Tag Archives: husqvarna tr650 strada

Riding gravel roads in Gembrook

On one of the weekends we decided to meet with Greg(on Husky) and Andrew (on BMW R1200GSA) at Gembrook for coffee and go a for a ride after that.
I thought we were just gonna do the local twisties but Andrew wanted to do the gravel. I didn’t even put the adventure boots on and was not really prepared to do the off-road today and Greg was in the same boat saying he would have brought the tool-bag just in case.
Oh well we decided to still do it.
The gravel roads were moist from the rain that was going on for the last few days.Some patches were reasonably dry but the ones in the shade were really moist with few puddles of water.
All was good until we took a left turn I think towards the Power lines section in that area. It was slowly going uphill and one section on the right had all the trees chopped, some sort of logging track.
That is where I had my first slide which is not in the picture. I was trying to go around the puddles went closer to the curb side and then turn left but front washed away and I slide into the curb , it was soft and at walking speed so no issues.
I looked at the surface and it was wet slippery clay stuff not much of the gravel in the section.
Andrew had TKC80s on his 1200GS with traction control and ABS ON Greg still had knobby Pirelli Rally in the front and Mitas 09 at the back they felt some wobbles but it was not as much issue as it was for me on my new Pirelli Scorpion Trails.
They were holding fine on gravel and on drier stuff but on the wet clay they were just like skates on ice. They felt and looked like slicks after mud filled up the thread groves in the tyre.
They asked me if we should turn around and go back to the main gravel track I said I will try again and went first now.

taking a nap
taking a nap

hand brake u-turn
hand brake u-turn

Only managed to do another 100 meters before another slip.This time rear was caught in the little rut and washed out coming around towards the front so the whole bike went sideways to the road and slid from left side of the road to the right side while still being upright and then fell again into a soft stuff mostly leaves and grass so there were no issues. It happened so quickly that the guys didn’t even see how it happened. It was similar to a police stunt u-turn using the handbrake to do a 180degree u-turn.
IMG_4795.JPG

This time we decided to turn around and take another route.The other section was alright it was more gravely and bike was staying upright.
Andrew let me test ride his 1200GSA, it was my first time on 1200GS.First I could not even take it of the side stand, his seat is high and he dialed his electronic suspension to the highest mode too.So I was barely touching ground.If I am touching ground with my right foot I can’t reach the side stand.So he removed it for me and switched into the 1st gear and then I went.It was so heavy at standstill that I couldn’t move it but as it started moving it felt very light.
The gears felt lower then Versys and sound coming from the engine was interesting too. But i was surprised how clunky the gearbox was I was expecting the opposite from the German engineers. Anyway the standing on the foot pegs and riding in the saddle both were comfortable for me on 1200. The only issue would be the height and the weight of the bike. I also always liked the look of the 1200GS bikes and I got the GS bug again now.

Fallen tree
Fallen tree

Few minutes later we swapped the bikes back and got to a section where a big fallen tree blocked the road. First thought was to turn around as we are not in 4WD and not carrying chainsaws with us. Then decided to ride around the tree through the high grass, ferns and bushes. When I road the bike through that stuff it felt like it was suspended in the air while riding over the brunches grass and other soft debris.

Apart from injured pride, it was a great day out overall, lots of fresh air and emotions.

Motorbike Trip to Horsham via Great Ocean Road and Daylesford

Motorbike Trip to Horsham on Suzuki GS500 ( via Great Ocean Road and Daylesford)

map-trip-to-horsham-via-great-ocean-road
the route we have taken

last year in the end of june 2013 we decided to go for a two day ride  to Horsham.
We could’ve take the shortcut and get there in 3 hours via the freeway but we taken a more scenic route via the Great Ocean Road. We left city around 8am on Satturday , as I remember now the weather when we took off, was not the best. It was really cold around 5 degrees, foggy and to make it worth when we approached Geelong it started raining. At 100km/h it cools you by another 10 degrees. Even though I have waterproof suit and waterproof gloves, after riding in this weather for an hour your fingers go numb. Would have been nice to have heated grips or at least bark busters to deflect rain and wind. Another thing was a poor visibility I worried that it would be harder to ride the waterfront twisties in such conditions.

We stopped at Anglesea for 5 mins to stretch the legs. As we left Anglesea  rain stopped and sky cleared. It was a lot nicer to ride now, it didn’t feel as cold and suit started drying up. In about half an hour we got to Lorne and stopped there for a late breakfast.

The coastal twisty road continues up until Apollo Bay after it goes inland,  we  refuelled there and continued towards Warnambool.  We hit few patches of rain before we got to Warnambool but the road was still nice via inland, very green, humid and air filled with rainforest fragrance. We decided to have lunch somewhere near the waterfront and found a good spot near the Breakwater Rock Pier, the food at Pavilion Cafe & Bar was quite good and it had nice view of the little bay.

Warnambool
Warnambool

the original plan was to go to Portland next but we were running a bit late on time and the final destination for the day was Horsham so we decided to skip Portland and ride via “C184” highway to reduce the time we ride in the dark to avoid all the wildlife.

Half way between Macarthur and Hamilton we found a nice lookout with a view to the Mt Napier. We didn’t have enough time to visit the old volcano and explorer surroundings there but taken few nice

Mt Napier lookout
Mt Napier lookout

photos with some nice green paddocks at the back, which reminded me of WindowsXP desktop background.

It got dark just before we got to Horsham. We didn’t want to meet too many kangaroos as we were passing Grampians on our right, as this time of the day you see them more often . they are very active at dusk and dawn, come out to feed and could end up on the road.

We stopped overnight at relatives place in Horsham. I was a bit tired, it was my first long ride on the bike. My shoulders and wrists were sore, knees were cramped. I think Suzuki GS500 is a bit small for me for long distance touring, about 600 kms in one sitting was a bit hard but its perfect for shorter distances and commuting around town. I also think I was holding on to the handlebars bit too much too and might have been a bit stiffer then needs to be,  that could’ve also contributed to the muscle ache.

We left Horsham early morning at dawn . We headed to Grampians via Wartook and Halls Gap.  The fog was very thick that morning, you couldn’t see further then 10-20 meters. It was so thick that it was forming a droplets film on the visor, I had to wipe the visor with my hand every few minutes. It was crowded with kangaroos too, crossing the road, jumping out of nowhere, running alongside the road, so we were riding very slow on those twisties with eyes wide open.

We soon arrived at Halls Gap, where we had our morning coffee, coffee  was quite average but was enough to get us to Ararat, where we had a better coffee and a proper breakfast.

When we finished our breakfast sun was up and cleared the fog, the ride got easier and roads straighter, so we got to Daylesford via Avoca and Maryborough in no time. We searched  for natural mineral springs near Daylesford, there were few signs there but we couldn’t find any springs in the wild. We had some nice lunch at Daylesford .Taken few photoshots of Trentham Water Falls and went to Melbourne.

On the second day of riding I didn’t feel as much shoulder pain as day before , because I tried to relax the grip a little but still could feel the knee cramps so I needed to stop every couple of hours to stretch.

Overall it was a good relaxing trip, mind clearing and refreshing. Covering around 1000kms over the weekend. It was my first long road trip on the bike and Im looking forward to the next one.