Blog: May 4. Been ridin’.

It’s been a big week, and for a change I can say I spent pretty much the whole week riding.

I started off with a run down the freeway on Monday. I had to deliver work’s Triumph 800XCx to Triumph in Melbourne, so I managed to piece a few things together to make the trip effective.

First up Tuesday was a stop at Safari Tanks in the middle of Victoria there somewhere – near Bright and Wangarratta – to fit a tank.

Robin Box, owner and driving force at Safari Tanks, and his family and staff threw open the Box home and workshops and I had a really fabulous couple of days. Robin spotted pretty quickly that I have the mechanical skills of a numbat, so he jumped in and fitted the tank.

SuzukiVStroms_010I’m glad, because it was quite an involved job getting the sender for the fuel gauge in place, and fitting the fuel pump benefited from a subtlety I just don’t have. I just tighten the bejesus out of everything and hope it’ll be okay. Robin has the O-ring tolerances for various models in his head and fits everything the way he designed it to be fitted.

I was glad he was there, I can tell you.

SafariTanks_005Robin’s also one of those people who just loves to solve a problem. In fact, I bet he can’t sleep if there’s an unsolved problem sitting in his workshop. He spotted a couple of other things on the bike I hadn’t been able to get exactly right and spent the afternoon in his fabulously well-appointed workshop pressing, shaping and measuring until everything was spot on.

Then he grabbed one of the dozen or so bikes he has there for building tanks and Touratech fitting – Robin is also Australia’s Touratech importer – and we went for a ride. Just for the fun of it. It was brilliant.

Wednesday a couple of Suzuki V-Stroms arrived for work, so we loaded up and headed out for a day’s riding and testing. The weather was perfect and the terrain an adventure-riser’s dream. The bikes were really good, and we pretty much had a ball. It was one of those days where it seems my job is as good as everyone thinks it is.

SuzukiVStroms_154With the Suzukis done I headed into Melbourne and on to the new Triumph headquarters at Altona.

Hole impressive, Batman! That place is frigging awesome.

I rode the bike into the workshop as instructed, but that meant a few minutes riding past mail-order departments, spars storage, rows and rows of Triumphs in cartons stacked four and five high, pre-delivery work areas and bikes and parts as far as the eye could see. All under one roof. The admin offices are under the same roof, but I just about had to set the GPS to find my way to them.

Once I was off the bike the Triumph folks showed the same red-carpet treatment they always do.

SuzukiVStroms_161It’s humbling to have folks fussing over you like that. Tech guru Cliff Stovall took charge and hed me jumping on and off the bike and riding laps around the vacant ground behind the building to get the suspension the way he wanted it, Marketing Manager Mark Berger churned out coffees and jumped on a new XRx to come for a lap and make sure the bike was working properly, and then drove me to the airport.

After all that, I flew home just time to see the floodwater stop just short of causing any problem here at home.

What a great week.

Meanwhile, Marty’s been going hard on the next two discs, and he’s creaming it. I sometimes think I have to work hard to keep up with my work, but he’s setting a furious pace at the moment. He has his eye firmly on the Vince Strang ride on September 19 and 20. If you have the chance to head up there, you should. That’ll be a great weekend. Vince really knows how to turn on a great ride, and Marty will launch the new disc, so it’ll be a cracker.

Of course, with the Triumph now in Victoria being serviced and fussed over, and the Dominator with Dan Vaughan addressing the dusting problem, I’m without an adventure bike for a while. It won’t matter for this next week because I’m so far behind with work I won’t have time to do much of anything but frantically try and catch up. But after that I’ll have to see what’s happening. I’m not short of bikes, that’s for sure, and I spend a lot of time whinging that I don’t get to ride them, so this might be a good opportunity.


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