Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Xmas Toy Ride - 2005

All year long we pass each other like ships in the night - not a nod, wink or a glance gets exchanged. But on that one day in December, the Geelong Harley Owners Group welcomes bikes of all makes and sizes to ride with them in the annual Xmas Toy Ride.
It’s a great event and to see those bikes laden with toys makes you feel very privileged to belong to this very unique group of people. Credit must be given to the Geelong Chapter of HOG for their great enthusiasm and the organisation and effort involved in this great event.

As we lined up in Mercer Street it was eerie to see all the Triumphs that had come out of the woodwork – where had they all come from? The Triumph brand had the second largest display of bikes after Harley and yet only a small number of those were from the Geelong Group. Somehow it made us think about the Triumph RAT ideology - maybe we’re the last of a dying breed!
The loudhailer called us all to attention and gave us a quick briefing & an order to fire up our bikes & get on the starting grid. The noise of those Harleys firing up always makes the hairs stand and we were quickly jostling for position.
Then just as they do in the marathons - we were off! As we thundered thorough the centre of Geelong the Xmas shopping stopped briefly as traders and shoppers alike stopped to recognise the efforts of this mighty charitable machine.
Portarlington was our first stop and as we snaked our way through the suburbs on the way the support from the community on the road sides was inspiring. Families waved and clapped as we passed by – some even holding out toys for us to add to our collection. A shady tree was found for our first stop at Portarlington.

It must be the only time of the year that The Rebels and The Black Uhlans can be seen drinking in the same pub less than a few feet away from one another!

A short break and then it was off again around the Bellarine Peninsula and on to Queenscliff for lunch. Bruce was riding his Harley and was spotted at one of the roundabouts clearing the path for the procession of bikes. I don’t think many car drivers would want to try and get past him!
As we rode into Queenscliff it was heart-warming to see all the kids from “Cottage By the Sea” on the roadside excitedly waving and showing support. They were getting a preview of some of the toys & gifts they would be receiving from Santa! After all, how else would they get them if Santa’s little (some big ones too) helpers weren’t riding along giving him a hand! Only difference is – these reindeers have two wheels!
The Geelong Triumphs quickly found another shady tree and set up camp.
Walking around it was great to see some old faces.There was no luck in the ticket raffle and after a quick bite to eat we were off again – back to Geelong via Ocean Grove & Barwon Heads. As the Trumps pulled out through a back entrance we ended up merging with the leaders of the Toy Ride. There we were in the middle of a HOG Chapter with the Harleys and Triumphs riding side by side – a line of Harleys on the left and Triumphs on the right!

Back in Geelong the Trumps departed to their usual meeting place at the Wharfshed while the Harleys kept going to the Charles Hotham Hotel.
It was a relaxing end to the day, sitting outside the Wharfshed Cafe with drinks and good food, reflecting on the ways of the world and Triumph RAT - the Harley Owners Groups had given us an eye opener.

Maybe it was the sun, the heat of the day, fatigue or maybe the emotions stirred up on the ride, but the same question was on many minds… this blonde waitress chick ain’t really gonna take up Paul’s offer is she…!
Oh and one other thing I almost forgot – PJ came up with a great idea for raising money for charity next year – a nude calendar. So 12 willing participants required – better start pumping!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Last Official Ride Day for 2005

There was a good turnout for the last official ride of 2005 with 13 of us rocking up at the Wharfshed on 10 bikes. It was great to see Ollie come along and even better when he set the agenda for the day with the suggestion of a ride to Apollo Bay for lunch via Forrest and the Otway Ranges.

It was a beautiful day – what more could we want for the last ride of the year. Getting out of Geelong had its usual hazards and the traffic lights were unkind to the few at the back of the group.

But a quick squirt through Ceres and we were back as a group heading into Moriac and well on our way. Approaching Deans Marsh the view of Martians Café and the mention of the word coffee had a couple of the addicts trembling but we persisted and with great strength dragged ourself onward towards Forrest and on through the Otway Ranges to Wye River and Apollo bay.
With the police 4x4 pulled up on the roadside at Forrest the group kept a steady pace through the town and it was lucky as a few of the keen eyed among us spotted a cash camera just out of town.
We descend through the forests of gum trees and tree ferns to the blue/green waters of Bass Straits and everyone looks knackered when we pull up on the roadside. The road down through the Otways is twisty and looks exciting but we found the surface very unpredictable and on some corners dangerous with corrugation and raised bitumen.

Being driven bonkers by flies we quickly remounted and rode into Apollo Bay for a coffee stop & thoughts of Lavers Hill for lunch. The coffee was good and the fags were flowing! Cheryl had to be warned about the influence of the menthol smoking threesome and to be careful they didn’t get her to start smoking too! A spit of rain and a quick decision was made – back to Deans Marsh and our favourite café for lunch – good ole Martians!

The road from Apollo Bay to Lorne is one of the best stretches and especially since they have laid new bitumen approaching Lorne. Everyone enjoyed a brisk ride along the coast and back up through the Otways to Deans Marsh with only brief shower that barely wet the visor.

The food was good at Martians and we were all relaxed until suddenly we were hit with a huge squall that felt like it was going to rip the tin roof off the rafters. Dust was flying everywhere, through the doors of the café knocking chairs over and sending everyone heading for cover! It ended as quickly as it arrived and as we looked out the window a miracle – good ole Trumps were still standing proud!
Some helmet damage for Pete was the only casualty we thought until Paul went to start the Thruxton! The clutch was jammed tight and there was no way the lever could be pulled in to disengage the gearbox. Something was badly wrong – but the bike hadn’t moved off its side stand!
After much debating Charlie’s business card was produced (Turn One Motorcycles) – who else could help in this situation on a Sunday afternoon?

A quick call to his mobile and Charlie gave Paul the advice he needed to get the bike back to Geelong. Everyone was well impressed with the service from Charlie and I think he’s just won over another few customers!

So that was it for 2005. Another great days riding with awesome company – we all look forward to an even more exciting 2006 starting with the trip at the end of February to the East Coast and Alpine region. Then who knows – Isle of Man TT races 100th anniversary trip in 2007 maybe!!

Might see you at the Geelong Xmas Toy Ride on Sunday 11th December 05

Monday, December 05, 2005

Xmas Toy Run Update from Bruce

The Geelong Xmas Toy Run is organised by the Geelong Harley Owners Group and is being held next Sunday 11th December 2005.

Details as follows:

Leaving Geelong at 10.30 from Geelong Harley-Davidson, 72 Mercer Street, Geelong then follow the following route:

  1. Portarlington 11am to 11.30am
  2. Lunch at Queenscliff Foreshore Noon to 1.00pm
  3. Then via Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads arriving at the Sir Charles Hotham Hotel, 3 Brougham Street approx 2.30pm

Toy badges $10

Toys and Food will be collected and distributed to:

  • Geelong Hospital Children’s Ward
  • Bethany Family Services
  • The Wishing Tree at K-Mart
  • Local Geelong Charities

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Apollo Bay Trip - Update by Tina & Graeme

Not a lot to report about Apollo Bay except to say that it was a very relaxing time.

There was Tina and Graeme, Leonie and Murray, Janine and Leroy, Malcom, Sam and John.
John was the "hostess with the mostess" making us feel comfortable and organizing all the sleeping arrangments.
The only incident of the week-end was coming home when we came across some tourists blocking the Great Ocean Road just before Lorne. They had decided to stop and look at a koala on the side of the road - Graeme, Malcolm and Janine all had to dodge these wallies by going on the gravel but Janine fixed their little red wagon by telling them what she thought of them.
We turned off just after Lorne and stopped at Deans Marsh for a well earned coffee. John kept us entertained with his knowlegde of the local area and Graeme kept us entertained with his snoring. Leroy kept us entertained with his strip show.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Quick Update

It's been a little bit quiet on the blog site recently but lots of things have been happening.

Apollo Bay - weekend trip
A few of the group went down to Apollo Bay last week-end and had a relaxing time courtesy of John B from Melbourne as he let everyone stay in his holiday home. It's a great spot just walking distance to the beach so I'm sure it was a great week-end. Maybe a story or two will follow.

Next Ride Day - Sunday4th December 05
It looks like the online Geelong RAT calender has missed out this Sunday as the official ride day. The calender has been updated and as its the last ride before Xmas it might involve a lunch somewhere cosy. All ideas are very welcome. Meet at 9am outside the Wharfshed for a 9.30am start.

We can have a chat about organising a night out for a few drinks before Xmas on the ride-day.

Geelong Toy Run - Sunday 11th December 05
The Geelong Toy run is on Sunday December 11th starting at 10.30 am from Geelong Harley and finishing at the Charles Hotham Hotel at about 2.30pm. Be good to show off a few Trumpys in among all those Harleys!

Triumph Torque Magazine - Issues with delivery
I've been corresponding with Simon Carter from RAT in the UK as I haven't received the latest issues of Torque magazine. It seems there's been a problem with the distribution in the UK to Australia. Anyway, he's sorting it out and has advised that you should send him an e-mail to rat@triumph.co.uk if you also haven't received the latest issues - especially Autumn as I think the Winter issue comes out next week

Monday, November 07, 2005

Meet the Campers - Maldon (Nov Ride Day)

For some lucky campers the overnight stay at the Loddon Valley Park became a reality. Unfortunately, the cabins were all booked out so for those with no capacity for carrying camping gear, the overnight stay was no longer possible – so there were a few that didn’t get to play Boy Scouts & Girl Guides this time!
By all accounts the overnight stay was a huge success and all 6 campers had a great time – there were even a few tales to tell the next day – PJ might be able to give you more details!!
For the others the trip to Maldon started off from the Wharfshed Café on Sunday morning. It was good to have a new rider join us on his Speed Triple – hopefully we’ll see Ashley riding with us again soon. With Murray leading the way we headed out of Geelong on the Ballarat Road and then on to Anakie and through the Brisbane Ranges.
It was just coming out of Anakie when the first incident of the day occurred – Pete & Leone on the Speed Four were hit by a flying mud-flap! It tore the right hand indicator off its mount and left a black mark on the radiator cowl. Pete didn’t know what had hit him!!
Resurfacing on the side of the road through the Brisbane Ranges was dodgy and meant little stones flying around everywhere – a few more chips on the paintwork! As we closed in on Ballan the wind picked up and it looked like we were riding in a head wind. Even with ear plugs the wind noise was deafening.
A stop in Daylesford was needed for a quick coffee and a visit to the toilets. That was the intention anyway – 15 minutes after ordering the coffee it arrived – don’t think we’ll go there again! Luckily the toilet didn’t take so long…
Once out of Hepburn Springs it was a quick ride to Newstead passing by a 3 ft long Colin the Copperhead snake that had met his end on the bitumen. I wondered was it one of the bikes in front that had ran over him – could be dodgy if he got tangled in the wheel or thrown up on the rider coming behind! Imagine doing 120km/hr and trying to wrestle with a 3 foot long injured copperhead…
We were soon in Maldon and quickly spotted the Thunderbirds and Speedmaster with trailers attached. The campers had already found a table in the café and it was time for lunch.
Then the second event of the day – Rodney had a puncture in his rear tyre. A self-tapping screw had lodged itself in the side of his back wheel and it was as flat as the snake we’d see earlier! After filling the tyre with weld and several attempts to fill it with air Rodney gave up and decided to ride home with Shirley to get the car & return later to pick up the T’Bird.
Time to set off home back to Geelong and as we headed out of Maldon we were tailing another group of bikers that certainly weren’t hanging around! As we approached Newstead the flashing lights of oncoming motorists warned us that the cops were somewhere up ahead – in the bushes with a radar gun we suspected. But this time they were in the middle of the road with a breathalyzer stopping traffic in the opposite direction.
Then, just a little bit out of Newstead and there he was – Colin the Copperheads cousin Bobby the Brown snake – only he looked about 6 inchs to a foot longer!!! Luckily he had already crossed the left hand side and was moving on the ride hand side – he was on a mission – revenge!

It was bumps all the way on that tankslapper of a road to Hepburn Springs, then a quick stop for refreshments at the Hepburn Springs pub and it was onward ho! Again, we were getting warnings from oncoming traffic of police ahead – again a Police breathalyzer just out of Daylesford. Ironic really, we had just come from the pub and the police told us to keep going without a single breath being blown!! As it was we're a sensible bumch and were all safe anyway!

It was a hot & sweaty ride back to Geelong and we were all grateful to Pete & Leone for providing cold drinks, refreshments and great hospitality back at their place.

During the day there was some discussion of having a Xmas breakup ride – details to follow soon.

It was another great day – look forward to the next one & hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Camping Weekend - Loddon Valley - 5th & 6th Nov

Hopefully you have all recovered from Melbourne Cup and are ready to spend all your winnings on the camping trip that's happening this week-end.

Some of you will have already visited the Loddon Caravan Park if you went on the ride a couple of months ago. It's a beautiful spot beside the tranquil Loddon River and next to Lake Cairn Curran. There's a few "happy campers" among us and Rodney has even promised to catch enough fish to feed everyone!

If you don't have any way to carry a tent then there are only onsite caravans available - all cabins are booked out. You will still need to take bedding.

Cost of caravans based on 2 people:

4 Berth - $38 per night - extra person $7
6 Berth - $42 per night - extra person $6

2 onsite caravans with attached annex & toilet only - $50 per night - extra person $7

Campsites are $15.50 or $19 with power.

For bookings contact Loddon Valley Caravan Park on 0354 752 502

According to the owner the caravans are very basic! All require you to bring your own bedding.

For those not going camping the Monthly Ride on Sunday 6th November will be leaving the Wharfshed at the usual time of 9:30am and heading to Maldon to meet up with the campers for lunch.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pink Ribbon Ride

It was a warm sticky morning that saw just 3 bikes turn up outside the Wharfshed for the ride to Melbourne to take part in the Pink Ribbon Ride Day. The weather was looking good but we were prepared for the storms that had been predicted later in the day. With pink ribbons fluttering we set off up the highway to meet PJ & friends at the West Gate Services.

As we pulled up at the Westgate Services we saw PJ – you couldn’t really miss him as he stood out in his pink gloves & leg warmers with his bike decorated in pink bows and he’d even brought along a pink teddy for the ride. We were now 9 and it was a brisk ride through the tunnel and out Toorak Rd to the Burvale Hotel. The atmosphere was awesome in that hotel car-park with bikers of all size, creed and race mingling, chatting, taking photos and generally looking pleased that they were there to support this great cause.
Then it happened, the girls came out of the hotel and told us they had seen Tara Moss – our dreams had come true! There was pink everything - I laughed at one hardened biker standing by his Harley having a rollup and wearing a pink skirt & boa – it was one of those days were anything went!

A quick briefing by the Police and we were off led by Tara Moss and her husband. The police bikes were brilliant and did a great job getting us through the traffic junctions and making sure we had right of way at the lights. We passed all types of bikes from beautifully restored Vincents and Norton Commandos to race replica Fireblades. On one part of the road the bikes in front and behind were as far as we could see – just lines of bikes off into the distance.
Pulling up at the Maroondah Dam we were welcomed by a rock band giving us some Led Zeppelin, Sabbath & Whitesnake - real music!. It was true biker comradeship.
Determined to get a photo of Tara Moss the boys headed in her general direction. Paul moved in quickly and with some sweet talking managed to convince her that a photo with the Geelong RATs was an opportunity she couldn’t miss. Mick managed to slip in and get a photo with her on his own! As well as good looking, she’s a beautiful person and showed compassion and commitment to all those around her that had been affected by this terrible ailment. She even had a laugh when Paul told her to get her tongue out of Mick’s ear!
After some lunch we decided it was time to get home before it rained. From Healesville it was a steady ride to Yarra Glen and then a couple of us took off to try the twisties over Christmas Hills and into Diamond Creek for a quick coffee before hitting the Western Ring Road and home. It didn’t stop when we hit Geelong! It was off to the Tannin Bar for some refreshments and after a couple of platters of Turkish bread & dip we finally said good-night.

It was disappointing to see the low turnout from Geelong but hey – such is life! For the ones that took part it was an experience to remember. Meeting & chatting to fellow bikers, sharing stories and seeing the support that the biker community is prepared to give was heart-warming.
Check out the MRA Photos.
Anyway, we can’t wait to do it all again next year – hope to see you there.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

News Update - Oct 20

Pink Ribbon Ride - Sunday 23rd Oct
A lot of interest is being shown for the Pink Ribbon Ride Day on Sunday. The weather doesn't sound too hot but I'm sure the cause, the company and the laughs on the day should make up for it. I've heard there might be a few boys wearing pink tutus & tights - a bit dodgy in more ways than one!!
Meeting at the Wharfshed @ 8:00am for an 8:15 start.

Loddon Valley Camping Weekend - 5th - 6th November 05
For the would-be Boy Scouts and Girl Guides among us, there's a camping weekend planned for the week-end 5th & 6th of November. This is the week-end after the Melbourne Cup. So if you want to try your hand at tent erecting, fishing or cooking by camp fire this is the trip for you. See Leigh for details of the site etc.

October Monthly Meeting - Thursday 27th October
Remember the monthly meeting is next Thursday 27th Oct.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Monthly Ride Day - October 05

It was the smallest turnout this year for the October Monthly ride with just 3 bikes rolling up to the Wharfshed. Despite the small numbers we were still determined to have a good time and decided that a ride to Lorne for breakfast via Ceres, Moriac & the Otways National Park was well overdue. A brief shower of rain hit us as we passed over the Barrabool Hills but passed quickly. It was fairly dry roads all the way to Deans Marsh and then wet twisties as we descended into Lorne through the Otway Ranges. We pulled up outside the Arab Café and ordered a hearty breakfast.
It was a beautiful day and as we sat in the sunshine we noticed a lot of interest gathering around the Thruxton. Photos were getting taken and Paul was in his element as the interest was clearly with his bike alone! Turned out they were 3 American tourists all the way from the Californian Desert region – great biking country they told us. They were all keen motorcycle enthusiasts and it was good that Leigh was around to answer those technical questions!
It was time to set off again and it was a great ride back along the Ocean Road with very little traffic & dry roads – that was until we hit Torquay – it absolutely poured down. Anyway, we were home by 2pm and quickly dried off. It was a good morning - I reckon there’s a lot to be said for those short morning rides that get you back home early afternoon to finish off all those little jobs before work on Monday – maybe we should do them more often.
Catch you all at the Pink Ribbon Ride Day on Sunday 23rd October – looks like there’s already a lot of interest out there!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Pink Ribbon Ride Day - 23rd October 2005

It looks like one of the biggest events on the motorcycling calendar this month is going to be the Pink Ribbon Ride Day on Sunday 23rd October 05. The event is sponsored by the Cancer Council Australia and Parks Victoria & aims to raise money and awareness to Breast Cancer.

Registration is from 9am at the Burvale Hotel, cnr Burwood Road and Springvale Road with a ride to the Maroondah Dam via Yarra Glen and Healesville.

This should be a great event and for a good cause - lets see if we can get a record turnout from Geelong. We might have a prize for the person that dresses up in the most pink gear (wifes knickers & bra excluded)!

Meet at Wharfshed, Geelong Waterfront at 8:00am for an 8:15am ride to Melbourne stopping at the West Gate Services to meet up with others

See the official Pink Ribbon website for more details including registration form

** Dont forget - Monthly Ride this Sunday 9th October 05

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Broadford - Southern Classic Oct 05

**NEW! Check out Mick's photos on Geelong RAT Album
The Southern Classic Motorcycle Racing was the place to be seen last weekend with riders from all over Australia putting on a gutsy performance.
A few RATS travelled up the highway to spend an awesome day watching some great racing. The smell of two stroke filled the air and brought back memories of the good ole days! Most of us had ridden one or many of the bikes in the "forgotten era" races that included RD350, GS1000, 750Four, Z1000 etc.
After signing a form to agree we attended the riders briefing we were allowed into the starting grid area to experience the noise and smell of bikes like Nortons, Trumphs and there was even a restored Vincent.
The biggest thrill was watching those classic sidecars take the corners sideways - a bit like watching speedway on bitumen! Mick (red sprint) took his Canon digital SLR & got some great photos with a telephoto lens - look forward to seeing some of those in print. The local scouts served up lunch and there was good ice cream & real coffee!

The only downside was the flies & dust - the bikes and our gear was covered!

It was a great day and I'm sure everyone would agree that we look forward to next year.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Australian Motorcycle Expo - Sunday 18/09/05

After a wet and windy Saturday it was a relief to see clear blue skies for the Sunday ride to the Australian Motorcycle Expo. PJ wore his awesome boots, specially embedded with diamond initials on the heel.
Led by Wally on the Rocket III, 11 Triumphs departed the Wharfshed Café. It was going to be an easy ride straight up the freeway to Melbourne but then Wally led us off on a detour via Werribee. As we crisscrossed the suburbs of Werribee there were many among us that were thinking “What the…”. When we finally pulled up in a suburban street outside a house the T’bird pulled up beside me & with a laugh I heard “Looks like we’re here to pick up the guns & drugs!”.

After the tour of Werribee we ventured on to the Expo. The usual glitz and glamorous girls were everywhere – except the Triumph display! After a bit of walking around we found it – the Rocket III a big giveaway! But with so many glamorous and eye catching displays around there was no time to lose. The Gotham City display certainly believed semi-naked chicks could attract the boys & they were right - we lost Lee a couple of times only to find him wandering around Gotham City in a daze!

Kawasaki were showing their age and even the bike models looked old! Honda’s concept bike looked awesome. A Triumph 675 triple would have looked good. Then there was the new BMW K1200R – never thought I’d think a BMW was cool but this one looked okay. Suzuki & Yamaha aren’t doing anything different but Ducati, Aprillia & MV Agusta stood out among the crowd.

A cloud of burnt rubber smoke hung over the road outside and the noise of Harleys was overwhelming - very environmentally friendly…

The Trumps rode away quietly and headed to Lygon Street for an afternoon coffee and then off back to Geelong & home.

It was a good day that had many of us asking again what has happened to Triumph Australia. The bikes are awesome but the enthusiasm and excitement that was shown by some of the other manufacturers just wasn’t visible at the Triumph display. Great bikes that need to be presented with the pride they deserve. Maybe next time some of the riders should be given the opportunity to work on that display. It’s hard not to defend these great bikes especially when the guy next to you is criticizing them without even sitting on one! Come on Peter Stevens lets see some vigor and enthusiasm for this great brand of motorcycle and the people that ride them!