Putty Day

Mrs has the day off for a change and wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. So I went for a ride. I headed up the Putty with another rider who had not been up that way before.

The weather was cloudy, but clearing however the cool night and perhaps some early morning rain had made the road damp around Colo. This was a little concerning, but soon after it was clear that it was just localised and with the cloud expected to clear, it would be dry later.

Grey Gums for breakfast, and a warning from someone southbound about cops further north and we’re back on the road. No real surprise that cops would be about, sunny day, Sunday and no double demerits – I actually expected more bikes around than I saw.

I was keen to get right up to 10-mile Putty so my friend could see the best part. If only it wasn’t nearly 2 hours to get there. We did make it, but I really didn’t have time to cut some laps which was a shame. It was also clear that I’d met yet another rider who was faster than me – I think every rider I’ve ever met rides faster than I do. 

We fuelled at Broke and repeated the trip down the Putty. The cop was again spotted, with a fellow rider pulled over this time.

We had Comms between us the whole time, his Sena linking into one of the phone channels of my ScalaRider. Worked fine, but I was unable to listen to music or I think take other calls (no reception on Putty anyway so who cares). 

I am more encouraged about doing a track day as well, perhaps I’ll work something out to tag along the next time he goes.

Chasing the Old Man

  Been a week since we got back to Australia from NZ. It was a great trip and I got two MTB rides with my dad. I was very impressed with the trails around Rotorua, they were fast, fun, smooth and extensive. Busy as well, but it was the school holidays so I guess that was to be expected. 

Dad lives close enough that after a couple of km we were at the base of the trails. From here, both times, it was of course…. UP.

And up in NZ is a lot different to up in Australia, where we have small rises and they get called mountains. In NZ they actually have mountains and so the small rises and large hills are just that, small rises and large hills. And so Dad has spent pretty much every day for the past ten or more years riding these trails, and up these hills. 

No sweat for him, but his poor Aussie son (and previously his poor Aussie son-in-law) had to walk parts of the up. But we were rewarded with some pretty cool trails. A couple of the more well known are probably “Mad if ya don’t” and “B Rude not 2”. 

I had to struggle along on his “other” bike – a carbon framed Santa Cruz Solo, while he struggled ahead on the Bronson, also carbon framed.

Honestly, it was only a couple of times when I actually had to lift the bike that I felt the lack of mass.

I went as fast as I was confident to ride, and was pretty scared most of the way down really. I checked out Dad’s usual times for those runs and he was holding back about 25-50% on most runs. Oh dear, I have a lot of catching up to do…

  

The Dusodoro

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A giant farm bike is sometimes how I feel riding this bike. I think that might be because I’ve not ridden any motards and very few naked bikes. 

While in NZ I will be taking every chance to ride this Aprillia Dusodoro 1200. Have done about 150km so far and it’s been good – it’s not the bike I would buy but it’s a good ride. 

The first time I chopped the throttle in first gear I almost bumped the handlebars and then opening the throttle I almost flew off the bike. The big v-twin has plenty of go. Manoeuvrability is excellent with the high position, wide bars (not clip ons) and vision is great too. It’s a big dirt bike seat so likely not so comfy long distance. 

But with a fuel tank of something like 14L it hasn’t got the range to spend too long before a break. And this is probably the main limitation of the bike if you’re going to be roaming about on it. 

  
  
Where any bike is better than no bike this is a pretty good bike to be “stuck” with. Not a bike that would suit me or what I ride (I’d almost need to refuel it every other day on the commute) but an interesting ride. 

Down Under

  Not day 1, it’s about day 3, but time to write something. I’ve brought the girls over to New Zealand to visit the grandparents. Been a few years since we visited them instead of the other way around. 

Two things I am looking forward to are riding dad’s motorcycle and riding MTB in one of the best places in NZ and maybe the whole of Southern Hemisphere!

So far we have walked in some of the bush (once the first day or so of rain cleared up) and been up to the Luge. Both girls had a go on their own, though the younger lost her confidence after rounding a corner and crashing into an adandoned cart. But much fun was had and their slogan “once is never enough” is just as true today as it was when I first started riding it about 25 years ago. 

2015 in Review

About Bikes

IMG_0035Bike wise I’m missing the VFR. Carrying stuff, commuting is all harder without it. There’s no money to replace it, unless the Daytona goes. And there is still 10 years of riding memories….

The Daytona got some good rides and I really enjoy it, its a fantastic fun bike. Several short rides in Canberra practising skills. I feel as though the latest trip up the Putty was better for that practice. I’m keeping the Daytona unless commuting becomes really unmanageable.

About Mountain Bikes

IMG_2699MTB was a busy year, benefiting from having the car and being in Canberra. I found it a lot of fun but I won’t have as many chances to ride back in Sydney. Squeezing family, work, study, motorcycles and MTB all together is going to be a challenge.

Babes (Family)

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History Time

We moved into our own house this year. My youngest started school and both my girls did great. Proud of them both. I introduced them to some old school games. They also discovered Minecraft, which they have enjoyed but I need to keep an eye on how much they spend playing already :)

Bytes

WoWScrnShot_010815_061906Nothing much here at all. Sorry about that. I am trying to get into something to play regularly, but I just haven’t found anything of interest. I keep planning to upgrade the PC and get into something like Mechwarrior Online but I just haven’t. I have managed to break out of WoW. I don’t think its a bad game, but I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. This year may also be a bit bereft of playtime as I get deeply into study.

Oh, and Netflix too, that takes some time up doesn’t it.

About the Site.

Well, ever since I dropped out of WoW, readership has plummeted. The odd one or two posts still garners interest, but they are the same posts every year – the Naga review and the couple around when I was deciding between the Daytona and the GSXR.

There are still a few diehard followers and some random people drop by, mostly seem to come in from Navi’s blog at Frostwolves. By comparison, Cymre over at Bubbles of Mischief had 2600 visits on her busiest day, I had 1500 all year.

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So the future…

I’ll just keep dribbling on about stuff, more bikes, less MTB, maybe more bytes. I like to keep this “diary” anyway.

 

2015 Last Ride

Mrs Mab let me out for a ride this NYE Eve. I headed up the Putty, leaving home at about 6am. This way I could be home with some time with the family.

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The second time past it was busier than I expected. 

My first time up here since the previous spring (in 2014 that is). There didn’t seem to be much different along the road itself. I expected only a few bikes if any – even though it was shaping up to be a clear 25C day. It is double demerits from before Christmas until after New Years, so a lot of the young or silly crew stay away.

I passed a police car just outside Wilberforce, he had a customer (and it was a car) already so ignored me.

I got to Grey Gums shortly after 0730. By this time, I was pretty hungry, I kept getting distracted by imagining a big bacon, eggs, sausages sorta breakfast. Didn’t quite cause me to crash, but I certainly had to refocus a couple of times. I had never arrived this early and I was worried it would be shut. As I rolled down the road (the entrance a little past the cafe when you are northbound) it was clearly open. Apparently from 0700. Everyday except Christmas Day.

New owners I think, certainly some renovations. More shade, more tables and more concrete exclusively for bikes, gotta love em.

A hearty breakfast (which also included toast, mushrooms and onions) and I was on my way.

I hit Ten Mile and did 5 laps to end up heading towards Broke (for fuel). It is a great stretch, but it takes almost 2 hours to get there from home. There has been some roadworks done. Some corners widened but the most significant was on several of the corners the armco now stretches right to the ground and the posts are behind. Importantly that should mean its harder for a crashing rider to slid under or hit a post when they hit the armco. A lot better than more wires.

Very happy with how I improved across the runs as I loosened up. Still slow compared to most, but smooth and safe. Interesting, even though I generally stick close to the speed limits, even I felt an overwhelming urge to check my throttle early out of many of the corners. That did put a little damper on it.

After Broke I contemplated going home via Wiseman’s Ferry, but decided I would already be away a long time and I don’t know if they have repaired the river side leg, it was pretty rough on the VFR. On the taunt Daytona I would be scrambled.

My last trip down the Ten Mile was spoiled by some old tourists from Queensland who drove slow and couldn’t stay in their lane. Eventually they were passed.

I stopped again at Grey Gums for a snack then straight home. An enjoyable ride, but its been a while since I’ve done such a long one (about 6 hours in the saddle) and I felt a bit weary the last hour.

Also, my weight loss over the past month has meant my pants went on a bit easier :)

 

Progress is a funny thing

So when I was about 10, if I wanted to listen to music, I put a tape in my Walkman, put the headphones on and pressed play. If I wanted to listen in the lounge, I moved the tape in the Hi-fi in the lounge and pressed play.

Today to listen in the lounge I used my phone app to switch on the amp, and then remote control my iMac to select the playlist and play over the network.

The iMac dutifully fetched the songs from the NAS, then AirPlay across to the Amp, which played it out the speakers, while displaying the track info on the TV.

So, including the switch and the router (for the Wifi), that’s SEVEN devices, just to play a song.

It sounds silly like that, but then when you think that I can

  • play the same music upstairs or in the computer room (I can actually play different music in both if I get the Apple TVs involved) at the same time;
  • play music outside;
  • play a movie inside and music outside;
  • play a movie on the computer, a different one upstairs, another different one downstairs, while listening to music outside.;
  • and only have 1 copy of the music or movie on the NAS.
  • and listen to music on the phone on headphones.

maybe it isn’t so silly???

 

Good Morning Windows 10

Wow. I’ve used & installed (usually several times) pretty much every Windows version since version 2. Except I never used 8 but apparently no great loss there. 

Now that I am home I let 10 have its way with the PC, kicking off the upgrade from 7 as I went to bed. 

This morning I woke to find the upgrade complete bar a couple of setting requests (sending info to Microsoft and Favourites Importing type queries) and logged in. 

All the software seems to be running, Office didn’t need reinstalling, neither did Skype or well the new Edge of course. Actually that’s about all the PC gets used for.  Log in to a few websites like Facebook and TFC and its sorted. 

That was by far the best ever Windows upgrade or install in nearly 30 years. Very impressed. Can’t say much about the OS itself as I really haven’t used it in anger yet. 

Local Knowledge

Pretty much every Friday last year I would ride the back roads from Canberra to Maralun, and sometimes on Sundays as well. I got to know the road really well, knowing which corners were tight, or had other things to be aware of, where traffic generally came from, where I might find stock crossing the road, etc, etc.

I’m sure most of you have roads like that, even if its the city blocks of your daily commute.

A few weekends ago there was a terrible crash – a bus carrying a bunch of people from work (I didn’t know them) rolled and there were some serious injuries. I learned about it when I saw the news. The road name sounded familiar (I’m terrible with road names, and peoples…. but I can remember every person’s motorbike) and when I saw the crash scene I knew exactly where it was.

It was one of the few corners that you really have to pay attention, even on the bike. It’s not super tight, the main problem is that the road surface is terribly uneven (even for a back country road) and there is no verge. On the outside there is a culvert and a drain that has eaten away so there is a short but steep slope from the edge of the seal. On the bike, it’s something to be mindful of, but not super concerning.

I rode out to the crash site later to confirm to myself where it was.

The bus obviously realised he was going too fast for the turn, braked, but drifted wide and the steep verge tipped it over. It returned to the road, but on its side and slid to a halt. Horrible.

I’m not entirely sure why the group of buses headed that way, it’s a back road after all, but taking it easy where you don’t have local knowledge is something to keep in mind.

Of course even that can’t help a wayward kangaroo…..

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Here is where it ended up facing to the left of the picture on its left side. One wheel track seems to have stayed on the road and the other goes off into the grass ditch to the right of the picture. If you can see the double lines of tyre marks leading down the road to the left, that’s from the bus in front stopping to help.

Up the Mountain

IMG_0219The big name in MTB in Canberra is Stromlo. Mt Stromlo has a set of dedicated tracks, built to a standard that at least national (and I think international) people race at. The park also includes a track for roadies.

This was only my second time here, and I had forgotten why I kind of don’t like it.

You ride up for about 45mins, and its not very gentle.

Then you ride down for about 10 mins.

And if you want to go again, you ride up again for 45 mins more.

Again.

Down is pretty cool with sharp banked turns, that being used to the more gentle slopes of Sparrow Hill I am a little out of my depth on. They should be fun, but mostly I just yell and hold on.

I did get some air, or at least I got the front off the ground at a couple of points.

But overall I like Sparrow the best out of Sparrow, Stromlo and Majura.

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