Sunday, March 22, 2009

Buell Muster '09 Australian Tour Preview

I have after some consideration completely revised my tour route for the Buell Muster.

Previously I had myself leaving on Easter Monday to allow enough days to travel in a counter clockwise loop into Victoria and back up to Jindabyne prior to the weekend of the muster. Three things stood out as potential problems with this plan.

1. Riding on Easter Monday.
2. Trying to ride the bigger portion of my tour prior to the muster weekend doesn't allow any flexibility or much chance to arrive without being tired.
3. Doing the longer K's afterwards places me better should I need a new rear tyre before home - which is highly likely - and may mean a detour to somewhere close to Sydney to try find a tyre.

So here then is my new plan. (click links to view route map of each day)

Day 1. Brisbane to Gloucester - A big first day but that's the one I find easiest to do the extra on when you are leaving home your fresh and early on roads you know. I am looking forward to riding the section from Grafton to Glenn Innes and of course Thunderbolts way.

Day 2. Gloucester to Goulburn - but not via how you might think. I am going to try some less travelled roads riding Denman to Bylong and then down to Lithgow followed by the Tablelands Way Oberon to Taralga. Both of these routes are only recently finished their slow transition from gravel to tar.

Day 3. Goulburn to Jindabyne - the scenic route. Travelling down King mountain to the Princess h-way then from Bermagui to Tathra, and then via what I am told are some sublime motorcycle roads to climb from the sea to the high country.

Day 4. Buell Muster organised ride - a loop around the Snowy Mountains.

Day 5. Jindabyne to Omeo - via Delegate. Will be a late start so a shorter ride today but one with no shortage of corners. First off I am looking forward to the much talked about road from Bombola to Orbost followed by the ride up to Omeo which is so good even the rain I experienced last time could not dampen the experience.

Day 6. Omeo to Tumbarumba - the long way up. I am really taking an interesting route today. First I plan to ride up to Dinner Plain and perhaps have a coffee then ride back to Omeo. For me this is the best part of the Great Alpine Road, over Hotham and the northern side the view might be great but the surface doesn't match. So I plan to ride to Falls Creek via Anglers Rest. I am told the road is being sealed and mostly finished - bit of a gamble so hope this works. Then I can enjoy Falls Creek to Mt Beauty (rated no.2 in the area) then Tawonga Pass and into Bright. After this I am going to ride up Mt Buffalo (rated no.1 MC road in area). After all that I still have the superb Granya road and Murray River road to enjoy - a HUGE good riding day so I hope that one is fine!

Day 7. Tumbarumba to Lithgow - by back roads. This should be a very relaxing and enjoyable ride day. I am using nearly all back roads to get to today's destination which I have been recommended or otherwises gathered from various sources. Some unsealed road to ride over out of Tumut but I am told it is maintained and so it should present no problems.

Day 8. Lithgow to Kempsey - if all goes well. By now I may be in need of a new rear tyre. I say may as I have no idea at this stage how long the tyres that came on the Buell will run as I have never used them before. They are referred to as sports tyres yet also have a dual or tri compound which is a not associated with a full sport tyre. Reports on mileage vary wildly which leaves me with no idea of how they will perform wear wise. I may have to head for Sydney to find a tyre if not I shall head up Putty road and over the Bucketts way.

Day 9. Kempsey to Brisbane -via some favorites. You will notice I skipped the Oxley h-way. Great road but ridden it a few times already so it can keep for another day as would push the mileage too high. Waterfall way and Nymboida are two of today's highlights then find my way home via familiar roads.

I also cut out the side trip to Mansfield from Bright as I could not make it work this particular trip not wanting to add another day just for this smallish section.

I'm will not be riding before the trip to conserve the tyres however I have plenty to keep me busy with the planning and organising. Some more new riding gear that I recently ordered from the USA has arrived.

These boots are shorty style like my plain Rivers boots I have been wearing however with substantially more protection. They are a bit stiff on which is part of the design I think so I hope they will stretch and loosen up a little bit.

I also have upgraded my gloves as part of a current program to upgrade the protection of all my riding apparel. Displayed here is my new set of summer gloves as well as a pair of new light weight winter gloves which are also 100% waterproof. Amazing none of these three items from a major manufacturer is or has been available in any of the Brisbane MC shops which continue to serve up a next to zero range of rider apparel.

The thing I like about these gloves is the design to fit inside your jacket - the end is a stretch material. This and the fact that they are not thick and bulky means you could change over to summer gloves mid morning (as is needed here in the sub tropics) and store these away quite easy.

I shall report on the performance of all three items post tour.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Australia’s Best Motorcycle Roads – Warrumbungles way

To the west of Coonabaraban lies the Warrumbungles range. The ride out there is quite spectacular and some nice curves as well. Then you can visit the Siding Spring Observatory if you wish which has great views of the surrounding countryside.

To the south east the Warrumbungles way is also nice riding being open sweeping road down to Binnaway. A bonus is most any road you take into Coonabaraban will be part of a virtual solar system drive which is linked to the observatory.

Well worth the detour inland.





Monday, March 02, 2009

Hot weather riding.

I am sure you can pick this spot by now...

It was rather hot Sunday the 1st of March. I decided to go for a ride all the same since fine days have been a bit scarce this year.

Riding apparel.

There is many ways of approaching riding in peak summer here, some perhaps better than others. Riding in shorts and t-shirts is the stupid way however riding in full leathers IMO isn't the answer either. I have seen riders with severe heat exhaustion because they are riding in leathers in the sun when its 35 degrees in the shade, to me that is also dangerous.

There is some good summer riding gear out there, but not everyone may be aware or willing to shell out the money required for a 2nd riding outfit. I find the motorcycle shops in Brisbane to have a very limited range of motorcycle clothing. I have talked about this before however I recently did the rounds again because I want to update a couple of items only to come home empty handed and start surfing the online shops.

So what to wear in Summer, well depending on how you want to go there is three main styles. If you have to wear leather then get something perforated. It will still be warm in our summers but not a sauna. I still have my perforated leather but I have not worn it for many years as I found it too hot.

An intermediate and common choice might be the every popular Draggin jeans with a textile jacket. This is a big improvement over leather cooling wise however on the real hot days both may still be warmer and less comfortable than some may wish for.

My pick is a good mesh jacket. These flow so much air that even on a really hot day you won't be uncomfortable. Mine has all the usual armor and even a back protector as well as lots of extra padded sections. As for pants the full summer mesh/textile items are going to deliver the same or if you prefer to wear jeans then look at ones with a baggy fit with suitable kevlar/nylon protection. Or that have a lining like my loose fit Alpinestars Jeans that lets the air really circulate.

Back roads around Stokers Siding are a roller coast ride in places.

Old ideas

I met a guy once in summer who was saying despite the heat he wouldn't dream of not wearing his leather jacket as nothing else offers as good protection. Now this guy like many seems to be a bit out of touch.

The wear resistance that is always quoted for leather ie Will last 5 seconds abrasion on the road is for special 1.4mm leather. Problem is virtually nothing except top label competition wares use this thickness of leather, all the cheaper race suits and jackets use 1mm or .8mm which delivers a much lower abrasion resistance. Super soft or older worn leather will be less again. The other item that gets over looked is the stitching. Without proper burst proof stitching then that favorite old jacket is going to separate apart on impact.

Now the level of resistance of textiles is actually rather good. Kevlar for example is actually 10 times more abrasion resistant than leather and there are a number of other nylon fabrics which compare favorably as well. The stitching issue still remains and needs to be examining closely.

If in doubt then consider a European brand, reason is only the EU has a mandatory quality standard that motorcycle apparel must achieve along with testing. Other brands of course do meet similar standards even if they are not required to in their own country however some of the cheaper brands might not so do some research on sites that review things like Webbike and Newenough as well as read buyer comments on the major US online stores.

So back to that guy - well I didn't say anything, it's pointless however as he gets on his bike I notice that he is wearing everyday regular Levi jeans - so no protection on his legs which they say is the part much more likely to be injured in a spill than your upper body.

Speaking of old ways, I nabbed this shot while having lunch

Sundays ride report

So back to my ride. The route can be found -here- I did a bit of a small loop over the coastal roads back to Mooball in the opposite direction of travel to my ride last weekend. Then via Burringbah and Stokers and ended up over at Uki pub for lunch where I kicked back with a icy cold ale in the shade with a few other riders. Then home via Numinbah valley and Advancetown. Plenty of bikes out despite the heat. Enjoyed the company of a nice rider on Blue (I think) ZXR the way down the coast which let me later on ignore the wanker on the 999 in the Currumbin range.

I think I have my 1000km up now so I have booked my first service anyway. Gotta really as only 6 weeks till I start the Buell Muster tour - I can't believe its coming up so fast.