Every ride is the same, every ride is different. After a couple of months without much cycling I really needed the familiarity and the novelty of this delightful circuit. The scenery is already magical and the roads don't see many cars, particularly if you pick your times well. Weather and the mood and the riding companion are the variables. Go alone, go with some mates, this ride never disappoints.
I had planned to do the circuit alone. A combination of events had left me with a morning to fill. Ben said he'd come along, and then Hugh, and Stuart decided to put a few more miles in his legs before a riding trip to Japan. That's a good group, four, though a good day out can always be had with a few more or less.
Mornings are always chilly at the ferry terminal so there's some decisions to be made about what to wear. I skip the raincoat, for once that's the right call. Stripped of the winter lights and generator, the bike feels light. The first few kilometres are uphill so it's no easy start but the distance starts flying by. It's a ride of ups and downs and from the hilltops there are great views. We spread out and regroup, never in too much of a hurry to stop and enjoy the glimpses of hidden bays and beaches and more distant coastlines. I give my camera to Ben and he snaps some photos of me churning up the big climb.
We stop for coffee at Dennes Point. The weather is mild. There's no wind, it's not cold, but it's still early enough in spring that there aren't any tourists about. We have the cafe to almost to ourselves. There's an old border collie ties up outside, waiting patiently for this owner, who is in no hurry either.
The road ahead is more up and down but there's something funny about riding on Bruny: the hills are never too long or too steep. Again some stops for views and photos. An echinda hunkers down into the roadside verge as we pass. A couple of cars come by, slowly, with a wave.
The timing of the ferries home makes the 44km circuit a bit more interesting. On previous rides there's always been a couple of detours and a distinct lack of urgency. But today with a 9am departure, the 12.30 ferry looks like the shot, if we come up short the next is at 2pm, which is a bit too long a wait. Even though it looks light we throw in one last diversion for the sheer scenic value.
For some reason I'm feeling better than I deserve to today. I'm feeling better in the hills than I thought, not fast but at least smooth. Even the last climb, which I always find tough, seems easier than I remember. We have ten minutes to spare before the boat back to the mainland.
It's six bucks for a bike, out and back to Bruny Island. I reckon it's the best six bucks I spent last week.
2424km so far this year.