Saturday, May 24, 2014

Oxley Highway Overnighter

When is a group ride not a group ride? Well when you ride with us of course. A good friend Steve in Brisbane organised a ride to Walcha on the Oxley hwy last weekend. He was to meet us at Walcha on Friday arvo and the rest of us Sydney siders were to meet up at Wilberforce at 9:30 to start the trip. That's where the wheels fell off the group ride right there. Wayne's bike broke down on the way and Ant was running an hour late. A text told us to keep going and we'll meet somewhere along the way. 

So we pushed on up the Putty road to singleton on our group ride. Yep there was me and Geoff. I suppose that could be considered a group. We got stopped just north of Bulga as the coal mine nearby the road was conducting some explosive demolition.  After about a 25minute wait we rode through the area after the blast and you could smell the acrid after effects of the explosives. It was very strong on the nassal passages.

After a quick morning tea in singleton we continued on through to Dungog via Gresford. The road along here was very badly chopped up. It would be a fantastic road if it had some money spent on it to fix it up. The scenery on this section is quite beautiful.

We had just stopped to take in the view when 2 highway patrol cars drove past whilst we were stopped. I count that one as a win. We continued on into Gloucester for fuel and a break. We found out here that the guys were on the way but were a fair way behind. Then I noticed Geoff's new shirt still had the size label stuck to the front of it, he'd been wearing that most of the day like that. We both pissed ourselves laughing before removing the offending tag. It was time to continue on up onto the thunderbolts way to Walcha.

It's been a while since I've been up here and the road is pretty much how I remember it except it's gotten a lot rougher. There were 2 vehicles crashed off the side of the road here and I can't help but think has the road condition had anything to do with the crashes. Some sections were quite good and had been resurfaced but its generally a pretty bumpy trip especially the section that climbs up to Barrington Tops and the look out.

We finally got into Walcha around 4pm and refueled ready for the next day. It was time to hit the pub up for beers and diner. Steveo was already there waiting for us. He'd made good time from Brisbane. Then about an hour later the rest of the group actually arrived.

Day 2 started out with a bit of fog and a chill in the air. It was time for some breaky at the local cafe. The bacon and egg roll was expensive but it hit the spot just right. We didn't get underway until about 10am as one of the ducatis battery's packed it in due to the cold. Rick and Stewie got underway as they were doing the full loop around waterfall way and the oxley. I wasn't feeling like doing that ride and opted for just doing the Oxley to Wauchope and back.

Fog & Chilly

Thunderbolts Sign

Ricks Tuono
We  got underway late but that was ok because we knew that being almost winter that there would be wet patches on the road in the shade where the sun doesn't get on the road at this time of year. Jason and i briefly stopped and got some pics of the guys riding. It wasn't long before we arrived in gingers creek where we stopped for refreshments.

Safety first Jason

Me on the Oxley

Bikes at Gingers Creek

Gingers Creek Store

After Gingers I'd put on the gopro to get some footage of this fantastic road. You might say it's one of the best motorcycle roads in the galaxy. Its best viewed in 720p.

Coming out of the last few km's of twisties on the Oxley I saw a couple of wallaby's sitting on the side of the road. This brought the speeds back down as I didn't want to hit one of those. From here on back to Walcha the road really opens up into big straights and sweeping bends over the hills here. This reminds me a bit of the snowy mountains highway. It can be tempting to open a bike up along here, which may or may not have happened.

Big sweeping bends and long straights
 On the way back I wanted to stop in at Aspley falls and have a look. It was late in the afternoon and I was taking photos into the sun so they didn't work out so good. Oh well there's always next time. The falls themselves were pretty spectacular.

Aspley Falls Entrance

Aspley Falls

That was the end of day 2, with another enjoyable night spent at the bar with some good company listening to Geoff(the life coach) give out advice to all who would listen. After a quick brekkie and coffee we hit the road around 9am. It was rather cool out this high up but still a good ride, at least we weren't riding into the sun like on day 1.

We stopped for a quick refuel in Gloucester then again in Singleton. It was here that I'd noticed Geoff's tyre was really shagged and we still had about 220kms to go to get home. Everyone gathered around to laugh at Geoff. At least the putty road has lots of bends on the way home so he won't use the centre of that tyre all the way.

Bikes on the putty, nearly home
The new leathers were great out on this ride and were very comfortable when riding. I had a fantastic weekend and must thank Stevo for organising it and the rest of the guys for making it a memorable trip. Looking forward to the next ride now.

Heres the map link for our ride.

Monday, May 19, 2014

How cold is too cold to ride?

I've been reading Brenda's adventures over at the white shadow diary. For those who haven't read it a short synopsis they were riding over Mt Hotham (1861 m or 6109 ft) in the Victorian highlands when it rained then snowed on them forcing them to stay in a ski lodge for a couple of days.

They looked wet, cold but were still in remarkably good spirits. I've ridden through this same area and in similar conditions but not snowing. I vividly remember one time coming across the top of the mountain and coming down towards Harrietville and there was a huge storm sitting on the western side of the mountain. It was blowing pretty hard and it had that biting cold mountain air that goes straight through you. I nearly had to stop on the way down. I was riding so slowly and couldn't feel my fingers and most of my upper body had gone numb. It was hard to move and I couldn't shift about in the seat making me frozen in position. Not ideal to ride in at any rate. Luckily about 30 minutes of that I made it down low enough that it warmed up enough that I thawed out and could move again.

The following photos are from two separate rides across the top of Hotham in very poor conditions. The first one was in 5°C (41°F) in thick fog with snow on the ground. We were headed for the motogp at Phillip Island.

5°C at Hotham central

The next 2 photos are of me on a group ride with friends on our way to Phillip Island for the World Super bikes. Another wet foggy 1°C (33°F) morning on the mountain.
1°C again at Hotham Central

The last one is my very first blog header picture. It's somehow one of my favourite photos from my riding in the early years. I don't have many photos from those days as I never thought to take many. Thanks Brenda for bring back the memories and made me dig up these old pics. When have you ridden in the cold and thought that it was too cold to be riding?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Did you give your bike a name and why?

I've been reading a lot of blogs, Vlogs( video blogs for the uninitiated) and the occasional forum every now and again, and I've noticed there are lots of people that give their bikes a name and I'm not talking about calling it Fatboy or GSXR or anything like that either, but a proper name.

I've been riding bikes for 20 years and have never ever given any of my bikes a name except for the occasional profanity when it has done something that I didn't like. I don't know anyone who gives their car a name but there are lots of bikers that name their bikes.

So my question to my fellow bloggers is;

  1. Why do you feel the need to give your stead a name?
  2. Why did you call it what you did? 
  3. If your a male rider does the bike always have a female name and if your a female rider does your bike have a male name?

One of the blogs I follow is Trobairitz Tablet, Brandy calls her bike Max which is a Suzuki SV650, quite a nice looking bike too, maybe she can tell us how and why the name.

Photo courtesy of Trobairitz Tablet

One of the vloggers I follow is Adjrian Nickelodeon Check out his famous Youtube channel he has some of the most badass vlogs around, and he has a R1 called Edwina.  Here he is doing some unusual looking lane splitting. If he continues to ride like this then he won't be with us for too long. Keep your shit together mate, we want you around for a bit longer we love your videos. Edwina is in for repairs at the moment and Adjrian has got himself a wicked little postie bike to ride around on. Check it out.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ride to Bacon and Eggs

We had been hit with a cold snap this weekend starting on Friday and it had actually snowed in places like Orange and Thredbo in the snowy mountains. Still Geoff and I had wanted to get out for a ride and by Sunday the temp had come back up to a nice 19°C which was perfect for riding in.

I'd suggest to Geoff to have breakfast up on the Old road, but then Geoff said he wanted a decent ride and we go up the Putty Rd. I was up for anything and quickly agreed.

We fueled up at Wilberforce and continued until the old halfway house and got an excellent bacon and egg roll and drink for lunch.

I'd asked Geoff if he'd ever actually been to Putty which I have not. He said he had and there wasn't anything there. I hadn't been there before so we went and had a look. Geoff was right, there wasn't really anything there, just a community hall and that was about it. Nice little ride though.

Here's a quick action pic of Geoff living it large coming out of Putty locality.

Back at the main turn off onto the Putty Rd back to Windsor we could see the lines on the road waving up and down going up the hill. The putty road has deteriorated badly in the last 2-3 years probably due to lots of trucks using the road to avoid the weigh stations on the M1. There seems to be lots of trucks on the putty during the week. It really needs some resurfacing. The best part is definitely the smooth twisty section at Colo going down to the river. We didn't do the 10 mile today but that is always good too.