speed perspective.
Finally straight through the railway gates at Newcastle West, and onto Honeysuckle Drive – perhaps if I had been luckier or faster I could have made the 9:00am ferry – imagine riding for 70 minutes and missing the ferry by 30 seconds! That’s exactly what happened.
It wasn’t essential to cross the harbour today, so I headed home again via Wickham foreshore – a much longer but more pleasant route …. sigh.