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Found 29 results

  1. Just a couple of rowdy folks enjoying an outing.
  2. Oh yes, you read that right. We're doing it again, for the 4th year running. As always, the plan is to meet in Kernville on Friday night, October 6th - yeah yeah, better late than never. How you get there is up to you, and book your own rooms unless you want to sleep at a shady bar. Stay at the Kernville Inn (11042 Kernville Rd), beer, pizza, etc. Then, it's shitty pre-ride breakfast and party time: Saturday: Kernville to Shaver Lake (https://goo.gl/maps/dzuKrxMzX4N2) - traditionally we stay at the Shaver Lake Hotel find a room wherever you can! Sunday: Shaver Lake to wherever you came from (https://goo.gl/maps/yuaV5SkDC1C2) As always you're welcome to join and peel off as you please, just let us know your plan. Speeding, passing on double yellows, and cutting the huge line at the Kings Canyon park entrance are encouraged but not required. Motivation: IN: BrianF (Herding Cats) Duc2V4 (Saturday Arrival) St. Stephen (too cool for Friday) RC1237V (egg man) crazybrother (Shaver Saturday) sfdownhill (5th gen reppin) Maybe: thepretender (testing the waters) OUT: tc339 (staying employed) RichVee4 (staying married) MonicaVee4 (see RichVee4) VFR Capt. Bob (funding renovations) bayarearider (Pacifica Prison)
  3. Been thinking about doing this for a while...the one year anniversary seems fitting. Back story: Ed (ecn) was one of the hardcore NorCal VFRD riders - he joined pretty much every ride we ever did in the last 5 years. Dude rode like a demon rain or shine, camped like a boss, and had a cracking sense of humor at brisket stops. A genuinely nice guy who seemed to spend every moment on his 5th gen. On July 3rd, 2016 Ed was leading a small group of riders through a construction zone and was hit head-on by an SUV. He survived, but eventually succumbed to his injuries in December 2016. The full story can be found here: I (and many of you I'm sure) have been affected by Ed's accident and passing - personally I've been riding much less, and being more cautious when I do. But let's be honest - that's not what Ed would want. He'd want us all out there shredding in the mountains, making dick jokes, eating BBQ and doing what the NorCal VFRD crew does. So let's do just that in his honor. I'm thinking a "Sierras Greatest Hits" ride - overnighter if people are up for it - Quincy, Gold Lake, Feather River Highway, Wentworth/Icehouse, 108, Monitor...I see you salivating already. Something like this: Day 1 (overnighter): https://goo.gl/maps/ymxwQ31VGuQ2 Day 2 (overnighter): https://goo.gl/maps/9TKr4cU9PMC2 Or single day if your nagging wife won't let you leave for two whole days: http://mapq.st/2shVpAk Please chime in if you're interested in the 22nd (or 23rd as an alternate), and add a note if you're up for an overnighter. We'll sort the final plan based on that. Looking forward to seeing all you hooligans again. IN: BrianF (overnighter) St. Stephen (overnighter, turning 27) RC1237V (overnighter) crazybrother (birthday boy) RichVee4 (Interceptor) Monicai3 (Triumphant) tc339 (overnighter) bayarearider (sort-of overnighter) MAYBE: Duc2V4 (has a job) OUT: jeffyjeff (continentally incongruous) jlpvfr (celebratorily indisposed)
  4. Memphis

    any VFR riders in Memphis? new to the area and looking for some good rides... perhaps Arkansas???
  5. We all have seen a pic of a road that instant got you tought to how lovely it would be to ride it. I have ridden one that a pic as vid has made me think so, the Nurburgring, back in 2008. Browsing I found this pic. Now how exiting would it be to ride that road! Its stange 18 of the 2015 Tuor the France cycling, Lacets de Montvernier. What roads have you seen?
  6. Hold On

    I wasn't sure which forum to post this in, but as it is a ride report of sorts I chose to post it here. Mods, feel free to move it if necessary. My daughter is a senior in college majoring in English. We've had many, many good times together on the VFR and she chose to write a short essay about one of those rides as a class project. It's a little longer than the average post but I felt compelled, with her permission, to share it. Enjoy! HOLD ON I shrug on my mom’s old brown leather jacket, still slightly too big for me after all these years, and feel the silky lining rustling softly around my arms as I work the zipper up. Stepping out the door onto the front porch, I put on the helmet, red and black and decorated with scratches and the smears of mosquitoes who met with an untimely death. I skip down the porch stairs to the driveway, tugging on Dad’s worn leather gloves, black and red and patched with duct tape. The helmet’s cushiony interior crushes my hair into the nape of my neck. The snug fit makes my neck itch, but I don’t mind: in front of me, my dad is sitting on his motorcycle, its engine rumbling impatiently. I swing my leg over the back of the sleek red Honda, settle in the seat, and mirror my dad’s thumbs-up. With a quick rev of the engine, we’re riding off into the sunset. As we weave our way through my small town’s streets, the cool evening breeze rushes around me; the scent of a fresh summer night is intoxicating. Sometimes, if I tilt my head just right, the wind coming through my helmet sings. I can just barely make out the cricket’s chorus through the roar of the engine. We reach the outskirts of town; the winding roads cut through the open land that has replaced all the houses. Dad opens up the engine a little bit more, and we lean smooth and low through the curves of the roads, every turn bringing a new rush of adrenaline. Here on the back of Dad’s bike, surging up hills and gliding down them, powering through every twist of the road, I am almost on my own personal roller coaster; this one has no walls, though. I feel as free and as wild as the summer wind that surrounds me. The only things that slow our fun are stop signs and slow drivers, but they never hold us back for long. As the daylight continues to fail, we eventually make our way back home. Before we reach my neighborhood, though, Dad has one more thing planned for us. He takes us to the connector street that surrounds the mall in an oval; its shape resembles a race track. We’ve kept a good pace up until now, but that good pace is about to feel slow. He reaches back and tugs at my arm; he wants me to move my hands from the bars they’ve been holding onto on the back and reach around him instead. He’s done this before, usually with an accompanying, “Hold on!” Once he knows I’m tightly secured, he twists the throttle. The wind’s icy claws tear at my back as we pick up speed and tilt around the bend in the road, and every muscle in my body is clenched around the bike and my dad. I feel the tiniest twinge of fear along with the adrenaline pumping through me, but I don’t care. I close my eyes, and I’m flying. Soon, too soon, we catch up to the car that had been a good distance in front of us, and the moment is over. We meander back towards the house; we’ve been gone long enough that the sky has been painted a deep indigo by the time we reach home. My mom has left the light over the garage doors on for us, and it sweeps golden over the driveway pavement. We pull into the back of the garage; I hop off, Dad cuts the engine, and tonight’s four-cylinder symphony is complete. I take off the gloves, freeing my fingers to work at the helmet’s straps under my chin. Once the helmet is gone, I shake my hair loose and take off the heavy leather jacket. I smell like leather and engine exhaust, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dad is taking his gear off, too. We make eye contact, and he gives me his traditional nod and grin; I smile in return, “Did you have fun?” he asks me unnecessarily; he knows I did. “Always,” I reply. He nods satisfactorily, and we walk back to the house together.
  7. It's time again. For the 4th straight year, I'll attempt to corral many of the usual VFRD suspects for a weekend. Bring your radiator guards and eggs. Dates were set after asking last year's participants - so if you don't like them you should've gone last year! Work commitments will require this to be 2 1/2 days for me - ride down afternoon of 9/9, then this: 9/10: https://goo.gl/maps/t6qJDUnorCS2 HOTEL: Kernville Inn, Kernville, CA (as of 8/24 they're full - book Kern Inn, Kernville as alternative) 9/11: https://goo.gl/maps/czqeY59KeL42 HOTEL: Shaver Lake Village Hotel, Shaver Lake, CA If you're in SoCal please chime in - we'll give some consideration to making it a basecamp ride rather than point-to-point if there are a lot of you. Thoughts? Objections? IN: Brian F (NorCal) St. Stephen (NorCal) tc339 (NorCal) RichVee4 (Nevada)(partial) MonicaVee4 (Nevada)(partial) RC1237V (NorCal) crazybro (NorCal) SFdownhill (SoCal) PURPLE HEART: ecn (NorCal) Motivation:
  8. Unless we get hit with a random blizzard, it looks like 108, 88, 4, 89 and 50 will all be open on June's first weekend. Obviously I want to get up there, shred some tarmac and enjoy some vistas. Anyone want in? I may do this as an overnighter, but will depend on the level of interest. Status of my favorites (Wentworth, Mosquito) will also be a big factor. Saturday or Sunday both work for me. As a day ride, probably something like this: https://goo.gl/maps/aVB4BrBSqGE2 FINAL INFO FROM BELOW: Meeting point is Starbucks in Manteca: 1451 Hulsey Way. KSU at 9am! Final route is: https://goo.gl/maps/XW4eaucztWq Plan is, as always, to have lunch at Mountain View BBQ in Coleville. Based on the route it might be a late lunch - bring some snacks. IN: BrianF ecn tjclyde St. Stephen RC1237V tc339 bayarearider (with new shoes) crazybro (ate bad Taco Bell) Motivation:
  9. Alright folks, I have taken into consideration the few folks that voiced their opinions these last few days, and have also talked to some folks privately. The event will be October 6-9th 2016. That is a Thurs-Sun event. A couple had expressed interest at moving the event into September, but for two main reasons I chose these dates. 1. The leaves! Early to mid September is hit and miss on the gorgeous mountain leaves, these dates assure good views to be enjoyed by all. and 2. This weekend is Appalachian State University's bye week for their football season. The other weekend in mid Sept. was a home game. In theory traffic and hustle and bustle around Boone should be drastically better than a home game weekend. We will be returning Greene's Motel as before. It's no palace of luxury but the price is right and the location is pretty spot on. I want to make sure everyone can afford to attend, so as usual I intend to keep costs very low as much as I can. There is great coffee for cheap right next door at a gas station, and I think they have some in the lobby of the motel. There's no continental breakfast unfortunately. However Ihop and Waffle House are up the street and there is a mini fridge in every room if you'd like to being yogurt or some snacks etc... I will be opening this up to a small forum based out of Charlotte as well, very similar to VFRD. Our own 007 actually introduced me to the group. Great guys, I think the entire forum is about 50 people, and maybe 10-12 of us are actually active. ,Mainly BMW's, FJR's, Concours's, some Ducati's, and even a couple VFR's. I have spoken with Miguel and and working to eventually get this ride its own page in the VFRD rides section. He is very busy with the site right now, so look for any updates here in the USA-South section. Reservation information: Please call ASAP to book your room. let them know you are with VFRD. All rooms have 2 double (or full?) sized beds in them. Greene's is looking forward to having us back and they have willingly blocked off 15 rooms for VFRD until AUGUST 15TH 2016. The rate is 59$ for each night, with a minimum 2 night stay. The rate jumps back to 69$ a night if you don't reserve by the deadline above, or if you stay Friday or Saturday ONLY. There are other hotels in the area, but in the fall they tend to jack the rates way up, but feel free to make an alternate plan if Greene's doesn't work for you. Everyone is welcome regardless of hotel choice or motorcycle type/brand. T-Shirts: I will be using the same performance fabric shirt from last year, but in a new color and with a different design. I will update sometime this summer with ordering information, so stay tuned. Thanks for all the help and suggestions, look forward to a successful and safe riding season. If you have any questions please contact me, thank you! -PRB
  10. CB500fBDPBRMonday DSC1174

    From the album PBR Fall 2015

    © photos by Fredrick Summers (aka RazorWing)

  11. Sometimes you can't wait to ride

    From the album BigFish

    March 9th, 2015 in Ontario Canada. Could not wait any longer to ride. It was a warm winter day...guess that's why these guys were out ice fishing without a hut.
  12. Alrighty boys and girls, time to make this baby official. After some discussion with last year's attendees, we chose August 29th and 30th as the dates for the 2nd Annual Golden/Silver State Ride. Please check in and let me know if those dates work for you. In order to "meet in the middle," I propose a basecamp in Three Rivers (https://goo.gl/maps/HgN2y). It's roughly equidistant from LA, SF, and Reno. Routes for day rides aren't difficult to come by - plenty of good roads in that area. https://goo.gl/maps/LPSYN https://goo.gl/maps/GlR2d Sleeping-wise, there's a Comfort Inn in Three Rivers ($139/night) or camping at Horse Creek on Lake Kaweah. Due to my work schedule, I'll probably have to show up on Friday night, ride Saturday and Sunday, then slog home Sunday night. Depending on the response from the SoCal contingent, I have some point-to-point ride options in my back pocket as well. If you like scenery, twisty roads, good people, beer, and shenanigans, chime in. UPDATE: Given a light response from the SoCal contingent, we've gone point-to-point. Meeting location is Kernville, CA on the night of 8/28. Saturday 8/29 -- https://goo.gl/maps/aoYkz Sunday 8/30 -- https://goo.gl/maps/UnuIE IN: BrianF (NorCal) St. Stephen (NorCal) tc339 (NorCal) Duc2V4 (SoCal) JMS (Fresno) JMS Friend (Fresno) RC1237V (NorCal) MaxSwell? (Minnesota (!)) <--------- A for effort crazybrother (NorCal) <------ wants to stay employed RichVee4 (Reno) <------ smoked out RichVee4 Monica (Reno) <------ non-smoking dadofseven (Reno) <------- Serving our country TJ (NorCal) <------- Not cool enough
  13. I wrote this just as a note to share with my friends and office mates, but wanted to post it up here. I'm in Orange County, CA but this could apply to anyone, anywhere, at any time, regardless of whether lane sharing is permitted or not. This is not meant to incite negativity or point fingers at anyone since none of us are 100% legal when we ride, though when we speed or cross double yellows, it might be for a good reason. Whatever the case, I wanted to share this note and maybe have it shared with someone you know who might need some enlightenment in terms of why we ride the way we do. Thanks. ===================================================== Apparently last Friday during after work rush hour on the 405 south between Costa Mesa and Cypress, there were 3 bikes splitting through all lanes of traffic. The riders were intentionally punching mirrors and flipping people off for no apparently reason. One car after another was damaged and each driver was insulted. These types of riders DO NOT REPRESENT THE RIDING COMMUNITY, but unfortunately, one bad apple spoils the cliche. Innocent drivers now have to pay to repair the damage on their cars, and innocent motorcyclists now have to pay for the behavior of a select few. On behalf of the riding community, I'd like to apologize for the poor judgement and fragile egos of those who ride irresponsibly and without regard for others (drivers and riders alike). Many drivers think that motorcyclists feel, "We own the road." We don't. We know we don't, but certain exceptions ride without forethought, and the fact that I am writing this now is at least evidence of one rider who believes that the road belongs to no one. Sharing asphalt is not an issue of "ownership;" it is a shared responsibility to those around you. When safe, I signal a thank you to every driver who sees me and shows me the courtesy and care to give me room to get by. To those who move out of my way but see that I don't pass, it is probably for a variety of reasons, namely that I don't feel it is necessary to split when traffic is moving at 50mph and the flow is showing reasonable spacing between vehicles, but this is not to say that I am not thankful for your consideration. I may also not split but will stay to the right because I am able to see better in that lane position, in which case I am utilizing the space the driver so kindly gave me to pass. If I pass you closely and/or at higher speeds, you are probably a large vehicle obstructing my view ahead, so I apologize if I seemed rude or arrogant. My purpose for passing was not to prove a point; it was to maintain my field of view. A note to those who think it's acceptable to intentionally block a bike: This is not a video game. We do not have a reset button. We do not have bumpers nor do we have a cage surrounding us. Our bodies will hit your car while you sit comfortably in your seat, cocooned in your metal shell. I cannot speak for every rider on the road, but I know I do speak for a large majority of them when I say: "Please understand that it is not funny to cut off a motorcycle; it is illegal, and potentially fatal. Please keep in mind that many of us have spouses, children, grand children, sick relatives, people who rely on us, etc. We are no different than you are. A person sitting next to you at a restaurant might not have a helmet on at the time, but they ride, and you wouldn't know. A person on a bike with a helmet on and faceshield down might not show a recognizable face, but that person might be your neighbor or a family friend whom you never knew rode. We are not invincible in our leathers. We are made of flesh and blood and we knowingly accept the risks of riding every time we get on our bikes, but that is not an excuse for you to feel the need to add to the dangers we face at every mile. Thank you." I could write more, but perhaps this is enough for now. I don't typically write posts with the intention of sharing, but I ask that someone please take a minute to at least read and keep this in mind. If not shared on FB, then maybe mention a point or two when in discussion with someone regarding lane sharing and unsafe riding practices. Thank you for your attention and consideration, and as always, ride safe. - Christine Sakane (Orange County, CA) Daily Commute: 5 freeway between Anaheim and Irvine
  14. Okay folks, I know everyone is still recovering from Tmac, but I want to go ahead and get this out there so folks have time to take off from work and such. Last year we had a great turnout of 7 riders. Sorry to say the weather was less than desirable. This year will be better! Also, if we get enough interest, I am planning to do a t-shirt this year. Same as last year, there will be no entry fees or any required payment other than room, food, gas, and the usual costs with trips. (and tshirts if you order one) Sorry, but I wont have kegs of beer and BBQ waiting in the parking lot, but I suspect we will manage haha! RIDERS OF ALL SKILL LEVELS ARE WELCOME! And of course ride whatever bike you want, the guy planning the ride (me) doesn't even ride a VFR anymore! The details that I have planned so far: HOTEL: October 9-13,2015 That is a Friday through a Tuesday, so 4 nights. Come for less, stay for more, but those are the "official dates" (aka when I will be there) The "luxury accommodations" for the week are at Greene's Motel in Boone, NC. It's nothing fancy and it's an old place, however it is clean and it is the most affordable option in Boone and the surrounding area. It is also right on the main road close to gas, food, and stores. Greene's is HOLDING 15 ROOMS all with double beds for the above dates UNTIL the LAST WEEK IN SEPTEMBER. When you call in, let them know you are with the VFRD Motorcycle group. The rate is 59$ a night plus tax, which is a deal in this part of the world during this time of the year. I encourage everyone to go ahead and reserve the room as soon as you know you can make it. Their number is 828-264-8845 TSHIRTS: Vote in the poll ASAP. If there is enough interest I will post additional info later on as far as ordering. Ride routes: I have a couple routes since I live in the area, but feel free to make something up and bring it along! If we have more folks this year, we will have multiple ride groups. That is all I have for now, I will add more as I think of things. Hope to see everyone there! -PRB
  15. A random discussion with a few of the regulars around here has resulted in a June 6th day ride. We'll essentially re-run the "Bay Area Ride #6" from 2012 - http://www.vfrdiscussion.com/forum/index.php/topic/72910-bay-area-ride-6/ Route: https://goo.gl/maps/i43iT This was an all-time classic the last time we ran it. Since we have people coming from different parts of the Bay (and possibly elsewhere), the ultimate meeting point is the Shell station in Copperopolis (https://goo.gl/maps/GPT8R) at 10am. Lunch will be at Mountain View BBQ in Walker (https://goo.gl/maps/SSIWj) Feel free to arrange your own meetups for the ride out. Hopefully we can avoid interaction with the CHP this year -- but if we can't, just remember: crazybrother is the sacrificial lamb! In: BrianF TJ TC ecn crazybro bayarearider JeffyJeff
  16. Your defacto leader has emerged from the depths -- healed and ready to ride. Soon enough it will be time to celebrate the warmth and green hills of spring by camping in closed campgrounds. Speed limits will be disobeyed, maps will be largely ignored, and drinks will be served. Likely route: Day 1 - http://yhoo.it/1BVrRal Day 2 - http://yhoo.it/1MddkIs IN: BrianF ecn TC TJ crazybro? dadofseven? Motivation:
  17. 2014 Golden State Gathering

    Occasionally there is chatter on this board about a statewide VFR gathering in our lovely/bankrupt state of California (most recently seen in a thread about the Lost Coast). As I somehow have become the de-facto leader of pretty much every Bay Area/NorCal ride -- and given the NorCal-meets-SoCal success of the Central Sierras ride last September -- I've started to think about making this happen for real. Obviously, there are a million great places to ride in Cali. Ideally, I would think an equidistant meeting point would be the first priority, and of course, there would need to be epic riding in close proximity. Somewhere like Sonora or Mariposa perhaps. My intent isn't really to grab the reins and steer this in any particular direction, or even to be in charge of it. I just want to gauge interest and maybe even put feelers out for possible dates. Thoughts?
  18. Muddy Waters

    Another Sunday means another ride to Canberra. The weather was warm with some scattered clouds. A pleasant, if dull ride ahead. I was about forty five minutes from home when I noticed all the cars headed the other way had their lights on. At five in the evening, that wasn't a good sign. About five or so minutes later the road ahead seemed to disappear into a cloud. I quickly pulled over... rain ahead. As I pulled my rain pants from the top box it started to rain a little. Big drops, but not much. Pants on, I hit the road as it really started to rain. Then about 1km up the road was the petrol station I had planned to pull over at anyway! Ah, well. at least I was dry. And a fellow VFR rider was just pulling up as well. Not only was it a fellow VFR rider, but a mate from Sydney who has also moved to Canberra. We chatted as we filled our bikes up and geared up for the rain. We decided to ride together, as heading out together was a lot safer into the heavy downpour that the rain had turned into. The ride, though heavy rain was fairly uneventful for about another half an hour. As we started to clear the heavy rain, the traffic in both lanes ahead started slowing and clearly stopping. Not wanting to get caught at the end of a line of stopped highway traffic in poor visibility I decided to split up the middle - the main reason so that we wouldn't get flattened when someone didn't pay attention and squeezed at the back of the queue. I also hoped to split right past whatever accident was ahead (conditions as they were, it was pretty likely someone had gone off the road or tapped another car). At the front was something else... water. Lots of muddy rising water. The highway was flooding. My buddy came up... "We have to keep going, it's only going to get deeper" At this point it was over the sole of my boots. And rising quickly. I remembered all those images of cars floating away on flooded highways. "Are you sure?". "Yes" He headed forwards. We split some way up the road until we were past all of the cars and the flooded highway stretched out ahead of us. But we could also see clear road. "Keep going, otherwise we're stuck here" he said, just as a semi trailer crept past. "follow him, he'll clear any debris" So we did. The bow wave of the truck kept tugging at the front wheel trying to turn the bike. Sometimes we'd ride over the centreline that we couldn't see, but we could feel the cats eyes. A few hundred metres up the road we were out of the water. We pulled over to check nothing was caught in the bikes. The water had gotten to mid calf, not quite over the tops of my waterproof boots when I was on tiptoe. Riding, it was lapping at my boots on the pegs and the bow wave as we rode through it was at least twice that. We looked back just as the police arrived and shut the road. They wouldn't have let us through I'm sure. Good choice. (or lucky??) Not long after that the rain stopped and eventually the roads dried. More than an hour late I rolled into my garage to get dry and warm. Safe.
  19. Goodbye Sydney?

    Up early, beat the crowds, beat the heat, beat the cops, and be home for lunch after 5 hours of one of the best roads in Sydney. Sounds like a plan. I was invited to join a couple of mates very early Sunday for a Breakfast at Grey Gums... and maybe a bit further after breakfast. So 6am finds us meeting up a a nearby petrol station about to head up the Putty. It would seem that my last dash up this road wasn't to be the last. This one might be but who cares. So we made Grey Gums in easy time. The carpark was a bit empty. But the lack of vehicles didn't give us a hint of how many flies there would be. Made breakfast interesting. Ah summer, in Australia = flies. So we'd made it here. Some quick maths and we turned north, we should easily be able to head up to the top of the Putty and still make it home for lunch. This lead me up to the 10 mile Putty again. I really wish this patch was much closer to home, or I could get a day up here doing a few laps. It's picturesque - but then I'm not really looking at that. After fuel, another roll down the 10-mile and it was back to Grey Gums. What a difference a couple of hours can make. On a nice day, on a Sunday, the first Sunday after double demerits has finished and the holidays. Almost a perfect storm. With so many people the flies were spread much more thinly so our snack was more comfortable. It was getting warm and time was starting to run out, so we headed homewards. And I was home in time to head out with the family for Yum Cha. One of the bikes I rode with, a BMW HP2. Very nice and there was a fun moment as we both leapt away from the lights at high rev, quick shifters (no need for clutch with these) blipping..... then we were good boys again.
  20. I just recently got my bike back on the road from a wrenching session. During that time, I added Helibars. I am loving the ergos of the Helibars and BLS lowering blocks. I have only put maybe 40 miles on the bike since then, but I swear that the road or steering feels different. I honestly can't tell if it is just me or it is the Heli's. After you guys installed helibars, did you feel any difference in the way the road feels or in cornering?
  21. Don't Pay The Ferryman

    Christmas and New Years are gone and my holidays are almost finished. The wife starts back tomorrow, so today, my last chance, I got away for a ride. I decided to head north up Wiseman's Ferry. I wasn't sure if I would come back on the Old Pacific Highway or the Putty Rd, or even just back on Wiseman's, but I headed out about 0730 with the day free before me. I could have called up a few guys to join me, but decided that I really wanted the flexibility of a solo ride and some time to myself. It was somewhat cloudy to start, but the forecast was for it to continue clearing with a top of about 25C. Sounded perfect. First place to head for was McGrath's Hill, the launch point really. Fuelled up here and turned up the road to Pitt Town and Wiseman's. The trip to the ferry was a nice ride, only the last bit was a little annoying as myself and a couple of cars got held up behind some cyclists. There was no shoulder or straights, so we crawled along behind them for a while. They didn't have the grace to stop and pull off either. Interestingly as we hit the last downhill into Wiseman's they disappeared off the front. They had raced off down the hill faster than the car following dared. Crazy cyclists! I was first off the ferry but pulled over to let all the cars go in front. Yes, I know that sounds weird, why would I want to be held up by all the cars you ask.. First up, at 0900 on a Thursday, they're likely to be locals and therefore faster than average cars. I also knew the road was a bit rough to go very quickly on a bike. Lastly, I knew I would be cautious as I was on my own, it had been a long time since I'd ridden here and I planned to practice technique and didn't want the pressure of the cars behind me. It was rougher than I remember almost to Wollombi. It's still fine to ride, but not a sweet smooth surface. I stopped partway at a place called Spencer, where I found their General Store and got something to munch on. Chatted to the shopkeeper about the road conditions as it has been several years since I came this way. The Government is apparently promising some work to smooth it out... I won't hold my breath. After the break I rode on to Wollombi where I stopped for lunch. This is a favourite bike hangout, but there were never more than ten bikes there while I was stopped. I even managed this shot with mine the only bike stopped at the Pub. What a difference from the weekends! Leaving Wollombi after a large burger, I headed to Broke. The first part out of Wollombi to Broke used to have a stretch of dirt on it, but that's been sealed sometime in the past few years (update: It's been about OMG 2007 when I last rode through here). Broke still has fuel which was nice, topped up the tanks for the Putty Rd. The Putty is one of the best rides this close to Sydney. Its far better than the Old Pacific Highway especially since that road has had lots of speed limit changes and such. The Putty is also in very good condition and is more than 50km long, though not all of that is twisty roads. It is popular, occasionally dangerous and in the weekend strongly policed. In the middle of the day, on Thursday it was pretty empty (still dangerous) and no cops to be seen. Partway down the Putty there used to be a coffee shop, I forget the name, but its long gone now, burnt out and not reopened I think. A little further towards Windsor though is the Grey Gums Cafe which has replaced it. It has free wifi and concrete parking that is exclusively for the bikes (cars etc have to park in the gravel carpark). I stopped for an ice cream and a bottle of water before setting off on the last bit home. I had a really good day. I'm definitely enjoying these a solo adventures a lot more. It fits my timetable better and the rides are more flexible. And I don't lose three hours riding to the meeting spot, waiting for an hour for everyone etc etc. In three hours today I was halfway down the Wiseman's Ferry road to Wollombi. Spotted some kangaroos crossing ahead of me today too - never actually had that happen before. Luckily the mob (that's the correct term for a group of roos) crossed well in advance and were lost in the vineyards by the time I was close, little chance of one trying to kill me. I also had something fly in through under the chin of my helmet. I whipped open the visor which seemed to clear it, but I stopped very rapidly and took it off to check. That was definitely a new experience!
  22. Hey You're Going The Wrong Way!

    It seems the only time I get to do a proper ride these days is when work sends me to Canberra. That project is closing up soon, so that will go away as well. I'll have to sort something else out that makes me go to Canberra for work. I rode down the freeway, leaving home at about 0230 (0800 Meeting). It was a bit warmer than last time (when I was stupid!) and leaving home was about 7C, Canberra was 0C by the time I got there, but mostly it was around 4C, quite manageable. I only made a single fuel/rest stop and made great time arriving at my accommodation about 0530. I did ride through drizzle for about an hour, but it was light and the road never got wet, and neither did I. Lucky as I packed lighter and left all my rain gear at home. I also packed so that everything was in my top box, no backpack or tank bag. I found it a bit better on the return trip as I could ride normally. Learning from last time, I had a room booked so I picked up some keys, turned on the heaters and dived into bed, getting an hour or so nap, before having to start my day properly. Much more humane than last time spending a hour curled up on a radiator in the common room, shivering! ..... work interlude ....... elevator music playing .... The Next Morning.... The next morning I lazed in bed as I waited for the sun to get up a bit. Last time I rode off with the sun almost in my eyes for much of the ride. With sun up at about 0600 (we're already on summer time here now) about 0830 I was out loading the bike. My plan was to once again Head to Queenbeyan, Tarago, then up the road through Bungonia, popping briefly onto the freeway, before back to Highland Way. That's my third time this way. I then planned to skip Moss Vale etc and perhaps take the Hill Top exit and head up to Picton. No pressure from home this time so I could take it easy. On the road, and it was a pleasant 8C and bright and sunny, warming up well. Passed a couple of groups of bikes, all loaded up headed the other way. As I cruised along towards Tarago, more bikes came past. I felt as if everyone was asking me "Hey why are you headed that way, everyone is going the other way??" And I know where they are all headed and I would love to turn around and join them. This weekend is the MotoGP at Phillip Island. Casey Stoner's last Aussie race. It would be nice if he wins, but I'm not sure his current performance is up to it? We'll see. So much of the road looks like this. Yes i know they all look straight, but with no room on the side of the road to pull over I stop in places where the traffic is going to be able to see me and react, not come halfway around a blind corner to find some crazy rider taking photos! I rather not become someone's hood ornament :) Ah, that reminds me... no wombats this time, but I must have seen about 10 or more kangaroo/wallaby carcasses on the road on the way down in the night. I kept trying to decide if it would be better to ride behind a truck so he hits the roo, not me, but I think getting covered in offal would be rather gruesome. On the way home, as I rode from towards Bungendore I passed at least two abandoned cars with crumpled fronts. Skippy is all muscle too, like the wombat. I passed through Tarago and got some odd looks from a pack of riders when I headed down the road towards Bungonia. I think I know why, as that leg I saw about 2 bikes. Until then I had passed about 50 - 80 bikes. I think not many people know about the leg from Tarago through Bungonia, and all these other riders where taking the turn from Queenbeyan to Tarago. Riding from memory, I only got stuck for a moment at one turn trying to decide the right way. But I stopped and had a break, munching on sushi from my friends shop (Hero Sushi in Tuggernong, go there) while I pondered the two options. I turned left. And that was right. So I eventually hit the freeway, dashed about the kilometre to the start of the Highland Way. More bikes again, all pulling me to turn around, join them.... No I'll be in a wee bit of hot water if I came back on next Tuesday after the race... probably not be allowed in the door! Highland Way, duck out at Sutton Forest again. Along the freeway to the Yerimbol/Hill Top exit, and cruise along to Picton. These are called Ghost Gums, as their trunks and branches turn all white. At Picton I had three options, back to the freeway, northish towards Camden, or Menagle Rd to Campbelltown. Freeway, last choice. I decided to head to Menagle Rd as I hadn't been that way in a while and I've done the Camden way a couple of times in the last couple of years. It proved a solid choice and a quite swift ride I was in Campbelltown, hunting the freeway entrance, for the dash across the city to home. Rolling up to the door about 1445, that's how you turn a 3 hour trip into a 6 hour one, by adding FUN :)
  23. Meeting Ajourned

    Work insisted that I attend a meeting in Canberra. The nation's Capital, about 2.5 hours away on the Hume Highway (or Doom Boreway). Unfortunately as I was attending a different meeting away from work for the two days before that it was going to be really awkward to organise a car from work, the normal way to head to Canberra. With a grin, I decided that the most convenient solution was to ride down. Watching the forecasts from about a week prior, they steadily improved from predicting solid rain for the whole two days to the forecast the day before described some light morning showers. That I could easily deal with and would still be able to enjoy the ride. So, Thursday morning, 5am, just before the sun is peeking over the horizon I did a last check of the various weather radars online and geared up. There had been a little bit of rain overnight, but the roads were already dry. I did wonder about the roads further out, less traffic and more tree cover, but I would see. The alternative was to split off the back roads, back to the Hume and continue that way if I decided it was too wet or the weather really turned nasty. My planned route took me past Bowral from my last post before continuing to parallel the Hume through Moss Vale to Bundanoon and rejoin the Hume just before Goulburn. Here, depending upon time I could turn off again towards Bungendore and eventually approach Canberra from the west (actually closer to where I had to go in Canberra for the meeting) or follow the Hume and rush in from the north. It's the route I took that's listed as Sydney to Canberra in my Catching Up post. Only about 7 years later. So after getting quickly out of my area I was on the road towards Picton and followed the route I had taken the other week. The roads were dry, there was some cloud, but it wasn't even 7am by this stage. I had miscalculated the temperature though. The day before at 7.30am it was 23C. Today it was more like 10C so the summer jacket with a very light t-shirt (actually designed to wick away sweat) just wasn't cutting it. At a stop I dove into my top box and dug out the other t-shirt and light fleece that I had packed. Though still drafty through the summer jacket it did improve things a little. None too soon as the temperature continued to drop as I rose up into the Southern Tablelands. Eventually I was past Bowral and Moss Vale. I turned away from the main road here as it leads back to the Hume and I headed for Bundadoon, Tallong and several other funny Aussie named places. The stretch we had covered the other week, that I had just finished was lots of small busy towns, with 50kmh speed limits and very little "open road". This all changed from this point on. I had a good hour or more of 100kmh roads with sweeping turns and no traffic. Even now it was still early (9am) but while cool, it was fine and I really enjoyed it. I determined to investigate if I can cut out the previous parts of the route by staying on the Hume in order to get to this new part much quicker next time I come this way. Eventually it had to end and I was on the Hume. I decided I should actually get to my meeting seeing as I was already late (they had been warned not to expect me before lunch) so I followed the Hume down around Lake George to Canberra, eventually arriving at my meeting just before 10am. Cracking open my top box I was happy that my tricky packing meant that my uniform looked no more crumpled than if I had been wearing it in a car and had just driven down from Sydney. Lake George is funny thing. A massive lake with very little water for many years. Occasionally it fills up (originally they didn't know where the water came from as there are no rivers flowing into it, I'm not sure if they've explained it yet) and before they built the dual carriageway, could even cut the main road out of Canberra. Most of the time, probably 3/4 of the lake is used to graze animals. Day One Route I spent the night at a nearby base and again reviewed weather and routes. I decided that I would head though Queenbeyan then Goulburn to hit the nice part of yesterday's ride. Then after that part, I'd hit up the Hume to get home to family. Again, weather looked okay, though during the evening there was a lot of dark clouds and a little bit of rain about. About 5.30am I left the base and started out. Another great road was the stretch all the way from Queenbeyan to Goulburn. About 90mins of 100kmh, open roads with nice curves to cruise along at a steady, quick pace. It started to get pretty wet, so a stop and I was off again in my wet weather clothes. I use goretx jacket and over pants that I bought at camping stores as I find it much more effective than most "wet weather" gear that is available in Australia. It stopped raining about 15mins later and when I stopped for breakfast in Goulburn about 7am, I put the gear back in the top box. It didn't come out again for the rest of the trip, but it had done its job :) Breakfast at Goulburn was a hot pie, but I was having the same trouble with temperatures that I had yesterday. Note for next time, check the rain AND the temperature forecasts. That beautiful leg from Goulburn to Moss Vale awaited and it didn't let me down. I missed a turn somewhere and ended up on the annoying stretch from Moss Vale, past Bowral etc that I had planned to avoid. I checked the map eventually and decided to carry on as the next on ramp to the Hume was at the end of the Mittagong stretch. No point in doubling back, too far. Day Two Route I did have one bad moment. I had been following a school bus looking for somewhere to pass. I called it and pulled out and was about even with the bus when I decided that there wasn't enough road left to get in front, pull in, slow down and make the turn that was a lot closer and tighter than it had first appeared. I braked to let the bus come past and turned back behind him. Safe, but there was several seconds there where I was on the wrong side of the road on the facing any traffic that decided to come around the corner. That could have ended very badly. A poor decision, that thankfully didn't end badly. I got home about 10am, so both rides took about 5 hours. I had a great time, found some fun roads and put some proper miles on the bike again. Harking back to an older post, I definitely enjoy solo touring/riding much more than group ride. I enjoy the social part of those rides, but maybe I could just meet them at every stop rather than riding with them or something like that. Something to consider for the future. Now it's time to put up the Christmas tree, fix up the lights on the house, and I have a lamb roast to cook :) Yum.
  24. Briars at Bowral

    (EDIT: Added google route) So, time for another ride. Another start at work with the crowd. I've missed a few rides, but many of the usual suspects were in attendance. Again a wide range of folks, brought together by our shared love of bikes, rides and service to our nation. A wide range of folks means a wide range of bikes - the learners, the trailies, several cruisers, a couple of sports, and of course the sports tourers (me). 14 in all, so a big turnout. We hit the road almost directly south from Penrith towards Campbelltown. A wind through some back roads bought us to a gear shop that the guy organising had checked out. Some good gear at cheap prices. If I had known we were going shopping I would have brought my topbox and more cash. I will be back as I'm in the market for a new jacket. Here's a shot of the carpark.... We rolled on southwest from there, heading up through Camden towards Picton. A couple of wrong turns (though nice roads) led us astray for a while. It was revealed at the sign that read "No Through Road" But we eventually hit Picton, we thought to stop for lunch or at least a coffee, but the front runners had other ideas. A hungry mob of riders followed along. We left Picton and eventually hit the Hume. There aren't a lot of options here unless you head far south, so a few kilometres of flat top ensued. Never the most fun and the learners with 80kmph limits and little 250s weren't impressed. We left the freeway at Mittagong and followed the old Hume through to Bowral. About the time I was about to head somewhere to eat on my own and damn the rest the front end of the mob turned into the carpark. Briar's Hotel - LUNCH. a starving mob descended upon the hapless bistro. They ran out of cutlery, there were missing table numbers and it was a madhouse. Actually the place was pretty busy before we arrived. The food was nice but a little expensive that your usual pub bistro. They did let us line all our bikes up out the front and one of the waitresses even came out to take our picture (I'll add that one when I get it off my mate's camera) Out the front were a couple of the Bash cars. These cars join big convoys of similarly extraordinary cars raising money for the outback. After lunch we headed home, following much the same route. Until Picton. Here we took a road directly north that I hadn't used before that lead us up towards Warrigamba. The party spilt and I headed with the group heading home. This lead me onto a couple more stretches of excellent roads so it wasn't like our fun had immediately finished. With the long days here now rides can stretch past dinner time in good light. But with Mrs probably run off her feet by our two little princesses I figured I had probably better head home to relieve her :) And stay in the good books of course so she lets me out again :) I will try and link a route in here, once I figure out where we went :) Okay, I think this should be the route.
  25. Riding Solo

    The weather has been a bit wet over the past week so the group decided that a run down Kangaroo Valley and Macquarie Pass was probably not a great idea unless it had had a couple of days to dry out. Both of those have a lot of overhanging bush keeping the raods slippery and wet long after any rain. They also mean there is a lot of fallen leaves, again making the road treacherous. I still had Saturday off though and decided to head in that general direction. I left earlier than I would have with the group, and was well on my way by 0800. I've included the route, which was initially going to be a run to Picton and back. But getting there at about 0830 I decided to keep heading along the old Hume. This was the main road between Sydney and Melbourne until the dual carriageway interstate was built. Would have been a terrible road with the amount of traffic that must have used it. Google Route So the roads are quiet and a lot of the towns along the way have shrunk. Some haven't though and there are plenty of bakeries to stop at! I made Mittagong about 0930 and stopped for breakfast. Seeing how far I had come I decided to head towards Kanagroo Valley and just check it out. I hadn't ever seen it and it is a popular run from Sydney. Decided to stick my nose in there and check out the road. Cruising along I realised I was covering a lot of the roads I covered many years ago when I rode my little ZZR250 to Canberra. The odd railway bridge or street intersection was remembered. Eventually I found my way to Fitroy Falls, just at the start of the Valley. The road was starting to show some really damp patches which had me cautious. I then passed another rider coming the other way who gave a series of very odd hand signals. Still no idea what he was on about, though a few corners later I took a guess. A ute parked up in the bushes near the road with very dark windows. Seen highway patrol using these to police some of the popular bike haunts. Well with the wet road my speed was well under what would grab his attention. A few corners into the valley as the road steepened and narrowed and got wetter I decided discretion had its place and turned around (have you ever tried that on a mountain pass!) and headed home. Fitroy Falls rd Following almost the same way back, though diverting through Yerrimbool to stay off the interstate I made Picton about 1130. I stopped for lunch as the clouds darkened and the temperature dropped. Home was starting to look mighty attractive. So headed straight for the Interstate and home, getting there just before 1300. Overall a good ride. Nice to be out there again. I will definitely head that way again, and probably solo. Think I'll give the group rides a miss unless they're going somewhere I really want to. I enjoyed setting my own pace and picking my own route. Attached are a few pictures that give a good indication of what most roads in this state really look like. And remember, much of these used to be the main highway! Old Hume Hwy - Mittagong I'm sure the HP used to sit near this crest and fill their quota. Road to Bowral from Kangaroo Valley Road to Yerrimbol
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