Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's been a while...

Well I can't believe it's so long since I wrote an update! This time last year I was preparing to head north to Brisbane for 6 months to warmer days and a sunny winter but this past week in Melbourne has felt just as tropical with record temperatures over 30c - the longest spell of hot weather in history.

Not much has been happening on the motorcycle front - a few short rides but nothing spectacular.
One thing I did do was setup the suspension on the Speed Triple and it made an amazing difference. The factory settings were all over the place with the back rebound adjustment set to 1/4 turn when it should have been 2 by default - no wonder I felt like I'd been kicked in the nuts after a days riding!!
I measured the static sag and the pre-loads didn't need any adjustment but the damper rebound and compression were all out on front and rear. I set them all to 2 turns and it made an incredible difference - much smoother on the goat tracks they call roads and with the softer rear end the monos are on tap!

Streety 675 isn't doing much these days and I think it's time for someone else to have some fun on it - it'll be on bikesales soon so if you know anyone wants one let me know. It's barely done 10k kms and has all the extra accessories.
I'm planning for another European to take it's place in the garage - maybe one from the land of Chianti, Agostini and Tiramisu.

It's always hard selling bikes that have been fun to ride and have never let you down - it's like saying goodbye to an old friend. But, the garage just isn't big enough...

Sadly we did say goodbye to an old friend a couple of weeks ago with Beau our oldest cat & mate saying goodbye to us after 17 years - he's off with his brother Casper now but they're both with us still in so many ways. It was a tough few weeks and now that we've got no furry kids to look after we decided it was time to do some travelling.
First, it's the trip of a lifetime - the Isle of Man TT races 2014 accompanied by our good friends Pete & Leone.
The accommodation's booked and now it's just a matter of getting flights organised. I can't wait to feel the rush when those bikes tear past doing 200mph while we sit on a dry stone wall by the side of the road - almost close enough to smell the sweat from their armpits!

I spoke to Paul, one of the guesthouse owners in Douglas & he told me about a bloke from Melbourne who took his Vincent over there last year and won a cup for the bast vintage bike. His first question was "Are you bringing you bikes?" When I told him we weren't he said it'll be the biggest regret of the trip as it's awesome riding around the island on the crazy Sunday when there's no speed limits. He said the atmosphere is fantastic - we can't wait.
We'll be on the corner at Creg Ny Baa for some of the racing as our accommodation is out that way.
To make sure we get the planning right we organised a catch up at the halfway mark between Adelaide & Melbourne with Pete & Leone - so Mt Gambier became the agreed meeting place to have the official Euro 2014 planning workshop. It was a great week-end (except for a speeding fine) and we've got a good idea now of the trip next year & the girls are happy - I think... If you're ever in Mt Gambier the Indian and Thai restaurants are definitely worth a visit but watch out for the manager in the Indian place with the name badge complete with photo - he doesn't like people hanging around after they're eaten!!
Closer to home, I did an early morning ride to Forrest and found a great little place for breakfast. It's a micro-brewery that makes cider and beer but also has a great little cafe. I recognised the girl there from our early days at the Martians in Deans Marsh.
To be honest, I called in at Martians one Saturday and it felt like it had gone downhill a bit - the service wasn't great and the coffee isn't what it used to be. The usual girl and her partner weren't there so I'm not sure if it's been sold.
Anyway, the little place at Forrest was doing a roaring trade with all the mountain bikers up there doing the track rides.
The coffee is roasted locally and the breakie was amazing - it's a good ride too, just a little past Deans Marsh.
I had a blast from the past a couple of months ago when I bumped into Daytona Dave in Mitre 10. He's still into scooters and has completed a few big rides. He's even customised his own scooter chopper complete with extended front forks & ape hangers - apparently it's the rage in the UK.
I think he'll be on a sports bike again one day though - he was telling me that Glen still has the 1098 and Ben just swapped the 1098 for a BMW1000RR - an amazing piece of kit aparently.

As for scooters, I heard the rattle of a two stroke coming through my gate and it was Russell across the road on his newly restored Vespa complete with side-car. It's a tiny little thing & he looked odd with his   6 foot + frame sitting on it. I gave it a bit of a burn around the driveway & the sidecar took some getting used to - I nearly ripped it off on the wall by forgetting it was there a few time - close!
Next ride for me is definitely going to be a road trip somewhere - Swifty that used to ride a Speed3 now rides a Harley Street Bob and send me a video link of his trip with mates to a place in the middle of nowhere called Ivanhoe - it's a great piece of footage and worth a look - Burn Ranga Burn.
Then Terry, the project manager I'm working with rode to Brisbane & back on his new Ducati Multistrada - what a trip. He rode all the way back down the coast & over the alps - maybe I'll do it with him this year.
So, till next time (hopefully sooner than 6 mths) ride safely...

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