Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spring colours

I went for a 1/2 day ride over the border ranges today to do some thinking and again noted Saturday to be a more relaxed ride without the usual Sunday distractions.

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Now is a great time to visit this area as there is still many trees in Spring colours. (as at date of this post) Always a scenic ride it is made even better when all the Jacaranda trees create a purple roadside carpet.

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The morning was superb but for once as predicted the weather changed by lunch to heavy clouds and strong gusts of wind.  The roads were filled with leaves and small twigs blown about onto the road and you could sense rain was on the way. I cut my ride short and just retraced my path through Numinbah and enjoyed Hinze raceway Nerang-Murwillumbah Rd entirely to myself!

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First day to wear my full summer mesh jacket and I really need to update it. Despite buying the Cortech summer jacket a few years back I rarely wear it and revert to my old Dryrider mesh jacket which is very old and already past it’s prime. The Cortech is a summer jacket which does flow air when you are moving but the design is so bulky and heavy that it’s ability to keep you cool is lessened. Given the large amount of time per year I am in a summer jacket I may opt to spend a bit more and get something better next time. Sounds like a possible review soon doesn’t it Smile

Hope you get some rides in before the extreme heat arrives downunder.

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Sunday, October 07, 2012

BMW City Pants 2

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My original pair of BMW City pants have proven themselves to be really versatile and I have just grown out of them size wise so when looking around for a new pair of riding pants I decided to go again with the BMW City Pants, this time version 2.

I used to ride in Draggin Jeans but after I had the fall on the ice in Japan the idea of not having knee and hip armor seems unacceptable to me. That fall was in Alpinestar pants but the armor in those pants I think was the reason I was not more badly hurt. And I know you can get armor for jeans but the pants and armour need to stay in place to work which does not seem the case with the riding jeans that I have tried on. The BMW armor is large and wraps around the knee and extends down the shin.

I have worn the City Pants version 1 in a wide range of temperatures. Not a winter pant but acceptable in cool mornings and hotter than light weight jeans in summer but I managed with them in California at 44 degrees. If you can wear shorty boots in summer then that will allow much more air to come up from below and alternatively on cool mornings when wearing your regular boots and long socks the pants adapt fairly well.

I’ve not crash tested them however there is ample accounts that can be read on the forums to suggest they work fine in this department. The differences in the versions are to the pocket design, both of which work ok for me. My first pair have faded and I hope the colour of the V2 is longer lasting. Lastly the included belt has double D buckle now whereas V1 had a clip in buckle.

Fit, finish, build quality is all very good and while more expensive than riding jeans they are a great all rounder.

A Saturday Ride

I think I may try alternating between riding on Sunday to riding on Saturdays. I went for a Saturday ride for a change and experienced a better ride than I do on most Sundays due to far less traffic. 

While tempted to go to my favourite northern NSW area I thought maybe the north might be quieter on a Saturday and worth trying instead. I rarely go north as I find the roads south much better however when I do go north I always encounter very heavy motorcycle traffic and more than one police trap. But Saturday and it is much quieter and more enjoyable. I was even able to use the Bruce highway to come home quickly which I would not attempt on a Sunday afternoon.

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I tried a couple of different (to my usual) cafes today. First a coffee at Woodford Cafe Cabaret, nice spot to sit and watch the bikes roll by, even has a lounge chair out front on the footpath.

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Had lunch at Sweethearts cafes at Eudlo and the coffee was good, focaccia was ordinary.

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Spoiled for choice where to stop riding north. I was too late for coffee too early for lunch in either Maleny or Kenilworth but still there seems to be cafes at almost every turn between Dayboro and Mapelton.

I am still missing the cruise control from the BMW in North America. Had a bit of wrist cramp setting in on the way.I am tempted to drag out the Vista throttle lock device from retirement and fit it to the CB… but throttle lock devices only provide a few moments rest as the bikes never seem to sit at a constant speed for long, either slowly decelerating or slowly gaining speed. I have a couple of throttle wrist rest devices too but found they do not work well either. Shame, I do not want a tourer but would like some of their features. What I am going to get is one of the higher seats that are available for the CB in Japan as the extra leg room will give me a good boost in comfort. If it is suitably cushioned then I may be able to remove the Air Hawk as well. Looks wise it does not bother me just would enjoy having more seat to move about on.

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Todays route here.

Jupiter’s Travels

Finally got around to reading this famous motorcycle travel book. I have been going to order it from Amazon for years and then saw it on the shelf the other day of my local book shop. Of course I paid twice the online price as is everything retail in this country but personal travel was happening so timing came into play.

Ted Simon rides around the world covering 101,000km over four years through 54 countries on a old Triumph. It’s the most amazing adventure and there has been so many things written about the book that you probably already know I am going to say it is a very good read. I will add that despite all the time that has passed since he completed the journey it is still an inspiration and thought provoking read however the world is a very different place now and some elements were not so easy to relate to.

I wish he had written more about the second half of the trip as the detail was lost for large sections of that however I enjoyed it all enough to consider reading his follow up journey made more recently.

 

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Riding Cebu

A while back I wrote about riding in the Philippines. I received quite a few emails asking for info and so I want to tempt you with some more off the beaten track riding.

Cebu is one of the 7000 islands that make up the Philippines and features narrow coastlines with rugged mountains traversing the island with steep climbs up to 1000m from the sea. In other words some nice riding roads! Cebu City is not a pleasant place to ride with heavy traffic and too many jeepneys belching out diesel soot however you can depart to the west and in a very short distance be commencing a climb out of the city to a place called “tops” and from here on you will experience some excellent mountain riding.

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View from “Tops” over part of Cebu City and Lapu Lapu island

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Riding a loop west and to the north you drop down to the ocean on the other side and enjoy some superb views. The road north whilst never far from the ocean does not provide many scenic areas however crossing back to the east coast at Tuburan the road is excellent corners all the way over. The road then follows the coast again and at times offers some beach views but gets very busy as you come closer to Cebu City.

There is another road that crosses over to the west coast just a little south of Cebu city heart and this is interesting. At first nice corners the road deteriorates sharply as you climb and at times is unsealed and very narrow where it is more a track around the original road which has suffered from landslides. Along here are many shanty houses built on the roadside sitting precariously on the edge of a high drop which surely will fall to the valley floor the next time there is a earthquake.

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Once at the top of the climb the road improves and you ride a through a beautiful rainforest and some scenic small towns before lots of good sweepers descending to Toledo city. Yu can turn north before Toledo city on a poorly signposted intersection but it is adjacent to the Gaisono Mall which cannot be missed and probably is a good 1/2 way spot to cool down and have lunch.

If you are not sure where to stop for a break in Philippines then you will always find a bakery in a small town (and often not much more) and in a large town there will be a mall which is your best bet to score some air conditioning and food.

The road to Balamban is nothing special but once there you commence the superb mountain road back to Tops, west to east and in this direction it rides even better, just wonderful riding and great views all the way.

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Did I mention the riding was good…

For motorcycle rentals in Cebu you have a couple of options that you can find easy on the internet or just ask your hotel who may be able to arrange something for you. As well as scooters there are lots of these small Honda semi-clutchless motorcycles around. They are a 4 speed 110cc and have a reverse pattern shift which leads to plenty of wrong gears and compression lockups. A bit more involving to ride than a scooter but not as fast as the modern 125 injected scooters which easy exceed the speed possible on most of these roads whereas these older Hondas need to be worked hard all the time. But there is satisfaction in doing that.

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As I have thought for some time, it is little to do with the bike that makes the riding fun. Any thing is good to ride with right attitude and good road to explore.