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.

Looking back down the freeway

Looking back down the freeway

Made it.

Made it. And even a rainbow, awwww.

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.

Living with a Supersport

 

Parked at the top of Corin Dam. Sexy :)

Parked at the top of Corin Dam. Sexy :)

My trusty VFR is in the shop, it needs a new water pump. Thankfully I discovered the trouble before it overheated or ran dry. But it’s in the shop and waiting for the part from Japan. A positive of them still (basically) making the same bike ten years on, you can still get parts.

As long as you can wait.

So the Daytona is doing everything. Its been very wet here in Canberra and the Daytona has broken her cherry of riding (and being left out) in the rain. I’m having to travel to and from Sydney on it, at least 3 trips there and back before the VFR is ready. Which means the tyres will be trashed and it will be up for it’s first 10,000 service.

And I’ll be up for the repair costs on the VFR at the same time… there goes my savings (though that is what my savings are for)  along with rego and insurance renewal as well.

So living with the Daytona. Well the back country part of my trip to Sydney is awesome fun  :) but the rest is annoying (but not uncomfortable). The commute to work is also trouble… the Daytona is a very tempting bike. And my new commute is a short 14km of open road, no lights, not much traffic and some nice flowing curves…. like I said, trouble.

Rain was ok, the tyres were a lot more capable than I imagined, so that was a relief. Fuel consumption, really it gets about the same as the VFR, its a fraction shorter ranged, due to the smaller tank, but if pushed I could probably make Sydney Canberra in one hit.

But there are some downsides, and really they relate to carry space! The VFR has a 35L (?) lockable, top box. That makes travelling (like stuffing all the home cooking my wonderful wife sends me back to Canberra with) and also grocery shopping annoying.

It also means that my poor Daytona looks like this sometimes.

Check out the rear area. Rode through some road works in the rain. Not so secy.

Check out the rear area. Rode through some road works in the rain. Not so secy.

But actually, I now see how people could live with a supersport (and the larger ones) everyday.

But I have two… so I don’t have to :) So there.

How do I explain this happiness?

IMG_1122

I think this is probably true no matter what it is, when it’s something that you really enjoy. I’m sure some of you get this from WoW. Sometimes I do, but not as reliably as when I’m riding.

As I got into the second hour of my ride back to Canberra, and finally got off the Highway. It was as I rolled merrily through the back roads, the bike eating up the miles and us both leaning into the corners and accelerating out, that I felt that happy, peaceful contentedness come over me. I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do.

The miles rolled away under the wheels. I know this road reasonably well now. I know there are lots of easy corners, and only a couple that try to catch you out. I can remember these before they come up, so the bike is set up and the corner disappears quickly behind me. I know some people could ride it faster, getting their knees down, leaned right over, running the edge of the tyre ragged.

That’s not me, but I’m sure we both have the same smile when we pull up at the end. I can’t think of much I’d rather do, than cruise quickly along a back country road on my bike.

I don’t know what it is for you guys, but I hope there is something that gives you the same feeling.

Seems that wasn’t a last ride after all

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 5.50.21 pmUp 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. Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 5.49.47 pmBut 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.Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 5.52.00 pm

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. Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 5.53.40 pmWith 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.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 5.54.32 pmOne 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.

 

VFR Service and some suspension work

Service time again for the VFR. This time I had some extra work to do on the bike. I have recently been considering suspension upgrades as this is almost as critical as tyres, and I haven’t done anything to it in 10 years. Discussions with knowledgable friends, lots of helpful advice and visits to a couple of specialists around the city helped a lot in understanding the options.

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 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. Yes, there are plenty of aftermarket options, 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, well done after 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.

Sydney – A last ride?

Yesterday I got the Daytona out early and headed up the Putty Road. It was expected to be really hot, so I wanted to get into the shade of the bush as early as possible. By 7am I was at Windsor, fuelled and headed up the Putty.

Colo was in cloud and some of the road was a little damp. However, not wet enough to worry about and I expected the sun would burn the cloud off pretty soon.

An enjoyable ride had me at Grey Gums at 8am. Not sure I was the first there, but certainly there hadn’t been a lot of bikes on the road. A weekday and pretty early, so I guess no surprise.

After breakfast at Grey Gums I had a decision to make. I could turn around and head home, arriving about 10am. I had planned to be out until early afternoon, and heading up to Broke would only add about 2 to 2.5 hours, home by 1pm.

I headed north and was soon winding my way through the 10 Mile Putty. This is the 16km (hence 10 mile) of twisty road along the river, right at the top of the Putty, before you come out of the bush and back into the farmland. Its probably the most technical stretch of the Putty and a bike favourite. I certainly enjoyed myself.

Fuelled and rested at Broke, before heading back the way I had come. Again through 10 mile – need a lot of practice there.

I passed a snake crossing the road at one point – we both avoided each other safely :)

At Grey Gums I met another bunch of riders headed south and happened to leave at about the same time. For the first time I didn’t seem to hold other riders up so I guess I have improved a little.

We caught up to some traffic and I pulled over and waited for it to clear a little, allowing me to enjoy the road before catching them.

And then it was over and I was pulling into the driveway. A great day and enjoyed the Daytona again. I also now can be certain that I can go from Broke to Home on one tank. Which means I can go from Broke, do the ten mile several times and then get to Colo for fuel.

But with Christmas coming (double demerits no doubt) and the trip away followed by the move to Canberra and starting work, it might be my last time up the Putty for a while.

Bike and Tech decisions…

Nothing much has happened this week in any of my usual subjects. With Mrs working the weekend, there weren’t any rides on, and with the Daytona tucked in the garage I probably would have done something else anyway.

I have been quizzing all kinds of people about the benefits of getting the VFR suspension serviced, tuned to my weight/riding and perhaps upgraded. I’ve no doubts that it needs a service (never been serviced!!) and that the ride would benefit from it. However the full treatment is about 50% or more of the remaining value of the bike, so from a cost perspective its pretty high. On the other hand, I really expect to keep it for a long time, and there is a good chance that it will be travelling from Canberra to Sydney frequently come my job change in 2014 so to help the bike safely and happily do another 100,000km it might be worth it.

On the tech side, I haven’t really sat down to play Borderlands either. I’m keen to, but have had kids and other stuff in the way. I might get into it shortly as I just put the kids to sleep.

The NAS has been running trouble free (bet I just jinxed it) for 30 days now. I’m really happy with the results, but I’m planning to reduce its power saving somewhat as I am finding the lag in response a little more than I want. Other than that…. been a great addition.

On another tech note, I am pondering what to do next year if I end up living separate from my family. I don’t plan to take either computer from home, but equally I don’t think just an iPad is going to cut it either.

I see 3 choices. First, find a second hand 27″ iMac. Second, get a Mac Mini and extras. Last option is to build a small footprint PC (like in a mini tower case or the like).

I’m leaning towards the last option. Slightly more expensive than the Mini, but probably on par with the second hand iMac prices. The big advantage is gaming. I have several games I could easily spend my weeknights playing and of them, at least 3 are PC only and the others are Mac or PC. Not worried about music or movies, as iTunes is Mac or PC as well. Besides, the whole lot are MP3 or MP4 anyway so the Windows player or VLC or the like will work fine too.

I think I lose out in ability to edit movies for YouTube, but I’m sure I can find something. Or leave those until I return home.

Any thoughts out in the wild there??

 

Yet Another Recall!

Daytona - under the covers.

Daytona – under the covers.

I get home to a letter in the mail telling me that the Daytona has a recall on its ABS module. So I rang the shop and checked in about it.

No parts in stock, hopefully next week.  Don’t ride the bike until then. At least I have nothing planned this weekend as Mrs is working the whole time.

So third recall for this bike. Sometimes buying the new release can have its trials :)

I suppose I could just think of this a Triumph’s version of patch night??

 

Denied again again?

SONY DSC

I’m starting to think this Daytona really doesn’t want to go on a solid day ride…. This time Grandad is visiting for the school holidays so there is someone here to give me Sunday off for a change. And the weather is predicted to be cool but clear and sunny on Sunday. Great for a winter ride.

So Wednesday the shop rings me about a recall on the Daytona. After some thought I figure I’ll get it out of the way and clear off a couple of other things by taking Friday off and dropping the bike in to get sorted. Then it will be good to go on Sunday – worry free.

Short job apparently.

Apparently not. They’ve completed the work, but now they can’t clear an error code from the computer and will need to replace one of the electric motors as well. Part will be here Monday, and the bike is in pieces so I can’t take it away and come back next week (not sure when I’d be able to drop it there anyway).

And I’ve very frustrated. Every time I clear a day to go on a solid full days ride on this bike I’ve had weather, breakdowns, illness, and family things come up to either cancel it or cut it short.

But as some consolation – the work and parts are not costing me as its a warranty and recall issue.

And grandad is still here and Saturday is still supposed to be clear but cool.

And I do still have this in the garage :)

 

 

Denied Again???

SONY DSCI’m starting to think that going for a fun ride on this bike is jinxed! Another free Saturday rolls up and I head out. Actually got the bike out of the garage. As I did I noticed some flecks of white on the side of it. This is important later. I figured that I ridden through something on the way home on Friday and wiped most of it off.

So I rode off towards the city limits deciding that I probably should have worn more of a windbreaker than a fleece under my riding gear, it was pretty fresh.

I stopped for petrol at the edge of town, at almost the acknowledged start of the ride I was headed on. Filled up and was about to ride off when I noticed that the white stuff was back. It was like someone had a small white paint spray all along the side of the bike. This was worrying as I was certain I hadn’t even ridden through a puddle let alone anything else on the way there.

I rolled the bike up to a carpark away from the pumps and had a closer look. There was nothing showing up behind the front wheel, where if I ridden through something it should be covered. It was only on one side and only from the radiator back. I grabbed a tissue to wipe it off, with the thought that I would ride on a bit and see if it came back again.

I wiped a few obvious areas, to make it easy to check. The tissue came away wet and with a tinge of green.

That’s when my blood went cold. The only fluid I was sure was green on a bike is the coolant, and the spray was only from the radiator back. Then I recalled thinking that the bike water temp display was quite high on the freeway for such a fresh morning. I put it down to being still unfamiliar with the bike. Now, I was fairly certain I had a small coolant leak.

I’ve ridden a bike before with a serious leak and the temps rocket up. This time they hadn’t and with the small amount sprayed across the side, it couldn’t be too big. I also knew the bike hadn’t overheated so nothing was hurt.

But no ride today.

I headed home when I remembered that the workshop at the dealer that I bought it was open Saturday’s for a few hours. I changed plan slightly to swing by there and get them to look at it.

I made it without incident and they had a look. They would even be able to look into it if I could hang around for about 90 mins. Hey I’d already planned to be away all day, and this stage it was looking like I’d be home by 10am.

The bike is fixed and at no cost (warranty). I had a chance to take it out again, but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on it.

Next Saturday I’m busy and the one after too. Maybe the next one???