Thursday, August 9, 2012

Leven River Afternoon.

Gorgeous and lazy, the sparkling Leven River neatly divides the Tasmanian town of Ulverstone into West and The Rest. A recently completed bridge integrated into the local cycling network is one way to span that divide. The town itself is mercifully flat for the most part and you can follow some nice bicycle infrastructure across and along the river before meeting the beach. Our rides around Ulverstone begin with the unloading of bicycles in a car park next to the Leven, a sad necessity until the completion of Tasmania's cycle vision. As it stands, towns along the North West coast have been busy building their own self-contained sections of bike path and the plan is to connect all these segments until there is a great and glorious (and safe) cycle route through the region. Until then there is only a sporadically marked bicycle lane on the shoulder of the state highway between towns - a Russian Roulette of transport trucks and average speeds over 100km. In the meantime, at least we have the beautiful Leven to distract us with plenty of ice-cream for sale, the scent of sea air and bursts of sunshine.

The newest bridge, Ginger probably meditating on the acquisition
of yet more chequered shorts, Schwinns.
My Professional Bike Model career was tragically cut short by genetics and a refusal
to go topless so now I pose on bike paths in the hopes of inconveniencing Roadies.

I briefly posed publicly with the Jenny, much to the consternation of two locals. The middle-aged couple stood open mouthed and watched us dismount (the bikes, not each other - It would have made more sense, otherwise) even prior to the appearance of my camera. I didn't tell them there were teenagers enjoying skateboards around the corner. They might have lost their minds.

Dotted along the river, boats wait patiently for somebody to acknowledge them. Never forget.
The Leven is quite tidal, sometimes leaving waterfront buildings to languish on the sands.
And Gingers to stare into the middle-distance.
We always see a lot of bikes in Ulverstone as their infrastructure is superior
and their hills less disruptive of the town footprint.
The older bridge.
Ulverstone has a Summer holiday vibe and a superfluity of playgrounds.
If that's even possible. But it seems like there's a swing every 100 metres.
The new bridge as seen from West Ulverstone.

Ulverstone also has many parks and the ones bordering the Leven each have a military theme. There is a Naval park, an ANZAC park and then the above pictured small, playground-less park tucked away around a corner on the west side of the river. A charming sign proclaims it to have been named after a military camp of strategic importance. The camp was called 'Eagle' because the soldiers had nailed a dead eagle to a tall tree to mark the way. Perhaps it's best that there's no swings at Eagle Corner.

But there is a giant globe in the naval park where you can finger a map of Tasmania.