Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crossing the Ditch

It's been a long time in the planning, about 18 years if I remember rightly since my brother and I had been talking of riding around New Zealand. To be honest I didn't think it was ever going to happen since we'd now both moved apart and have families of our own with our own busy lives, but one day early last year I received an email which started the ball rolling. It seemed like a long way off way back on that April day to even dream of this but finally after months of planning its finally only a couple of short weeks off now. To say I'm looking forward to this would be the understatement of the year.

I've spent quite a bit of time looking at maps, studying the motorcycle atlas, remembering places I've already been to, searching google up and down for all sorts of things and spending hours looking at various accommodation options. I've finalised the route plan which looks something like the map below and all is now in readiness for the coming race, er tour.

I must also mention here a big 

to my fantastic, beautiful, wonderful gorgeous wife for allowing me to do this.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Anti Bikie Laws - So this is Queensland

For those non Australian readers your probably unaware that in Queensland Australia the newly elected Government has with the medias blessing introduced laws which the media bleet out to anyone who will listen as "ANTI BIKIE LAWS". Apparently the new anti bikie laws will reduce crime by 40% if you listen to the media, by making anyone that is in the 1% patch club a criminal. I'm no rocket scientist but I'm fairly sure not every person in a motorcycle social club is a criminal. But new laws in QLD say that they are and that 3 or more people in that said club can't congregate together otherwise they are breaking the law - possibly with a mandatory 3 year gaol(jail) term. What a F*cking load of shit.

These laws are really disguised as anti association laws banned people from meeting together. If the government suddenly decided that members of the catholic church, muslims or the local shooting club were dangerous then you could be stopped from congregating together or be gaoled. The police now have rights to detain and search you for no apparent reason other than they think you may be a member of a bikie gang. There needs to be no proof other than what they think. Very dangerous territory. This shit happened back in WW2 with the Nazi's and we all know how that ended.

These laws are across the board and affect everyone riding a motorcycle in Queensland. Recreational bikers have been targeted, Ulysses members, Vietnam Veterans and every day riders like you and me. Apparently cops can't tell the difference between a sports biker or a 1% Harley rider.

I saw this on the Internet and its F*cking hilarious.

Don't think the police will harass bike riders with these new laws think again. Watch this video and tell me this guy isn't being harassed. Does it require 5-6 cops to talk to one biker who is co-operating with them even though he clearly doesn't  like them. Can't say I blame him really.

 To top it off the officer asks him why he's wearing a vest on a hot 30°C day. You f'ing stupid bitch. I ride on 35°C+ days in a full leather outfit. Its something called safety you f'ing half wit.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

First ride of 2014 and a whitewash

Today we took a short ride to Wisemans Ferry for lunch at the pub. It was a quick 150km jaunt and a quick catch up after Christmas. There were quite a few bikes out today as it was quite warm. After lunch we headed around river road towards Lower Portland and caught up with the Portland Ferry for the trip across.
Wisemans Ferry Pub
I love the sand stone rock formations along this section of road. They are scattered all the way along if your going slow enough to look at them all. It was getting pretty hot along this section so I ended up riding with my jacket unzipped to cool down somewhat.
Sandstone Cliffs

Sporting Geoff

River Road Lower Portland

Portland Ferry

 By the time we stopped for the Sackville Ferry and waited for it to cross the river our black seats had become bum burning hot. I never noticed that before as I usually ride in my full leather suit. I think it was about 30°C today and I just wore my jacket and boots.

It wasn't long before we arrived back at the toonie for a quick beer and watch the end of the Ashes. I must say England crumbled under the pressure of our bowling attack and we smashed them into the dust the last 5 wickets went within an hour. The Poms got a severe 5-0 shellacking that they rightly deserved. It was magic watching them fall apart.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pushing the Limits

My lovely wife gave me a copy of Casey Stoner's Autobiography titled 'Pushing the Limits' for Christmas.Being an unabashed Stoner fan myself I couldn't wait to start reading the book. Whether you love him or hate him there is something in here for any MotoGP fan with some real insights into the world of MotoGP. This is my review on the book with excerpts from the book in blue text.
I started to read the book after boxing day and found it so enthralling I couldn't put the book down. I just wanted to find out more and more on this kids amazing rise to the top of the motorcycling world. This autobiography is truly one of those rags to riches story's that you sometimes hear about.

It starts out with Casey's early days of dirt track racing in Australia with him winning just about everything there was to win, some of the local parent accused the Stoners of cheating because Casey kept winning all the time. He was just that much better than everyone else, why can't some people just accept it.

At age 14 Casey applied to the Australian Junior road racing association(AJRRA) to which he was screwed over big time and was denied a license. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it made them pack up and head to the UK to start his road racing career.

"We'd left Australia with a fair amount of money but it didn't go far. The exchange rate at the time wasn't good, about $3 to the £1. By the time we bought the van, the caravan and the bike, there wasn't much left so we had to live as frugally as possible to stretch the money out. We'd bought one way tickets to get to the UK and the plan was if things didn't work out we could sell the bike to get back home"

"Dad was earning £40 a day but could only work 3 or 4 days a week because I had to go racing, so a lot of weeks he could earn £120 at the most. It cost us £150 in fuel just to drive down to Brands and back, so we were already dipping into what was left of our savings. With baked beans at 9p a tin and bread 15p for a loaf we were eating enough beans on toast to last a lifetime."

Luckily Casey got noticed fairly quickly and got into the Spanish championship. He was running in both the British and Spanish rounds at the same time which sometimes clashes with each other.

Casey talking about one of his 125 races in the Albacete Spain - "I was going well, running in the top five when the organisers stopped the race for a crash. Pretty much everybody else went in and put new tyres on, but of course we didn't have any spares because we couldn't afford them. So I had to go back out on the same rubber, or what was left of it. The whites of the cord was actually showing through and I ended up dropping a couple of places and finishing fifth in a race won by Toni Elias. Afterwards one of the other riders must have been complaining about his tyres because his team manager dragged him into our pit box to show him what I was riding on. He shouted at the rider in Spanish, something like, 'Now don't bust my balls!' "

I loved the style of the writing of the book as it reminds me more or less of reading someones blog rather than a professionally written book. I found that appealing because its from the heart and Casey pretty much tells it how he saw it. Some people don't seem to like it and label him a whinger or what ever. Get over it, he's just a good honest down to earth bloke who tells it how it is and I love that. Casey is a true champ both on and off the track and it shows in everything he does.

Casey goes on to show us the other side of the racing that we don't get to see in all it's raw unabashed glory. From tyre manufacturers, to competitors to the politics behind the MotoGP juggernaut. For any fans of MotoGP this is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in either Casey's story or MotoGP. It's a fairly short book at 280 pages but I couldn't put it down once I'd started reading.