Wednesday, January 17, 2018

‘It started with a B’ Ride - Report for 14 January 2018

Variety is the spice of life, so they say.  I’ve never discovered who ‘they’ actually are, but they are right.  The lack of spice for this ride meant it was of the non-varietal persuasion.  That’s not to say it was dull and boring, just that the ride would briefly traverse some well-ridden roads that have been ridden by most of us many times before.  It’s a function of weekly rides in a diminishing circle around Canberra as bikes get bigger, better and faster and the roads get older, narrower and more pot-holed.  I feel for the ride leaders sometimes.  It’s difficult to add ‘spice’ to a ride unless some old piece of dirt has a new layer of bitumen and a few sweeping corners left intact.  Sometimes, it has to be socialising over motorcycling, and that can be good too.  Personally, I usually put the motorcycle before people, but that’s just me.  I often talk to my motorcycle rather than people.  I get more sense out of a non-responsive pile of metal and plastic than from real people most of the time.
A great roll-up of bikes but a slight balls-up of start-time.

It seemed to be a bit ho-hum for the gathering of groupies assembled at the Nicholls servo for the short run to Bowning.  They chatted animatedly amongst themselves while the ride leader did what ride leaders do, although the confused mind of the ever-graceful Peter appeared unclear and we all wondered if we were going to Bowning, Binalong, Bookham, Bairnsdale, Bathurst or Birdsville.  It started with a ‘B’, so we decided that follow-the-leader might work.  It was clear that the groupies were there for the company, not the excitement of this exceptionally short journey, so the chatter was loud and hands were constantly moving to reinforce some point or another in the stories being told.  Or they were just shooing away the morning flies and other bugs.  By the way, the ‘groupie’ nomenclature is not a dig at the lustful nature of the leader’s adoring fan club, merely the tactless recognition that a group of bikers following a handsome leader must be groupies by loose definition.  Have I lost you yet?  Read on.  There are more words to follow.  We’ll get to the ride part of the ride report in due course.

Chas: ‘The ride brief stinks’. Peter: ‘I’ll hang my head in shame’.
In my mind’s eye I see lots of things.  What the hell is a ‘mind’s eye’ anyway?  It’s supposed to be a human’s ability to visually experience something.  I’d call it fantasizing.  On this auspicious day I visually experienced an assembled group of groupies mostly dressed in clean, bug-free and road-grime bereft ride attire that would not have looked out of place in the next ‘Hunger Games’ sequel.  Bikes glistened in the sun and the ride leader’s words of wisdom, direction and weariness echoed off the polished paint and bounced round and round until they found an open ear, thence disappearing into the deep recesses of feeble minds and feebler bodies.  It was assumed that someone would know the way, preferably the ride leader.  It was anticipated that someone would get lost, but the short distance and direct route might prevent that.  It was expected to be a completely normal run into the dry paddocks of NSW where follow-the-leader was not necessarily how it would go.  We departed the scene a few minutes past the appointed hour.  There was no rush.

Charging along at a good clip I thought the group was being very well-behaved.  So much so in fact, that I said to myself and the nearby sheep; “It looks as though the corner-marking system is working well for a change”.  I didn’t respond to my thoughts.  That would have indicated a streak of insanity.  Besides, there were few corners that actually needed marking, especially as there weren’t many to negotiate and an earlier decision to forgo corner marking had been made for this abbreviated run.  No corner markers and no tail.  How would we survive?  The back-road to Bowning is sealed but rough in places.  It’s not an exciting run, other than for the pleasant views along the way and the dearth of vehicles and people.  Nor is it a boring run.  It’s just a run, thus being eminently suitable for meeting the previously used low-spice and non-varietal descriptor for the ride.  Have I lost you again?  I’m trying.  Very trying according to some people, but I digress from the ride report.

Sometimes it’s good to take a diversion.  We do that often on our Ulysses rides.  Sometimes, we all take the diversion.  Sometimes it’s just the errant few.  The interesting diversions are when the tail arrives at a junction just behind the ride leader, and most of the riders in the middle have gone walk-about.  A diversion from whatever it is I’m supposed to be reporting is also good.  It makes a dull report less dull.  The well-behaved groupies obediently followed the leader hither and thither until we reached our designated destination for lunch.  We all made it to lunch.  That’s always a bonus.  The chosen pub was reasonably quiet, so the wait for food was short and the food itself was fine.  It became even finer once chewed, swallowed, processed by several metres of intestine and dissolved by gastric juices.  Are we still hungry?  I’m not.  At the very least, an imperial gallon of assorted liquids and a small truckload of tasty luncheon delights were devoured by those attending.

Order last and get served first?  What gives?  (Great food!)

Once in a while after you’ve consumed a nice lunch you just want to drift off into a food coma.  Sometimes you start to have wild thoughts of staying put for a little bit longer while the bodily enzymes try to digest whatever fare has just been eaten.  It was clear that several people were content to sit back, chill out and melt some ear-wax listening to multiple conversations at once.  Sometimes, life feels good and the ride becomes secondary to the people.  Unfortunately, it only takes one or two spoil-sports to stand up and gather their gear to spark the stampede for the toilets for a final pee, gather up the mandatory protective gear, slip stealthily into the now shrunken jacket, get on the bike and start the engine, preferably in that order.  Apparently it’s bad form to sit on your bike and then pee in your bike gear.  Selecting the right departure sequence is paramount.

How many $$$ are parked outside the Pub?

We didn’t all head for the bikes and leave.  A few chose the coffee option down the street at the Mews, while others headed for home and lawn-mowing or sock-drawer rearranging.  A few of us took the opportunity to have a chat with an old local named Karl.  He was on a 1989 Honda 200 cc bike attached to a ‘Tuk-Tuk’ style of cargo cart with three wheels, dubious brakes, and road-registered.  Karl was 91 years old and still riding.  We can only hope that’s us as we grow older.  He seemed to be pretty sharp, and admired the collection of shiny machines with a glint in his eye.  Or was that a tear or two?

91 years young Karl and the Tuk-Tuk.

Garry and I, along with Ian, headed for Boorowa, where we lost Ian for a bit, before continuing to Crookwell, Taralga for a coffee, and then Goulburn and Gunning and on to home.  It was a spirited ride with Garry, and topped an enjoyable day out even though Ian decided that Crookwell was the limit of his ride and headed home alone from there.  On a stretch where I was leading I came upon a branch lying across the road.  The very, very large goanna soon decided to reverse course (thankfully) and scurried away. Its smaller sibling was 20 metres up the road and less of a worry.  The large echidna that took us on was also dodged by me, but Garry decided to vie for the ISAEASTMI Award ‘I Spotted An Echidna And Stopped To Move It’ and disappeared from my mirrors.  I waited a minute or two at the Crookwell junction where he arrived with newly aerated gloves.  It was a good day out.  It’s hard to complain about good company, good food and a good ride.

And so ends the reporting of another successful Ulysses outing where the food was only surpassed by the company, the shininess of the bikes and the odour of spent gasoline and hot engines.  Your charming ride leader for this run was Peter Arday on the NT700.  Job well done by my reckoning.  We rarely have ladies as ride leaders.  Why is that?  I’m hallucinating again.  Better get back on track and figure out the hieroglyphics that identify the unidentifiable.  I wasn’t tail of course, because we didn’t have one, but I did do the scribing.  I rode my still-shiny R1200GSLC.  

The other groupies, in no particular order other than Christian name alphabetical were: 

  • Alan & Lyn Munday – FJR1300
  • Andrew Campbell – FJR1300
  • Chas Towie – ST1300
  • Chris Dietzel – GTR1400
  • Daryl Palin – GL1800
  • Errol Pentland – Roadliner
  • Garry McCurley – VFR1200
  • Genelle Mills – Triumph Bonnie
  • Ian Paterson – GL1800
  • Jeff Jarvis – Softail Delux
  • John Barratt – R1200GS
  • Kim Tito – F700GS
  • Les Robinson – Triumph Trophy
  • Mick and Tracey Winters – Triumph Trophy
  • Mike Kelly – Triumph 1600
  • Ron Tito – R1200GS

Until next time.  Mick B.