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My first 600km ride

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Ljiljan, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. this http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sou...91017,150.210571&spn=1.422444,2.90863&t=h&z=9

    When I get to sleep late, and the alarm on my phone goes off stupidly early, I get confused. I have thought my alarm was doing many things in the past, and have tried to do many things with my phone and without exception, end up going back to bed. That is what happened this morning when my alarm rang at 5:30 telling me to get up. I'm not sure what sort of foreign object I thought my phone was, but regardless, I ended up back in bed. And then it goes off five minutes later. This time I remembered why my alarm was going off, but I decided a could have another five minutes anyway. I've had many many another five minutes over the past years, I treasure them greatly.

    That being so, I was out of the house a bit after 6, filled up at the local and then lanesplit myself silly trying to get to the roadhouse at Eastern Creek by 7. Which I did, and treated myself to a sausage and egg muff. There I met up with Sunite and together we doddled off to richmond along Castlereagh road, stuck behind a garbage truck. I suppose it could've been worse.

    Bells line of Road. It's a bit funny how sometimes, because the weather will be fine at one location, you assume it will be fine everywhere else, and will be fine instantly. Well that is pretty far removed from reality. However, someone never mentioned it to mountains that during the hottest months of the year, it is right that it should be the hottest months of the year. I know that technically we are in autumn, but that's like saying technically I'm a quarter french and a quarter albino. It's never changed the fact that I can't stand the "culture" and that all french people have herpes, or that in summer I tan like a dead cow. But apparently, technicalities are all that is necessary for the mountains to decide that they're gonna give these poor bastards frostbite. It was pretty cold. I honestly think anyone that does Bells at the speed limit is a masochist. There is not much joy to be gained from doing so as the corners are altogether too long, and the surface was the by product of Satan's own spawn. It's a punishing ride that's for certain, and in the early stages of a trip like this, one bump here counts as 20 in 10 hours time. The road was also damp, but that wasn't much of an issue, just took it a bit easier.

    I don't know why the sign outside the funeral home in Lithgow tells you the temperature, but it does and it did. 11 degrees, much to cold. Into maccas to warm up to a hot chocolate and a prayer session for the sun to come out. And off we went to Ilford.

    According to moomajoo (sp?), a new contributer to netrider, the road from Lithgow to Ilford is full or great twisties. Well, it's not full and they're not great, but there are some and they are ok. It broke up the monotony of what was essentially a transport stage. The scenery was pretty cool in places though - huge cooling towers of power stations belching steam set the background, while giant meccano cubes housed turbines in the foreground. No, seriously, the widest canyon in the world was impressive, as was the single rail track that crossed the road about ten times.

    Unfortunately these bends are part of a relatively quiet highway, but by some miracle the road was actually quite smooth. One Holden statesman decided to make a nuisance of himself in a long long long downhill right hander and made me frown slightly. Lets say I was doing the speed limit and he was going much slower. The corner had great vision was completely empty up ahead and I had a quick flick around him planned. As I approached, statesman had other ideas and slowly dawdled into the middle of the road. This put me in quite the conundrum as my projected line was now between his number plate and right blinker, so I changed my tack to go around the outside of him. Either he saw that I was trying to overtake much to late and wanted to help, or just got bored of the middle of the road, right about the time I was level with his bumper he decided to meander back to his rightful position on the road. This also annoyed me, but I was already commited and through before he had any clue of what was unfolding. No need to fear, there was still sizeable room to spare by the time I was passed. We kept going on our merry way.

    I feel I should not be hypocritical here. In no uncertain terms was what the driver did in any way dangerous. Completely open vision and no other traffic at all, it was just unnecessary and I had to compensate for it.

    We headed off towards Bathurst via Sofala in search of windy goodness. I hate that wind can be pronounced as wind or wind, but when spelt always looks like wind. When I say windy, I say it as in the second instance. It was decent, mainly 75's and 85's with the occasional 45 thrown in, which I really struggled to get the hang of, I find it hard to transition between tighter and sweeping corners. By now the sun was out, and we were quite warm and cheerful, looking forward to the treats ahead. I ride a bike that suits particularly aggressive cornering, unfortunately, 75's and 85's and not particularly aggressive corners, but I made do with the means available to me. Lets be honest, the surface was pathetic, and it got steadily worse the closer we got to bathurst, which is somewhat counter-intuitive. Anyway, a quick note on my bike. An earthquake wouldn't shake this thing off line. It plants itself and doesn't move. In what was probably a foolish move, I decided to test it. Up came a slightly downhill 85 left hander that just kept on going forever. Tipped in at 140 and opened the tap. ... 150 ... 160 upshift... 170, really starting to lean now... and exit. The whole time the bike going babababbabababababa bouncing over the rutted surface. It is quite an impressive little toy really. It was about 70 km from Ilford to Bathurst, but the whole escapade took us less than half an hour. Then popped into Jack Duggans for lunch.

  2. Was spewing i couldn't get out to this ride, but did think the night before if i had of been able to go it was going to be a cold morning
  3. Same, I actually ended up taking a day off anyway, too drunk though so wouldnt have been able to ride anything much less a bike. Instead, I went to the Shire and bought an Aprilia lol. Next mountain ride im there.
  4. what??!?!?

  5. What an epic ride. Out of your whole route which bit of tarmac was your most favourite? maybe some forum members will find it interesting and explore.
  6. nice ride report, looking forward to the rest

    as to the adhesion of the VFR, I can attest to its grippiness on sections of the Putty (y)
  7. Ok, so I've got three tests this week that I'm not ready for and I don't know what days they are on so I figure right now is the perfect time to finish this.

    As I mentioned, we popped into Jack Duggans for lunch. We got there about 11, and the kitchen didn't open for a while so executive decision was made and it was Carlton and sun out the back. I've heard a few rumours about the meals here and wanted to see for myself. I had a pumpkin and mushroom bruschetta and sunite had salt and pepper squid. The squid turned out to be plain old calamari strips which was a bit of a let down until you tried them, they had the most marvellous seasoning, a flavour I've never associated with squid before. The bruschetta was the best tasting lunch I have ever eaten. Bar none. Simply tantalising. By this stage we've both had two beers and whether it be the sun or what knows, we were both feeling a bit wobbly. Went looking for a jukebox to crank some U2 or cranberries for a bit - it's an irish pub after all - but there wasn't one. I felt betrayed. There were some hilarious posters too, the kind that would now be banned thanks to the inquisition.

    Picked up fuel and headed uphill for some obligatory trips around the mountain. I really did not enjoy Mt Panorama on the bike. Its as though you are insulting the gods of racing by trundling around it at 60. I feared the wrath of the gods so I did my best not to insult them. It was still a shame, Griffiths was begging to be launched into at another 80k's again and between the camber and ripple strip knee down would be no hard task at all. My other favourite corner was the right angle in the chase, though it was also asking to be flogged. On the other hand, the dipper was something else, coming through the esses and watching the ground disappear does all sorts of things to the head and I couldn't get it into my mind to lean it over and punish the thing as the bike begged to have done. After three laps I was positively sick of the place, so we went down the road to get a coke and sunite showed me his old school. Back for one last lap and then on to O'Connell Rd.

    O'Connell's is more of the same, but a bit straighter with longer bends. The surface is even worse than what has gone before, but I knew to expect that having just driven it a week of two before. But that was ok because I knew what was coming up in a few k's. Or did I? Hang on, thats a roadwork sign. Theres another. Slowing down now. There's a queue of cars. Oh no. Jumped to the front of the queue. No dice. A car coming the other direction does a u-turn in front of us. On the roof it says escort vehicle. :furious::furious::furious: What we missed was a short technical section cut into a mountain. Wide open medium 180 degree corners going up the hill, perfect surface (for once) and with lots of room. Room enough to have semi's going around easily without encroaching on other traffic. The trip from there to Oberon was uneventful.

    I was apprehensive about this road, having ridden it before I knew it was not a fun one. We rode on. The further we went from Oberon, the worse the road became and accompanied it was spatterings of gravel and dirt. I think half the gravel was old bits of the road itself. Slowing down now. Sign saying beware of horses. Oh just great. Then the lane reduces to half width, the other half was covered in dirt. Still we pushed on. Slow. And there it is, the descent. What lay ahead could be described as the road to heaven, which John Bunyan describes in detail in on occasion (no he hasn't been there, he wrote an epic called The Pligrim's Progress) but sadly the road doesnt go to heaven, rather it goes down. It is truly abominable, a mixture of ruts potholes and corrugations. The road is slowly going back to the environment, the edges are crumbling away, plants leaning onto the road, gravel and dirt everywhere, parituclarly around the hairpin corners. The road has more patches than it does original tarmac (and tarmac is probably the right word, rather than bitumen) and it pretty much combines all the things that make a riders worst nightmare (other than riding from Melbourne to Cairns along the main roads). It wasn't fun, ok?

    Having a rest at Jenolan, we decided to go have a look at some caves. Last time I looked at caves here I was about 10 and you could just walk into some of the smaller caves and have a look around. Not anymore, they all locked away. Back to the road it was. I was looking forward to this bit. It's possibly the most technically challenging road I've ridden, good fun. For the people that don't know it, the road weaves around a cliff face. And by cliff face I mean a real this-is-bloody-steep cliff. The road is one lane apart from when it is completely blind - it's not really a separate lane all it does is give the tour busses room to make the corner. Last time I rode it, a two week old gsxr 750 came to grief and nearly rode off the edge. Luckily for him, the bike was caught and saved from a couple hundred metre fall by a foot high fence made of chicken wire meshing. (clicky). I was trying to work into my rythym after the horrors that had gone before but it dawned on me that I truly had insulted the gods of racing by my trundling around the sacred mountain. Their wrath was just. A minibus playing hero was the first bane. The second was a tour bus. this one wasn't a hero but I still only had three feet of room to get past him. That was enough to put a damper on that section. Out into the sweepers, the gods still hadn't exacted their retribution in full. Mid corner at, oh, an appropriate speed I hit a huge hole that sent me well out of the seat. I had become so trusting in the bikes abilities to hold the line I wasn't really paying attention to what was there. I swear the rear came off the ground and the only thing stopping the bike and me from becoming scenery was the bike still holding to its line as sure as ever. Not even getting air bothered it, this bike is truly amazing (if you're reading this, you should buy it).

    From then on, I stuck to the middle of the lane and avoided every bump I could. It turned every corner into about 3 or 4, and made the road very interesting to say the least. Some people criticise the VFR for not being able to change lines mid-corner. I say they left their penis at home when they tried. It changes without hesitation. But still there was more. Ahead of me right before my tip in point was a three metre discolouration. Oh yay, someone's left me a gravel trap to play in. No time to avoid, here goes. Front tyre felt like it slid the whole way. It might have moved laterally be 5 cm, but felt a lot more. By now I was getting towards my wits end and freaking out. I'd had it with this road, just wanted it to end. SR's were playing havoc with me. I could keep up my pace in the sweepers without to much trouble, because I wasn't pushing it to start with but for the occasional tighter stuff I had to slow right down and wasn't doing a whole lot more than the posted advisory. Finally we reached the highway.

    Had a chat to a lollipop bloke at roadworks in Hartley, blasted up Mt Vic, kept a lookout for the standard hwp around mt vic and medlow bath and into Katoomba. We were buggered and ready to sleep. Then I had a brainwave and remembered it was tightass tuesday at dominoes. Unfortunately my fazzled state left me with no idea where dominoes was other than it was somewhere on the main drag and on the hill somewhere, which didnt really help because the whole main drag is on the hill. Finally we resorted to asking. What do you know, it's three shops down. Mmm, supreme. Had a brief chat about Katoomba being a very gothic town and that back in the day it had the highest population of witches (yes, witches) in Australia, either per captia or absolutely can't remember which, and that there are still echoes of it lying around in the back corners of shops here and there.

    Push on. As we get to wentworth falls, misfire. hmm reserve. Looked at the sky and, oh joy, there is a thick black storm front rolling in fast. Riding through Bulburra we start to get pelted with big rain drops, but it was only just starting and hadn't properly opened up just yet. As I said, it was rolling in fast, so fast in fact that it just sailed right by and didn't bother us again. Filled up at Lawson and kept going down the hill, out onto the m4. Waved our goodbyes at the interchange and went our separate ways. Get onto heathcote road and find that some useless fat moron has decided that this country road that is straight for 5 km and has a 100 km/h speed limit needed to get changed to double lines from single and broken. In front was a learner rider doing 80 and I was about 20 cars back. I had now left home 12 hours ago and now that I was 15 minutes away I couldn't care less anymore. Overtook the lot in one go throttle to stop, riding down the middle of the road straddling the lines and splitting if necessary. I'm sure many tales of the maniac on the yellow bike were told to uncaring husbands or sympathetic wives that evening. Three other drivers also decided that they had more sense and ability than the fat wanker gave them credit for and they overtook the rider as well.

    That brings me to the end of this tale.
  8. At Jack Duggans



    same as above, but results of slight intoxication


    ugly mofo

    the remains of the best lunch ever

  9. In all honesty my favourite was the one we didn't do. Duckmaloi Rd. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sou...209,149.963894&spn=0.088693,0.181789&t=h&z=13

    It's pretty much identical to all the other roads, except it is smmmmooooooovvvvveee, soooo smooooth. It got resealed a year or two ago or something. It's great.

    Otherwise, probably the Ilford-Sofala-Bathurst run. The road from Jenolan would have taken it if things on that road went smoothly, but I was just to scarred. Sunite on the other hand loved that road. So much in fact that he had me back in sight almost for the whole way except the tight stuff at the start.
  10. you have quite the flair for words, sir
  11. yeah nice write up. ill check those locations out hopefully this weekend, got me really interested.
  12. hehe, thanks. hope you enjoyed it.