Ninja – The first tour

Earlier this week I went back to work after the summer holidays. However work needed me in Canberra for the first two days back, so that seemed like a fantastic opportunity to try the Ninja out over distance. After receiving a surprising lack of resistance to the idea from Mrs Mab (Who banned me from the Syd-Canberra bike commute after the roo crash) I carefully watched the weather.

As the days grew closer the weather cleared and in fact started to head the other way – too hot. By the time I was leaving Sydney on Sunday afternoon in the mid 30s, Tuesday afternoon was looking more like 40.

Well at least it wasn’t raining? No actually I was worried I’d be forced into my touring gear due rain, and also have to ride in 30+ which it doesn’t do so well in. I almost decided on my 2-piece, but ended up in my summer leather jacket and Draggin’s – the bare minimum riding gear that I will ride in.

South of Bungonia

Anyway, so after some family stuff over the weekend, I headed off at about 3pm on Sunday afternoon. It was warm, but otherwise fine. I planned to ride down the Hume until at least Sutton Forrest, or Marulan and then head the back way. This gave a long time on the slab, as well as some back roads that I knew well (much better than the Putty) and I knew pretty much what condition that they were in after riding them in October for the MotoGP. The top box was full (if I didn’t have to take work clothes, it would have been almost empty) and I tossed in the Kriega US30 just in case.

The first hour or so went well. The bike has plenty of power when I want, and with the bigger capacity and gearing, I find I get quickly into 6th gear and just leave it there. Even at quite low speed, the bike still seems to be okay in a higher gear than I am used to.

After about an hour I started to get stomach cramps. I was very worried about possible food poisoning or something from the rather fancy breakfast we had, so I found myself squirming around uncomfortable, but unable to stop until the next petrol station. This also put me off the turn at Sutton Forrest, as it has even longer spaces between toilets.

After stopping again at Marulan, for fuel and comfort, I hadn’t been able to do anything about the pain, but it had seemed to lessen somewhat. I turned off and headed to Canberra via the back roads.

Again the bike went well. Though the main quirk I have noticed is the fuel gauge. Firstly, it has about 6 “bars” that fade as it is used. It seems that the first bar is half the tank as it is about 130-150km before I am into the second bar. Then the next 4 seem to disappear over the next 100km. Also, it is a bit variable when the bike is climbing or descending, more so than any other I’ve used. Something to keep in mind when riding.

As I was descending into Queanbeyan the pain returned. By this time I was about 20 minutes to my accommodation so decided to see if I could make it there. There was a bed, a bathroom and air conditioning.

It was painful to stand as I checked in, but after about 30 mins lying on my bed it went away. It never came back and I am quite confused as to what it might have been. It was painful enough that I was worried I might fall while riding or considered stopping several times over the last 15 minutes or so. But 30mins later stopping, it was fading and then gone. Wasn’t food poisoning – that’s a positive!

I made it…

The next two days I commuted from the hotel into work on the bike and wow I missed having a topbox. Get to work, pull out your bag or lunch or whatever, drop in your helmet. Of course, I also had to bring my work clothes to change into.

Tuesday was hot, and it was about 38-40C as I was getting ready to go. I got lazy and just jammed some stuff into the Kriega instead of spending the time to fit it all into the topbox. It was hot and I wasn’t in the shade. I figured I could repack if required down the road in a shady spot. I didn’t in the end, so the idea of tossing the US30 into the box was a good one. It also fit very nicely on the pillion seat, using the Givi rack as tie downs points.

Coming home it was hot. At this stop it’s about 38C

The ride back was fairly uneventful. I saw a rabbit and a wedgetail (I’m sure the wedgetail would have liked to have seen the rabbit!) I drank about 1.5L of water on the ride. It was really warm, and fantastic to get home to the airconditioning!

Successful trip – you can see the Kriega strapped in front of the topbox here.

Overall the bike went well without any problems. I am a little disappointed as I think the range might be more like 250-300, maybe 350. Not the clear 300 I was hoping for. Other than that I can’t fault it, and it will suit me well in my riding. Again, I would love to look at the new model in a year or two… maybe a second hand one (HA HA HA HA!!!)

I now have over 1200km on the bike since I picked it up. That’s almost 50% more than it had when I got it and I’ve only ridden it about 5 times.

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Gravel, no sweat.

Its the last day of a couple of weeks off work for me. Most of it was spent with the family overseas. And that part was great. Just look at it 🙂

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But today was the last day. I am already back in Canberra as I had a bit of stuff to pick up from some shops around Canberra. The mountain bike had a service and needed to be collected. This iMac has had its graphics card replaced and that needing picking up as well. And some parts for the Daytona arrived too. More about them in another post later.

With them collected it was time for the main goal for today. A couple of hours ride on the Daytona in the sunshine. Remember, Monday is Daytona day and it’s Daylight Savings now and almost summer…..

IMG_0035Initially I wasn’t sure where I would head. I wanted to explore more of the rides around Canberra and not just along the Cotter road again. I thought I might head to Tarago and then link back somewhere, but I wasn’t able to really plan a loop that way.

Then it hit me, go up Sutton Rd, over the interstate to Gunning. Along to Yass. And back via a road a bloke at work was talking about the other week, Mountain Creek Rd. He did mention there was a small stretch of gravel coming that way, but that he had no trouble on his VFR1200. I planned to get to the gravel and decide what to do, once I saw what kind of state the road was in. If it was big drifts of large gravel, for example, then no, I would find another way.

Sutton Rd, up to the Canberra – Goulburn interstate was uneventful, and the stretch from there to Gunning was quite disappointing, as it was fairly straight and flat. At Gunning I got on the Goulburn – Yass interstate (Imagine a triangle, with Canberra, Yass and Goulburn as the corners – there is an interstate, mostly, between these points)

Yass I stopped and looked for a nice bakery. Couldn’t find one, or perhaps the cafes were bakeries in disguise . I did stop and get a water and a sausage roll, but I wasn’t impressed with it.

IMG_0031From Yass I headed along the Wee Jasper Rd. This is typical back country sealed road in NSW. If you’re lucky enough to get sealed road, its usually rough, lumpy and narrow. The best stretch was the descent into the Murrumbidgee River Valley and across the bridge.

IMG_0038Shortly after that I took a left down Mountain Creek rd. This was nice and quite pretty too. Eventually I knew it would turn into gravel and my alternate plan was to turn around and ride back up these roads (hmm, maybe I should have done that anyway) and head back down the Yass – Canberra Rd. The whole way today there was  patches of small repairs of the seal with loose gravel around to add to the concerns.

Mountain Creek was nice and when I got to the turn at Firelight Rd, where both ways are dirt I didn’t hesitate. The gravel was well graded and firm, with only small berms forming. Taking it slowly it would be fine.

IMG_0041This comes out on Uriarra Rd and I turned for Cotter.

So I got to do that as well.

Might actually just head up and do a lap or two of Mountain Creek Rd next time I have a few hours.

Paddy’s River Rd

Wednesday…. you know I’m really loving this summer time at the moment, anyway, early knock off Wednesday so I jumped on the Daytona and headed for the Cotter… again.

Hey, it’s a great road, and its close, about 30mins from home here.

So this time with no thunderstorms looming to the south I followed Paddy’s River Rd, that the Cotter Rd turns off and headed south towards the space tracking station at Tidbinbilla.

I rode up and back (Partly as I didn’t feel like dragging myself all the way through south Canberra) for another afternoon enjoying the Daytona. This road is a lot more open with the southern half a stretch of open sweepers that are a nice change from the technical tight Cotter Rd.

And Australia… dodge a Blue Tongue Lizard down the street and have to change lines mid corner because a snake was crossing.

Can’t tell you what kind, I didn’t stick around to check…

Sony… fix your camera…

Another sick day at home would probably drive me crazy. So I decided a little explore around some of the roads around Canberra that had been recommended to me by the locals. I though  a couple of hours to get out into the fresh sunny air would help me feel good.

I headed over towards the Cotter Dam area and along Tidbinbilla Rd, Paddy’s River Rd and part of Brindabella Rd, before turning around and going all the way back again.

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What a nice road. After the tight technical experience of Corin Dam Rd, this flowed much better. Only a little over an hour on the road, with about 20 min ride to get there from home 🙂

But I can’t imagine how busy it must be in the weekends with riders, cyclists and drivers all trying to get along. Even today there were about 5 cyclists plugging along.  I don’t plan to ride there much at that time.

BUT THIS hopeless Sony Action Cam. It fogs up most of the time, even with the anti moisture inserts. I recorded the ride, hoping to cut a YouTube post out of it, but most of the footage is misty fog. Time and time again footage has been ruined because of it. I’m sick of this camera and I think I’ll get that Drift I had always planned. I might still use this one for MTB, but not for the bike anymore.

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