Thursday, May 31, 2007

Grampians Trip - Great Week-end!

Well it was great to see the weather forecast predicting a sunny week-end for the annual trip to the Grampians National Park. It was blue skies when we all rocked up at the Wharfshed on Saturday morning and everyone was looking forward to a great ride and overnight stay at the Halls Gap Caravan Park.

A total of 13 RATs had booked in for the event whcih is becoming a regular event on the calendar - maybe next time we should make it a bit longer and have 2 nights though as its tough getting up for work on Monday morning after covering 650kms in 2 days - especially on that Shellford - Skipton Road! On the way, that road was a nightmare as we were riding into strong wind that was either full-frontal or coming across at a 60 degree angle - it felt like my head was in a clamp at times!

We reached Skipton and it was a quick stop in the service station to regroup and warm up with a quick coffee. We decided to take the route via Avoca - Leighs favorite place!
There's a pie shop there called Pyrenees Pies that has a big sign saying they have everything from Possum & Beef to Crocadile Pies - being a veggie I wasn't that bothered when they had a simple selection of the usual run of the mill and not a bad veggie pastie. Some of the other thought the other cafe just a couple of doors away was good too.

Anyway, it was on to Halls Gap via Ararat. It was about 3pm when we got glimpse of the amazing mountain backdrop that surrounds Halls Gap - what a beautiful place it is - especially at this time of year when visitor numbers are low and the winter sun casts those beautiful shadows over the mountain peaks that straddle the village.

Everyone quickly found their cabins and got the heater going - it was starting to get a bit cold and with no clouds in sight it was gonna be a chilly night.

A few of us headed out on a resturaunt finding exhibition - we wanted to find somewhere different than the pub this time where we could walk instead of getting taxis. After a few enquiries we came across the Mountain Deer - we were more than welcome and plenty of room for us all. It was a good night and food wasn't bad either - lots of garlic bread ordered by Pete - enough to feed an army! We gave them a nightmare when it came to paying...
Next morning was an early rise and breakfast at 9am at the usual little cafe spot in Halls Gap - some had to hang on to their sausages - the kookaburras love to kill a sausage or tow and aren't frightened to take it form your plate!

After breakie we regrouped and Janey tried out the riding position on Judy's CBR600F4i - yeah it's a Honda but it looks great - I think Janey's found her next bike - that's until she sees the new Street Triple due later this year!
The girls rode on to Dunkeld while the rest of use took a quick burn over to Zumstein up over that twisting road that cuts up through the mountain. A quick stop and back down the mountain to Halls Gap and onward towards Dunkeld - its a great road and its hard to keep your eyes of the spectacular scenary.
The pub in Dunkeld has a welcoming open fire and we all rested & had lunch - with dreaded thoughts of the boring road ahead on everyones mind. As we left Dunkeld we were getting flashing lights from oncoming cars telling us there was a speed camera ahead - sure enough there he was - a Bracks revenue collector in the middle of nowhere - what a farse - as if this was a dangerous black spot - just an easy place to collect money!

We are all cruising comfortably and there were a few old classic cars on the road doing the Great Ocean Road Escape run for charity. I had just passed one when I saw it... the white commodore with blue & red lights on the roof approaching from behind - he's passed 3-4 of the bikes behind me and then pulled in in front of me & told me to pull over! Out of all the bikes he picks me... I couldn't believe it - but then again I was easy to spot as I was the only only one with a pillion!

He accused me of speeding and told me I was doing 122km/hr - impossible I said... there'sd was no way I could remember getting up to that speed and on top of that the Sprint is shows 5km/hr less on the speedo and the radar has a tolerance of 3km/hr which would have made my speed around 130 km/hr - no way! I told him I would dispute it... he was a tough nut - the sort that you agree with even when you know he's wrong - he showed me the radar and gave me a talk on why motorcyclist riding in groups shouldn't think they are safe from the mighty radar... I thanked the good officer for his advice and he said the magic words - Take this as a Caution"... it could have been a longer ride home thinking about that fine! The worst thing was my back tyre was on its last legs - so first thing Monday it went into Road & River for a new one...

We regrouped at Skipton & I shared my story of my encounter with the law - gave everyone the news on the mighty radar pinging everyone and then it was on to Geelong via the worst, boring road I have ever ridden to Shelford and then on to Geelong via the Hamilton Hwy.
It was a great week-end and too many laughs to mention - looking forward to doing it all again next year - without meeting Sgt Tacklebury!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Update & latest news

Don't forget the Grampians trip is coming up this week-end - 26/27 May. If you haven't booked already then you'd need to get in quick as places were limited to about 10 people when I rang them a couple of weeks ago.

Tell them you're with the Geelong Triumph group when you call as they're trying to keep us all close together.
There's a few sharing so it might pay to do a ring around before you book if you're planning to go alone - unless you want the place to yourself.
Departure place is
the usual spot - the Wharfshed Cafe around 9:30am.
I've heard the weather is going to be good so it should be a good ride up there but cold at night. I was in Halls Gap a couple of weeks ago and it was beautiful - should be a great week-end.

DEMO DAY @ Peter Stevens - Saturday 12 May 2007
For some of you lucky sods there was a demo day at Peter Stevens a couple of week-ends ago. Unfortunately I couldn't make it for the ride I'd booked on the Speed Triple but I heard it was a great day. Malcolm took out a few bikes and provides the following story:
One mans view,
The Rocket was out first and although I must admit I was pretty apprehensive at first, finally got used to it but that said it is a huge beast of a bike, with a riding style I am not used to.I did not feel too comfortable with the massive wide bars and forward foot pegs and controls. Concentration in the traffic was at its maximum as I felt like I was 10ft wide. Not my style.
Next was the Speed master and although the riding position was not dissimilar the weight and shear mass was easier to deal with. It maybe down on power but I felt it has adequate for what it is and the type of riding one would do on this bike. I liked it but I would have to get it breathing a bit better and let a few more horses out.Seat left a bit to be desired as I got a sore tailbone after a while.
Tiger was my choice for the day, it has balls, it has comfort, it has great handling ability, snappy easy to handle, torque and gearing are well balanced and with a good riding posture. If I was thinking of touring that is what I would choose to do it on. I felt as though I could ride it all day. It is a great motorcycle to ride and is versatile at the higher speeds as well as the lower speeds, very smooth.
Thruxton, hmm a fun bike and nice and light to handle with plenty of power for the size. I think this bike took the horses from the Speed master as it certainly pulls a lot harder. At no stage did the bike do anything odd as I put it through the corners, it stayed on the same line even over the bumps. I was impressed.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

May 2007 - Ride Day

The May ride took place last Sunday and while some of the Geelong Triumph group decided to go with the Triumph Owners Group to a rally in Melbourne, there were 5 bikes that rocked up for a ride to Hepburn Springs for lunch.
Pete & Leone were out on the new Sprint RS that recently replaced Kermit the Speed Four. As usual it was a beautiful ride out through the Brisbane Ranges with Muz & Mick setting a quick pace (just got back from track days on the island!).
First stop was the bakery for quick refreshments. Funny thing was, we just got off the bikes when a police car pulled up & out jumps the cop. Immediately we waited for the big question "What speed were you doing back there?" Instead it was "Do any of you guys know Shrek?" Well, he turned out to be a great bloke (for a cop) and I'd even be tempted to live in Ballan now... Turned out Shrek was a biker he'd saw stopped on the side of the road and when he stopped to ask him if he was okay he said he'd lost his mates! As the cop got back into the car he shouted back - So watch out for Shrek - and by the way, he's not green!!

Then on to Daylesford and the pub at Hepburn Springs - it still has a Triumph sticker in the window from when it had its connections with Triumph Australia! The food was great and Cheryl caught up with the gang and brought her Mum along to tell us about her early experiences on a motor bike. The Legacy group were having a function in the pub and there were a few questions from the old blokes as they reminised on the days of riding Triumphs.
As we waited for everyone to regroup in Dalesford, we just happened to stop by a big group of HOGs! Well, Mal & Pete just managed to slip out in front of them but for the rest of us we ended up at the back of a bunch of Harleys - going slow just to piss us off!! That road through Blackwood to Ballan is dodgy as it's fast but bumpy & a good place to test your bike for tank slapping!
A quick stop in Ballan and then it was on to Geelong and home. It was a great day out and enjoyed by everyone.

Next week-end is the Grampians on 26th May and everyone is looking forward to the trip and week-end away.

Triumph night at Peter Stevens on Tuesday 8th May - might see you there.