Tag Archives: Club rides

Camp at Clunes report

On Saturday, 25 Feb 2017, a half dozen or so members of the Club enjoyed the hospitality of Russell & Christine at their home in Clunes (VIC).

Paul, Jeff, Tony & Craig met at the BP Truckstop at Rockbank at 9:30am as planned, and after coffee, proceeded at a leisurely pace up the Western Freeway to the Ballarat Swap Meet. There we found Andy, Colin, and Darren selling their wares! There were not too many bargains to be had (although Paul managed to pick up a Ford Mustang petrol cap as a memento for $5!). From the swap meet, it was only a short ride to Clunes.

At Russell’s & Christine’s house, we met up with Nick & J’nel, Manny, Chris Phillips, and Denver, and were taken on a tour of the expansive shed/workshop/man-cave which houses Russell’s & Christine’s motorbike collection, bar, table football, and pool table.

A plentiful & scrumptious dinner was provided by Russell & Christine and their neighbourhood friends, and we all had a very pleasant evening.

Paul, Jeff & Tony chose to ride back to Melbourne after dinner, whereas the rest of us stayed the night – sleeping in either the house, the caravan, or the campervan.

Sunday morning, after a yummy cooked breakfast, we all went our separate ways.

Unfortunately, Craig only made it about 35 km before getting a flat tyre near Bungaree. Valiant attempts by Manny to fix the puncture were unsuccessful, so Russell was kind enough to pick up Craig and return to Clunes (and subsequently organise a replacement tyre the following day).

Thank you Russell & Christine for your generous hospitality over the weekend!

Club Ride report (5 Feb 2017)

Tony Jones reports on the Club ride he organised for 5 Feb 2017:

Originally, the ride was to have covered about 320 km through the scenic rolling hills north of Melbourne before stopping for lunch in Alexandra before returning home via Yea, Flowerdale (stopping at the famous pub for refreshments, of course!) and finishing up at Whittlesea. This was changed when I realised the Herald Sun Tour and their support crews would be jamming up the roads in the area… bloody cyclists!  Then there was a bushfire that closed the Bulla-Diggers Rest Road, which was on the revised route, and of course, Melbourne’s infamous weather which had forecast for torrential downpours and severe thunderstorms!  Perfect day for a ride, you say?!

Not surprisingly, given the forecast, the turn up for the ride was minimal.

Jeff Gillman and myself waited at BP AA Calder Hwy Outbound until 9:00am before making our way across to Bulla (via the re-opened Bulla-Diggers Rest Road). Passing through Oaklands Junction, we headed for the Whittlesea coffee stop on twisty backroads via Konagaderra Road, Darraweit Guim, Wallan, and Eden Park on the superb Janna & Glenburnie Roads.

Ugo had just arrived at the coffee stop, so the timing was perfect! While we were enjoying our coffee, there was a very brief shower, which barely wet the road, but it did prompt us to check the weather radar! The plan was to ride to Flowerdale for a counter lunch at the pub via Strath Creek / Kerrisdale / Yea; however, this was scrapped when the radar indicated heavy rain to the north of us, smashing the intended route.  To the south was clear and dry, so we headed for the Coach & Horses Inn, Clarkefield, on some outstanding roads that took us back through Wallan, Romsey, Kerrie Valley, and Riddells Creek.

After a nice pub lunch and an enjoyable ride, we headed back towards Melbourne Airport via Wildwood Road to Oakland Junction, where Jeff and Ugo turned towards the city, while I headed home to Sunbury.

All things considered, and despite dire predictions about the weather, it was a great ride of some 220 km or so on DRY roads under cloudy skies, which kept the temperature down to a very pleasant 27°C. Good roads, great scenery, good company and lots of laughs, and we didn’t get wet! Everything you need for an enjoyable day out on the bikes!

Club ride to Mid Life Cycles

On Saturday, 15 October 2016, the SR500 Club visited Mid Life Cycles in Cremorne (Richmond), to check out their premises, and extensive new Royal Enfield showroom. The staff at MLC made us very welcome, and Mike even took a Continental GT for a test ride. The visit was followed by an alfresco lunch at a nice café in Swan Street. An enjoyable morning had by all!

Tasmania – a club member’s report

Drew Jackson from Townsville, QLD, attended the SR500 Club Ride ’round Tasmania, 11-20 March, 2016.

Here’s his account of the trip:

A SINGLE-MINDED RIDE AROUND TASMANIA

The opportunity to ride around Tasmania once more was too good to miss out on, especially as the ride was going to be chance to use my SR500 on some this country’s best motorcycling roads. When the SR500 Club first floated the idea, I signed up straight away – this was at least 6 mths prior so I had plenty of time to sort out the logistics (and earn the brownie points needed). There was no way I was going to ride the SR500 6000 km on the mainland just getting to and from Tasmania. The thought of having a 38 year old bike break on the wrong side of Bass Strait and then having to get it back home meant that the ute was going to do the big kilometres on this trip. I booked the Mazda on the ferry, and once a rough itinerary was available, hotels and motels were booked online. I then contacted a friend, John, in Warwick and asked him if he wanted to come along for another crack at Tasmania. He had recently downsized his bike as, like all of us, he’s not as young as he used to be. His Kawasaki KL250 was set up for touring, with pannier racks, heated grips and 12V outlet. Given that the bike only had to keep pace with SR500s, then it was thought that the Kawka would do the job.

It is cheaper to take a fully loaded ute across the Strait than two motorcycles.

The drive to Melbourne took a couple of days and with diesel prices as low as $0.99 per ltr, the cost wasn’t too bad. I stopped in Mackay the first night after leaving on Thursday afternoon and driving through torrential rain. It was really pissing down and I had visions of road closures and lengthy detours. So I was up at 4:30am and off to Warwick. More rain! It did stop before Rockhampton, and the rest of the drive was uneventful. We loaded the bikes and camping gear into the ute after doing a final tappet adjustment on the SR, and planned for an early start, with Canberra being our goal for the day. We left Canberra mid-morning and headed for Lakes Entrance where we set up camp in the recreation grounds ($20 for a tent site). They have a big problem with rabbits – the bloody things were everywhere! We arrived in Melbourne in the middle of a heat wave – 37°C! We spent the night with my brother in his fur shop in the suburb of McKinnon. The following day we planned to check out the bike shops in Elizabeth St. We left the ute in a side street near the port with our gear stuffed into the cab and our bikes chained to the ute’s tray. Then disaster struck!

We decided to get a tram into the city, but as John stepped into the tram, his knee went bung. Really BUNG. We got off the tram and he went to a pharmacy to get some painkillers and a walking stick, but he couldn’t walk, even with the stick. We were in deep poo. We managed to catch a taxi to the Royal Alfred Hospital and I wheeled him into emergency in a wheel chair. After waiting a couple of hours, the doctor took him into a cubicle and prodded and poked his knee and didn’t really think he should leave. John explained that he was going to ride a motorbike around Tasmania for ten days. The doctor was probably going to send him to the psych ward at that stage! So she drained a bucket of fluid from his knee, X-rayed his knee and released him with a pile of pills and warnings. We took a taxi back to the ute and eventually found ourselves on board the ferry. John hobbled into the bar and after several cool drinks and a good meal, he went to sleep. The knee was going to play up for the next three weeks, going from feeling pretty good, to feeling pretty awful. Once underway on the bike he was fine – it was getting on and off that had its challenges. Luckily it had electric start.

Once off the ferry, we headed for St. Helens where an old friend was going to let us leave the ute while we were on the ride. He also told us he’d come and pick us up if we broke down anywhere in Tasmania – another retiree looking for something to do! We were asked to leave our laundry behind as well. Great! Clean clothes would be great. That night the rain started and even though we looked at the computer radar images, the clouds weren’t going away. So we set off in the rain and hoped it wasn’t going to ruin a good ride. The rain cleared after 50 km, and the ride to Devonport went well, with the SR and KL making good time. We were to meet the rest of the group on Saturday morning as they got off the ferry. We found a room at Molly Malones Irish Hotel, with a lock-up shed for the bikes. The following morning at 6am, we repacked the bikes and prepared to leave. It was still dark at this time and I flooded the SR. I did the usual thing to clear the combustion chamber and turned the ignition back on. The backfire that resulted shattered the morning peace and would have woken the dead! Luckily the bike started next kick and we melted into the darkness before anyone called the police looking for a fool with a shotgun!

Now this is where the title comes into play. We found a lone SR500 parked near the ferry terminal surrounded by BMW GS1200s and other motorcycles of various sizes and capacities. In the end, only three SR500s and one XT600 Ténéré were in the group. Oh well! As they explained, it’s an owners’ club, not a riders’ club! After introductions, it was off to Stanley, but not directly. We went to Sheffield first for breakfast, then on to Wilmot via some tight windy roads that skirted Cradle Mountain. Our first fuel stop was at Waratah. The SR was running well, apart from a small oil leak, and the economy was looking promising (65 mpg). The main group then headed up to Burnie via the main highway. However, the road we chose was the Hellyer Gorge Rd (Murchison Hwy) which I found to be a great ride last time I was there, and as the weather was fine, we figured that we shouldn’t miss the chance to ride it while it was dry. So after some spirited riding, we arrived in Stanley and found the hotel we’d booked months earlier online. The booking was there, the room was good, and the beer was cold. We then climbed up ‘The Nut’.

The following day, we headed off to refuel and found that the service station at Stanley was out of business. John’s KL was on reserve and we weren’t sure where the next fuel was going to be. His KL only holds 9 ltrs and it had been on reserve for a while. We rode slowly towards Burnie and found fuel at Detention River. They also did a very good bacon and egg burger! The others caught up with us and we headed to Wynyard to top up, just in case. Our destination for the day was Queenstown, but there is more than one way to get there. Some of us wanted to go via the Reece Dam, but this was after riding though Hellyer Gorge again. This is where the first mechanical problem occurred when the Triumph Speed Triple picked up a puncture in the rear tyre. Now this was interesting, as finding the hole wasn’t something these possums had done before! So with some sage advice, soapy water was found, and the leak detected. The hole was plugged with one of those screw in repair kits and the 12V socket on the KL provided the power for an air compressor, and we were on our way again.

The road around Reece Dam is another gem, with a combination of fast sweepers and tighter corners – really worth it. It’s great when you are already enjoying one of these roads with endless corners when you come across a sign telling you that ahead is another 11 km of windy roads! We had lunch at Tullah. The road into Queenstown from Zeehan was a great way to finish the day.

That night we had a really good steak at one of the motels, and retired for the night. The next day the weather was beautiful, so we rode to Strahan. This is another twisty ribbon of bitumen, and very enjoyable. The pub sold cold ale, so we supported it before heading to Zeehan. This is not an exciting ride and was disappointing after what we’d ridden previously. We had lunch in Zeehan before riding back to Queenstown for the night. We cooked for ourselves on the motel BBQ – a pretty good steak with tomato and jacket potatoes. We were doing it tough!

The following morning it was time to head south east to Hobart via Derwent Bridge (breakfast) and we stopped at The Wall. I didn’t think a lot had changed there since our last visit, but it is a ‘must see’ in Tasmania. The Lyell Hwy is another good ride, and after going through New Norfolk and getting fuel, it was off to Hobart. The GPS came in handy, finding our motel, which had views over Hobart. A few of the others were staying here as well. We took the bus into the city as we expected to find a pub at some time in the afternoon. We met up with one of my old friends from way back and he took us for a tour of the University Campus near Constitution Dock. He’s doing a PhD on the environmental impact of the dams, etc. We arranged with him to go for a ride out to Strathgordon the next day. Again, the weather was perfect, but there was question mark about the availability of petrol on this road. We rang the Wilderness Lodge, which had just re-opened the previous day, and fuel was available – at $1.73 a ltr! I’m glad the bike had cured its drinking problem! The scenery was stunning and the effects of the bushfires and drought were obvious. A great day on great roads.

The following day, it was off to Swansea on the East coast. Nowhere is very far in Tasmania, so there was no rush to get there. We stopped at Richmond, where the British Motorcycle Owners Club had a display going in the town hall. After looking at some very good bikes, it was off to the bakery for breakfast, then off to Swansea. Again, my online booking had been successful and a cabin was ready. We unloaded the bikes and headed north for a look at Freycinet Peninsula. This is a very picturesque spot, but the cost of getting into Wineglass Bay was just too much, so we contented ourselves with views from the Coles Bay public bar! The wind had picked up and was blowing very strongly. The following morning it started to rain and showed no sign of clearing, so it was on with the wets and off to breakfast at the bakery on the Northern side of town. The ride to St Helens was pretty uneventful and the rain stopped for us before we got to Bicheno. We had a look at the bike museum there, but I didn’t take any photos. We decided to take a detour on the way and found the turnoff to Elephant Pass. Another set of winding corners took us to a pancake café where we had lunch before going to St Helens via St Marys Pass. We were reunited with the ute and used it to get supplies from the bottle shop. We stayed with friends and played cards into the night.

Launceston was our next stop, and the road to Scottsdale, and then Launceston, is a ripper. We stopped at Derby for coffee and caught up with a couple of fellow SR members on BMWs. After a couple of photos, it was off again on some really good roads. Our motel was across the park from the Automobile Museum, and so we headed over there to check it out. Launceston wasn’t very busy, and finding a café took a fair bit of searching. By this time, John’s knee was playing up, so armed with a bottle of red and a six pack, we headed back to our motel.

It was time to bid farewell to other members of the SR fraternity and head back to St. Helens again to pack the bikes and say farewell to our friends, who once again had done all our laundry! We had one more night in Tasmania, so we drove up to the North East and went to Mt William National Park. This was a dirt road and the graders were ripping it up, so progress was slow. We then visited Tomahawk Point and Bridport before calling it a day and spending the night in a cabin at Low Head.

Great Lake (central, northern Tasmania).

We were due to sail out in the afternoon, so we headed for Great Lake (above), which was really only a little lake, due to the drought. But what a road! I was tempted to unload the SR for one final assault on Tasmania’s highway system, but I didn’t. I’ll leave it until next time! We had lunch in Deloraine before heading up to Devonport to catch the ferry.

Our next adventure involved trams again, and getting out of Melbourne. Next, Broadford [Bike Bonanza]!

PS: John is still waiting for an MRI on his knee.

Tasmania 2016 Ride Report

SR500 Club Ride ’round Tasmania, 11-20 March, 2016

Friday 11: Departure day for the Tassie ride had finally arrived and it was a cracker of a day, with sunny blue skies and temperatures in the low 30s – a perfect start to our circuit around the Apple Isle! The majority of the group gathered in the Port Melbourne Yacht Club carpark and then moved on to board the ferry at around 6pm. Once on board, the riders all socialised with a few drinks before dinner and then wandered off to their various cabins for a good night’s sleep. Most of us slept well; however, there were some reports of loud snoring coming from several cabins, which made for an interesting crossing for some!

Saturday 12: Arriving in Devonport early Saturday morning, most of the group enjoyed a short ride to Sheffield (via Railton, ‘Town of Topiary’)  for breakfast. From Sheffield, we rode the scenic back roads past Cradle Mountain and on to Waratah for a fuel stop. The group then headed north to Burnie and along the Bass Hwy to our overnight stop at Stanley. With temperatures in the mid-20s and blue skies, it was a very enjoyable day’s ride which ended for most of us with dinner at the Stanley Hotel. Many in the group spent the afternoon exploring the quaint seaside town, with the more adventurous climbing to the top of ‘The Nut’.

Sunday 13: Another beautiful, sunny day greeted us as we departed Stanley for Queenstown via Hellyer Gorge. Regrouping at the bottom of Hellyer Gorge, Ryan noticed that his rear tyre had a puncture. However, this was soon fixed, with most of the group then riding on to Tullah for lunch. From Tullah, about half the group rode on to Queenstown via Roseberry and Zeehan. A smaller group took the much longer, but spectacular route to Zeehan via the legendary Reece Dam road. This road provided the riders with long sweepers and tight hairpins along with fabulous scenery around every corner. Regrouping in Queenstown, we all met for drinks at the Empire Hotel before having dinner at several different places.

Monday 14: A large group took a four hour trip on the West Coast Wilderness Railway, which by all reports was a very scenic ride and well worth the fare. A smaller group enjoyed a ride out to Strahan for lunch on the back roads via Roseberry, Tullah and Zeehan. Another great day’s riding was enjoyed under sunny blue skies with temperatures in the low 20s.

Departing Queenstown.

Tuesday 15: Most of us gathered for a group picture in Queenstown (above) prior to a 10am departure for Hobart. We all enjoyed the climb out of Queenstown on the legendary twisty roads that would lead us to the fuel stop and regroup at Derwent Bridge. The roads between Derwent Bridge and our lunch stop at Ouse were in great condition and were enjoyed by all as we had a ‘spirited’ ride up and down the hills and around the twisties. On approaching the outskirts of Hobart, the group broke up to get to their various accommodations around town. The original plan for the evening was to meet at Joe’s Garage for drinks, but alas, it wasn’t open, so we all met at Irish Murphy’s in Salamanca Place instead and enjoyed a night of socialising while listening to local young musos at the pub’s ‘open mic’ night. Thanks to the Club committee’s sponsoring of the ride, a bar tab was set up, and was put to very good use over the course of the evening. No one left the pub feeling thirsty, and possibly some were a little groggy the next morning!

Wednesday 16: Today was a rest day in Hobart. Many of the culture vultures in the Club went to the Museum of Old and New Art and enjoyed an exhibition by Gilbert and George. The less culturally aware members bypassed MONA and went on another ‘spirited’ ride on the cracking roads that lead to Strathgordon, Lake Pedder and Gordon Dam. The weather was perfect for riding again and the roads were just sensational!

Thursday 17: As the group’s accommodation was spread around Hobart, it was decided to re-group for a coffee stop at the historic old town of Richmond, prior to riding on to our overnight stop in Swansea. As luck would have it, there was a very impressive display of vintage, veteran and classic motorcycles in the Richmond Town Hall. An immaculate Brough Superior took pride of place alongside several Vincents and numerous BSAs, Triumphs, Nortons, and lots of other rare and beautifully restored machines. From Richmond, the group spread out and made its way along the coastline with several stopping at the fishing town of Triabunna for lunch. It had been another lovely sunny, but as heavy rain was forecast for tomorrow, Brendan, Gary, Matt, Jeff and Tony decided to ride the legendary Lake Leake Hwy across to Ross for a coffee and a giant, award-winning vanilla slice from the Ross Village Bakery! While the others returned to Swansea via Lake Leake Hwy, Brendan and Gary decided to ‘go bush’ to try to find their way back to Swansea via dirt roads. They got as far as Tooms Lake before the track started to peter out, and they started running out of time (daylight) and fuel, and they had to turn around and return via Lake Leake Hwy also.

Friday 18: The wind was blowing a gale off the sea overnight and the day started out with some light to moderate rain in the Swansea area. Further south in Hobart, the radar showed very heavy rain, so we were lucky to have avoided a major storm. After breakfast at the Bark Mill Bakery, we started heading north towards our next overnight stop, St Helens. Several of us stopped at Bicheno on the way, to check out the Motorcycle Museum there, which contained a very nice collection of old & new machinery, including Vincent Rapide, Bultaco Pursang, Triumph X75 Hurricane, Noriel 4 café racer, and Yamaha HL500 replica (feat. a GMC Cro-Mo frame). Some of us then turned off the Tasman Hwy and rode up a very misty Elephant Pass to Mount Elephant Pancakes for refreshments. By the time we reached St Helens, the rain had, thankfully, eased off.

Saturday 19: A rather leisurely start to the day, this being our last full day in Tassie. From St Helens, it was a short ride to the Shop in the Bush for some souvenir shopping, then on to the Holy Cow Café at Pyengana for coffee, and to watch some very clever cows at the Pyengana Dairy using an automated back scratcher on their way to the milking shed! From there, we rode up to the spectacular St Columba Falls (which had obviously benefited from the previous day’s rain!), and then on to the Pub in the Paddock for a beverage or two. Many of us were staying at Devonport this night, so we had a few k’s to notch up before the end of day! So we pushed on along the Tasman Hwy through Weldborough, Derby (for lunch), Scottsdale, north to Bridport, then west again, crossing the Tamar River at Batman Bridge, and continuing, carving up the back roads (through Frankford) to Devonport. Yet more spectacular, fast roads again today, this was what a great way to end the trip!

Sunday 20: Many of us had an early start, to catch the 9:00am sailing of the Spirit of Tasmania, back to Melbourne. For many of us, it was also our first day sailing, and we found this was a nice, restful way to end the trip – and start planning for the next trip!

Summary: All things considered, the 2016 Club Ride ’round Tassie was a fun event and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. Other than our planned overnight stops, there were no other formal plans, so there was plenty of flexibility for everyone to travel at their own speed and stop as often as they wanted to enjoy the sights and sounds of Tasmania. There were no mechanical breakdowns, only ONE wet day, no accidents (worth mentioning!) and no speeding tickets that anyone has admitted to so far! The ride provided a fantastic opportunity for all Club members, and non-members alike to socialise and get to know each other better while enjoying our motorcycles and the unreal scenery and roads that only Tasmania has to offer. Well done to all who attended and thank you for making the ride such an outstanding event.

Participants

Andy Hunt Kawasaki GTR1000
Darren Marston Yamaha TDM900
Colin Warner & Andrea Chenery Triumph Bonneville
Craig Lemon Yamaha TRX850
Brendan van de Zand Yamaha SR500
Drew Jackson Yamaha SR500
John (from Warwick, QLD) Kawasaki KL250 Super Sherpa
Gary & Karen Cuthbert Honda CB500
Jeff Gillman Suzuki RF600
Matthew Vellere Suzuki GSXR750
David & Mary Ell BMW R1200RT
Marcos & Maria Anastassiou BMW R1200GS
Ian & Janet Janetzki Yamaha XV1000 Virago
David & Kerry Prior Yamaha XT600 Ténéré
Kerrigan O’Neill Hyundai iLoad
Paul Norstog Yamaha SR500
Ryan & Brodie Jones Triumph Speed Triple
Tony Jones BMW R1200GS
Michael Prior Mercedes Benz van

 

 

Tasmania 2016

SR500 Club tour of Tasmania, 11th-20th March 2016