Sunday, 11 September 2011

I've moved

Tarsnakes motorcycle touring has moved to:

See you there!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Oomoo light

Back in 2004 Andy devised a weekend route that was suitable for some old, old motorcycles. It came to be named the Oomoo Run, after a new release red wine that we (over) imbibed in with dinner that night. The Oomoo run was repeated again in 2005 & 2006.

Today I rode the first part of that route as we had yet another magnificent winter's day. I procrastinated (which is quite acceptable for a 'West Coast Procrastinators' old boy) whether to go a little further inland, which I then commenced to do - only to bail out after riding a section of around 5 kms of gravel road works with no end in sight. You will see from some of the pics that Spring is just around the corner here.

Firstly I headed from Geelong to Ballarat - a pretty boring road. Then skirted around Ballarat and headed through some tiny townships like Ross Creek, Snake Valley and Cargnham. From the mullock heaps it's obvious that these were once thriving gold mining towns back in the late 1800's, now there's virtually nothing there.

Didn't see any!
The shot below is a redux of a pic taken in the same spot 7 years ago, then featuring  my CBR600
2004 pic
There were some places that I wanted to stop and take some pics, like the dead fox hanging from a road sign and the tiny, sad war memorial in Snake Valley,  however, I wasn't game enough to pull off the asphalt as the the roadsides were very soft and boggy due to all the recent heavy rain.

Beaufort is a small town on the Western Highway that most folk drive through on the way to Adelaide, the Grampians, or the vineyards further on down the road, however, it really is an attractive, well maintained little place.
Shot of the day!

Beaufort War Memorial

Beaufort Vic
Beeac war memorial

Just a part of the route
I headed down Colac way as well, then home to Geelong. All up, 396 kms for the day and home by 3 pm.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Balmy winters day

I'd been hoping for a ride this weekend. Saturday turned out to be as forecast - rain and clearing showers. Sunday was forecast to be cloudy with an unlikely temp of 18C. So I couldn't believe my eyes Sunday morning when I awoke to glorious sunshine with barely a cloud in sight. It was too good not to ride so I  took a short run in what turned out to be beautiful weather conditions considering that it's winter here. My route was Geelong to Forrest, then Beech Forest via Turton's (treacherous) Track, Gellibrand, then I skirted around Colac and headed home. It was around 6C when I left at 9.30am and an incredible 20C when I got home in the early afternoon.

The ZX14 in front of the Forrest microbrewery

Only hot chocolate for me though!

Less than 5 months till Christmas.

At the West Barwon dam

Lovely spot for a BBQ or picnic, but virtually deserted today.
Turton's Track
Ford Focus turbo club gathering at Beech Forest.
 I stopped at Gellibrand for a drink and talked to some fellas who'd been mountain bike riding along the Old Beechy rail trail and were absolutely coated in mud.

After a short break at 'Gelli'  I headed straight home as I had chores awaiting me. All in all, an unexpected and enjoyable day of riding in unseasonably balmy conditions.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Vale Ken Wootton and Fox Sports are carrying the story of the death of Ken Wootton in his sleep at the age of 57 last Sunday whilst holidaying in Czechoslovakia .

The long time editor of Australian Motorcycle News (AMCN) Ken was an iconic figure in Australian motorcycling journalism. Over the years I've greatly enjoyed his motorcycle test reports, annual touring stories and race reports, as well as his track side commentary at various Phillip Island motorcycle races.

Ride on Ken Wootton.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Two Nortons & a Suzi

Will the novelty of a new motorcycle to ride wear off? I guess so, but not enough yet to stop me riding in some cold winter weather!
I took a run from Geelong to Colac, then Ballarat then home to Geelong. Temps ranged from 4C when I left to 9.9C when I got home. The connecting theme for today was old mates and their restoration projects.
First project was Steve's Norton Dominator (his road ride is a black Commando).

Hours of work on the lathe goes into fabricating lots of new parts on a job like this.

Next project saw me take a quick trip on deserted winter roads from Steve's to Andy's place in Ballarat (a place not known for warmth!) to see Andy's recently purchased T250R Suzuki Hustler and the beginning of what he calls a 'birthday' for his Commando Fastback - new isolastics, a belt primary drive, lots of stainless nuts & bolts and a whole lot more.

Lots of happy memories from our teenage years when Andy had one just like this.
 Andy bought a Hustler as his first legal road bike not long after I first met him around 40 years ago. It did everything from get him to work in Melbourne everyday to riding the GOR on the weekends. You wouldn't think that you could carry a box with a dozen long neck bottles of  beer on a tank that small would you?

 Less happy are places like this. A once bustling center of motor vehicle and British motor cycle repairs and service, in a town that barely exists now.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Winter sun

Marty & I took a run to the 12 Apostles today. It was 6C when we left after an overnight low of 0C. It probably didn't get an warmer than 13C anywhere on our route, but we were dressed for the cold and had an enjoyable day's riding.

I only took a couple of shots of the motorcycles parked in Port Campbell as I have dozens of pics of the 12 Apostles area in the camera already!

It was my first time out with the new mufflers on the ZX14 and they sound great, without being too loud.
The roads were mostly dry but there is an enormous amount of water lying about the roadsides and in the paddocks.

We wound up doing 341 kms for the day which is good for a day trip in the middle of winter here.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Megacycle slip ons

I recently took a run down to Megacycle engineering in the Melbourne suburb of Keysborough to get a set of slip on mufflers fitted. These are built from scratch by the owner Ken Onus and he likes to have the bike there and fit them virtually as he builds them. Megacycle engineering is an old school engineering works, that builds specialty motorcycle exhaust systems. It's winter Down Under and it was a cold 6C when I left home and was  raining for much of the run down there. Ken wanted me there by 7.30am, which meant a 5.30am ish start for me if I wanted to avoid the Westgate Bridge bottleneck. As it was I got there at 7.00am.
Pic below shows a bleak morning.
Here is the finished product in stainless steel. The bike's EFI can adjust OK and there is no need for a Power Commander or suchlike to get it running OK.

And the sound - a lovely burble that's not too loud or intrusive. Also the oval shaped pipes look much less bulky than the big round standard pipes.

Ken is the only person I've ever met in Oz who has raced at the IOM - with some success actually.
Ken Onus IOM


Monday, 4 July 2011

Protective clothing study

Below is a link to a comprehensive Australian study of motorcycle protective clothing and associated injury reduction. I recommend that you read it and I'm sure that different aspects will have significance for different riders.

Overall it's reinforced my belief in "All the gear all of the time" (ATGATT) and that jackets with armor were genuinely helpful at reducing injury (hardly a surprise but nice to see some science supporting the contention)  The amount of protective clothing that 'failed' in some way is cause for concern.
READ THIS for all of the detail.

Ride safe!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Mild winter day

Unbelievably it was 17C and sunshine today, though a strong blustery wind was a little disconcerting. I did a quick solo run from Geelong to Beech Forest via Colac, then down Turton's Track (very greasy conditions) then back to Geelong via Forrest and Dean's Marsh.

 Congratulations to Paul & Maria for 10 years (today) of constant improvement to this general store in Gellibrand. This pic doesn't do justice to the place. The quality of Paul's workmanship in restoring the interior is excellent.

I parked, got a hot chocolate - but the whole time I felt I was being watched!
A hah - I was being watched after all.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

More wet tarsnakes

The shortest day of the year has passed, work has been demanding and it was time for Marty and I to take some motorcycle therapy.The road through the Otways were pretty treacherous in places, lots of mulched leaves and bark on the road and water lying across shaded corners - but what else can you expect in the middle of winter? Well at least it wasn't raining here, as it was for the warm up for MotoGP in Assen - and it's summer there! Temps somewhat comparable too.

Here's some pics & I will post a few more words later.

First stop - the Gellibrand store

The recently installed hugger is clearly not very effective.

Marty has a little bit of pastie with his sauce!!
A blatant rip off. Avoid refueling at Apollo Bay if possible
A post ride debrief in sunshine on the outskirts of Geelong. 315kms of safe, sometimes challenging & enjoyable riding

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Chasing tarsnakes in the winter rain

The sky was blue and it looked like a perfect winter's day for a ride. The sunshine only lasted around 80 kms and the next 90 kms or so were done in in cold wintery conditions, only to fine up again for the final 30 kms home.

I actually found it immensely satisfying piloting the big Kwaka, with around 170 hp on tap at the rear wheel, in such challenging conditions.

Today's circuit was from Geelong to Lavers Hill  via Colac, then along the inland part of the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay. The final section was from Apollo Bay to Geelong via Lorne and Deans Marsh - a bit of a mistake in some ways as the GOR was quite slippery due to road construction and some small diesel spills - neither of which were pleasant in the rain! In Lorne I came across three motorcycle cops stopping traffic for random license checks. The fella who pulled me over was obviously a motorcycle enthusiast and we had quite a pleasant chat about motorcycling, Michelin tyres and the glory days of riding the GOR before there were 80 kph speed limits and double white lines. He made no secret of the fact that they were out to target motorcycles and that they were having a slow day - the posers tend not to ride the GOR in the rain!

I must say that the sight of a tiny little girl in her pink bicycle helmet perched up on one of the cop bikes whilst her proud Dad to a photo was just priceless. It would have been a great PR shot for Victoria Police.

Here's a few pics taken during the occasional sunny breaks.
First stop at Gellibrand

Flowers by donation - you know that you're out in the country.

You can't see it but this is a pic of a ship out in the ocean near Apollo Bay!

Dirty Ninja

Cleaning those mufflers is going to be fun!

It was good to have a dry road for the last 30 kms to home.
Great art on the school kids' bus shelter