Old Pac

It’s a day off for me, exams. After they were done though, I was torn (well not really) – go and see Captain America, go for a ride on the bicycle, perhaps even a MTB ride, or take the Daytona out.

But where? Ten Mile Putty is too far, be at least 4-6 hours and I did have be home with dinner ready. Colo was an idea but I didn’t really feel like the hour plus to get there. Google tells me that Mt White on the Old Pacific Hwy is only 1 hour away. That was a real surprise as I always thought it was ages and ages away. 

Well it’s not. 

And I always thought it sucked as I remembered 60kmh limits and loads of traffic.

Well the part around Pie in the Sky is actually 80.

And it was Tuesday, I guessed traffic would be light.

And it was, lol.

So I rode up Old Pac, completely changed my opinion of at least the 80 part. And it really did only take an hour. I left home about 10am and after riding to Mt White, and back to Pie, having a Pie and then doing a lap in the 80 zone before heading home, I still made it home before 1pm.

I wasn’t impressed though with the guy who passed outside of me in my lane around a tight bend. If I had f’ked it up we would have both gone down. Much rather he was like his mate and just blitzed past me on a short straight on the wrong side of a solid line. 

I’m still slower than everyone.

Loan Bikes – always an experience

My Daytona had a service yesterday. As always I asked for their loan bike to get to work and back. 

Getting a loan bike from a shop is always an interesting experience. First there is the initial curiosity of what exactly it is going to be. You know it’s going to be something small, they have to cater for learners after all. 

Then you wonder what state it is in. Sure it will work and have a tank of fuel, but it’s unlikely to be in perfect shape.

So I rolled out of the shop on a mighty Ninja 300 (don’t get me going, again, on Kawasaki’s naming conventions!). First impressions are sluggish (but that’s not really fair stepping off the Daytona) and small. The distance from the seat to the ground was noticeably less than the Daytona. Strangely this made it kind of awkward later when I was filtering. 

Actually, it was a pretty good little bike, and the other dramas on the day were more related to other road users. Oh and getting halfway to work and remembering that I couldn’t use the toll road on this borrowed bike and had to detour on to the slow road. However, getting back on the Daytona afterwards was like coming home again:)

But I’ve had some other interesting bikes over the years. Usually a very sad looking CB250 from one shop. It seemed like every time I used it something else was wrong with it. On one occasion, it was missing the side stand. This would be fine as there was also a centre stand, but some previous rider had actually managed to bend this out of shape. Made it very awkward.

It was close to my favourite loaner though and fanging it along up to 110kmh on the freeway I did always keep waiting for it die, but it never did.

One time the same shop gave me a slightly less battered GS500. This was horrible and I asked that they never let me have that one again. I would rather hoon about on their CB250

A previous shop gave me a Honda 650 Duelsville (I think that’s it’s name) I renamed it the Dullsville. Bland and boring. Great commuter (and I later met a guy who had one for just that). I think the more recent NC750 should be much better.

I’ve talked previously about the time the shop gave me a GSX1300R Hayabusa. That was interesting. This shop had earlier given me a GSXR600 when their loaner hadn’t been returned unexpectedly.

To be honest, I’ve almost ridden more different bikes through shop loan bikes than test rides! I think I’ve test ridden the 

  • 2013 Ducati SF848 Streetfighter
  • 2004 Honda CBR600RR
  • 2013 Triumph Street Triple 675R
  • 2013 Suzuki GSX600R
  • 2015 Honda VFR800F

(Can you see where I was shopping and ended up with the Daytona)

What different bikes have you ridden from the shop?

Expecting the worst

My commute home has a long stretch where they are making the two way road into a dual lane divided road (and they’ll probably reduce the speed limit). Most of it is done now, and its pretty sweet, with several lights for me to filter through.

The patch where it’s not complete has become a bottleneck though, and even though I’m heading the opposite way to most commuters, the traffic can back up a bit (though nothing like what the people headed the other way have to deal with).

Last night I was coming up to this part when another rider caught and then passed me. He caught up to the cars ahead and sat quite close behind, much less than my several bike lengths. Just as he did, the cars in front had some random (I couldn’t see why) reason to slow a lot, quite suddenly. But there was a moment that he had to brake hard as well, as I slowed. I had a heart in mouth moment that I was about to see him run into the back of the cars. It was pretty close, with him swerving towards the other lane as well.

The cars slowed like this a couple of times, as the other rider continued to sit off the back of the last car.

Expecting the worst at any moment I was slowly increasing my gap to this lot.

At this point the road became dual lane for a short period. The cars at the back who had also been frustrated at whatever the car in front had been doing, shot out into the new lane and along with the bike were racing for the merge.

Initially I did too.

But very quickly I could see that the bike was going to be stuck in the middle of a bunch of cars trying to merge before they hit some concrete walls and if I continued as I was going I would be in the middle of that too. I back off several car lengths to let them all sort it out.

One car almost merged right on top of the bike, he gave a wave, the usual SMIDSY.

It was extremely close from my POV, and looking at it, that car drove through where I would likely been riding too. Still expecting the worst.

It all cleared up shortly after, but I was astounded that the other rider continued to ride on the rear bumper of the cars, even after two near misses in less than a kilometre.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised…. the Nike shoes he wore looked expensive, but matched nicely with the red Ducati 999s….

We don’t like it when cars tailgate us…. why do some of us do it to them??

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.

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. 

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:)

 

Black Friday Sales

I don’t usually pay any attention to these US based sales. Don’t really know what it is – something like an online version of Aussie Boxing Day sales.

But in the as the last few hours of Europe/US Friday fade away – I was made aware that MotoGP’s official website was joining in.

For 1Euro, you get the off season pass, that’s full multiscreen, multi view, HD (720) access to all races since 1992. Valid until March 13 when the 2016 season starts, its a great way to keep watching some fantastic racing over the off season. It also gives you a really cheap way to check out how it all works.

And then I may be more interested in buying the normal season pass which is more like 150Euros. That’s probably their motivation but for $1.50ish, who cares. Its years of racing for nothing.

MotoGP website

Kind of like a year ago.

So on Friday as I headed back to Sydney I noticed a lot of dead roos between about Canberra and Goulburn. Summer is coming, and the warm weather has them moving about more.

Kind of like a year ago.

Mrs Mab had to stay on call on Sunday.

Kind of like a year ago.

So I would have to travel back in the evening, leaving late, like after 9.

Kind of like a year ago.

A year ago.

So this year, I decided to come down in the morning. I left around 4, so that by the time I reached Goulburn and Lake George it would be light.

I’m really tired, but nothing happened.

Daytona work, Day Two

Got stuck yesterday. I needed a Torx T45 (it turns out) and I had to get to a couple of shops today to find one.

So I spent another hour or so fitting the guts of the kit. This involved unbolting some of the frame bolts. Proved a squeeze getting the spanner onto the nut at the rear of a couple of bolts up behind the radiator. But I got it done. I found a small spanner in the tool kit that came with the VFR. It had been in the top box and was rescued from the crash. Thanks Honda.

I haven’t fit the fairings back on yet. I washed everything while it was all apart and I wanted it properly dry before I put it back together. I should finish it tomorrow.

And hope that everything fits in again, hope all the electrical stuff that I disconnected (the indicators are mounted on the fairings) works.