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 :)


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.

Self Medicating

IMG_2880Had a bit of a head cold for about 5 days now. Couple of short days at work last week. Yesterday seemed fine and I even managed at MTB ride.

But today I was feeling worse again, so instead of continuing to infect everyone at work I left and went home.

And decided to self medicate with a ride up to the Cotter. Had some lunch and then headed up. It had warmed up from the -4 this morning to a pleasant 10-12C. Sunny and almost all of the roads had dried out.

I only went up Brindabella rd as far as the seal and then turned around and came home. Enjoyable lunch time :)

Not sure it improved my cold much, but I feel better!


Two wheels (move the soul!)

Monday seems to be a standard ride the Daytona day this summer.

Not that I mind.

This time I headed somewhere different. The road from Canberra to Bateman’s Bay is apparently interesting.

Well it is, but you have to ride for about 45mins down a pretty boring road across the plains to get there. But Clyde Mountain, wow. It’s pretty steep and winding and I don’t think I got to the end before I hit my turnaround time. It was also in the middle of being resealed so I’ll give a month or so and might head that way again. Except for the hours of boring stuff.

The road out to Marulan, though less technical, more interesting. I might do that next Monday. Or tomorrow?IMG_2699

OOOOhhhh Friday morning on the MTB, I was massively happy. There is a turn on a track called See Saw that I fallen on 3 times and skipped at least twice. Rode down it without falling or stopping Friday. I think the whole forrest heard my happy yell.

Got out again this afternoon, trying a newly built trail. A fun ride actually, “Brake Dance” and “Rock and Roll”. Both had some tricky stuff and both were mostly downhill, so good fun. However the uphill bits were harder as the new trail was still pretty soft (not compacted by lotsa tyres).

Disappointment though in the end as I hit “Creek Run” a fun quick blast at the end…. the back started getting really loose and it was obvious I had another flat. Two in three rides.

Spoiled that last hurrah.

Home and I FINALLY washed the Daytona, the Trance (my MTB) and fixed the tyre. Actually pretty happy about getting that stuff done.

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…

That guy was quick….

And it wasn’t me.

I got an early mark on Monday and with the sun shining I rushed home to change into my leathers.

I headed out to the Cotter again. I spent about an hour practising up and down the road. Enjoying the road and the Daytona.

I did laugh to myself at one point. I was about a third of the way back down when a Ducati rode past the other way. He looked to be going fairly quick.

At the bottom, where Brindabella Rd meets the Cotter I paused to see if heads back this way. I reckon I was stopped for about 30 secs when he pulled up. A quick hello and he was off back to Canberra.

Another fun afternoon.

Daylight Savings (Summertime) rocks.

Enjoying the Daytona again.

I got back from Sydney Monday and with the afternoon off, I decided to head out on the Daytona in order to see how my leg had improved. My wife had been getting me to tag along to her gym sessions and we had been working hard on the knee (and the rest of me) to get rid of the stiffness and start getting back to fully operational.

I geared up and decided that a run out to the Cotter and environs would be a good start. I had only been out that way a couple of times and would be a good test of the leg (and my confidence) without being too far away (and having a high proportion of turns to straights, grin). It is probably the closest good road to the city (only about 20 mins away).

I spent about an two hours out there, riding up and back, enjoying it immensely. I didn’t push too hard as the roads are still very new (and not in the best conditions) straight away. Gradually I increased the pace and was very happy that my knee didn’t have any pain or stiffness throughout. A vast improvement on even the short commute about three weeks before.

Eventually, and with some nasty grey clouds gathering over the hills I headed back towards home.

Got home, very satisfied, very happy and a bit tired. What a great day.

It didn’t help me decide if I should change my bike over or not…. didn’t help with that decision AT ALL.

I love the Daytona, it’s a hoot to ride and so light and quick.

I miss the VFR and traveling about on it.

Though there is no real reason I can’t do that on the Daytona……………….

A Spring Teaser

spring 2

1st September – first day of spring dawned bright and sunny. Mrs BBB was at work and the kids in school. So the Daytona went out for a ride.

I intended to head all the way up the Putty Rd and do some laps of the 10 mi Putty at the top, but I got to the fun stretch at Colo and changed my mind. I spent the next hour or so running up and down the hill having a blast. The weather was great, the traffic was light and no police were spotted.


Of course, the next day it was raining and miserable, so Spring teased us a little.

Then it’s off to Hawaii for a week, just the Mrs and I.

After that, I’ve gambled that the Monday I head back to Canberra will be nice as I have my Daytona, my leathers and no wet weather gear. I’m half hoping to head over through Abercrombie. If that isn’t looking good, I might look at heading down through Kangaroo Valley and up through Nowra I think.

Weak spot in the clouds

I loitered in Sydney for an extra day so that the VFR could get a service. The folks at Western’s finished up just before lunch and I hit the road suffering through a warm sunny day. Trading some fun for time, I stayed on the freeway until Golden Vale Rd, enjoying the fresh, just serviced feeling of the VFR (It had really been feeling like it needed a service this time) and a new chain and sprockets.

I stopped as I exited the interstate for a drink and to set up the Action Cam. As I did I eyed off the clouds forming all around me. It was clear that what had started as fluffy white clouds had more ominous intentions. Some great big cumulonimbus had been growing throughout the past couple of hours, with some very dark patches behind me. So should I change from my jeans into my waterproof touring pants. This question would pop up again several times over the coming hour or two.

I rolled on and completed the Highland Way arriving a Marulan for fuel. Checking the weather radar suggested that my route to Tarago would be clear but there were some cells developing right on top of Tarago and in a line stretching north. I might be able to slip around the south end of all the weather, depending upon what happened at Tarago.

So it was back on the bike and off towards Tarago. The weather was still clear with patchy clouds. I eventually gave up worrying and pulled over to change my pants. While I did this, I could hear thunder in the distance from somewhere ahead of me – I was expecting a sporting finish to the ride now.

The last leg into Tarago had some great black clouds and lightning to the south and it had obviously been very wet in Tarago not long before I went through. There were clearly more cells coming, but it was obviously a weak spot in the wall of weather that I slipped through. From this point I had a few scattered showers and some damp road but by the time I hit Bungendore the road was only damp. I was well home when the rain started caught up and started at my place.

Over the Mountain

IMG_2240A cool but sunny late autumn day dawned on the Friday for my trip back to my family in Sydney. It seemed like a great opportunity to try a alternate route that had been recommended to me. The main reason that I hadn’t yet tried this way is that I estimated it would take around 6 hours – that’s double my normal time, door to door, and being a new route, I would be taking it easy.

I also had been warned that snow and ice were real possibilities on this route so weather was also a big concern. But we’ve had a long unusually warm autumn in South East Australia this year (barely making the single digits, let alone snow and ice temps) and several rain free days before today. A quiet week at work meant that the chances of getting away early where high – all I needed was an early knock off.

I slipped away early and soon after I hit the road west from Queanbeyan. My route took my to Tarago, but here I turned North to Goulburn, where usually I head straight across towards Bungonia. At Tarago I deviated slightly to check on a couple of bikes I saw stopped in case they were lost. No problems there so I turned north. This road is the more well known route than my normal way, and its’ not a bad ride. A bit shorter and straighter than via Bungonia. Plus it adds more interstate.

IMG_2232After getting a little lost in the streets of Goulburn, I fuelled up and turned for the unknown. Again, more northerly towards Taralga (NOT Tarago or Tarana… can get a little confusing). The roads were pretty open and flowing, mostly through farmlands. Some resurfacing was underway and the low winter sun often annoying, but otherwise the ride was very enjoyable. And the kms were swiftly covered.

The road continues north over the Abercrombie River. The descent and climb down to the river crossing were fine twisty roads, without markings, but generally wide enough.

IMG_2229Up from Abercrombie you head towards the back side (from a Sydney perspective) of the Blue Mountains. Again the roads were wide and flowing, but empty. The area is obviously pine plantations and the odd logging truck may need to be avoided.I arrived in Oberon, grabbed a small lunch and topped up the fuel again. This should easily last me until my doorstep, so no requirement to stop again.

From Oberon, you join up with the road from Jenolan Caves and head towards the Great Western Highway at about Mount Victoria. This stretch before the Highway is the last fun before the grind over and down the mountains. And it’s a pretty good bit with some nice vistas of Aussie mountains (so really slightly bigger hills than the rest of the area – not real peaks with snow etc)

IMG_2238The Highway is being expanded and sorted in a massive upgrade that has so far taken several years so there are slow speed roadworks zones, and the newer areas have reduced limits (because the tin tops can’t help running themselves into barriers and off the road all over the place). And the traffic was …. well there actually was traffic, so the fun was over. Still takes about another hour to get over the mountains to home.

A really nice ride and I think heading the other way would be nicer (get the annoying bit out of the way at the start). Pity it is so much longer than my normal route so I’ll have to save it for next time the stars align.

Of course the mighty VFR ate it all up without hesitation. It’s now about 500km short of 150,000 and then only 11,000km until it rolls over 100,000miles. Its not impossible to hit that by Christmas.