Motorcycle Racing: Transformation – Episode 1

During my last year’s trip to
Europe

I decided to decommission my trusty GSXR-1000 Suzie. After over 6 years of service, with almost 80,000 kms on the clock she served me well. She received tough love in abundance in the form of ride days…

all weather riding

above the snow line at the Grossglocker pass (Austria)

and long tours

Raining cats and dogs in Livigno - Italy

Regardless of where and how I rode, she did it eeeeasily and I am proud to say, never let me down. To farewell her road riding career, I want to show some of the highlights over the last 6 years…

Countless rides on the Great Ocean Road, especially with my old mate Balls!

Apollo Bay

Anglesea

The Halls Gap (Grampians) rides where Balls and I did about 1,000kms in a single day. There aren’t many people who were stupid enough to do that ride with me (that is until recently, say hello Daniel).

Sadly, not long after this photo was taken, on 15 Feb 2008 Balls lost his life. Not a ride goes by without me thinking of him….

more ride days…

even more ride days….

The Tassie rides of course…

she was always centre of attention


and of course I cannot stop talking about the Euro Tour…

Provence - France

Nice...that's the town in southern France, which is nice...

Mugello Moto GP - is nice! (check out the two dudes at the back...)

Lake Como - Italy

Stelvio Pass

Transfagarasan Mountain Pass

I also should (but I won’t) include speed camera photos, however that would take up too much server space…Those photos resulting in $ ‘000 in fines, 2 times loss of license, etc etc you get the picture…She is an awesome machine but boy did she hate riding on the speed limit…(that’s another story).

So, to make sure that she never has to go below  60km/hr (except in pit lane), I have decided to make her a track only bike. The transformation will be an ongoing process as I get faster and push her (and me) to closer to the limit with parts upgraded as needed.

But first, I got rid of her worn street clothes (already on eBay), I stripped her bare awaiting the arrival of a set of race fairings…

naked supermodel...

Stay tuned, next episode, I will detail the suspension upgrade, Daniel secures a sponsor (he is a talent that guy!) and we have the first track day with the race fairings…

Adventure Motorcycle – Jindabyne run

I took this video of my mate Eric on our way to Jindabyne. The trip was 1,600km return from Melbourne so it was an overnight ride…well it was for me anyway as Eric fell in love with the place and stayed an extra night…

I put one of Eric’s fave song, “Army of me” by Bjork since that dude’s a One Man Gang (bang)…according to him.

Stay tuned for more rubbish that makes no sense whatsoever, except to those who were there.

Small Bike Syndrome – Ride to the Twelve Apostles via The Great Ocean Road

While I was waiting for my bike to arrive back from Europe – 50 days on the sea from UK to Australia – I developed MASSIVE withdrawal symptoms, especially on warm and sunny weekends. As spring approached, it was getting worse, to the point where I was  frothing at the mouth like I had rabies at every bike that went by…

Eventually my friend Daniel took pity on me: one long weekend, I had the chance to ride one of his two bikes (either the Honda CBR 1000 or the Aprilia Dorsoduro, which is “just” a….750). As I’d already had a taste of his CBR before, it was time to try something different, so I grabbed the key for the Dorso…

Daniel's Dorso...is it a road bike? Is it a dirt bike? Is it a Supermoto hooligan mobile!

It was a warm and sunny Sunday and I was in the mood for a Great Ocean Road ride. I asked my good friend Susan, who also owns a Gixer, to come along since she has the right mixture of hotness (yes, she is a guuurl) and coolness (she can carve up most men on a race track); the perfect riding companion.

Hot chick, preparing for take off...Damit, where is my Gixer?!

Susan’s Gixer stats: 160hp std at the rear wheel,  top speed: 155km/hr… in 1st gear (it has 5 more), 0-100 in less than 3 seconds…or in short: the Chuck Norris of motorbikes…it doesn’t move forward on the road, no, it makes the road move under it. Any bike next to it develops a “small bike syndrome…” (you know what I mean).

Ok, ’nuff about the Gixer, back to the ride…

On the way to the coast we planned to ride through the Ottway ranges to the Great Ocean Road, beautifully forested hills with enough twisties to have you leaning more often than not. That plan was thwarted when the roads were closed due to a pushbike race. Yeah, I know…WTF? Options: 1.) go all the way back and try another road or 2.) about 30 minutes of riding on:

not the best road for sports bikes...

There was a good chance we would not come out unscratched on the other side since this road is possibly the worst thing you can take a sports bike on. So we took some “before shots” to remember our bikes and our faces before they were all busted up…

Despite all odds against us, we managed to get through:

Finaly we made it to the beach…hundreds of kilometres of coastal twisted fun also known as The Great Ocean Road beckoned…We did not need a second invite.

Around lunchtime we arrived into Lorne and sat down for quick bite and a coffee. I could not stop raving about how great the Dorso is: phenomenal suspension, great tyre, insane lean angle with endless traction, “did you see me take that corner?’ bs, bs, bs…

Susan, observing my obvious small bike syndrome, shared her words of wisdom…

its not how endowed your bike is, its how you ride it what matters...(really?)

Soon after the general banter and all around piss take (pun intended Susan…), our mate, Bomba arrived. Bomba is a local lad so he knows all the turns like the palm of his hand…Riding his Yamaha R1, against the 750 Dorso, my small bike syndrome grew exponentially. Nevertheless, when he invited us to show us around, I picked up my camera and ran after him like an ADHD school kid high on sugar.

after momentarily catching our breath, the foolish behaviour continued:

Eventually we made it into Apollo Bay…There is only one thing to do in Apollo Bay: refuel and continue…Ok that’s actually two things but you get the idea.

Actually, the town is really nice and if you ever get there during summer take your bathers, the beach is AWESOME!

Once we refuelled, Bomba offered to run backwards in front of me with the camera. I hate being the centre of attention but I thought Yeah why not?

We briefly stopped for a break…

when some of us put their personal safety at risk…

Susan is engaged to a big Canadian dude called Kev - and that's not him....Mate, I didn't do it!...

and to play Japanese tourist – but without the Victory sign (you know, with the fingers…that’s just wrong, what’s with that anyway?)…

Shortly after the ADHD kicked in again and Bomba continued running in front of me backwards with the camera making sweet Yamaha broom broom noises…

Eventually we endured the overload of twisted fun and we arrived to Port Campbell…this place is famous for the Twelve Apostles that has to be on everyone’s bucket list! We did not stop to wonder around this time but here is a photo from another time so you get the idea:

The Twelve Apostles - been to worse places

On the return trip, I led the troops back to Lavers Hill

and then to Apollo Bay

by then the evening started to close in so we had to tear ourselves away and said ciao to Bomba and Apollo Bay

Ottway National Park at dusk

Apollo Bay at dusk

and took the short cut back to Melbourne…

I have to say this was one of my best riding days ever on the Great Ocean Road – I wonder why not every rider is down there, especially on days like today!

Thank you for Susan and her hotness and general piss take, Bomba for showing us his playground and of course Daniel for letting me ride the Dorso like it was stolen…awesome bike mate!

And of course, to address my small bike syndrome, I had to get a bike that has the agility of the Dorso with the power of a sportsbike…say hello to my little friend:

on the seventh day he just chilled, then on the eighth day he created the Ducati Multistrada

its capacity: big ass thumping 1200!

Cach you next time!

Tasmania – Epic Adventure (Episode 2)

The next morning in New Norfolk we woke up to another fine Tasmanian day. The sun was just up, not a cloud could be seen and the morning chill was prompting us to get out for coffee. The local bakery was already open so we sat down to a hearty breakfast and a strong caffeine hit in a mug. We were not the only ones out for adventure, a hot rod crew turned up so we checked out their machinery… but time waits for nobody and we wanted to make our way into Strathgordon Dam, besides, who cares about cars when we are on bikes and scenery such as this was waiting up the road?

random picture on a bridge crossing...

We stopped a few times on the way to Strathgordon Dam, either to refuel…

...now what?

to admire the scenery…or just to watch Eric bust a move…

...Vanilla Ice eat your heart out..............WTF?

but we still don’t know why…let’s move on.

Before we took off into the distance, we spared a thought on our partners at home struggling with chores and wished we were there to give them a hand instead….

The road to Strathgordon Dam was long, twisty, smooth, picturesque, etc etc… you get the picture, but in case you don’t, here it is…

and what's even better...we did not see a car for hours

and just when we had enough (is there such thing?) of the winding road we pulled over to have a look at this: Lake Pedder. Words cannot express the beauty of this land, so I’ll say nothing and just let you enjoy it…The excitement was just too much of all of us: Daniel’s head swelled up and he could put his helmet back on (true story)… Eric, once again, showed us that He Believes!

...and the Lord said: "You are, once again, Welcome!"

and I, just this time, stopped admiring my bike and took another picture of the scenery

it's not a copy of the one above...you can find 5 things that are different!

However beautiful the landscape was, this wasn’t our destination…that was a few kilometres up the road. Once we managed to tear ourselves away and got back onto our bikes, we were there in no time…this is what awaited: and this…

Strathgordon Dam

It was time to play Japanese tourist again…

no no...You are da Man!

It was late afternoon and time to make our way back. We stopped for a nice feed on the side of the road… 

I did not share...

Over our meal we discussed the best methods we employ to keep it rubber side down. Some of us mentioned good tyres (wasn’t Eric) or just tip top condition of the bike (wasn’t Eric on this one either) …or…wait for it…. wearing his partner’s underwear for good luck…hmmm.

We swore to secrecy never to tell anyone who that person is however I leave you with this picture.

I'm saying nothing!

Cheers,

Till next time!

Tasmania – Epic Adventure (Episode 1)

After our Mad Dash to Tasmania (see earlier posts), Eric and I returned to Melbourne bragging to everyone (whether we knew them or not) about how great our ride was. Still buzzing, we managed to convince our mate Daniel to join us next time…OK, he didn’t need convincing and the date was set again, quickly followed by purchasing of the tickets to cross the Bass Straight on the Spirit of Tasmania…it was another weekend ride, but this time with longer days, more saddle time and bigger distances…hence the Epic Adventure.

The boat ride was fairly uneventful, embark of Friday evening, dinner, vine, talking crap and arriving Saturday morning to Devonport…

Upon arriving to Tassie, the usual intake of coffee and breakfast followed and we were off towards Cradle Mountain… 

Along the way we came across a genuine piece of two wheeled art. Straight away Eric felt the need for a test ride…

I'm a cowboy...with a steel horse I ride...

...poetry in motion...

Eric decided on “Better the devil you know” and we continued on our Epic Adventure.

Near Cradle Mountain we pulled over to check out the scenery…Daniel could not believe the beauty of the land…

I took took a picture of the bikes 

and the last corner…

I could ride this all day...

and Eric left to check out the scenery from a higher vantage point

...the Man on his throne...

This view greeted him from the cliff:

you don't want to get lost in there...

Our next stop was Strahan, but we had to stop a few times along the way, just to take in the scenery which was awe inspiring…

...are we there yet?

or needed a group hug

...ah that's nice! Now can we farkin' ride???!!!

or there was A Bug On Daniel’s Bike and he HAD to pull over to clean it…

you missed a spot...

The day was perfect! It was warm, light wind and we barely saw any cars for hours…We took breaks frequently just to soak in the vibe of the place…

other than our helmet hair, this picture is perfect

or for the boys to admire my bike…

Admire but do not touch!

but when we got to this sign…

happy times ahead...

we knew we were in motorbike heaven…We took off into the distance having a blast through the twisties like there was no tomorrow…Arriving to Strahan, I took a picture of myself… I do not know why, my hair was a total mess… After a massive feed of fresh seafood, pasta and cold beer we lazed on the lawn near the bay for a while. I do believe I heard Eric snore, but that could also have been me…

Finally, once we got ourselves moving again… it was time for us to look for somewhere to sleep. New Norfolk was some 260kms away and we only had 5hrs before sunset…It was time go and the perfect excuse to ride fast!

Stay tuned for the next episode of the Epic Adventure, where we ride fast for no reason whatsoever, check out Strathgordon Dam and make fools of ourselves in the bike heaven of the Tasmanian wilderness.

Motorbike Adventure: Mad Dash – Tasmania Ride (Episode 3)

The following morning we woke up to another gorgeous Tasmanian day. During breakfast in New Norfolk we were amazed how accepting the locals were of us on bikes. We had a number of them stopping by, starting conversations and advising us the best roads to take….what a way to start the day!

Immediately after coffee, we were on our bikes and rode into the sunrise…

"on days like this, I feel this big....!"

We rode around the hills all morning and felt our day could not get any better…until we came across this little sign….

hello!

Eric, being the more religious of the two of us, proceeded to a quick prayer to the God of Motorcycling….

"Lord, I have no idea what I have done to deserve this...but thank you!"

Perhaps because of the excitement or because he was not sure exactly what religion he actually belonged to, he proceeded to cover off other possibilities of thanking The Bearded Fella above…

I have also joined in the appreciation but with a slightly different approach…

...insert insulting comment here............

Once we got over the excitement of a road sign, and thanked our lucky stars for not getting caught acting like two idiots, we continued on and enjoyed the twisties up ahead to their fullest extent…We also went passed some pretty amassing scenery…

Not content with the fantastic weather, awesome ride and great company I kept teasing my mate for getting on his knees so easily earlier on. Finally, he had enough and once we pulled over…

pulling the gloves off...big mistake

he came over to swiftly box me in the head…The next minute, I would have been on the ground bleeding if…

I am the Stig....

I didn’t keep the helmet on…he got back onto his bike in disgust…and with a sore right hand. He rode much slower after that…and true to form, he blamed his bike…

Eventually we ended back in Devonport where the Spirit of Tassie was waiting to take us home…our awesome weekend was over…fuck!

the sight of the weekend being over...

onboard, we caught up with other fools on bikes…

who chose to leave the comforts of the concrete jungle behind (it rained all weekend in Melbourne…) to explore the Tasmanian wilderness…We exchanged war stories at the bar over a beer or four…

So this was the Mad Dash to Tassie, we planned about 600 kms but ended up doing about 1,000, just because it was so much fun!

I want to thank Eric for his mate ship, awesome company, putting up with my shit, not letting truth get in the way of a good story…and more importantly…

no no...thank YOU

choosing to keep that fart all for himself in the cabin…

Coming up next: we convince another mate Daniel to join us for another Tassie run, Eric upgrades his bike on the side of the road, Daniel throws caution to the wind and takes off his training wheels and I ride my awesome bike again…

Will the upgrade be faster for Eric? will Daniel make it back to Devonport? will they decide not to put up with my shit anymore, beat me up and leave me for dead?…Stay tuned!

Motorcycling Europe – Summer 2011 (Introduction)

I am over the moon today as I figured out how to work iMovie!

This will help me a lot with sharing my helmet cam videos I have taken whilst riding in Europe…2 months, 14,000kms UNFKNBLVBL!!!

Here is a trailer for the upcomming blogs, let me know what you think good or bad [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eU3haA_BHQ%5D

and sign up for auto updates!

Motorbike Adventure: Mad Dash – Tasmania Ride (Episode 2)

We arrived in Devonport around 6:00am. Once we disembarked, we were greeted with still empty streets (it was Saturday after all) and more importantly blue skies…yeay!!!

blue skies yeay!

Promptly looked for a cafe to have brekkie and gave the boys and the family a wake up call to tell them how wrong their weather forecast was

E.H. phone home

still somewhat weathered from the late night drunken behaviour on the boat… (see Mad Dash Episode1)

I need coffee! Now!!!

we ordered a huge serving of breakfast and double dose of coffee. We needed all the help for the adventure ahead. Words could not express how happy we felt about doing the Mad Dash.

So we stayed tight lipped and communicated with hands and feet

Is nice!

and admired our bikes (but mostly mine)

The K5...getting old but still sporting the nicest arse in the business

that's a beautiful blue, freshly pained for next year's trip to Europe...

straight after loading up with carbs and caffeine we came across this rather dramatic and disturbing image…

remnants of last night's storm

Australia’s supposed to be the driest continent on this planet…did they count Tasmania?

Soon after that thought we started to focus on the task at hand and rode into the distance…

the road into the wild wild South

On the road to nowhere we pulled over frequently to enjoy the scenery

and for a quick prayer to Motorcycle God for the nice weather…

you are Welcome!

as we headed further South, and higher into the mountains, it started to get cold so we pulled over for a stretch…

 or two…

who's da man?

I, instead of acting like a fool, just decided to beat the cold with my wet weather gear, which was…

I hear they shoot people who wear pink in Tassie...

fluoro pink…Out of embarrassment I kept the helmet on…luckily though on the back of the jacket

...and of course my stretching is much more efficient than Eric's

it does say its ‘Race wear” so it does have some coolness about it….look at my bike!

One more shot of Great Lake…

and we were on our way towards Strathgordon Dam. Just before we got to it, we pulled over to check out Lake Pedder…

wow what a view...and the background is not bad either...

however it was too cold to enjoy it as much as it deserved…even a “manhug” didn’t warm us up. It was then that Eric told me that his heated grips are making his hands sweat….

bastard

The entire day we rode roads like this:

no idea how fast I took this bend, and luckily there was no uniformed officer there to enlighten us...so we will never know. And I am ok with that...

and like this:

until we got to our destination:

they say ” a picture tells a thousand words” but sometimes a small video does a pretty good job as well…[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MofGAW3F12k%5D

As the evening drew in, we realised that we had nowhere to sleep and were about 70km from the nearest house…fuck!

To make things worse, one of us was running low on fuel and it wasn’t the Suzuki…

We managed to stagger into New Norfolk and came across an old pub with available rooms and open kitchen. One we checked in, and neatly packed our gear away,

the honeymoon suite...

we headed down for dinner and to check out the night life…

Stay tuned for Mad Dash Episode 3 to find out about: Tasmanian hospitality, will we make it back in one piece or will they find the pink riding gear and use us for target practice? Eric’s has a religious moment and we find some seriously twisted roads on the way back to Devonport…

Motorbike Adventure: Mad Dash – Tasmania Ride (Episode 1)

Gallery

This gallery contains 16 photos.

With summer upon us, during lunch hour at work, we took a brief recess from checking out the Melbourne CBD eye candy and got talking about our other passion: motorbikes…wow, big surprise! Those with the gift of multitasking continued turning our … Continue reading