Category Archives: Motorcycles

Motorcycle training

Due to the imminent departure for this motorcycle trip, I decided to do the Stay Upright Advanced course to refresh my road skills. As I expected, it was a great course to re-learn what I should already know and it was also a lot of fun pushing the bike harder than I would normally. Doing emergency stops on the race track was very reassuring if I ever need that sort of stopping power.

Heres a shot taken on that day.

dargle126

The long way to work

The other day, after getting the new bike, I decided to go the long to way to work to get some riding time in. This was so that I could get some time on the bike before the comms/music etc was installed and I could concentrate on the bike and getting to know it. I decided to head south and ended up at Batemans Bay for breakfast.

It was surprising that after about 2.5 hours riding, I still was comfortable and hadn’t got a sore arse yet. After a phone call to the sheepskin seat cover people the night before, I had a message telling me that It was ready to pick up. I arrived in berry about midday and picked it up. Within 10 mins, I was sore and over the next hour, became progressively more so.

Since then, I’ve removed the sheepskin and have ridden again with no other problems. I guess the standard seats are fine after all.

On Saturday, I installed the Satnav cradle and mobile phone cradle. Both allow charging while riding and are both usable in their mounted positions. I also installed the control buttons for the UHF radio but have yet to find somewhere to install the radio itself.

The Tank Bag was late in arriving so I have not yet seen what its like to ride with. Ill pick it up monday if my work schedule allows. Maybe the UHF kit will fit inside there.

I’ve now travelled about 550km and will hopefully get it to 1000km shortly for its first service. Then I’ll take it away for a camping trial to ensure all the storage is setup correctly etc for the big trip later this year.

Anyway, so far the bike is great (ill post photo soon) but there appears to be a new problem, every time you stop people want to look at it and talk bikes. I’ve never had this problem before (only having a scooter) and we will have to wait and see how much of an issue it is. Maybe if I don’t make eye contact with people I can get away without a chat.

The trip has changed somewhat

I discovered the other day, after planning what I thought was a good trip a couple of things.

  1. I wanted more adventure and was a little scared spending all the time with my extended family, having every stop planned
  2. I needed planning to that level to ensure accommodation was available through the busy areas (Alice gets very busy this time of year)
  3. The GAHN no longer takes motorcycles
  4. Bikes Only (the motorcycle shipping place) only picks up every 2 weeks and I have to drop in a bike when they are there
  5. Storage for bikes is hard to get on a Sunday (when I was to arrive in Darwin)

So, it turns out that all this extra planning had become too hard, expensive and ruined ‘idea’ of the trip.

The solution, which I am very happy about, is to not stop in Darwin. I have decided to do the trip as planned till Alice, then ride with no fixed distances or stops until I get home. Of course I have a path in mind. Most of the southern part has been well worked out to a high level of detail but after Alice, its more of a guide than a plan.

I’m quite excited about just being able to ride every day until I get sick of it, then find somewhere to stop. I will have a tent and all required camping equipment so I can either find somewhere to stop off the side of the road ,stop in a hotel or anything in between. I have allocated 2 extra weeks for the return part of the trip and it should be easily do-able. Now the trip has almost doubled in distance (from the original version where I did lots on a train) but it seems very exciting.

It also means that I need to service the bike at some point in the trip so I think Mt Isa (if there’s service available) would be a good place. I have lived there briefly for a while years ago so it should be good to be able to spend a day or so there again. Last time I was there, I was too young to do an underground mine tour. Now age is less of a problem :-)

I will have a mapping GPS with me so any changes in destination for the second half of the trip shouldn’t be a problem. I would still like to head to Cairns (I don’t know why) and would also like to visit Longreach. I guess I will just have to see how the time is going and how I feel if I get there or not.

Having just finished the book ‘Long way round’ and am currently reading ‘Long way down’ I am really in the mood for some adventure. The only downside is being alone which has its good and bad points. I also have both of these series on DVD as well as the Charlie Boorman ‘race to dakar’ series. All very inspiring stuff.

Good things about being alone on the trip

  • I can go when I want and stop when I want
  • No worries about accommodation
  • Lots of time to ‘think’ and just put distance on the bike
  • no worries about any personality clashes (apart from my own, very special personalities)

Bad things about being alone

  • If anything happens you’re alone (no-one to help)
  • Travelling is more fun in a group
  • sometimes its nice to be able to talk to people about the trip
  • Sharing gear (we only really need one camping stove per group)

I’ve been doing lots of touring reading lately and the basic rule seems to be that the longer the troup, the smaller the group you would be able to tolerate. Maybe its good to go alone but I still think if one of my friends wanted to come along, it would be much more enjoyable.

Anyway, heres some details about the trip now…

Distance 9118km
Duration 38 days
Leaving on Friday June 27th 2008
Returning Sunday Auguest 3rd 2008
Average distance per day 239km
Max riding day 539km (Port Agusta to Coober Peedy)
Estimated cost of fuel (4.9L/100km @$1.60/L) $714.00
Estimated cost $1500.00

Costs

  • exclude food (have to pay weather at home or not)
  • exclude most of first 3 weeks accomodation (with family who wants more expensive style)
  • exclude cost of bike (If i included this, its the most expensive trip I have ever had)
  • include $50 per day camping style (most camp sites are only $20 per day)
  • cost of time off work (This is a killer. About what the bike costs)

Things to be seen include (but obviously not limited to)

  • Eden
  • Lakes entrance
  • Ballarat
  • Great Ocean Road
  • Port Augusta
  • Coober peedy
  • Alice Springs
  • Uluru
  • Kings Canyon
  • Tennant Creek
  • Mt Isa

I will have good internet access for most of the trip so hopefully I’ll be updating this site. I also will be able to do work if required. I will have good comms (mobile phone) for 90% of the time on the road so work is less of a concern now. After having a discussion with some people at work, they assure me that I’m not needed anyway :-)

Link to google map

trip outline

This is the planned route.

The Bikes been ordered

The other day I ordered a new bike for this trip. I wanted a 2008 build (I couldn’t get an earlier one anyway) so it should be here late march or early April.

Its a BMW K1200GT (Their current recommended touring bike) with ASC (Traction control/stability control) ABS, and RDC (transmitters in the tires to send pressure info to the on-board computer) and ESA (Electronic suspension adjustment), I’ve ordered with it a top box (the paniers are standard) and a tank bag. This with my other bag which sits where the the pillion passenger sits I should have lots of storage.

Things to do now…

  • Work out what nights (dates) will be spent where so we can book accommodation
  • Work out who wants to come along
  • Bike to (car/bike) comms (UHF) Getting it into the helmet is a problem.
  • Pre-set GPS points in phone
  • Install blue-tooth GPS on bike with phone charger
  • get place for ipid to sit on bike
  • complete a Stay Upright advanced rider training course.
  • get my backup gps, satellite phone, EPIRB, vsheet etc

Before the trip, I need to put at least 1000k on the bike and get it serviced. Also, I was thinking of going to dubbo or someplace similar for a test overnight to make sure I’ve worked out whats needed.

So far, theres still no-one else going. I have the inlaws going with their car / caravan to be able to meet up with (at least from Ballarat onwards) so that makes the trip more secure. I can keep tools/spare fuel etc in their vehicles and not have to carry them all.

Also, as the trip will be covering Victoria in winter (and then up to the centre where its a little warmer) I will be able to save non-used clothes in the van.

Even though I will probably be seeing them most if not all nights, I still want to carry all gear thats needed to make sure I know whats needed. This way the next trip will be easier if I don’t have support. Also, If others come along, I may only meet up with the inlaws every other night or so.

Libby and the kids are talking about going with the inlaws which is great because even without riding, it should be a great trip and the kids can get to see more of Australia.

Bike Trip update

We had a bike trip night the other day and of 8 people who said they were coming, including John for whom the night was chosen, decided to not turn up. So it was basically just me.

I voted (and it was unanimous) that the trip be moved to July 2007, start on a Friday morning (to be able to meet the train on time) and finish in Darwin (to make it cheaper/easier to fly out and get the bike(s) out)

I now have to order my BMW R1200RT shortly so I have it ready by the day I leave. Theres a 3 month wait but I want a 2008 build so timing will be interesting. I also want to be able to get the 1000km service done before going.