Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

Well another Xmas has passed by and it's time for all the life changing & good living things we promise to do every year...
It was a great Xmas - we actually saw snow and didn't even have to travel to the UK!
We had a quick visit to beautiful Bright - a quick break before the Xmas rush. It was very cold and wet with lots of flooding but snow was the last thing we expected to see.
On a wet night sitting at the brewery sipping a few of the local ales I heard the guy from the local ski hire shop say there was a metre of snow on Mt Hotham.
At first I thought it was the Bright Ale kicking in but when I heard it again I thought, "I have to see that"!
As we sat huddled under heaters at the Bright brewery chatting about the good old days the ski hire bloke was talking about snow-boarding on Mt Hotham the following day - no way, this is Xmas in Australia when the temperatures are in the top 20's!
So, up to Mt Hotham the next day it was!
The fog was as thick as pea soup, a sheer drop over the side with no barriers - it must be scary in the depths of winter when on the orange poles in the sides of the roads are visible to mark the edge of the road.
We kept on going & what a surprise when we started seeing cars coming the other way with snow on their windscreen! Then we reached Mt Hotham resort - unbelievable!! The snow had drifted on the sides of the road to almost a metre deep.
Quickly we stopped the car on the side of the road (tested the abs brakes) and jumped out into the snow like 2 kids at Xmas... the way we knew it - it was awesome - 2 weeks from Xmas and here we where in snow - in Australia!
The weather remained miserable until it was our last day when it got into the top 20's.
We made up for it by visiting a few wineries and the Mt Buffalo berry farm is a must stop if your up that way - they have a small vineyard and their 9 year old Shiraz at $20 a bottle is a good buy. Next time I'm buying a box of it!
Last year was a quiet one for getting out on bike trips & 2011 might be the same. We're off to England & Hong Kong this year and a new contract that might involve a bit of travel - we'll see.
Hope everyone had a great Xmas & New Year - see you on the road.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Adelaide - quick visit across the border

A good opportunity came along a couple of week-ends ago to take a trip across the border to South Australia & visit Pete & Leone. It doesn't seem that long ago that they were locals but now they've settled into life in the city of churches - Adelaide.
We decided to drive across and took the most direct route through Horsham & Bordertown & planned to arrive about 3pm - it took us 9 hours in the end with a few stops on the way.
The thing that stood out was the difference in road surface quality when crossing from Victoria - it was like going from a dirt track to a graded road! The roads in Victoria are a disgrace compared to South Australia's smooth cambered surfaces!
You can tell when you've crossed the border without looking at the signs!
In fact, the roads in Victoria were so bad that I had to replace all the headlight bulbs when I got home as the vibration from the ruts had broken all the filaments - the high tyre pressure put into the new tyres when they were put on the week before didn't help!
Leone & Pete are well settled into the more laid back life over there and Pete's having a great time exploring the twisties in the Adelaide Hills.
We took a trip up through the hills and as well as the awesome roads, scenery & wineries, there's a great chocolate and cheese factory at Woodside. We walked away from the chocolate factory with a couple of bags full of goodies!
On the way through Woodside another treat for the boys - a BMW 1000RR came up behind us & shot past - one beautiful bike - looked & sounded awesome. I think I want one...
We got back to P & L's place in time to listen to the prison show on the radio - yeah they have a show where prisoners make radio requests and leave messages for their wives - some very interesting messages on there!!
One other very noticeable thing about South Australia is the absence of sneaky revenue raising speed cameras.
In fact, the location of all police speed cameras is published in the newspapers as a deterrent to wannabe speedsters - pro-active policing to stop accidents before they happen - unlike Victoria where they worry that the road fatalities are increasing but still catch people after they've been speeding so they can collect the cash!
Adelaide's got a very different feel to any of the other cities I've visited - feels more like a big country town although new development is going on quite a lot so that could change. They're big into recycling with purple water taps on all new development indicating recycled water for use on the garden.
Port Adelaide resembles Geelong in some ways with the old wool sorting sheds - most of these are being converted with coffee shops, cafes & bars turning it into a cool place to hang out.
It was another 9 hour drive back & we did some good deeds helping Belgian tourists to understand how to use a phone card on the way.
The Bordertown bakery is a great place to stretch & have a home made soup or a pastie. The place is a tin shed built around the old brick police station which is still preserved inside.
Next time I get over there it'll be on the Speed 3 to sample those Adelaide Hills twisties on 2 wheels. Pete's hooked up with the local Triumph riders group - they sound like a great bunch & will be coming over to the NSW Rally in April next year - should be a good rally.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday Ride & lunch at Otway Estate Brewery

I heard from a mate during the week about a week-end trip he goes on every year. He gets together with a few friends & they do an annual pilgrimage to a little pub in a place called Koroit. I looked it up on Google maps & its just outside Warrnambool. Anyway the pubs called Mickey Bourkes and they reckon it's the best Guinness in Victoria!
Unfortunately, I already had a lot on for the week-end so wouldn't be able to sample the Guinness but could join them for a ride on Saturday.
After a warm 29c day on Friday it wasn't surprising to wake up to hear rain bouncing off the roof - typical Victorian weather! Luckily, it didn't last long & I was soon joining the others waiting for me at the Fyansford hotel. There were quick introductions & a scan of the bikes that included a couple of BMW GS's, a couple of 675 Triumph Daytona's, a KTM RC8 and my mate on a GS500F he'd borrowed for the week-end.
We took off heading for our lunch stop at a brewery on the Cape Otway road. I'd been down that road many times but never spotted a brewery! Right on lunch-time we pulled up at Otway Estate Winery and Brewery - what a great spot. We sat out on the deck overlooking the lake with a small vineyard in the background - heaven! The lunch menu was exceptional & a few of us sampled the amber nectar brewed on the property - only one glass but enough to have us wanting more! The organic cider was good too!
After lunch the fun began on the Cape Otway road to Lavers Hill. I was tailing the RC8 getting into the groove - the road was perfect. Lavers Hill came too quickly & it was time for me to leave the others and head home via Apollo Bay and the Great Ocean Road.
I wished I was going with them to that little pub in Koroit - sitting by a big fire with a pint of Guinness was very appealing. However, it wasn't to be & I took off for a bit of fun on my own as I wound along the valley and down to the ocean views of Apollo Bay. That's one of the best roads in Victoria on a bike.
It was all fun until I got to Lorne & then it was road-works, rock-slides, traffic and double white lines! Every time I ride on the Great Ocean Road I swear it will be my last - it's the worst road on a motorbike - the views are awesome but aren't so good when stuck behind a bus spewing diesel fumes into your face or tourists stopping suddenly to take a photo of the waves!
Next year, I won't be riding back on my own - I'm planning to throw the bags on the back & get to that little pub for a pint of stout by the log fire.
It was a great ride with awesome company and a great variety of bikes and experience. My mate that borrowed the GS 500 F had a quick burn on one of the Daytonas & loved it - looks like another Triumph will be on the road next year but he's actually thinking of a Street Triple R.
If you're on the Cape Otway road make the brewery a place to stop - you won't regret it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summer's almost here again...

Well it's been a long Winter this year, or at least it feels that way for me anyway. I just don't know how I survived living through those Winters living in the UK with minus temperatures & riding bikes in Levi jeans and a Wrangler jacket! Now it's thermal underwear & I'm still freezing - must be getting old!

It was good to get a text from Muz a few weeks ago to let me know there was a ride to Deans Marsh with Olly & a few of the lads.

I heard Martin bought a new Duke & it great to catch up & hear how the new bike matches his other pride and joy - the Street Triple.

They told me about the recent trip to Rawson with the Berwick club and unfortunately it had again resulted in disaster with one of the guys coming off on a wet corner and going through a fence - he survived but with few broken limbs. Apparently they rode on farm roads that had so much cow manure that Martin had a top dressing for his roses when he washed his bike at home!
It was good catching up with Andy - he's off to Tassie again in November to the Ross Rally.
This morning a took a quick burn over to Deans Marsh to catch up with Mick. I'd just changed to oil & filter on the S3 & it was good to hear that engine humming with some beautiful new syrup lubricating the pistons. It should hum even more when I get those arrow pipes on there!

As usual there was a good show of bikes at Martians & after a quick coffee we got on the road to Lorne with Cape Patton our destination.
The Great Ocean Road was it's usual self with tourist buses everywhere - even had tourists getting their photo taken by our bikes when we pulled up!
The scenery's great but the roads terrible - water over the road on corners and huge potholes where you just don't need to have them when you're on 2 wheels. It was still good to get out & get into some corners.
I was hoping to see a whale or two but the only ones I saw were on those tourist buses!!
We had an encounter with a Daytona 675 SE on our travels - beautiful bike with an underseat arrow pipe - sounded absolutely awesome!
Mick's Daytona looks great with some new accessories - double bubble screen, high pipe, seat cowl.
Mick mentioned there's a trip being planned to Bright on the Cup week-end - sounds like a great idea.
We're off to Adelaide to catch up with the nuke red S3 so won't be around - maybe we'll get a chance to get up there before Xmas - gotta be one of our favourite bike riding spots.
Hope to see you on the road...

Monday, March 29, 2010

What's been happening...

Well it's been a while since I got to do any updates on the blog - lots of distractions have kept me away from getting out on the Speed 3 and there's been little time for sitting down in a quiet corner to update the blog!
First of all the big surprise that Pete & Leone have gone off to Adelaide to live - it all happened so quickly and they moved over there last week - all our best wishes go with them & hopefully we'll catch up with them often when they journey back to the police state for a visit...
Then I started job hunting when my contract finished & then I completed an audio production course at RMIT on the week-ends - its been a bit crazy!
But just before the madness kicked in, a few of us took a trip to Castlemaine for the week-end. It was that week-end when the hail the size of golf balls hit Melbourne!
Malcolm looked like he'd come back home as he rode along on "Mr Bloor" (his new S3) - he loves it!
Luckily we didn't get any of the storm & spent the afternoon sitting outside a cafe in the main street sampling local wines and trying out a few beers.
The accommodation was perfect - a big old guesthouse walking distance to the main street.
There were bu
nches of wild grapes and figs in the back garden - the grapes were lush & Vicki made delicious jam out of the figs when we got back.
The bikes even got their own shed for the night!
On the way back we stopped in Daylesford just as the gay festival was getting underway - lots of beautiful people and plenty of queens! He/she had a particular interest in motorcyclists - think it might have been the leather!!

The following week-end I went back up to Bright to fly ultralights & we met up with Vicki & Mick.
What a night we had on the Friday we arrived - we ended up in the Wandiligong pub at an open mic night. The price for that night was paid dearly the next day...
We went out last week-end to the Khan Curry Hut with Mick & Vicki to say farewell to Pete & Leone (we were in Bright on the week-end they had their farewell). I'd definitely recommend it if you are into Indian food - service and meals were excellent.
But apart from that life's been quiet on the bike front. I'm not sure what's happening with the local RAT now - there seems to be a lull in interest at the moment! Interestingly, I was walking past Peter Stevens Triumph in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and the RAT guys were gathering for the Sunday ride - looked like there was a few of them getting together. See you on the road...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Castlemaine Weekend - Saturday 6th March 2010

The labour day long week-end's coming up soon so we had a chat last Thursday night about the next overnight trip.
It had been rumoured that Petersborough was the destination but there's been a change of heart and Castlemaine is where we're heading on Saturday 6th March.
Accommodation is the Campbell St Lodge - a historic building close to the town centre. Cost is $95 for a double room & there's secure parking for the bikes. I spoke to Irene who was really helpful & told me there's lots going on that week-end - even heard there's a classic bike rally nearby in Maryborough.
Contact number is 03 5472 3477 & they know us as Geelong Triumph group.
Details of departure & route to come later.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Gone but not forgotten!

It was sad news earlier this week when we heard that Stefan had lost his life last Saturday afternoon in a fatal bike accident on the Moriac Road.
We'd known Stef for almost 3 years and although he often drove us mad, he was a likable character. There was always a new bike on the go or some customization happening - like when he sawed the ends off the mufflers on the bonnie!
There were memorable times with Stef but the one that sticks in my mind is when we all stayed in Harrietville in Nov 2008.
On the way there he got hit by a peregrine falcon. His description of him pulling that bird off his jacket always had us in hysterics!!
Then he left Waz out in the middle of Falls Creek with a flat tyre & when we asked him "What were the last words you said to Waz?" he paused, thought & said "C' Ya"!
There were many laughs with Stef and I'm sure none of us will ever forget him. He went out the way he'd have wanted it.
His funeral's on Friday at the United Church, 195 Ormond St, East Geelong - 2pm. C' Ya Stefan!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Plans for week-end trip = Labour Day weekend

I had a couple of interesting photos sent to me by Leigh a couple of weeks ago. Sounds like he was cleaning up his computer and came across some old photos from some of the early RAT ride days & trips.
I remember both trips when the photos were taken - one of them was particularly memorable as we experienced our first flying VFR and a group of bike riders that had more faith than we had! That was the trip to Rawson - after all the events of the previous day when one of the blokes from Berwick wrote off his VFR we were hits with high winds and a gum tree across the road - I remember Leigh looking at me, pointing up to the sky & saying "He did this"! The guys from Berwick had just earlier gathered us in a huddle before we left Rawson to say a prayer!!

The second photo was from a trip to Halls Gap - Murray was out trying to impress the roos... he got more than he bargained for!! We've had a couple of good trips to the Grampians over the years.

The next long week-end public holiday is over the Labour Day week-end in March (6, 7 & 8). So, a few of us had a chat about where we could go when we met at the Wharfshed on Thursday night. First choice was Port Fairy - but the music festivals put a stop to that idea - So plan is to ride down to Petersborough on the coast just beyond Port Campbell and stay Saturday and Sunday nights. We'd do a ride on Sunday - maybe further down the coast or inland up towards the Grampians. Pete's getting some details of accommodatioin & I'll post it here soon.

Sunday ride day - 31st Jan - Plan is to meet at Texas in Mercer at 9am & ride via Deans Marsh, Forest, and Mertons Track to Lavers Hil & then down to Apollo Bay for lunch.

I had a good ride last Sunday with Pete, Murray & Martin - the roads were crazy but it was good to get out for a quick burn. The Ocean Road just isn't the place to go on a m/bike anymore - speed limits, crazy drivers and cyclists make it an obstacle course for motorcyclists!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

First ride of 2010 - Happy New Year

Well I never expected to see so many old faces at Deans Marsh - seemed like everyone was there this morning! I got up early looked outside to check the weather - overcast and maybe some drizzle but at least none of the torrential rain like we had on New Years Eve. Its great to see rain but keep it to week days when we're all at work!
The ride down to Deans Marsh was the usual straight ride - just missing
the odd cyclist. The best bit is that stretch form the t-junction on the Cape Otway Road - but it's one eye on the road and the other on the look out for radars!
I didn't see another bike on the way to Deans but when I got to Martians it was unreal - the place was bursting at the seams with bikes! Ollie & the crew were there and Mick was out on the new bike - beautiful black Daytona - in great condition - a stable mate for the Sprint ST.
Then Glenn from Williamstown appeared on his new beast - an 1198s - he still has the Daytona and a Harley but loves the Duke! Then Dave & Delina pulled up after their ride down to the Cape and Waz pulled up with Sonya on the Harley!
Mick & I decided to go for a quick ride over
to Forrest and then back on the Cape Otway Rd. It was on the way back that we had a slight problem! We'd just turned onto Mt Duneed Rd when Mick pulled over - his gear shifter had snapped off!
It looked like a little crack had been there and it had worsened as he'd ridden it until it just broke off. It didn't take long for Mick to organise the rescue team - the car with the trailer was summoned to take the crippled Daytona back for repairs.
Waz told me he's putting together a calendar for the RAT rides and we should let him know of any specific events that are planned.

There's a ride on Sunday 10th January 2010 with the Triumph Riders of Victoria - leaving Texas in Mercer St @ 9am. Sounds like its going to be a good ride & plenty of interest.
So, Happy New Year and safe riding in 2010.