Thursday, November 23, 2017

Victorian High Country Day 1


This years Snowys ride was a little different than every other year, a new route plan taking us into the thick of the action on the first day which had us riding winding mountain roads for 5 days straight instead of the usual 3 days. I can't say I'm unhappy about that. We only passed through the New South Wales Snowy mountains on our way to the Victorian High Country, that's where the real riding in this country is at. Most of the best roads are so close to each other it's only a short hop, skip and a knee down to the next top Aussie motorcycle road.

This year there was only 5 of us hitting the road with the meeting point in Goulburn 2 hours away from Sydney for breakfast and fuel. Stu and Bushpig dropped past my place and we continued on where we met Dave and Doug for breaky at Trappers Bakery to discus the route, it was changing even now. We were definitely keeping an eye out on the weather as the forecast is for 5 days of rain, D'OH!. Just what you need on some of our twistiest mountain roads.
Stu decided to take us some back way down to Queanbeyan which turned out to be great as it kept us off the boring highway. Our first day was going to be a big one over 700km's which called for a 7am start and I'd packed a secret weapon to avoid the R1 ass pounding on the straight sections. I'd managed to get myself a sheepskin earlier in the week to throw over the seat and it worked fantastic. I just put it away again when we got to the twisty bits.


Doug at Trappers Bakery


Stopping in at Cooma for a bit of lunch we were now 4 hours out from Sydney and at the base of the NSW Snowy Mountains. It's not far from here to some great alpine riding and the route was to take us out through Adaminaby to Kiandra and turn off down through Cabramurra and down to Corryong in the Victorian high country. It's been a long time since I'd ridden along this section of the Snowy Mountains Highway I was looking forward to it and brought my old Go pro out for some use. I'll try and put something up when I get some time.


The Snowy Mountains Highway




Kiandra


We stopped just after the Kiandra turn off and regrouped to chat about the great set of twisties we had just traversed and why the Tuono was going so slow, must have the traction control wound up too tight.

We continued on down the mountain towards the Cabramurra turn off. It was along a winding section that I felt an insect hit me in the neck near the top of my jacket. A little bit further up the road I could feel something biting me inside my t-shirt. We are riding on a highly technical road which demands a high level of concentration so I immediately pulled over and opened my jacket and t-shirt and yep, you guessed it a big insect flew out. I didn't want to make the same mistake I'd made on the 2015 Snowys ride and lose concentration and run off the road at a critical moment. WIN!!!!



Cabramurra Intersection

I love the twists and turns winding down to Tooma Dam, you can see across the top of the Australian alps the hills tops along here are covered in dead trees for as far as the eye can see, hill after hill. The road is narrow and winding down for a long time until it spits you out on the Tooma Dam. Tooma Dam is one of Sixteen Dams that was built back from 1949 to 1974 for the Hydro Electric scheme of which there are 7 power stations and 145km of tunnels connecting the dams with 90kms of aqua ducts. It is such a massive structure. The roads in and out of the area are all of the old service roads that they built to access the dams through some rugged country.

Lads on Tooma Dam

Tooma Dam
The weather was still holding out but it was changing from clear blue skies from this morning to over cast and threatening looking by the afternoon but it was perfect temps for riding in.


We stopped for fuel in Corryong and kept going as it was only just over an hour to our first nights stay at the Mitta Pub. We had stayed here last year on the snowy ride and it is a fantastic little place. The food was great again this year and hospitality was warm and welcoming. They have a great little spot, you might say it's a little slice of heaven right in the middle of God's country. Right on the doorstep to Australia's most winding roads.

Mitta Pub

Snowy Creek


Pool Comp

A few quiet beers between mates
We stayed in the bunk cabin at the back of the pub, not too bad although there was a little snoring happening. At least the rain held out for our first day of riding.

I checked out the petrol price and thought no thanks. In the morning I was thinking I would be able to make it from Mitta Mitta to Omeo, as it's only 107km away and I have 9 litres of fuel left since filling up. As it turns out we put in a couple of very expensive litres just to be sure and that was a good call as I would have run out 1.1 litres before Omeo, probably about 10kms out of town. Another win for me.


Day 1 Map Reference

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Wayback Machine

I was going through some photos scanning in some images for my wife so that she could humiliate her brother for his 40th Birthday tomorrow and I thought I might have a look through my own archives to see what dirt I can dig up on my older brother. Well I found some and guess what?

The old boy had hair once upon a time. Here they are enjoy!

Flyboy with my cattle dog 'Kelly'



Me at Phillip Island WSBK 2000-2001



Flyboy & his lovely wife on the Great Ocean Road

Flyboy at Mount Hotham

Shenanigans


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

2017 Phillip Island Moto GP

This year we decided another Moto GP trip was in order, but Bushpig and his friend decided on camping in the highside camp ground. Not wanting to spend an excessive amount of money on the trip in accommodation camping was the cheap option. Well I did put it on my bucket list a while back so time to tick that one off my bucket list. My brother warned me once about never to camp on the island, but I had one advantage over the time he did it. I was driving down so carrying camping gear was going to be easy compared with carrying it on a bike and if it was raining and so windy that tents became airships then I could always sleep in the car.

As I only had Friday and Monday off work this was to be a whirlwind trip, the Island is 1004km or some 10 Hours 30 minutes from my place so I decided a head start on the Thursday night was called for so I made a beeline for Gundagai on thursday after work cutting 3.5 hrs off the Friday morning trip. This worked well as I arrived just after 12:15pm about 10 minutes after Bushpig had arrived. It was raining steadily from Goulburn to almost near Albury so I was kind of happy not to be sitting on the boring freeway getting soaked.



It is so boring driving on our national highway at a ridiculous 110km for 10 hrs, but that is a whole other post that I've done at length here.

Rain and fog on the Hume


We stopped to meet up at San Remo and pay homage to the road gods by having a beer at the San Remo hotel before stepping foot on hallowed ground.



First order of operations was to purchase tickets and get the tents set up before it rained as the weather was looking slight dodgy, closely followed by filling the esky with beer, it may not have all happened in that order but we got there. With tents set up it was time to hit the track to see some action.



What followed on saturday and sunday was some of the best racing action I've seen since last moto gp. Here are some pictures taken on those two days. We wandered out into the Australian Superbike support paddock to have a look around.

Camp ground on Sunday morning


ASBK 2017 Champion


Camping

Dovizioso




Nicky Haden tribute art

Petrucci

A truck load of tyres

Wayne Maxwell R1 Superbike




On sunday morning I briefly caught up with fellow blogger Jules from Tarsnakes. It was all too short as he had left his wife around the other side of the track minding their spot on the fence. It was good to hear he finally moved into their new house.



Finally motogp had relented and had an FA-18 fighter jet to entertain the crowd with some high speed passes. The noise of these things is incredible. Thank you Moto GP and the RAAF. An awesome display one of the real highlights of the day.



Sundays weather was as fickle as ever with it being typical 4 seasons in an hour. At one point we were getting sunburnt and it was raining on us at the same time. The moto3 race was ended by a passing heavy rain shower but by the time motogp came around the weather was fine. This didn't stop some fantastic racing with Marc Marquez all but wrapping up the title.

Maverick

Rossi leading Marquez and Zarco

Rossi

Zarco

And it was all over way too fast. Another fantastic weekend of racing. Can't wait to do it again.
We packed up the tents and had breakfast in San Remo at the bakery. I spotted this cool cake in the display case. This is the beauty of Phillip Island, all of the locals love and support the event which creates a fantastic atmosphere. The long drive home on monday was something I wasn't looking forward to, it took 11 hours on the way home. I was pretty wrecked by the time I arrived.









Thursday, October 12, 2017

Why are motorcyclists treated like second class citizens

Motorcyclist scum
Temporary Australian
Biker scum

Yep I've pretty much heard them all from members of the public. So why are we generally treated with loathing and disdain from the general community?

The biking community has partly brought this upon ourselves where I have seen bike riders smash mirrors off cars, hurl abuse and generally ride like they are a law unto themselves. Then there are the 1%ers. It only takes a shoot out or two for the media to portray all bikers are bad just by association and its pretty easy for anyone that knows nothing about bikes or riders to put two and two together.

Despite all of these things there are many good riders within our community that are helpful and courteous.  There are charity rides right around the country from the Christmas toy runs, Black Dog Ride(mental health), pink ribbon ride(breast cancer), The Snowy ride(Children's cancer) and many more.

Instead or being harassed and treated like second class citizens we really should have the community backing bike riders and even giving bike riders preferential treatment and actually cater to us. Why?

Picture this; a family pack their car for a day out, mum/dad and the 2 kids and the family dog pile into the car. They drive a couple of hours along the scenic back route and come to a beautiful lake with mountains flanking the other side. They unload their picnic rug and basket and proceed to have a picnic lunch by the lake at a table with the best view of the lake, taking everything they require out of the boot of their car. Finished up for the day they deposit their rubbish and then pack up and head for home.



So what is wrong with this picture you might ask? Well everything I say. This family has basically taken over the best possible spot in this beautiful lake side park whilst 4 people spent absolutely nothing before leaving and going home.

Now picture four motorcyclists turning up on their bikes, with virtually no room to carry anything a group of bikers will stop at a local cafe/pub to purchase food and drink and fuel they require whilst having their picnic lunch by the lake.

The above example happens far to often, I know I have witnessed it many times and also been part of it on both sides, a few times with my wife's family where they did exactly what I described above. They do it all the time.

I know when I'm out on the bike and with friends we buy everything everywhere we go, fuel, food, drinks, accommodation, beer, steaks. How would small deserted country pubs around Australia stay open it it wasn't for us motorcyclists.

Maybe it's time the general community took a good look at themselves and catered to bikers and not treat us as second class citizens, we love to ride and we spend money. Come on guys it's not hard. Look after us and we will return, word of mouth spreads both good and bad.






Saturday, October 7, 2017

And now for something completely different

So I went up to my local bike shop on Tuesday on my day off work and came home with this, a Triumph Bonneville 860.




Riding it home from the dealers was an enlightening experience. To start with it's so much more comfortable than my old R1 sport bike rocket. The upright seating position has both your arms and legs at a nice neutral and comfortable position allowing for easy access to levers etc although I found the gear change lever a bit fiddly to actually get my foot on properly. It is quick steering at lower speeds 60 kmh or less and turns effortlessly. I noticed though when going a bit quicker it was harder to turn and hold it there, but hey its not a sports bike it's built for comfort.

Pulling away from traffic lights on this bike is actually quite effortless, ease out the clutch and with the good bottom end torque the bike just motors away easily, not like my old R1 where it requires rev's or you'll stall it which I did many times. Riding through traffic at 3000rpm made it really feel like I was just in cruise mode quite the change from what I've been used to.

The dash is fairly simplistic and easily readable, not overly cluttered with too much information. Just speed and time with some simple indicator lights. Simplistic and classic lines make this bike a true legend. I'll be right at home turning up on this on the distinguished gentleman's ride and would fit right in, no questions asked.

Dash

So some of the more regular readers of this blog if there are any left will probably be thinking why did I forgo my sports bike for the Triumph Bonneville?

Did I fall down the stairs and land on my head?
Maybe


Have I listened to too much country music and gone insane?
Not likely

Am I drunk?
Not yet



Well I better own up. I rode the R1 up to the dealers for some new tyre's and the 20K service and this was the loan bike they gave me. Now I know my mate Brad would be laughing his ass off seeing me riding the Bonnie but it beats walking and wasn't too bad to ride.

As you might know last year I got a puncture in my rear tyre and I had to put a Michelin rear tyre on that was the wrong profile 190/50 vs the original 190/55 with a bridgestone front, needless to say it wasn't the smooth handling bike it used to be after that, I could tell. The plan was to put a Michelin front on but it never really sat well with me and I persisted with this combo against my better judgement but to my financial benefit. But with this years impending Snowy mountains ride coming up the front was wearing fast and I wasn't 100% happy with how the bike handled with these mismatched tyres I decided to bite the bullet and put on a new set of Bridgestone Battleaxe S21 Hypersports tyres which I had originally put on last year and was very happy with them until the puncture.

Dropping the bike back I was thankful for the loan bike but lucky that I didn't have to ride it again, it inspired no emotions in me what so ever. I can't say I'd be buying one of these before I hit say 75 if I make it that far. Even though the R1 is an uncomfortable bike to ride it is so hard to give up the performance it has in every area, brakes, suspension, cornering ability, blistering acceleration and sex appeal to name a few.

With 18,418km on the clock I'll have to see how many kilometers I get out of this set of tyres if I don't get a puncture this time.