Monday, January 22, 2024

Southern Highlands Ride

Geoff suggested a quick road ride to the Southern Highlands. Count me in, so we met at the Servo on the M4 at 10am and set off soon afterwards. We took the back roads to the Oaks and down to Mittagong avoiding the highway via Thirlmere,

We took the range road out the back of Mittagong, the road has recently been resurfaced and was in good shape. It's an awesomely scenic ride through rolling hillsides with hedge & tree alleys and rockwall fences.

Range Road

At the end we took a left turn instead of the usual right and went further along on the tourist road which comes out at the top of Macquarie Pass. We turned left at Robertson Pie shop and headed down Jamberoo Mountain Road, which was a good scenic bit of road.

Top of Macquarie Pass

We went through Albion Park which was going to be the lunch stop but I said to Geoff I know a nice little pub up past Robinson, he said "lead the way". So we tuned back up Macquarie Pass. There are a lot of new housing estates built out the road to MP.  We got a great run up the pass with almost a car free run. It's fantastic surface hot mixed all the way. The new AX41 tyre was handling this very well, tipping in quickly and effortlessly and easily held the line. 

We took the road into Burrawang and stopped at the Burrawang Hotel. Not the cheapest place but quite nice, they have a beautiful outdoor beer garden area but it was quite cool out today at 18°C so we ate indoors. They do an awesome hamburger, which was washed down with an ice cold beer.

Read this next bit in a David Attenborough voice. 
"Here we have a rare photo of the crimson nosed beer guzzler in his native habitat".

We returned back home via the same roads through Thirlmere, we stopped in for a quick beer at the Wallacia Hotel. A short but enjoyable ride out with the boys. Good ending to my holidays.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Bridgestone AX41

After the last Adventure Ride my front tyre was pretty well shot so I went to Tyres for Bikes for a new one. What to choose however?

Initially I was after the Pirelli Rally front but looking at it, it was to aggressive for what I do I felt.

So I looked at the Bridgestone AX41 both endorsed by Stuey and my older bro. I could put another Karoo4 on but thought I'd go with the AX41 to try something a little different. There was nothing wrong with the Karoo, it did everything I wanted it to do and got I around 8K or so. 

Interested to see if I get the same performance and km's out of this tyre.

Bridgestone AX41

Saturday, January 6, 2024

The Dusty Cooma Ride

I was invited on a group adventure ride the weekend before Christmas. The ride was from Callala Bay to Cooma via all dirt roads with the exception of a short highway stint to get us down the coast to start of the adventure ride proper.

This was going to be my first proper adventure ride, as all the others were only short stints of dirt road between tar sections. To say I was feeling apprehensive would be an understatement. I don't really have any dirt bike riding back ground and I was going along with some pretty experienced guys that have done a lot of off road dirt biking. They were also on smaller lighter bikes KTM690, DR650, XT250, Husky701, T7 and Stu on his brand new Tuareg660. I've got the biggest heaviest bike and the least off road experience. Hey what could possibly go wrong?

We started early on saturday morning with Brett leading from Callala Beach through Jervis Bay National Park forest straight into some sandy trail with mud puddles erosion mounds etc. I was thinking, shit what have I got myself into, I've never ridden sand before. We were only 2 km's into the ride and I was already stressing.

We met up with Dave and Ross, Dave on the 701 was our tour leader with a GPS which would be critical in this ride. We continued down the highway to Milton for a bite at the Bakery before turning inland and heading into the ranges and hitting the dirt roads.

It was only about 15m into the ride before the first road closed sign and our fearless leader had to reroute with the gps over some new unridden roads. This made me real nervous as he was now riding routes he's not been on and who knows what we are going to come up against.

We followed the Clyde river for some time and came to a large concrete river crossing. To my surprise there was a girl in a bikini swimming on the other side. Sure made for a pleasant crossing.

Stu checking out the bikini girl - Photo by Dave S

Me - Photo by Dave S

After this we popped out on the Kings Hwy at Nelligen. We keep going as it was still early and went further south into the mountains crossing the Buckenbowra River at Runnyford.

Runnyford Bridge

The experienced guys were running a cornerman system, the leader halted the first person at a corner who pointed everyone in the right direction and had to wait until the sweep rider came along. It worked great out in butt fuck nowhere until Dave M stuffed it up and we got lost, but only for 5 minutes luckily. We also managed to do the same mud hole 3 or 4 times here going back and forwards.

We got to another creek crossing on the buckenbowra river near where the 2019 Transmoto 12 Hour was held.

Photo by Dave S

Quart Pot Road - Buckenbowra River - Photo by Dave S

We stopped at the next intersection as Dave S wasn't sure which way to go so consulted the GPS whilst we had a rest. I needed a break we'd been riding for several hours and it was getting quite warm 26°C. I noticed I had phone signal and looked where we were and was surprised we were only out the back of Batemans Bay, still a long way to go.  We also sucked in a ton of dust today, as there was little wind and no rain to keep the dust levels down.

Brett and his brother Kojak

I parked in the middle of the road cause it was hot and I didn't give a rats ass. We haven't seen anyone on the road for hours which was great. To my dismay Dave S said the road we are taking is back up the steep hill, Gollaribee Mountain Rd. It was little more than a single lane firetrail both steep and rocky in places with steep drops off the side of the mountain. There were no tyre tracks of either bike or car along here at all, I don't think anyone has been through here in months. I thought I had a flat front tyre along here but Brett said it looks good. It was getting near replacement so wasn't steering properly on the downhill descents.

We got to the bottom of the trail and waited at Knowles Creek on the Araluen Rd, Brett had to go back up the Mtn as Margo had a small incident and needed some tools to sort it out. All was good however and we were soon in Moruya for lunch at the waterfront hotel just after 1pm.

A short road stint to Bodalla where we headed back inland through Nerrigundah. The road here was wide and sweeping mountainous scenery more my style of adventure riding gravel superhighway in the mountains.

Dave S - Tour captain extraordinaire

We soon stopped on the Belimbla Bridge for a quick break and regroup. The roads today were very dusty and we got a little spread out here. 

Following the Belowra Rd we went through some beautiful farmland in the valleys. The road surface looked brilliant crushed granite, but it was actually as slippery as fuck. Dave M went into one bend a little too fast and ended up in the ditch. Luckily he was ok and just a sore wrist.

Marjo getting a lolly sugar rush

I had a moment on one right hander locking the rear but it invertedly put me back inline with the road and I continued along without running off like Dave had just done. Pfew.

But the next moment we ascended a steep mountain range still on the slippery granite. I had a major moment where I lost the front wheel in a rut on a steep sharp uphill right hander dabbed my right leg to keep it upright, gassed it lost the rear in the same rut and speared me off to the inside of the corner where I stopped upright. Completely shat myself and Brett had a first hand view from behind. He must have been pissing himself laughing. We managed it out to the outside of the corner where it was flat and I could continue on. Luckily it was the last of the steep uphill corners because my confidence took a beating on that one.

Another road closed sign on the way and we turned down some other minor lane which was a bit dodgy before we came out at Numeralla. Stu's front tyre was flat and had to be pumped up. We discovered he dented the front rim and it was tubeless and kept leaking. It was only 20 minutes to Cooma and our accommodation for the night at the Alpine Hotel. We got into our rooms after 7pm. Fantastic place to stay and only $60 for the night.

The meals were fantastic, they were so big none of us could finish them. We were so tired after diner we only had about 3 beers before hitting the sack.

Alpine Hotel Single Room


Breakfast done at the 123 Coffee house and we fueled up and filled Stu's tyre again. His plan was to keep filling up every 30m so this was going to be a long day. We had a wrong turn out of town and had to double back, but eventually made our way onto Chakola Rd which lead to Chakola Firetrail.

This Chakola Firetrail was my 'Holy Fuck' moment. Initially it started easy but went straight to level 9, with steep uphill and downhill rocky terrain, rutted, blind hills and curves with a few creek crossings thrown in. Several times I was shitting myself. This was beyond anything I've ever done. I was seriously questioning my choice of motorcycle here. This is no doubt Husaberg territory not Africa Twin territory.

Dave S trip report shows that first technical section was 12.7kms, it took us 48 minutes to cover that distance. Yeah that's 15.88km per hour. Did I mention how tough it was and I was shitting myself?

We stopped at the top of a hill so Stu could pump up his tyre. Thank fuck, I needed a break I was puffing away. It was hard, hot work in this forest.

I asked "Is there much more of this?"

Dave S "It opens up to more flowing road over the next hill"

Thank fuck I thought. He lied, it just continued and we went a few hundred meters of steep terrain in the wrong direction and had to turn around. D'Oh. The next 10.3km took us 25 minutes, averaging 24.7kmh.

After about 5kms the road did open up slightly. Brett said to swap him for his KTM690. I think he may have felt I was struggling and would do better on a lighter bike. He wasn't fucking wrong. It wasn't exactly easy on his KTM690 but by fuck it was so much easier than the AT. I actually started to enjoy riding the KTM, just don't bin it on him. Brett gave me plenty of good advice on riding this terrain, which was really helpful. Thanks mate, really appreciate it.

The road opened up through some farm land where I thought it should be easy from here but turned into some rutted out hills and more of the same until we made it onto the main road that leads to Captains Flat.

The Captains Flat pub was closed so we rode into Braidwood for lunch at Trappers Bakery. Always a good pie there and it's not a real ride if there's not a bakery involved.

From Braidwood we took the Charleys Forest Road, which was quite an easy ride along gravel roads with some very interesting scenery, nothing to difficult and then the Nerriga road back up to Callala Beach.

Pump that tyre Stuey

A thoroughly enjoyable weekend away with the boys even though I was shitting myself on many occasions throughout the trip. Think I need to do an Adventure bike riding training course.

Now for the Nundle 20 Creek crossings ride..........

Thanks for a great weekend away gents, till next time.