Too late to organise a MTB ride, I had to come up with a plan C. It was a nice day, being not too hot or too humid and I did have a jacket to wear now. Must be time to get the R1 out of the shed then!
Dragging all of my gear together and checking tyre pressures took about thirty minutes. Thirty minutes to let the butterflies grow. How would it go? Will I remember how to make the bike go around a corner? Will I have fun or was this going to be a big mistake?
As I sat on the bike to ride away, I was struck by how "in the bike" you feel when compared with riding a bicycle, where you are sitting waaay up high. Feeling awkward right away can't be good. I gave myself an uppercut and calmed down to concentrate on the basics of smoothness and throttle control. It is amazing how rusty you become with throttle control and sobering to realise how important it is to riding a motorcycle with the direct response that the R1 has to said throttle!
I rolled on to the Motorway heading south. The plan was to take in a pleasant loop up over Mt Tamborine to Canungra, the return home via Nerang. This route would necessitate riding some narrow, twisting roads. A sure fire way to focus my attention on the issues of the moment, namely throttle control and cornering ability.
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Shortly after getting off the motorway, I noted another large jap road bike following me. Great. A witness to my ineptitude! Stuck behind slow moving cars I concentrated on road position and where to look in the corners. One of the first things I noticed was how wide the road was. I had plenty of tarmac to select a line from, unlike in a car. This immediately made me feel more at ease and when the slow cars finally turned up a side road, I was able to up the pace gently and work on my lines. Funnily enough, looking in the rear view mirror I saw the following rider wobbling and running a bit wide on corners. Maybe I wasn't the only newbie out there this morning!
This part of South East Queensland is always picturesque and today was no exception. With thunderstorms scrubbing the sky clear the previous day, the colours of the mountain were particularly vivid, as if someone had upped the colour saturation on the entire world. I was starting to relax now and enjoy being out on the bike.
Riding over Tamborine, I dropped down the narrow, winding road into Canungra. Following a bogan in a huge four wheel drive helped me keep my pace under control, if not my frustration. This idiot was using both sides of the road to maximise his corner speed. Too bad if another road user was comimg the other way. As soon as I could, I safely dispatched this menace, not wanting to be witness to a head on collision.
Pulling into Canungra, I stopped for a coffee and bite to eat at a cafe' frequented by bikers.
Relaxing under the cooling mist of water that the fans were blowing around, I took a moment to reflect on how much fun I was having....and how damn hot that bike looked!
I also noticed the perfect place to hang the GoPro for no vibration footage. Those rubber Oggy Knobs on either side of the bike are rock solid and would allow a forward or rearward shot. Hmmm....
Suiting up, it was time to head down to Nerang and ultimately home. This piece of road is relatively high speed with long sweepers and a few tight sections to catch out the unwary. By now, I had gone from individual riding actions, brake now-move your butt now-lean now-accelerate now all carried out oafishly and seperately, to smoothly doing all at once. Not having to think about each action separately freed up brain space to assess corner speeds and start braking later. Woo Hooo! It was starting to flow sweetly now.
Motoring along the freeway on the way home I also marvelled at how comfortable the bike was. Despite reading reviews on sports bikes for years and previous personal experience, lamenting the fact that they are painfully uncomfortable, I found the seat well padded and quite pleasant. I guess sitting on a narrow, hard bicycle seat for 4-8 hours at a time changes one's point of reference. So all of you that curse sports bike creature comforts, give yourselves an uppercut and "harden the f#*k up"!
My concerns about the mustiness of my helmet were also a non event. At highway speeds I simply did not notice the smell and the helmet felt like the quality item that it always was, so I will persevere with my old lid and contemplate a replacement at a later date.
At home again, with the bike tucked away the shed, I had a grin on my face that even the thought of impending work couldn't remove.
No doubt, for some of you the content will be blocked in some countries. If you have AD/DC's Shoot to Thrill, play it in sequence with the video and you will have the full picture! If you feel the need to play "Barbie Girl" by Aqua, have a chuckle to yourself, but just don't tell me about it!
Now to plan the next ride and northern New South Wales is beckoning.
I think this is going to be fun!