I finished watching the Long Way Down for the 2nd time when it aired recently on SBS and I enjoyed it much more this viewing. I still think from a entertainment point it didn't present as well as the original Long Way Round series however I now recognise that for the riders and support crew this trip would have been every bit as good. I am still very jealous.
I have started working out what I shall do in the way of a major ride for this year. Given the woeful state of the Aussie dollar overseas is out so I am going to do another motorcycle tour downunder - this time on the Buell.
I was thinking April before it gets too cold down south and it turns out that the 2009 Buell owners get together (AKA Buell Muster) is happening then too. This year the meeting place is Jindabyne so I will incorporate this into my tour.
Here is my outbound route. This also features a side trip from Bright over to Mansfield (exact route yet to be finalised) before continuing south over the Great Alpine Road. I then swing north east towards Bega over some new (to me) roads which I am reliably informed are up with the very best riding in the country.
I will stay a couple days at Jindabyne and do the ride day with the other Buell owners that runs up the Snowy Mtns h-way and criss crosses Mt Kosciuszko via the old Hydro scheme service roads into Victoria and back on via the Alpine way to Jindabyne.
My return route takes me on some more new roads namely via the Tablelands Way route between Goulburn and Lithgow (recently sealed) and then I shall try riding Lithgow to Singleton via the western side of Wollemi forest which has few K's of dirt but otherwise looks good to go on Google street view.
Anyone reading this and contemplating similar should know there is also a few k's (good) unsealed road near Bombala on the Victorian side - however its preceded by 100+ K's of sealed non stop corners which many riders have recently spoken very highly of so I don't mind a little unsealed surface to enjoy the rest of whats on offer.
I have had a few people write to me about tours they are doing since starting this blog and I am always pleased to hear of people getting out on their bikes. I recently received an email from a reader asking my suggestions for a ride to Phillip Island. I was already in Motowhere doing my tour so I added my ideas for a ride to the island from the Gold Coast. Outbound Route. Return Route. which are along the same lines as my ride with a few changes since I do the Alpine loop with the Buell owners I avoided that on my ride and I also am doing the exploration bit north of Lithgow where as I suggest other riders return via Putty rd.
On the subject of touring here are a few things worth knowing -:
It is much cooler in the southern states than here. You can leave here in summer gear but by the time you pass the mid north coast the temperatures drops dramatically. I left Brisbane and it was 30 degrees and muggy tropics type weather. In Bright Victoria it was 2 degrees at 7.00am in the morning and cold all day on the bike. My advice is take some warm gear no matter what time of year.
Know before hand it might rain all day on one or more days and then do not shy away from buying a good rain outfit, rain covers or waterproof footwear and gloves. (or waterproof items)
Carry a map (Australian Motorcycle Atlas is still good)
Definitely have a puncture repair kit.
Review each leg the night before and have a plan in your mind for fuel because it is very easy to get caught out in some areas like the Snowy Mtns for example where one possible route you can take requires a fuel range of 220km which not every bike can manage.
Worth knowing a few phone numbers for breakdown services in each state (eg NRMA) just in case you get stranded somehow.
Comfort. If you have never ridden far then you won't realise how important this is until too late. Set your suspension a bit softer. Consider getting a Airhawk seat pad if your riding a bike with a typical thin narrow seat. If you are on a sports bike then realise these are not designed to tour and think about suspension, seat, wrists and knees.
Take regular breaks and get some ear plugs - the soft silicon swimmers ones from chemists I find work best and are not bothersome like the foam ones.
Pack as light as possible. Honestly have a few trial goes and think how to reduce the things needed then when finished trial fitting your luggage to your bike securely.
Protect your duco from the luggage even if the manufacturer says will not mark or scratch. Get some dust between bag and paint and by days end your paint will be damaged. I find the rolls of non slip rubber matting sold in Coles/Woolworths do a good job.
Lastly - have fun and don't focus on covering ground. Rather take the time to stop at lookouts and other photo opportunities as well as to recharge over a morning coffee or afternoon tea. It will only add a tiny bit of time at days end yet actually make the trip enjoyable rather than just an exercise in distance riding.