Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Motorcycle Bashing

There's a well renowned road just north of Sydney called the Old Pacific Highway or as most of us Sydney riders know it the Old Road or Old Pac. It's a twisty bit of tarmac which is about 30kms in length which is the closest ride to the suburban population base of Sydney. It would be Sydney equivalent to Los Angeles the "Snake". This means its frequented a lot by Sydney motorcyclists.

It's also quite frequently patrolled by the Gosford Hwy Patrol as there is at least one crash up there every weekend. Taken into context there might be several thousand bikes up there every weekend. The speed limit has been dropped over the years from 100 down to 80 and down to 60 and in one spot down to 50 making it a cannon fodder exercise for the Hwy patrol to rake in the revenue where the road is quite easily capable of at least being a 80 zone if not 100. One of the biggest dangers on this road is the cyclists that ride it 2 or 3 abreast around blind corners often doing less than half the speed of traffic.

We rarely frequent the old road these days maybe once a year because of the heavy police presence and most corners in the 60 zones can be easily ridden at 100+ kmh. You can see previous blog posts about the Old Rd here and here.

A recent you tube upload of a crash on the old road prompted all of Sydney's news channels to flog out the following story which has to be one of the most sorry pieces of journalism I've ever seen. It's motorcycle bashing at its best. I bet the wanker from channel nine rides a harley a couple of times a year.


Monday, December 5, 2016

How fast is an R1 you ask

This is not my video but found this on you tube. And yes this is exactly how fast my R1 is, it can be scarily fast at times.

Thanks to Photiswizard youtube channel.




Friday, December 2, 2016

2016 Not the Snowy Ride Day 5

I think we finished at the bar at about midnight and then somewhere after that we had several takeaways on the outside balcony until the wee hours. That would explain why most of us sleep in until near 9am. I was a bit dusty this morning but by the look of it I was in better shape than some of the other guys. I saw that there were five other already having breakfast at the bakery across the road so i joined them for a nice greasy bacon and egg roll as slowly the remaining guys joined in.

Getting back to the hotel it was around 10am, I saw the remnants of our previous nights session on the balcony table. Not a bad effort no wonder our heads were pounding like the hammer of Thor.






So we waited out the front of the pub, and waited and waited. Ant wasn't in any condition to ride so we waited some more. A group of about 20 bikes arrived from Canberra at the bakery and had breakfast, the average age of the riders looked like it was about 65 in the shade. I had to laugh when one of the harley types dropped their bike on the ground from not putting down the side stand properly, but like a champ he was off and picked up the tractor with the reverse lift technique like he had done it a thousand times before. They then left and headed for home whilst we still waited and waited........ It was about 11:30am before we actually got away from the Boorowa hotel, this has to be the latest start to a ride we've ever had.




The ride took us up to the middle of the Wyangala dam road just east of darby falls. This was my old stomping ground in years gone past. In my younger days I would ride my CBR600 and ZX-9R up this road for a weekend ride as it was the only twisting road within 90 minutes ride from home otherwise everywhere else was straight. Not very conducive to riding a sportsbike. A quick but fun blast up to to the dam, it was a lot shorter than I remember. The road has changed here and you no longer go over the dam wall, the road goes down over a new bridge and bypasses the wall but I saw a turn off and went up the old road to the spillway viewing area and to the dam wall was gated and closed there. Such a shame as the views from the dam wall are fantastic.

Wyangala Dam Spill way
I didn't get any photos from the dam wall so I blatantly stole one from google street view. Below is the old dam wall down below with the new earth wall at top. The original wall was built back in the 1930's and was then upgraded with the larger Rock wall in the 1970's. The dam  is 1.37km's long and holds about 2 times the water of Sydney Harbour or 1,217,000 mega litres. The old dam wall can be seen once capacity is down to 30%. Capacity was at about 98% when we were there as they just had some flooding only weeks before due to all the rain. That's why every thing's so green at the moment.

Dam Wall pinched from google

We continued up towards a little town called Woodstock, the road winds its way up through the hills for about 10kms before coming out into sweeping plains. There was no traffic at all here and I was having a lot of fun.
Bikes on Mt McDonald

We waited in Woodstock for everyone to catch up. Woodstock is a small place really nothing much at all there. Continuing on we turned off towards Bathurst. Just coming out of Woodstock into the 100 zone I heard a loud bang on the front tyre quickly followed by the rear tyre. What the fuck was that? I didn't see anything on the road. Within 5 seconds the rear end is getting all loose. FUCK IT.


I stopped and got off the bike as the others started to wizz past, pressing the tyre it was completely flat. Wayne and Ant pulled over when I started waving frantically as the others disappeared over the hill.

There was a huge dent in my number plate that also bent it on an angle. I didn't see what I hit but it must have been a piece of steel or something. I didn't have a puncture repair kit and have never carried one, That's about to change in a hurry. This is only the second time I've had a flat on the bike, last time was way back in 1998. Lucky for me Ant had one and got to work on it, the hole was big and he put in 2 plugs before putting in the air, I could hear air pissing out again, not good. Cowra was 30kms away and in the wrong direction and Bathurst was about 70km. But would I make it that far. A quick call to Cowra Motorcycles and they had a tyre in stock so I made a bee line for there to get it changed before it went flat again. 5th rear tyre in 14,00kms this bike is sending me broke. Quick everyone send donations fast I accept cash......but will also take credit, beer and bags of chips as acceptable forms of payment.
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Wayne followed me into Cowra, thanks mate your a true champ whilst Ant and Geoff caught up to the other guys for lunch in Tarana. Thanks Ant for the repairs you bloody legend, I'll be getting you some new air canisters shortly. So this was the end of the tour with the guys as we wouldn't see them again after this.

We got into Cowra Motorcycles and they got straight onto the tyre change for me which was fantastic of them. They didn't have the exact size tyre but close enough. Beggers can't be choosers out in the country. I was lucky they had a tyre at all. I got a Michelin Pilot Road 4 on the rear at a 50 profile instead of the 55, this tyre should last as much as the last 4 at least. Now I need to change out the front and keep it for the next time I need to change. DAMN!!!!! My brother was right this motorcycling gig IS going to send me broke.


Even R1's stop for flat tyres


Anyway I got out of Cowra $360 lighter in the hip pocket and Wayne and I did the boring commute on the highway until he turned off at Springwood and I continued on into Sydney and home. Big thanks to Wayne for sticking with me when he didn't have to and also to Ant for getting me going again. Bloody great chaps!

That pretty much ended the 5 days of frivolity in the mountains for this years Snowy ride. Yet another great time was had by all except for the flatty at the end of course, I could have done without that. Thanks to all the guys for an excellent week away and look forward to next year.

The Ventura rack worked out great, I couldn't think of anything worse than living out of a backpack for 5 days and the rack and bag did the trick. There was a bit of water on the inside on day 2 when we hit the heavy rain, but I had my gear in plastic bags so no harm. It wasn't a lot of water but enough that would make clothes damp if I didn't have them sealed up. It was good to be able to carry some water on the bike so when we stopped I had something to drink, its good to stay hydrated whilst riding. The right hand indicator had rubbed on the rack but nothing too serious. Another washer or 2 should sort that out. It was good to not have to wear a backpack so thumbs up to the rack and bag.


Map Reference Day 5 - The alternate Route

Thursday, December 1, 2016

2016 Not the Snowy Ride Day 4


With a gobsmackingly huge cooked breakfast at the Mitta pub on tuesday morning we were ready to hit the road, some of our posse had dazed heads from a big night before. Whos said Sambuca shots was a great idea. Not I. Nevertheless we were headed out of Mitta by around 10am or so and it was shaping up to be a cracking day. Bright blue skies and in the low twenties perfect riding weather.

The ride back out of Mitta in the morning was better than the afternoon before its amazing what the different contrasts in light from morning to night make the landscapes look like. We were not in such a rush this morning either. This really is GOD's country here, stunning area and great riding.



Our first stop was the Granya Gap turn off heading up towards the Murray Valley Highway. Granya is a relatively short bit of road but is an awesome ride. If you've not done it before put it on your list of roads to ride before you die. The road twists its way up and over a large hill and back down the other side.




We regrouped again after Granya for a wee break and for everyone to catch up. As we then turned onto another awesome bit of tar the Murray Valley River Road. With all the rain we've had recently the river was full and the lush green hills surrounding the river made for a scenic ride. Quite often I found myself just looking off into the countryside.


Murray River
The road winds its way around the southern side of the river which is in Victoria, the other side of the river is New South Wales. The river is what separates both states.
Here's some pics I cobbled together from the burst mode on my phone showing the guys riding along this section of road. Not too shabby for a phone.

Bike on the Murray Valley River Road


We turned off the river road and crossed the bridge over the Murray river and into New South Wales at the little hamlet of Jingellic. Almost immediately I noticed the condition of the roads pretty much turned to poop with large potholes and poorly finished road works littering the road all the way to Tumbarumba. The road seemed to climb slowly up and up for a long time until we started to come upon some heavily forested sections. More stunning scenery, what is it about lush green pastures with rolling hills covered in pine trees that I love so much?


We stopped for a bite to eat in Tumbarumba so I had a nice apple turn over as I was still full from breakfast and then we headed out towards Cabramurra on the Elliotts Way. It's been a very long time since I'd ridden along this road. Its quite a sweet bit of road but narrow and a bit rough but still a lot of fun. Scenic but not so much as say Mt Hotham as on this road you can only really see the next mountain across from you as the road winds up between valleys.

Tumut 2 Power Station

I stopped at the Tumut 2 Power station to have a look but it was closed. Tumut 2 is part of the snowy hydro electric scheme that was built back in the 1950's and was opened in 1962. The power station is actually built 250m under ground in a huge excavated chamber. My brother and I did a tour through the station back in the late 90's on one of our bike trips to motogp. I think they have stopped doing the tours now which is a shame.

Ant



Ant and I stopped at one of the look outs to take in the scenery but unfortunately you couldn't see the tree's for the tree's so to speak. The lookout was in a bit of a valley so not a lot to see, you might say as far as lookouts go it was underwhelming.



Blasting back up the hill I was having fun with the quick shifter and dancing through the gears, I was a little surprised to find the other guys waiting less than 5 minutes from the previous look out. D'oh so we stopped again to take in some views of yet more tree's and a couple of lazy ass bikers.





After the climb up and over to Kiandra it was a dash towards tumut and to get into boorowa. We took the back way out of Tumut into Gundagai but got stuck behind a farmers heard of cows that were running along the road and spilling the contents of their bowels all over the road in front of us. Just what we need more bullshit on this trip!

Boorowa Hotel Beer oclock



On the way between Harden and Boorowa we got stopped yet again by another farmers heard, but this time the road was covered in sheep everywhere and we waited and waited before the quick dash to the boorowa hotel where we enjoyed a few quiet ales, a Guinness or two and maybe some more sambucas to wash it all down with.





Another good day in the saddle however as always on this section the last 2 hours feels a lot like hard work just to put us back within reach of Sydney the next day so I have mixed feelings of this day. The highs of the morning riding through the beautiful mountain passes then followed by the lows of the straight boring bit out to Harden and Boorowa.


Map Reference Day 4

Thursday, November 24, 2016

2016 Not the Snowy Ride Day 3



A big slap up breakfast was what is called for when one has a massive red wine hangover. Lucky for me I stayed off the reds and just had a few beers, as a matter of fact I was feeling pretty good. The guys on the other hand didn't look so good, that reflected in the leaving time which was around somewhere after 10am. Breakfast in Bruthen was washed down with a couple of nice coffee's then it was time to head out. Until one of those recalcitrant Ducati's decided that its battery would shit its self over night. A jump start at the local servo and we were under way.


At breakfast there was a couple of heavy showers that passed over and then were gone, looking at the radar the showers were heading from south to North. If we time it right we will ride along in between the showers and not get wet. Well that's the plan.

Tambo River

R1 on the Tambo


I love the section of the Great Alpine road that runs alongside the Tambo river. Its probably only a short 20-30km stretch but it is fantastic fun. It was a bit difficult in trying to read the road surface as some sections were wet from passing rain then there were dry patches, it was hard to tell the difference. 


I had to stop finally as the weather closed in and it started to rain so out came the wets again.

Soon we were in Swifts Creek, I saw Ant had a cup of coffee. I said "Ah great I need a coffee, what's it like?". Ant looked around to see if anyone was nearby, and then said"Its the worst coffee I've ever had in my entire life" Yikes splash the idea of getting a coffee then so I settled on a bottle of water. Yeah better to Hydrate anyways.



We did a left turn in Swifts Creek and took the back road up to Omeo, I'd not been up this road before and it was a cracker of a winding little country road much like a roller coaster ride up and down over the hills, the scenery was so green and lush with all the recent rain it was beautiful. Well worth the ride. Soon we were in Omeo and fueled up. The local constabulary pulled up and we asked him about road conditions across Falls Creek Alpine area. Unfortunately for us the Falls Creek road was closed still because of snow. So it was here the group split into 2. 3 of the more hungover guys headed straight from Omeo to Mitta Mitta, whilst the rest of us headed up towards Mt Hotham.



The road steadily rises up from Omeo all the way up through Dinner Plain until you get to Mt Hotham. On the way through Dinner Plain mist was rising up from the road surface as the water was evaporating, the 2 Ducati's in front of me made the mist break and swirl as they went through. I amused myself with the thought of "Ducati's in the Mist".

We decided to stop at a little place coming up into Hotham called 'the General', it looked like a mix of pub, general store and restaurant. We stopped out the front and saw our first specs of snow on the peaks ahead.
Selfie Time


Nearly all of us ordered a nice warm soup as we were all still pretty full from a big breakfast. I ordered a nice tomato soup, it was the best tomato soup I've ever had except I couldn't finish it. The views out the back over the valley were spectacular but there were dark rain clouds looming and dumping on the distant hills.



After lunch we rode up to Hotham Village and had a look around, there was still a bit of snow laying around by the roadside and on the slopes about. It was chilly at 6°C but I didn't feel it with my wet weather gear over my leathers, that and I put on my thermal top today.


6 degrees and balmy outside





Stopping in at the Cross at 1845m we frolicked around in the snow, with Steve making a snowman that kinda looks like a snow penis, not sure what he was thinking and Kingy walked to the top and slid all the way down.




I thought I would put my Go Pro on for the trip down the hill until I saw this little gem on the screen. 'NO SD'. Dang! I could clearly see the SD card sitting in the SD port in the front of my PC at home. I put it away again and thought what a blood waste of time that's been carrying a camera around for 1200kms and I can't even use it! Oh well........just enjoy the ride.



Continuing along this road is some of the most spectacular riding that this country can provide, the views from up here are simply superb and make you feel like you're on top of the world. York was listening to some tunes in his helmet.



We had to get going and quickly as in the distance we could see a huge cloud dumping rain and it had just about reached the road ahead just where we were headed. It started to spot on the visor as we rushed to get ahead of the rain on one of the twistiest roads around with one 35kmh corner after the next, corner after corner for 30 glorious kilometres. Good god this is so much fun.

Ovens River Harriettville

Harrietville
A quick stop in Harrietville and we were away again towards Bright, but we turn off before there and head up over the Tawonga Gap and on into Mt Beauty for fuel. Starting from the back of the grid I made my way through the field to win the Tawonga Motogp by about 2 laps. I love this road its one of my all time favourites and looks like the favourite of a bunch of other bikers as a heap flew past in the opposite direction. The Victorians certainly know how to make a winding mountain road nice and smooth, so much better than the NSW roads in comparison.



It was starting to get late in the afternoon so we got going and headed up kiewa valley way after having to abandon the Falls Creek road and it was now just the commute to the pub for the night. I wasn't overly joyed to be staying in Mitta at the pub, I'm not sure why maybe I was thinking it wasn't going to be as good as the Golden Age in Omeo where we normally stay. But as soon as we got to the pub after the fantastic ride through the valley to get there I was quietly over joyed at being so wrong about wanting to stay here. It was the best little country pub I've ever stayed at. There is a huge awning out the back with a tiered grass section that goes down to the Mitta river and a weir. How's the serenity came to my lips several times. Having a beer with Geoff we were both stoked.





The food was fantastic as I had the beef ribs with veggies and everyone else also thoroughly enjoyed their meals as well. It cost $65 for the bed and a huge cooked breakfast to go with it. It was dorm style rooms with communal bathrooms but very clean. I ended up not wanting to leave, with ideas of ditching tomorrow night's accommodation and staying here and doing loop rides through the mountains. But alas it wasn't to be, maybe next year we will stay for 2 nights instead.

The Mitta Pub

Map Reference Day 3