Blog: December 11. Glorious riding

It’s a windy Sunday arvo and I’m in good shape.

First up I’ve had a short ride on the Ducati 1200 Enduro Pro. There’s bliss on a big bike right there.

I went down to Wisemans Ferry and met up with work’s ad manager, Mitch, and Ducati Australia And New Zealand marketing manager, Simon Leplaw. The pair seemed to like taking pics of each other.

The weather was sensational, the blokes were great to ride with, and that bike is a wet dream on wheels for me. We had had a great day roosting around and trying to support the notion we were seriously working.

That’s not me on the bike in the pics. It’s Simon. He was good enough to ride up and down for a few images…in fact, he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Meanwhile, on my side of the camera, I had the KLR along as a camera bike. I’m not sure Simon knew what to make of it.

Ducatis are so performance-oriented, I think he might’ve been wondering if I was into vintage bikes or something. He certainly didn’t ride it for long. After just a couple of minutes he waved down Mitch and politely asked for the Multistrada 950 he’d brought along with the Enduro Pro.

After riding the Enduro Pro for a while I set about finding out where the KLR was up to. I hadn’t ridden it since the top-end rebuild. I gave it a short thrashing on the dirt before nearly cleaning up a group of road cyclists who were, for some inexplicable reason, riding the dirt road through the bush, complete with a support vehicle which was just a tad wider than the road.

It was an exciting few seconds as the poor rider control somehow squeaked the Kwaka through a barely visible gap in the trees.

The bike feels good, but of course, not really different to before the work was done. The smell of burning oil is gone, and while we droned along the bitumen at about 110kph for 60km or so, I still can’t be sure about oil consumption until I log some highway distance.

We stopped for coffee at Jerry’s at Kulnura, a fairly well-known road-bike watering hole. It was Friday lunchtime and there were still plenty of bikes there.

Don’t these people have jobs? Any wonder the nation’s in such poor shape.

Honestly!

With that day’s work over I bolted home Friday night and spend yesterday at my desk writing the review on the Ducati, and that meant this morning I was able to go for a lap on my Yamaha cruiser.

I’ve had the bike out on loan for a while, so I was really looking forward to riding it.

It’s a 1998 model and I bought it new in 1998. It’s still only done around 25,000km, and I love it. It’s a shaft-drive, air-cooled 650 and despite all its limitations – the brakes are a bit ordinary, it’s not a sharp turner, there’s not much horsepower and it’s starting to show signs of age – it’s the most reliable, fun-to-ride bike ever. Today I did maybe 170km from home up to Dorrigo, North Dorrigo, Tyringham, Hernani, Dorrigo and back down the mountain. All at the speed limit, all in incredible comfort, and all just leaving me feeling ‘this is what riding’s all about!’.

Of course, I feel that about most bikes I ride.

My son’s just bought himself another Harley, so we’re dreaming about going a for a ride together. It’s unlikely it’ll ever happen, because he works harder and longer hours than me, but we can dream.

From now until close of trade on December 20 I’ll be pretty much at the rev limiter trying to get things sorted before Christmas break. Naturally, come dawn December 21, I’ll be sitting on Sawtell headland, ready to find out just how much oil that KLR will burn when it’s working hard for a full day.

I’ll let you know how I go.

Marty HC must be due back from NZ any day, and from the posts I see on Facebook he must be having the ride of a lifetime. Good on him, I say.

TF

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