No pay?

For the first time in a very long time I didn’t earn any pay.

I’ve worked full-time for 26 years in one company. I’ve not taken any leave without pay during that time (plenty of paid leave though). This year I’ve been part time, so that I test the waters in my new career as a teacher. So once a week I am a casual teacher. While I have a regular gig at a school, its on the understanding that if my main job needs me, I am not available.

Well some meetings had been planned that I would have to attend, so I told the school I wasn’t available and they reorganised themselves to cover. Then late the week before, the meetings were cancelled.

I decided not to let the school now I was free again. Part of it was that I didn’t want to stuff them around again, but part of it was …

I had decided I wanted to go for a ride.

So I did.

Started out with the usual get the family out the door to school and work, then I hit the road. I was certain I wanted to head right up to Broke. I thought early lunch at Wollombi might be nice.

Passed Grey Gums, not a single bike there.

I stopped briefly somewhere north of there to have some water and a snack before getting on to Broke and refilling.

I headed on to Wollombi, but after I stopped, it just didn’t seem appealing. The kitchen was a shambles and didn’t have the vibe I recall from many years ago. I carried on.

At the decision point, I decided to head for the Old Pac and not Wisemans. I’m not entirely sure why, I think I wanted to be home before the family.

NSW Police have these sweet BMW 5 series cars now. Note the paint job leaves the front aspect unmarked…. all the better to catch you with, hehehehe.

I stopped in at Jerry’s Cafe. I think every HWP car in the area was there and a couple of bike cops turned up as I was leaving. There were a lot of bikes there as well. But I didn’t stop long. Again, a snack I had with me and headed on. Old Pac and home.

Eventually I did stop in at my local shops and bought a pile of sushi for my late lunch (about 2pm).

I had a really good day. But as I wasn’t working at the main job and I cancelled my casual teaching day, it was the first day in over 26 years that I didn’t get paid.

Putty Short Run

On about the first clear day since summer started way back on 01 December, I headed out. I probably had about 4 hours to muck about in, so I decided to head up the Putty. At the least, I could play along the fun Colo stretch.

And that’s pretty much what I did.

I stopped in at the Colo petrol station. Initially talking to this guy who was waaaay down the COVID conspiracy rabbit hole. Talking about COVID being feed to pigs and free range chickens so that everyone who didn’t get the vaccine would starve…. I think… I kinda just smiled and nodded and then turned to another rider.

We had a good chat about roads further north, riding in all weathers and supporting learner riders.

Then I headed off. For a few minutes, I headed north, sort of aiming for Grey Gums. But I realised I would have to turn around about halfway to make it home for dinner. If I went all the way I might get home to find I need to use my tent straightaway, lol.

So it was a good ride. Warm, but nice to be out. Couple of cops about, but that wasn’t a surprise.

NSW Highway Patrol BMW 5 Series. Even the marked cars are hard to spot as they don’t have markings on the front. I’m quite sure that is on purpose. Plus they stopped running their daytime running lights, so you can’t tell its a BMW coming towards you.

Ninja – First proper ride

So on the 2nd I got to head out for a much longer ride on the Ninja. I got up really early to beat traffic and heat. This past week or so has been really toasty in Western Sydney with temps above 35 for days. So I was keen to be on my way back before mid afternoon. I rolled out of the driveway at 0600, actually I bit earlier than I expected. It was already light of course, and the sun would be well up by the time I rode up to Windsor and up the Putty.

I headed along my old commute (as of the 14th I’m working in a new location, so my commute will be different – shorter and just straight west along the M4) up to Windsor. The bike was really easy along this. Some filtering was practiced, with the bike not seeming much fatter than the Daytona, so that’s excellent.

I fuelled up in Windsor, putting 8L into the tank. This was brim full and I reset the counter. One of the main things I am looking for in this bike is a range that is more than the Daytona’s 200km, and hoping for something like 350km (400km would be nice) from a tank.

So up the Putty I went. One of the first things I noticed is that at low speed it is actually easy to turn (like carparks and such) due to the better clearance from the bars to tank at lock. Deceptively so, for a heavy bike (but one that weighs pretty much what my VFR did).

And that’s probably the main thing I want to say. HONDA you should make a VFR 1000. This bike really felt like the VFR position and riding style, but with a chunk more power and torque. It sure doesn’t turn as easily or as aggressively as the Daytona, but then it’s not expected too. It doesn’t even quite feel as aggressive as the VFR, but it does seem to turn just fine for me. And I’ve lost all that “he’s riding a Daytona, he should be riding fassssttt” pressure too. Once I started to get out of Daytona habits and replace them with new Ninja style, the ride started to go better.

I stopped a couple of times for some photos and even managed a ride by video, which I hope to edit and get up on YouTube before too long. I got to Grey Gums in about an hour, which seems about right. Had one moment – while doing the video I was doing a U-Turn and it started to topple. Stuck my leg out and there was a moment I thought it might fall. Gave her a big heave and all that gym over the past 18 months paid off! Up she came. Safe.

At Grey Gums Cafe

Rode home via MCAS in Penrith where I order the Givi V47 topbox and rack. They might even be here today, now that’s service, considering its just after New Year. This will mean the Ninja comes a possibility for a work trip to Canberra in two weeks time. And then back home by 1100. Not a bad ride out. Total distance was 230km, with two bars left on the gauge. So I think 300km is hopefully normal. It might also increase slightly as the bike has now only done 2880km, and I don’t know what the age of the fuel and what sort it was. I remember the VFR added an extra 50km after 12,000km and the Daytona clearly increased its range when I switched from 95 to 98 octane.

Givi V47 NN Tech case I’ve ordered

Overall, while I still miss the Daytona (heck I still am heart broken over the VFR!) I think this was a good decision. With the topbox giving me all weather and lockable luggage and the extra range, the cost of the bike was only the stamp duty (about $200-300), I think I’ve done alright. I certainly enjoy riding it. I can use the Kriega bags, secured to the topbox rack if I need more than the 45L in the topbox (unlikely).

I do wish I could have afforded the latest one with all the bells and whistles, but to be honest I had none on the VFR and only added ABS (oh, and the slipper clutch and quick shifter, hmmmm) on the Daytona. I would have thought it would at least have engine temp (the ’13 onwards does) but I don’t think even the ’19 gets air temp reading. I do have ABS, so that’s something.

Rolling 🙂

I’ll get this to its first proper service before too long, keep an eye on the tyres and continue my slow pick it apart and clean it and the bike should last me 5-10 years. See what happens then!

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.