Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Bullet on the Spur

Today I planned to ride to Yea on the Bullet.  I left home just after midday with the thought that I could easily make it there and back before nightfall.  However, when 1.5 hours later I arrived at King Lake, it became obvious that I would not have enough time.  This is s slow bike!  Things were made worse because I tried a route out of Melbourne via suburban roads, to save the Bullet and myself the stress of trying to ride the freeway.  So I decided to head from King Lake to Healesville, a repetition of my last two rides, with the intention that I would include something different.

Something different did indeed happen when I stopped for the above photo.  A kid, which is to say a (perhaps) 20 year old in power-ranger leathers and a learner's sports bike, came around the corner revving much to hard and with ambition that over-reached his skill.  He and his bike went sliding past me.  By the time I ran over he was on his feet in a surge of adrenalin, brushing off any concern for himself while I helped him pick up the bike.  A new, fully faired Honda CBR250, it was amazingly free of damage, which I put down to the greasy road surface.  We pushed it out of the mud, he started it up, put his gear on, and without any careful testing of the bike he took off again at speed, as only an excitable young man can.

I, on the other hand, plodded.  I plodded into Healesville for lunch.  And then I plodded up and down the Black Spur, for something different.  Once again, I took great pleasure in the pulsating feel and sound of the bike as it emitted its gentle, relaxed, care-free bass notes.

The day itself was superb.  It was about 14 degrees, over-cast, but I met with no rain despite the damp.  Repeatedly I rode into a shaft of sunlight beaming through the pines, setting a cloud of mist aglow.  In my warm clothes, at my casual speed, I was very comfortable and enjoyed an easy contemplation of the beautiful hills both as my exhaust counted time and when I stopped to admire some green, mossy place.

I think that the Bullet will return me to those many winding roads, just outside of Melbourne, which I used to ride a lot but whose attraction faded as I spread my wings on more capable bikes.  It opens a new chapter on those places which I have long neglected.

I made note today, at any point when I cruised at 80kph, of whether I though the Bullet would sustain that for 25 minutes on the freeway.  Actually the top - fourth - gear is quite high and the bike feels ok at 80.  So I returned home on the freeway, still with all the traffic passing me, but with less speed differential than last time.  And it was ok.  Certainly it was not pleasant - I was wary the whole time - but it was acceptable enough that I think I can keep using the various 20km freeway routes by which I exit Melbourne.  Not only is it faster and less frustrating to take the freeway, but to my mind I am safer on the freeway compared to the suburban jungles.

I returned home at 5:30PM.  Perhaps next weekend I will leave earlier and make another attempt at Yea.  I would like to do some rides with other people but I cannot think who would enjoy riding at my pace, other than Marlon who will appreciate the frequent cigarette breaks as he waits for me.


  1. Looks like you met some serious candidate for the Darwin award. At least he was smart enough to gear up. Glad nothing bad happened, apart from damaging the young lad's ego.

    The Bullet makes for a great motive. Nothing beats the Vintage aspect of such bikes.

  2. Beautiful looking bike. You're going to have to hurry up and put the saddle seat on the thing. Then it'll truly be a thing of beauty.