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WHAT SAY YOU?

Posted On 06 May 2024
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This entry is part 26 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#29

WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU, the letters are among the most keenly read parts of the magazine. Please try and keep letters down to no more than 300 words. Then you can read many, not just a couple. We do reserve the right to cut them and, unless you identify yourself and at least your town or suburb and state, we will print your email address instead. Please address letters to thebear@ausmotorcyclist.com.au or Australian Motorcyclist Magazine, PO Box 2066, Boronia Park NSW 2111. All opinions published here are those of the writers and we do not vouch for their accuracy or even their sanity!

WINNER GETS THE BAG!

Whoever writes the letter we here at the AMM Cave like best receives a SholdaBagz with the compliments of Andy Strapz, Australia’s foremost designer and manufacturer of motorcycle gear.

“The bag is what we have come to describe as Black ‘n’ Tan,” says Andy (see www.andystrapz.com for more information and more of Andy’s productz).

This month’s winner is Matthew Morris, who has condensed what sounds like a wonderful trip into a letter to the editor!

HIGH TIMES IN THE HIGH COUNTRY

Hi Bear I just read Colin Whelan’s article about touring in the Victorian High Country, “Getting High”. I was very interested to read it as I just led a group of 8 of us on a 7 day trip from Sydney, through the Snowy Mountains and Victorian Alps.

After an overnight in Tumut we travelled to Kiandra, Cabramurra, Corryong, and Granya Gap to Tallangatta. Lots to keep you amused through there. We chose to stay at the Victoria hotel in Tallangatta. I agree about the strange vibe in the town, perhaps it’s the late ‘50s architecture? However, we had a pretty good meal and a comfortable night in the Pub in basic rooms with basic shared facilities.

Breakfast was good with friendly staff at the town Bakery. The Publican (??) was friendly and obliging, we didn’t have any complaints and the tariff was excellent! I say all this because the more people who stay there, the better the facilities should get.

Our 3rd day on the road saw fabulous riding. Particularly the Mitta Mitta – Omeo Road, but watch out for sand and gravel on the corners, a cause of some excitement for a number of us.

I agree with the comments about Omeo, it is a bit “Nimbin”.

Up and over Mt Hotham and down to Harrietville saw us stop at a roadside stall for some apples, which were excellent.

It was also our introduction to a plague of European Wasps which followed us for the rest of our trip in Victoria. Nasty blighters who can sting, and keep on stinging while excreting a chemical that attracts more of their mates!

A further stop in Bright confirmed Colin’s comments, it is pricey! However, a big tick for the Ice Cream shop, fantastic milk shakes there!

When we were planning the trip we opted out of staying in Bright as it was just too expensive. We pushed on to Myrtle ford where we were booked at the Railway Hotel. What a revelation!

Motel style units with undercover parking, a cracking deal for dinner, bed and breakfast and our first beer on the house!!

On leaving Myrtle ford we headed on through Milawa to Whitfield for a very pleasant coffee stop and then onward and upwards through “Kelly Country” to Mansfield (lunch at the Delatite Hotel – a good pub with good looking accommodation at reasonable prices, maybe next trip). The Whitfield – Mansfield Road is another great example of a road built for motorcyclists. It twists and turns across the ranges and leaves you with a smile on your face.

From Mansfield it was a pretty boring experience riding to Alexandra and then on to the Black Spur, which restored our spirits. From Healesville we then splashed through rain and across some slippery dirt to the summit of Mt Donna Buang (freezing!). We stayed the night in Warburton (The Alpine Lodge). This big old lady is under renovation, but quite comfortable (despite the rain) and a pretty damned good dinner in the dining room. Another day of great roads, but dodgy weather.

From Warburton we headed through Yarra Junction, Noojee and Rawson which was a fabulous ride through magnificent Gippsland rainforest. Then it was a bit of a commute across fl at countryside to Bairnsdale.

“Functional” would be the best description of Bairnsdale. It fulfilled its purpose in giving us a place to stay and build our strength for the following run to Bruthen and up the Great Alpine Road to Omeo (again!) and then on to Bethandra [I think Matthew means Benambra – The Bear]. Interesting place and worth a visit for the great ride up from Omeo.

At Bethandra we turned around and headed back down towards the coast with a stop for lunch at Swifts Creek (good Pie Shop). We were being quite leisurely on this day of the ride. Firstly because we were all pretty tired from riding great roads, but also because everyone we spoke to reminded us of a recent double fatality (rider and pillion – head on into another vehicle) on the Great Alpine Road. We also found a lot of caravans and tourist traffic on this road. Not to mention the unseasonable heat, up well over 30 degrees in March, we were certainly getting 4 seasons in one day!

The Great Alpine Road itself is fabulous, it follows the twists and turns of the Tambo River on its run all the way to the coast.

Our stop for the night was Marlo Ocean view Caravan Park, where the Snowy River meets the sea. I just had to jump in for a swim to cool down.

Another Pub dinner saw us fed and then we watched thunderstorms putting on a fi reworks display out over Bass Strait. The storms didn’t actually make landfall, but the weather the next morning was cool and cloudy for our ride into Orbost for breakfast. Our choice of coffee shop caused a bit of “overwhelm” when eight of us turned up to order and the lady had to call for reinforcements!

Our plan had been to tackle the Bonang Highway. However, deteriorating weather led us to change this plan at the last minute and choose the Monaro Highway from Cann River as an alternative. This led to an exciting mid-morning encounter with a kangaroo just out of Cann River. Fortunately, everyone involved escaped scot free, but it was soooooo close!

The temperature in Bombala was down to 13 degrees with intermittent rain but a stop in town for coffee helped to thaw us out and we decided that we should help the town’s economy with a “Vanilla Slice” led recovery.

From Bombala we then splashed our way through Cathcart and down the wonderful road off the range to Wyndham, Bega and on up the, wet, Princes Highway to our final night in Narooma. Drinks at the top Pub while watching stingrays swim in the channel and then a night at a great motel, the Top of The Town. Try their Italian Restaurant, we overdid it with the Pizzas!

Kind regards
Matthew Morris

Isn’t Australia a wonderful place to ride, Matthew? – The Bear

STS ON FOR YOUNG AND OLD

Hi there,First up I would like to congratulate you on a great mag , I really enjoy all aspects of the magazine , maps ,articles ,test rides and road reports all great.

During the last two weeks of March I travelled up from Hobart to Toowoomba and return (5500km), on my trusty 2002 Honda ST1100, to attend the 4th National Rally for the Australian ST owners club ( OzSTOC) .

A hundred and twenty people were in attendance, most riding ST1100s or ST1300s, gathering at the BIG4 caravan park for a barbie and meet and greet on the Friday night, also that night we had some fund raising for the World’s Greatest Shave for Blood Cancer, raising $1400. Saturday took us out for a ride out on the Darling Downs to the little place of Nobby for morning tea at Nobby’s Pub before heading off to the pub at Leyburn for lunch and a group photo. Then back to Toowoomba (160km) for a swap meet and then on to Regents on the Lake for dinner.

The whole weekend was well organized and run, everybody enjoyed the Rally, meeting other riders and just enjoying everyone’s company.

We had one member who arrived on the Thursday night after completing a Saddle Sore 1600km in 24hrs at age 65, a great effort.

Regards
Philip Sweet
Hobart Tas

MAGAZINE MATT-ERS

Hi Stuart,Got my first AMM a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to send some encouragement and feedback if I may?

1. Firstly congratulations on taking the risk and setting up the magazine! I can imagine that it’s not an easy thing to do, particularly when there are family and other financial considerations. So well done!
2. I love the easy-reading style of the mag. Too many mags are stuffy and hard to read and lose my interest – but I was pleasantly excited by the style of the mag. I particularly liked the cross section of coverage – some stuff for beginners which most of my friends are (the LAMS article), through to middle of the road to the more advanced riders. Great stuff.
3. The matt cover (which I understand is making a return) is a great choice! I hope it continues. And lastly,
4. The article on our NZ tour was a great reminder of what a wonderful time we had, and what others would have if they did the same. I look forward to the second instalment.

Hope the above helps?

Thanks and regards
Andrae Foenander

George, mate, what have you been doing to your tyre?

ELECTRONICS TO THE RESCUE

Dear Stuart, Peter Much is made of the smart technology available on bikes today, and the safety benefits of such technology.

I’m a fan of ABS and traction control – they make riding in treacherous conditions much safer, and trip computers with such features as range readout are extremely convenient.

Items which barely rate a mention in motorcycle or equipment reviews are tyre pressure monitoring systems.

I believe that these systems are as valuable in enhancing motorcycle safety as the other, more often reported systems and in an ideal world all cars and motorcycles should be fitted with them. Tyre pressures are often neglected by riders and car owners with possible dire consequences for motorcycle riders in particular.

I have owned my 2009 BMW R1200GS since new. The RDC (BMW speak for tyre pressure monitoring system) has proved itself as a very convenient way of ensuring the tyres are correct at all times. On starting every ride I switch over to the system as a matter of course to check the pressures – no more fiddling with tyre pressure gauges at home or service stations. On a ride, if the tyre pressures start to drop for any reason, the RDC warning light immediately illuminates allowing an assessment on whether or not to continue riding.

On a recent ride from Bowral to Thredbo, the RDC warning light illuminated and the display switched to tyre pressure readout. My rear tyre had started to lose pressure – it had lost 0.2 Bar causing the warning light to light up. I continued to ride to Bungendore, about 15km distant, watching the pressure carefully in the knowledge that there was a problem.

The tyre had deflated another 0.2 Bar to 2.3 instead of the normal 2.7 by the time I got there.

I checked the rear tyre to find a gash across the tread – possible caused by a sharp piece of metal – beyond repair with the tyre plugs I carry. I contacted Rolfe BMW in Canberra – they had a Metzeler Tourance in stock. I re inflated the tyre and set off with a friend accompanying me, monitoring the pressure all the way to Canberra – it again lost pressure by 0.4 Bar by the time I arrived at Rolfe for the tyre change.

Without the RDC system, I would not have noticed the tyre problem until I noticed a deterioration in the bike’s handling – a potentially hazardous situation. Neither would I have felt comfortable riding the bike in a compromised state to either Bungendore or Canberra. It allowed me to continue my journey to Thredbo with only a minor delay due to the puncture.

In conclusion, such systems should be fitted to motorbikes and cars as a countermeasure to tyre neglect, as a convenience for monitoring tyre status, and as a very useful aid in recovering from situations of damaged tyres.

As a postscript, my thanks to Rolfe BMW in Canberra for the excellent service they provided me in a time of need.

Regards
George Spence Bowral NSW

I have been an enthusiastic promoter of tyre pressure monitors, George. Like you, I think they are an outstanding safety feature – The Bear

GRIZZLE ON

Hey Bear, Or should we be writing to Stuart now? This is for you, anyway. I like the Grizzling column. I hope it will be regular. Love to read your take on what’s happening, and your ‘memoirs’ in the Cave column too. I agree with your friend who wonders how you are still alive, though. Your friend,

Martin Meeker

Call this living? Seriously (or not), Martin, I’ve always tried to have a good time – The Bear

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