Tuesday, November 17, 2015

17 November - No ride - just a picture

During the recent Snowy Ride photographers captured photos of various riders during the weekend. Went to the web site and found a picture of me, so here it is.

Monday, November 16, 2015

16 November - Warburton and Upper Yarra Reservoir

On a beautiful spring day Luke and I rode to Warburton via Powelltown and Yarra Junction. Lunch was at the bakery - where else? As we'd got there quite early we then carried on past Warburton for a visit to the Upper Yarra Reservoir. After refuelling the Vulcan in Warburton we then returned home through the bush (Powelltown, Noojee, Hill End, Willow Grove and Moe). Luke's riding well and the Vulcan has now clocked up around 1000 km and due for its first service. Got home just after 5 after a very relaxing ride.

Distance 330km

Friday, November 13, 2015

13 November - Update on my last blog

In my last blog and during my rant regarding the idiotic behaviour of a small minority of riders, I referred to the fact that three fatalities occurred last year, i.e. 2014. I made this statement on the basis of a conversation I had with two police officers in Jindabyne.

Today I received an email which appears to have more accurate information and I reproduce it here as it was sent. My thanks to Glen for the information.

Hi Theo,

Regarding your article about the Snowy Ride. 

While there have been a minority of idiots that do exactly what you describe, and even though there have been accidents, they have not been the cause of any recorded fatalities. 

The three deaths you mention were:

In 2013, not 2014

One was on the Friday, a lady riding tail in a group on their way to the Snowy Ride. unfortunately she left the road on a very tight corner and was not found until the next morning. 

The second was on the Saturday itself, and was a single vehicle accident as the rider swerved to avoid foxes with no indication of speeding at fault. The older rider died on the way to hospital from a heart attack. 

The third was much further away down near Bega and was not associated with the Snowy Ride other than to coincidentally happen on the same day.  

Hopefully you can update your piece to accurately reflect this. 



Monday, November 9, 2015

9 November - Home from the Snowy Ride

After a couple of miserable days (weather wise) yesterday was brilliant. All the gear had pretty well dried out, the sun was out, hardly any wind and the ride home promised to be an enjoyable one. After a quick breakfast in Jindabyne I rode out towards Dalgety and Bombala. Of course, hundreds of other riders had the same plan so for the first hour or so there were bikes everywhere. This is the first time I've shared the road, over a number of days with hundreds of other riders. Based on this sample I'm of the opinion that while 90% of motorcyclists are rational and considerate riders, on this occasion at least about 10% seem to be idiots with no consideration for anyone else on the road. On many occasions I was passed by riders at 130-140 km/hr over double lines, over crests and around blind corners. Then, when confronted by the inevitable oncoming vehicle they expect to push back into the left lane endangering those of us who are riding lawfully. I'm not an experienced rider, but I have clocked up over 100,000 km in the past five years and I can honestly say I have never been frightened by a car or truck, but I've had many potentially dangerous situations caused by other motorcyclists. It is no wonder that during the 2014 Snowy Ride, there were numerous accidents including three fatalities. So much for my little rant - feel better now. After an hour or so I had the road pretty well to myself and it was a sheer pleasure to ride to Bombala (with a fuel stop) and then on to Cann River and lunch. Then, back on the bike again and heading west on Highway 1 towards Orbost. Had a quick detour to have a look at Marlo and then it was on to Paynesville where I was staying with friends.

The following map gives an overview of the whole trip. (Double click to make it legible)
and this map shows the actual Snowy ride component.
This morning, after a very pleasant visit with friends I left Paynesville to return home just after noon.
Despite some inclement weather, looking back on it the whole ride was a blast. I rode with a group and we really enjoyed our coffee stops, lunches and dinners and plenty of bottles of red wine. Thanks guys.

The total distance was 1400 km

Saturday, November 7, 2015

7 November - Day 3 of Snowy Ride

Over the past couple of days, thousands of motorcycles have been arriving in preparation for the actual 'Ride' day which is today. The ride all occurs within the Snowy Mountains national park area, and the idea is that riders can choose their own route(s) individually and in groups. To have officially participated, and to enter the draw for various prizes, participating riders must collect a minimum of three stamps in the ride 'passport' from one of a number of official checkpoints.
One of the checkpoints is here in Jindabyne, and so our group was able to get their first stamp straight away after breakfast. By 10 o'clock we were off on our way to Dalgety, on the Snowy River, to collect stamp number 2. Once again we were in the company of hundreds of riders who were all there  for a coffee and a chat and to get their stamp too.
From there we rode to Berridale, sharing the road with hundreds of other riders. Our next checkpoint and planned lunch stop was Cooma. This little township really turned on quite a show for the ride event. The centre of the town was totally closed to traffic, and the now pedestrian precinct became an entertainment centre for dozens of buskers.

It was a fantastic atmosphere, and the town park had been set up as an art and craft market. Families everywhere were now enjoying the increasingly sunny weather.

Food stalls and cafes were all doing a roaring trade and face painting was also very popular.
We spent a couple of hours in Cooma where we got our third and final stamp and handed our passports in - job done. During these events strange sights should be expected. My strange sight of the day was a man walking two ferrets on leashes. Caused quite a sensation and particularly when bystanders were invited to stroke the little rodents.
I resisted the temptation no matter how cute it looked.
Just after 1 pm it was time to make the return trip back to Jindabyne. A brilliant day, and finally the weather has started to improve. Hoping for a fine day for the ride home tomorrow.

Distance 200km

Friday, November 6, 2015

6 November, Jindabyne, Day 2 of the Snowy Ride

After a breakfast of toasted sandwiches at the local bakery in Tallangatta this morning we set off into the Snowy Mountains at around 8:30. It was spitting a bit but I felt comfortable after drying all my gear overnight. The view of the mountains looked ominous though - all dark clouds and mist and sure enough as we started to climb it got wetter and darker and foggier. Another challenging ride made more so by the fact that scores of other bikers were arriving from other parts of the state to participate in the ride. It was a welcome relief to reach Khancoban for a toilet and coffee stop but soon it was time to mount up again and to climb the Alpine way to Thredbo Ski Resort. The closer we got the the more motorcycles we saw. Certainly one of the biggest concentration of bikes I've seen. Fuelled up in Thredbo ($1.85/l) and after 30 minutes or so we continued on to Jindabyne, our home for the next couple of nights. I'm staying in a little cabin in the local lakeside caravan park.
This is my little cabin in the sky and it was nice to have a shower and spread all my gear which is again soaking wet, out to dry. The view from the front of my cabin is pretty spectacular.
I'll wander into town soon for a look around and to catch up with the rest of my group which is staying at a local motel.

Total Distance 210 km

Thursday, November 5, 2015

5 November - Snowy Mountains Ride - Tallangatta

Took off this morning at 08:00 to join a small group travelling to the Snowy Mountains to join the annual Snowy Mountains ride which is a fund raiser for Childhood Cancer Research. Skies were overcast and a gentle drizzle created a somber atmosphere as we left Traralgon. The first stop was in Bairnsdale for fuel and then on to Bruthen for morning coffee. By now the skies had brightened and we were tempted to discard our rain gear but glad we didn't. The run to Omeo along the Tambo River was fine but in Omeo it was raining steadily. Added some more fuel to the tank and after lunch at the bakery it was off to Angler's Rest and then on to Mitta Mitta. This section which crosses a mountain range proved to be one of the most challenging rides I've had. Not only did the rain become heavy but as we gained altitude it became quite foggy. Add to this 80 km of very winding mountain roads and very soon riding became quite serious business with total concentration required. The winding foggy road was relentless and it was with a collective sigh of relief that we pulled up for drink at the pub in Mitta Mitta. By now it was bucketing down, but at least the fog was gone and we were out of the mountains. We finally reached our destination in Tallangatta where we were booked in to the Victoria hotel. My room has two beds one of which has an electric blanket. Turned the blanket to high and placed all my damp riding gear on top of it.
Hopefully it will be dry by the morning. Tomorrow we join the actual ride which takes us through Khancoban and Mt Thredbo, before finishing up in Jindabyne for two nights.

Total Distance 400 km.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

1 November - New biker in the family

My younger brother Luke has been thinking about buying a bike for a while now and last Friday he took the plunge. After getting his learners permit earlier in the week he picked up his brand new Kawasaki Vulcan S 650cc Cruiser.
It's a beautiful bike and while it is approved for beginner riders, it seems to have enough power and features to become a 'keeper'. After picking up the bike on Friday we took off on a little 90km ride to make sure everything was OK, but today we had the chance to take if for a real ride. We headed off  from Moe at around 10:30.
Took the road to Mirboo Nth through Trafalgar and Thorpdale. First stop was fuel in Mirboo Nth and then a quick coffee at the Inline 4 Biker Cafe just up the road. Plenty of bikes and riders around and the Inline 4 is alway good for a chat with other riders. Now fully replenished we continued on to the beach resort town of Inverloch and had lunch at the bakery (Tom the Pieman). The weather forecast promised late showers and thunderstorms and in Inverloch they didn't look to far away, and with the temperature quickly dropping we mounted up for the ride to Meeniyan and then home through Mirboo Nth, Thorpdale and Trafalgar. As I'm typing this I heard a big thunderclap so the weather is closing in. Got home just in time after a great ride.

Total Distance 250km