Monday, November 15, 2021

The Black Donuts And Some Tricolori

After my Border Patrol ride with it's heavily loaded, high speed cruising it was time for some new rear rubber on the Africa Twin. I had replaced the original Bridgestone AX41 with another back in April. I found the AX41 to be a good tyre on the dirt roads I ride and it also had plenty of grip for some fairly spirited road riding. The down side was that it was only good for about 6000 kilometres. Not the greatest longevity so....

Bridgestone AX41 shod back in April.

After much browsing of the many "What Tyres Are You Using" threads on the interwebs, two kept coming up as hoops worth a look at. The Motoz GPS and the Mitas E07 Dakar. Now, a mate has the Motoz GPS on his KTM 1090 and while it has lasted well and seems ok in the dirt, he dreads riding on the sealed stuff in the wet. With the tyre's continuous centre strip he says it spins up and slides at the drop of a hat. 
 The E05 that was on my BMW F800 was a fine tyre that gave me confidence on the tar, so, that pushed me to try a Mitas E07+.


A recent two day ride with Jon, the KTM mate and another workmate on his trusty DR650 saw us doing a mix of sealed road, good dirt and some sandy farm tracks with a couple of creek crossings, finally "glamping" in a pub. 

The E07 performed well but I think the front tyre is holding me back on the tar. The front feels like it is tucking when I push hard, especially when I try to stand the bike up to change direction. A close look at the front tyre showed a fair amount of wear (about 10 000km on it) so on the way home from that ride I stopped into Tyres For Bikes at Eagle Farm for a new front tyre.

I thought about trying something else but the Bridgestone had done a good job both on and off road and the life wasn't bad at 10 000km. Hence, another AX41 went on the front. Jon also put one on his KTM 1090 at the same time as his TKC 80 was pretty flogged.

Riding out of the shop the bike immediately felt smoother. The old tyre was out of balance and was shaking the front end quite a bit in hindsight.

Another thing I noticed, just as I pulled onto the motorway (which is only about 50 metres from the tyre shop) was that both my ABS and Traction control lights were illuminated! Shit!! There was no way off the motorway as it went straight up the Gateway Bridge and onto the south side of the river. About half way up the bridge the Engine light also came on! FFS, what have they done?

When I got home I inspectd the front wheel, expecting to see damage to the wheel speed sensor or it's wire but no, it looked fine. What did look wrong though was the wheel speed ring being on the other side of the fork to the wheel speed sensor!

Wheel speed ring on right fork leg.

Wheel speed sensor on left fork leg.

Wheel speed sensor wire on left fork leg.

ONE JOB! They are called Tyres For Bikes - they have one job - fitting tyres to bikes....and they had put my wheel in the bike backwards! Maybe I should have checked but really, how hard is it? They have 1 job!!

So, I reefed the wheel out and as they are located right by the airport I waited until I was going to work before dropping the wheel off to them. They didn't offer to reimburse the $33 it costs to have them fit the new tyre to the bike even though I had to take the wheel out and take it back to them for rectification. 
I'm not very happy with that level of service as there are plenty of places to buy tyres in this city. I am currently considering if I cross them permanently off my "places to shop" list.

On a happier note, I got the Twin out for a spin mid last week, despite the rain that was threatening. Number one child also came for the ride. We tracked up the back side of Beechmont from Canungra as the roadworks of recent years have turned that goat track into some nice wide, sweeping, constant radius corners....before turning back to goat track. I also figured the inland side of the mountain would be a drier alternative to the coastal side. This proved to be true as we arrived at The Flying Bean cafe in some low cloud but still quite dry.

The impending deluge had clearly scared everyone else off as this is the first time I have ever been to The Bean and not seen a motorcycle parked up out the front! I had pride of place but chose to stay out of the mud!

My daughter had some breakfast and a coffee while I was good and just had coffee. (trying to lose some Covid kilos) It did look nice though....

A local Magpie was hopeful of a few crumbs but we dissuaded him from coming any closer, me still being scarred by his crazy bretheren buzzing me during the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail End 2 End X 2 bike ride at the end of August! (link to last year's ride above)

The rain did eventually arrive, as did a couple of other hardy motorcyclists so we settled in for another coffee and a chat. In fact, we spent 3 hours chatting to two guys who rolled up on a Ninja 1000 and a BMW F850GSA. One was Italian, the other a German, both having lived in Oz for a few years. It was a very entertaining morning. Eventually though we needed to get going and we headed off into some thick fog and quite heavy rain. No problem though as Queensland is warm - being wet and warm is fine.

On another motorcycling note, I took the Tuono to Hawtt Decals where Emma (or was it Emily?) applied some cool rim decals which added a splash of colour and I think look pretty cool. I had a good time chatting all things motorcycling with her as both her and her husband are keen riders and road racers. I will definitely be using their services again. I just need more imagination to come up with some cool decals - something I'm not naturally endowed with though, unfortunately.

I think it came up well but you be the judge.

Pre rim decal

Post rim decal.

Hawtt Decals are located at the base of Mt Mee, one of the north side bike roads so of course I needed to "generate some heat in the tyres to help cure the decals"..... and being a week day it was nice and quiet on the roads....apart from the booming of a V4 Tuono that is!!

I finally got to twist the throttle pretty hard and this thing not only sounds great but handles so awesomely, being able to flick it from side to side with much less effort than the old R1! I am not sure about the Metzler tyres though- not much feedback on offer - but as they were brand new on the bike when I bought it I guess I am stuck with them for a few years.

I stopped in at the PitStop Cafe on Mt Mee road. I can't believe I hadn't been here before last week! It is very inauspicious looking from the front....

But walk in and look out the back...... !!

The views go on forever to the south east over Dayboro, to the Brisbane city skyline just 30 kilometres away as the crow flies!

This is what I love about bikes, be they motor or pedal powered. They get me out there, discovering places I have never visited and better still, talking to random strangers for hours because of a shared passion. I was pleased to be able to share that experience with my daughter last week on the Beechmont ride...and I think she gets it. 

Cheers and thanks for checkin' in.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Border Patrol

This is from a post I made a few weeks back in the local motorcycle forum, Netrider . Please forgive the cut'n'paste format.


It has been a looong week and I need a break. So, before they finally plunge us into lockdown like all the cool states I thought I had better load up and get out of dodge for a few days. With pretty much zip planning or research conducted I clicked at Ride With GPS for a half hour to come up with the Border patrol route.
I may do all of it. Or, maybe some of it.....or maybe bugger all of it. I will take it as it comes and see what pans out along the way.
Goodbye to this.....


And hello to this......

All loaded up and ready to go. A late start but better late than never.

i-jn9mq3n-L.jpg ;)

It was bloody hot on the plains leaving Brisvegas. I saw a top of 36C and it seemed to be averaging 34C but climbing Cunningham's Gap saw the temperature drop by 6 degrees. Much better! And it continued all the way down to 24° by Applethorpe. I had taken the back road from Warwick to Dalveen which included some nice dirt and the odd railway bridge and church.

 I stopped at Cottonvale, where the border comes right by the road and stopped on the aptly named Border Rd. Putting the front wheel in NSW and the back in QLD for shits and giggles and nary a boy in blue in sight. (Photo to come)

As it has been a late start I didn't hang around in Stanthorpe, just a splash of fuel then on toward Texas.


I got a few interesting photos along here but they are all on the camera which is refusing to talk to my phone, so they will have to wait until I get home to sort it. (now sorted)

The road from Stanthorpe to Texas is very underrated with vistas unfolding when you last expect them and some really nice twisties on the Texas end. Looking south to NSW from the Stanthorpe - Texas road.

I went out to the border crossing south of Texas to check how well guarded it was. No sneaking across to the unclean state here!


The camp ground to the left of the bridge was chocka block full of caravans. I got a picture with the bike by the river (and no caravans) with NSW in the background before heading back into town for beers and dinner. Thats Texas back there.....


The Southern Border Accomodation Park (caravan park to normal people) proved to be a winner with a nice grassy spot to put the tent and newly renovated toilet blocks. It was only a short-ish stumble to the pub too.


Texas is a great little out-of-the-way town. A real hidden gem.


Day 2

Up at the crack of noon today 🙄 and packed up as quickly as I could to head for Yelarbon. I'm finding it really refreshing to be riding for the sake of riding, rather than to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, which had been the case for pretty much the last 30 years. I was really savouring the back road to Yelarbon with its lush green grass along the verge and almost zero traffic.

 I made great time 😉 and was at Yelarbon before I knowed it!

They have some sweet silo art there and I managed to get a few shots in the clear before a road train pulled up in front to fill up with wheat.

Turning left at the end of the main street instead of the usual right for Goondiwindi, I took "the river loop", another quiet but well sealed back road. I saw a couple of turns to the south that were signposted Yetman. Now Yetman is in the Covid state (NSW) so I took the second turn to take a look.

The low level bridge wasn't manned but it was blockaded. Some enterprising banana bender had left their car on the bridge and hoofed it home.



(Lots of farmers have land on both sides of the river/border which must be frustrating as hell)
A late breakfast in Goondi at the bakery filled a hole nicely and I picked up a few odds and ends at the Foodworks, checked out the old highway bridge in town that leads south, then out the road to Talwood.



I whipped the ponies hard, safe in the knowledge that most of the boys in blue are tied up on border watch. And why not? The roads are wide, well made and very empty.
A quick look around Talwood then off down the Mungindi Rd.


More pony whipping ensued and I was at Mungindi in no time. Unfortunately the pub was across the river and upon asking the cop at the control point for directions he indicated it might be a bad idea to cross for "lunch" (beer).


Bugger. So I fuelled up and headed north. Fcuk me, it's cheaper than Brisbane, at $1.60 a litre, waaaay out here!!



Another quick blat up to Thalon to take in their silo art.


And their cenotaph.


Walking into the pub for lunch I was greeted with a "g'day Dave!" Bugger me, it was a mutual mate of @Chiller and I who has been doing laps of QLD while he waits for the Sydney madness to abate so he can go home. He was tempted to take my bike for a spin as his 5 bikes haven't been ridden since he came north in May and he is suffering withdrawals!


Then, another blast through Dirranbandi to Hebel where I was greeted by the bar maid, who was out the front rolling her own, before I had even got off the bike with a "do you want a beer?"😁
Does the Pope wear a funny hat?


While I enjoyed a few light beers and a chat with said barmaid one of the police from the road block wandered over for a chat and to check out the AT. He seemed a decent bloke and keen rider too. He's keen for an ADV bike and is weighing his options. That's him walking back to work. (Oh, and that is pretty much all of Hebel!)


The bar maid had nearly talked me into staying the night 😆(camped out the back of course- damnit) but I felt I needed to get back a bit further north so I thanked her for the beer and chat, waved to the police at the check point (it's at the cross road in Hebel, 5km from the border) then caned the horses again. Funnily enough, big distances can be dispatched in short lengths of time if one unleashes the ponies. Who knew. And no kittens died. 🤫

Dirran was to be the camp tonight. To be exact, the Dirran Hotel. Clean rooms, cold beer and great tukka. 🤗 Oh, and last beer for a hunge klicks.




Who doesn't need a shower beer holder...?!


Tonight, I'm the Dandy, the Dandy from Dirranbandi....
(Goodonya Slim 🙃


Ok, Ok, I'll be on the next train out of town.....

Might be a while.....


Reckon I'll sleep well tonight. 😑

Day 3

Soooo, where was I? Ah, yes, sleeping soundly. Until I wasn't. The sun was streaming through the bathroom window which woke me up before my alarm. I used my tired old eyes to check the time (instead of the smart, glasses clad eyes to check the time). 2 minutes until the alarm goes off! Awesome! So I jumped up, had a shower, ate the continental breakfast that I had obtained for myself and loaded the bike up. I was rolling 30 minutes after I beat the alarm to the punch - but why did the bike clock say 0600? It should say 0700...... bloody.....what I thought was 0628 was in fact 0528. Oh, well so I get an early start today.... :p

And how awesome was it to fcuk up the start time? I would have missed this....


And this massive paddock of Wheat Bix in it's natural state!.....



Yep, the low sun and dark clouds chasing me from the west certainly made for some dramatic pics this morning. Sooo glad I was up early.

I had decided to take "Plan A" and smack it around into "Plan B". I didn't have the time to do the Cunnamulla/Charleville/Augathella leg of "Plan A" and with rain likely chasing me I decided to hightail it straight to the Bunya Mountains. This involved a lot of pinning it across some very flat and sometimes boring bits of QLD. The bit from Dirranbandi to St George was actually quite pretty as it was very green along the road.


I was in St George nice and early. A quick check on the Balonne River, topped up with some fuel and I was gone again.


Yep, that sign is correct. 302km to Dalby and there is pretty much nothing in between apart from the Moonie crossroads.


Much pinning ensued and the big twin roared for this bit. Well, until I got to the Moonie Crossroads roadhouse and took a 30 minute break to hoover some food and probably the worst coffee I have had in quite while - I was soo glad I ordered a small bucket of it too....:facepalm:


Moonie is in the Surat basin and there has been a shiteload of oil and gas extraction done here over the last 20-25 years. There is evidence of it everywhere.




I'm not sure how the "Big Yabbie" fits in, but there it was....


This road is veerry straight (check it on a map -St George to Dalby) with just a few bends on the Dalby end. Once into Dalby I grabbed some fuel, checked out Dalby Moto as I have been on their mailing list for about 15 years but never actually checked the store, then headed out the road to Kaimkillenbun. I went this way because everyone has to go through a town called Kaimkillenbun! I stopped just out of town to look at the Bunya Mountains that had appeared on the horizon. I'm gunna go there..... to the lookout near the TV towers.


After a super kwik tour of Kaimkillenbun where I took a photo of their cenotaph only, I was out the road to Bell.


Bell was another tiny whistlestop town but the countryside was getting interesting now. It was hilly, green and lush looking. I checked out the church near the park (pit stop time courtesy of that bucket of coffee)


And the RSL! It was only a small hall but the mural on the side was awesome!


Then to the top of the hill in town to see how much closer the Bunyas had moved. I could see the TV towers now!


The road toward Kingaroy was a pleasant one with a bit of traffic, then I turned right into the Bunya Mtns rd.


This was more like it! The temperature dropped about 6 degrees as I climbed into the cool rainforest like tree cover. A mate had told me that the walking track at Burton's Well campground had a huge Bunya tree "just 100m down the trail". Now, as we had camped here back in August and just got philosophised around the fire that night, I decided I had better go check out this big Bunya.


The entrance has this cool boot washing station. First you scrape, then you spray.


Cool! So, 'ol shinyboots here proceeded to walk up the trail in full moto kit. I got a few hundred metres in before I decided that Dan was a fcukin' liar and turned around in disgust! :p
I stopped in at the very aptly named "Paradise" where all the rental villas and coffee shops are. I will be back to stay here with the missus. It is amazing! (she doesn't do camping) 
The Bunya Pines in the background look prehistoric and are HUGE (as Daryl Eastlake , rest his soul, would have said)!


Up to the lookout for out.


I was waaaay out there this morning..... and you can see the clouds that were chasing me all morning.


I was planning on staying at the Maidenwell pub overnight but the prospect of packing up a wet tent and splashing home wasn't an enticing one. It was still quite early in the day so I decided to push for home to surprise the wife (and maybe her boyfriend!! :p :eek: )
The ride off the Bunyas down to Maidenwell is a cracker with a few bits of dirt road thrown in.
I buzzed past McCoy's Cafe' without stopping, then into Crows Nest and out Perserverance Dam road. This was new to me road and I will definitley be back! QLD has some hidden gems tucked into the folds of the Great Dividing Range that just never get any exposure, unlike the Range in the southern states.

I arrived home at 4pm. Dirranbandi to Brisbane, via the Bunya Mountains in cracking time! It was only 1600km all up, not the 2500 odd kilometres I was planning but I had fun and was satisfied.


This is what the route ended up looking like.


I hope you found it interesting. We sure are lucky to be able to roam free here in QLD (for now...).