Monday, 5 May 2014

Going South Day 1

Well the holidays over, I'm back at work. Have been home for a couple of weeks actually but to tell the truth I was feeling a bit exhausted .. just a bit. Just getting up and going to work every day seemed to take it out of me, and I felt like I needed another holiday to get over the holiday. Not that we did an awful lot really, we sat and relaxed quite a bit and paced ourselves, but we did do a lot of new and challenging things on the bikes. Riding in mountain twisties, something I haven't come across in the flat land that I live in, was such a challenge that every day we rode in Victoria took a lot longer than it really should have for the kilometres travelled.

But let me start at the start. The trip was started with the SRA second annual AGM. It was held in Bright Victoria, here it is on the map ...

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We spent a couple of days riding to Bright, then a couple of days relaxing in Bright with the guys from SRA. The trip down was with some of the guys from Queensland and some of the guys from coastal NSW headed over to Dubbo and rode down with us as well. The day that the Queensland guys got into Dubbo we were going to meet up with them and have a spot of dinner, but before that happened I got a text message asking me to do a mercy dash and find a balaclava for one of them. It seems he was wearing an open face helmet and was really starting to feel the pain.

Right off to all my local bike shops, the last one I walked into I said "Have you got any balaclavas?". The answer was "Of course .. which bank are you robbing?" Haha .. right .. funny .. now just give me a balaclava! So that mercy mission complete, we headed to dinner to catch up with the guys. It was a nice dinner with great company and it made us confident that we were going to have a great weekend.

There ended up being 11 bikes and one car (the wife of one of the Queensland guys), we all met at one of our favourite cafes for breakfast early Thursday morning. The day before the guys from the Newcastle area had ridden to Dubbo, I'd had all sorts of interesting text messages regarding their journey, and there was a post from one of them on the forums about his little mishap when his bike had a bit of a sleep. It wasn't too bad, just a case of tipping the bike over while he was getting on it, but the bike did land on his foot. Therefore I had to take a bit of first aid strapping and some serious pain relief to breakfast that first day to deal with a couple of unhealthy looking toes. Not sure if they were broken, he reckoned they were but they didn't look quite that bad, very bruised though.

After a great breaky we headed off on the first part of our adventure. This first day was to be led by me ... eek! It's a long way to lead a group of riders that, for the most part, I've never ridden with before. I don't generally lead very much, sometimes I'll take over from Terry for a little while, but not for this distance. So after getting some fuel for the one person who didn't see the note to fuel up before breakfast, we all met at the zoo then headed off towards our first stop, Molong, via Yeoval. I was nervous so didn't get pics or even think of turning on the Gopro. We weren't going to stop at Yeoval but once we got there one of the guys .. who's bike seems to be running very rich as he has to fuel up every 100km's or so .. said he wanted fuel. So we stopped, kinda split up as we seemed to have been for the whole time getting here.

Time to explain how I was going leading the group so far. It was stressful, I was worried about one of the last riders who was very new to riding and even more new to group riding, so I wasn't going fast. I'd planned to sit on about 90 - 100km/hr, which is plenty fast enough for this road for me. But I soon noticed the group was kinda falling back a few bikes behind me, so I slowed down. When I slowed the group seemed to fall back even more .. huh. I was kinda worried all the way along here, thinking that something was up back where I couldn't see the last few bikes because of the dips and bumps in the road. We seemed to be strung out. When we stopped I found out that it was because one of the riders has a thing about people tailgating in big groups, so he was hanging a long way back from the rider in front of him .. hence the big gap. Everything was OK but it was really putting me off, so when he suggested that the group split into two groups and that he lead the first group .. I was all for it!!

They took off then I indicated to Terry to lead the way for the rest of us. The learner rider wanted to ride at the back so she waited for me to take off, along with her buddy rider. I tried .. I really did try .. just goes to show how nervous it was all making me, I was trying to put the bike in gear but it kept on stalling. It wasn't long before it was pointed out to me that my stand was still down. I have never done that before and can only put it down to those nerves.

I'm still not sure if I like riding with groups to tell the truth, and I think a part of that is the fact that I get kind of nervous when I'm with other people at the best of times. But this time once I started riding I was fine, and not having to look all the time and worry if everyone is still there, I enjoyed the next part of the journey to Molong.

We fuelled up, where I dropped my fuel cap, bent my key (that little baby costs a couple of hundred to replace!) and broke the little swivel cap thingy off my fuel cap (another $50 or more). The guy who had fuelled up at Yeoval also realised now that he hadn't paid for the petrol at Yeoval, so it was a case of trying to find out the name of the petrol station there and calling them .. they were all good and just took his credit card number I think. So I got my spare key from Terry and we headed out again .. next stop Cowra.

And finally I got my camera out. I can hear your sighs of relief from here, no more wading through the reams of writing, finally something pretty to look at!!

All the bikes lined up, this was the last time they got lined up on the trip down to Bright. The groups really split up on the second day unfortunately.

We headed towards Wagga Wagga, where we would stop overnight before the second leg into the mountains. Our first stop after Cowra was to be Young, just a meet up at the first service station that we found. But first we had something else to cope with .. the almighty weather!

Here's some video of our little adventure.

I hadn't bothered putting gear on, you could see that there wasn't a lot of cloud, it was just kinda concentrated, and boy did it hit hard! So by the time we got to that little pub I had a wet .. well everything, but it was a warm enough day and it all dried out before the next stop at Young.

Where I didn't get any photos again :) Alright I was just being lazy, by this stage I think that I also just wanted to be in Wagga and a nice comfy bed, my back was starting to ache a little worse than it normally does. We were in Wagga that night by 5pm, and only one guy got lost, then found. Soon we were all booked in and comfy, cept one guy who's battery had decided to give up the ghost. He called NRMA (our local road side assistance type people) and before long a nice young man turned up to help so that we could be on our way early the next morning.

I have to say I wasn't terribly confident when I heard the young mechanic say something along the lines of "I've never worked on a bike before, but lets have a look". Oh dear I do hope it will start in the morning. At least it was going by the time the young bloke left so it was promising.

Had been a long ride, but that was to be the longest day of the entire trip for us so it was good to crawl into a comfy bed that night and dream of the ride ahead. The next day was only a short trip of 200km's or so til we got to our destination for the weekend. We'd be there by lunch time, well that was the plan, but as we all know sometimes all the best laid plans ... More about that soon.

And I do promise it will be soon, I've been away for far too long!!


  1. Hi Brenda
    We've missed your posts. I had to laugh when you said you needed a holiday to get over your holiday. Classic!

    That was a pretty big dump of rain. Lucky you guys just happened to stumble upon a pub to get the inside as wet as the outside. Looking forward to the next installment.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Aww its sweet that you've missed my posts, now I feel even more guilty for taking so long to start them.

      It was one the biggest downpours that I've ridden in to date, but at least it didn't last long. We got more rain on the way home that was worse cause it lasted longer.

      Oh the pub was interesting, there were two customers and the bloke who owned it there, and very friendly too. It was like a beacon as it came into sight.

  2. I've been wondering how the holiday went. It sounds as though it was off to a smashing (no pun intended on the petrol cap) start.

    I am not a fan of group riding. I, like you, can be quite nervous around others. If it is one or two others that I know well, I don't mind but larger groups aren't always fun because everyone has different riding habits.

    I too am looking forward to the next post.

    1. Hi Brandy,

      It did indeed get off to a smashing start, pun intended. There was my petrol cap, then a heat guard off the exhaust went awol from another bike, then the next morning as we stopped at an intersection I heard a tinkle on the road as yet another heat guard landed on the road, that one was retrieved in good condition tho. Things were dropping all over the place.

      It's just hard riding with new people isn't it, you don't know what they are going to do, and you don't know what they are expecting you to do. I'm not going to go looking for more group rides anytime soon, that's for sure.

      Next post coming up soon .. plus I have to catch up with what you guys have been up to. Damn I've been too slack!

  3. Hello, there you are! Missed your posts. That was quite a rain storm coming down on you, plus you covered a mighty distance (I am more in favour of shorter trips around 300km.). Looking forward to your next installment.

  4. Hi Sonja, yes here I am! I didn't fall into a black hole, I've just been a bit of a slacker. I promise to be better from now on :)

    It was a huge distance for day 1, like you I'd prefer 300 for a long day, but that was the longest stretch planned for the whole trip. We did that so that we'd have plenty of time to mozey to our destination and look at things the next day. Didn't quite work out that way, but more about that in the next installment which is coming soon!

  5. Brenda

    Good to see you back in action. Bright seems like a long time ago. Since then I've upgraded the VT400 to a VT750 so reluctantly my "White Shadow" is on the market.

    1. Hi Theo,

      It seems like a long time ago because it was a long time ago! Ah I saw that you had upgraded, I have been peeking at other blogs, just not active, and I do like .. congrats!!

      I'm also in the throes of upgrading, but that's news for a whole post so I'll keep it secret for a bit longer :)

  6. Brenda:

    I too was missing you . . . The more experienced the riders, the more gap between riders. Everyone then has the opportunity to ride their own ride without worrying about the one behind, or coming up too fast on the one in front. In twisties, the gap can be farther apart, most will slow down on the straights to give more distance, and then "gun it" when they hit the corner.

    I used to do a lot of group rides. I seldom go anymore. I'd rather just meet up at the meal place. I like to keep at the rear as it is less stressful

    glad you had a nice, relaxing vacation. except for the kickstand part with everyone watching

    A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

  7. Aww that's sweet Bob, I am sorry I've taken so long to get to this.

    Yeah I realise now about the gap, but then all I could think was that there was something wrong back there, put it down to inexperience.

    I was lucky with the kickstand thing, there was only two people there at that stage, and they were the learner and her buddy .. they completely understood :)