Monday, August 10, 2009

Fee and I: Sugarloaf, Healesville, and Excitement!

My partner Fee and I decided to go for a short ride on Saturday out to Yarra Glen for lunch. We rode two-up on the GR650. It was a beautiful day which hardly seemed like winter, with a warm sun against a clear sky. We exited the city via the Eastern Freeway then went north to Kangaroo Ground. From there we headed toward Yarra Glen but on the way stopped off at Sugarloaf Reservoir, a major man-made water supply for Melbourne.

The drought has taken its toll and the water levels are very low, which leaves a gaping chasm of space before you as you stand on one side and look toward the other. There is a sense of something ancient in this experience, like looking upon some ambitious achievement of an almost mythological civilisation, or on to some elemental landmass. 

From there we went on to Yarra Glen, at which point we were enjoying the ride too much to stop such that we continued out to Healesville. After lunch we had a walk around town and came across this beautiful Moto Guzzi. I admit to being a big Guzzi fan.   This one was a very fine example of the breed. You can see the sideways twin cylinder engine, which has a sound which is smooth to a degree, and yet deep, throaty and charismatic.  The bike was fat and chunky and heavy and roomy and couch-like and beautiful! Fee has requested that I make her a Yamaha SR250 based on this bike.

We rode homewards. Up hills the bike struggled and snatched a bit because it has a larger front sprocket fitted and we were two-up. I reflected on the fact that this bike otherwise did so well with the weight of two people on the freeway, and decided that I would fit the sidecar to the GR650. It will make a very good outfit. The GR is a great bike in many respects however it is not the pretty boy that the SR is, and neither does it have the great handling of the SR. Fitting the utilitarian sidecar which I plan to make to the GR makes a lot more sense when I consider it.

As we neared the Eastern Freeway I noted some wobble from the rear of the bike. I was not sure whether it was gravel on the road or an exaggeration of the wobbly handling that this bike gives, but as we accelerated to 100kph onto the freeway suddenly the bike weaved badly from side to side!  The rear tyre had suddenly deflated! I pulled over with cars accelerating to 100kph about us. I got Fee off the bike, and rode it down to the emergency lane. I had no mobile credit to call RACV, but fortunately I carry a toolkit which I have assembled myself (so it is actually useful!), which includes tyre foam for temporarily re-inflating punctured tyres. Here I am mid-repair, keeping a careful eye on the cars as they merge together at 100kph.

I arrived home for an engine-fitting evening, which I will post about when the task is complete. Unfortunately this blown tyre meant I could not do a big ride on Sunday as I had planned, but it was nice to have a short jaunt with Fee.

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