Friday, June 24, 2011

Fiery Ride

Its sometimes funny how things just seem to work themselves out. I missed my RDO on monday due to work commitments and was wondering when i would get my RDO when Geoff just happened to ring on wednesday and tell me he had organised a ride with a few friends for friday if i can get the day off. Then my boss tells me i need to take my RDO on friday. Well i couldn't have planned that better.

Plan is to meet up at Heathcote Macca's and head down to Macquarie Pass and Kangaroo Valley. Its very cold this morning only 3 - 4 °C so i decide to wear my thermals this time and take my neck warmer. Thats the best thing i did all day. It was so good to not get cold today.
Stefans R1 has had its under seat exhausts remove and replace with one of those short pipes out the side that looks like MotoGP. Oh and the sound that thing made was ooh so MotoGP as well. It sounded horn without being overly loud. He also had a power commander put in and it made an extra 30bhp at the wheel. Now thats some extra bolt on go....
After leaving Heathcote we headed down to Albion Park and turned off up to Macquarie Pass. Being Friday there wasn't much traffic on it and it was a very good run up the mountain. Lots of fun. The surface here is as good as anywhere as it has only recently been resurfaced with hotmix. Very sweet. Then it was a quick stop at the pie shop again for another pie, because i just haven't had enough pie's.

Then it was down through Kangaroo Valley, there was a fair bit of water on the road here as the sun didn't touch some sections of the road here in winter. After this we turned off up Kangaroo Valley Rd towards Berry Mountain. I had never been on this peice of road before, it was very scenic with some spectacular views and some real sharp hairpin bends, but the road surface here was much to rough to be riding fast. I was at the back on this section when we came round a downhill right hand bend that had water on it to find all the bikes parked on the side of the road. First thoughs were 'whats going on' then 'whos crashed'. Only to find that Steve on the beemer had run on through the bend and up the driveway of someones house and squeezed between the mailbox and the vine/bushes. Phew, that was close.
After this little stop is was on again to Berry where we hit up the pub for lunch. The hamburger and chips looked great except not $15.50 great. So it was a quick beer and chips then off again.
Up through kiama bends, these bends are really fantastic when you can get a clear run, nice radius smooth sweepers, i wish there where 10km off these. We turned off the main highway and went up Jamberoo Rd and onto Jamberoo Mountain Rd. This was the first time i had been up this road as well. I was a fantastic little ride around 25km's but would be a lot better in summer.

Another quick stop at Robertson Pie shop, yes the pie's were tempting me but no, no pie's this time.
Leaving the pie shop it was starting to get quite cool as it was now mid afternoon and another quick run back down Macquarie Pass and you may have forgiven me for thinking that all the riding was finished for the day. However little did we know things were only just about to heat up, literally.

Turning off up Picton road after leaving Wollongong we saw some thick black smoke rising up into the sky not far ahead over the hills. Suddenly we come upon  2 lanes of traffic completely stopped. Oh shit its an accident for sure to be blocking the road, and no cars going the other way either.....

Geoff suggested lane splitting to the front to check it out which sounded like a good idea to me. Well what did we see when we got to the front?
A semi had run straight into the centre divider and up on top of it then rolled over. The driver was trapped inside, some guys smashed out the front window and rescued him then the truck burst into flames. Diesel fuel was flowing all over our side of the road.
With police, ambulance and firey's turning up left and right and it starting to get late, this was starting to look bad for us. We had dark visors on and it was about 4:15, it will be dark near 5pm and with still about 80kms to go. The policeman said the road will be blocked for a couple more hours yet. This was looking really bad for us as it would get really cold up here. Steve asked one of them if we could sneek around the back of the fire trucks, the fireys said it was ok, the policeman said it was all good. YIPEE, the cars were stuck but we just got through.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Winter Putty Road Ride

Sunday morning came around and it was a pretty warm winters day. So good in fact that it was time for another ride. Geoff was interested in a run up the Putty Road so who was I to argue with that. One of Australia's premium bike riding roads right on our door step. I put on a damart thermal t-shirt under my shirt today as last fortnights ride in the southern highlands had me quite cold and i didn't want to be caught out late in the afternoon as it starts getting cold after 3.00pm.
After a quick fuel stop at Wilberforce we headed off, and we couldn't have asked for a better day, it wasn't hot or cold just perfect motorcycling weather. Just after Colo River we stopped so Bushpig could put on his helmet cam. Its a great little device that one. If I can get some of the footage i'll post it up here because its far to hard to stop and take photo's of winding roads like this one, its just not the same.
The road that climbs up into the hills after Colo River is a superb peace of twisties although all to short at only 7kms. After this section it opens up into some big sweepers up through the forest. This section of road near colo heights has become alot bumpier than i ever remember.
Here's the Colo River section from Bushpigs R1, with him following me.

After a while we stop in at the old halfway house. There's a large tin man like statue here now. I don't remember seeing this here before, but who know's it probably been here for a couple of years now, as last time i was here the halfway house wasn't burnt down either. Yep, its been a good while since i've done some decent riding, which is going to change for the better.
There were about 10 or so bikes at the old servo or that we saw going past, looks like everyone has the same idea as us today.

Then it was off up towards the 16km stretch of some of the best set ot twisties you'll find anywhere in the state. Being winter we decided to take it relatively easy as some sections of the road here are in constant shade all day and have moss and water on them, needless to say that it gets very slippery here. We had some good fun along here even whilst being careful. At the top section a group ride pasted us going the other direction with the lead rider and tail riders wearing fluro jackets. There must have been about 20 - 30 of them. What i don't get on such a great peace of road as this is why the hell you would want to ride slowly in a big group surrounded by wankers that have to organise you to within a inch of your life, isnt that what governments do? After this section it was a lunch stop at the Cockfighter tavern and fuel up at Bulga servo. The roast of the day at the Cockfighter was brilliant i must say. Washed down with a cold beer. Very nice.
We left the tav around 2:00pm and headed back down the same way we came up. This time it was a bit of a quicker run going down as we had already scouted out the road on the trip up, and knew where the wet patches were and where we could do some scratching....

We were having so much fun that i forgot to stop and take some pics, maybe next time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The History of Motorcycles from XL250 to R1

I thought i'd share with you the history of my progression through the years on the motorcycles i have owned and sometimes crashed starting from 1993 when i was a beginner till now when i am..... er not such a beginner. Sorry about the picture quality, as digital cameras were not even invented when i had these machine until i got one in the year 2000.

My first bike was an 1984 Honda XL250 dirt bike which i got to learn to ride on and commute to work. There wasn't that much dirt riding done on this as i was much more into road bikes thanks  to my big brother who had just got the new Honda Fireblade(the R1 of its day). I rebuilt the engine once with the help of my dad. In the years i owned this bike i put about 20,000km or more on it. Here's my queensland blue heeler sitting on it for a pic.  She used to meet me at the gate when i'd get home from work and by the time i had pushed my way through the gate she'd jump up on the seat in front of me and i'd take her on a couple of laps of the  backyard. She loved to ride with me. RIP Kelly.
I bought my first road bike in 1994, a Kawasaki ZZR250. It was a good learner bike but it wasn't long before i had wanted to step up to a bigger bike. After a few track days with Roadsense motorcycle technics at Wakefield Park it was time to get off my P plates and get a bigger machine. I put on 12,500Kms on this little machine before trading in on my next step up. Here's a picture of the zzr250 on a ride up to the Oxley Hwy stopped off at the 54Km windy road sign head towards Gingers Creek.
The next progression up the ranks i bought a Honda CBR600 in 1995. This bike was by far a huge improvement over the zzr250. It stats were 205kg wet with 100Bhp. I had this bike fitted with dyna jet kit and K&N filter and took it to Sydney to have it dynoed. It put out 91Bhp at the wheel. Not a bad bike this one, although it had really poor fuel economy with just 185km per 16ltr. I had done many wakefield park and eastern creek track days on this bike until i low sided it at eastern creek on turn 9. Basically i ran out of ground clearance. It cost about $1500 to fix with a new fairing and new mirrors and indicators. I eventually put about 48,000Kms on this bike before trading in on the next new thing. About time to as living in the country and riding this flat out everywhere took its toll as the 3rd cam chain tensioner bit the dust.
And a quick action pic of me on the Old Pacific Hwy.
The next step of evolution was a 1998 Kawasaki ZX-9R. Tech specs were 214kg wet and 140Bhp. This bike felt big and heavy compared with the CBR600 but it has oh so much more power. It was a real hoot to ride. I test rode the dealer bike in Dubbo and saw 270Kmh on the speedo on the test ride. I put about 35,00kmh on the ninja before throwing it down the rode one freezing cold winter morning on cold tyres just around the corner from my house. I remember it well it was -5°C that morning and lost the front at a give way where a car was coming along. All my fault, cold road, cold tyres, too much front brake. Insurance covered that one but it would have been about $3000. Here's my ninja at the top end of the Putty Road.
Also another action pic this time on the Great Alpine Road near Mt Hotham.
The next step up was finally to a 1000cc sports bike and what better way to go then the famous R1. Tech specs were 201 Kgs wet and 150 Bhp. After riding this thing for the first time i was hooked. It felt just like my 600 of old but with even more power than the 900. Infact it weighed 4 kgs less than the 600 and 10 Bhp more than the 900. The steering was unbelievable compared with the 900. And owning both at the same time i tried to make the ninja steer as quick as the R1 by dropping the forks down by 7 mm in the triple clamps but it never worked and felt stable at the same time, it would steer quick but feel unstable. And the brakes were so much better on the R1, plenty of feel not like the wooden feel of the brake of the ninja(they had plenty of power but lacked feel).
Here's both bikes, it was hard to pay the rego, insurances and tyre costs so one had to go. It was an easy choice. The R1 beat the zx-9 hands down.

Even from these photos you can see that the R1 was a much smaller bike. The zx-9 was much more comfortable and had better protection in wet weather but the R1 was much more fun and inspiring to ride especially when you got to the twisties.
Here's an action pic of me in Tasmania...
And overlooking Hobart on the road up to Mt Wellington.
I still have the R1 which is a 2000 model and its now got 47,800 kms on it and still going strong. If feels real good when you put a new set of tyres on it. I think if i update to a newer bike looks like it could be another R1.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Back in Business

After last months aborted ride attempt i have replaced the rectifier on the R1 and rewired it and now time for a test run to see if all is well.

Geoff had organised a few mates to go for a ride with us. In typical Delmas fashon he managed to ride past my place 2 times without noticing the R1 sitting in the drive way before i headed off after them. Bloody Delmas turning up half hour late then getting lost in my own street....

Anyways, we all meet up about 1 hour late down on the Northern Road and plans are hatched to head down to Kangaroo Valley and Macquarie Pass. We are soon stopped again at Picton for a quick drink and toilet break. Its pretty cold out this morning being around 12°C.
Funny enough there were several other bikers at this place already and they were drinking beer this early in the morning(10:30-11am).

We proceeded on down through Mittagong but didn't turn off to Kangaroo Valley, instead heading straight down Macquarie Pass. The road was a bit damp and it was very cold until we came out at the bottom. Was a slow ride down behind a couple of cars and a wide harley. I thought we might see some harley pieces all over the road as that thing couldnt go around the bends in his own lane.

After a quick stop at one of Geoffs mates and a fuel stop it was back up Macquarie Pass. It was a little warmer by this time and no cars in front to spoil the fun. I had the engine spinning up to 11,000rpm at some points in 2nd gear. This road is still very narrow and treacherous but the surface is really good as it has been hot mixed. It was a good trip back up and we pulled in at the Robertson Pie shop for a quick pie then some of the others wanted a cool beverage, so it was onto Roberston and we hit the Inn.
After a nice cold beer it was back on the road again, by this time it was 3:15pm and it was  friggin freezing up in the highlands. An hour and a half later and it was back home to the waiting loved ones.

Well it looks like the new regulator did the trick, now to plan a Putty Road ride with the boys.