Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bowden Spur

I schedualed for 10am with Marlon. But misfortune struck and I did not leave until 1pm. And alone. This was the first time since May 2009, when I stripped my drive shaft, that we could ride our SRs together. I wonder if there is a curse which is activates when our two bikes are together. Before coming to my house Marlon picked up his SR from a mechanic's with a new set of tyres fitted. New tyres on motorcycles are very slippery - you have to 'scrub them in', which means to carefully wear off their protective coating in the first few minutes of riding. Because he was pressed for time, and because the Saturday morning traffic was dense, Marlon gave it a handful as he entered the road. His bike slid into a 180 degree turn, flipped, and landed on him. This saved the bike from damage. And broke a some of his ribs.

So we had a coffee together while he considered going to hospital. At least I could finally get a shot of the cursed bikes lined up together.

Thus I left for a short afternoon ride, deciding to seek some dirt roads near Kinglake.

I rode through the twisting asphalt to Strathewen amongst apple orchards and dappled sunlight, my big single thumping away smoothly with a rhythm that made pure motion itself an utter pleasure. I enjoy the Hornet more, now that I have the SR back, because I can take pleasure in the very different virtues of each bike. But the SR comes into its own on these roads, where the Hornet is hedged in and wants speed and higher revs.

My map pointed to a lookout from Mount Sugarloaf, so I rode along Chad Creek Road but was stopped at Pine Ridge Road.

This meant turning back the way I had come. Which was unfortunate, as I had ascended a hill at such a steep angle that I thought 'Thank god I won't have to return this way!' Going uphill, gravity is on your side: your grip, and your traction when braking, are proportionally increased. Going down hill the opposite is true. Which is fine on asphalt or even hard clay. But not so on loose, sliding gravel!

I survived that white-knuckle, nervously-sweating experience and took some photos.

I made for Bowden Spur Road, which would lead me to coffee at Kinglake. This turned out to be a fantastic choice for my kind of riding: a good easy surface of clay and light gravel, gentle hills, little traffic, wonderful flora and fantastic views.

Bowden Spur Road rose and rose, and at its peak I could look back on the snaking route I had climbed, but also across a great valley and even to the city.

At Kinglake I ran into some members of the SR500 Club.

I rode home via Kinglake National Park - the winding sealed 'Kinglake Heidelberg Road' where again the single cylinder came into its own. A gentle speed felt perfect, as I sat in one gear and merely rolled the throttle on and off, with minimal braking and a tuneful put-put-put from the exhaust.

The final part of the trip became very draining, and at home I barely had the strength to put the bike away. That night I became more ill than I have been in a long time. A state of pure, groaning, unrelieved nausea. In my fever my mind was filled with the image of riding, and it seemed such a harsh and dangerous experience that I resolved to give it up - indeed I couldn't understand what kept me at it, theorising that it was merely some stubborn means of creating an identity for myself. There was surely no enjoyment in it. Late the next day, as I improved, this reasoning vaporised like a strange weather and I could see things in the light of the sun again, and it became easy to see why I ride. Pure pleasure. Adventure. Freedom. Contemplation....

No comments:

Post a Comment