Lorne for coffee

It was a chilly 5C this morning, however, the bright sunshine and promise of warmer temps along the coast lured us out for a short ride along the GOR to Lorne, then home via Deans Marsh.

We sat out in the sunshine at a Greek cafe right by the pier.

Helmets by the bay!

As we were leaving a guy offered to take a shot of us by the ZX14

It got cloudy and cool as we wound our way up through the bush and the curves to Deans Marsh. We overtook a couple two up on a sport bike who were going extremely cautiously – I’m sure the bike’s stability was not helped by how high up the pillion was perched. As we came up behind them I actually thought the lass on the back was standing up as she was literally head and shoulders above the rider.Once we hit the Cape Otway Rd the sun came out and we enjoyed a good run home.

 

A familiar voice …..and Flying Squirrels

Mrs Tarsnakes and I took a drive to Lorne for a coffee. After a bit of procrastinating we decided not to ride the ZX14 and drove the car as the weather forecast was fairly grim. As we pulled into town I spotted a bunch of historic motorcycles parked,and I mean really, really old bikes. Naturally we pulled in to have a look and as I walked towards them to take a couple of pics, I heard a very familiar voice – it was that of my boyhood motorcycling mentor (and hero) Tom Kingston (TK).

Tom was my Dad’s boss, and friend, when I was a young lad in my teens and he encouraged my pre-existing interest in motorcycles. To a young ‘fella he was extremely charismatic and raced motocross (scrambles in those days) and was a highly competitive club road racer as well. Actions speak louder than words, and Tom coached me in riding technique around our huge backyard on his then brand new Yamaha CT1, and even succeeded in charming my very anti-motorcycle Mum into permitting it! Later I recall accompanying him to a road race meeting that he was competing in and I was given the thrill of my young life as Tom let me ride his XS1 650 Yamaha race bike through the pits. I recall blipping it far more than necessary to make sure that everyone could hear the glorious sound from its megaphone exhausts (and see me of course!). I guess I was around 15 or 16 years of age at the time. I’m guessing that these reminiscences sound a little self indulgent, however, I can see those events in my mind as clearly as though it was yesterday.

Anyway, although a huge fan of Japanese motorcycles, TK has spent the last few years restoring a 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel. When I last saw this bike 4 years ago it was a pile of rusty bits that I thought were completely beyond restoration. What has been achieved with this restoration is a great credit to TK. He is a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of Australia. All bikes must be pre Dec 31st 1930.

Tom with his Scott

Exposed valve gear on this 1920’s motorcycle.

Another Flying Squirrel . There were 1928,1929 & 1930 models represented in the group!

A lesson that TK taught me around 40 years ago was that good motorcycle control was achieved by getting your feet up on the pegs as soon as moving and looking ahead. Control of the motorcycle was characterised by little need to ‘dab’ once moving. Now take a look at the following video clip, keep in mind that Tom is 73 years of age, riding a hand gear change vintage motorcycle, and note the bike control – even whilst giving way at the roundabout.

Tom aboard the 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel

These guys must have ridden from Lorne up through the twisties to Deans Marsh and then back towards Geelong on the Cape Otway Road. We chanced upon them later in the afternoon and Mrs T took a few shots from the car window.

Bumping into TK like this was an unexpected treat.

Keep in mind that these enthusiasts were out riding 70 & 80 plus year old motorcycles in 10C-13C temps, shame on us for taking the comfort of the car!

Some more high resolution pics HERE

Damp day in the Otway Ranges

Marty and I headed for the hills for a short ride today. It was around 8C and dry when we left Geelong and remained so for most of the ride.

Our first stop was at the Gellibrand store where a friendly greeting from Maria,a mug of hot chocolate and a chat with some nice folk from the Colac Ulysses club made for a very pleasant stop.

However, around Beech Forest the temp dropped even more and along Turton’s Track the road was particularly greasy. It was pretty obvious there had been significant rain overnight up there. I was glad to have new tyres with plenty of tread on them!

By the time we joined the Apollo Bay – Colac road there was a long line of slow cars ahead, so we pulled into the West Barwon dam lookout.

The brewery cafe at Forrest was stacked out so we headed back to Colac for lunch, then dropped in on Steve from 79 x 100 blog and inspected his latest Norton resto project.

From there it was a quick sprint along Hwy 1 back to Geelong.

Pilot Road 2CT again

I’ve followed the lead from Chillertek over at The Road to Nowhere blog and had some new tyres fitted. I was very satisfied with the Michelin Pilot Road 2’s that I had fitted at around 2,000kms to replace the disgraceful old school OEM Bridgestones that the Kwaka came with. Well 9,400kms later they still had just a little tread left, especially the front, maybe just enough for the rear to top the 10K kms with, but after my ride in the rain last Saturday I decided to get them changed. I think it’s great that a tyre with so much grip can last so long on a 250+ kg bike. I bought these online ages ago from the USA when the Aus dollar was running at $1.10 against the US dollar. I think that we are getting shafted buying locally when a pair of the Michelins delivered to my door from the US cost the same as the retail price of a single rear tyre here in Oz.

I also had some lovely 90 degree Ariete valve stems fitted. I had these on the VFR800 and they make life so much easier for checking tyre pressures.

I also learnt something interesting, namely how to check the manufacture date of a tyres. Amongst the series of letters on the side of the tyre after the ‘DOT’ is a panel with 4 numbers. The first two numbers indicate the week of the year the tyre was manufactured and the second two numbers indicate the year of manufacture. So the tyre in the pic below was made in the 14th week of 2011.

Also, so far I’ve bought Michelin PR 2’s made in Thailand and some made in Spain. In both cases they were purchased from the USA. They certainly are well traveled tyres by the time they get to me in Australia!

 

One of her favorite places

I had no expectation of riding today as the forecast was for a blast of wintery weather, however, it was cold but sunny when I awoke, so I decided on a quick spin. I headed from Geelong down towards Colac via Birregurra. Although I was riding in sunshine I could see heavy rain over towards the Otways, so thought that heading east might be a good plan. By the time I got to Beeac there was a wall of black cloud ahead! Damn, so I turned towards the north to do another few kms before returning home. This took me to the tiny township where my mother was born, so I headed up to nearby Red Rock, which was one of her favorite places. It’s an extinct volcanic region and the last eruption here was thought to be 4,500 years ago.

Many years ago we took Mum for a birthday picnic here, (her first choice of venue) but it was so hot and the flies so thick we had to beat a hasty retreat to Loves Creek picnic reserve, some distance away.

It’s very rich volcanic soil around here. Dairy farming is the main form of agriculture in these parts, though there’s a newish vineyard at the turn off to Red Rock.

ZX14 at the top of one of the two lookouts here.

A big rain squall was approaching. That’s a volcanic crater to the left of the pic and a huge inland salt lake in the distance. Lake Corangamite.

Volcanic domes

My mother told me that when she was a little girl they used to roam all around this countryside, and sometimes walk over to Red Red to watch motorcycles racing between these two volcanic cones. I haven’t done any research about these daredevils but probably should!

I couldn’t take any more pics as the rain squall hit and I rode off in pouring rain. Lots of memories came flooding back as I rode in solitude past Doran’s Lane and the school my Mum attended as a child. This unexpected ride to Red Rock proved quite evocative.


 

 

All British Rally Newstead & Maldon

The major event each year for the BSA owners’ association is the “All Brit” rally at Newstead, Victoria. Our mates Steve & Andy are attending for the weekend (camping at the main rally site in Newstead) and we caught up with them in the nearby historic town of Maldon. It was an incredible sight with the whole main street lined on both sides with old motorcycles. I saw more Vincent HRDs today than I’ve ever seen before in my life, including a HRD in a Featherbed Norton frame ( a Norvin) and a HRD in a 1970’s Ducati frame (a Vincati?). Here are a few shots. Unfortunately I accidentally switched my camera from auto to manual but didn’t do any manual settings, so consequently about 30 shots were unusable.

Looking down the main street.

Andy’s unrestored Panther 350cc attracted plenty of interest. 

Vincent HRD in Norton Feather-bed frame.

Lovely Norton Dominator (500cc twin)

This one is for sale – the sign basically says “Offers over $50K considered”.

Mrs Tarsnakes, Steve & AndyBSA with sidecar. Actually for a BSA rally there were surprisingly few BSAs. I’d say Triumphs outnumbered then 10 to 1.

Nice AJS single

A British made replica I’m told

A well used Scott Flying Squirrel

We had a great run home and the ZX14 performed flawlessly. The weather forecast for the coast was not good but it didn’t rain though there were strong, gusty side winds for the last 30kms.

Full gallery of pics HERE

 

 

Latest TAC motorcycle safety ad

10 May Update:

A very balanced critique of the advertisement appeared in today’s Age newspaper.

TAC ad critique

There is some irony to this advertisement as the Honda Accord Euro that I sold in February was one used in this ad!

 

It is of concern that the car DOES NOT have its right indicator on.

I’m sure that exonerating a car driver essentially on the basis of “Sorry mate I didn’t see you”, even with a speeding motorcyclist, will generate complaints amongst the motorcycling fraternity. A driver texting may have been a more realistic scenario!

FWIW -the car was bought by Max Action Vehicles who provide vehicles for all types of advertising.

Victorian Classic Championship Broadford

The magnificent Autumn weather continues, so Mrs Tarsnakes & I decided to head off to the Vic Classic Championship racing at Broadford. A late change was forecast so we took the car rather than the ZX14. As it turned out the weather was perfect all day.

Our interest really lies with the motorcycles of the 1970’s and 1980’s, rather than the genuine classics such as Norton and Triumphs.

First of a few Kawasaki s.  I used to own a Z1R in this colour, so it’s a sentimental favorite. The guys who owned this bike saw me about to take a shot in the pits and offered to put the seat back on for a better pic. When I mentioned that we used to own one of these and Mrs Tarsnakes had ridden it in the early 1980’s, he offered for her to climb aboard for the pic. It’s exactly the friendliness and access that one experiences at these small race events. And of course, referring to Mrs T as “your daughter” when talking to me, won the charming fella a few brownie points!

Blast offBeautiful Rex Wolfenden Honda

Check out that clutch

There were some lovely examples of road going Z1’s / Z900 Kawasakis track-side as well.

A nice 850 Le Mans

Sidecars

A long walk!

More problems

Some Brits

Very few Harleys present

Nice Honda racer

Note the onboard camera

Trackside

Lots more pics in the ‘Old’s Cool’ section of ADVrider or here in my GALLERY

 

 

 

Autumn in the Otways

Last week we planned to ride the Otways on Easter Sunday with our partners aboard, however, the weather was cold and windy. The newspapers all reported that Easter had marked the last of the good weather, even though it’s early autumn (fall). Well the weather forecasters got it all wrong yet again and we’ve just had a sensational weekend with blue skies and the temps in the mid to high 20 Celsius range.

We met Marty & Pauline on the outskirts of Geelong and headed towards Colac via Dean’s Marsh. It was a glorious, one T-shirt under the leathers, kind of morning. Our first stop was at Maria & Paul’s store in Gellibrand. It’s our usual first coffee stop. It was great to be greeted via the the kitchen window as we pulled up with “Hello Tarsnakes – I’ve been looking at your blog lately” from Maria.

On the counter were ‘Choo Choo Bars’ which excited the girls enormously – not having seen them since their childhood days!

I’ve been meaning to take a shot of their fabulous antique cash register for some time. Isn’t it a ripper?

It was a bit early for lunch, so we headed on just a little further to Lavers Hill. The road twists its way uphill through the bush and it is a great strip of scenic and fun road to ride. Both Marty and I are fortunate in that we both have excellent passengers who enjoyed the run up through the winding road as much as we did.

Lunch stop at Lavers Hill. The colors of the vine covering the outdoor deck are lovely. Pauline took a few shots and then the waitress offered to take a pic of all of us (though it’s not so good due to shooting into the sun).

From Lavers Hill we rode the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay in perfect conditions.

Blue sky as far as the eye can see.

 

Other than fuel, we didn’t stop in Apollo Bay. We were in for a shock, I’m not sure if you can read that gas price – but it is just on $1.88 per LITRE for premium!!

We had a great run up through the hills to Forrest, where we stopped at the Brewery for a break and a chat before the final  run back to Geelong. All up we did 312 Kms through some great countryside in excellent – and unexpected – sunshine.

Great company, great roads and great weather – a motorcyclist can’t ask for any more than that!