We’re Moving!

We are happy to announce that we will be officially moving our blog. We are finally making the push to full-fledged self-hosted wordpress site, rather than hosting here at wordpress.com, as our web address will become:

RubberOnRoad.com

. Note that we’ve taken out the “the” and are now just Rubber on Road.

Don’t worry though, we’ll still be posting as much and as vigorously as ever! If you want to continue following us, head on over to Rubberonroad.com and sign up to follow along. If you follow us on facebook or twitter than nothing will change, so don’t worry about that.

Hope to see on the road! (and on the site!)

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Easy Rider

Well, this video is actually terrifying. A couple motorcyclists are riding along a country road when they come across a pickup truck. Cue video:

Reminds me of that scene from Easy Rider:

Circles always end up where they started (only in Australia they go reverse): Final days of the erotic tails (pun intended) of Karl and Yaegan’s motorcycle trip around Australia

Day Twelve.

We woke up to dark, gray storm clouds looming over us, and the sky hanging heavy with rain. We packed up as quickly as possible, said goodbye to the stream of much frolicking, and got a move on. According to the maps, we still had a little bit of gravel ahead of us, and we were pretty scared of the idea of that turning into mud, and us having to push some bloody heavy bikes through mud. Add to this our fear of running out of fuel, and we were moving pretty quick smart. Thankfully, we made it over the gravel section without incident, and into the nearest town about sixty ks away at about eight in the morning, just in time for the servo to open. We rode past dozens of “lakes” that had appeared where an entire paddock had been flooded.

We rode on, going straight into some black-as-night skies. Oddly enough, seeing this made me reflect on how perfect the weather had been for the whole trip so far, which made me feel quite happy. This feeling was to last about forty minutes, until the skies opened and it pissed down upon us. We stopped in at the nearest town, which was thankfully fully equipped with a wine bar. We were watching the weather radar maps on Yaegs’ non-branded-internet-capable telephone (it’s actually a HTC), and working out whether or not to stay and wait out the rain, or chance it. The maps said that we’d be missing the brunt of the downpour, so we put on our wet weather gear (not a euphemism for condoms) for the first time, and headed out. As predicted by the Gods of the Bureau of Meteorology (divinity yet to be ascertained), we only had gray skies, with no rain. The roads were pretty slick though, and we were back in caravan country, which led to some annoying patches of riding stuck behind a slow moving large vehicle.

We passed on to the Alpine Way, which was simply tremendous riding. We were a bit cautious with the wet roads, so we eased ourselves into things. A dickhead in a hotted-up ute (utility truck, which have somehow, inextricably, become a fashion statement in certain pools of Australian society) tried to race us by sitting tight on our tail for a few corners. This scared us, as we knew that if we came off, we’d have some bogan in a shrine to redneck society crushing us within milliseconds . We didn’t rate our chances of hopping off the bike, having a chinwag and explaining our position, and so we decided to speed up to get away from him.

On the Alpine Way, I saw my second kangaroo on the road of the trip. When I bought the bike, it came with a kangaroo whistle, which is essentially a hollowed out tube stuck on near the front of the bike, which claims to channel in air, at speed, and emit a super-sonic whistle that ‘roos don’t like. I was skeptical at first, but when I came out of the corner and saw the ‘roo on the road, it immediately snapped it’s head towards me, then bounded off into the shrub at the side of the road. Was it the whistle, or was it an inline three screaming at 8000 revs? Who knows. At least I didn’t crash into a metre and a half of a disemboweling maching.

We blitzed the road, had a little rest at Thredbo, then passed right through Jindabyne and had a stop at Cooma. After the afternoon tea of champions (meat-pie), we gave a mate in Canberra a quick call, checked that we were right to crash with him then smashed out the last bit of distance. We were now getting pretty close to home.

Day Thirteen.

We woke up and decided to try to leave Australia’s Most Boring City (not the official tourist slogan) quick smart. Canberra is the home to Australia’s federal parliament, where our not-rulers (the Queen is still the head of state) are located – as a trade off for having to host so many politicians, Canberra is the only place in Australia where the discerning consumer can buy both fireworks and XXX rated pornography. Fair trade? The entire city is built as a system of concentric circles, which means that it does look very nice from the air, but has the drawback of every single place being so far away from every other point of interest. Add to this the fact that the bus (singular) doesn’t run very regularly, and it doesn’t sum to much of a café culture. It was pissing down, so we decided to take the main road out of town – straight, wide, high-speed, but the safest road possible, given the appalling conditions. We had about an hour and a half ride to Goulburn, which wasn’t overly pleasant.

At Goulburn, Yaegs and I parted ways – he was off to see his dad, who lived south of Sydney near Wollongong, while I was going to meet up with my girlfriend and a few of her mates in the Blue Mountains out to the west of Sydney. Thankfully, about thirty ks out of Goulburn, the clouds disappeared away, to be replaced by a blazing hot sun, meaning that I had to stop by the side of the highway to take some clothes off (how the other half live!).

The roads for today were all pretty ordinary – big highways with not too many interesting features. I was hoping that the Blue Mountains might offer something up, but sadly there was roadwork all along the road, keeping the speed down.

I met up with Gel at a microbrewery in Leura, where we bought a few locally-made American Pale Ales, and assorted deli stuff. I had picked up some strawberries out near Camden, and we had a fantastically relaxing afternoon, comprised mainly of lying on a picnic rug eating strawberries and drinking nice beer. Bliss. I also finally had a chance to put my extensive speedo collection to work, and had a quick dip under the waterfall. Double bliss.

Day Fourteen.

Today was the shortest day of the trip, and the one that I came the nearest to a bad tumble. I was aware that I might get complacent, being so close to home and riding familiar roads, so I gave myself the little pep talk about every other driver being mad, etc. The roads were full of filthy feds, so I kept the speed legal. This meant that some wanker in an electric green ute (seriously? He must be able to see it, surely …) started getting closer and closer to my tail. I waved him past with one hand, not really sure why he was doing what he was doing. He didn’t move, just stayed right on me. I had had enough of his bullshit, so, with a quick twist of the throttle, jumped about 40 ks an hour or so, overtook a number of cars then moved back into the left lane, hoping that he wouldn’t try anything more. After about a minute, he overtook in the right lane, and just stared at me. Dickhead number one!

Dickhead number two came on the Anzac bridge, which links the inner-western suburbs of Sydney with the CBD. I was sitting about a metre in front of a van, who decided that it’d be a good reason to move into my lane, to hell with a bike already in it, in front of the van. I honked the horn and accelerated to get away from the wank.

Sooner than soon, I was back in the eastern suburbs, getting frustrated by the low speed, the constant traffic lights and the boring roads. Home sweet home.

Stuck in 4 lanes of traffic packed with trucks… on a 2 lane highway. A photo diary of the joys of motorcycle travel in China!

When we ran out of room on the side of the road, the only option left was to go through the middle.

Another motorcycle trip 100km outside of Beijing turned out to be quite eventful. On the way to and from Songshan Nature Reserve, we hit relentless wind, aggressive drivers pushing us off the road, rain that turned out to be saturated with mud, and some of the worst traffic I’ve ever seen. There was one point where we had to drive off road because the oncoming traffic not only took over our lane but also the bordering emergency lanes, leaving no room for traffic going the other way for about 10-20km, and this congestion was almost entirely made up of trucks. It wasn’t all bad though, we passed under the great wall, past the ming tombs, and there was some pretty spectacular scenery. Take a look at the photo diary of the trip from start to finish below:

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Classic British Motorcycle Restoration

Just a quick post – as some of you may know, I recently acquired a 1959 AJS Model 16. AJS was made by the Wolverhampton, England, company A. J. Stevens & Co. Ltd, from 1909 to 1931, by then holding 117 motorcycle world records (in 1914 AJS won first, second, third, fourth and sixth place in the Junior 1914 Isle of Man TT race, and AJS took the first four places in the 1921 Isle of Man TT, and Howard R Davies bettered his second place in the Jr by winning the Senior on the same 350 cc AJS – this was the first time a 350 had won the 500 cc Senior TT race). AJS was sold and the name continued to be used by Matchless, Associated Motorcycles and Norton-Villiers on four-stroke motorcycles till 1969.

I’m beginning to restore my AJS, and I’ve found an excellent Ontario shop for ALL your classic British Motorcycle needs – Walridge Motors. The store is run by Mike Partridge, and he is as knowledgeable as he is helpful (extremely). You can find all kinds of original and reproduction parts for AJS, Matchless, Norton, BSA, Triumphs, and more! Mike also happens to be president of the Canadian section of the North American AJS and Matchless Owners Club!

I’ll certainly be documenting the restoration of my AJS, so stay tuned for those posts! Also, I’m moving in to a new house this weekend and finally get use of a full garage! I’m very excited for that – will post pics to the facebook page as that develops!

Safe riding everyone…

A New Site for Planning Scenic Drives

Here’s a great site, called MyScenicDrives.com, that’s started up on the West Coast, that identifies scenic drives all over the region. The site provides a Google Map with highlighted overlays of the drives, which you can click on for very detailed descriptions. You can also see nearby hikes, vistas, food stops, and hotels. They are in the process of expanding east and to Canada, so keep an eye on it to see if your region gets included in future updates. And this site isn’t just for motorcycles, but useful for any road travelers looking for a good place to travel over the weekend.

If you’re interested in a useful iPhone app that can give you route suggestions, check out our review of the Greatest Road app, along with other Smart Phone apps that come in handy when driving by motorcycle, here.

Update April 13th: Greatest Road App now free for a limited time! So make sure you check it out while you can.

Some Rubber on the Road Scenic Drive Suggestions:

User Submitted Sportster Pictures

These are some pictures submitted by a reader of ours, Gerald from South Africa, of his Sportster. A great looking bike! Looks like it’s been very well cared for. Wouldn’t expect anything less from a Sportster owner. If anyone else would like to submit pictures of their bike, follow us on facebook where you can share some pictures of your own. We’d love to see them!