Jump to content


Member Contributer
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Blog Entries posted by Frogfoot

  1. Frogfoot
    Its been three frustrating weeks now. I hobble about the house finding it uncomfortable to sit, stand or walk for too long.
    I count my lucky stars though and know it could have been much much worse. My decision to wear all the gear saved a LOT of heart ache.
    Here is the bike.

    Insurance has today told me that it's a total loss. I'm really sad about that, but not surprised when you see the damage.
    I won't have enough to buy a replacement new VFR, though I could likely afford a second hand one. However, replacing it while I still retain the Daytona is not likely to go down well with the Mrs.
    I am considering the idea of selling the Daytona and using the money from the insurance and the sale to buy a 2014/5 VFR. I will take some time before I decide that though.
    And here is the gear.

    My boots aren't here as they are barely scratched. My Kevlar jeans aren't here as they were cut up by the paramedics. There was a hand sized tear at the knee where my injury has occurred.
    Weird footnote - when my sister arrived at my place with my ruined gear last week, my wife commented (and she's a theatre nurse in a major city hospital) that she "always thought I was overdoing it with all the gear I wear riding" and that it was a bit silly and over the top really.
    She's certainly changed her opinion now!
    ATGATT saved my butt (literally, you should see the scuffs on the back of the jeans!)
  2. Frogfoot
    Short version. Ride to work and back on the Daytona last Friday. OMG IT FELT AWESOME to be back in the bike.
    so I spent the week testing my sitting position on the Daytona. It was so tempting with it there in the garage. Doc hadn't given me the all clear but Wednesday afternoon I started her up and headed out. I got down the drive and then pulled my leg up to the peg. That didn't work and there were a lot of weird aches around the knee. I let my leg hang and wobbled back to the garage, defeated.
    But I couldn't leave it there so the next day I got back on and spent about twenty minutes riding around the neighborhood. The knee is really stiff but not painful.
    This gave me the confidence to ride in on Friday. The ride in was great. A sunny fresh morning on the open road (work is halfway to the next town along some country roads). I stretched the leg out a couple of times.
    The way home was more sore - enough that I was nervous I had ripped something open. I got home safely and hoped I hadn't set things back at all.
    Saturday I saw the Doc and was given the all clear to use my leg fully. So no harm done.
    It is obvious that I really need to work the leg or it's going to lose a big chunk of range of motion. I have already restarted my fitness and will get back on the bike and the push bike to sort out the leg.
    Being back on the bike is so amazing :)
  3. Frogfoot
    That's what my sister and my mum separately described it when I told them.
    Sunday night, marginally later than usual I headed down the highway from Sydney to Canberra on my VFR. After my usual refuel at Marulan and a text to wife I was on my way again.
    As I travelled along the edge of Lake George I was passing a car and about level with its doors when it appeared.
    Ten foot tall with red blazing eyes and a t-shirt that read "death to motorcyclists" the kangaroo leapt from in front of the car next to me and landed in front of me. At 110km/h I had enough time to think "fuck this is going to hurt". Well I probably only thought "f" before I'm tumbling down the freeway.
    I didn't resist the tumbling, trusting my gear to do the job I spent a lot of money for. It did seem a while but was probably a few secs later I stopped sliding.
    I could see the wire fence on the edge of the highway only a metre or so away. I was pretty shaken and had no idea if I was hurt but I knew if I could get over to the fence I would be as far away from the traffic as I could get. I didn't want to survive the roo only to get squashed under a semi.
    I lay in the drain next to the wire letting myself take a few deep breaths and see if anything was hurting a lot.
    Nothing grabbed my immediate attention so I stood up. Up the road to my left was my bike about three metres away. Past that a couple of people were just getting out of a ute. (They were apparently very relieved to see me stand up)
    I walked over to my bike with a heavy heart knowing that my bike had seen its last miles this evening. Lying on its side in a pool of oil with the top box burst open I am certain the insurers will deem it uneconomical to repair.
    I took my helmet off and sat down. The guys convinced me to lie down and it seemed like a good idea. My Kevlar jeans were ripped open on my right knee and a nasty set of gashes poked through. We decided to call the ambulance.
    As we waited the guys found a few of my things. I took stock of myself and even with shredded clothing the only other injury apparent to us was a light graze on my wrist.
    But it was cold lying there on the road and I presume the shock and adrenaline as well had me shivering almost constantly (it would be after a couple of hours in Emergency before this would stop) About 30mins later the cops turned up, the the tow truck and then the ambos.
    I guess about an hour later we arrived at Canberra Hospital. It became obvious that I had been very lucky and that my gear had done its job. I have some deep serious gouges of skin (you can see muscle and bone in the holes) taken from my knee but that's it. Nothing broken, nothing internal damaged.
    From there it's been a succession of hospital beds and dressing changes. I am supposed to getting a plastic surgeon to look at my knee tomorrow. It's going to take some work I think and lots of time to heal.
    Some people have gone out and checked out the crash site. They figure the bike slid about 100m. They found the roo, well dead and he wasn't a small one (about 5 feet tall). They found some of the bike with roo hair stuck in it. Most amazingly they found all of my belongings, even down to a couple of USB sticks and my sunnies.
    Thanks to all my family and friends for all their support so far. Thanks to the guys who stopped (many didn't) and I wish you'd left me your details. Thanks to the ambos and other medical folks. And of course thanks to Dainese (jacket and boots), Draggin (jeans), Alpinestars (gloves) and KBC (helmet) for keeping me so safe.
    And rest in peace (or pieces??) to my well loved mighty VFR.
  4. Frogfoot
    Here i am, 95km to Goulburn on the side of the Hume Highway.

    And here's why.

    Onwards to another 150,000.

    Though I did drop by the local Honda dealer and checked out the new VFR800. I quite like the look of it in the flesh. I asked about a test ride and the guy almost begged me to take it for a ride - I think he wanted the opinion of a 6th gen owner so he could use it to sell them.

    I will take it for a ride, sitting on it - it felt very similar. I'll see how it rides...
  5. Frogfoot
    A cool but sunny late autumn day dawned on the Friday for my trip back to my family in Sydney. It seemed like a great opportunity to try a alternate route that had been recommended to me. The main reason that I hadn't yet tried this way is that I estimated it would take around 6 hours - that's double my normal time, door to door, and being a new route, I would be taking it easy.

    I also had been warned that snow and ice were real possibilities on this route so weather was also a big concern. But we've had a long unusually warm autumn in South East Australia this year (barely making the single digits, let alone snow and ice temps) and several rain free days before today. A quiet week at work meant that the chances of getting away early where high - all I needed was an early knock off.

    I slipped away early and soon after I hit the road west from Queanbeyan. My route took my to Tarago, but here I turned North to Goulburn, where usually I head straight across towards Bungonia. At Tarago I deviated slightly to check on a couple of bikes I saw stopped in case they were lost. No problems there so I turned north. This road is the more well known route than my normal way, and its' not a bad ride. A bit shorter and straighter than via Bungonia. Plus it adds more interstate.

    After getting a little lost in the streets of Goulburn, I fuelled up and turned for the unknown. Again, more northerly towards Taralga (NOT Tarago or Tarana... can get a little confusing). The roads were pretty open and flowing, mostly through farmlands. Some resurfacing was underway and the low winter sun often annoying, but otherwise the ride was very enjoyable. And the kms were swiftly covered.

    The road continues north over the Abercrombie River. The descent and climb down to the river crossing were fine twisty roads, without markings, but generally wide enough.

    Up from Abercrombie you head towards the back side (from a Sydney perspective) of the Blue Mountains. Again the roads were wide and flowing, but empty. The area is obviously pine plantations and the odd logging truck may need to be avoided.

    I arrived in Oberon, grabbed a small lunch and topped up the fuel again. This should easily last me until my doorstep, so no requirement to stop again.

    From Oberon, you join up with the road from Jenolan Caves and head towards the Great Western Highway at about Mount Victoria. This stretch before the Highway is the last fun before the grind over and down the mountains. And it's a pretty good bit with some nice vistas of Aussie mountains (so really slightly bigger hills than the rest of the area - not real peaks with snow etc)

    The Highway is being expanded and sorted in a massive upgrade that has so far taken several years so there are slow speed roadworks zones, and the newer areas have reduced limits (because the tin tops can't help running themselves into barriers and off the road all over the place). And the traffic was .... well there actually was traffic, so the fun was over. Still takes about another hour to get over the mountains to home.

    A really nice ride and I think heading the other way would be nicer (get the annoying bit out of the way at the start). Pity it is so much longer than my normal route so I'll have to save it for next time the stars align.

    Of course the mighty VFR ate it all up without hesitation. It's now about 500km short of 150,000 and then only 11,000km until it rolls over 100,000miles. Its not impossible to hit that by Christmas.
  6. Frogfoot
    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.

  7. Frogfoot
    The VFR spent most of the last few weeks in the shop waiting for a water pump. It started the afternoon after getting home, I popped back into the garage and noticed a small puddle of coolant on the floor. Not a good sign.
    I rang the local bike shop, a new one as I'm in Canberra now. The guy on the phone said something about "Don't worry, they'll do that when its hot and the overflow tank fills. No need to bring it in."
    I sat back after hanging up. I've had this bike for ten years and 140,000km. I've ridden in hot weather, sat about in hot traffic and parked it when it's been much hotter. It's never done this. And certainly not with an almost empty overflow tank. I decided to head to the shop. Somethings wrong.
    Up the road is another shop, so I dropped in and asked to grab some coolant. I topped a little in the tank and it immediately ran back out. Yeah, nothing wrong huh*. I carefully rode on to the local Honda dealer.
    In the end they decided it was in need of a new water pump. Spent a couple of weeks waiting for the part. I guess a good thing about the VFR is that 12 years later, Honda are still making the same bike (and even now, it's going to be basically the same bike in the new one). So parts are easy (though as they always seem to need to order them from Japan, they don't break often.... but we all knew that)
    Got it back and headed up to Sydney for my normal weekend at home. That's when I noticed that the speedo was all over the place... it was like speed roulette.
    It has been sort of liberating, riding without speed limits, so to speak.
    So I'll have to take it back to the shop. Maybe the speed sensor is out (has happened before about 6 or so years ago) or the shop nudged or bumped something. They can take a look and fix it.
    Not sure about the shop though. I'll give them this chance.
    * to be fair, the tech was trying to diagnose over the phone, that's never easy.
  8. Frogfoot
    So I've moved down to Canberra where I live during the week, and head home every weekend. One of the problems with this has been that whichever bike stays in Sydney won't get ridden, and its not fair to my family to be away all week, come home late Friday and then spend all Saturday riding, before leaving for Canberra mid afternoon Sunday.

    I always planned to move both bikes down here, but how do I do that. I'd really need a lift from a buddy or maybe catch the intercity bus.

    My mum and dad were headed to Sydney on their way to my sisters, so my dad suggested he rides the other one down. Which was a really good idea.

    Except he's ridden my VFR for a total of about 20minutes in the suburb only (no freeway, no back roads) and not ridden this far (to quote him "furthest he's ridden in 50 years"). We can't leave until after 4pm as my wife doesn't get home from work, giving us about 4 hours of daylight. If it takes us too long we can't ride on the back roads as the kangaroos are a real hazard around dusk. Then to add to it all, we turn on a bit of a heat wave and we're expecting about 38C, clear skies all day.... he's from NZ so not so used to our temps.

    But in the spirit of adventure... stuff all that, LETS RIDE!

    And so here we are, all geared up ready to go.

    Just about to head off

    It was warm, and it took Dad a little while to get used to the higher speeds (and glorious smooth comfort of the VFR, his normal ride is a KTM 690 Duke, he calls a tractor by comparison). I bought a set of Scala Riders several months back and they did great work on this trip.

    Our route took us down the freeway at first, partly to build his confidence and partly trading fun for time so we could do the best bit at the end.

    By Moss Vale Service Centre we both needed a stop for a leg stretch, but more importantly some water. It was very hot and no clouds to relieve us. We spent a couple of minutes drinking up and chatting to a bloke doing the run on a Speed Triple.

    At Marulan we'd made up enough time that I was happy and we turned off into the country roads. Dad's first taste of the country NSW on a bike. The comms worked well and I was able to give him general tips and warn him about hazards and tighter turns coming up... I'm sure he was sick of me nattering in his ear. But I was protecting two things very important to me.

    And I gotta say he did really well. He enjoyed himself but even he admitted he had the death grip on the handle bars for most of the day - part of that was the pressure of not smashing my VFR I guess. The forested roads gave us a lot of relief from the sun and evening was stretching on as the sun came down - into our eyes.

    Then, about 3h15m after we left we rolled up to my garage, safe, sound, tired and thirsty. I usually take just under 3h so we made really good time. This is my Dad, pretty stoked about the whole thing (and quietly a little amazed I let him ride my VFR - so am I)

    Time to put the feet up and drink lots of cold cold water. Well done Dad :)

  9. Frogfoot
    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.
  10. Frogfoot
    Service time again. This time I had some extra work to do on the bike. I have recently been considering suspension upgrades and work to my VFR. Discussions here and lots of helpful advice, including dropping in on a couple of specialists around the city.
    One of things I was scared of was changing the bike and ending up NOT liking the ride. While my Daytona is a wonderful ride, occasionally the stiffer suspension is a bit uncomfortable on some of the patches I know my VFR with its softer ride is less affected.
    The other problem was of course, costs. When I first started considering my plans I had a little more spare cash that I do now, so that became a bigger and bigger factor.
    So I stayed simple. A front clean and re-oil, new seals for the first time since I bought the bike. For the rear I replaced the shock with a new Honda stock item. So both ends refreshed and I am happy that it won't be worse. I realise many will say that it's still terrible, but I am happy with the way it rides, and I don't ask a lot from it. I have the Daytona now for that.
    I've only ridden it home on the freeway, its first real test will be the when I head to Canberra in the new year to start at my new position. On a road I know fairly well and have ridden recently it, it will be a good comparison.
    Service all done as well, with no problems to report. 141,000km. Described as immaculate (I'd probably argue that, there is a few minor scratches and other normal wear and tear about), but happy to hear praise like that.
  11. Frogfoot
    I'm in the middle of a job relocation from Sydney to Canberra. The moving truck headed down yesterday, so it was time for me to get down there as well. I had planned to fill the top box on the VFR and head down, but I realised two things – I didn’t need to take much as I was only going overnight, and the weather was forecast sunny.

    So it was time for the Daytona to head interstate for its first away trip. I packed a couple of things (mostly chargers for my iPhone and my Bluetooth comms system) and headed off. I had most of the day, but I had to be at the agent’s office to pick up the house keys before 5pm.

    From my place I took the freeway to Picton Rd, turning off there towards Picton. After a top up I turned up towards Thirlmere and avoid some parts of the Interstate. This route eventually winds its way back to the Interstate, I can't avoid it forever, but I get a bit further along the way without slabbing it.

    Staying on the Interstate until Golden Vale Rd, I turned here headed for Exeter and Highlands Way. A fun road, that I've travelled several times. This drops me back on the Interstate at a convenient spot just before a petrol station. Topped up again and a few hundred metres later I get off the Interstate and head down the back way to Queanbeyan that I really enjoy.

    I found the Daytona a delight to ride on these roads. So easy to flick into corners, so much power with just a small twist of the wrist. The suspension is stiffer than the VFR though and that occasionally had me bobbing about like a bobble head on some of the rough patches.

    The Daytona proved a capable, extremely fun and comfortable over the distance that I’ll happily take away again. The VFR will still overtake it in luggage capacity and in miserable weather.

    It seems like some of the roads are shorter, but I’m sure it’s a combination of being faster and more confident on them, the Daytona’s rapid acceleration up to (and over) legal speeds helped too.

    On the return trip I tried a variation of up through Berrima, but it cemented in my mind that exiting that leg on Golden Vale Rd, is the best compromise between riding fun roads and not increasing the journey time too much. I found my choice today lead me simply into some towns and just sucked time rather than adding enjoyment. At least now I know.

    I’ve also been trying some new places to break up the rides, get meals or snacks along the way. I recommend the cafe at Exeter and the Pub at Tarago (those towns aren’t big enough that you’ll be confused if you want to try them yourself).
  12. Frogfoot
    Oh dear, it's September and I haven't posted for months. Yes I have been riding, I am back to commuting everyday due to some child care changes :) And we've had this crazy warmish, sunny August (and really Winter was pretty tame even for here).

    The VFR gets ridden most days, but I make sure the Daytona gets out once a week. That new bike has been kind of a pain as it's had several factory recalls - great they're proactive about fixing things, annoying as its been in the shop several times.

    While the weather has been nice, my wife's schedule has not been so well timed, so getting out for a ride other than a commute has been problematic.

    I did get the VFR up the Putty, where I spent the morning practicing my photography on passing bikes. Need a lot more practice.

    The Daytona is proving a really sweet ride. Initially I was starting to think I would actually get rid of the VFR but the VFR comes into her own on the commute, and about town far better than the Daytona at that. I'll also be doing lots of Sydney Canberra trips next year and she will shine on that too. So happy to keep them both.

    However, get the Daytona on the open winding road and she is just fantastic. I have managed one full day ride of about 350km trip and had a ball. Definitely no regrets there.

    I've upgraded my gear as well, with a jacket and pants from Berek, new boots to fit. Never had full leathers and they are way more comfortable than I expected and kinda confidence boosting too. Still it may be a long time before the knee sliders get any scratches, I just don't ride like that.

    In other news, my 70 year old dad has dug up his licence and bought a KTM 690 Duke in order to get some practice in - I think his idea is that next time he comes over (he lives in NZ not AUS), we can go for a ride together. He'll ride my VFR and I'll take the Daytona. What a cool idea. (oh and if you're worried about his age... he took up mountain biking at 60 and last year completed a 100km single track mountain bike race so he's no slouch)

    I may get out this Sunday and can post after that. Are you interested even if it's not VFR rides?

  13. Frogfoot
    Well the big reveal has finally taken place at work (on a week when it seems most of the other riders are away, lol) so I'll reveal it here too.

    I have a new bike, after suggestions from the Mrs that my VFR was too old. As silly a statement as that is, I wasn't one to argue. One condition is that I put the VFR up for sale, which I dutifully have, but have had no interest, no surprise there.

    I had been considering the GSXR750 for several years and it was top of the list, having ridden it and the 600 a couple of times over the past years. I focused on the 700-800cc, just personal preference, it limited the choices quite quickly. I decided that I wasn't interested in a dirt/trail bike, or an adventure/dual-sport bike. I did want something different from the VFR, and previous experience with the Ducati Streetfighter and later the Triumph Street Triple eliminated the street fighter style. So the list was really short. So short, I rang around the various brand dealers looking for something to compete with the GSXR. The Ducati 848 Evo was out of my price range and so was the MV F3. The supersport 600s and the litre bikes were just not what I was looking for.

    Then I rang Triumph and things changed. The new 675 was about to be released and the price was similar to the GSXR. It wasn't far from my 700-800 range, and I expected that the triple would be more rideable than an inline 4 600. It also came with a lot of stuff that the GSXR didn't. With the interest in them building, I put a holding deposit on one simply so I could get a look in. It was subject to final decision and I expect if I turned it down, someone would get an early present, as the guy who paid a deposit the day after me is still waiting for his to arrive on the ship.

    In preparation I rode the GSXR a couple of times, to make sure I would be happy with that style of bike, as well as testing it in city traffic and highway, finding it comfortable. I also rode the new Street Triple which has the same engine as the Daytona. This gave me some idea of the new bike. The GSXR sat as a very strong second choice, and I had a happy grin every time I rode it.

    When 675 finally arrived in the shop it was an easy decision. I still had to wait for my money to be ready and just before Easter I rolled out on my new bike. Yes, on a 600cc equivalent supersport, lol. But its 675 and a triple.

    And a month later I still have that silly grin on my head.

    A totally new bike for this year, it shares almost nothing with the older Daytonas. It is my first bike since I bought my VFR in April 2004, As its the R, it comes standard with ABS, Brembos, Ohlins and a quickshifter as well as some carbon bits. I've put 800km over a couple of rides in the past week or so and I am very very happy with my choice.

    It is quite different to my VFR. The seating is more aggressive, but I don't find it uncomfortable. It's about 80kg lighter and about 20% more powerful than my VFR, so its quick and easy to steer. The Ohlins and the bike feel very positive and I find it very confident in corners and over rougher roads. A little harsher ride than the VFR but much more confidence that it will stay where I point it. At the rev limits enforced in the break in, its actually very economical and I can get around 300km from a tank. That was a surprise.

    It sounds great even with the standard pipe. I'm still running it in, so I haven't had a chance to really let it loose, but the sound is really nice. There's even a little popping, crackling on closing the throttle that sounds very cool.

    I haven't decided what to do with my VFR though at this stage it will continue to be my main ride. The VFR is much more suited to the commuting and poor weather riding, and is better at distance (though not by much) and two up. The Daytona is mainly to be a fun bike for weekends and sunny days.

  14. Frogfoot
    Down under is currently hosting Pat, otherwise known on this forum as dunn2007. He's been here a week and already clocked up 2000km on the 2000 VFR that he procured for his time here. Go Pat!

    I spent the week trying to pick a day to take off and go for a ride with him, but work commitments made it impossible. I suggested we catch up on Saturday for a short ride up the Putty to the Grey Gums. While the weather initially was forecast as showers, I was convinced it would be clear by Saturday. I invited some of the regulars from work, but with the short notice and they didn't believe me regarding the weather, only two turned up.

    Of course it dawned a little cloudy, but the kind you know is going to burn away leaving only sunshine... perfect. We left Windsor with me leading. My first time leading a group and while I kind of enjoyed not playing catch up the whole time, I didn't really like it. So it was a easy ride up to the Grey Gums Cafe.

    We stopped here for a coffee break. The plan was to head back again down the Putty and home. However we pulled out a map I had brought along and started talking with Pat about where he wanted to head and what his plans were. Turned out he really wanted to head north, ending up near Brisbane.

    Well, says we, you're already a couple of hours on your way. With some of the best roads around stretching north towards Brisbane it was suggested that he head north from Grey Gums. It was only about 10am so he had a lot of (very nice) daylight to use up.

    So I bid farewell to Pat and turned to follow the others home.

    We headed almost the same way home, with a little detour to the Sackville Ferry. There's another ferry on the river, I didn't know about this one either. It wasn't really a great detour as the road wasn't in the best shape. Though much nicer than the north side of Wiseman's!

    I arrived home sometime around 1pm. As I write this, I presume Pat is winding away north, enjoying roads such as Thunderbolt's Way. I hope to catch up with him on his return this way.
  15. Frogfoot
    My wife has made a couple of new friends over the last couple of months through her gym. Turns out that one of the girls husbands also rides (he has an 03 CBR1100XX). Last week he invited me on a ride this Saturday. The plan was to ride up the Putty to Singleton, then the rough idea was to head west, before coming back over the Blue Mountains to Sydney.

    Wife had no objections but I did have a couple of concerns. First up is that the proposed route looked pretty long, like more than 8-10 hours away from home. Second is that I was supposed to be on call at work that weekend. To actually get called out is pretty rare, so I figured I could do part of the ride and then head home. I figured I could head up and back the Putty for a shortish day trip. Killing two birds that would also mean I'd only be away 6 or 8 hours.

    I rode to his place where we waited for the third guy to arrive. He turned up on his BMW R1100 and after a dash to the petrol station for a top up and tyre check, it was off to Windsor to start the Putty.

    Yesterday was the hottest day on record for Sydney. I think it made over 45C in the city, and parts of the suburbs were almost 47C. Today was not. Overcast and only 20C when we started, the forecast predicted rain later in the west. I gambled and didn't take any rain gear. I also wore my leathers and not my summer jacket.

    The Putty was in good shape and the weather stayed even as we found our way to the Grey Gums about 1000. We stopped here for some breakfast (none of us had eaten before we left). I recommend their pies, the bacon and eggs looked pretty good too.

    A bit of a chat watching various bikes come and go, before we set off ourselves. We rode north to Singleton to fuel up before backtracking slightly to turn onto the Golden Highway. This was all new territory to me, the Highway being pretty straight and a little busy. It was warming up now, clear and 30C. I was starting to regret not wearing my summer jacket.

    We turned left just before Sandy Hollow, towards Bylong and Rylstone. Up to Bylong was okay. The seal had gotten a bit rough and each had unsettled moments on various lumps and bumps along the way, thankfully no one came off. A small shower just before Bylong was a bit worrying as we stopped for a break and to figure out lunch. I was feeling a bit worn out, I think it was mostly dehydration. I drank a bottle of water and munched an ice cream for some quick energy. A sit down (to finally stop the bumping…) helped immensely and we decided to head to Rylstone for lunch, only about half an hour away. More than one choice there.

    We left Bylong and climbed out of the valley. This was a really nice patch probably the second best part of the ride. Once up top though, the rain arrived. I got wet and the locals (and my mates) had a little laugh when I arrived in Rylstone for lunch, looking a bit damp :)

    Lunch at Number 47 Gallery was tasty (we had thought it was a cafe, and it is, but also a Gallery) and the others debated whether to put their wet weather stuff on. I think they were just doing it to tease me :) The rain had lessened a fair bit when we headed off. I wasn't going to get much wetter, but I wasn't go to dry out either.

    We headed for Lithgow in the rain, taking it easy. In the dry this would have been a swift flowing ride until we hit the busier Castlereagh Hwy. By the time we got to Lithgow it had cooled down to 14C, so we were getting a taste of all kinds of weather on this ride. Now I was happy I had worn my leather

    We fuelled up in Lithgow, and said our goodbyes as didn't plan another stop on our ride down the mountains before we split off to our homes. The ride home was a crawl thorough traffic and roadworks. Made even worse by the fact that the Mountains were in cloud, so a good chunk of the ride was peering through the gloom. At one stage I found a traffic light and realised that I was halfway through Katoomba and hadn't even noticed I was in a town, the cloud was that thick.

    It wasn't raining though and the road was dry so the riding was okay, just had to watch the visibility. Eventually the hwy turned into the M4 and I was on my way home, arriving a little after 7pm, covering about 600km. I'd been away for 12hours and was expecting to be sleeping on the couch that night.

    But no, I wasn't in trouble as I had been led astray by the other husband. I figure me not in trouble with my wife, him not in trouble with his meant it was all ok.

    I've attached a map, though if you find Lithgow, I've created the map to loop back to Windsor so it goes down the Bells Line. We actually headed back towards Penrith so went down the Gt Western Hwy.

    I spent much of the ride far behind the others as our pace were quite different. If you're not careful there's a lot of pressure in this kind of situation to ride faster than you're are practiced at and get into trouble, something to watch out for. But if you ride your ride (as one said at a stop… race yourself, not us) you will be fine.

    I think (and the ride turned out like this) I really enjoy starting of with a "We'll meet at XXXXXX" and everyone just rides and there's no pressure to stick in the group. It does mean that if you get into trouble, your friends might not notice as quickly, but with everyone riding their own pace, trouble is less likely. So that's my plan for the next time I go out in a group.

    Sorry for the lack of photos, I didn't want to hold them up more by stopping for pictures. I do reckon I need to get a GoPro or Drift camera, to show you guys the Aussie roads better. Any suggestions on which might be better? I really like Drift's Video Tagging option.

    Bike wise, I am going to book in for the CCTs to be replaced, at some points the VFR sounded like a Ducati with a dry clutch rattle! The original ones last 50,000km and these have lasted 80,000km so not too bad.
  16. Frogfoot
    Hey, another meeting in Canberra. And hey once again, riding there seems the most convenient option (and again, the most fun!). And the weather is looking perfect, no rain predicted, well for ages. Awesome. Looking at the weather though, my lesson from last time (you know, where I didn't read the temperatures) I almost didn't learn. Hmm Canberra is going to be -3 at about the time I'm arriving. That's going to be cold. At 120kmh that's going to be downright frigid!

    The plan was a straight run down the interstate early in the morning to the meeting. Arriving early so I could iron my uniform, shower (warm up!) etc. Meeting all day, then dinner and maybe catch a movie (something that has been really hard to do whilst the kids are little), then the next day sleep in (another bonus) and a enjoyable ride back along some of the more interesting roads I've been discovering between Canberra and Sydney.

    So problem one is the cool temperatures, problem two is that I caught some kind of cold when I was on my last trip there and it's still sorta hanging around, so I'm not 100%. Problem three developed on the eve of my departure, the kids had both came down hard with the same cold.

    On the plus side, Mrs was happy to handle the kids, they were mostly sleeping anyway. I wasn't too worried about the cold as I do have some reasonable gear that I have used in similar conditions (though only for an hour or so, not 4), and my cold wasn't too bad.

    Leaving at about 3.30am I rode out in about 4C. Down the freeway out of the city I was getting cold. But it was bearable. But don't imagine a steady even drop across the journey. It basically dropped to 0 as I passed the city limits and quickly headed below that. Until I spent a couple of hours at -2 and hit -4 about 6am.

    I stopped several times, mostly to hang out in a warm building (petrol station) to eat breakfast. The worst part was the last 20 mins, when I knew I was almost there, the sun was up but my knees were cold and my little fingers felt like ice blocks.

    It was uneventful, except for the WOMBATS. Now I'm sure you all know about kangaroos and koalas down here in Australia, and maybe crocs, tassie devils, sharks and snakes too. (and spiders and sea snakes and…) Do you know about wombats? Pretty uninspiring solid little fellows about as big as mid sized suitcase. Oh did I say solid, these guys are built like main battle tanks, and have a reputation of destroying vehicles that they cross paths with, shaking it off and carrying on (not sure about the last part). Riding through the dark at freeway speed the road is suddenly smeared with black marks and at the end is a dark lump slightly to my left on the road. Looking like a large rock, I realised I was headed towards a wombat carcass. I swerved and managed to clear it - I'd rather hit a rock, it'd do less damage! This would occur twice on the way down, but the second one I moved as soon as the streaks appeared on the road.

    Sunrise happened as I rode alongside Lake George. It was gorgeous and made the insanity of the ride worthwhile.

    I spent about an hour warming up, showering etc and was still cold by the time I got to the meeting. Not my smartest idea. I'm now fairly certain I was on my way to hypothermia when I eventually got in.

    The meeting went all day and I was nodding of towards the end, so much so that the chair basically begged me not to head home that night. After the meeting I crashed into the bed, sleeping from about 5pm, to about 7am, only rising for a late dinner at about 7pm (when my eldest rang me to say hi). Mrs was struggling with the kids but I was too tired and it was too cold (and would take me about 4 hours to get home).

    In the morning I awoke to a pleasant -1 and a bike that was coated in a layer of ice. But I wasn't too worried, it was already morning, the day was warming up, slowly, and I was headed back to Sydney, which would be at least 15C or so by the time I arrived. It sure wasn't going to be worse than the ride down.

    I set off at about 7:30 fuelling up in Queenbeyan as I headed off to retrace my route from my last trip, up through Tarago, towards Bungonia and the freeway. I figured this wouldn't take much longer than getting through the city then up the Hume to about the same point. It would be a lot more enjoyable and less taxing.

    This worked well and I hit the freeway only a little later than I would have ridden past the same point. I remembered the route pretty well and my only complaint was the angle of the sun made vision ahead sometimes a difficult proposition unless I put my hand up, even with sunglasses on. This also affected the contrast between the shaded areas in some points where I literally couldn't see the condition of the road. I can see a sun visor (like dirt bike helmets or the more adventurer type helmets) being useful here.

    Also passed a couple more dead wombats. I'm no longer convinced of their indestructibility, however still no need to run into one! Anything smaller than a semi still tends to need some serious repair work or even towing from the scene of the impact.

    I hit the freeway - did some quick maths and ducked off onto Highland Way. I could make it through here and still be home as promised.

    Another hour or so of cruising along this favourite road before I was taking the shortcut out from Sutton Forest to the freeway. Avoiding the Moss Vale stretch which only adds time and not fun. Less than two hours for home, I twisted the wrist and settled in.

    Sorry no photos this time, all talk. Home safe, very sick. I probably shouldn't have ridden, though only because my gear probably wasn't quite up to the task (though not by much) and I wouldn't have had to leave quite so early.
  17. Frogfoot
    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!

  18. Frogfoot
    The bike was in the shop yesterday getting its new pieces, water pump and they refreshed the fork oil and replaced the seals.
    Honestly I can't really feel the difference, but I've only ridden up the freeway a couple of times. Not much opportunity to test it out there.
    Back on the bike ... and that's the best bit.
  19. Frogfoot
    Took the bike in for a service today and rolled out with bad news. The water pump and the fork seals need replacing and they didn't have the part to complete that today. So I've ridden home, with one eye on the temperature, to put the VFR in the garage and walked away for a while. So for a couple of weeks I'm going to be driving to work. The part is in stock locally, but the shop is having some staff issues as well as I have a busy calendar making it hard to drop off.
    I'm thinking about what I might have noticed that could have indicated these to me. I haven't noticed anything on the floor of the garage to indicate leaks where I park the bike. I don't remember noticing anything whilst washing the bike either.
    Did it ride different? Not that I noticed, but with my benign riding style, I'm not really surprised, especially with the simple commute up the freeway. And the daily temperatures have been cold, helping the water temp stay in normal limits.
    And I'm positive that the temperature has never spiked or overheated, so no worries about further damage. I've previously ridden a bike without coolant and the speed at which a bike will heat up is extreme and very noticeable.
    I do think I have been hearing the pump, perhaps, but the sound I occasionally hear, I put down to the CCTs needing replacing soon and I've been waiting for the occasional little sound to get constant and louder as they deteriorate. My original CCT were replaced around the 55,000km mark and I've not had a problem since. However as the current ones have over 70,000km I've been expecting to replace them sometime. Maybe the sound was the pump, not the CCT, but my lack of experience, and lack of other indications meant I assumed it was the CCT.
    Still I think 130,000 out of those is nothing to be too worried about. If it was 13,000 I'd be worried, instead I'm just sad :(
  20. Frogfoot
    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 :)
  21. Frogfoot
    The weather has been really mild this winter, but the Mrs has been putting in a lot of shifts over the weekends, so no opportunity to ride. However today was different and she took the kids to the gym, whilst I went off for a ride. I wasn't actually sure where I wanted to go. I didn't feel like an all day one, so the Putty/Wiseman's was out. I was torn between riding somewhere new, or picking somewhere close and staking out a photo spot to catch whoever might come past.

    I decided to head to somewhere new, and a loop from home down Mt Keira and then back up the (famous) Macquarie Pass, both of which were new to me, seemed like a good idea. Mrs headed to the gym about 8am and I was on the road shortly after. I headed south on the freeway to the Picton exit. Instead of turning north to Picton, I turned south to Wollongong.

    Not long before the descent out of the tablelands, I hit the turn off for Mt Keira and headed down. The road here was very much a third level road (and quickly turned into a paved one and half lane one). I immediately felt unsettled. I had been struggling all morning with turning the bike and the narrow technical road I was on only made it worse. Of course, I really hate down hill too! One thought is that having spent weeks hundreds of kilometres on a straight run along the freeway the front was probably very square, which would't help turn in. But at this stage I don't really know what was happening I was just feeling a strong lack of confidence in the bike so I took it real slow.

    I stopped at a lookout at the top, taking this series of photos

    (Of note, this shows the place where I joined up with the Charlie Boorman ride several years ago)

    (I also suspected the front for being slightly overinflated, so made a small adjustment here)

    I got back on the road and felt a bit better. I wandered slowly down the hill and reached Wollongong before long. At this point I was really not interested in continuing to Mac Pass, but still had to get home. I fuelled up, turned around and headed back up the hill.

    I explored a couple of other roads briefly as I headed back up the hill, before eventually picking one and heading to intercept the Princes Freeway rather than the Hume Highway for the leg home. I managed a stop before I got onto the major roads for a little photo session.

    Coming home on the freeway it was clear that I wasn't riding right. I struggled with confidence even on this flat top and was slower than much of the traffic on several parts of the freeway. I was feeling very unhappy.

    After a total of about 3 hours I arrived home safely. And to be honest after the way my ride went, that is probably the high point of the day.... making it home safe and sound.

    So what happened in the ride? Apart from the idea of the square front with a little overinflation (I'm talking a single psi or two) I think my own state was a major player. I realise that I'm actually really tired, I didn't feel it when I woke up, being fresh and awake with a good breakfast. Its also been several weeks since my last ride, so some skills perhaps a little stale. I'm glad I cut it short, but I probably shouldn't have left in the first place.

    Still haven't ridden Mac Pass!
  22. Frogfoot
    I put the VFR in for its service today to the usual shop. I had also booked the loaner, a old, but smooth running CB250, that is a bit of fun. 124,000km - a minor service as I got out of sync a bit by doing my last major about 3000 early.
    The loaner was still out with one of the other mechanics and not due back. They were apologetic but the service manager set off to find another bike. He came back with...
    "How are you with larger bikes" - the VFR is pretty much the biggest bike I've ridden, with only the Streetfighter 848 any bigger in capacity and nothing heavier. I was a bit concerned as I expected him to rock up with a Boulevard or something.
    "Uh.. ok... I guess", trying to figure out what he meant - higher capacity just means being sensible with the right wrist. A cruiser or something means a whole different style.
    He led me out to the lot, "Because I was going to let you take this" He pointed to a 2002 Suzuki Hayabusa.
    I swallowed ... that's a lot of bike. "Ok, I should be fine." I must have been convincing, but I have heard that it's a pretty nice bike to ride, makes a great sports tourer and I figure its about the same weight with a lot more go, and that just means sensible with the wrist. I can do sensible :)
    So without further ado (well ok there was still the copy of the licence, sign away my life on the paperwork etc) I was away.
    Work is about 5 mins from the shop, so by the time I was rolling in the gate it had likely barely warmed up. I came back out at lunch and set off for a short ride.
    I rode down the freeway for several kilometres playing with the gears and roll on accelerations. Pretty nice pickup and a great sound from the Yoshi pipe that seems almost derigeur for most Suzuki sports bikes.
    I turned off and headed back into the local shopping precinct, to see what its like through traffic. On the less busy back streets I found it pretty docile, but ready to roar with a small twist. But a nice linear pull away.
    After several blocks of first gear slow riding it started to warm up. Whilst the temps didn't climb much my legs were starting to get very warm as the fans blew the air from the radiators over them. Uncomfortably warm actually and I was glad to roll up the on ramp (passing a bunch of cars as I did, grin) and get the airflow. Back to work.
    Overall, I did think it was a nice bike. A lot more power than my VFR, very rideable though and easy to control. I don't think I'll rush out and buy one though. Still nice to say I have ridden one and happy to ride one again. Just didn't step of it with the silly grin that I did with the -600.
    Might have to look into pipes for the VFR though.
    Oh, the service ... found out my licence plate globe holder has burnt itself out. I've been suspicious of this for some time as the last 2 registration renewals have commented the globe was out and I was testing to see if it was bulb life or something worse. Bit strange, perhaps related to either the wiring recall work or the alternator failure. The part is on order.
    Here's to the next 125,000 :tour:

  23. Frogfoot
    Once again, work had sent me to Canberra and once again it works out a lot more convenient for me to get myself there... and that means a ride. And once again, the weather was doing its crazy thing. Summer here was complete washout, but Autumn had been pretty nice. Warm, not hot, not much rain... perfect. But of course the weather changed as the ride drew closer.

    I left on Tuesday. On Monday they were warning us about flash flooding and downpours for the next few days. If it rained, whilst I could still ride, it wouldn't be as much fun and I may be tempted to slab it. I was already planning to slab it home anyway due to time constraints again. If the weather meant slabbing both ways it would be a real disappointment.

    As I had all day and generally it takes me about 5-6 hours to get to Canberra the scenic route, I planned to leave about 9am. However 6am the dark clouds were getting ominous and the weather radar was starting to show lots of pretty colours. I hit the road.

    The rain was costal initially, the opposite way to Canberra. A dash from the city limits was decided, and then from there I would take it as it comes. My routes to Canberra do generally give me an option to change to slab about every hour or so.

    Down the M7, then the M5, which becomes the Hume Highway (31) and rolls all the way to Melbourne. I arrived a the Picton turn off, still having avoided the rain and decided that it was time for some fun. I followed the road up into Picton, then a pleasant 30 mins or so along the road, headed towards Mittagong. This eventually lead me back to the Hume.

    Now my previous few runs down here, I've turned off at Mittagong and wound my way through the small towns, before reaching Moss Vale and eventually turning up towards the good bit along the Highland Way. Over the years these towns have grown so that they almost merge together and the ride becomes a stretch of slow speeds, traffic and towns. Not a lot of fun.

    So something I planned last time, but missed the turn. This time, from the other direction it was a lot easier. I slabbed along until the turn for Sutton Forest. This got me back on the back roads, but skipped Mittagong - Moss Vale. I'd been on the road for something over an hour and hadn't even had breakfast so I stopped to take a break and eat the sandwiches I'd packed. As I stood around munching away, the rain slowly started. I geared up and headed off. A few shaky moments as I settled into the wet roads, and my wet gear again. I'm sure the car caught up behind me was shaking their head.

    In Bundanoon I stopped for fuel and the shop owner described the wet weather chaos I had left behind, third hand from callers to the radio station. Sounded like I got out of there just in time as the rain was only light here. On the move the rain swiftly dissipated until and for the remainder of the ride I had a mix of overcast or broken clouds but no more rain. The wet weather gear stayed on for a long while just in case.

    I cruised along what was fast becoming one of my favourite rides, the Highland Way. Nearly no traffic, mostly 100 limits, good condition road, though not always a full two lanes of seal. An hour or so later I arrived back at the Hume. Another quick bite and took off.

    This time for something new. I had been browsing Google Maps a few days back and hit on a new route, which I asked some other trusty explorers I know about the condition. It came as a recommended option. Turning at Jerrara Road, towards Bungonia (don't you love Aussie place names!) then on through Windellama (or Windy Llama!) before turning west again towards Tarago, Bungendore and eventually Canberra. That was the plan.

    And I almost stuffed it. Whilst on the short stretch of Hume towards Jerrara Rd I came across road works where they were building a new overpass/on ramp. The signs read "South Marulen Rd" but as I passed the new overpass the old road appeared just past it. I spotted a sign down the road JERRARA RD. Crap, the turn off. Luckily we're still in the construction zone so I braked and veered into the cones. in the relative safety of the cones I did the most insane thing, turning around and heading the wrong way up the freeway. Inside the cones or not, any copper gong past would certainly come over to have a quiet word. About 5 metres later I turned up the road.

    This road wasn't as quite the same build standard as the Highland Way, but it was in good shape and flowed nicely at 100 (or a little more) So another hour or passed smoothly as I wound my way south and then west. Eventually I passed through Bungendore and into Queenbeyan and finally Canberra.

    Overall several pleasant hours winding away at a brisk and not usually licensing worrying speed through the countryside. I even arrived in Canberra in time to catch a movie on cheap Tuesday (Tuesdays the cinemas traditionally have almost 50% discounts)

    The route on Google

    Day Two

    My meeting was scheduled for the morning, and it turner out that the drizzle and rain finally caught up to me so Canberra awoke to some light rain. I wasn't too disappointed as the return trip was always going to be Hume Hwy the whole way.

    Gearing up I was on the road with about 90mins of extra time up my sleeve. The rain though got steadily more constant and steadily heavier, until I'd been riding in rain for about 3 of my 3hrs and 30 min trip. My visor completely lost the plot when I hit the city freeway traffic, no idea why, but it made for a very nervous rider as cars appeared out of the gloom. Sadly my rain gear didn't quite live up to its own previous standard and I was very wet in some areas. Though I'm not sure any rain gear would have held up, I was wet, but not cold so it was alright.

    But slabbing is absolutely no fun at all!!!

    I have to go back to Canberra in May too..... hmm
  24. Frogfoot
    Recently Mrs suggested that maybe it’s time to look into a new bike. My 2004 VFR800, I’ve had since, well 2004, and I’m not silly enough to seek confirmation of her suggestion (in case she changes her mind).

    I’ve had my eye on this recently. Though not the yellow one.

    Ducati Streetfighter 848

    Yesterday morning I got to have a ride of the Demo bike at the dealership. First impressions (compared to my VFR)

    very narrow at the seat, but taller
    felt like the front was missing…. no fairing, panel is set closer in etc.
    pegs a lot closer to the ground so legs are a lot straighter. That was a big surprise.

    Fired it up and a nice V-twin warble from the pipes. Bit of a crackle. Very nice sound and I wonder what other pipes would sound like on it. Then we left on the demo ride, basically a follow the leader with a guy from the shop and a couple of others testing other bikes (a BMW S1000RR and a couple of K1300).
    Awesome brakes
    neat sound
    very responsive engine once you’re over about 3000rpm.
    hopeless shaky mirrors (but I think all Ducati’s have that problem!)
    Easy to ride and a fairly upright position

    But I finished up feeling a lot less interested than when I left. Well no that's not right... I'm totally confused. Eventually, I'm sure I could get used to another bike. I've always been the kind of person who rides around a problem, rather than obsess about it. The VTEC change for example. It's never bothered me, I've never felt out of control when it's kicked in (even in the wet, or on curves.
    I think part of it was the newness, and part of it was the whole "don't like group rides" theme that's been growing over the past twelve months. It was a group test and rather than "going for a ride" I spent the session worrying over where were we headed, where is the leader, where are camera and cops, which lane should I be in, are we turning here or there etc etc. So maybe I need to get out with that group again and ride the same route again.
    Or should I try a different style of bike. For example I've always had a soft spot for the GSXR750 or the Ducati 848. Maybe a full on sport bike is more what I am feeling.
    Or maybe its a case of take my savings, and redo the forks, rear suspension, get a rear hugger etc for the VFR.
    As you can see, the ride has left me more confused that ever!
  25. Frogfoot
    My previous post talked about how confused I was when I stepped off the Ducati. I am now thinking that it wasn't the kind of bike I was looking for.
    This afternoon I stepped off another test ride, this time something a little less exotic - a Suzuki GSXR-600. This was a 2012 version, I have also ridden a 2006 version a few years ago (that wasn't a test ride, it was a loaner bike), and the feeling I had on that was sort of the feeling I expected on the Ducati, but didn't.
    The 2012 bike gave me more of that feeling that I was looking for and I stepped off the test ride today with a big grin and a happy contented feeling. A promising start.
    I'm actually interested in the GSXR-750, but the shop didn't have one to ride. However they did have the 600 and that and the 750 are physically the same size (from a riders perspective), so it was a good place to start.
    Much smaller, and felt like I could throw it about a lot easier. I'm sure that kind of comment is no surprise to most. The seating position was very different, however I felt confident as I had good grip with my thighs, not much weight on my wrists and whilst the pegs were far up by comparison I normally ride the VFR with my toes on the pegs not my instep, so sort of the same. The lack of anything to grip with my thighs was one of the real down points on the Duc.
    Engine was good and brakes were fine. The 2012 has Brembo stoppers, like the Duc. I really enjoyed the test ride as I rode places I knew, so I could concentrate on the ride and the bike.
    I half feel like I should give the Duc a second chance, but sort of not. I may have a second option at the Duc instead.
    As I don't really want a 600, there aren't a lot of choices, but the Ducati 848 is a clear option to consider. I can't think of any other 750-850 sized sports bikes, oh actually the MV Agusta F3, but that's even more exotic than the Duc. The Triumph 675 is a bit less than I want. Open to suggestions.
    Something else that put these two (the GSXR and the 848) high in the running as there are excellent examples of both up for sale at work. Second hand, but great condition, both with a bunch of extra goodies (bags, exhausts etc) included.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.