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In My Garage:

Found 13 results

  1. From the album: PBR Fall 2015

    © photos by Fredrick Summers (aka RazorWing)

  2. 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.
  3. Frogfoot

    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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 :)
  7. 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.
  8. (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.
  9. Frogfoot

    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
  10. This time we planned Wiseman's Ferry in reverse, with the ferry being the last leg. We had started this route a couple of weeks back but it was rained out. After several beautiful spring days during the week, the morning dawned cool and heavily overcast. Not promising. I headed off to the usual meet point to find the regulars gathering. Only 8 bikes this time, and the newcomer was a Wee Strom (650 VStrom). Headed up towards McGrath's Hill to get started on the route. Initially we turned up the road towards Wiseman's but shortly turned right, staying on the near side of the river as we snaked along, following Cattai Ridge Rd and Bay rd. This leads into Berowra Waters and another ferry. It was a good stretch, but my weakness at downhills meant I ran a bit slower than the others. I will have to keep practising. Uphill I'm a lot more confident. Berowra Waters Ferry At Berowra Waters Ferry The roads were a little busier than normal. Today is a State election and all were out to vote (it's compulsory here). But we had no real holdups. The first kilometres into, and out of Berowra are pretty narrow, really only 1 and a half lanes, not the full two, so you have to watch out for cars not keeping to their side properly. After the ferry we headed up towards the Old Pacific Highway. I've described this earlier and its still the same. Busy with all kinds of people, police and inappropriately low speed limits. This picture isn't actually very representative of the Highway. It's mostly a lot lower quality. This is probably a picture of the kind of bitumen we'd really like but don't get in this state very often. Old Pacific Highway We stopped at another well known cafe on this road, Pie in the Sky. My first time here and I was impressed by the range of pies. I choose a "Lamb, Honey, Chilli and Garlic" and it wasn't bad. Afterwards I discovered that they sold burgers (my staple on most rides) as well so I was a bit annoyed. In previous years, Pie didn't have the same bike culture as Road Warriors (further up the highway at Mt White) however Road Warriors closed down a couple of years ago, to the surprise and dismay of all. So Pie became the default stop. Pie in the Sky cafe. We hit the road again and headed up towards Central Mangrove. As we passed Road Warriors site I noticed a new cafe there. Plenty of bikes as well, so will have to go past another day to check out the new version. Parked at Peates Ridge (Corrugated Cafe) About 40mins later we pulled up at The Corrugated Cafe. Having thought that the previous stop was lunch, I wasn't hungry, but snagged a couple of chips of the other guys. Very nice. From here it was up to Central Mangrove (strangely enough a hill, not a swamp??) then down into the river valley towards Wiseman's Ferry. This was probably the longest stretch of the day. It was made worse by the fact I was running short on time to be home and keep the peace there. Mostly the road is falrly comfortable sweepers, but can be narrow in places. The old wooden bridges have all been replaced with concrete. From Wiseman's we headed back up to McGraths hill and home. Safe...with 15 mins to spare. Here's the route on google.... http://maps.google.c...3,0.771103&z=11
  11. The previous run was a washout. I didn't even bother riding to the meeting place and the others decided to quit about 5 mins after leaving and returned home. This weekend was warm (about 28C) and sunny. Perfect. Once again we gathered at work, a few different riders and again a different bunch of bikes. A GSX1250F (a Bandit in full clothes), a Boulevard, a Street Triple, and an F800ST were new showings. The VFR lines up at work We headed up through Windsor, turning left at McGrath's Hill towards Wiseman's Ferry. Quickly onto country roads, it's about 50km to Wisemans and is a pretty good run of sweepers as you head north towards the Nepean River. Once you're almost on top of the river there is a rapid descent down the side of the hills into Wisemans culminating in a string of 25 or 15km/h corners. We stopped at the Hotel. They have an annual fundraising event where you can ride your bike through the bar. Haven't been to one, but there are plenty who do. I don't think you can buy while riding through though! Lined up at the Wisemans Hotel From here the group headed to the ferry. This is a small cable ferry that runs about every twenty minutes most of the day taking you across the river. From the other side you head north and there are several options. Some I've ridden (North to Newcastle, back to Sydney via the Putty or via the Old Pacific Hwy), see my other entries. The ferry leaving with the others. View across the river. Wiseman is around the bend seen in the picture I had only a short time so turned for home after getting pictures as they left the carpark. Have a good run all :) I really enjoyed my solo ride home. I'm starting to think I might enjoy it more if I went and did some solo rides instead of group ones. It is a little more dangerous though. (and harder to convince the other half not to worry) Homeward Bound
  12. Frogfoot

    A new year

    I started a new position this year, at a different base. There is a large group of riders here who are keen to keep an active riding group going, and they had the first ride the other weekend. Got clearances from the other half (as the main surprise of the day!) A rather eclectic group met up in the morning. We had my VFR, a KLR, 2 learners on ZZR250 each, a Tiger 1050, an FJR and a ZZR600. Later a Royal Enfield (imported from India) joined us. We headed north to hit a popular route over the Blue Mountains, the Bell's Line of Road. This stretches into the hinterlands west of Sydney and is a popular ride. Royal Enfield (2009 model) An uneventful cruise up the road very soon reminded me that it had been a long time since I done other than commute (I later worked out it has been almost 3 years since my last ride) So my butt was a bit sore, and I was very out of practice. If it had been a busy or nearly clogged multilane I probably would have shone, as that's the only riding I've been doing. Stopped on Bells Line We headed up Bell's Line towards Katomba, which takes up over the Blue Mountains and down the other side. After Katomba we headed for a small town called Tanara for lunch. This stretch of road was great. With the terrain just as rolling as before, but being farms instead of bush, we could actually see several corners ahead. So confidence and smiles increased. A few potholes didn't dampen our spirits. I had started to get back into the groove for riding so loosened up a lot as well. We stopped at the Tanara pub for lunch, and we weren't disappointed. A great feed at a reasonable price. We were on a Saturday. On Sunday's you need to be there by 11 to get a seat! Outside of Tanara Hotel The back deck at Tanara After lunch we headed for Oberon and eventually the Great Western Highway headed home. The leg from Tanara to Oberon was equally enjoyable. We turned onto the Highway and headed home. The Great Western Highway used to be a reasonable road, however it's currently undergoing a lengthy program to add extra lanes and the like, so is about 2 hours of roadworks. With a deadline approaching for hometime (Mrs was headed out this evening) I waved goodbye to my coworkers and headed straight home, only stopping for fuel. Overall, about 5 hours of riding, nice weather (not the 40C that plagued us for the next week or more), nice lunch and good company. It was a really nice day. Now two weeks later, we're all eyeing the weather report for tomorrow's ride, headed slightly up Bells line and then north (instead of south) Sounds like a challenge to me .....
  13. I'll leave this photo here so people know what BR was referring to, but it's not in order here, being from my second move to Sydney. It's taken from my previous workplace and the view is basically the entire Sydney basin, from the mountains to the sea. On most days like in the photo you can actually see the city skyline, some 80kms away. On some other days all you can see is the top of the fog below you My first ride, the Kawasaki ZZR250. In 2 years I put 50,000km on it, before I traded up to the VFR. I've gone back to a single post. I think it makes a little more sense this way. Basically this is a summary of the rides I've been on since I took up riding. Doesn't seem like much, but I've touched on most of the rides within easy reach of Sydney and Melbourne. Please note - the stuff written like this is supposed to be a caption for the picture above it :) Firstly, Melbourne Melbourne is reasonably bike friendly for an Aussie city and there is plenty of us around Melbourne no matter what kind of rider you are. The city has provided a lot of motorcycle parking around the CBD and we have marvelous idea of footpath parking. The rule is that you can park on public footpaths for as long as you like with two conditions, don't block the footpath and don't block people getting out of their cars. You aren't supposed to ride onto the footpath... I said you aren't supposed to. Another tip for Melbourne: watch out for tram tracks when its wet. Phillip Island, MotoGP: I got my Learners while living in Melbourne, and while still on my L's the GP circus came to town. Well why not ride there! Actually this is a rather boring ride. The road is continually being upgraded and is pretty much a double lane divided road the whole way. It takes around 2 hours from Werribee in Melbourne. There are several fuel stops and towns so no dramas about fuel and refreshments. For the GP the parking is in a big field next to the track [For the Superbikes, you park inside the track fences and can even ride about instead of walking!] Take a bit of wood to rest your stand on if you are worried about it sinking into the ground and toppling your bike over. The race is great. My favourite spot is Lukey Heights, but I can recommend anywhere. You can see almost the entire track from anywhere and they place massive screens so you can catch the rest of the track, replays and all the stats. Almost as good is the ride home. For about the first 50 kilometres there are bikes everywhere. The locals come out to view the spectacle and wave at all of the riders going home. Something a little different. Cops seem a little more lenient of speed on the open road, but will not budge if you're playing silly buggers in the towns. Off to Sydney I had been in Melbourne for a few years, but only picked up my licence about 6 months before I was expecting to move away. As such it was mostly spent knocking over my Learners and getting onto my Provisional licence, as the Provisional can be transferred from state to state. Sydney. I am not a fan of the place and their total disregard for motorcycles doesn't get them any extra points. Almost no parking, no consideration in tollways [forced to use electronic tolls, but no devices available for bikes, what are we supposed to do?] and a complete disregard from the cagers on the road. You can get away with parking on private property. You won't be booked, but you run the risk of the building security having your bike towed. I've gotten away with it two New Years Eve's running parking right next to the harbour road closures, so it can be done. Wiseman's Loop: Soon after MotoGP I moved to Sydney where there are some nice rides. Amoungst my workmates were a lot of riders, about 20 all up. We had a wide range of experience including two Stay Upright instructors. We often met up in the weekends for rides. The first I managed to attend was a Wiseman's Loop run. There are several ways to do this run. We start at McDonalds McGraths Hill and head up to the Ferry [and it is actually a ferry!] then either head left towards the Putty or right towards the Old Pacific Highway. I have done both. Can't say either way is worse/better. Both have their fans. The Putty has a bit of a boring patch and some gravel. The OPH has a lot of cops, low speed limits and plenty of silly buggers. The first time we went via the Putty. We had a small incident, some minor fairing damage and some more stories to tell. It has a lot of nice curves but you do have to watch out for gravel where it shouldn't be and cars/bikes on the wrong side of the corner. Fuel is a little sparse so I recommend filling up at every chance you get. Premium is espcially rare. The work crew on a Wiseman's Ferry ride (that day was 40C) - by some digital trickery everyone is in this picture! Picton: I lived in Liverpool in SW Sydney. There are several roads to Picton, which is a popular weekend day ride to the coffee shops for Sydney riders. It isn't far (less than an hour from Campbelltown) and the roads are generally smooth and not too busy. A short day ride to get back into the swing of things. Sydney to Canberra: While still on my little 250 and on my P's I decided to visit my mates in Canberra one weekend. Firm in my resolve to stay off the Hume Highway (the main interstate freeway) as it would be boring and dangerous with my 90km/h limit (the road has a 110km/h limit) I decided to try the scenic route. I had already ridden to Picton, which was the start of my route. I then linked together towns such as Mittagong, Moss Vale, Bundanoon, Goulburn, Tarago, Bungendore and Queenbeyan, eventually coming into Canberra as the day ended. It had been a long ride, but I took it pretty easy and had a ball. The mighty ZZR250, with tankbag and backpack strapped to the backseat handled the job well. The first time on the ZZR And then about 18mths later on the VFR I highly recommend this ride. The roads are in great condition and aren't busy. There are several well spaced little towns with coffee shops, pie shops, and fuel. The roads are quite flowing and nice to cruise quickly along. I managed to avoid the freeway for almost the entire distance, only the patch between Marulan and Goulburn proved a little too difficult to find a way through (about 30kms?) I returned the same way and have repeated it since on my current VFR800. In fact it took about the same length of time on the bigger bike! I think that says more about my easy riding style than anything about the bikes. Royal National Park: I did a few rides up Wisemans but was looking for something different, so hooked up with some guys from the internet for a ride through RNP to Kangaroo Valley. The Park is quite twisty, with a couple of very tricky turns that catch a LOT of riders out. It is also narrow and often slippery (being under tree cover and damp and mossy in places) so I wouldn't recommend it. The view once you hit the coast is pretty good though. It quickly became obvious that these guys rode a lot faster than I was comfortable with. When I caught a glimpse of them again, I waved them good bye and returned via Picton. I probably wouldn't head up the RNP again. Old Pacific Highway: I've had some poor luck on the OPH. My first two rides were wet. Not really a good opportunity to experiment on the roads. My third ride was up to see a Motorcycle show. I wasn't paying attention to my speed while trying to find the show and got nabbed by the cops. A silly as the limit may have been for that piece of road, I had no excuse. Ah well. It is a popular road. And the cops know it. But it's also popular with the "Fast and Furious" type cagers as well, so there can be cars all over the place, oh and cyclists.... the list goes on. It is popular because it is a nice road to ride, you can do the whole thing in one gear if you practice! Then you can rest up at RoadWarriors Cafe, at Mt White for another round. A real motorbike hang out, you can find all kinds of bikes there, especially on Sunday. The food's great too. Bell's Line of Road: For people in Western Sydney this is quite a short ride. It is often ridden as part of a longer ride, but my first time up that way it was the ride itself. You ride up the Great Western Highway for a ways, until you are up in the Blue Mountains. Then you hang a left either at Lithgow or Mt Victoria, joining the Bell's Line of Road. This leads you back over the hills and down to North Richmond in Sydney. It's a really nice ride, but the Highway can get pretty busy as evening arrives with people headed back to the city. There are a lot of fuel stops on the highway side, but not so many on the Bell's Line. Sydney by night: One of the groups I rode with in Sydney, ORoadSports.com, meets in different places, all over the city, every friday night for coffee night. This often involves a ride to the cafe as people gather from all over. There are also often rides that start from coffee night, usually as its winding down. These rides can end up a bit of a tour of the city as you wind through back roads to places like Bondi or Watson's Bay. An interesting way to see the city, but you can quickly get into unfamilar territory so getting home can be an adventure itself! Sydney To Newcastle: And Back...Work sent to Newcastle for a weekend. I hadn't managed to get on a ride for some time and this seemed like a great opportunity. It was. I will add for all you out there with partners, don't forgot to mention that you are riding up, not taking the company car! Loading up the VFR with my uniform, I set out by heading up Wiseman's Ferry. Then I turned for Wollombi. This is also the route through to the Putty, so I had been this way before. At Wollombi I was on new territory. Unfortunately the pub's bistro was shut by that time and so I grabbed a bag of chips and hit the road. I headed towards Kurri Kurri and finally towards Williamtown, my destination. I had left after lunch so the last couple of hours were in the dark and quite busy as it was Friday night. It was a pretty good ride and if I had left earlier I am sure I would have enjoyed the last stretch more. In the dark, hungry and not entirely sure I was still headed in the right direction was a bit more stressful. Fuel is sparse between McGrath's Hill and Cessnock. But I got there, did my work over the weekend and returned home. I was in a hurry to get home so headed down the main highway. While quicker, it was dull. I also had little fuel left and there is a long stretch south of Newcastle where a petrol station is nowhere to be seen. I finally pulled off at about Wyee and found somewhere. Almost cut off the motorway onto the OPH for the last leg, but needed to get home. Sofala and Bathurst: The ORS lads often organise rides and when work and my new wife permitted I joined in. The intended route was up Bell's Line from North Richmond to Lithgow, then on to Illford, then to turn back to Bathurst. This was carried out with a mix of twisty stuff (Bells, Sofala to Bathurst) and highway (a patch out of Lithgow) We rode around the famous track, some more than once and got a photo of us all at the top. We left as the cops turned up. The track is a public road, and the locals quite rightly get fairly pissed at hoons racing around it. They must have a hotline to the police. We were mostly well behaved. We had intened to head for Jenolan Caves from Bathurst, but the day was getting on, so we got on the highway and headed home. A really great ride. Fuel was only a problem between Lithgow-Sofala-Bathurst (150km). Stopped for photos on "Skyline" Jenolan Caves: Having failed to get there the first time, a second attempt was quickly organised. This was from North Richmond up Bell's as well. We cut across the Causeway and up the Western Highway until turning off for Jenolan Caves. After lunch at the Caves about half of us headed home, the others staying on for some cave tours. I had seen the caves before so joined the group for home and we rode back on the highway. Another good ride this. There is no fuel after Mt Victoria (I think, might be at Little Hartley) until you get back there (about 140km). The last couple of kms to the caves wind down the gorge wall and are extremely twisty, tight and slow. Traffic is one way (or was) and they were in the middle of upgrading it a year or more ago. Watch out for road works. When you get to the caves go past the hotel area, the carpark is up the hill on the other side. Back to Melbourne: After 3 years, I returned to Melbourne, now on my full licence and with the VFR as my stead. I was also married now and about to find out what it's like to live in your own home. I also discovered shift work :( Brisbane Ranges: Yes it would appear that the Brisbane Ranges are near Melbourne, not Brisbane? I was looking for something close by and a map off the internet showed a route that looped around these ranges starting and finishing from my part of town, so why not? The route was a bit more complicated than the few intersections on the map suggested. I missed several turns and rode quite a different route in the end. From Werribee I headed north and west to pass by Bacchus Marsh headed around the back of the Brisbane Ranges. I missed a tiny place called Durdidwarrah completely and found myself in Anakie travelling in the opposite direction from what I had been expecting. I backtracked to turn up Granite Rd, missed a turn and ended up on Staughton Vale Rd. Realising my mistake and after some consulting of the map, I cut across to the Geelong - Bacchus Rd via a dirt track, before regaining my the planned roads and and heading back towards Werribee. There was practically no fuel for my entire route (140kms) and only a few kms of twisty roads. These range from gentle high speed curves on two lane roads to a nasty hillclimb up a single lane sealed track climbing up out of Yaloak Vale. So I ended up not returning to this area. Once again the birds were out to get me: I disturbed a large eagle off his roadkill and he took his time getting any altitude. Later a flock of about 30 cockatoos were roused from their trees and were a little unsure as to which way to head to avid the noise. Both were avoided with judicous use of brakes and I got home safe and sound. MotoGp 2006: Once again the MotoGp rolled into town. I managed to not be working that day (how did that happen and a mate and I rode down there. Once again we were in for all seasons. It was cloudy when we set out but early on it cleared to a beautiful day. About 2/3 of the way we hit fog, before it cleared around the Island again. The one rule of Phillip Island - Always, I mean, Always pack your wet weather gear and a hat and some sunscreen. At lunchtime I was worried about sunburn, and the GP bikes had to come in for wet tyres. The ride itself is an easy couple of hours down freeway or open road. There is plenty of petrol, but the round trip from the city is only 270kms so if your bike has the legs there's no need to join the (long) queues. It's still a dull ride, but the variety of bikes can be interesting. The venue is great still and the ride home is unique. Even the Superbikes in March aren't even close. There must be 10,000 bikes trying to get home. Just amazing! If you do head down, there are things happening in the area from Thursday (Barry Sheene Memorial Ride, The Cowes ride) until the Sunday, so it may be worthwhile to spend lots of time there. I understand the Superbike School runs at Phillip Island the next day after the race as well. Mt Dandenong area: There is an area behind Mount Dandenong where there are a lot of twisty roads, according to the maps. With some days off, my wife away and some nice weather it gave me a chance to explore. The first morning I rode up Mt Dandenong from Olinda to the lookout (only to find it doesn't open until about 10am and you have to pay). I turned around and headed down the eastern side and wound my way up a mix of B & C roads towards Launching Pl. Then I turned and headed south to Gembrook. This would have been a really nice leg of the day, but it turned to heavy rain for this part(probably the best riding on the trip) and I had to take it easy. By the time it stopped I was headed back into town. However I resolved to explore further. The distances are small between towns and there is petrol quite often. Enroute to Gemstone - It starts to rain moments after this picture. A few days later I headed up towards Healesville. Turning off the Maroodah hwy I headed up the Warburton hwy planning to cut north. Eventually I found the roads I was looking for and turned north, only to strike an unsealed road. I have ridden on gravel a few times, and this was hard, well packed, smooth gravel so I took a chance. It was annoying and slow, but no harm done. I arrived in Healesville and filled up. I had planned to ride the road known as "The Black Spur" but couldn't figure out where it was. I was in the line behind a couple of other riders and asked them. Its actually the Maroondah Hwy from just past Healesville heading northeast, for about 5kms or so. And can I say, its very nice. Top grade asphalt, wide and well marked. Corner after corner, many sweeping pleasantly into the next. I was up there on a weekday so I do not know how busy or heavily policed it is, at a guess I would say yes to both. It was a great ride. And you can turn around and do it again... and again. The worst of the road at the Spur. The main part is far better surface than this picture. But todays adventures weren't quite over. Having hit gravel on the way up I decided to try the other road I had spied on the map. Well the gravel was the same, but it was a bit longer. At the other end I decided to head downwards, having completely lost my sense of direction and having no idea where any towns were, I figured the road builders would more inclined to start at the bottom of the hill rather than the top! And I had a pleasant ride down what became the Warburton hwy into Warburton. It was the Donna Buang Rd. I made it home about 2hours later than expected due to the gravel slowing me down. I would still recommend both these roads, its only unfortunate that I can't see a loop that can incorporate both without practicing your gravel riding. After twenty minutes of gravel, stopped waiting for the GPS to tell me that it's actually lost - strange because I used it to get here in the first place. The GPS knew where I was, it had the road, but couldn't find a route to anything. It wouldn't be the last time that GPS put me wrong. The Great Ocean Road. I spent a year in Melbourne and didn't manage it on a bike. I did start, but picked a bitterly cold day and the ride was more about getting out of the house. I calmed down before I got too far from home and turned around. I have driven the route, and it can easily be looped from Melbourne in a single day. It basically winds along the south coast of Australia, from Geelong to Warnambool. Much of it is scenic but there is a lot of traffic and plenty of police presence. It is still worth it, but don't expect to let the bike open up too often. The day I drove it I returned via the highway further inland, simply out of expedience. Pink Ribbon Ride. Several hundred bikes nearly filled a Bunnings carpark (kinda like a Walmart I guess?) as they gathered in preperation for a fund raising ride for breast cancer research. Seriously, who doesn't like breasts so everyone was there! We had police escort and they pushed us straight through traffic lights so they kept the behemoth moving (read my Charlie Boorman ride on how NOT to organise one of these). We rode up into the the dam (forgotten the name) for a BBQ and prize giving. ALmost as neat an experience as ride back from the GP and a good cause. Brillant weather and a great day. Going Round in Circles - Sydney again Work returned me to Sydney after only a year in Melbourne. It also kept me in town until well after my wife had finished the removals and settled in. I had planned to ride up, but extra shifts meant I ran out of time and sent the bike up on a truck. Subsequently I was waiting at the Sydney Domestic Airport Train Station only to meet Casey Stoner and his new bride. Said hello and exchanged pleasantries. I even had my helmet with me but not a single pen you could write on it with! Nice bloke, and he sure can ride. Later after he'd left the train I remembered I had my camera in my pocket! Doh!! However this time work and now two little ones mean I have little time for rides apart from getting to work. That, as many will know, can sometimes be an adventure or at least entertaining in itself, whether from taking the "long way" or just the crazy stuff other road users get up to. Up the Putty: Public holiday, no chores left and a donation to charity got me the chance to get out for a rare ride. I met up with the ORS crowd at McGraths Hill and we headed up the Putty Road. Basically head west out of Windsor and veer north. The road itself is in pretty good shape, with some long open stretches, and some winding bits as well. Best stop is the Halfway House. The petrol station comes up quickly and its easier to go past the first driveway (a rutted dirt track) and turn in at the second (gravel, but much smoother). We then headed to Wollombi to eventually head towards Mt White. I really enjoyed the stretch from Broke to Wollombi and then to Mt White. Nice, flowing roads, rather than down to nothing and away again. No fuel at Wollombi so make sure you fill up and can make it through. It is, however, a popular spot and the food at the pub is reasonable. We stopped there before riding on to Mt White. Unfortunately I had family stuff to do, so didn't stay to enjoy the festivities at Mt White and headed home. A really nice day ride, highly recommended. Sydney to the MotoGP: That's right, I actually pulled it off. To save myself the trouble, here is the link to the write up in the main section. Storm the Island Haven't decided if I'll do it again. If I did, there are some things I would do differently. Like taking more days so that I can avoid the interstates all together. And bring some sneakers to wear when not riding! Also with two small kids now, the chances of getting permission from the Mrs is pretty small. Charlie Boorman!!! Again a link to a post here already. By Any Means
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