MotoGP Phillip Is – Departure Day

So it’s departure day. The main worry, the weather, has been slowly improving, even to the point that the Island itself to be cloudy but no rain. Yeah, I’ll believe that when I’ve lived it, the Island does have a well-deserved reputation for having all weathers in one day, even more than Melbourne is.

Anyway the weather has been getting better, still cool, but all the showers have been written out of all the predictions. That’s about perfect. Maybe a little cooler going over the mountains, but then it is the mountains.

Anyway almost time to wake up the family and get them off to school and such. Then I’ll be on my way.

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MotoGP Phillip Island – Everything is ready?

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60,000km service completed. Brakes, chain and tyres have plenty of life left. Nothing else noted in the report. Sounds good.

Bags have been tested to capacity. Route is planned, accommodation is organised. Scored some cheap tickets to a grandstand from a bloke at work who can’t go any longer!

So Wednesday next week I’ll be on the road.

The only thing that’s looking bleak is the weather. Seriously, after months of very little rain its been raining almost non stop for two weeks and apart from a break this weekend, it isn’t looking good next week either.

At least in Sydney. The Snowies and the Alps might be okay, but Melbourne isn’t looking too great yet.

Still I can only see as far as Wednesday, so I guess we’ll wait and see what develops.

MotoGP Phillip Island – Planning Progress

Well I have a set of Kriega tail packs now. A US30, and 2 x US10. I have set them up on the bike and even used the US30 twice to get stuff to work. They will fit my gear easily, they fit nicely on the bike and it looks like it will all work out. Attached are the test fittings I did with my gear.

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Not a lot of weight in the bags as it’s mostly clothes. So I don’t think it will hamper the bikes performance much. That’s a big plus. It also seems to be pretty stable and well distributed, so overall I’m pretty happy. Have also had some glowing feedback on the Kriega’s performance on trips so it all sounds good.

The route has had some small changes. I now might head out via the Royal National Park and along the coast towards Nowra before heading inland to Canberra, intercepting my usual route. This has the advantage of avoiding the Hume. Possibly have some company for this part.

It looks like the second day I will head south to Cooma and then Tumut and Khancoban etc. Basically as before. The third day, by far the longest, is looking to be south through Mitt Mitta and then over the Alps. I also had some suggestions along Gippsland to take as well.

I am looking to stay in Glen Waverley area. There are some hotels there and it’s on the side of the city, closer to the Island and closer to the route in and out, so save me a little bit of riding, especially when I’m tired at the end of the longest third day.

Coming back, I’m looking at out through the Black Spur up towards Albury on some B & C roads, then across Khancoban again. Finally back my old route and home.

MotoGP Phillip Island – Early Planning

Slowly it is becoming more definite that I will actually get a chance to ride to the MotoGP round at Phillip Is. It’s been more than ten years since I’ve made it too the Island and I am quietly, extremely excited. I am also excited about the actual journey, which is probably more than half of the excitement. Mrs Mab, who normally puts a big wet blanket on this kind of idea, has tasked me with a couple of things while in Melbourne and she’s taken leave. These are positive factors that increase the chances.

I’ve started early planning. I have a rough idea of timings and routes. I’m currently trying to figure out how much to take, and how to carry it. Gear wise, it’s pretty sorted. Helmet, gloves, Dianese touring pants and jacket, touring boots. Comfortable, warm and not too bad in heat, along with waterproof, it will work in all weathers. And previous experience, a week travelling across the Alps and into Victoria and the Island, the weather could do all of those. I will take my neck sock, probably my winter/waterproof gloves and don’t think I will take the quilted liners. Instead I will use layers of regular clothing as then I can use that when not on the bike.

Gear depends so much on the expected weather, and while it is changeable, it’s unlikely to be super cold, so liners and winter gloves are the first to be eliminated. And I won’t put too much trust in the forecasts, it will give me a ballpark. The better the weather, the lighter I can travel.

Today, I put together a pile of clothes, a rough idea of other gear (tools, lube, electronics) in order to get some idea of what I might be taking. It works out to about 20-30L. Currently I have a 10-15L tank bag and a 10-15L tail pack. I WILL NOT take a heavy backpack, I may take a light one, but all of the baggage options also have shoulder straps etc, so an actual backpack is probably overkill. I don’t want to even take the tank bag if I can help it. So one option I can try is strapping a backpack to the backseat. Not the best option.

I’m considering getting a Kreiga tailpack. That was part of the reason to sort out the approximate size. Looks like a US30 will work. I’ve heard good things about them and being waterproof that will be an advantage. But I could also grab a smaller US10 (or 2) as well. I could use this on race day instead of dragging the whole pack there. Another advantage is that I can use this set up on other bikes in the future. As much as I would hope to have a VFR with topbox by the Island trip, that would need a Lotto win or something to happen.

The route I have pretty much decided. Sydney to Canberra one day via my old commuting route through Bungonia and Queenbeyan. Next day over Thredbo and down to Khancoban. The last day will be from Wodonga over the alps and to Melbourne. Coming back the same way. Staying with friends up and back, except Melbourne I don’t have any that I think would be willing to put me up for a few days, so likely stay in a hotel then.

So the planning continues, the excitement builds, but is kept in check by past history of disappointment. We’ll see and I’ll keep you posted.

Car Drivers are …

I couldn’t think of the right adjective, maybe you can by the end of the story.

Yesterday I filtered to the front of a LONG line of traffic to find a guy trying to push his car across an intersection (this street was really busy, but everyone was turning left or right, straight ahead was quiet and a good place to option for the broken car). He was at the head of the queue, holding all these people up.

I thought I could help out, so pulled in behind him and hopped off the bike. A pedestrian crossing in front jumped in behind as well. As we did another filtering bike turned up and hopped off to help. with the 4 of us, this was an easy job. Actually on flat, pushing a car is pretty easy, its trying to steer/brake as well as pushing that becomes awkward.

So the lights turned green and we pushed off. About halfway we started to yell at the driver, who was pushing from the drivers door, to hop in the car so he could steer and brake. Caused a scary moment as he almost tripped getting in, but he was in and the car pushed across.

We headed back to our bikes just as the light went red, so it was perfectly timed. This meant we had the whole red cycle to get back on. In my case this meant taking off my gloves to fish in my pockets as I couldn’t remember which had my keys.

Not a single car driver moved, the whole time, to help this guy. I don’t know how long he had been there, but the queue behind him was pretty long. As riders, and the pedestrian who was crossing the street, this stuck car would never have held us up. Wasn’t in our way at all. But we all decided to help out. The car drivers, half of whom (there were two lanes turning right, the car was in one of these) were stuck behind him and basically couldn’t move until the broken car was moved….

They just sat there.

Car drivers are….

So 2017… how did it go.

IMG_2269I thought I had written one of these last year, but I didn’t. It was 2015 as I left Canberra.

So.

About Bikes

IMG_1016The Daytona does stirling service in a task it’s not really designed for… my daily commute. It’s had a couple of problems that have been fixed and just ticked over 50,000km. I have decided to replace it, but not sure when or with what. The front runners are still VFR and Ninja 1000. I also look forward to the possibility of a Sydney-Phillip Is MotoGP trip in the coming year… will I still have the Daytona?

I did get out on the track, one less successfully and a second was very rewarding and I do intend to do some more. I got a couple of hours fun up the Old Pac as well. I’m still slow by comparison, but I enjoy it. Sadly its currently in the shop over my Christmas break as the shifter stopped working properly and of course the parts supplier had already shut for the holidays.

IMG_2302I also discovered after a morning with a Bonneville, that I basically love riding, no matter the bike. There are some bikes I’ve ridden that I’ve liked less than others, but I’ve still liked the actual riding.

About Bike (Bicycles)

Err, they’ve mostly stayed in garage and the suburb, nothing to see here, move along….

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About Bytes

This has mostly had two focus… the limping on of my iMac and several panics as it has almost died. But it lives on as a study device, if not really anything else.

Otherwise it has been a few reviews of random stuff like AirPods and Scala Rider gear.

I have also talked about how I study without paper (mostly).

About Study

Nearly the biggest thing in my life this year has been the switch to Masters and two Practical placements that have encouraged me to think I can actually be a competent Primary Teacher AND I enjoy it. I’m currently in the 4th Study Period of the first year. I am on track to finish the whole thing by about March 2019.

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Ninja time

No not turtles. Oh that reminds me – I do have to sit through the latest one. 

I test rode the Ninja 1000sx this afternoon. I really wanted to like it, it was smooth, plenty of power. Nice seating position and I can’t see it struggling with full panniers or two up. Brakes seemed good too. 

But I found that the seat had two creases that I found quite uncomfortable after only a few short minutes. Even after I got off the bike I still was a bit uncomfortable for at least a half an hour. That really made it hard to like the bike. 
The VFR moves back to the top of the list and I’m considering that the newer one is the better choice. Revised and refreshed with some better technology. And available at some reasonable prices second hand. 

Reached a quiet decision

Commuting home on the Daytona the other day I finally decided that it was no longer the bike for me.

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What’s not to love about this sweet machine??

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic bike. And I’m still super happy to have decided that my experiment into the sportbike world was on such a sweet machine. Its performance is amazing, handling is fantastic. It’s actually pretty easy to ride every day even in traffic. And I have travelled some distance on it.

It is the decision two years in the making, ever since the roo jumped onto the Hume and laid down my VFR. I didn’t enjoy the track day, I don’t have time or the real interest in putting effort (time, money and stress) into track day schools. I have also decided that I don’t really like heading out to the same road and just repeating it over and over.

I want to head out for a couple of hours (or days or weeks) and explore. Heck, this even sounds like my WoW interests, lol.  The Daytona doesn’t really lend itself to that. I’m not out there wanting to shave seconds off time, I’m happy cruising along at the speed limit(ish) and eating miles looking around. A topbox would be great for work commute.

So I’m heading back to the Sports Tourer world

But no idea how I’m going to pay for it.

Sell the Daytona is the first step.

That should give me enough money to get a good condition VFR800, say 2010 or so. A known bike I would be content with.

So what else?

Well the new VFR seems an obvious choice. I have decided to loosen up my personal restriction and investigate the over 1000cc bikes. Otherwise, there basically isn’t anything to choose from that isn’t choked by Learner Approved restrictions. I may also consider the strongly road orientated “adventure” bikes, this opens it up somewhat too. I would like at least a windscreen (so no nakeds please!) and hope for factory panniers/topbox. LED headlights are a big plus having experienced that in my car now. The difference between normal halogen and LEDs is massive! Maybe I would have seen that roo???

So my list currently has

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2014+ Honda VFR800 (White or Red)

Honda VFR800 – Newer than my old one. Has LED Lights, same sweet engine and similar ergonomics. Almost a known factor, can get second hand too. Panniers/topbox, tick.

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Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX – I step up to 1000cc. Plenty of power. LED lights, ABS, traction control. Panniers OR topbox, not both at same time.

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Triumph Tiger Sport 1050

Triumph Tiger Sport – LED lights, ABS, traction control. I presume options for topbox, panniers. More adventure tourer than sports tourer. 1000cc triple (triples are sweet). Heated grips etc etc.

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Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer. – LED lights, ABS, traction control. I presume options for topbox, panniers. More adventure tourer than sports tourer. 900cc triple (triples are sweet). Heated grips etc etc.

All four of those are improvements on the version before. Better suspension or better tuned engines, improved seating or some such. Ninja, VFR and Tracer should be available in good second hand versions, without some of the newer bits and pieces (LED lights mostly).

I can’t really think of any others. Possibles might include Suzuki GSX1000F (though it’s pretty ugly). Ducati Multistrada 950.

I’ve put the Daytona up for sale at work. I’ve tested a 2017 VFR800, and plan to test the Ninja on Friday. I think thats the strongest alternate to the two VFRs.

But then I have to figure out how to pay.

Lucky to be here. 

No not a new crash. 

Now and then again I see something that drives it home again just how lucky I was 2 years ago in my bike crash. Today I watched some of a YouTube video where a bike ran a red light and hit a car. These guys were being complete wankers stunting on the street and rode through the lights at speed. I don’t have a problem with the stunting, its when these riders are blocking traffic, running lights or on the wrong side that they’re just being dickheads and giving riders a bad name. 

While the first bike made it cleanly the second collected a car and the rider and his pillion were thrown across the bonnet and down. The pillion’s foot is either completely torn off or hanging by a thread. I didn’t look too closely. If you’ve a stronger stomach than me go and check it out

I hit the road at a higher speed than these two and was lucky not to get thrown off more violently. I could have gotten tangled in the bike or the roo or slid heavily into the fence. I might have landed differently and torn part of myself apart as I slid 100m along the road. I might have been run over. 

I wore a mix of good and great gear. I had a kept a fair bit of space around me in the very light traffic. But when the roo was there – there was NOTHING I could have done to avoid it. 

But I was also lucky. Very lucky. 

And now and then there’s something that makes a cold chill run down my back and remind me. 

Love tap

Wasn’t because he loved me… it was because he wasn’t paying attention.

I was commenting in on the Daytona the other morning and had stopped at a give way. The car behind then proceeded to drive into me. Not hard enough to knock me over, but hard enough to bend things.

It looks like the other guy (and he’s someone at my work too!) has gotten away with about $100 in damage – a bent bobbin (the little knob that is used with a paddock stand) and a bent indicator. I’ll be replacing both of them.

He claimed the sun was in his eyes etc etc. Rubbish he wasn’t paying attention.