Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Paradise lost?

I had a chilly but free flowing ride on the Sunday past with very little traffic.

Riding the south west loop I was planning to explore a few more places but the cold took away some of my normal enthusiasm as the sun hid away until mid afternoon and when it did show it was too little too late.

Not far south of Rathdowney you will see a sign on your right to Mt Barney national park. A few nice curves on the road and this amazing view presents itself. Mt Barney is just to the right of this shot and I don't know yet what mountain this is but you could be excused for thinking you were somewhere else other then a short distance out of Brisbane.

I lunched at the Kunghur Cafe with a number of other bikers, excellent food and coffee as usual and a selection of my favourite magazine (Australian road rider) to peruse while waiting. I then rode on via Uki to Tyalgum, where I was shocked and saddened to discover plans to dam this beautiful valley and flood much of the land west of Murwillumbah.

If you have never been there then it is not possible to imagine how wonderful the area is - I would move there tomorrow if I had a means to support myself there. The town and nearby roads have some of the most amazing scenery which borders the world heritage listed sites of the region.

Like the idea to dam the Franklin - this really is not very clever. We are not such a small or financially poor country that we have to drown sites deemed of world heritage value. Howard is backing it and Rudd will block it - best bet is go and enjoy it now regardless of your political beliefs just in case lack of common sense prevails. The pub on the left entering town is very popular with bikers as is the cafe next to the general store.

Yet another reason to try a ride south next time - see Tyalgum before its 6 foot under water.

And from the fresh mountain air back to the city smoke haze. :-(

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Good Motorcycle rides # 35

Tullebudgera Creek Road
I found this one day by chance, as mentioned in another post I was investigating the ghost road on Google Maps that seems to go up the side of Springbrook mountain on the south-eastern side. Or in other words the Springbrook road appears to continue instead of ending at the English Gardens cafe. Knowing there was no road I decided to use it as an excuse to explore around the mountain.


This road would be a good ride to do after (or before) riding the Currumbin valley. It would work well as an add on after riding from Murwillumbah and turning onto the Tullebudgera Connection rd which brings you onto this road which I would actually normally ride out to the highway not aware of what lie to the west. Simply turn left and ride the 16 k's to the end at the base of Springbrook.

The road is straight for maybe 1 k then some gentle curves followed by some excellent sweepers. The road has 3 stages it changes then presents another series of excellent corners and then narrows at the end with some one lane bridges but still yet another series of nice corners.

The locals obviously know about it as saw a few sports cars taking a punt along but I have never heard bikers suggest this road before. Add on the nearby Currumbin rock pool road road (beyond Currumbin range road) and you have about 50 k of curves - not bad at all!
Another road nearby

Review - Grip Puppies

The MV Agusta has a high frequency buzz that is invasive at certain rpm. All inline fours I have ridden buzz a certain amount as V-twins all seem to pulse and shake at low rpms. The fours tend to buzz more as the rpm's rise is to me this more invasive as the twins seem to smooth out after a few thousand rpm.

The Brutale's engine buzz is unfortunately the amongst the worst I have experienced as some members of the press have also noted. A few bolts have have vibrated loose and fallen off - I expected that on my Buell but not on this bike nor the odd metalic clatter sound it makes at idle almost like worn tappets on an old inline six car engine.

Anyway it's something I am stuck with so I already replaced the bar ends with heavier weights which helped a little, the next thing I was going to do was replace the grips with foam ones. While looking for foam grips I was on a touring bike forum reading threads about handle bar vibration reduction ideas and came across Grip Puppies.

These are foam tubes that slip over your existing handle bar grips to give extra comfort and reduce vibes without the need to alter your factory grips. A simple idea that sounded great.

I order a set and they arrived promptly just one week later downunder without excessive postage charges - thats good service. Here they are fitted.

(Update: the company I previously ordered from no longer ships via regular air-mail - like many retailers in the USA they choose to now only ship International Express which makes the shipping 6 to 10 times what it should be if just sent air-mail , look on amazon instead)

You simply wet inside with some soapy water and slide on - takes all of 2 minutes start to finish and mine do not slip at all once fitted.

On the road they do help to slightly reduce the buzz like the heavy bar ends. They certainly made the MV more comfortable than standard rubber grips.

These will not suit everyone - you do need to adjust to a thicker grip, small hands may not be able to, but if you really have a serious comfort issue with vibration then for a few dollars these have got to be worth a try. Look on eBay to buy a set.

Update: Now 1 year into use and I can recommend them for buzz without hesitation. You will take a few rides to adjust to the extra thickness but they do reduce the vibrations.

Update 2: Still going fine, now fitted to my Buell in 2010  but perhaps not really needed on the twin.

Update 3: No longer using them, my Honda is very smooth and thus these are not needed. Still in good condition and could be used if needed so long lasting items.

Thanks for visiting. Please take a look at the home page for Australia's best motorcycle roads, Motorcycle touring in Australia and Japan as well as more motorcycle item reviews.

Tour de Springbrook

Today I dared to venture out into the winter air again and decided instead of going to the Laverda club bike show (Brisbane's biggest bike show) I would do a tour of my own around Springbrook mountain inspired by the mystery of Google map showing a ghost road.
The show would have been good, I saw many bikes heading north on the M1 as I rode down to Mudgeeraba, but somedays I just like getting out and riding.

After a brisk trip up the mountain I continued past Pine creek rd, where I would usually turn off, to the end of the road. There I confirmed that no road down the other side exists yet despite Google map (and some GPS mapping) showing a major through road existing.

I stopped off for a coffee at the English Gardens Cafe, this is adjacent the national park walking tracks at the end of the road, where I semi warm up, then retraced back to the Canyon Lookout which of all the lookouts is the one I had somehow missed before now. Wow! probably one of the best views from the range and had passed it by all this time. Photo only captures some of what the eye can see, which includes Gold Coast highrise buildings and the ocean in distance and waterfall over cliff face opposite.

Click to enlarge

After that I decided to revisit the straight forward named 'Best lookout of them all' which is very good also with views of all the Tweed valley to the ocean. I headed down the mountain after this thinking I would get some lunch at the Valley View Cafe in Numinbah however yet again I found this cafe to have way too many people for the staff to cope with and orders were banked up 30 minutes+ so I left and made a mental note to cross this off my list as this is 3rd time I have encountered same there.

Click to enlarge

I went to Chillingham just over the border and having seen many bikes stop at the general store decided it was about time I did the same. They didn't have much in the way of food I ended up with just a pie and coffee - the pie was good the coffee was lacking despite the sign claiming it was award winning beans (of which I have never heard of)
Anyway good position on the road to stop for a rest and watch the passing parade of motorbikes.

I continued my circle around Springbrook then by finishing off the Numinbah-Murwillumbah road finding the new section of road after Nobby's creek alot of fun (I usually turn off onto the North Arm road) then riding over Currumbin range which was a top ride as usual.

For the life of me I can't figure why people continue to only ride the northern Brisbane roads - this was mid afternoon, I never left home till 10.00am and I still had virtually no other traffic to spoil the riding, (nor any police) the north is choked with cars most Sundays by 10.30am and has alot less good roads and always has some police anti bike action.

Come ride the south its really wonderful.

Anyway then tried to follow the Google map ghost road from the other side. To do so I went over the Tullebugera connection road and left into Tullebugera Creek Road. This road ended 16 km after that at a dead end near the base of Springbrook so again the road doesnt exist however that 16 km was a nice find - a new great bike road which I will dedicate a full post to after this!