I have decided to write up my riding experience in Melbourne ending early last week of last month. Kinda wraps up a few topics so I hope Geneal discussion is the right place for it. I had a great experience hiring a motorcycle for four of my seven days down there and also got an impression of Melbourne being a great place to be a rider. This is also me remembering what it was like to ride a different kind of bike for the first time. For other noobs with enough credit - Hiring a bike is a cool way to try out a different kind of bike. This is the perspective of a new rider from Brisbane (3 months) presently riding a Suzuki DRZ400SM (totally great urban bike for a new rider). I was in Melbourne for little break, sharing an apartment with some friends for a week. I knew a bit of the place already from pervious visits but this time around I wouldn't be seeing a femme, alas. Anyway I was loving the cooler weather and looking for trouble when I chanced upon Garners bike hire on my way to the city. We were in in North Melbourne so it was just around the corner. Bike hire Woot! BUT yeah settle down tiger and look at the prices. Okay I don't 'really' need a bike ... so next day I'm back at Garners handing over my credit card (bike withdrawl kicked in bad overnight) and I have just enough credit to cover the deposit and terms for a three day hire of a Yamaha 600 Fazer. I had never ridden an inline four so it was gonna be so sweet. Advice received: 'You should check out the Great Ocean Road with your unlimited kilometers, head towards Geelong, keep going, don't speed on the freeway cause of cameras, have fun.' OK I might check it out tommorrow if I have time. The jacket, gloves and helmet I got with the bike were as good as my own at home. The jacket was actually a 'lot' better than mine. Sitting out in front of Garners on the Fazer I lol'd ... where are the bars (they were lot skinnier than what I was used to). I was a little nervous about riding a different bike in unfamiliar territory, but I crept off around the corner and then zoomed up the road with a lot more confidence feeling the wacky (bit clunky) first and second gear changes but digging 'big time' the whiney but smoother engine. Big grin ... all of a sudden plans have changed ... cause I have to check out that ocean road thing. Its a different kind of acceleration on this bike ... not faster than mine up to 80kph but easier and thats a pretty cool feeling. Not really needing anything more than two gears in the city or even the freeway for the most part ... also interesting. Turning also nice (understatement) ... totally different. It's pretty windy on the freeway and I am lol'ing pretty hard each time I get pushed around the lane, but I am thinking this might get old after a while. Woah thats a smelly bit of coutnryside right there ... Geelong soon. Having to watch the limit because of cameras (I have no idea where they are) is hard. Finding it hard to get comfy keep moving round trying to find a good postion. Then the fuzziness leaves my head and I just curl into a position on the bike with my legs tucked right up and drop my chin towards the tank and its almost perfect (a tank bag would be good for snooze is what I'm thinking a bit later). I twist the throttle ... wicked. I really need and I mean 'need' a bike like this I pass Geelong ... and then it starts getting cold. WTF ... summer. The sky looks a little bit dodgy ... clouds like that might bring rain ...dunno keep riding. Bells Beach and other towns and stuff go past ... some of em I ride down to view the water ... beautiful stuff. I alternate between foolhardy (considering my experience) and safer riding ... digging it bigtime ... wish I had some mates along. Lotta cruisers on the road too most coming the other way. Clouds keep drawing my attention and also wonder what time it gets dark round here. Gets to a point where I reluctantly turn round and head back. Busier freeway on the way back for sure but I felt safe enough. Man is that a nice view of Melbs from that bridge as the sun sets. No tolls for motorbikes ... do Melbourne riders get how cool that is. Next day I'm basically using the same bike for commuting round, visiting a few people and checking out the city. It's cool parking wherever you want wihout paying for parking ... I mean way cool. Never seen so many bikes parked out in the open. Splitting in traffic without checking for the red and blue awesome. Motorcyclists get the perks in Melbs for sure. The Fazer has been a great ride and its been a fun two days using it to get around. Filtering in traffic was easy enough too but my clutch hand is tired (yah I know wah wah wah) and I notice that scooters are riding circles around me without even trying (dang) ... and they look like fun too ... so I ride back to Garners late in the second day and ask very nicely if I can swap for another bike more suited to the metro (not expecting to do any touring) and extend the period on the hire. No wuzzas they say, but they tell me that the VTR250's and the scooters are out but what about that BMW Dakar over there. Hey hey hey ... I'm not crossing any deserts in the next two days but that looks like a barrel of laughs ... I'll take it. Five minutes later and I'm sitting high and mighty ... 1st, 2nd, 3rd Woohoo ... swinging into a square left hander back to second ... holy shit is that the back end coming round. Look ma I'm backing it into a corner for the first time, by accident, on a hire bike, in the middle of metropolitan melbourne, and I'm absolutely shitting myself. It settles nicely for me when I don't chop the throttle or hammer it and I just think damn! with some experience and some cajones maybe I could totally blast that corner. But just not today thanks. Much respect big BMW thumper ... thank you for the non-lethal lesson. Word count is getting sily so I'll post some more later ... to be contineued ... where I scare the shiznit out of myself on some state forest roads (umm gravel) and wonder "Is this the famous black spur or just another set of beautiful deadly smooth curves ... umm dunno"