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 though.....er 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.



















Sunday, March 15, 2020

New Growth

As you would have seen from my previous posts on the bushfire crisis we finally had some unprecedented rainfalls one weekend in March that practically put out most of these fires with around 400mm falling over that weekend which had extinguished 7 of the largest fires. Four months on from the start of the bushfires that ravished our country I decided I'd head on out for a ride and see how the regrowth was going.

It also gave me a good excuse to give the old R1 a damn good thrashing. I retraced my route from the previous trip and headed up the Putty Road on friday morning as I had an RDO. I decided I'd stop at the cafe for lunch then head back down and go across the Bell's line of road.

On the ride up I noticed the throttle was hesitant at 2-3k rpm, not as bad after changing the fuel filter but must be some junk in the carbies. Hopefully a clean and balance will sort that out. I'll take it to the dealer as you need specialised tools for this. First stop was at Colo heights to grab a couple of comparison pics.








It's amazing how much the tree's have started to regrow already. All along the side of the road there are signs of regrowth with thousands of little fern growing everywhere. Looking at the tree's they looked a little comical, it looked like they were growing fur.





Next stop along the way was the Mellong Valley. This was particularly harshly hit by the fires and again such amazing life growing again. It was Fun riding along, I'd been thinking how badly out of practise I was and how ride unfit I was. For the first time ever I had the thought that riding motorcycles is a dangerous thing to do. WTF. I wasn't even doing anything dangerous or speediung, yes hard to believe but true. Man I need to get out more.



















I rode to the other end of the straight you see above and took some shots back the other way. Why? only for comparison purposes with the photos I took last time back in mid December. The differences are remarkable.




Whilst standing on the roadside taking pics I looked down and saw a car battery discarded. It was melted in the fire. I don't think it's going to regrow however.













I was starting to get hungry now it was after 12pm so I put the camera away and made my way to the Grey Gums International Cafe for some lunch. Lunch more resembled breakfast with a bacon and egg roll and cappuccino to wash it down with. Sitting here in the middle of nowhere it was pure serenity, such a perfect day, weather was fantastic, road was good. What else is there?





It was nearly 1pm by the time I thought I needed to make a move if I was to ride across the Bells Line of Road and photograph that as well. There were no more stops until I got out past Mt Tomah and near Mt Bell.




The regrowth in the Blue Mountains is happening but not as quickly as on the Putty Road. That's probably because there was a couple of weeks between the fire sweeping through this area.











By the time I'd pulled up here to take these photos my butt was getting sore. Yep lack of ride fitness. It's not just the 15 R1, this bike is hurting me now as well. Seems like age is creeping up on me. Time to start looking at a more comfortable bike I think. The 5 year plan is near its end as I've said earlier in the blog.






The photo below shows the amazing contrasting landscape. Beautiful green countryside on top with fire ravished landscape below.







From here I rode out past Mt Banks and the canyons of the Blue Mountains. They are far away from the road but the 70-200mm has just enough reach to get some nice shots. Some areas are affected by the fire where other areas are not.






The ride back into Sydney along the Great Western Highway was pretty uneventful. Getting down onto the M4 and into peak hour traffic was a bit of a chore there was a 5 car pile up that slowed my travel and I was getting tired by the time I got home. Some good photos and good to see mother nature taking care of itself, as it usually does. Another good day out but some thoughts to ponder on here.