Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Brass Monkey Ride

I just noticed when I was about to hit the publish button for this post that I had 299 published posts, so in 6 years of this blogging gig this is my 300th post. Who would have thought that they would let someone like me clog up the internet with all this guff? The world is a strange place I guess, so on with the clogging.

We had a ride organized over 2 months ago now and last weekend saw that middle of winter ride happen. I'm not sure that was such a good idea but it was the only chance I've had for a overnight ride in a long while.

Setting off from home at 7:30am it was a chilly 4°C and by the time I'd gotten to the meeting point in North Richmond I was feeling the cold. I had a thermal and long sleeve top under my leathers but my hands and legs and body got cold and then it was just uncomfortable. I was the first person there so I got some fuel and looked for a coffee, but the coffee machine was broken so I had to scout along the road and found a coffee shop about 150m past the petrol station. The coffee was good and it warmed up my cold hands.

By the time everyone had arrived and we left around 9:15am it was up to 12°C and was now not so cold. Heading up into the Blue Mountains I thought it would soon get cool again and it did, dropping down to 8°C in places.

Bells Line of Road
We stopped for a break and for everyone to catch up at Bell in the blue mountains before crossing over to the great western hwy and going down Mt Victoria and out towards Oberon. Oberon in winter is a very cold place and they get snow there so I'm not sure that this was thought through that well during the planning?

Riding along on Duckmaloi road we crested a curve over a hill I saw the road where it was completely covered in shadow from tree's that surrounded the road, the surface was covered in white Ice. Yep ICE across the entire road! SHIT was my first thought then I was through it and looked behind and Bushpig went through it no problem. Maybe there is something to be said for traction control after all. Speaking with Dr Kwok later he said he span up and slid through it but we had no problem luckily.
Morning Tea and coffee
Bushpig and I filled up the tanks in Oberon and the local fire brigade was having a sausage sizzle so we indulged in some of the goodness on offer. We then went looking for the other who stopped at the monkey bean cafe for coffee and morning tea. It was only 8°C in Oberon and that was after 11:30am. I said to Dr Kwok that this is now officially the Brass Monkey Ride to which he agreed.

We left and head towards Bathurst and the others fueled up in kelso on the way. The route was to take a new route rather than up to Sofala we headed on a road to the west of that up towards Hill End. The road came to a T intersection that met with the road that goes back to Sofala but we ended up just heading straight for Hill End and the Pub.
Sofala Road

The Bushpig
Hill End is a historic mining village which was settled back in the 1800's. There's is virtually no one there these days and it kind of felt like banjo country. There was one pub and one bakery and that's about it. A few houses and streets. The pub was busy when we got there though with a few people out front and back, not so many inside.

Historic Hill End

Waynes classic 996 Ducati looked like such a modern icon in this place where nothing had changed in the last 100+ years. I would like to stay here one night as it could be interesting I think.

Hill End Main Street

This captured Nazi World War 1 machine gun sits atop the cenotaph in the main street. There were quite a few names on the plaque under neath with some 4 or 6 family members from this one little area that joined the war effort.

The road out of Hill End to Mudgee is a twisty little gem that deserves a lot of respect, narrow, twisting over crests and blind hairpins its got just about everything. It was along here one of the new guys to the group had a little parking incident, nothing major and the bike was back on its wheels in no time with virtually no damage.

We stayed at the Oriental Hotel in Mudgee and the pub was quite nice, reasonably priced and with spacious rooms. We had hired the house next door and that was also quite big. A nice little pub really but lucky for us they kicked us out by midnight otherwise we could have ended up a bit messy.

The next morning some of us just made do with a continental breakfast but I felt like something a bit more substantial so we went down to the local bakery and I got a bacon and egg roll and coffee. The B&E roll was good but the coffee was that bad that I could only drink 2 mouthfuls before giving up.

We headed out towards Rylestone and turn North onto the Bylong Valley way. It looks like several bits of the road have been resurfaced since I was here last. Also some of the road had some pretty heavy pothole damage on it as well.

Still it was starting to warm up and was soon over 20°C much warmer than yesterday and it was only morning. It was supposed to get up to 26 today.

There was a little bit of a stop in Bylong for some bike maintenance, with one chain needing some tlc but by the looks of it was beyond any real help. Best could be done was to tighten it so it wouldn't come off. Yes it was very loose.


There's some beautiful scenery along the Bylong Valley Way but we were having so much fun just riding along carefree that I didn't even stop to get any decent photos. There's always a next time.

We refueled in Jerry's Plains and then took Walaby Scrub road to Bulga where we stopped at the Cockfighter Tavern. It was their last day of trading as the mine had bought the land and are expanding the mine. Sad to see really.

We continued along down the Putty road heading for home, I was wary of tax collectors along here as there have been big blitzes along here in recent months but lucky for us we didn't see any today.

All in a good weekend away with the boys with some new roads explored and new places visited. A top weekend away. Cheers lads till next time.

Map Reference


  1. 20 degrees? Does Oz even know how to winter?

    Our Brass Monkey Rally is in the South Island...it's a mission to even get to it. Not my cuppa tea.

    1. It was 26°C on sunday, but was a chilly 4°C on the saturday morning. Yep thats chilly for us Aussies.
      20°C in winter sounds about right, thats cold when you consider summer is 45°C.
      So when you comin over for a ride or Phillip Island.

  2. Nice ride. Thanks for the invite... ;) Jason and I will have a big ride up here, with blackjack and hookers and.......ahhhh, doesn't matter....

    1. Your phone must have been off, enjoy your hookers....

  3. Wow, what a swing in temperatures between the two days. Looks like get riding though.

    Can we have some of your cooler weather? We are supposed to have a high of 110 ˚F today (43.3˚C) and record breaking. Oh joy.

    Congrats on 200 posts too.

    1. You can have the cold weather Im done with it. Need some nice warm riding weather, which was on the sunday.

  4. Congrats on your 300th post Steve and the length of time you've been blogging! I must admit that I was surprised to see how cool it got in some areas close to Sydney! We actually got a hint of frost on our lawn early one morning last week which is pretty unusual. I'm now on my second winter with heated gloves and wouldn't be without them for early morning starts, although I always take a lighter pair for later in the day!

    Great photos and excellent to see some familiar faces!

    1. Thanks Geoff. We can have -1°C morning in Sydney, they are rare but they do happen about once a year.
      I hate carting around 2 sets of gloves its a real pain.

  5. Good post Steve and great photo of the Duc at Hill End

    1. Thanks mate, I was walking back through the pub and saw the bike in the doorway and thought that would make a great pic, then you stepped in and ruined it hahahaha

  6. Fantastic looking ride Steve, makes me feel homesick for some Aussie conversation.
    Fortunate the ice was not the black stuff!

    1. Hi Warren
      Yeah black ice would have ruined my day quick smart. Maybe thats why they made me go first.

  7. Great write up Steve. With all that blue sky it looks like excellent winter weather. Took a GOR and Otways ride yesterday, however, the roads were wet and slippery after recent heavy rains so it was really a case of just tip toeing along. Congrats on 300 posts. Which reminds me, tarsnakes.com.au is now gone and I'm using an old site now at tarsnakes.net I gave to say that I've lost motivation for blogging every ride as I once did.

    1. Thanks Jules
      Thats a shame to hear you've pulled your blog down as it had some excellent material on there. I know what you mean about motivation, I've spoken about it on past blog posts and I had lost my mojo in the last 12 months but I'm trying to turn it around however it doesn't help if I'm not out riding so it makes blogging about riding hard. Sometimes it feels like writing the blog is another full time job when it shouldn't be. Blogging about bikes should be enjoyable, so that said if your not enjoying it anymore then why bother.