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What makes a motorcyclist happy?

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by HotelWhisky, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. Hey Guys,

    Thought I would post this up as I can't stop raving about it and I think my team are getting sick of me.

    I moved up to Bathurst from Canberra a few months ago because my company is working on regional expansion and they needed someone experienced to run the otherwise all new team up here. I thought it would be great, lots of awesome roads out that way, and I jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately I sightly underestimated the whole 'brand new team' thing, and between constantly being on call for their questions, going home to Canberra on my days off, and going down to head office in Sydney, I haven't had much by way of time off to get out on the bike. Small rides for an hour or so, but nothing big. I figured I wasn't missing out on too much, as the weather wasn't crash hot, and the days were short. Recently its been warming up and I have been dying to get out on the bike. So on Friday morning when I miraculously found I was off and the weather was looking gorgeous, I decided, sod it, I'll go for a ride. This ride to be precise.


    Not a minor endeavour. I figured 8.5 hours on google was probably 7.5 hours of riding, and between lunch and coffee (can't forget the most important part!) and stopping to take gratuitous photos of my bike, dodging goanna's etc (more on that later) I was looking at a 10 hour ride or thereabouts. So I filled my bike, set the trip counter, told my team that they weren't allowed to need my help, forgot to check the tyre pressure, called myself and idiot, checked the tyres and set off. The first bit of the ride out of Bathurst was roads I had explored briefly before, but once on Turondale road I was in virgin territory (for me at least, and thats what matters right? Right???). I knew as soon as I got to this vista, that I had made a good decision.


    Having taken the photos I needed to prove I was out busy being awesome, I took off again. Turondale road really is great, and I will definitely be revisiting it. It runs up through the hills north of Bathurst, and the paddocks and bush really look phenomenal in the right light. There may be some locals who have reported ghostly yells from the hills, I happen to know that you are safe though, those noises were emanating from my helmet as whoops of excitement after I scraped a peg for the first time (I'm actually so stoked about this). Seriously though the road looks like it was sealed in the last year or so, basically no gravel, well sealed all the way to the edges and only a few potholes all of which were easily seen well in advance.


    The same can't be said for Hill End Road. This has clearly just been redone, and is covered in gravel, to the point that I felt my rear wheel moving behind me a few times. I took what would otherwise be an awesome stretch of road very very slowly, literally 30-40kph in an 80 zone, for that reason. In a year or two when that gravel has been thrown off by the cars running through there, I imagine it is going to be awesome. Can you see how gravelly that road is in this picture?


    You probably can't see the enormous stick shaped goanna that scared the pants off of me a few hundred metres past here by revealing its non-stick status when I was a bit too close. But trust me, he was there.

    The roads were decent from Sofala through to Rylstone (but no phone signal if your into that) but nothing mind blowing. After Rylstone however I did come across this, and aside from being an olive grove next to a mountain, which is honestly just a cool place to be on its own, there was the universal indicator of upcoming awesome, this sign.


    Almost all of Bylong Valley Way is great. Mixing open sweepers with tight up and downhill switchbacks and everything inbetween. There is much to enjoy about this road, except the roadworks stabilizing the cliffs that line the road in parts, which is probably a worthwhile endeavor. After getting stopped at some road works I had an Audi TT Coupe (who had clearly been joyriding like me) pull up behind me. Once we were through the roadworks, perhaps believing that the large P plate on my bike would slow me down, he pulled out to try to overtake me. Apparently he was mistaken. It was fun having someone to run with along the straights, but he seemed to be falling behind through the corners.

    It is worth noting that there is a section of Bylong Valley Way (near Baerami) where as of early September recent roadworks have left a huge amount of gravel. It is signposted with the 'loose gravel spraying from wheels' sign, but that is something of an understatement.

    I stopped for a quick lunch in Sandy Hollow, as I am not yet riding a Ducati, I won't comment on the coffee. Briefly bragged to the girlfriend that I was out riding whilst she was stuck inside at work, after which I checked in and told her how far along my ride I was and that I was safe, an essential part of riding alone. Whilst there, I saw two sweet groups of riders, one leaving as I arrived, and a contingent of Cruisers (or is it a gaggle?) on their way to Mudgee as I was leaving.

    A fairly uneventful ride along the Golden Highway took me to just outside Singleton, and the start of the often heard but as yet unexplored (by me anyway) Putty Rd. After briefly pulling over to try and photograph another Goanna, this time eating a damn Kangaroo. Yes, eating. I got to Bulga and was greeted by the most obvious "Motorcyclists Please Don't Die Here" signs I have ever seen. Which made me giggle, and consider my mortality, but mostly giggle about how much fun I was about to have. I was accurate.

    About 20 odd km from Milbrodale I heard a bigger bike (ZX14R I later discovered after some cursory googling) come up behind me, which kind of surprised me given that I had kind of forgotten that was possible after not having anyone get that close all day (sorry Mr Audi, but you weren't even close). I slowed and pulled to the side to let him past, and he thanked me by giving me a cursory wave, and popping a wheelie. He was then followed by three other superbikes, each making me curse my damn restrictions. After that, the game was simply trying not to get outstripped too fast. I was trying to see how small I could keep the gains they made on me through the corners, and I actually thought I was doing ok, but it was nerve-wracking watching bikes overtake other vehicles on double lines. I pulled up for a break at the Grey Gum Cafe, where I bumped into them. The bloke from the ZX10R noted that he was impressed I was keeping up on my little 500!!


    So, after 650 km, 28L of Fuel, one scraped peg, 2 Goannas, 10 hours, 2 Coffees, and about a billion corners I guess I learned that what makes a motorcyclist happy is talking (or typing in this case). And corners. Talking and Corners.

    If you read that all, congrats. Go and do a bigger ride next weekend and show me. And do lots of talking about it.
    • Like Like x 30
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  2. Epic ride, HotelWhiskyHotelWhisky! Thanks for posting such a good commentary and photos of the day. I rode the Sofala - Hill End road from the other direction a couple of months ago and I can attest to the lavish amount of gravel they've provided through that beautifully twisty section as the road descends to the Turon River.

    Next time I'm in that region I'm planning to either head to Wolgan Valley and Newnes or as you've done, head along the Bylong Valley Way to Sandy Hollow. Very enjoyable writing of yours, thanks again for posting.
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  3. Great Post, the fun and giggles we all get from being out riding comes across very well.
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  4. Great write up and pics HotelWhiskyHotelWhisky and looks like the weather played along for your trip. Best you get your crew up to speed so a few more adventures can be had and if not well what a pity there is poor mobile network coverage out that way :whistle:
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  5. What a brilliant ride, and write-up. Sounds like you had an awesome day
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  6. Great write up.

    This is exactly what I'll be doing for 2 weeks straight when I take my holidays. :)
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  7. Yea the gravel took me by surprise a bit. It blends into the new road surface so it was hard to tell exactly how bad it was. I hope it doesn't take anyone by surprise. I'll again recommend the Bylong Valley way. There is this amazing valley with fresh green paddocks buried in the mountains that looks amazing, and the roads open out a bit. Not the best stretch of corners on that road, but it is just gorgeous scenery.

    And thank you for posting about that earlier. It was your post about those roads that inspired me to head up that way.

    And on a S1000R no less, I am sure you will have an awesome few weeks. We better see the pics!!
    I was in a BMW dealership fantasizing about a R 1200 R when I come off restrictions. Can't wait!

    Thanks guys. It was an awesome ride.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Yeah. S1000R + Gold Coast hinterlands and Northern NSW = fun times. :)

    Beautiful bike the R1200R.

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  9. Great read, sounds like a wicked good ride. Enjoy!
  10. Great write up and pictures, thanks for sharing your adventure.
    I have a Red CBR500R as well, but I'm nowhere near scraping the pegs yet. It is a bloody good bike despite the short lower gearing and I'm certainly not riding to it's potential. I have started to ride with a group that regularly does the National Park run so I am improving in the twisties, just have to trust the bike a bit more. I'm fantasizing about the BMW S1000XR as my next bike - for touring.
    Q, I'm looking for a better tank bag than the Aldi one I have, what is yours and are you happy with it ? RNP 28June15 morning.
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  11. Cheers, Yea I am really happy with the performance, it is a phenomenal bike to learn on in my experience. I am at the point now where I am keen to upgrade for the extra power, mostly in acceleration. When I am riding hard I spend too much time for my liking with the throttle wide open or up near the redline. That said I will be really tempted to keep this just so I have a smaller lighter bike to throw around the twisties just for fun.

    She's wearing an Oxford 1 18L tank bag (this one Oxford Tank Bag - RevZilla I also have a Two Brothers Carbon Black Series Slip on. Which I love. A lot. Urgh I love the sound it makes now. But to actually answer your question I am happy with it. Good quality zips, two side pockets and a main pocket, and a thin pocket in the top that has a plastic cover so you can have something visible through it which good to see if my phone goes off or if I needed to use google maps navigation, not that I would ever use it like that. Magnetic flaps onto the tank and a loop to clip around the head stock so it can't fly off.

    Cost me around $80. What don't you like about your aldi one?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. Hey thanks for the info, I’ll go check out the Oxford.

    The ALDI bag is a good size but I can’t use the side pockets. If I turn the bars a bit too far to the right, the side pocket presses on the kill switch. Apart from that it is okay, with strong magnets and big clear pocket on the top.Oh, and it opens the wrong way, from the front instead of the rear.

    I don’t think I have ever redlined my bike in the 14 months I’ve had it. I am probably too gentle on the bike, I haven’t really tried to ride it hard or aggressively, mainly because I lack the skills / confidence. Just equates to requiring more time riding and improving.

    I recently fitted an IXIL L3X Hyperlow Exhaust, it sounds great (no more sewing machine) and only $350 from Screaming Demon. This actually has made a difference to my riding, I now listen to the engine rather than just looking at the tacho to shift up or down.

    Other mods: I installed switched 12v power, now have a dual USB socket. I have fitted GARMIN ZUMO LM590 on the left side handlebar, ready for touring.

    Stay safe, cheers :)
  13. And checking out other bikes. You get to a destination and there's a bunch of bikes there and everyone is checking out everyone else's bikes. Some times looking closer at finer details. Now that makes for happy times as well.
    Try do that with their other half and see how sociable they are then !:D

    Great write up and picci's.
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  14. Ouch, thats nuts. mine doesnt touch the kill switch but it will hit the horn or the hazards switch if I am parking it with the bag pushed forward. I only need to push it forward if I am leaning down behind the windshield. If I remember to pull it back before parking its not a problem.

    I don't think it's about being "too gentle" rather just riding to your limits. How many kms have you done in 14 months? I have just hit 12,000km in a total 6 months of riding (had to take a few months off when I broke my wrist). I am pretty comfortable pushing it through all the gears and have been getting better performance through corners. I do still scare myself by pushing it too far sometimes. But pushing it is how I learn, so when I am out on the bike I am always trying to see if a new position or new technique will make me a better rider.

    How do you find that exhaust? Is it just a slip on? I am happy with the Two Brothers, but one could probably make a successful argument that it is a tad on the loud side of things. Listening to (and the faster you go, just feeling) the revs in the engine is in my experience the best way to ride. It means you can put your full focus on the road. When I am riding I try not to look at the dash at all unless I need to check my speed.
  15. Wow that's a bloody good effort, (12,000 km in 6 months). I have 5,603 km on the clock. I do have a car and I use public transport a lot. I tried commuting on the bike for a while last Summer but gave it away as a bad joke. 30 mins to work (22 kms), and 90 mins return in the arvo, heavy traffic all the way. Not fun at all and considering I can get home faster (by a good 30 mins) using a train and a bus and walking, it is too ridiculous. Legally not able to filter on 'L' or 'P' plates, or ride in breakdown lanes so I mostly now ride for recreation. So the obvious revelation to me in all of that is obviously, more time in saddle required...

    I do pick up and try out new ideas from those I ride with (and from reading through forums) and it is enjoyable to discover new things to achieve, feels great when you have that 'ah ha' moment.

    The replacement exhaust is a great addition to my bike, for a few reasons as I mentioned earlier. It is not as good quality as an Aprakovic or Yoshimura, and at about half the price I do like it for it's unusual look and sound. It is only a slip on and super easy to fit. I have seen and heard the Two Brothers exhaust, they sound excellent.

    I reckon I'll head up to try out that ride route you posted, it looked pretty interesting. Anyway, thanks for sharing info about the ride and your bike as well.
    cheers, Fred :)
  16. Fred - go to the track. Go in the beginner group. That bike has waaaay more potential than you know right now.

    $280 for the day and you get to keep your license at the end of it. Smiles all round. Win / win.
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  17. I had not considered track days because I assumed they were for open licensed riders... I will investigate this further because I agree it would a a great way to improve on my riding. Thanks :)
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  18. Cool ride by the look of it. :snaphappy: I lived in Lithgow for 30 years before moving North. The central west and blue mountains have some exquisite and varied scenery to ride through, Only reason I'd go back for a visit would be a back road ride :LOL:
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  19. I bought a 25L givi tank bag recently that is easily expandable and comes with a detachable navigation pocket for a map or tablet on top of the bag. It's retained via a low profile ring that mounts around your fuel cap. Comes with a very waterproof, tight fitting rain jacket you can throw on the bag when the skies open. The bag doesn't foul the controls at all on my SV, even when fully laden. It's a bit pricey but definitely worth a look [=
  20. Hi there, yes you are right, the Givi is fantastic, great quality product.
    However, the Honda CBR500RA does NOT have a tank ring around the filler cap, therefore nowhere to mount the quick release adapter plate for tank lock bags... :-(
    Good enough reason in itself to upgrade to a new bike - if one should need a reason... :]
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