News Year’s Day 2011

The West Coast Procrastinators finally got their act together to reprise our NYD 2008 run. The route differed slightly, but still involved the same guys, the 12 Apostles, two old Norton Commandos, two Japanese motorcycles and plenty of time spent chatting over a tasty lunch together. Let me tell you a little about my riding buddies.

In addition to his Norton Commando, Andy has numerous other motorcycles. Complete and running are a 500cc BSA twin, a lovel and newly acquired 1972 T250 Suzuki Hustler, and an old 350cc Panther single. Under restoration is a 450 Ducati and another BSA. I’ve probably missed some, as there are numerous other motorcycles in various states of completion.

Other than his Comando, Steve has another complete and rideable Norton 500cc single,  a 1970’s RD350 Yamaha (which he rode to some of the most remote parts of Australia on back in 1979) and currently has a 500cc twin cylinder Norton Dominator under restoration. He also kindly houses my wife’s rideable, but incomplete, early 1970’s 175 Yamaha dirt bike and some other miscellaneous motorcycles and parts of Andy’s. Both of these guys were my mates from our teenage years, when we came together with motorcycles and riding as our common bond.

Neither Marty nor I are are into restoring old motorcycles. He’s my main touring buddy (and features in most rides reports on this blog) and we’ve been great friends for the past 25 years.

We headed off from our rendezvous point in Colac (Vic) which is approx 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Melbourne. Our lunch destination turned out to be the cafe at a distillery in the tiny Western District township of Timboon (Victoria). This is quite close to the famous 12 Apostles and the gas processing plant for the Casino Natural Gas off shore rigs.

Here’s a map of our route starting in Colac at Steve’s place, which is approx 80 klm (50 miles) from my home.

Map of ride from our rendezvous point in Colac (Vic).

Andy’s ’69 Commando
Steve’s ’71 Commando
The VFR and ZX9


A distillery-restaurant makes a nice point of difference from all the microbreweries that are popping up everywhere

Lunch on the deck was excellent

Visitors’ centre at the 12 Apostles
Two of these and another large helicopter were sitting idle. NY’s  day seems to be a slow day for scenic flights!

Stop for drinks at the Gellibrand store

This was a very laid back ride in near perfect motorcycling weather and a great start to 2011. Here’s hoping for many more great rides in 2011!

Ride safe everyone.


Cabin fever

Having some decent weather at last gave me the opportunity to take a quick run down to Colac to visit Steve and then head home via Beech Forest and Turton’s track. I didn’t take too many pics, but here’s a few.

This is a close up of the display behind my Honda in the avatar picture for this blog.

Views from the deck of the Ridge Cafe at Beech Forest

Today’s run was a spur of the moment thing, but I’m really  looking forward to tomorrow’s New Years Eve run to the 12 Apostles with the West Coast Procrastinators. The forecast temp is 38C for Friday. Some summer at last!

Another Sunday ride two-up

Mrs Tarsnakes and I took a short run to Forrest (Vic) for coffee. We stopped in at ‘Martians’ cafe at Deans Marsh and took a few shots of some historic motorcycles parked there.

What particularly caught my eye was an old twin cylinder Norton, as my mate Steve is rebuilding a 500cc twin Dominator at present. There was also a well used Honda CBX1000 present, which is right at the top of the list of post classic motorcycles that I’d like to have.

Nice pipes, alloy rims,  rearsets, ?? featherbed frame & belt primary – nicely done!

Modified primary drive. The chain drives always seem to leak oil, this is the clean belt alternative.
Don’t know much about beezas- I’m guessing it’s a 650
Rifles tank badge

An older Ducati

How I’d love one of these!

Moto Guzzi S3

Montesa road bikes must be pretty rare. This is a 350cc twin.

 We only stopped at Martians  briefly as it was pretty hot and very humid – not good in full leathers!

Mrs T in her new Vespa T.

 From Forrest we headed down to Colac and dropped in to see how Steve’s Domi resto is progressing. Well actually we dropped in to pay a pre-Christmas visit, but Steve and I often seek the company of Nortons and Jimi Hendrix in the shed!

All up, another grand afternoon out.

Kawasaki Z1000SX or Ninja 1000 in Oz.

This is worth a look. It’s aimed at those who don’t want a pure sports bike. The claimed weight is 231 kg wet. Seat height 821 mm (hope they have a lowering option). Fuel tank 19 litres. Engine: 1043cc transverse four. The price Downunder has not been announced yet, but the motorcycle is due for release anytime now.

See http://www.kawasaki.com.au/

Spring Down Under

For the first time in ages we’ve had two consecutive days of magnificent Spring weather on the weekend – just ideal conditions for motorcycling. I’ve been able to get out for a decent ride both days!

Yesterday Marty and I rode and today (Sunday) it was just Mrs Tarsnakes & I. We pulled in to a new micro brewery & cafe in Forrest (Vic); TheForrest Brewing Company. There were some great Clubman cars parked out front and a lovely old Morris Minor converted to a ute.

Clubmans at Forrest Vic

These things go around corners like nothing else. They weigh less than 800 kilograms, typically have 1.6 – 2 litre motors

Mrs Tarsnakes awaiting coffee.

Nicely done!

We then headed along Turton’s track (very slowly) to Beech Forest.

The grim one himself.

A grand weekend of riding twisty roads, approx 550 kilometers all up.

Snowy Mountains & Vic Alps Melbourne Cup weekend

Bill R invited Marty & I join him on a run with his mates up to the High Country for the Melbourne Cup long weekend. Despite a grim weather forecast all eight showed up Saturday morning. Day one route was from Melbourne to Bright via East Gippsland and Mt Hotham. Day two was Bright to Corryong with an extended loop in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. Day three was Corryong to Omeo via Mt Beauty & Fall’s Creek. Day four was from Omeo back to Melbourne (& Geelong in our case). I covered 2035 kilometers in some spectacular Alpine Country with some of the best motorcycling roads you could wish for.

This was a great bunch of guys who made Marty and I very welcome to their riding group. Thanks fella’s! We had a great time and a big thanks to Bill R for inviting us along. 

Here’s a few pics.

The guys


L to R: Marty, John, Fred, Bill, Phil, Willem & Nev.

These guys are skillful riders, they ride fast in the right conditions and do it very well!

Marty’s group pic

The motorcycles


Sunday in Tumut

Morning tea at Tumut NSW. L to R: Fred, Willem, John & Marty

Downtown Tumut on a sunny Spring day

L to R: Nev, Phil & Bill

Monday we came across a vintage rally in beautiful downtown Yackandandah. Here are some examples

Kinda contrasts with what we were riding.

Winner of the sprint to Falls Creek (Vic)

L to R: Fred, John, Willem & Phil

Marty & I headed back to Geelong from Omeo via Mt Hotham, the rest headed for Melbourne via Bairnsdale. There were still some remnants of winter snow at Mt Hotham.

 When we all rode the Great Alpine Road through Mt Hotham on Saturday the fog and mist was so bad that it was challenging to see three motorcycle lengths ahead! We had much better conditions this morning fortunately, but still a bit icy at the top.

The VFR in the High Country

Our last night we stayed at the Golden Age Hotel in Omeo, which is nicely renovated and I’d recommend it as a great place to stay – a cooked breakfast is included.

Weekday on the Great Ocean Road

Next week I have to return to work after two months Long Service Leave. However, a few of us are heading off for a long weekend (Melbourne Cup = big deal)  run to the Vic and New South Wales high country organised by Bill R.

Today was a magnificent sunny Spring day Down Under and as I’ve had a new front tyre and chain and sprockets installed on the VFR this week, I took a run along the GOR to make sure that the Honda &  I are back in the zone for motorcycle riding prior to the weekend. I barely stopped and only took two pics as I enjoyed being back on the motorcycle so much.

At my stop for a drink at the Gellibrand store I bumped into an old school friend and motorcyclist who I haven’t seen for many years. It was great to have a chat and catch up, albeit relatively briefly.