Monday, February 2, 2015

A mellow unicorn motorcyclist riding a magic carpet: ADR

Hi there. This year's ADR (9) took on the shape of a camp out, we didn't travel in a big loop staying at different places like we usually do but instead we stayed at the one place arriving late around 6pm on Saturday night, then venturing out the next morning and returning that night, finally to ride home back through Mansefield on the Public Holiday Monday, Australia Day.

Big advantage being able to leave your luggage in a room somewhere of course.
Usually these trips are a really cathartic experience for me, I’m pretty wound up and strung out with the stress of work at this time of year and can't wait to hit the road and get away from it all. This year i was completely mellow unicorn riding a magic carpet.


Having just had a few weeks of alone time, not working, riding quite a bit and practising illustration I was the epitome of the zen master before I hit the road. The proposed 500+km ride on the first day didn’t even seem like that far to me. I guess I was more conditioned to long distance riding than I have ever been, and of course super mellow and anxiety free.

And so it was the trip just flew past me and it was Monday and we were at Yea eating lunch on the way home. All up we clocked just over 1280kms there and back which I think officially makes it the shortest ADR ever.

It was still excellent riding don't get me wrong, the roads in the Alpine Ranges are sensational, the Tawonga Gap pass, the road to The Blue Duck, Mt Buffalo, Mt Hotham and the Omeo highway are just sensational riding, but we had something else to contend with this year which we somehow negated to consider.

Cyclists

Thousands of cyclists.

Saturday this wasn't as much of a problem as was Sunday. Sunday there were races that rode the exact same three mountain passes we had decided to check out.

From Harrietville to Omeo back around Mt Hotham to Mt Beauty and Mt Buffalo there must have been at least 2,000 cyclists competing in some Alpine Challenge. It sucked every inch of joy out of my sole leaving me heaving for mercy.

If you are a cyclist, good for you, just don’t ride on public roads four abreast often cutting both lanes. I wanted to be violent which isn't in my nature. Fortunately we headed back to our accommodation just in time, a meagre 280km round trip in a day. A bit sad.

The Dream

That night I had a dream...
I was on the Beemer but it was blacked out and looked more evil. I was ringing the neck off it pinning 1st, 2nd, 3rd and trying to tickle the rev limiter. Between 7k - 10k RPM the S1R is seriously fast, it feels like hitting warp speed. Someone was chasing me and he was fast. There is a slip of a road, that crazy pinkish white gravelly looking shit, and it cuts its way dramatically out of a cliff. On the right handers if you shoot off the edge you shoot off into outer space never to be seen again except by rescue helicopter. We were flying around hairpin corners with 25km signs; full throttle 1st snik 2nd, full break, full throttle 1st, 2nd, full brake and then full throttle up into 3rd and a set of fast sweepers. I move an eyeball to the dash and can see that I am doing 140kms, climbing crazily, on the edge of this cliff face. It is the most dangerous and most intoxicating feeling in the world. Another hairpin, this one tucks back in on itself at 15 km/hr. I shut the gas full brake into it and then just slip it quietly into second as we roll serenely past a small group of shadows congregating around something steaming, and then hit the open road again. I'm just cruising now, high as a kite on adrenalin whole body tingling, bike humming. Then very suddenly... Blue and red flashing lights behind me. The siren roars into life and I literally crap my pants.
Then I wake up.

The Elbow boob

By Monday, after a night of tennis and lubrication at the bar, a throbbing elbow had turned into a full blown case of Bursitis (think of it like a boob on your elbow) and I was feeling more like a couch potato than ever, and we wound our way home via Mansefield which is another great run not too far out of Melbourne.

The elbow got an infection and by the time I had really any chance to do anything about it, had become a throbbing red lump of painful meat. The quack gave me antibiotics that would kill a horse and I've been nursing it back to health since hence the delay in this post going out as usual…

The BMW S1000R

The bike is magnificent. I am so completely happy with it I have no bad words to say at all. It improved my riding, it made me a better rider, it is a way better bike than I’ll ever be rider. That’s the best kind of bike to have, isn’t it? It did however use a litre of oil which I failed to notice. Thankfully it was pointed out and fixed before going too far.

The ergos are so easy going for a literbike with literally zero fairing I was barely fatigued (apart from a sore elbow) at the end of each day. I guess if we had of rung out 800km per day I might have started to wear a little thin, but over the distance we covered it was outstanding.

It feels so incredibly balanced and totally safe even in the wet conditions we encountered up the Omeo highway I never once had a moment of traction loss or freaky front end wobbles and shit. Not one. And I kept it in Dynamic Mode the whole time as I am used to that throttle mapping now and with the suspension set to soft I get the near perfect ride. The bar risers have helped remove an element of the racers crouch, but it’s still a little more crouch than slouch for me.

I think I must attribute the lack of fatigue to a few things on the bike to be fair, first the quickshifter. This is a great way to reduce your clutch actions overall. I really noticed it. Second, the cruise control. Out on open roads and even cruising through cursed speed limits, it takes all the arm pump out of riding completely. Flick it on and clutch it off, nothing could be simpler and still reduce fatigue.

Finally the Sargent Seat is worth it’s weight in gold. With the stock seat on I was getting numbness at 40mins in on the Freeway. Crap, awful, way to hard. The Sargent is the only seat I have ever tried that truly made long distance hauling comfortable.

The whole bike is just effortless. And lightning fast. Did I mention that sweet spot between 7,000 and 10,000 RPM? Oh yeah that’s right, I was dreaming.

The Gear

I forgot to mention that I did score a new jacket a few days prior to taking off, forecasting rain in the mountains I realised I had no wet weather jacket anymore.

I trundled off to AMX and picked up a DriRider four seasons jacket with excellent ventilation. I must do a proper review later on. On top of that, all of my planned techno upgrades worked superbly. I listened to music for three days straight with the Uclear thingamie which didn't need a single charge, I filmed quite a bit of each day and never had a GoPro run out once (although I still struggle with its stupid, stupid menu) and at the end of each day after pummelling my phone all day I'd jump off the bike with a fully charged phone.

Superb! That USB charger was the best $30 I ever spent.

Until next time people, stay upright.