Friday, December 09, 2011

Review Held RainStar gloves

Back online after having to replace my laptop. Only so much I can do on an iPad so glad to have a proper computer again.

At the risk of sounding like a Held Gloves fanboy – the Held RainStar gloves are truly the best gloves I have ever used and exceeded my expectations by a large margin.

I have gone through a number of gloves, more than most people because I have that dermatitis issue. I need very comfortable gloves that will not chaff in even minute amounts. What seems comfortable can still rub a bit and then I have medical problems. The gloves that are lined are a level above unlined gloves for comfort but these are mostly limited to winter use. Besides being obviously too hot for our summers perspiration is another enemy for me.

The Held RainStar gloves have a pique push pull liner with something they call Outlast which is a phase change material. The thinking is the material can hold or disperse heat to regulate the temperature in glove. Now this to me sounded like advertising spin so I did not buy the gloves for this idea whatsoever – but they may be onto something. Riding New Zealand I never had to use my glove liners despite riding in very cold temperatures and the gloves were comfortable on warmer days as well. Back here I wore them on that freak Sunday in November that hit 35 and they were more comfortable than they had any right to be.

The Gore-tex lets them breath well and this is a key element to their effectiveness. I might also be staring to believe some other marketing spin - that says Gore-tex is superior to the other material used in waterproof rider gear. I know that gear I have with other brand name waterproof material simply does not breath as well.

Safety wise they have all you would expect and I won’t go into the multiple layers. Not a cheap glove, I purchased from Revzilla in USA, who I can recommend, these are probably gloves for someone with either a need or desire for the very best and willing to pay accordingly.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Motorcycle touring New Zealand

New Zealand is a wonderful place to ride a motorcycle. I just had a week and a half riding the south island and apart from some mixed weather at first I have to say it was some of the best riding I have ever experienced.


I flew into Christchurch to meet a mate who was joining me on this ride and wow that city is really in bad shape from the earthquake. The TV cameras have long gone but the damage lives on with the majority of the downtown and neighboring areas one huge ghost town looking like something out of a WW2 movie. I have to suggest if you are going there to stay out of town as there simply is nothing open in the centre in the way of food etc.


I had booked a Suzuki Vstrom with City Motorcycle rentals Christchurch and the owners really looked after me before and after, very friendly - highly recommended.


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Plan was to do a leisurely loop around the south island with plenty of time spare to allow for weather and sightseeing. First of all went to the West Coast over Authur’s Pass and via Lake Brunner. Beautiful scenery and great sweepers to ride. After this I rode north to Westport along the coast. This road easy equals our Great Ocean Road for beautiful scenery and great curves that never let up for 90km.  Like most of New Zealand it has generous road speed limits and low to zero police patrols outside of major towns.


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I really liked riding the Northern part of the South Island. There is a network of roads servicing the rural areas that are all well surveyed and surfaced with next to no traffic. You need to plan your fuel as services can be few and far between but this isolation was something I enjoyed. The Buller Gorge area was particularly good riding. The Lewis Pass also a lot of fun and I would explore the area north to Picton more if I was to go again.


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Riding down the west coast is at times dramatic as you skirt the ocean then have the mountains rise up as you get closer to Franz Joseph. I have already done the helicopter to the top of the alps so just chilled in town while my mate experienced it, well worth the money if you are there sometime in my opinion.


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The Alps recede as you once again skirt the ocean riding south. There is a almost tropical feel to the vegetation but only for a short time before you turn left and climb up into the high mountains. Riding over Mt Aspiring you can enjoy a series of sweepers that go on and on, beautiful riding before exiting the mountain to Lake Wanaka where you hug the cliff for some exciting twisty road riding.


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About now I had accustomed to the Vstrom and will try explain my thoughts on it from my riding experience. Being high it certainly felt like a large bike compared to most I have ridden however it is not as heavy so not difficult to ride at low speed like some large bikes tend to be. All day comfortable seating and very stable in the sweepers, these would be the bikes strong points. Less willing to provide a quick change of direction and on twisty roads quite a bit of work to drop in and come out of switchbacks would be the weak points but perhaps not really the design of the bike. I would have liked a little more passing power but got used to working the gear box which is smooth. I experienced a lot of wind buffering to my helmet despite adjusting the screen and I hope this is limited to only me. I guess between the buffering and cornering characteristics it was not a match for me personally but then I tended to ride it harder than probably was the design cruising 140k in the sweepers and demanding more than I really should. However for me the CBF600 I had in Europe did everything a little better. But that’s just my personal experience


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From Wanaka I rode the spectacular Crown Range, perhaps the highest road I traversed this tour over to historic Arrowtown. I was a it disappointed with Arrowtown, they have this wonderfully preserved frontier look town yet the main street is chock o block full with new SUV’s and hire cars all blocking the shop frontages and spoiling any chance of photo’s. Seriously, ditch the cars in the main street folks…


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Riding to Glenorchy via Authurs Point encountered a spot of rain. It looked rather heavy ahead so after some thought's turned around and went past Queenstown and tried the road from Frankston down to Kingston. Here too ran into some rain and turned around and then my GPS froze so pulled over to reset it and after a small while could see the rain had already blown over the nearby mountain so did another u turn and managed to get a nice ride in to Kingston and back.


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Riding across from Frankston to Lake Tepaco there is an amazingly diverse landscape, from snow covered mountains and fiord like lakes the country changes as you traverse the superb Lindis range and on to an area with huge tree less grassy hills with lunar like canyons. Fortunately the roads are magic all the way with superb riding to be enjoyed.


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Very strong cross winds on last few days, coming into lake Tepaco the wind would blow me across my lane which was no fun at all. The temperatures plunged so I had to don my thermal base layer but generally was comfortable despite the ice blast wind. The water in these glacier fed lakes has the most amazing blue tinge which you have to see to believe.


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Lastly, spectacular scenery and great riding roads are located quite close to Christchurch in the Akaroa area. If you only had one day then hire a motorcycle and head straight there for a fun day riding the twisty mountain roads that run around the edge of the extinct volcano rim that surrounds the village below.


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I had a great time riding NZ albeit with my long term medical issue stopping the proceedings half way through. Definitely am going to cancel my initial plan for a big USA ride next year and down size it to something more manageable.
The roads in NZ are great and have so few cars that they are a non event. Motorcycle hire was quite reasonable, about $150NZ a day all inclusive. Airfares from Australia are as low as $99AUS, fuel was between $2.15-2.20 a litre but the Vstrom was cheap to operate even at these rates. Accommodation will run you about $100-140NZ a night, I found Wi-Fi lacking despite claims otherwise so ask before you book if web access is important. Meals ran between $20-$40NZ each but fast food is much cheaper than this if you wanted to go that way. I cannot think of anywhere you could go and ride so many fantastic roads so affordably.
Get the hell over there!


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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New Zealand motorcycle tour preview

I am packing my motorcycle riding gear in preparation for riding New Zealand. I start holidays this weekend and am r-e-a-l-l-y looking forward to my break from work Smile

I have not posting anything the last few weeks, the ‘ol hands have been playing up and I am back on medication. I am forced to really rethink my USA ride and plan an alternative shorter route for North America next year, maybe a month, still thinking it through, but am going to stop kidding myself about what it realistic with this medical condition.

Anyway this is my kit for NZ.

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From right I have my new Held ‘Rainstar’ gloves (review after the ride) Alpinestar jacket and pants as per my Europe ride as temperatures are still too cold for anything else. 4 Pairs of Alpinestars coolmax boot socks (quickdry so can wash in route). My Long Way Round warm buff for neck and my new Hairy Bikers coolmax type buff for helmet liner (to avoid helmet pressure points from scrunched hair).

Taking the Nolan N43 this trip for its large viewport and internal sun visor. Vitessi boots, new boot rain covers from Tour Master and a inner rain liner (jacket and pants are already waterproof but jacket has small storm flap so this is insurance). Out of frame is my small tool kit with puncture repair, my GPS and then lastly a new book I have wanted to read for awhile, Uneasy Rider by Mike Carter.

I am hiring from City Motorcycle Rentals in Christchurch, my point of arrival. I have chosen a Suzuki Vstrom with hard luggage. My clothes will be stashed in waterproof roll down bags I sourced from eBay and will fit in the side cases, suitcase will be stored by City Rentals.

Route will be back and forth on the northern alps crossings and then down the west coast, across the mountains again to Wanaka followed by Queenstown and the nearby lake roads and then back north.

Tell you all about it in a couple of weeks. IC.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Now

I slept in a bit and after hesitating decided to quickly get ready and try for a ride.
I had no real plan and just rode south. Almost immediately I had a woman in a Golf GTI merge into my lane despite sounding my horns (CB has two) from the second I noticed her moving over. So much for my thoughts that a sports exhaust might make people more aware of you.
I guess I was not in a happy place despite it being a lovely day. Sometimes I fall into the wishful if only thinking trap which serves to empower our limitations. I was starting to question if I should have just stayed home then I saw this smiley rock which made my day.

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It made me do a U turn and ride back, get off the bike and take a breather and come back to ‘the now’ which is the one simple cure for wishful thinking blues. Hey this is a hell of a nice day, not cold not hot, the air is clear after the rain last night and roads are almost empty. Time to enjoy what the now is presenting to me.

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Currumbin valley
Dropping down into the Tweed Valley I could feel a the mix of cool and warm air pockets that seem to present themselves in the days before Summer fully arrives. The smell of sugar cane processing was in the air and the Condong sugar mill was already operating with a full plume of steam from its chimney.

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I decided to not try too big a ride since I had a huge Friday night out drinking and energy wise was probably not back near 100% yet. Past Murwillumbah to Uki and via Stokers Siding to Burringbah was very enjoyable.

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Burringbah range

Then I rode the hidden roads that criss cross the highway north to Farrants Hill. Some nice views of the valley on the left and the ocean on the right along the way and scarcely a car as is the way often when riding there.

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I must try the Tumbulgum pub lunch some time, had to be 40 motorbikes at least parked at it and very crowded. However the café had parking and choice of tables out front and I know the food and coffee are ok so it seemed to be made for me today.

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Todays route is here

Sunday, October 02, 2011

First Gear Scout Jacket review (and some long term updates)

I was going to get out for a ride today but just did not feel up to it.

First of all I want to post an update on two items.

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Dainese Guanto X-ILE gloves. Following on from my previous review all I can say is - very disappointed in these. The way the fingers are stitched means they end up being uncomfortable after 1/2 a day as the seam rubs against the area between your fingers. Look great but crap design. I already have sworn off Italian bikes and am extending that to rider equipment.

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Vitessi boots. Well I have been using these French made boots for some time and they are both comfortable and stylish however the suede leather parts sure got soiled quick. I have not had problems getting them on and off with the laces as talked about previously and I don’t find it takes any extra time. I like them but hope I can keep them looking ok moving forward.

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First Gear Scout Jacket. I purchased this on close out at nearly half price to replace my Alpinestars leather jacket.

To counter some of the negative press I have given Alpinestars newer products my old Alpinestars dyno jacket was one of the first/original items I saw here from this company. It was not made in China and it still looks and functions almost like new despite years of use. The styling is timeless and I simply have put on weight that makes this shorty sports cut jacket ride a little high or I would not have replaced it.

And now to the Scout jacket from First Gear. This is a jacket I want to sit in the middle of the road, not a full winter jacket and not a summer mesh but able to cover a wide temperature range for touring. My mesh Cortech summer jacket has liners but really does not work well in cooler weather and my winter jacket is the Alpinestars WP10 which when zipped to their winter pants is a great cold weather combo but doesn’t breathe so well as the day warms up.

The Scout has a removable liner and it does a fair job with cold weather. Add a windproof midlayer and thermal base shirt and with other suitable winter gear you can get through a Brisbane winter morning then when the day warms the jacket will really work well to adjust.

I tried it in the first hot weather of the year 2 weeks ago and the venting also works well. It has two rear zip down exhaust vents and two large front zip down intake vents that can be pulled open further at the top. It also has dual zips at the lower arms which let air into your sleeves. 

There are lots of textile jackets that probably do the same thing however I wanted a leather jacket again and the Scout seems a fairly good thing so far. It weighs a ton in comparison to my textile jackets, even to the old Dyno jacket and the cut is a bit looser than I wanted but that is really as I am now in between sizes and not a fault of the jacket. Purchased before I decided on my North America tour next year I am not sure if it can cover the temperature ranges there however if it lasts like the Dyno has then I will more than get my value from it with only local use. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In the groove

Seems every week recently is mostly fine except Sunday which is forecast chance of rain or occasional showers. So I shifted gear and went for a Saturday ride.

Wasn’t the best of weeks for me so a good ride was needed. I decided to do the tried and proven loop to Kyogle riding down via Mt Lindsey and the Summerland Way and returning via UKi and Currumbin valley. There are two perfect radius corners near the Mt Lindsey border crossing that brought a smile to my face this morning. The sort of corners where instead of ending as they might normally they extend on to give you the extra hang time defying gravity. On the Summerland I could enjoy some trees with their new spring foliage and these two roads just really work for me.

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I had a very good run for nearly the whole ride and this was mostly due to the timing as I woke up early and could not get back to sleep so was riding through the suburbs before any traffic and was at Kyogle by 9.30 even with stops.

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There is something to be said for getting out very early but of course the negative is fatigue. I took a long break at the Tweed valley art gallery café Murwillumbah for a very early lunch and could feel myself just wanting to stay put.

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The best thing about the CB1100 besides it’s looks is the way it is still enjoyable to ride at less pace so I could ride back relaxed but not be bothered. Some naked bikes don’t feel happy unless you are going a bit quicker and of course real sports bikes always want to be ridden faster. While at times I want to play I also just like to wander along and think about stuff and enjoy the surrounds. It’s not for everyone but I enjoy having less focus on covering ground and more on being in the groove with the flow of the road.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Scattered showers

That was the forecast and when I woke to blue sky I thought they had predicted the worst case as usual.

This time however it was true and by 8.30 refueling at Mudgerraba you could see the rain blowing in from the sea to the south. When my friend from Ballina way arrived he had ridden through some of those scattered showers and so I decided to ride up Springbrook and try Numinbah Valley.

They continue to resurface Springbrook and it is a really a very good ride. From Pine creek road I could see the rain in Numinbah valley and so a switch to Beechmont was made. Two uniforms in a white unmarked Commodore with dark tint working Hinze raceway. They barely looked at us and continued to patiently await some crouch rockets. I always play it safe on that road which is the Mt Glorious of the south.

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Had a nice ride on Mt Beechmont and decided the rain had swept in so the coast should now be dry. We swung through Gilston and onto the M1 south and then up Tallebugera valley and over Currumbin valley to Murwilumbah which had all dried. Threw out the Tweed valley ride I had in mind and decided to visit Burringbah range and refuel at Burrinbah servo then revisit Burrinbah range and ride to Uki via Stokers Siding.

On the way some twit in a Mercedes sports car spat the dummy when my mate passed him and so set off trying to keep up and then upon failing made it clear he was not letting me pass by driving in the middle of the road and swerving across to other lane if I moved to pass. Once upon a time I would have cared, now I just yawn and position myself well away so when these idiots crash (and they will) it does not involve me.

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My usual lunch at the Uki pub has gone up a few dollars, inflation is running wild in this country.

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Rode back via Numinbah valley and stopped for some photos.

The pale straw grass was illuminated by the afternoon sun like it was ready to set itself alight. I am back using a compact camera again. Yes I seem to have changed cameras a lot of late, thankfully eBay lets you sell things easy. Today is all from a Olympus XZ1 which is brilliant little compact camera with a bright lens and sharp sensor than allows subject isolation I am using it with the VF2 electronic viewfinder. The whole interchangeable lens thing just didn’t work for me nor does spending hours working in that Adobe Lightroom software. I just prefer to capture what my mind is imagining on the spot or not at all. So from now on its back to straight from the camera with only some cropping to frame correctly.

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The muffler system now sounds near perfect but the chrome plating is really starting to discolour bronze and I hope this stops soon. I am very happy with the Firstgear jacket and must do a more detailed report on it some time. The BMW pants I am wearing are not holding up so well and look very aged and have shrunk considerably more than any garment should in the legs meaning they now ride up too much. Disappointing given their brand name and price tag. I am back using the Nolan N43 helmet again. I was getting pressure points with it and some focus issues with dual visors but a thorough clean has helped with the vision and I tried using my buff as a head scarf and you know that really does give so much extra comfort!

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About 9 or 10 weeks until riding New Zealand south island but I am already hard at work most nights planning next years big tour to North America!

Hope you also managed to stay dry riding today. Regards, IC.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Spring may have sprung

Looked like it would be a fine day when I woke early this morning, the clouds were already breaking up so I decided I should go for a ride and perhaps think some things over.

Traveling south I ‘flat slabbed it’ as the Americans put it to Currumbin where I refueled and along the way came up with a new variation on some of my favourite roads.

First I rode over the Currumbin border range. The air was cool and very clear so I stopped to try and capture the moment however I am still learning with this new camera and did not manage to do so well despite many attempts...

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Border ranges

I had a smooth journey to Uki riding the road as it follows the river with Mt Warning standing tall in my view all the way it was very enjoyable. The new road south of Uki is also nice to ride. I know it lost many curves in the revamp but this new section flows smooth so I like it a lot.

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Uki

I stopped for a morning coffee at the Sphinx Rock café Mt Burrell and while it was a nice rest they have stopped serving Merlo coffee which was a slight disappointment.  

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South towards Kyogle a little further then I turned left to Nimbin. The road into Nimbin is still a mixture of surfaces some good some poor some gravel roadworks. Before Nimbin I turned left towards Turntable creek. There is a terrific view point a few km down this road over the whole of the Nimbin valley which I just could not capture well enough today with the new camera - maybe next time.

The road over to The Channon is narrow and tricky in parts with some loose surface but if you ride at a steady pace then no reason you cannot ride this route and focus on the scenery. After The Channon the road improves as does the landscape with the rolling hills always reminding me of the Tuscan hills in Italy. Maybe not as scenic but it is very pretty in parts with some beautiful grand homes scattered around the countryside as well. There may be a few hippies left but there are far more millionaires in these hills and beyond to Byron Bay.

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Dunoon

When you ride from or to the Channon it is important to note the Dunoon road is not sealed all the way so you need to detour on Dorroughby road via Corndale. The signs will direct you onto the Dunoon road so take a moment to study the route map I will include for today at the end of the post.

The ride then is often along the ridge of the hills offering wonderful views of groves of macadamia trees mixed with lots of curves. This area is my favourite riding within one day of Brisbane. These scenic country roads have few cars and outside of the villages are mostly open road speed limits with no enforcement so you can relax and just ride to the conditions and enjoy yourself.

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I was recalling today it was about 15 years ago that I was shown this area and it struck me how fast the years had passed. I often thought I would like to relocate to the area and change my life. You think you have plenty of time and yet the window to do some things in life is not as wide as it first may appear to be. Especially the big ticket items.

The road from Rosebank to Goonengerry is not in as good a condition as it used to be. Not a show stopper but I saw a herd of hogs on the road today and they seemed to be having a slow old time of it and I suspect the sports bike rider would not much like it either as need good suspension travel to soak up the bumps.

I had intended to get back to Murwillumbah Tweed Gallery for lunch but I was hungry and ready for a break at Mullumbimby. I tried a new to me café Poinciana located on the eastern side near the new Woolworths. Good service, tasty burger and strong coffee but my burger was priced very high and I naturally expected it to be a full meal with chips and salad but nope just a burger and not even a large one so give this place a miss as it is very expensive.

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How clear is the air today!

I had a very smooth run back over the Tweed valley way and Burrunbah range and indeed over Numinbah despite the motorcycle volume jumping dramatically once north of the Tweed river. Warm enough today to call this the first ride of Spring.

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Numinbah


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gympie ride

Today I was determined to make up for last Sunday when I had planned to ride before drinking too much the night before. And so I headed north to Gympie.
The forecast was for occasional showers in the Sunshine Coast district however one look this morning and I made up my mind it was going to be a perfect day so I loaded up the camera rather than my rain gear.

It was not real cold but not exactly mild either. I think one of the best things I have done in recent years is stop using Draggin style kevlar jeans. We do not have a particularly cold winter here but it is cold enough to need more than they offer and while I have commented the winter jacket I have does not breath the same does not apply to the Alpinestars winter pants I purchased. They were a higher level model than the Jacket and are a Goretex type material which really works well to insulate you but still breath. It's amazing how much extra comfort they provide in winter, and along with my BMW 'City' summer riding pants both provide hip and knee protective armor as well.

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Clear Mountain Road early morning

I rode the usual northern route of Clear Mountain then on to Dayboro and over Mt Mee and on to Woodford where it was slow going with a lot 'Splendour in the Grass' music festival traffic. Then I made good time on to Maleny where I felt like a rest so stopped for an excellent coffee in town. After this I rode down the range to Conondale where I got fuel and then over to Kenilworth. The road in the forest was very busy with motorbikes.

The road to Gympie was quite enjoyable riding. A small climb not far north of Kenilworth then some nice sweepers a bit further on, before I knew it I was there. Gympie town shops were all closed except for the fast food outlets and one uninviting looking café. That was a shame as there was lots of tourists like me 'doing laps' looking for nice place for lunch. I ended up at Subway, which I regretted.

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Interesting old buildings everywhere in Gympie

I more or less followed the train line to the east of the highway south of Gympie for a bit to see what the roads were like. Not bad, something different, but the western Mary Valley side riding up was better and I would explore that further next time. I took a detour at Nambour to ride via Dulong, Eudlo and Mooloolah Valley which is always a good ride.

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Dulong Road

After this I decided to revisit Bald Knob road. I noticed Blogger has lost my photos for this road in a previous post so I took the opportunity to grab a couple more. Great views, if you have not been there the views in the afternoon are especially good.

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Bald Knob Road

Riding into Peachester I noticed a highway patrol and police motorbike and some police pulling over motorcycles coming from the west. Not sure what was going down, the dozen or so curves to the east whilst grossly overrated are extremely popular and thus this area attracts a lot of attention. I generally give it a miss but it was in my path today.

I meandered back Old Gympie Road which I rather like and then explored some back roads as you can see on the map below before getting lost near Narangba when my GPS battery died. I actually never use a GPS riding but today wanted to find certain roads so took it with me. I could have navigated the last bit with Google Maps on the iPhone but decided it was getting late and I had been up since 6:45am and was getting tired so I ended up on the Bruce highway which was ok for a while but then became a traffic jam from Bald Hills in. Other wise it was a good day riding.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Local Ride

Weather improved today so I decided to do a small ride after lunch.


After a slow traffic light crawl out of the city I rode via Bunya Road and Clear Mountain Road which were mostly free of cars. The clouds looked rather dark and heavy and I was wondering if I had made a bad call. After Win road I rode back to Samford and up the road towards Mt Glorious. This was rather slow going due to traffic lights controlling one lane traffic on the mountain where the road had been damaged however the sun came back out so I pulled over to try my new lens.

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Wet up top so I turned to Mt Nebo and simply cruised. Stopped at camp mountain lookout and was going to do some more photography but the normally empty spot was a hub of activity today so rode on home via Waterworks road which was surprisingly light with traffic so allowed me to get home just a couple hours after I set off.

Short but satisfying escape from home to refresh the mind.

BTW I have updated many of the oldest posts about what roads to ride with new maps and deleted a lot of old off topic rubbish that the "you may also like" links refer to.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Common Sense

I went for a ride Sunday, not far from home guy pulls up beside me and asks where is my number plate? Sure enough the plate was gone so I just turned about and went back home.

Mystery as to how it came off as both bolts still in place and bike has been in secure lockup since last ride My only rational thought is the bolt heads are small and the tin plate very thin so maybe by a fluke one head pulled through the plate and then the wind took the other the same way.

In the meantime this video was posted to the Motorcycle Paradise Facebook Page and is the findings of the GEAR study. This study when launched brought me into contact with forum bully Boris (AMCN) who claimed there was no proof that protective gear worked. I foolishly responded that was bullshit and an abundance of evidence exists around the world and then his cult chimed in that I was an idiot and if Boris says the world is flat then it is. That encounter brought to a permanent end my time on motorcycle forums. (was a true blessing in disguise)

Choose for yourself what to wear when you ride, little common sense goes a long way.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Winter riding

I hit the road early today and despite being one of the coldest weekends this year I was not cold at all having learned a few tricks to ensure I keep warm.

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Starting at the base layer I wear a thermal shirt rather than a regular t-shirt. I use merino ones which are pricey here but not too bad if you buy from New Zealand and much better than the regular polyester ones. Besides holding the body heat in they breath and wick moisture away unlike cotton which holds moisture.

Next thing is to keep the wind out. If you have jacket that zips to your pants and has genuine windproof zipper then a mid layer may not be needed. All my jackets have zippers which leak air in, even the so called 100% waterproof Alpinestars which also has too small a storm flap inside to stop cold air that comes straight through the zipper so I use a mid layer of a vest from a hiking shop which is is both windproof material and windproof zipper. (edit – I also like the look of mid layer wind proof shirts for bicycle riding)

I tuck both shirt and vest into my winter riding pants. These are a water and wind proof goretex type pant from Alpinestars which actually works well and also has a inner removable thermal liner. (edit – if you must wear jeans then get a pair of long thermal pants to wear underneath, your local BCF has them for next to nothing) I was using my winter pants with the above mentioned matching Alpinestars jacket however despite it leaking in cold air it does not breath very well as the day warms up so basically I have given up on it and have switched to using a lined leather jacket instead.

This leaks in a tiny bit of air in at the zipper but with the inner windproof vest it is not enough to be a problem. It is not as warm as the nylon Alpinestars winter jacket however once the day warms up this jacket is becomes far superior as it breaths and lets you regulate the temperature inside.

Three cheap things that make more difference than anything else I have tried over the years.

No.1 is get a Buff. These neck tube things help seal off the drafts that would sneak down your back, keep your neck warm and can be pulled up over your nose on a very cold morning to keep your lower face/lips warm, stop you getting sniffles from ice cold air and stop visor fog if you have not already treated your visor.  (edit – a scarf can help if you do not have a Buff and there are many different types of Buff things out there so by no means do you need that brand)

No.2 is get glove liners. A set of silk liners are cheap as online and will add some warmth to a regular set of gloves or go further and get proper thermal glove liners. So easy to use then roll up and pop in your pocket once the day warms.

No. 3 is get a pair of good quality winter long socks, and if your feet perspire a lot then get cool max or other thermal wicking type to ensure your feet stay dry or they will be cold. If you ride in short boots then once your pants ride up the wind is going to make your lower legs very cold so look for wind stopper socks, if your local outdoor shop can’t help then bicycle gear is good, try Ground Effect in New Zealand online. (edit – they have good merino shirts and mid layers too)

Oh and lastly make sure your helmet vents are closed. Pretty common mistake this and if I am losing heat via my dome then I never get entirely warm.

And so todays ride. I met my ride buddy from NSW at the Eleanor McDonalds where he who rarely feels the cold conceded it was not a bad idea to warm up a bit first over a hot beverage. I also wanted to shift from the Petrol station meeting place which given we meet not very often is hardly an ideal place to catch up. Coffee aroma beats petrol fumes in my book.

Missed the road I saw on Google maps that loops onto Currumbin valley road and ended up on the Tallebudgera connection road instead. No prbs I like the small hill section of that road a lot. Easy ride over the range and then zigged across Numinbah Rd to North Arm and skirked Murwillumbah town and on to Uki then over to Stokers Siding. Had a blast on Burrinbah and liked it so much turned around and did it again then stopped at Mooball for a rest and the musical toilet.

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The Moo. S-l-o-w-l-y being renovated

Did the secret roads zig zag run north to Duranbah then into Tumbulgum for an early lunch at the café – name of which escapes me but the one two doors left of the pub which has fantastic food - and I don’t often say that. Try their Pizza!

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I’ll be back to get their pizza!

Only a small ride again today, the days are so short that even by 3.00pm when I got home the sun was getting low and besides some days you just want to relax and talk things over. I honestly feel Currumbin southbound and Numinbah northbound are the best way these roads flow for riding which meant repeating the first bit of the Numinbah road out of Murwillumbah, but that’s not a bad thing, those curves before boat harbour creek are great.

Sorry only phone camera photos today. 

Route