Monday, July 27, 2020

The End is here

It's been some time since I've updated the blog and the world is a very different place than it was just 4 months ago since my last post and pre Covid drama. A lot can happen in 4 months so I thought I'd give a update. This also happens to coincide with being my 400th post in 9 years.

Just after my last ride in March (which you can see here) we went into some pretty heavy lock down restrictions due to the virus. The only people allowed out were essential workers and those that can't work from home or if you needed to go to the supermarket for essential supplies. 

Working from home does have some advantages

I'm pretty lucky with my job in that regard these days as most of my work is behind the keyboard since I gave up being on the tools and went into building automation some 12 years ago.


I don't need to be in the office to do my work as it can be done anywhere really but I still had to attend 1 day per  fortnight. The sleep in's and not having to commute were a blessing in disguise. 

Heading into work on those days and jumping on the M4 motorway was like out of one of those zombie apocalypse movies where the freeways are empty. It took 15 minutes door to door, where I'd normally spend 30 minutes commuting.

I did have to travel into the city at the start of May in the middle of the lockdown and to say the place was a ghost town would be a understatement. I took a quick short walk down in the Rocks after I finished just to see what I could see.

Looking down towards Circular Quay

Looking North towards the Bridge

Normally on a saturday these streets above have a market setup selling food and clothes with hundreds of people walking about. Eerily quiet today, it's so strange to see our biggest city like this.

International Passenger Terminal

Opera House empty of tourists

It wasn't all beer and skittles staying at home wait, yes it was all beer and skittles and chips and biscuits and crackers and whiskey and wine and cheese ah well you get the picture. So the lockdown wasn't real good for me being cooped up like that, I tend to get bored easily which leeds apparently to eating and drink to excess which gave me a sucker punch to the waistline. Damn.

Just when I was thinking that 2020 couldn't get much worse, in may news from home that mum was not well. As soon as lock down restrictions lifted I was there that night for the weekend before returning to Sydney. She wasn't well. You've probably read my brothers blog about this so I'm not going to say more about it here. Less than two weeks later she passed away. I was lucky to make it there in time before she left us. Thanks Dave, I would have missed seeing her if it wasn't for your call.

So this year has been quite shit, and I've pretty much lost motivation to do anything of late. I haven't been much interested in riding the bike or been interested in photography, I've stopped drinking large amounts of alcohol but still have no motivation to do anything.

That's not to say I haven't been out for a ride. In mid June I got out for a short ride with Geoff and Stu just around some local Sydney roads to Picton one saturday arvo which was good.

Bikes at Picton

Then we got a ride in with the normal crew to Rylstone in central NSW for an overnight trip at the end of July. It was great to catch up with everyone again and to actually get out and about. I think I needed this for a bit of a sanity check.

Breakfast @ Grey Gums Cafe

The old R1 was a bit hard to ride in the twistys with the carby problem at the moment. I have some Carby manifolds on order and it will be in for a carby clean shortly.

You're probably wondering why I'm riding the old R1 and not the new one. Well that's a good question.

You see in January this year I finally decided that this was the end of the road for my 5 year plan. It would be 5 years old in June and it currently has 38000 km's on it. It's gonna be hard to sell it with this many k's on it let alone putting more than 40k on it.

So I spent more than a day on cleaning and polishing the bike from head to toe, and then a few more hours here and there keeping it gleaming. I must admit it never looked better except the day I bought it. Yep it was up for sale. There was no way I was going to ride it out into the countryside and spend another day cleaning it so it sat home in the garage.

End of the 5 year plan

Finally about 2 weeks ago I sold it to a young guy who probably won't be hurting after every days ride. Yep it was a sad day for me personally to see the bike go but it is necessary to move on and choose something a bit more comfortable. I'm not getting any younger and Jules was right, as you get older your needs change. I was 42 when I first got it, now over 47 it's no longer bearable on multi day trips.

Some great memories riding this bike.

So where to from here? 

To be honest I have no idea what to choose next. I have only had a brief look before I lost some interest. You see every bike I've owned has been a sportsbike or dirt bike, so I am currently in uncharted waters. No longer even considering a sportsbike but either something like a naked or sports touring, can't be too heavy (GS1200 I'm looking at you). This is where I need a few suggestions from you guys and girls. What do think would make a comfortable touring/sports touring bike? Throw em at me.


  1. Hi Steve,

    Very sorry to hear about your Mum through Dave so belated condolences to you and your family too. All the trials of 2020 certainly does have an impact on a lot of us. I haven't ridden a lot since lockdown was lifted and have enjoyed the small amount I've done. However, I haven't been absolutely itching to get out which is a bit worrying in some respects. Maybe Spring will change that. I can now see a time when I can stop riding, comfortable that the 55+ years I've been on 2 wheels has been a blessing and not regretting anything. Call lockdown a reality check. BTW, great photos of a deserted Sydney!

    Good luck with the choice of a new bike. I'm not going to suggest anything other than take your time, read road tests, take a few out on test rides and above all, only buy something that lights your fire and makes you laugh! Looking forward to hearing all about it. Hope that NSW stays on top of C-19. Our daughter and her husband live in central Melbourne!

    1. Thanks Geoff for your kind words.
      It's been tough looking at bikes the last few days. There's a big choice out there, too many maybe. C19 is back here again spread up from Melbourne so we are in a second wave, not good. We might go into lock down again if people don't smarten up and start doing the right thing.

  2. Heya dude, once gain, sorry about your mum. 2020 is definitely one year that most people want to forget, me included.

    Comfort is a weird thing, what's comfortable for me may not be for you. All depends how knackered that ancient carcass of yours is...

    You probably know I'm going to suggest an Adv or Adv styled bike. The riding position on these bikes really suits me - plenty of room to move around and plenty of leg room etc. Don't tell anyone but the Super Ten is more comfy than the Concours - really easy to do big miles on.

    If you don't want to get the bike dirty then there's a few bikes out there with the styling (and presumably the comfort) of Adv bikes. Some like that BMW S1000XR have plenty of go too. Triumph even make a couple of bikes in this sort of category...The Kwaka Versys 1000 is pretty close too and has a lovely motor (same as the 1000SX which I've had a squirt on).

    Sounds like you need to take Geoff's advice and get out and ride a few bikes!

    Just don't buy a fricken Harley...I'll disown ya!

    1. Thanks mate.
      That ancient ass is is pretty knackered after 20 years of riding R1's lol.
      No harleys for me, that BMW S1000XR is out of my price range i'm afraid. Looking at spending less than 20K if i can.

  3. Hi Steve, I too posted on Dave's blog but my condolences again. What a shitty year.

    Re bikes: if gravel or ADV is not calling you how about a Ninja H2 SX SE+. More comfort but not full upright ride position. Supercharger!

  4. Thank Warren.
    I could see myself on an adventure bike, but none of my friends have them so wouldn't be doing any of that type of riding so might be bit wasted. Thats why i'm thinking sport/touring segment. The H2 was suggested by Geoff but honestly, I've had a 200Hp missile and its practically unusable here in Oz with our highly police highways, so a 200Hp touring machine seems to be a waste to me as well.

  5. Hi Steve,

    I’m sorry to hear about how poor this year has been. Hopefully you’ll find more joy and the spark of interest again in the back end of the year.

    I’m a big fan of your blog and enjoy being able to read and dream of long rides on days I’m stuck away for my bike. I haven’t commented before but thought I should now as I have some experience as an ex-sportsbiker. I sold my Fireblade two years ago due to the same problems you had; once referred to as ‘blade back’.

    I moved to a Triumph Speed Triple instead and haven’t looked back. It’s a great feeling to be on a long ride and when you finally get to a good twisty section you don’t feel too fatigued to really enjoy it. With the big torquey engine I’ve also found it to be just as fast in real world as the Fireblade was (up until you get to some silly speeds).

    Why don’t you book some test rides of the Triumph and a few supernakeds? The one that makes you feel young again is the right one.

    - Jono from Newcastle

    1. Yeah, I second what Jono says. Just get to some shops and test ride some different bikes. The salesmen see a "responsible" older gent these days for some reason, not the young lunatic joyrider that they used to give shit to years ago. So, it isn't as painful a process as it used to be - in fact, it is a bit of fun after a few rides and you get used to the fact you won't have to brace yourself for the sales pitch.

    2. Hey Jono
      Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. Not many people read blogs these days, as FB is the easy option. How did you find my blog by the way?
      Haha Blade back, never heard that one before, but sounds like it goes with R1 ass. Thats the problem at my age with the R1, by the time you get to the twisties I'm too fatigued to enjoy it as you said. I'll look for something that a bit easier on the body. What that is right now I'm not sure.


    3. Hi Steve,
      To answer your question, I had a strange path to this blog. A few years ago now I was googling good motorcycling roads while doing some trip planning. That took me to Motorcycle Paradise.
      After enjoying the stories and the format there I wanted more and very conveniently he has a page of various other blogs he recommends. I've been checking in here every month or so since.
      Thanks again, keep up the good work and happy test riding!
      - Jono from Newcastle

  6. Ha Ha....poor old 47 yo.......supercharged kwaka for you.

    1. Talks about bringing a canon to a knife fight

  7. Sorry to hear about your mom. You are probably right that not many people read blogs these days. Most of the people I know spend their time in Facebook. For your next bike you could try a ZX14R, they are great for long rides.

    1. Thanks Kofla. Blogs are great reference material as they don't disappear into the aether like facebook post always do.
      ZX14 is a big heavy bike, I'm not really looking for something that is 260kgs.