With half the world in lockdown, and NSW having spent the last two months “working from home” today was the first day I actually got a chance to “work from home”.
I feel pretty at home on my bike, so I planned to interpret it differently and planned a long ride around some roads to the north of Sydney.
After clearing the family out of the house, checking work emails and having some breakfast I hit the road. I intended to go up the Old Pac and then back down Wiseman’s. Leaving a little later meant that the early morning sun wasn’t quite in my eyes. But it did mean crossing many school zones on my way out of the city.
I got up to the Old Pac in good time, and after a couple of laps I returned to Pie in the Sky. I wasn’t hungry I decided, but the location (top of the hill) meant I would be able to get a signal and log into work. You know, just in case anything had actually happened (it had not).
I decided I didn’t really want to ride past lunch time. So I did a couple more laps and headed back home. I made it back home, and had picked up some packages (and lunch) from the shops and even eaten most of lunch before 12. The Old Pac really isn’t that far from home here. Any of the other roads and it’s an hour just to get to the start point (Wiseman’s, Putty, Nasho’s etc). Whereas the Old Pac (depending on traffic on Pennant Hills Rd) I can be halfway through a lap within an hour.
So Lockdown day 1? I think Friday I will be working from home too, and maybe a couple of days next week…. hmmm..
With Mrs filling in for her boss for a few weeks, she has not been working the past few weekends. This is a confusing time for our family as ever since she went back to work after our eldest was born (who’s now in high school), she’s been working weekends and having Wednesday and Thursday’s off. So I look after chores and cooking in the weekend, she does it mid week and that’s a nice even split and things get done. When she doesn’t work weekends we seem to get to Wednesday and there’s no milk left or the food has runout or the washing needs doing as we’re all out of routine.
ANYWAY. Because of her not working, I headed out for a couple of hours up the OldPac as she could mind the girls. I had also noticed a couple of Instagram folks that I follow had headed up that way, so I was seeing if I might run into them.
It was a pleasant afternoon, so there were a lot of bikes out. I am not as confident, yet, on this Ninja as I was on the Daytona. So I’m back to Captain Ridiculously Slow sometimes, not just Captain Slow. There were also a LOT of police about, so behaving yourself was the order of the day.
Came back after a couple of hours having enjoyed the bike and the weather, so it was a good afternoon. I did see a photographer, but haven’t tracked who it was this time. No photos this time from them. But a couple from me.
Didn’t see any bike drama, but there was a car broken down at the end of the freeway offramp. The ramp goes up and around a blind hard left. The car was stopped just around the corner. I pulled up and suggested (firmly) that they should have someone around the corner slowing people down so they don’t cause an accident. As I was pulled up, a couple of cars came around the turn and managed to stop, but it was close. It made my point.
It is so rare that I can get a chance to get out for a ride that even when it’s NSW double demerits I’ll take the opportunity. With the weather a fine 25C it was apparently too cold for the planned trip (with our overseas family visiting) to Wet’n’Wild, so I disappeared out the door.
I was in several minds where to head. It was Good Friday, almost nothing is open, but when you’re only stopping for fuel and maybe a pie or something you don’t need much. I decided Putty was probably busy with holiday traffic and same for OldPac and all the roads south. The only one I thought might be light would be Wiseman’s and even then it would drop off once I crossed the river.
As I sat in standstill traffic on Richmond Rd headed north that stretched as far as I could see around the corner I was pretty sure I would be turning around and heading home shortly. And this was 10am, so most of the early traffic would have been long gone.
Around the bend, a RBT (Random Breath Testing) was set up and this was causing the traffic problems. That would end up being by far the worst traffic for the whole day.
I cruised up the road to Wiseman’s, keeping closely to the speed limit and enjoying getting to know this Ninja better. I am quite certain that practicing techniques while I had the Daytona, while not making me a super fast rider, has speed up and smoothed up my riding. I felt confident and calm throughout the ride today and am quite happy with the Ninja and its performance. Lots of go, that’s for sure (but only the same power as the Daytona, more torque and lots more kilos!) and while not as light and flickable, it’s solid and competent.
I got onto the ferry at the head of the queue and raced off as soon as it docked. And basically didn’t see a car again until I was in Mangrove. I suspect the traffic behind probably got caught upon holiday traffic, but I am sure that my improved confidence riding helped me stay ahead.
A quick ice cream at Mangrove Mountain, and it was time to decide where to head. I had loosely planned to head to Wollombi and see if there was a crowd there, but with it 45mins away and probably another 2-3 to get home from there around the Putty or back down Wiseman’s that would get me home about 4-5pm, probably a bit late. Alternatively, Pie in the Sky was about 35mins away, and home is an hour from there. That would see me home around 2-3pm.
I also figured that the traffic would be north bound up the Old Pac and the Freeway. While there would be some headed south, not on the same scale.
I was swiftly at Pie in the Sky. There were a few others about but by comparison the traffic north was almost unimaginable. On the Freeway, it was three lanes and whilst moving at speed it was almost bumper to bumper. And the Old Pac wasn’t much better, all headed north. Headed south was about 3 bikes and me.
And it was the same all the way home. Anything headed north was choked and south was empty. I am not sure I even saw any cops that weren’t involved in RBT the whole day.
A good ride out and I am really much happier on this bike. Including a trip to Canberra and to Newcastle, this is only the fourth time since getting this bike that it wasn’t just a commute. So I was still feeling very newbish on it. Most of that is gone now.
The last day of the school holidays came along, and Mrs Mab had the day off. But she was sick and I think that’s why after lunch she let me out for a ride. With a couple of hours free I wasn’t able to get to the top of the Putty or Mac Pass, so I decided to head up Old Pac for a few laps south of Brooklyn Bridge. And while I actually I managed to catch one bike, I was mostly a rolling roadblock for the more skilled riders.
Even more amazing, there was a photographer out (I normally pass through the area in the week when they aren’t there). So I have photos from a rare recreational ride of mine. And I have super rare pictures of me riding AND the first photos of me on the Daytona (I’ve had this bike for 4 years).
The slowest rider on the Old Pac!
Special thanks to Gideon Motorcycle Imagery (on Facebook) for the pictures.
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.