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Melbourne to Canberra on a VTR250. :)

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by Spots, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. Well, that's my bit of insane adventure over (for now).

    Decided during the christmas holidays, cooped up at my parents' place, that it'd be sucky if I spent my week off from work cooped up at my parents' place the whole time.

    The plan: I'd ride to Canberra to visit some friends for two days, and ride back New Years Day! And I even tricked Rob (Canberra friend) into riding his "new" Slingshot 500 to Holbrook to escort me back into Canberra, since he's been begging to go for a crazy ride.

    I planned to stop at Wangaratta (280km) for fuel, then Holbrook (137km) for fuel, dinner with Rob and a proper legstretch, and then Rob and I'd do the final 280km leg to his place together.

    The execution:
    Friday 29 December, I woke up at 6am in Morrisett and jumped on the 7am train to the airport. Touched down in Melbourne at 1:30pm, jumped in the MR2 and drove home, repacked my bags, changed into armour, grabbed my MP3 player and isolator earphones, filled the VTR250 and got going, with a scheduled arrival time in Canberra at 10:30-11pm. :)

    What the hell was I thinking?! ;)

    Melbourne to Wangaratta wasn't too bad. Temperature was pleasant, and plenty of other motorcyclists about to wave and nod to. The scenery around the Hume's nice enough, too. :) The fillup near Wangaratta was well appreciated, though - At 6'4, even the relatively-big-for-a-250 VTR is cramped and my legs were aching after 3 hours of riding. Stopped just long enough for fuel - not long enough to properly stretch my legs.

    Wangaratta to Holbrook was worse. By the time I rolled into Holbrook, I couldn't find a single spot on my bike's seat that was comfortable. Riding off-kilter with the bike on a lean, sitting on the pillion seat, nothing worked. Argh. Thank god for the Holbrook leg only being 130km.

    Rolled into the park beside Holbrook and pulled up at the submarine-equipped park - with no Rob in sight. Checking my phone, my relief at reaching Holbrook was washed away by a message he'd left, saying he's having engine problems some 40km out of Holbrook... Sounded like a kickstand switch problem to me, but no attempts to phone him went answered. Maybe he'd fixed it and forgot to message me?

    I decided I'd stall a bit by filling up the bike and stretching my legs a little. 20 minutes passed, still no Rob and still couldn't reach him on the phone... My arrival time in Canberra was sliding back even further. I gave Rob one last call, then left an SMS and saddled up thinking I'd try to close the gap between him and me.

    As luck would have it, as I was just about to ease the clutch on my VTR and accelerate onto the Hume, a black naked 500 started to pull into the station... Spidey-senses tingled for a moment, I pulled the clutch back in, and here's Rob right beside me, looking just as relieved and elated as I must have been. :)

    We exchanged stories over a lazy dinner, taking proper time to rest up, filled Rob's bike and saddled up.

    Holbrook to... Adventure!(tm):
    Riding with Rob alongside me was carefree and easy. Wangaratta to Holbrook had been a lonely deathmarch, verging on exhaustion. With Rob to gesture and wave to, to chase and be chased by, I never really got tired - though I was standing up on the pegs every few minutes to stretch my legs and arms a bit.

    Rob once again managed to out-do me in the "adventure" stakes by suddenly pulling over about 12 kilometres from the Yass turnoff. His engine had died again, and this time it wasn't the kickstand switch. Got it started again, we made it another kilometre or two, then it died again. Started again, another kilometre, dead. Rob's out of fuel. He'd never really rode his 'new' bike long distance to find out how far a tank can take him, and more to the point accidentally had the fuel selector on PRIme rather than ON, thus giving him no 'reserve' warning when he was getting low. Lessons learned. :)

    Managed to get a jerry can from Yass, and we were on our way again, about 30-40 minutes further delayed.

    Arrived at his place at 12:30am, bringing an end to a rather long day...

    (Return trip below)
  2. Ah memories, 1985 and riding a Kawasaki KH-250 two stroke triple from Melbourne to Canberra and back .... I must have been crazy, although the only thing that went wrong was the countershaft sprocket coming loose near Albury. Bike toolkit plus a roadside rock to belt the lock-washer into submission saw me on the road again in 20 minutes....

    But anyone who isn't riding a big cruiser or touring bike, and takes the Hume, is either a masochist, or crazy :LOL:.
  3. The return trip, on New Year's Day, Jan 1st 2007, wasn't quite so fun.

    It was hotter, windier, I was exhausted, and really not in any condition to ride.

    By Albury I felt like I was dead. My right hand was numb from vibration, seemingly-permanently curled into a handlebar grip, I was badly dehydrated, and I could barely muster the strength to countersteer forcefully or stand up on the pegs to stretch my legs - something I'd had no difficulty doing on the ride to Canberra. So instead I stayed mostly planted to the seat, stopping every 150km for fuel and food and water.

    An absolute deathmarch.

    Two days on I'm still feeling it - My hand is still a little numb and tingly, I suspect minor nerve damage, and my chest and head are still a little sore too. I should have drank more water before the trip home, should probably have left on the Tuesday instead of the Monday (and taken the day off yesterday).

    Still... It wouldn't be an adventure without insanity and things going wrong. And along with my daily 3 hours in the seat, commuting to work and back, crazy long rides like this help me work out what sort of bike I really want to get when it's time to be derestricted in October this year. :)
  4. So I've discovered! It's a sports-tourer of some kind for me, come October. A VFR800, GSX750F or a Triumph Tiger, methinks. The Blackbird is tempting too, at least from the 'comfort' angle. If they made a 600cc "babybird" with the same attention to comfort and a more sane amount of power, I'd be happier. But I guess that's what the VFR800 is for, right?
  5. mate u done well, first tackling the hume isnt really any bike riders idea of fun, especially not on a 250, cops and endless straight roads r a dampener on any ride plus all the fixed speed cameras these days, we rode from canberra 2 kyogle (45min short of the qld border) in septmeber, we took all the back raods except for the first stretch between canbeera and syd where we went up the hume, then we made our way in land thru penrith 2 windsor and up the putty road stopping in tamworth coz we were in no real hurry, mind u was bucketing down between mucslwellbrooke and there, checked out the powerhouse motorcycle museum there next day up 2 tenterfeild, next day the last 150km's thru some of the nicest hills i have ever riden.

    anyway if u ever plan a trip up 2 qld and back may i suggest the putty road, then continue up 2 tenterfeild mind u will get rather cold, from tenterfeild across 2 casino then on the way back try thunderbolts way from gloucester...