Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ride Day - 5th Feb 06 - Flowerdale

It was a great day for a ride with the temperature predicted to be about 25 and 11 bikes turing up at the Wharfshed for the start of an eventful day. A few ideas tossed around and we all settled on our destination - the Flowerdale Hotel for lunch via Gisbourne, Kilmore & Strath Creek.
As we headed into the Bacchus March Road a bikers nightmare loomed ahead - roadworks laying bitumen! Some took a detour while others rode on hoping that the tar wasn't going to go everywhere - in the end it wasn't that bad. It was a shame that Mal & Cheryl had to ride all the way back the way they had just rode in the morning to join the group. We were soon aware that Daytona Dave was back when he shot past to take the lead setting a quick & steady pace to our first stop.
We arrived in Gisbourne and it was packed with market day in full swing. A parking spot by the cricket pitch and then it was off for the morning caffiene fix. After a quick stretch it was on to our destination - Flowerdale. It was a good ride through Kilmore & over the freeway on to the Strath Creek Road - that's where the real biking roads start. The twisties all the way through the mountains make the long ride form Geelong worthwhile...

We reached the Flowerdale Pub in time for lunch and there was already a good few bikers there. It's a great pub that's frequently visited by bikers and I was told by the barman that there's an All British ride that goes from Melbourne and stops at the pub every November - needs to go on the calander!
It was a relaxing afternoon spent under the trees in the beer garden and it was good to have Lucy & Mark & Anne along for their first ride with the group.

After a great lunch (awesome sticky date pudding) it was time to mount up and follow Mick to Whittlesea for a refuel. The plan then was to ride via Bulla and Diggers Rest to Bacchus Marsh. It was a steady ride from Whittlesea and as we approached Bulla we passed a carpark packed with people and ice cream vans. Then we could see why - a Virgin Blue passenger jet was approaching at about 500 ft - it looked like we could wave to the passengers! The car park was right at the end of the runway approach to Melbourne airport. I'm definitely heading back there with a camera on my next day off!
As we left Bulla we passed through a couple of good sweepers and then a sign indicated a single lane bridge. The approach to the bridge was very tight and downhill - the road was badly torn up and I felt the Sprint bounce slightly as the back break locked the back wheel on the corrigated bitumen. With a bit of careful manouvering I was through it but at the time I thought "what a bastard". Riding on we got to Diggers Rest and suddenly only Geoff was behind me. Geoff & I turned back to find the others while Mick rode on with Pete and Dave. At the last junction we waited but no sign of anyone & even a few phone calls didn't get any answer - we feared the worst... Then they appeared with Malcolm leading the way - all looked okay so we headed on our way to Bacchus Marsh where we all stopped for a quick refreshment and a stretch.
Then we heard the bad news - Mark & Anne had fallen victim to that "bastard" bridge! They were okay and the bike had survived with minimal damage dispite sliding down the road with Mark under it. Anne had been thrown off too but was okay. Being veteran bikers with old war wounds from previous bike spills they were reasonably calm about the whole incident. It was a shame really as we all had a great day but was lucky as it could have been a lot worse. We said our goodbyes to Mal & Cheryl and headed on our way back home to Geelong.
We learn heaps about our ability and about the handling and capability of these great bikes every time we get on them but there's always a bend or twist waiting to catch us out. No one wants to start riding with fluro jackets but maybe we just need some simple guidelines to make it safer for us all - especially in a big group - something to think about. Look forward to another good ride in March - hopefully incident free next time!

2 comments:

Shu Shu said...

It was great to see Daytona Dave back in the mix and a big welcome to Lucy - hope to see you both at the Wharf Shed soon. It's never good to hear of anyone coming off though and I hope Mark & Anne weren't suffering too much Monday. Thank #%* it wasn't worse.

Mark & Anne said...

Thanx to geelong rat for a great day out on sunday 5/2/06.great to meet everyone.special thanx to mick,leigh and mal for getting me back on the road after my little spill, anne and myself are both fine and looking forward to future rides with the geelong rat.

mark & anne.