Watching the traffic

Something you can’t help but pay attention to while riding is other drivers. For obvious reasons, a rider’s life is much more dependent upon being aware of what the cars (and other vehicles) around you are doing.

So after a few years in traffic you get to pick up signs of what people are planning to do, often even before they even realise it themselves. The guy glancing to his right – there’s a strong chance he’s going to be changing lanes. The car slow or moving about in their lane – probably on their phone, all these signs are there and sometimes you don’t even realise you’re seeing them. But you’re slowing or checking your escape options.

So when the the guy in the ute next to me is driving along with his hand on his indicator I was pretty certain he was just waiting for a chance to change into my lane. I had only a car length a bit in front of me, so when the ute moved forward a bit and indicated right (into my lane) I was not surprised or very happy. I held my ground as there was plenty of room behind and there was no reason for him to cut in so tightly.

And I’m well glad I did, the ute dropped back and changed behind me. Immediately he then changed further right, slowing for a turn lane.

So if I had let him in, he would have immediately slowed with me less than a car length behind him, and changed lanes again. A good chance that I might have crashed into him.

Track Day

First track day is in about 3 hours. Can’t find the meme I was looking for… but here’s some others that I liked on the subject.¬†So, apparently it’s like this (I’m mostly nerves actually).

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And with the forecast today I’m all a bit

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They have a top of 33C and possible showers later. I’m hoping much later….

I am hopeful I’ll get to the end and

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(Cube!!) But ever fearful that I might do this.

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Which has been a huge part of why I haven’t done one yet.

 

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 againūüôā

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??

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 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 alreadyūüôā

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 Рthe 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 easierūüôā

 

Merry Christmas Home

IMG_0199 (1)Christmas is coming. According to Miss 6 its 14 days away.

I come home permanently in 7. How cool is that! The last 2 years have been hard in some ways, but admittedly, having a whole week of man-cave ness has been cool. Riding and mountain biking and gaming, even heading out to movies that Mrs Mab didn’t want to see was easy.

But coming home to my family and to my awesome new house is better. One of the puzzles though is just fitting some stuff back in. We have a big house with a lot of storage, but we have gone from a double+ garage (it had a couple of metre extension at one end) that could fit 2 motorcycles and 2 cars and a pile of stuff. To our new house which has a slightly larger than usual single. We don’t have 2 bikes though we do have two more bicycles….

So we have a bit of a puzzle, like a grown-up jigsaw puzzle. Fit one car, 2 sets of racking, 4 bicycles and a motorcycle in….

Can it be done….

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Oh, I forgot¬†the lawnmower…..

Well it looks like yes, but I’ve got to build something to get the bicycles up on the wall. It has a 3m ceiling so there is plenty of room. At the moment they stack on the lawnmower and around the edges. It’s pretty tight right now.¬†I can ride the bike in and out, and all my jackets etc are hanging neatly just to the left there.

There are a couple of boxed up things to move out of there once I get home properly.

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