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First Big Trip, Canberra to Melbourne and back.

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by HotelWhisky, May 1, 2015.

  1. Hey Guys,

    I am fairly new to the scene, but have been hitting the road pretty hard over the last few weeks. I have been getting out on the roads every chance I get and have done more than 1500 km in the last two weeks. I have been enjoying doing nice long rides (including 400km in one day) to nowhere in particular just around Canberra.

    I have to be in Melbourne at the end of this month for a family event and I have plenty of time off of work around it. I was thinking of riding the coast roads down and back and staying a night in Lakes Entrance or similar on my way there and back. I was hoping for some advice as to good roads down that way that I could explore (maybe even by staying two nights somewhere and having a day of cruising around?).

    I am also concerned about the fact that I haven't done a big ride like this before and may well be hugely underestimating what a challenge it might be, especially considering that I ride a CBR500R which is not exactly designed for touring. I would be planning on taking just my tankbag and a backpack as I will only be in Melbourne for like 2 nights.

    Would love some advice re: touring in general, roads through that area, things I might need to look out for etc.

    • Like Like x 3
  2. I'm coming from a similar position and just did a 1600k round trip on a CB400, what I can say is make plenty of stops, even if it's just 5 minutes, made a huge difference for me.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. There's been a few 'places to ride in Vic' or where to ride between Melb and Sydney threads. Try using the search function.
    Where are you staying ? That might make a few more of an option or not.
    Also, do you have any particular interests that you want to combine ? It might get you some nice destinations rather than just picking roads.
  4. I'll have another look.

    I would plan to make the first day a bit of a ride around Cooma, maybe Canberra-Cooma-Jindy-Bombala-Merimbula and stay in merimbula (I have family there). Then day two Merimbula to somewhere in Vic (I have heard good things about Orbost). Then day three through to the Monington Peninsula.

    My interests at the moment are seeing the roads and the country and enjoy my Motorcycle. It's more about avoiding driving down the Hume for 9 hrs in the Car and trying to enjoy the journey a bit more.

  5. Here are my tips from my own experiences doing long days (~700 km) on my Ninja 300: firstly, frequent stops to stretch the legs, drink water & so on. Stop early if you need to -- better to cut short your planned ride for that day than push on tired and risk an accident. With multi-day rides, don't be surprised if you can't do the same distance on day 3 as you did on day 1 due to accumulated fatigue.

    Other things that may be of use are a set of earplugs to deaden the wind noise (amazing how fatiguing this is), warm clothes that you can layer and sunscreen for your wrists and back of neck. I'd suggest you avoid wearing the backpack if you can, even if you just strap it to the pillion seat.

    Finally, if you're doing 5-600 km in a day, don't forget to look after the bike -- check the tyre pressures in the morning, do the chain at night if you need to.

    Above all, don't forget to have fun & let us know how it goes!
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Good on you for wanting to do this. Good advice above on stopping for a stretch and walk around frequently. If you are looking at previous suggestions for this route at this stage of the season and at your level of experience I would stay off the Alpine roads. At this time of year you can get weather changes that will bring snow or hail on those routes. The coastal one or the Monaro Hwy through Bombala and Cann River are probably good choices.

    You say you will be on the Peninsula when you arrive so for a day trip, across on the ferry at Sorrento to Queenscliff then down the Great Ocean Road is a good fairly easy run.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. I did my first long trip last October, and am recently back from another (about 4000km round trip). It wasn't as daunting in practice as I thought beforehand - actually was great fun. The only substantial difference from day trips is the potential for cumulative fatigue. So manage that with plenty of breaks (keep a supply of snacks for something to do when stopped if you're not a smoker), use earplugs, don't ride for longer in any one day than you're used to, and do whatever it takes to get good nights' sleeps.

    If your only city riding has been in Canberra I'd suggest timing your last days ride to be not too long (don't arrive tired) and try not to get there in rush hour. I found Melbourne traffic initially a bit confronting on the bike.

    Good on you for doing it. There's no better way to get around our marvellous country.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. CrisCris makes some excellent points. If you are going to the Pennisula however you may be able to avoid Melbourne by taking the South Gippsland Hwy and then around Westerenport bay onto the Easteren side of the Pennisula.

    The South Gippsland is much more interesting than the Prices Hwy (M1)
  9. Did this journey but backwards, last Christmas (Mlb – Adl – Mlb) and I was in the car.

    If you want to see sights and not just rush down a highway then take the coastal route. It’s nice and twisty with great views but comes with tourist drivers and lower speed limits. However, I think this is a bonus and would prove easy, relaxed riding on a bike (good choice on the CBR too). Stop off and see Robe, Mt. Gambier, Apollo Bay and Lorne along the way. I’d suggest you stretch this journey out over two-three days.

    When we came home we took the A8 National Highway and completed the journey in a day. It was horrible, it felt like a constant sh*t fight. Stupid cagers who were dangerously bad at everything, especially overtaking.

    Hope this helps.
  10. Since he is coming from Canberra he is unlikely to be coming via Mt Gambier. ;) But I do agree if you are going to Adelaide the coastal run is the better run.
  11. Oops, damn it.

    OP - disregard my previous comments, enjoy Melbourne and watch out for the concrete road surface where tram tracks are laid - its like ice when wet.
  12. Another option would be via Braidwood, Batemans Bay, then take the coastal road from Bermi to Tathra and onto Merimbula.

    Google Maps linky

    There's a lot of Princes Hwy in this route, but most of it is very scenic. Bloody good Fish & Chips at Tuross Head boat shed and at Bermagui Fisherman's wharf. The Bermi to Tathra road is a hoot!
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. I ride a CBR500R, and have done plenty of touring, with 500-600kms per day. Butt gets sore, but it can be done :) Just got back from a Sydney -> Jindabyne ride which was almost 2400kms over 4 days :) Super reliable bikes and cheap as chips on fuel.

    As has been mentioned, take a break every so often ;)
  14. Mate if you're down here on a Saturday try and join one of Uncle GregUncle Greg 's rides. Great way to discover some of Melbournes outer eastern gems.
  15. I agree. Don't try to carry your luggage on your back. It will tire you and is dangerous if you stack it. There are a lot of good options of soft affordable waterproof luggage that can strap to your pilion seat. Make sure that it is secure, and nothing including straps can touch rear wheel or exhaust. Waterproof gear is a must and if you are going to carry outer rain gear, pack it at the top of your luggage so that it is easily accessible on the road. A spare pair of gloves is also a good idea.
    I carry a small pressure pack of motorex chain lube. It is refillable from the larger size can.
    Consider how you clean your visor. You can do it at servos when you fill up and at the end of the day at your hotel. I take a tiny spray bottle of water with a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid and a couple of clean handkerchiefs, so I can clean the visor if needed on the side of the road.
    Regarding your route. I just came home yesterday from a lovely couple of days down the snowy mountains. If you like the twisty mountain roads to explore some of the best are in that region. The road from Jindabyne through Thredbo to Khancoban is great. As is the Omeo hwy. These are weather permitting roads and do get snow and ice. Threbo to Khancoban is closed in winter time. You could consider going though Wee Jasper, Tumut ,Cabramurra , Khancoban , it has about 40 km of good condition dirt roads. I think there is a more direct route through the Brindabellas to Tumut. I think this also has dirt. All of these routes have tight narrow twisty sections with no centre lines. They go through remote isolated areas and I would not recommend attempting them alone. Nor would I go without looking carefully at up to date weather and road conditions. They are however spectacular. Alternatively the Bonang hwy gets great reviews but it also has some dirt. I have not riden it yet but is next on my list. The Princes hwy from Lakes entrance to Melbourne is straight and boring.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Re cleaning your visor: I have a small plastic urine sample jar I got from somewhere (unused!) It's just the right size to stuff a wet chux superwipe thingy in. You get a few uses out of it before it needs rinsing and a surprisingly high number of uses before it needs chucking.
  17. I keep a small microfibre cloth in my jacket pocket with the zip undone just enough so I can get it out without taking gloves off.
  18. Hey Everyone,

    Thanks for all the advice, I have a lot to take on board.

    Thanks for the tip about strapping my bag to the back. The more I think about it the more I think that would be a good idea. I could take in on my back but it will just Fatigue me more. And I will have to look into earplugs, thinking of getting a bluetooth piece for my helmet as well for GPS when I am closer to Melbourne and Music for long stretches.

    I am definitely planning on breaking it up into smaller chunks, its 900km, so I could technically do it in a day but I am going to aim for more 500-600km days to reduce fatigue.

    I am thinking I might follow cjvfrcjvfr 's suggestion and go south through Westernport Bay, then into Merimbula, so I will avoid most of the hectic traffic.

    Definitely looks like a good idea, although it will stretch out my last day a bit, I'll plan to but have a contingency.

    I'll do my best but my family event is on Saturday so I don't like the chances of getting away.

    I have waterproof layers to my DriRider gear, but that means letting the outer layers get soaked, I was thinking I might buy some outer rainproof gear to prevent that happening. I will ensure I take something along with me so I can clean my visor when I stop, and use some De-Fogging agent regularly.

    I have a Scott-Oiler (an automatic lube dispenser) that lubes my chain (phrasing!) on the run. Would you suggest I still take something like your small dispenser?

    Re: my route, I will be on my own, and this is my first big trip, so I think I will stick to bigger roads (down the coast route I think). That said, I cant wait to run through some of the alpine roads next summer when I can rely on the weather to co-operate.

    Thanks for all the help guys! Please keep the tips coming and I will use it all in my planning. Ill be sure to update after the trip with some news.
  19. HotelWhiskyHotelWhisky if you still wanted to use a backpack you could get something like the Kriega R30.

    They're $250 though, so you would need to use it a bit to make the purchase price worth while.

    This is a riding backpack that places the weight onto your chest and not your back like a normal backpack. It's also waterproof which could help should the weather turn bad.

  20. If you're using a backpack then you'll need to pack light. If it has to be a backpack, then Kriega would be my choice also. I've had mine for 4 years and it's still going well.

    On the other hand, the Kriega tail packs are a better option. I have the US10 and US20 combination : http://www.kriega.com.au/tail-packs/us-combo-30-tailpack-us20-us10.html

    Think about bringing basic tools with you and a tyre repair kit. A few spanners that suit the bike, allen key set, cable ties, multi tool (a leatherman), metal knead (very useful in repairing broken levers), tape, etc.

    Road side assist. I have the RACV Total Care.
    Ambulance Cover. Make sure it's up to date.
    Tell people when to expect you. Send them a text regularly (during your stops).

    By the way, to clean my visor and helmet, I cut a piece off my car chamois. I keep it in a re-sealable plastic bag (the coin bag from the bank). It stays moist, re-usable, easy to clean under a running tap - got the idea from BENNY THE JETBENNY THE JET , after a million bugs hits your visor you'll appreciate the simplicity of this method.

    At this time of the year, I'd be considering heated grips and a good pair of gortex gloves.

    Bring a power pack for your phone, bluetooth headset - give them a charge during your lunch break.

    Plan your arrival time; so that you're not riding when animals are more active and so that you're not arriving in Melbourne during peak hour traffic.