We left Weldborough, looking forward to the downhill to make up for the big uphill we experienced yesterday. This is Tasmania however, and there were some serious downhills and uphills to do before we reached the amazing town of Derby.
Derby is a tiny town, sort of in the middle of nowhere. Some mountain bike trails were built recently and the town has become an absolute hub of activity! Just about every car we saw had bikes attached and people were riding along paths.
As we entered the town we saw the Vertigo MTB building and I stopped to talk to Jude, one of the owners. I found out the business has been running tours from Derby for ten weeks. The riders often camp at the free campsite in Derby, then get shuttled up to Weldborough to ride down the magnificent trails, or they do the Blue Derby trails, which have only been built in recent times by World Trails, who also built the trails in the Atherton Tablelands. Jude was quite excited about the change in the town as they embraced the mountain bikers and other cyclists. She also mentioned the impact on Scottsdale as people started visiting as news of the mountain bike trails spread.
The couple of cafes in the town had bicycle paraphernalia all over the place. We went into both cafes (of course) and both were extremely welcoming, asking about our trip, offering water and generally making us feel welcome.
We had scones and jam and cream plus coffee at the first cafe, The Painted Door. The food and coffee was brilliant and the staff were lovely.
The second cafe, at the Tin Dragon Interpretative centre, had a cafe with a floor pump available for cyclists, sold bicycle accessories such as tubes, t-shirts and tools, and also sold reasonably priced hearty meals for hungry cyclists! We were in love!
We could have almost finished our day at Derby, but there was even more good stuff to come!
Leaving Derby was hard after a couple of good feeds, but we managed, and set off for some more hills. We still had about 35kms to go to get to Scottsdale, and we knew by now that distance can mean little when you’re talking Tasmanian hills!
We had to ride through Branxholme and up the very long and steep Billycock Hill (well it looked like it from the bottom and certainly felt like it as we struggled to get to the top!), but then we entered the start of the North East Rail Trail at Tulendeena.
The trail descended gently and we hardly moved the pedals until we got about 6kms from the end, where the trail flattened out.
Along the way we saw other people out enjoying the trail. We met a friendly gentleman called Nic Downie who was riding with his grandkids. When we looked at a newspaper the next day we found out the next day that he is the ophthalmologist at the Launceston General Hospital! There was a photo of him in his surgical scrubs. He gave us some helpful information about the best cycling routes in the area. Nic and his wife also own Gazelle electric bikes, so I was excited because our shop sells those bikes and I could agree with him about how good they are!
We camped at the free camping area in Scottsdale. It was $3 for a hot shower and was full of camper vans. It was okay and we cooked our dinner and went to bed!