Tuesday, May 22, 2012


After getting my new hoops earlier in the week I was very keen for the coming ride on the weekend. There were 6 of us out on the ride which was the same route we took 6 months ago through Jenolan Caves to Oberon then on through Bathurst to Sofala and on to Rylston for the night. It was great to catch up with the guys again, they are a great bunch of blokes and good sensible riders. I hadn't seen Jason since the 2009 snowy ride so it was good catching up with him. I hadn't laughed so much in a long time.

On the way out to the meeting point I was slowing for some traffic lights and sat upright and let go of both bars. Nothing unusual except that a second or 2 after letting them go the bike went into a tank slapper. That was a bit unusual. And it did it a few more times if I let go the bars. Mmmm. Not sure why. Could be extra weight over the back/new tyre. Not sure.

The ride out across Bells Line was fairly cool and I was glad I had my neck warmer on. It wasn't that cold though as I was feeling OK in my summer gloves. We saw 3-4 Highway patrol cars both marked and unmarked across Bells line. They were having some kind of blitz on. The wind mills at Hampton were in full swing today unlike the other times I've been there. We stopped in at the cafe at Jenolan Caves village. If anyone is thinking of getting a coffee here forget it. They have the worst coffee.
Jenolan Caves Stop
A quick bite to eat was had when we got to Oberon, we weren't that hungry so just stopped for a pie and a drink. It was then onto Bathurst for fuel. It was suggested a lap of Mt Panorama was in order but the interest wasn't there today. I've ridden around there plenty. No need to tempt fate any more than necessary. Then it was out the road to sofala. There is a great set of twisties a few Km's the bathurst side of sofala. It was great fun sitting behind the ZX-10 up here just watching him crank it over knee out. This is what it's all about. Simply Magic.

Roadside stop at Sofala
After a quick stop at Sofala I put the Gopro on for a little while. Here's a short video of the ride out of Sofala.
Not long after we got into Rylston and more importantly the Globe Hotel which was our digs for the night. It was only around 3 by the time we got in and on the first round of beers, it was going to be a long night. Probably not as long as the young punks that set of the fire extinguisher in their room. The cops had a good talking to them. Then they got chucked out. Serve em right. The room was a mess the next day.
It was a slow start on Sunday, I was a little dusty after the nights efforts at the bar. Just after leaving Rylston I noticed the tacho was flicking up and down intermittently, an occasionally a small dip in power then back to normal. Something didn't feel right, but I continued on anyway. Some of the bends on the Bylong Valley way can be pretty hairy. Most are un-sign posted and some have double apex's going down hill which can really catch you out if your unprepared and a little hungover.
April and the Mothership

The plan for the ride home was back down the Putty road and home. As we fueled up in Bulga we heard that there'd been a bike crash on the putty. We also heard of another bike crash on the Old Pacific Hwy that had closed it. It was decided we'd try the putty as it was supposedly just local diversions in place.

As we came down through the fun twisties the bike started to really badly play up, with the tacho and speedo display cutting out completely followed then by the bike cutting out several times. Not good, and not happy. It ruined the run through the best part as the others just started to disappear into the distance. I thought I'd be walking very soon but miraculously it fired up and kept going although spluttering all the way to the Grey Gums where we stopped for lunch.

The burgers at the grey Gum cafe are excellent, I'd recommend them to anyone. Once at the cafe we had heard that there was indeed a bike crash 10km further down the road and much to every one's dismay it was a fatal accident which had closed the road in both directions. I wish the riders family all the best, it must be tough on them right now.

This also meant that we would have to turn around and head back up through the 10 mile of twisties again. Normally I would be cheering but was quite concerned that I wasn't gonna make it. Bushpig suggested we look over the electrics wilst we waited for our lunch to come out. Off came the seat and start poking around then bushpig gives a big laugh. He'd found it in 2 seconds. The bolt on the positive terminal of the battery had come out of the nut and it was only gravity holding the terminal on. That explained the intermittent troubles. Thank god it was a very simple quick fix.

After that I was much relieved and now very keen to ride the 10 mile again. Back on the road the bike run flawlessly. Woo Hoo, I didn't waste any time so I hooked in and gave it a good crack.

We rode back around to broke for fuel and headed down through Wollombi. I hadn't been through here in ages, it is still a rough little one lane road. Not so good on a sportsbike, although a cruiser or a tourer would love it here.  Then it was onto the F3 and home.

All in all a great weekend away with the guys. Great riding, great weather and a top bunch of guys. There's nothing better.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pilot Power Pure

Yesterday I went and got some brand new tyres fitted for this weekends coming ride. The old set of Michelin Pilot Power would not make another road trip. I have used the pilot powers for the last 6 years and were very happy with them especially in the wet. They seem to have exceptional wet weather grip for a motorcycle tyre.

After a quick phone around for price and availability I couldn't get some pilot powers cheaply, one store had the Pilot Power Pure which is Michelin next generation sports tyre. The price was good at around $389 fitted for the set compared with some other quotes i got. They are also 2CT dual compound as well so they have a harder centre and soft compound on the sides for better corner grip. I must say I've never been interested in getting 10,000+kms out of a tyre as I'd much prefer to have the maximum grip possible as this is the only thing you have on the road that will save your bacon. I'd feel bad if I put on cheapskate tyres and something went wrong. I usually get around 5000 out of a rear but just change both at once anyway. I think its a bit of false economy to try and put a new back tyre on with a worn front. It just feels kind wrong.

Oh and before you say anything Flyboy no smart ass remarks about how big the chicken strips are on my tyre. It hasn't been lent over on yet OK. Its been from the shop to home, less than 5kms.
Starting kilometers is 52,432 so I'll be interested if I get more or less km's than the last set. I'll post up a review of these after a decent ride.

Michelin marketing bollocks

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Old Road

Today I decided that it was time to visit my old knee scraping friend again. There wasn't going to be any of that on this ride though. I decided to head up through Berowra Waters and cross the ferry and up to the old road.
There's been lots said in the past about the 'Old Road' as it is commonly known to local bike riders. It's real name is the Old Pacific Highway in Sydney's north between Berowra and Gosford. Many years ago it used to be the main highway north out of Sydney before they built the F3, a new 3 lane freeway, at which point it became a tourist route with little traffic.

The road itself is a pretty good one with lots of twists and turns. Its the first road that I ever got my knee down on. It's been called many things in its day both good and bad. Magnificent biker heaven comes to mind, but in recent times sadly it has been policed to the death. The road is only about 25km's long but is nearly all bends. I haven't been up this road for a few years because of the heavy handed policing not to mention the now ridiculously low speed limit of 60kmh. Last time we came up here we were pulled over for a random breath test. Yeah right as if we would be riding a highly technical road like this on sports bikes and pissed. That's just an excuse so they can then check you for other things like illegal loud pipes, rego etc

Yet another Ferry Crossing - Berowra Waters

 I decided to stop in at Pie in the Sky for some breakfast. Looks like I wasn't the only one as there must have been 80 bikes here this morning. Even with the heavy handed policing it proves you can't keep bikers down. I tried the pepper steak pie and was going to get a coffee but the line was huge. I would have to wait about 15 minutes so I decided on a double espresso milk instead. That pie hit the spot just right. I can really recommend the pepper steak pie. I almost got another.
It was great just to sit there and relax on a Sunday morning and watch all the bikes coming and going.

After a half hour break it was time to head off north over the Hawksbury and enjoy some of the twisties. The section down to the calga interchange is only 60 kmh which ruins it really as I looked down a couple of times to see 100-110 on the dial whilst in the middle of some bends, oops better slow down just in case. The short straights are a bit of a chore at 60kmh.

 There sure were a lot of bikes out today as the Autumn weather was superb at 22°C. I saw lots of bikes come past when I stopped to take these pictures. There were even a few women riders out today.

This road definetly has some of the best curves you will find anywhere around, but it can also be pretty dangerous as well because a lot of them are blind and there were lots of cyclists out on it today. Some of them were 2 abreast leaving only enough room for a bike in the right hand wheel track.

The last section that winds its way down to Mooney Mooney creek is one of my favourite parts. I also like the look of the scenery here as there are lots of ferns, kind of a sub tropical look. Got to look out for water on the road in the shadows at this time of year. There was also some moss growing on one of the bends near the photo above.

The road warriors cafe has been closed down. I wonder how long ago that closed. Looks like all the bikes that used to stop there are now stopping at Pie in the Sky.

I noticed that they have fixed the road surface where they used to have the small flat lines of tar running through the curves to join or cover cracks in the surface. Most of that is now gone to all bikers joy, they were deadly in the wet and unsettling if you hit them in the dry.

Heading south back over the Brooklyn Bridge towards the Pie in the sky and Home.

On the way home I thought that I might make a detour and take the Galston Gorge rather than ride down Pennant Hills road which can be quite busy. I'd prefer to stay away from crazy Sydney traffic. I tried out the Go Pro mounted to my helmet and was quite pleased with the results. Galston Gorge has the tightest corners I have ever seen. The sign postings say 5 kmh which wouldn't be far off. Trucks, Buses and caravans are banned from driving here as you can see from the video.

All in all a good days riding, any day I can get out for a ride is always a good day. I just prefer to go on a ride where you are not constantly watching the speedo fearful of being pinged. This road has that reputation attached to it, even though it is a good ride.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Blue Cow

It's been pretty hectic around here lately, I've been very busy at work and even working weekends so there hasn't been much riding. During my duties for work this week I had to go down to Perisher which is in the heart of the NSW Snowy Mountains ski fields. The destination was Blue Cow Terminal @ 1,890m / 6,201ft which during the winter is a ski resort, but the other 6 months of the year is deserted.

The Snowy Mountains is a great place for riding motorcycles but not so much at this time of year if it very cold. I was thinking of riding the bike down until I saw the forecast which predicted a 50% chance of snow on Thursday down to about 1400m. Perisher Valley is at around 1,720m / 5,643ft. So after  that I decided on the nice warm work Ute as I had to take the laptop and some tools as well.

I have never been up to Perisher before so I was looking forward to seeing what the road was like up here. Anyone who has ridden the road from Thredo to Jindabyne will have a good picture of what this road is like. I took a couple of quick pics whilst driving along.

Road to Perisher
I arrived at Smiggins Holes early and it was freezing cold, we had to get a lift up to Blue Cow in a 4wd as the conditions up here can deteriorate rapidly and you will not be able to make it out in a 2wd vehicle. The road up is just a small single lane dirt track up the side of the mountains, it can be steep in places. Once we arrived at the resort I took some time to take in some of the spectacular views.
Blue Cow

The picture below is off the balcony looking back down the valley. You can see the dirt road that leads up to the resort.

Looking out to the west towards Mt Kosciusko(not in picture) there was a bit of snow about, but luckily it didn't snow while I was up here although the temp on the DDC was reading 0.5°C. Not sure what it would have been with wind chill. Brrrrrr.

There were lots of snow guns on these slopes but they have yet to be fired up in anger this winter.It won't be long, about 4 weeks away now.

I will definetly have to come back up here and ride these roads. Just have to pay the fee to get into the national park then let the fun begin. Now to just wait for summer to come around.