Hint, tips and trip reports from Ben’s time in Australia on a 1982 Goldwing and on a 2003 in SoCal.
It was my first real trip other than on a few back roads near where I live in Buninyong.
The bike was running fairly well, I had not yet discovered all the muck in the fuel tank so was unaware of the possibility of the trip not going as well as it did. I’m really glad that I did not have any problems, as this trip was paramount in convincing me that the bike was worth persevering with……
After 10 months of working on the bike and riding it from work and back each day (about 20kms (12 miles)) I finally got the time from work and home to go for a ride. Not far, but the longest ride yet, 4.5 hours north, stay over night with the brother in law and ~5 hours back….
I knew from my work commute that I prefer to sit on 85 to 90 kph (~55mph), so I dug up a map and looked for a path that would allow me to stay off the freeways and thus go a bit slower without feeling pressured. I stuffed the map into the clear top of the magnetic tank bag, loaded up some over night gear and headed off.
I’m kicking myself as I left my camera behind, so a thousand words will just have to do you ..besides, I’m not sure any picture would convey what I have to say anyway..
It was amazing. I mean totally life altering.
I could not believe what happen. My 316 odd kg lump of motor bike slowly transformed. As I got out of town and started to settle down into touring the bike started to change shape, she started to change the sound of her motor, the handling started to slowly change. It was the most amazing thing I have experienced on a bike.
When you commute you are acutely aware of its weight, its turning circle, the cars around you, its stopping distance, when you park, you have to be thinking about getting out of the park, it’s a nice bike, it does it all well enough, and after 10 months you think that’s what its like all the time, that it cant get any better. I mean why would any of that change on the open road?..Well, as you can probably tell by now, it can and DOES change on the open road…
The horizon opens up, you can see to the edge of the earth, the bike just gets out of your way, and yet you know you are riding it, the sky comes down and embraces you. The hills and tress around you urge you on, the shadows cast by the golden sun become your pointers, the warmth of the wind on your skin blows away your worries, the coolness of the air as you go though little dips and gullies tickle and excite you. The bike sits so well on the road that it’s nothing to flip the helmet up and eat an apple while cruising. Take a sip of water out of the bite valve on the water bladder in the tank bag. The throttle lock (cruse control is on order) takes the pressure off your wrist and you can take turns at steering with one hand (and even no hands for long stretches of straight road). The back roads are where she and I are most at peace. No traffic to speak of, straight or curved, she gently caries me over it all. The sheep skin keeps the bottom end comfortable, the lower speed pushes the economy up to 50+mpg and you feel like you can ride forever…
It’s been 6 weeks since that ride and I am still smiling. I am still marveling at the experience. There is no way you can pass it on; you just have to experience it for yourself on your bike.
I am so very grateful to have been given the opportunity to own such an amazing thing, to be able to know that it can transport me to this amazing place when I require.
It’s hard to believe it’s just a bunch of metal parts stuck together; I have to remind myself that it’s not a living thing…
There was only one little downer in the whole thing .I felt a little guilty to be having such a good time and all my family was at home. I really love my wife and kids, while they all would have loved to have come with me, on this ride, the timing was such that they couldn’t, and yet it was partly because I was out there on my own that it was so good ..I was and am still a bit torn up about it. I have been on one small ride since then on my own and it was the same. Amazing joy tinged with guilt. Maybe that’s the way it will be for me, maybe that’s how I will have my head in the clouds flying with Golden wings and still keep my feet on the ground..
This section of the web site is for those who ride amoung us on older bikes. Those who repair them themselves. Those that love the open road, and who ride that road unafraid of the age of their bikes…….