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.


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?

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.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Australian Superbikes Rnd6 SMSP

I rode out to Sydney Motorsport Park on Sunday to check out round 6 of the Australian Superbike championship. The action was superb even the little 300 class was action packed with the first 8 riders finishing within 1.2 sec of each other battling 5 abreast into turn 1. I might add those little 300's were doing 1.44's around the track. I haven't managed that time on my R1 there yet.

Here are some of the photos from Sunday's race day.

Bayliss taking a punter on a 2 lap experience of a life time, cough cough, or is it 4 minutes of sitting in your own excrement

Three times world superbike champion Troy Bayliss was there to give some will particpants a ride on the two seater ducati superbike. He was wheelstanding all the way out of pit lane. You couldn't pay me to get on that thing with him.

Troy Bayliss - pity the camera didn't focus

Bike carpark

Shawn Giles ASBK winning GSXR's

Shawn Giles - GSXR 2 seater ride
Both superbikes races were dominated by the new Suzuki GSXR1000RR piloted by Josh Waters, it pulled about a 5 second gap on the rest of the field.
Honda Garage

Brian Starings Honda Fireblade - 2nd in Race 2

Kawasaki Pit Garage and Lunch area

The Pirelli boys were busy fitting tyres the entire day, they didn't stop, just like a well oiled machine. Champs.

Supersport Race 1 Winners

Ted Collins took out the 2017 Supersport Championship

Supersport Race 1 start

Laura Brown

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Take it to the track son!

Driving home in horrendous Sydney traffic this afternoon, I had to take some back streets due the the huge volume of cars on the M4 and Great Western Highway. Typical Sydney punish, I came up to a T intersection when a very familiar looking red and white R1 zoomed past.

You guessed it, it was none other than Bushpig and he was on his way to Sydney Dragway with a mate of his to do some quarter mile action. I was late getting home and the wife was already taking the girls to swimming lessons so I thought 'what the heck' I'll head on out to check it out.

It's a pretty simple concept, you pay your entry fee, get scrutineer ed then line up, point your bike or car down the track and when the Christmas tree lights up or down so to speak, you then attempt to zoom along bloody fast. Well that's the general gist of things. The idea is to bring some friends and race your mates.

The cars were up first and there were some sleepers in amongst them. Plus there were some very special and heavily modified cars. Best I saw was an 8.5 sec run from the red car in the pic above, that's one bloody fast car. One car burst a hose and leaked coolant over the track which took about 20 minutes to clean up whilst they trailered the car away.

Up next were the bikes, first up with a R6 up against an MT09, then there were a couple of GSXR's and then the two R1's. Bushpig hit a false neutral on his first run. I only hang around for 2 runs of the bikes as it was blood cold out and I was only in a tee shirt straight from work. Well worth a look if you've never been before.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Social Engineering

There has been a disturbing trend growing over the last 20+ years in this country which I've now started to see creeping into other countries around the world.  It is delivered by our government and thrust upon us as road safety but in reality at a base level it's nothing more than social engineering.

Year after year the government pushes the road safety message with the subtlety of a sledgehammer heavily focused on you guessed it speeding. All other road safety issues are virtually ignored unless they can be easily enforced. They constantly advertise on tv and radio with their propaganda. It's brain washing on a mass scale, fed to the populace to induce them into believing falsely that speeding is the bane of all evil.

Over the years there has been countless campaigns in this country about speeding. For those Australians reading this you'll have probably heard of most, if not all of these.
  1. Clip every trip
  2. Wipe off five(kmh)
  3. Don't Rush.
  4. Slow Down
  5. Towards Zero
  6. Ride to live
  7. Every K over is a killer.
  8. Speeding, no one thinks big of you.
  9. Everybody Hurts when you speed.
Australia is leading the world in its nanny state approach to road safety with some of the harshest speeding penalties in the world. See my previous post on Australian Speeding Fines here. There's not much focus put on any other road safety issues except drink driving. I've hardly ever heard of police targeting people for sitting in the right hand lane when the left lane is empty, the police can't really book fatigued drivers, how do you know someone is about to fall asleep at the wheel? But speeding is easily measurable, definable and very easy to police and brings in massive revenue for our cash strapped government. How much revenue? In New South Wales alone its 496 million this year and rising. Annually the Australian government pull in 1.8 billion dollars in revenue every year from speeding fines. Too hard for them to give that up, they are are addicted like a drug.

The latest campaign 'Towards Zero' video below, not specifically about speeding but road safety.

What's wrong with Zero fatalities you ask? Well nothing and everything. Firstly this Utopian idea of zero fatalities is utter bollocks, its never ever going to happen. I'd love for there to be no road deaths, really I would but I am also a realist and recognize that you cannot stop this from happening. As long as people are driving on the roads there is always going to be crashes and deaths. We are human and humans make mistakes. We fall asleep, we have medical episodes, we get distracted we make stupid mistakes, there is wildlife, people commit suicide, there are mechanical failures, mobile phones, fatigue and the list goes on. Let me repeat its never going to happen. But you can see where this is going can't you, reduced speed limits and more police to relieve us of our hard earned money as often as possible. It's already started happening on Australian roads - see link. The following roads have already had their speed limits dropped including Mt Glorious Rd, The Great Ocean Rd, The Putty Rd, Bells Line Of Road and The Great Northern Rd, the Old Pacific Hwy and the Bonang. If you cannot accept that there will be deaths on the road then you have no place being on our roads. I accept and acknowledge the risk.

The thing that gets me about this towards zero bullshit is that we as motorcyclists are the most vulnerable road users there are and there is no room in the government's vision for motorcyclists on our roads under this Towards Zero propaganda. They will want us off the roads and will introduce any measures they can think of to do it. That will come in the form of insurances and registrations that are so high that no one will be able to afford to ride and road tax collectors will crack down on motorcyclists for anything they can think of to get us off the road.

So what is the result of all these lowered speed limits and higher numbers of police on the road. You'd think that our lives would be totally safe by now but no, Australia ranks fairly poorly against several of our European counterparts. Here is a list of the fatalities per 100k people.

Road Traffic Accidents - Death Rate Per 100,000:
Sweden 2.36
United Kingdom 2.9
Norway 2.86
Switzerland 3.3
Netherlands 3.4
Denmark 3.5
Israel 3.4
Spain 3.65
Germany 3.9
Japan 4.7
France 5.1
Canada 6.0
USA 10.6

Stats courtesy Wikipedia - Link

Most of the European countries listed above have speed limits of 130kmh whilst here in Australia our national limit is 110kmh or 100kmh in 98% of places. One notable exception in Australia is the Stuart Hwy in the Northern Territory which has been speed limited to 130kmh, which I might add was brought down from an unlimited speed limit. The Northern Territory Department of Transport records only 6 fatalities from 2004 to 2014 with 62 people badly injured. None of these deaths are directly attributed to speed however, with not wearing a seatbelt accounting for 63% and alcohol accounting for 31%. This data comes from times when there was no speed limits and when the limit was 130 kmh. Statewide the Northern Territory experienced its highest total road toll of 75 deaths on 2008 when speed limits were enforced. In the 30 years from 1981 to 2010 the Northern Territory had an average of 55 fatalities a year on the road. For most of this time there was no maximum speed limit. There were more deaths in the 6 years following the decrease in the speed limit than there were in the 6 years prior with unrestricted speed limits.

European Speed Limits

We have sections of highway in this country that are built to very high standards and are quite easily the equal of Germany's autobahns. Roads like the Hume Highway, a double lane dual carriageway which stretches from Sydney to Melbourne through some 878kms of mainly remote countryside. There is no reason that the speed limit on this road couldn't be raised to 140km or even 150km to be conservative. I'm not saying make every remote country road with speed limits like this but certainly the well maintained and built ones yes. Why not that's what they have been designed for?

Fatigue is one of the major killers on Australian roads with some 20% of deaths caused by fatigue. A study from the Adelaide Centre for Sleep Research found that a person who has been awake for more than 17 hours is twice as likely to have a crash as somebody who is not fatigued. This is the same probability as a person who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 g/100 ml. The same study showed that a person who had been awake 24 hours was equivalent to a person with a 0.1 g/100 ml blood alcohol concentration, with a crash risk of seven times higher than normal.

If we consider 3 popular Australian Interstate routes, Melbourne to Sydney, Sydney to Brisbane and Adelaide to Perth, taking 9 hours, 10 hours and 28 hours by increasing the limits there can be considerable time savings.

Time at
Time at 130kmh
Time at 150kmh
Time saved
At 130kmh
Time saved
At 150kmh
Syd to Melb
2.02 hrs
3.27 hrs
Syd to Bris
Adel to Perth

With the potential to have more people completing their trips within the 17 hr window of fatigue there is actually lessened chances of an accident by driving at an increased speed.

This chart below shows the road toll in Australia over the last 40+ years.

It has been in steady decline over this time but has stagnated over the last 7 years. I'm sure the government would have you think its because of their numerous safety campaigns, speed cameras and strong police presence. Indeed drink driving laws came into effect back in the 80's which has helped. I would argue and counter with this - cars have become much safer with airbags, crumple zones, stability control, ABS etc, roads have been improving over the years. What hasn't changed? People's attitudes, training and education.

What needs to Improve?

One thing that needs to change in this country is the licensing system. Our licensing system is so antiquated to the point that getting your licence here is a joke. There's an old saying that we use here that goes something like this  "Where did you get your license? Out of a cornflakes packet" It would be laughable if it wasn't so true.

To get your license here all you need to do is sit a short test which doesn't even have to be in English, although all of our road signs are in english, go out on our roads accompanied by mum or dad who has a license and learn as many bad habits as you can for a few hours(120) then a short 15 minute drive with an RTA driving tester and voila you have a license.

Seriously how can you get a license if you can't read the road signs? That is a basic ability of being on the road. You need to be able to read the signs.

How's this for a comparison, a German driver’s license requires a minimum of 25 to 45 hours of professional driving instruction plus 12 hours of theory and eight hours of first aid training. Obligatory lessons include a minimum number of lessons each driving on: the motorway Autobahn; rural areas, and in the dark.

This should also be the minimum requirement in this country. We teach people how to pass a test rather than how to drive here and it needs to change. There are far too many clueless people on our roads. Who knows maybe the road toll might be a little lower if we had better trained drivers instead of licensed incompetents.

Even these measures of increased driver training, better cars and better roads are not going to stop fatalities on our roads. They may well reduce them but you cannot stop it completely and it is utter madness or plain wishful thinking to think otherwise. The government knows this and they actually have the power to stop all speeding vehicles. How? Compliance of every new vehicle to be fitted with GPS speed limiting devices therefore there would be no more speeding vehicles but they are not going to do this. Why? Because they know if that happened their revenue stream would instantly dry up and there would still be fatalities, making the whole road safety campaign of speed kills a complete fallacy. A 1.8 billion hole in the budget is pretty hard to fill. Makes me wonder what happens if they introduce driver less cars?

Our Victorian government would have us falsely believe that every 1 kmh over the limit is a killer. Well that's great, what about then that the NT speed limit is 130kmh with a lower road toll of their Victorian counter parts and the Victorians highly police their limits with a 2kmh over the limit speed camera tolerance has one of the highest road tolls in the country?

Now I am not totally against speed limits as I support urban area limits of 50, 60, 80 and then there are 40kmh for schools zones but there is a tendency in this country to change the limit every kilometre or 2 here from 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and back again making it impossible sometimes to know exactly what speed zone you are in, but completely perfect for mr plod to empty your wallet. These need to be consolidated back to a more simplified approach. We need to protect our kids from harm with the 40kmh limits but I do believe that out of urban areas in our rural areas with little traffic limits could be raised.

How about variable speed limits on our national highways so that in good conditions limits can be higher, but during night or rain & poor visibility the limits can be reduced. No, that all makes sense but it doesn't make for good revenue so therefore our useless bureaucrats would not even entertain such useful suggestions.

With never ending government advertisements on speeding being the evil of all evils the public has become brainwashed and no longer think that there are any other problems that cause road accidents whilst they blissfully stay under the speed limit, talking on their phones and not paying attention. Who are the real menaces on the road?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Wiseman's Ferry to Broke and Putty Rd

We had an nice warm 23°C winters day and the Slomax had organized a ride for us. We left Bushpigs place around 9:30am and headed up Windsor Rd and turned off up Annandale Road and past the old Amaroo park race track which is now sadly a housing estate. A few turns here and there we ended up funny enough at Glenorie bakery with a pie and coffee in hand. Don't know how that happened but it makes me think about buying a ducati. We left not long after and headed up towards Wisemans ferry via the old northern road. We had about a 5 minute wait to get on the ferry and took the spot right at the front. The water was calm today.

Once across we made our way along the river towards mangrove mountain. Such beautiful countryside through here I just wish the road was in better condition so that it would make the ride that much more enjoyable. We turned off and headed up towards Wollombi. Just short of the town we met up with one of Stu's friends that was on our Mudgee ride last month. He warned us of 2 Hwy patrol ahead but luckily we didn't see any and refueled both bikes and ourselves in Broke.

Wombat's ahead

After lunch in broke we headed around through the lower end of the hunter valley towards the Putty rd and back down towards Sydney. It was a quiet day on the Putty, not many bikes about and no highway patrol making it an enjoyable ride.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Motorcycles that make absolutely no sense!

Motorcycle manufacturers make bikes that they think they can sell and make money from but sometimes they don't always come up with the next big thing. That's right sometimes they get it very wrong, here's a list of bikes that make no sense what so ever. What the Fuck were they thinking.

In no particular order here is a list of 10 motorcycles that the manufacturers should have fired the designer.


Ducati 906 PASO

Aprillia Futura

Suzuki Hayabusa

Victory Vision

Honda Goldwing

Harley Davidson Electra Glide

Bimota Mantra

CAM AM Spyder

Yamaha GTS