Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Time for another new Lid?

Quite some time again I wrote about how dirty the inside of my helmet had become and how smelly it had become due to my sweety melon being in it on hot days, you can read that here. Was that really two and a half years ago?

With an upcoming ride I thought I'd remove the internal liner and cheek pads and give them a spruce up in the wash and I wondered how dirty it would be this time around. I was very surprised with what I found.

Bummer the internal crown liner has fallen apart and is now no good. I checked and I got the helmet back here in December 2013 so it's now six years old. It's starting to show a few signs of wear, with a few chips in the surface and the cheek pads are worn and a little loose.

So then, time for a new helmet I thought to myself. Damn I don't need to spend that amount of cash right now just after MOTOGP weekend but nothing else for it. The GT Air has been a superb helmet and I would purchase another one again.

So I go online to check out the new Shoei GT Air II which reportedly has the internal visor drop down another 5mm to cover the gap where light can get in with the Mark I version. Price..... bang, goes my head on the floor as I pick myself up and check that price again. Yep Bang again.

No, I am not going to spend  $1050 clams on a new helmet.

Not when my head is only worth $25. So then whats a tight ass bastid supposed to do when he's a bit skint......
I remember Dave saying recently after he bought a GT Air he was going to get another liner as a spare. What a great idea I thought. I wonder if the liners are $500 shoei clams?

So I checked around and to my surprise the cheek pads and crown liner came in at only $149. Yeah that's some expensive bits of foam but it's $900 cheaper than a new lid. So I ordered some from the new AMX superstore at Auburn which is nice and handy near my work. That was on Monday and by Friday they had arrived.

Busting them open they were duly fitted up and now it's almost like a new helmet, cept for the scratches on the outside. Well the inside is brand spanker's. Now for the sniff test......... mmmm smells like strawberries and cream.......er no, then its smells like VOC gassing me but I likey very much. That new smell, sure beats stank sweat any day.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Wisemans - Putty Ride

After returning from MotoGP two weeks ago, geez has it been that long already and I haven't even put up a post about it yet. Yes I've been slack for sure but I have been rather busy with family, work and photo editing.

I had a few days off after the GP and rang Geoff to see if he wanted to get out for a mid week ride. It didn't take much convincing and Mark came along for the ride too. We hadn't ridden with him for about 4 or 5 years I think.

The general plan was a trip up to Wisemans Ferry, crossing the Hawkesbury River on said Ferry and then around to Spencer and Wollombi.

I dropped around to Geoff's around 9ish and Mark showed up on his new MT-09. I'm quite fond of the MT-09 after the NZ trip 2 years ago, I think it would make a great bike after its suspension get a touch up. We headed out some bake roads around Maralaya and up to the Ferry our first stop point. We were first in line to get on.

Rolling onto the Ferry we were first on board and there were only 2 or 3 cars making for a spacious trip across.

Mark was for hanging for a smoke and we pulled over so he could do that whilst we had did what grown men do in the bush. It was quite hazy out riding today as there was smoke coming down from Port Macquarie due to bush fires that they are having up there. I must be a huge bushfire for the smoke to come all the way down to Sydney some 400km away.

Besides the smoke in the air it was a fantastic day riding as the temperature was right in the sweet spot around 25° making for quite pleasant riding conditions. Continuing on we rode around the river along here. I swear this section of road hasn't been resurfaced for 15 years as its a pretty rough ride. Typical of most NSW back roads now. No wonder adventure bikes are so popular. Why does your car or bike have to have a road worthy certificate when the roads are not car/bike worthy?

Wollombi Tavern
 We stopped in at Wollombi Tavern and it was right on lunch time. Geoff order beers but when I asked about lunch he wasn't game to try eating here again. So we headed toward Broke for fuel and lunch. No I remember the food we had here last time was abysmal. Right on Geoff, you really do only give people one chance.

The ride into broke was a quick one and the road along this section was much improved over the road coming into Wollombi.

A quick refuel in broke and a excellent hamburger washed down with a powerade made for an fantastic lunch. Mark decided to make his way back to Sydney from here where Geoff and I continued around to the Putty road so we could ride the awesome 10 mile of twisties. An what a cracker of a day. There was only 1 truck in that section which I quickly dispatched.

We stopped in at the Grey Gums cafe for a drink and a break. A couple riding back from MotoGP started up a conversation with us and we had a good chat with them. They were on their way back to Brisbane so another 2 days ahead of them yet and also heading straight into the bushfire area.

All up another excellent day out on the bikes, thanks for the company Geoff, and hope to see you on the Alpine ride next week. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Road to Nowhere Images - a shameless plug

I decided to make myself an Images page on facebook where I can post up some of the images I've been taking at the track and around the place. I spent ages trying to come up with a name for it, I even emailed back and forth to my older bro for ideas and I must say he had a whole stack of them. Sadly I didn't like any of his suggestions so spent another month or two mulling over my lack of imagination.

So I finally came up with the original name of Road to Nowhere Images as the title of my new facebook page. There is a link now at the top of the page on the right hand side, just click on that and 'bam' you will be viewing pure motorcycle porn.

Here's the link

With the final round of the Australian Super Bike(ASBK) championship coming up at Sydney Motorsport Park(SMSP) on the first weekend in November the championship currently is the closest it's been in years. With 4.5 points separating the top 3 riders the racing is bound to be a spectacle as everything will be on the line. The current standing are as follows.

  1. Troy Herfoss - Penrite Honda Racing - 241 Points
  2. Wayne Maxwell - Team Suzuki Ecstar - 238 Points
  3. Mike Jones - Desmosport Ducati - 236.5 Points
  4. Cru Halliday - Yamaha Racing - 222 Points

I visited SMSP on Sunday as there was a ride day on and the ASBK boys were out practising and doing their final bike prep setup before the final round in 3 weeks. Should be a fantastic day of racing. Sadly the ASBK series in Australia has practically no support from the general motorcycle public in this country with only handfuls of people turning up. I'm not sure why that is but the racing is generally fantastic and you can actually get right up to the pit garages. I'm looking forward to getting out there(fingers crossed the missus hasn't double booked us). Hope to see you out there.

Here's a few teaser shots from sundays track day. I bet the A group regulars got a shake up.

Mark Chiodo

Wayne Maxwell

Daniel Falzon

Cru Halliday

Troy Herfoss

Max Croker

Wayne Maxwell

Josh Waters

Alex Phillis

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A story of Bikes, a Brewery and Australia's best Motorcycle Road

Currently we are in one of the biggest droughts in recent years, sounds great for riding motorcycles but not so much for our struggling farmers. We had a little ride organized to one of Australia best motorcycle roads, the Oxley Highway some 4 hours north of Sydney. We had 2 coming down from Brisbane, one coming up from Nowra and the rest from Sydney and Newcastle.

Day 1

So the morning of the ride what do you think happened? Yep you guessed it the largest amount of rain we've had in months poured down for 2 days in Sydney. There was talk of pulling out of the ride from the naysayers(not me, I wanted it). Some even delayed leaving until the next day(soft cocks). Their loss for not riding some great roads.

Here is the weather map once I got up in the morning. All that green rain is right over Sydney and extending 2-3 hours north. Well the good news was that it was only raining over Sydney. The bad news was it was torrential with over 100mm in some spots.

So armed with this intel I used the kids to help me do up my wet weather gear properly before heading off into the gloom and that worked quite well as hardly any water got in.

Meeting up with Dave and Stu we quickly ditched plans of riding the Putty road in the heavy rain as it would not be any fun and just a slow painful process of wet crotched misery. So we decided to take the main highway up to Maitland and try and get through the wet as quickly as we could as out the other side and on to Gloucester was all dry, and that's where the fun starts anyway. I think that's the first time in as long as I can remember wanting to take the straight highway over a twisty back road.

So we met with Jason and Troy near Hexham at the servo, but alas Troys bike was running rough so they returned home to try and fix it so we continued along in the rain until it finally broke and the sun started shining somewhere near Stroud.

Out of the rain and getting sunburnt
 The run up from Gloucester was a good one but a few bikes and cars flashed us warning of rozzers ahead. Now I'm all for the heads up about the boys in blue but not when they are like 50-60 kms up the road ffs. You got about a 10km warning area before stopping the warning flashes. Droning along at the limit for that many kms on that road is downright absurd.

We had pulled up in Walcha no more than 2 minutes before Rick and Andrew motored into view, how was the timing. They had been down the oxley today and were returning to Brisbane tomorrow, unfortunately flyboy couldn't make it with them. Something about packing his panty draw or something.

I had a nice pumpkin soup for late lunch before we hit the back roads via Kentucky on the way to Uralla and Geoff's famous culvert of 'DOOM' on our way to the Top Pub for the night.

Arriving earlyish at the top pub we noticed that the New England brewery was still open, it would be real shame to not let them take our cash. It's been closed every time we've been here so today was a good day.

We tried a sampler plate of beers, my favourite was the Hop Canon IPA, it went down well and we found this delicious local smoked BBQ beef jerky. Fabulous so we stayed until about 7pm when our table was booked for diner at the pub.

The boys that stayed behind today to miss the rain really missed out, as tomorrow's rain was actually worse than today's so we got an extra days riding in.

Stu trying some of the New Englands Breweries finest Ale

Top Pub Uralla


Discussions over diner the night before surrounding today's route which were we either just do the Oxley a few times and await the remaining boys from Sydney to catch up or to head up north through Ebor and do the Waterfall way as Rick and Andrew had to be home for work on Sunday. We took the long option and decided on the Waterfall way with the Queenslanders. First stop was in Armidale for a splash of fuel and then towards Ebor.

Beautiful country scenery along here but it is so dry. The drought is clearly evident everywhere you look and go up here. I've not seen so much road kill in a long time with dead roos every few hundred metres. It was the first day of spring with beautiful blue Sky's with a flowing road ahead coming into Dorrigo, there was even some late snow on the side of the road. Sorry didn't stop to take a photos, so 2 years in a row failed to photo bikes and snow.

Coming down the twisties east of Dorrigo we got caught behind a slow moving car, I pulled over to let them all go rather than let this great section of track er road go to waste.

Patience isn't my strong point

We stopped in Bellingen for a coffee but nobody seemed to be hungry after a big breakfast so we said our goodbyes to Rick and Andrew here. They continued on north to Brisbane whilst we turned south towards Wauchope.

Motoring down the freeway for 150kms on an R1 sure is a chore, these are the killer sections of any trip for me and usually my right wrist begins to ache due to lack of any movement. A cruise control would be bloody good here but alas maybe my next bike. I rode along for a while using my left hand to control the throttle, that's an awkward feeling trying to turn.

Arriving in Wauchope we fueled up and made our way to the cafe in timbertown, I forgot its name but motorcycle friendly but their service is so slow. About 1/2 hour later Doug, Craig, Troy and Jason arrived. They ordered big lunches, I still wasn't hungry and only had more coffee but regretted that about 1 hour later when the hunger pains kicked in half way along the Oxley.

We didn't stop at gingers creek today as it was getting late in the arvo so pushed on to get to Uralla, the brewery was calling again.

I must say the meals at the Top pub in Uralla are absolutely fantastic top notch pub grub. The spicy African lamb back strap was delicious as was the steak the night before. Discussions arose around adding an extra day to the trip, which to my surprise 5 out of 7 decided to do another night. That meant laps of Australia's best motorcycle road tomorrow yippee.


We tried a new cafe for breakfast this morning but I couldn't eat all my scrambled eggs on the sourdough toast. It wasn't quite right, the toast was too doughy in taste and texture.

We back tracked in through Kentucky and back roads down to the Oxley where we hung a right turn and continued on to Bendameer and took a right onto the New England Hwy down to Tamworth again taking a left towards Nundle. It was a cracking day for a bike ride too.

Doug must have been enjoying his new S1000R as he disappeared into the distance once we ascended the Port Stephens cutting. There was actual quite a bit of traffic out this morning including a truck on the cutting which surprised everyone due to the road being so narrow and blind along there.

We stopped again on the thunderbolts way where Craig and Jason left heading for home.

We fueled up back in Walcha before tackling the 54kms of twisty road that is the famous Oxley highway. I chased Dave down the mountain until the Mt Seaview turn off were I stopped for a break. Its hard work riding down hill fast on a sports bike, much easier on the wrists going up the hill.

So that's exactly what we did. We turned around and raced er rode carefully up the mountain and stopped in a Gingers Creek road house. I was dying to have one of their famous burgers for lunch and it didn't disappoint.

Bikes at Gingers Creek

The road house owner joked that our wife's let us out to ride for the afternoon on fathers day. When I told him we've been riding all day on a 4 day ride he almost cried.

After a fantastic lunch we got straight back into it and fanged it down the mountain for the 4th and last time. I think this is the best condition I've ever seen the Oxley Hwy in for many years. Billiard smooth, no potholes or bumps to speak of, no gravel on the corners.

We refueled again in Wauchope before droning down the freeway to our over nighter at the Coopernook hotel, another regular cheap but cheerful haunt.

We spent most of the night on the balcony with a few ales and some fireball whiskey to top it off with washed down with some pizzas.

Day 4

Today we were up early for the commute home. Being a Monday the roads were pretty much empty especially the back roads that we would be riding on. The chains were looking thirstier than we were the night before so they go a well deserved lube.

A continental breakfast was included in the cost of the hotel which is always good. We were ready to roll out at 8am, which is pretty good going seeing how late we were up.

More back roads this time out to Lansdowne and onto the road by Taree airport, where we slipped up more back roads to Wyndham and then on into Gloucester.

This wouldn't be a real bike ride if we didn't stop in at a bakery at least once on the trip. So Hebbys bakery in Gloucester was our morning tea stop of choice. The pies here are excellent by the way washed down with a cappuccino hits the spot. It's a wonder how I can still fit in these leathers.

Bakery Goodness
We then fueled up at the servo and it was here that we got a call that Doug's bike wouldn't go. Now that's strange being a brand new BMW so we headed back down to the shops. True to its word the beemer wouldn't start. Eventually it fired after the tank was opened. It must have had a fuel pressure lock in the tank or something. Very strange to say the least.

Doug and Troy headed back from Stroud via the Buckets Way and the freeway but Stu, Dave and I turned off towards the Gresford goat track via Dungog and on to Singleton where we would tackle the Putty road during a week day.

We stopped for fuel in Singleton before heading down the putty, stopping in briefly at the rest stop at the start of the 10 mile for a break and drink.

It was perfect conditions for a ride through the 10 mile today with very little traffic. 

We even managed to get home by 3pm and beat all the peak hour traffic so that was a bonus.
It was a fantastic 4 days away riding with da boys. Thanks heaps lads and can't wait for the next one in November. Right after Motogp.