Gloomy but great!

Well its only two days away from the winter solstice Down Under and its great to be able to get out for a mid week ride. I basically wanted to do a test run in my textile gear with the merino wool layers underneath to make sure that I will be warm enough for next Sunday’s Ulysses club ride when a max of 10C is forecast at our destination (meaning that most of the ride will be in much lower temps). Despite being gloomy and overcast, all the roads were basically dry which was an unexpected surprise – especially so for the section through the Otways. Here’s a map of the ride – pretty much my ‘backyard’ but some of the twistiest roads in Victoria anyway.

The temp was around 7C when I left home and became colder as I headed away from the coast towards the Otways. I even stopped a bit later to take a pic of the ambient temp reading. Other than showing 4C ‘Outside’, you will see that the traction control (KTRC) is set on 2 for these conditions, but I still have full power selected (F).

I mentioned that the road was mostly dry, because if you look really carefully in the bottom right of the pic below you can see the contrast with some pavement that was completely dry and that the riding line wasn’t actually 100% dry and just a little dampish.

One aspect of riding in cold conditions that I have become more wise about is stopping reasonably often for a hot drink. My first stop was in Forrest and I pulled up at  The Corner Store, which I’d been meaning to try for ages.

It’s mainly a mountain bike enthusiasts shop that has a small cafe as well. I was the only customer and had a lovely chat with Bec about the local MTB single trails as she made me a mug of excellent hot chocolate (I’m not a coffee drinker and usually Coke zero (AKA “black asprin” pulses through my system ). Mountain biking has become a big thing in the Otways and Forrest hosts a couple of major events each year.

Here’s some of the stock they have

OK, one more picture, as I said I’d give them a good plug!

Actually, one more pic – lessons for the girls! If Cathy’s as passionate as Bec is about MTB riding it must be a great experience! Hey guys, what about something for overweight old dudes who’d love to learn how to ride the trails as well?

While we are on this deviation from motorcycling, I should mention Flyboy’s excellent blog of his MTB riding. Click HERE

OK, back to motorcycling.  From Forrest I headed to Apollo Bay for a bite to eat and another hot chocolate (and I resisted the marshmallows again!). To my delight, the road was virtually deserted, I was quite warm and had an excellent brisk run to Skenes Creek turnoff. Things only got better when I rode the GOR from Apollo Bay to Lorne without seeing another vehicle going in my direction. Unprecedented in my recollection! That along with the dry tarmac made for for one of the better GOR rides in recent years – so much so that I didn’t stop to take any pics. As I cruised through Lorne a cop on an unmarked BMW police motorcycle had a good look at me, and there was also another cop in the 50km zone on the edge of town with a radar gun. If only they’d hassle a few of the drivers who cross to the wrong side of the road around the curves and those slow coaches who fail to yield (pull over) into the overtaking lanes.

I got home in no time having had a great winter ride. Only 210 kms in duration but lots of fun riding and checking out a new coffee stop. Just as a post script I should add that with 3,000 kilometers on the new Michelin Pilot Road 4 front tire I’m still really happy with it – the bike felt really sure footed in today’s cool conditions.




4 thoughts on “Gloomy but great!

  1. Nice day out Jules, especially seeing as you hit virtually no traffic. 4°C is a bit on the chilly side for my liking. We’ve been having 20°C winter days up here in sydney.

    What do the numbers on the traction control mean?

    • The GOR with no traffic is a pretty event these days. Actually, cold doesn’t worry me, wet doesn’t worry me either – but cold and wet together I don’t enjoy! You know, what I dislike the most is strong winds. So a cold, dry calm day on the GOR is OK by me. Riding tomorrow with the old farts, so will see what Mother Nature throw at us.

  2. Hey, thanks for the plug Jules! I have been busting to get to Forrest for a few years now and hopefully I can make it happen soon. I hear that they do their own boutique beer in Forrest.
    As for old farts on MTBs? Just get out there and have a go. There is no shame in starting as we all have to start sometime. Who gives a toss what anyone else thinks. I feel great as a result and the downhill sections are just like being on a dirt bike.
    Oh, and 4C? You can keep that…..;-)

    • No worries. Be sure to make contact if you get down this way.

      Mountain biking is certainly something I’m willing to give a go. There are great trails in our neck of the woods and I love being out in the bush. I currently run out of legs after around 20 kms, I’m guessing a combination of lack of fitness, incorrect technique and a heavy, old Haro bike.

      You blog looks terrific. Cheers J.

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