Fast bikes and fibro houses – Part 1

The trip to Phillip Island commenced under grey skies and the threat of rain. While I had envisaged a leisurely departure my travelling companions wanted to be on the road by 7am, so that is when I found them, bikes mounted and engines started, ready to hit the road. As everyone else in the party was from Queensland I was informed that it would be my job to find our way to Phillip Island, so eschewing the freeway and the boredom of its long straights we headed for the back roads and the hills that they traversed.

It’d been over twelve months since I’d covered any serious distance on the bike, which, along with the damp roads we were riding on, led to a little bit of trepidation on my part. However, as we covered the familiar road to Beechworth, then Miliwa and Whitfield, my confidence returned, cornering felt more natural and I began to relax and enjoy myself. We stopped in Whitfield for breakfast and what had been drizzle turned into rain, so we broke out the wet weather gear and headed off for Mansfield.

The road between Whitfield and Mansfield is a wonderful mix of tight and fast corners through some beautiful scenery. We weren’t lucky enough to see that scenery because in addition to the rain, we had to contend with fog, or low cloud, that meant visibility rarely stretched to the next corner. There is something especially unnerving about seeing high voltage power lines appear right in front of you, at what appears to be head height, with no armco barrier between you, just a significant drop.

At Mansfield we stopped briefly for fuel, then headed to Alexandra and Healesville through country that had been hit hard by the bushfires last February. Riding through Taggerty and Buxton it was incredible to note how the smell of charcoal still lingered in the air, while behind the regrowth, the blackened tree trunks provided a stark reminder of just how much of this area had been affected.

As we approached the Black Spur the rain became heavier again, not letting up until we reached Healesville for another fuel stop. It was at this point that I realised how drenched I really was. My gloves and glove liners were completely sodden, as were my boots and socks. I wrung the excess water out of the gloves, tossed the liners in my bag and we hit the road again, hoping that the rain would hold off.

The rain held off until the exact moment that we turned off the Bass Highway and onto Phillip Island Road. This was rain like I’d never experienced while riding before, accompanied by gusts of wind that pushed the bikes around in their lane. At the bridge to the island at San Remo the rain was so heavy we couldn’t see across it, but just as we entered Cowes we were bathed in sunlight which remained just long enough for us to get to our house in Ventnor, put the bikes in the garage and drag our gear inside.

We’d covered four hundred and fifty kilometres through appalling weather, without a single patch of dry road the entire time, we were wet and so was a lot of our gear, but the day was intensely satisfying. Hot showers and cold beer fixed most of the niggles, while our wet gear ended up near the heater. I wouldn’t have swapped the day for anything.

19 thoughts on “Fast bikes and fibro houses – Part 1

  1. When things settle down at home I’ll work on the license. You can organise the side car for our girlfriend, Al. I’m sure Tom would be up for an adventure too.

    Since the GP is not going to happen this year, perhaps we should work on the ’10 MotoGP?

  2. From Whitfield to Mansfield on a tank? Wow!

    Anyway, mate, as Lee said, good to have you return unscathed and ready to wring some more Java out of that machine in the kitchen.

  3. Well, Dave, my Suzuki can do Wodonga – Melbourne – Wodonga on 1 tank and that goes for its driver too, courtesy a cut lunch provided by she who must be obeyed though.

  4. Makes 40 litres sound a bit extravagant alright. But then I’ve got a spare pair of wheels on the other side as well. šŸ˜‰

  5. Dear Mr. Dave from Albury. Like your Ducati, your sister is beautiful! im not sure how many gears she has…. as i cannot get her out of neutral, although I heard she went into a hard reverse upon my approach. What is the secret to success? Must I ease into the throttle as i disengage the clutch? Should I avoid the kickstand until completely necessary? Is she a conscientious ride, making it appropriate to wear leathers and other safety apparell a necessity? I feel that the instruction manual left for this one may be in another language… perhaps female or something completely foreign.
    Dave, don’t assume I have any scepticism in the road-worthiness of this fine vessel! I’m sure she starts first go, revs right out to the redline without a splutter, and has plenty of tread on her tyres! More so, I feel that whilst im no Casey Stoner, I can still pop a wheelie when i’m in top gear. Maybe its more that I am a V8 supercar driver? PLEASE DAVE FROM ALBURY ENLIGHTEN THE PEOPLE!
    -much love
    -Dave’s sister’s fanclub

  6. I dunno know, Jr. I’m kinda clumsy, not to mention not that keen on confrontation. I’d probably step on the cat and walk into a lamp and alert our presence. Dave would probably then say something funny and I’d get the giggles. Don’t think it would work. I’d much rather make plenty of noise and hopefully scare them from a distance. It’s not that I don’t want to help. At least with the ‘noise’ option my plan B might still work. If they turn our way, I’d plan on using the rest of the men as a human shield first before relying on the children and women. I’m kind of big and I have found in the past that little kids don’t offer much protection.

    I think Dave is man enough to sort this one out (at least with Mrs Dave as his wing man). Truthfully, I reckon those Gaukroger girls could handle themselves just fine without their big bro getting in the way.

  7. Well, I’m prepared to await Dave’s outcome, Lee. But if he fails to settle this in his own way, I suggest that you and I man the metal dustbin lids and sticks, whilst our enforcement agents do their trick.

    BTW, how’s the tread on your reeboks?

  8. awwz Davey G, I heart u man… U know im only playin with ya!! Besides, im hardly an immoral individual doomed for damnation! Good to see ya today anyway man! Good chance i’ll catch ya over the w.e any ways.

  9. Jr, it should be easy to spot who the culprit is; there aren’t too many guys in Wagga whom look like that kid in the ‘Pretty Fly for a White Boy’ video.

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