MotoGP Philip 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.

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MotoGP Philip Island – Early Planning

Slowly it is becoming more definite that I will actually get a chance to ride to the MotoGP round at Philip 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.

To the Putty

IMG_2838.jpgI decided I needed a ride to celebrate my upcoming Birthday. So I took the day off work and headed up the Putty. I left pretty early, so by 7:30 I was just above Windsor. I stopped at Colo Heights for breakfast before pushing on.

I think it was about 9:30 when I got to the top of the Putty. I did a run up 10-mile before having a rest at the fireplace (Why is there even a fireplace there? There’s no space, there’s no camping area, no river/creek to swim in, there’s hardly any parking even? Who built it? Why?)

After the rest, I headed up to Broke for fuel. I was half thinking of coming back and doing some laps of 10-mile, or I even considered heading across to Wollombi and maybe Wiseman’s or Old Pac.

I headed back down the Putty, and ended up doing 1 more lap of 10-mile before deciding to start heading home. Stopped for a flash burger at Grey Gums (and flash burger prices too!), it was nice, but I see where they have put together the money to seal their driveway!

And home.

I was really happy with my riding, especially in the more technical sections. I feel as if I went faster (no one caught me, but the lack of traffic may have been a factor there) and I felt a LOT more confident as I did. I’m still not going to win any races, but I felt that I didn’t freak out at all (except a couple of moments where I lost concentration and completely forgot where the road was headed, tired). It was a good ride.

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She wants to what?

Friday I was not going to be working and I expected that Mrs Mab was working. I had most of the day planned: drop the girls at school, head to the gym with my trainer, then head out for a few hours ride.

Then Mrs Mab mentioned she wasn’t working Friday. WHAT! I checked her roster, nope, not rostered on, oh no, been looking forward to this Friday for ages! For the ride this Friday. Of course, she wanted to go to a movie or to the city. We couldn’t really find a movie we wanted to see, though I would have watched Spiderman: Homecoming, she wasn’t interested. When I mentioned I was planning to ride she says.

“Well, drop me in the city and then go for a ride from there. Then pick me up and we’ll go home.”

My brain couldn’t really process this as I thought it meant that she would come into the city on the bike. I checked my understanding.

“So I’ll take you in on the bike?” See, checking my brain is working.

“Yes.” and I’m thinking aliens have abducted my wife and somehow replaced her (more to come on that later). And I’m also thinking it was rather timely that I had just the day before replaced the Bluetooth headsets with another dual set. See I said in my last post it was an astute decision.

So we geared up and she discovered that it was a little different on the back on the Daytona than the VFR. And considering the last time we pillioned was before Miss 10, our eldest, was born, it’s been a while.

The ride in and out were rather dull, the supersport being uncomfortable for her, and I wasn’t as keen on cutting my way through traffic two up so it did take a while. City traffic after all.

The Scala Rider worked really well, something we didn’t have 11 years ago.

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But she did finish the day leaving me with clear instructions to get a new bike that was more comfortable for her and had better storage options. Sounds like a firm direction for a VFR or Ninja 1000. So even more suspicious about alien abduction at this point.

She didn’t specify that I had to get rid of the Daytona though. Again, those aliens.

The last thing was today. A friend of hers at her work who has been on dirt bikes for a couple of years has just got her L’s and picked up a nice white Ninja 300. Liza’s said that she wants to get her licence too.

Hey look I love my wife, but I’m not 100% sure I want her back from the aliens….. ;P

 

Let Out

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).

So enjoy.

 

The slowest rider on the Old Pac!

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Special thanks to Gideon Motorcycle Imagery (on Facebook) for the pictures.

Old Pac

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. 

I’m still slower than everyone.

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.

2015 Last Ride

Mrs Mab let me out for a ride this NYE Eve. I headed up the Putty, leaving home at about 6am. This way I could be home with some time with the family.

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The second time past it was busier than I expected. 

My first time up here since the previous spring (in 2014 that is). There didn’t seem to be much different along the road itself. I expected only a few bikes if any – even though it was shaping up to be a clear 25C day. It is double demerits from before Christmas until after New Years, so a lot of the young or silly crew stay away.

I passed a police car just outside Wilberforce, he had a customer (and it was a car) already so ignored me.

I got to Grey Gums shortly after 0730. By this time, I was pretty hungry, I kept getting distracted by imagining a big bacon, eggs, sausages sorta breakfast. Didn’t quite cause me to crash, but I certainly had to refocus a couple of times. I had never arrived this early and I was worried it would be shut. As I rolled down the road (the entrance a little past the cafe when you are northbound) it was clearly open. Apparently from 0700. Everyday except Christmas Day.

New owners I think, certainly some renovations. More shade, more tables and more concrete exclusively for bikes, gotta love em.

A hearty breakfast (which also included toast, mushrooms and onions) and I was on my way.

I hit Ten Mile and did 5 laps to end up heading towards Broke (for fuel). It is a great stretch, but it takes almost 2 hours to get there from home. There has been some roadworks done. Some corners widened but the most significant was on several of the corners the armco now stretches right to the ground and the posts are behind. Importantly that should mean its harder for a crashing rider to slid under or hit a post when they hit the armco. A lot better than more wires.

Very happy with how I improved across the runs as I loosened up. Still slow compared to most, but smooth and safe. Interesting, even though I generally stick close to the speed limits, even I felt an overwhelming urge to check my throttle early out of many of the corners. That did put a little damper on it.

After Broke I contemplated going home via Wiseman’s Ferry, but decided I would already be away a long time and I don’t know if they have repaired the river side leg, it was pretty rough on the VFR. On the taunt Daytona I would be scrambled.

My last trip down the Ten Mile was spoiled by some old tourists from Queensland who drove slow and couldn’t stay in their lane. Eventually they were passed.

I stopped again at Grey Gums for a snack then straight home. An enjoyable ride, but its been a while since I’ve done such a long one (about 6 hours in the saddle) and I felt a bit weary the last hour.

Also, my weight loss over the past month has meant my pants went on a bit easier 🙂

 

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.