Saturday, November 22, 2008

Springbrook mountain

Took a spin up Mt Springbrook this morning. Took the car and that was the right choice as the roads were covered in fallen branches and leaves and twigs. The few motorbikes I saw up there needed to go very easy with the loose road surface.

There has been so much rain this week I thought the waterfalls that are often dry would be putting on a good show and I was not disappointed.

Just after the Canyon Lookout is a picnic BBQ area and from here you can do what is called the twin falls walk which is 4km in length. In the dry there is water flowing on just two falls hence the name however today there were 6 waterfalls on this walk.

Taken from behind the falls. The walking path takes you under the two falls below along it's route.

High winds forecast for Sunday so not sure if I will ride given the amount of debris on the roads already. Will see how it looks in the morning.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Buell Muster '08

I went along to this years Buell Muster on Saturday.

The once a year ride and meet of Buell owners and enthusiasts of the brand was held this year in the Northern Rivers area of NSW with the attendees staying in Tyalgum - right smack in the middle of the area I like to call motorcycle paradise.

I have not owned a Buell for 18 months but have remained a fan of the XB series and thought more than once about getting another at various times.

So it was I set out early on Saturday to meet up with the Muster folk and go on the ride, in fact I was going to assist with some of the route given my knowledge of the area.

However it nearly all went bad. It was a surprisingly cool morning so after I left home I realised I was going to be too cold with just my Cortech HRX jacket (minus liner) so I returned home and quickly grabbed the wind blocker jersey thinking it would be enough until the just on daybreak morning cool evaporated and not wanting to lose alot of time fitting the jacket liners for the first time. Well it was perhaps just a odd day as the temperature dropped even more as I left the CBD and then more the further south I rode. By the time I was at the coast I was cursing not having brought my full winter jacket and at my limit of tolerance so I refueled and stayed awhile over a hot coffee near the Tweed.

Heading off to Murwillumbah I was mindful I had lost a bit of time so turning into the road to Tyalgum I thought I might be a bit late when rounding a corner I had a freight train of Buells thunder past me in the opposite direction and then I realised oh crap its Daylight Saving in NSW- I was actually over 1 hour late!

Fortunately however I arrived at that point in time and not later so I could simply turn about and join the ride. A great display of machinery with riders from as far as Adelaide, Alice Springs, Melbourne and Sydney to mention a few. Here is a few photos from the ride, I will add some more soon.

Speaking of which there is a new Buell forum that you should be aware of I wont go into the politics of it all however that's the place to read about this years Muster.

I had a great time meeting everyone at the Muster who made me feel very welcome despite not riding a Buell these days and I hope everyone had a good time.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cortech HRX jacket review part two. Ride report.

It was a very hot day today - perfect chance to put the Cortech HRX to test.

It is very heavy for a summer jacket but comfortable once on and has a solid feel to it. Cooling ability is ok however not as much as a full mesh lightweight jacket.

The cuffs work great - what I meant to say in my last post is they are hemmed like a regular jacket so stay in place when riding. Zips also good enough pockets.

The white got dirty very quickly. I think this is going to be more of a problem than I first thought however will see how it goes. Also while it no doubt is more visible it still didn't stop some idiot from nearly sideswiping me on the return home today over the Burringbah range when he -like so many lazy car drivers - could not manage to keep his car in his own lane.

Have to wait and see how it goes long term but so far ok.

Update: Well I used this jacket for a couple of summers but it really does not flow enough air and being heavy does not help you stay cool either. I tried to use it for one ride in winter with both the rain and warm quilt liners fitted and it failed miserably to keep me warm and the two layers once inserted are too bulky. It sat awhile and eventually I gave it away as I knew I was never going to wear it again. So what seemed like a good idea in real life just never worked out.

And so to today's ride. Brisbane to Clunes via back roads with lots of corners. After Currumbin riding first via the Farrants hill and coastal area stopped into Pottsville for a coffee and a look around - that place is really going ahead fast now - a look later at Ocean Shores (which I had never been to) then zig zag over Coolamon Scenic drive to Mullumbimby and Repentence creek road and on a bit more to Clunes for a late lunch.

On the return took a look at Minyon Creek Falls, a place I had not been to for about 20 years. Very dry and dusty, the bike was covered in dust despite the short 1km of dirt on the northern entry road. Not much flow in the falls at present despite some good rains this year.

The route is here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cortech HRX Jacket Review

Part one.

I usually don't review lots of items on this blog as I am limited to what I purchase myself however I am going make you think I went on a spending spree and present another item to look at.

Main reason I have purchased two new things in rapid succession is the value of the aussie dollar is starting to fall which makes buying items from overseas less attractive. 

My old Summer jacket is basic mesh item from Dryrider which I have used for the last 4 years and whilst it has served me fine I have wanted to improve the protection level of my riding apparel for some time with the summer jacket being number one on my upgrade list due to its simply construction and basic foam padding armor.

Shopping Local...

I have been looking for some time at jackets and came to the conclusion that nothing in the local shops was what I had in mind. Part of the problem is the majority of the Brisbane shops all stock the same limited range of items from a limited number of brands all with very similar pricing.

What I had in mind...

I kept putting this purchase off wanting to look up close at more brands but gave up and started to then surf the web instead. What I had in mind was more protection in a summer jacket and I want to increase my visibility to other road users by wearing a lighter colour. Small items I was also looking for was traditional zip up lower arms and proper hemmed cuffs not loose end with velcro as these ride up your arm and leave you wrists sunburned. A comfy neck line and longer rear of jacket length so to not leave my lower back exposed. Oh and it had to be easily washable if it was light colour - all of this is not so easy to find.

I kept coming back to this the Cortech HRX which ticks all of those boxes. I hesitated on if for a couple of months since I did not know the brand and was not able to see it close up before purchase as it is not sold here. Well with the aussie dollar falling fast I 'pulled the trigger' as the Americans love to say and ordered one from Ebay when I l was successful in placing a 'best offer' lower bid with a seller who also offered slightly cheaper shipping than any of the big US online shops. This combined to make for a good deal.

The build quality is excellent, I will continue this review after my road test on Sunday.
Part Two.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Northern Adventure - Ride report

Beautiful day today. I woke up about 7.00 and had a long breakfast and was not sure if I would go anywhere. My southern state ride partner was adamant the weather was going to turn to shite however here it was warm with a clear blue Spring sky outside so I grabbed my gear and headed north.

I think everyone else must have had the same idea - there were literally 100's of motorbikes out. It was actually too much a couple of times. It's nice to see other motorcycles - up to a point. When the roads are clogged thick with large very slow moving groups or (at the other end of the scale) when you have too many wannabe racers riding very aggressively then I would prefer to be off elsewhere.

Anyway after I cleared the log jam of bikes at Woodford I had a reasonable run to Maleny, I stopped once to let a slow convoy of cruisers and noobs move ahead a bit rather than have to ride too aggressively to get past them all. I have no qualms about passing slower vehicles however I have seen a far too many near misses recently caused by aggressive moves by impatient riders when passing. Twice this morning I witnessed near misses when riders arriving at the back of a slow car with other bikes already cued to pass jump the queue to pass it at the first clear bit of road when of course the bikes in front of them also pull out to pass.

An bloke on a Ducati came close to taking out a girl in front of me on Mt Mee this afternoon and similar antics this morning by guys who roared off at light speed just to pull over a few K's later at Dayboro. Each time there existed more than one section where they could have passed quickly less than a minute further on and these blokes probably only ride the same northern roads over and over so they would have been well aware of same.

I rode into Maleny for a coffee however it was packed to overflowing so I rode straight on to Kenilworth and stopped at the Bluebird Creek cafe south of town for a cup instead. I don't know why but I have never been there before. I guess I only ride the north every now and again for reasons I have already covered and had not noticed it before. There are a number of new (to me) road signs that caught my eye and directed me into it or I may have passed it by yet again. Nice place, lots of motorcycle items, friendly folk inside and bikes park on their front lawn - doesn't get much more welcoming than that!

I was tempted to have a slice of cake at Bluebird however I wanted to revisit a favorite place of mine for lunch, the Graze cafe in Mooloolah so I went on to Mapelton via Obi Obi. The twistys south of Kenilworth and then this road are perhaps the two best bits of a ride north of Brisbane for me. Refuel at Mapelton and then via the excellent Dulong section to Mooloolah for a leisurely huge lunch.

After lunch I took a series of roads south that I have written about before however deserve their own post as the ride from Palmwoods to Landsborough is a hoot if you know which route to take. For now look at today's route map and I will post more later on this. After Landsborough I decided not to bother with the overrated Killcoy-Beerwah Road to Peachester - its fun sure but so very short with way too may cars. So I rode the Peachester-Bald Knob road instead which was great and then made my way back to Mt Mee and refueled at Dayboro before continuing for home.

For me the divide between choosing to ride north or south continues to grow. I only saw one speed trap for the day (camera south of Maleny) which is an improvement on usual I encounter around Mt Mee. Besides that and the amount of traffic I still feel there is comparatively a much smaller amount of actual good riding road north of Brisbane. It might be a bit closer and doesnt have a 45 minute freeway ride to begin or end but there is plenty of boring or rough road to cover in between the few (mostly) short good bits.

On the other hand going south once I cover that freeway section then it's all good roads for as little or as long as I want to ride and I can mix and match as I please with no need to recover the same road twice. I find when I leave Peachester area and am reriding the same roads back to home the day really starts to drag. From the south on the other hand I find its relativelty easy after a refuel and rest to do the 45 minutes freeway stint because there is no start stop and your travelling at a steady fast pace all the way.

Today's route

Good Motorcycle rides #41 - Campbells Pocket

Been awhile since I posted any new roads around Brisbane however I do have a few new places to suggest riding and some others I have mentioned in passing on my ride reports and will update further.

To start though here is a little back road that can be fun.

Campbells Pocket lies between Mt Mee and Wamuran. The road to ride is of the same name - Campbells Pocket Road and it while quite narrow in a few parts it has a bit of everything to offer. Some sweepers followed by a steep initial ascent and then a mix of some very tight corners and some open dairy fields with a few roller coaster sweepers before a bit more tight closed in road.

It's a back road, bumpy in parts and not the best surveying however it is something different to ride one day - and thats always welcome I think.

View Route

Japan Motorcycle ride post archive

Japan Motorcycle post archive

(Update 2014 - most everything in here is out of date being 6 years old and my first ride in Japan. There is now an excellent rental service available (albeit expensive) and english GPS maps as well. Try some of my newer posts for more information) 

I am going to make a sticky link of this post in the archive so people can find the Japan ride reports easy on one page.

Japan Ride Report

Pre Ride post 3

Pre Ride post 2

Pre Ride post 1

In other news I have altered a few things on the main page to hopefully make it present a little better and quicker although that is difficult due to all the photos. Anyhow the removal of a few items has made a small difference. Cheers.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Winters over - Spring ride report

So much for winter - 2 months and we are back to warm days.

I ordered a winter riders jersey from the UK but I will have to wait 12 months to test it if Sunday is anything to go by, beautiful warm spring day. I had to go for a ride.

I headed off south with no firm plan other that to look about more in the area around Mullumbimby. I started by riding up Mt Springbrook then through the Numinbah valley where it was a bit cloudy before turning towards Tyalgum as the sun returned for a clear view of the volcano rim.

Tyalgum pub, there will be ALOT of Buells here for the annual ride this year.

I decided on a whim to see how bad the unsealed section of the road from Tyalgum to Uki was. Actually its quite poor surface in places so despite being no more than 8km of gravel I would not recommend it to inexperienced riders. Pity as it is very scenic and the sealed surface either side is alot of fun.

Southern side of Tyalgum presents this odd shape in the rim

A small gorge lies on the eastern side of the road to Uki

I went first south then I cut across east. I was going to ride via Nimbin however the road on the western side is under much needed repair so I went a little further south on the road to Kyogle then took the nice curvy Stoney Shute road to bring me out just east of the town itself. The road then from here into Lismore is in excellent condition with many new sections with lots of nice sweepers.

Interesting rocks near Nimbin

It was almost lunch time so I zig zagged north east to the Clunes cafe - which I will again recommend for lunch if in the area - quality food and coffee reasonably priced.
After this rest I continued north to Mullumbimby via Federal and on to Billinudel on a few secret local riding roads. I have not yet been able to capture the feel of the area in photos. The rolling hills that flow up from Byron bay with row upon row of deep green macadamia nut trees is quite a special area.

Nice little road this one - take a look if passing

Finally I finished up with a late afternoon coffee and rest Murwillumbah before heading home via the always enjoyable Currumbin range. About 500km all told, quite a big day out but most rewarding. I think south of Murwillumbah thir ride might flow better in the opposite direction of travel - but variety is the spice of life.

Full route can be seen here.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mid Winter Ride Report

Saturday of this weekend was very mild, actually by midday it was warm enough for just a T-shirt and jeans so I decided I would go out for a ride Sunday with weather like that.

Today of course was not quite as warm ... I wanted to go south-west which I suppose did not assist matters temperature wise. Riding out west I could feel the temperature dropping and then from Yamanto out to Aratula via Kalbar it was very cold.

I stayed awhile at the Bakery over a coffee however there was no warmth in the sun at mid morning so decided I would skip my original idea of riding over the mountains to Queen Mary falls and then south west beyond them as it was too cold and might just cruise back.

Part of the scenic rim looking from Lake Moogerah

I rode over to Maroon lake via Mt Alford and Lake Moogerah as the Two Wheels forum was talking of having a xmas get together there however I could not locate any accommodation or much in the way of facilities on the boat ramp side. It warmed slightly so I then rode over Barney View road as I wanted to photo the mountains in the clear winter air.

Lake Maroon

Mt Barney View road

By this time it had warmed more at last so I decided to ride over Mt Lindesay to Woodenbong then look for something to eat. They have resurfaced some more of the range and its really such a nice ride. I was taken back by how many motorcycles were riding Mt Lindesay today. Even in summer I usually don't see many riders out that way.

One of the many excellent corners of Mt Lindesay

I don't know why I had not tried before however the friendly Woodenbong Hotel does counter meals and has a rather nice beer garden out back too, so with the coffee shop that previously opened across the street there is no longer 'nothing at Woodenbong' - which is great news as it makes a ideal point to aim for on a easy ride day compared to the big loop via Kyogle. If the general shop is out then you can get premium at Urbenville 13km south (nice little ride over and back too) however even my thirsty MV can do the round trip to there from either Boonah or Beaudesert on a tank so I don't see it being an issue.

WWoodenbong Pub.

I will try my original ride again - but with better thermal arrangements.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Australias best motorcycle roads - Alpine National park

Whilst most riders know of the Great Alpine Road that runs more or less from Bright to Omeo Victoria there are some notable good roads to ride in the areas adjacent.

First if coming from NSW/QLD then you may have ridden one of the Murray river/valley roads and be heading south from the Hume. There is a road referred to as the Redbank road which is a service road for the farms that runs adjacent to the C531. This is not a bad road, a bit bumpy however less traffic or police make it worth a look.

At Tawonga you can ride up to Falls Creek and return (or on all the way to Omeo as it is now all sealed).

The ride across Tawonga Gap is a superb mountain pass with a classis series of corners up to a lookout followed by another series of nice radius corners on the descent down the other side.

North of Bright is another twisty climb up to Mt Buffalo which is a another well surfaced superb motorcycle ride that services the ski resort.

This area is one I need more time riding to fully expand but for now can only point out the good roads and do not have more photos or more recent travel there.