Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ruffy with Royal Enfield and AJS

As I rode out to Kangaroo Ground this morning I was well-rugged and so warm in the dry winter air.  It had rained earlier in the morning, and the sun's reflection on the road was a dull silver which blurred my vision.  Glorious.  Later three of us would sit under elms as they shed leaves the colours of stained glass windows.  Autumn.  The air has that substance, that light which mist and sunshine create.

Today I rode with two members of the Royal Enfield Club of Australia.  Kev, with whom I have ridden before, was on his Royal Enfield Bullet.  Francis, whom I met for the first time today, on his 1954 AJS twin. Although I led, I followed the pace that Francis made behind me.  At Yea we felt good already.  We stopped at a new motorcycle themed eatery, The Red Plate Cafe.

The food is good, as are the prices and the service.  The cafe is part-owned by a member of the SR500 Club.  I recommend it.

From Yea the best part of the ride commenced.  Into the golden triangle, that untrafficked land north of Yea which is now blooming in its seasonal green.

Along those roads, through Highlands, Caveat, and on to Ruffy, we cruised along at 80kph.  Often we did 60 as there were extended road works.  These limits on a Sunday were completely unnecessary, but it was wonderful.  I have struggled of late with a recent habit of pushing my speed.  I remain at the speed limit because the consequences in Victoria are harsh, but I get frustrated if I am slowed down.  There is the feeling of rushing on my rides.  Which spoils things.  It is odd, but even though I try to, I find it hard to overcome this new tendency.  And so I have felt a lack.  Riding does something important to my soul, provides a certain connection, experience, which is incompatible with such impatience.  Today, cruising along at a slow pace with those wonderful motorcycles, I felt refreshed in precisely the way I long for.  It was that experience which draws me to motorcycling.  I felt in touch with the natural beauty of the world, in the form of a powerful sense of being present in the flash and colour and light of this rural landscape where I feel so at home.

After coffee at Ruffy we rode back the way we had come, through undulating green.  For ten kilometers Kev and I swapped bikes.  His Bullet is marvellous to ride.  It pulls along fine with adequate - albeit low - power.  Most importantly, it has such character.  The thump of this unusually relaxed, torquey big single is very present.

We stopped for photos.

As we rode along after taking these pictures, Kev and I saw something go spinning from Francis' bike.  Francis did not see this and rode on, but we pulled over and searched the roadside.  When Francis returned, it emerged that he had lost his oil large cap.  Fortunately it was not raining, as we could not find the thing.  Henceforth AJS spewed as much oil from the gaping hole in the oil tank as it did from other parts of the bike - prior to this event we had laughed at the constant flow of dripping oil the thing produced!

At Yea we decided to take separate routes back home, as Francis had to beat the dusk.  His generator was not working which meant he had no lights.  He and Kev would head home one way, and I another.  Just before we left, I noticed this:

The hose in my air system had cracked.  So we encouraged Francis to head off, and Kev stayed to help me.

Fracnis leaving - what a beautiful bike!  And the outfit to match!  It sounds great too.

We ended up taping the hose and inlet nipple with electrical tape, the only thing on hand.  As I was lifting my tank, freshly filled with 15 litres of petrol...I pulled a muscle in my back.  The sort of pull that can go from bad to worse in an hour or two, and leave me bed-ridden for days.  Through the pain I could barely lift myself onto the bike.

Hence I rode home slowly for the sake of the dodgy repair to the hoses, and because of my pain.  Every twenty kilometers I would pull over and go for a long walk.  It took forever to get home, but this method seems to have worked.  So there were misadventures, but what a day!  This is what motorcycling is about.  Riding with these two fellows and their beautiful bikes, I regained something that I search for in motorcycling.

No comments:

Post a Comment