Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great ride down the Ocean Road with a few guys from work

One of the guys at work that rides a Speed Triple ask me if I fancied a ride on Sunday. I had to think for a minute - I've been out on the bike every week-end for the past few weeks, maybe I should have a week-end off!! It didn't take me long to come to my senses, weather was going to be good & a quick sprint down to Lorne via Deans Marsh & Skenes Creek sounded good - didn't have to think twice!
So today I met up Dave on the Speed 3 & John on the Sprint ST. It was a great day for a burn - we stopped briefly at Martians for a coffee. We needed one after following a guy on a dirt bike along the road earlier - he was all over the corners & flying - did the compulsory mono as he passed Martians!
There were none of the regulars there today, just a few guys on Harleys - an old Shovel & what looked like one of those old 1950s side valve K models - in beautiful condition.
The road winding down through the Otways to the ocean just gets better everytime I ride on it - the smell of the forest and views out over the ocean are spectacular - makes you feel alive!
The Great Ocean Road had the usual traffic for a Sunday but the views made up for the congestion. At one point we were down to one lane with roadworks at Mount Defiance - looks like the roads been sliding into the ocean!
It was lunch at the Lorne Hotel - great calamari & chips!
Dave S did a learner a good turn by lifting her bike off the roundabout when she came off - used the front brake on the corner - big mistake!!
The ride back was slow all the way to Torquay - cars crawling along heading back home after a Sunday drive to the beach. The new overtaking lane just outside Anglesea helps...
I heard earlier in the week that there's a motorcycle forum happening in Geelong next week - apparently the TAC, Vic Roads, Vic Police & Dept of Sustainability & Environment are running sessions to get feedback from bikers. It sounds like the Melbourne session was a big success.
Heres the details if your interested in going: Motorcycle Forums

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BRIGHT – Melbourne Cup Weekend Nov 11th 2009

Well it was all set for a big weekend – a trip that would take us through some of the best motorcycling country in Australia – maybe even the world! I’d ridden over Mt Hotham & down into Omeo on previous trips but never had the chance to experience the Great Alpine Road from Bairnsdale up along the river to Omeo – though I’d heard plenty about it from Mick!

Some of us decided that the ferry from Queenscliff was the best way to start the trip – kick back with a coffee & maybe even see a dolphin or two.

Plan was to regroup in Leongatha & then make it to Traralgon for a quick lunch stop.

The ferry trip didn’t take long - the coffee was like drinking stormwater and the dolphins were having a day off!

First stop for the ferry group was Tooradin for a stretch – I’d just got off the bike when Mal sent me a message that he & Cheryl were already in Leongatha – 30 mins away from us! Someone suggested he’d shit the bed!

It didn’t take long to get to Leongatha & we also met up with Stefan, his friend Joe and Joe’s son Ian. It looked a bit odd to see these guys wearing WW2 German helmets with balaclavas & sunnies – looked like they were about to do a job or had just come of a Steven Spielberg film set!!

Well, after Leongatha it was everyone for themselves – that’s how it seemed! The group totally split up and eventually I ended up in Traralgon with Cheryl & Jane but not another Geelong RAT in site!

Then Mal got in touch – he wasn’t far away with the rest of the group. All but the 3 musketeers met in Traralgon & had lunch – Mick, Murray & Steve had stopped in Sale – they had their sights set on a cold beer in the pub in Bairnsdale!

Eventually, we rode into Bairnsdale – it was a welcomed relief – we were all very hot, sweaty & dehydrated.

Quick shower & it was straight down the pub – a few beers, a feed & then home with a quick stop at the cinema when Stefan tried to convince the girl on the desk to let us all into a movie that had started 20 minutes earlier!

Next day it was an early start with a stop in Bruthen for breakkie. It was just starting to warm up and it was with the Thruxton on its back wheel that we left Bruthen heading for the Alpine Road on our way to Omeo.

It’s hard to explain the Great Alpine Road in words – the scenery is spectacular and the road is just amazing if you ride a bike – twisties, sweepers, hills, straights – it has it all – even a few big bloody snakes in the road!

I had to stop a few times to take it all in & it gave me a chance to take a few photos of the others riding past – or at least try to get them in the shot as they flew past. We enjoyed every minute of that road – can’t wait to do it again one day – Mick was spot on when he said I’d love it… the Speed 3 was humming! Mick took a burn on the Street 3 & reckoned it was a weapon - he's right!

The group split up after Omeo & I rode over Hotham with Steve & Jane.

The best part was the snow on top of the mountain – we just stopped the bikes and ran to the big icy drift on the side of the road – 10 years since we saw that beautiful white stuff! Jane took the Speed Triple & I couldn’t get it back – I still had fun on the Street 3!

Some got into the swimming pool & the others headed off down to the brewery when we got to Bright – that beer is bloody strong! After a few pints it was off to the Alpine for a bite to eat & then back to the hotel with a few refreshments – too many stories to tell from that night & not enough room on this blog! Steve has the photos…

Next day the girls took it easy and stayed in Bright while the boys decided to do the circuit over Hotham to Anglers Rest & then over the top to Falls Creek & back on the Towonga Gap Road.

Stefan was waiting for breakfast when we left the Alpine – we said we’d meet him in Dinner Plain. Just over Hotham and I see this red Honda coming up on my tail – its Stefan – jeez he must have been flying to catch up with us!

A quick stop fo coffee in Dinner Plain and the Blue Duck was the spot for lunch. We’d been joined by Mal’s mate Bruce on his RS – Bruce rides with the Ratbags.

The ride from Omeo to Anglers Rest wasn’t a good one for me – Stefan was about a tyre length from my tail & just sat there. Riding with someone on your ass has to be the worst thing on a tight twisty road when riding in a group. Eventually we made it to the Blue Duck & Stefan did his usual & waded into the river – took his boots off this time!

Next, we were going on the road that had just been sealed in Spring over Feathertop and into Falls Creek. Last time we’d been here Waz punctured a tyre – now it was sealed & should be easy though a few guys told us it was still very loose & rutted.

The road over the top to Falls Creek was a bit rough here & there but wasn’t as bad as I’d expected – loose gravel on corners & some corrugation. But the views were spectacular – thought I’d been drugged and taken back to Ireland or Scotland – even snow! Mal was even frolicking in the snow & wanted to make a snowman!He can't wait for his next holiday on the ski slopes!

I met Waz & Stefan on the road into Mt Beauty – Waz had just passed a couple of guys on Ducati 1098s on the twisties – later they said they didn’t want to risk dropping $30k worth of bike – if only they know…

We were all knackered at this stage & after regrouping at Mt Beauty it was onward over Towonga Gap to Bright. That road was awesome & I was wondering which corner was the one that Steve wanted to have a piss on - the one that treated him unkindly the last time he was there!

It was our last night & we all gathered at the brewery to say good-bye to one of our favourite places. I reckon that beer is too bloody strong!!

It was a warm ride home – especially going straight down the Hume Freeway.

The week-end was eventful – we all learned that a plan helps when we set off on a trip so that everyone stays together & knows whose actually leading the way.

Safety also concerned most of us especially when some individuals are regularly compromising the safety of others!

Most of the guys have been riding together for almost 8 years and there hasn’t been a serious incident within the group in that time – we definitely don’t want one to happen now! But unfortunately it feels like its only a matter of time - everyone let it be known how they felt and unfortunately one person has decided to call it a day with the group. It’s a shame really but we all value our own lives too much & don’t want to watch someone else throw it all away by being stupid.

Anyway, it was an awesome week-end and I personally can't wait for the next one - already thinking about it now – anyone for a trip to Halls Gap after Xmas…

Bright Trip Photos on Flickr

Also - do you know anyone wants to buy a beautiful Triumph Sprint 1050 ST - special deal for friends :-)