It all started with a test message from a longtime friend “Want to go for a ride?” received at 11:05am on a Saturday. If the message had originated with a comely friend who didn’t own a bike then this message would have meant something different but alas it did not.
I thought to myself all I have done so far is get up at a stately 10:10am and brushed my teeth picked up some fruit and thought “eeeeuuuch” never again have apple just after brushing. There was the text highlighted in yellow because texts from everyone are yellow and my texts in the conversation are blue on the Samsung Galaxy S4. And like the colour so did my outlook on the rest of the day look, much brighter and all the better for it (because contrast from black text to yellow backgrou- ok this isn’t the point).
I stood there in my shorts and track jacket and immediately thought of lunch because I am a bachelor and there are few things that are important at 11 in the morning besides where the next meal is. I am like an apex hunter sniffing out prey which in this case looked like a burger because that’s all I have been craving all week long. I immediately text back:
“Hey mate. Im having lunch at homers. Coming over soon with my bro to grab food wanna meet there? Later we go ride.”
Homers is a burger joint way out where I live, it’s good because it’s honest and tasty, large patties of flame grilled beef sandwiching bacon and cheese and then doubled up. There are no vegetables on this thing unless you count the tomato sauce which is technically a vegetable except some people think it’s a fruit. I digress because within the next 1/2 hour I have met the guys (Luke and Ben) at Homers, ordered, picked up, driven home with scooters in tow and eaten all the food. In around 5mins I am standing out the front of the house in my Belstaff and bike-jeans with helmet on and was ready to roll.
Over helmet comms all I know for sure is that we are heading to Wisemans Ferry via Windsor a 60km run north of Western Sydney. The run there is varied with stretches of farmland, dappled sunlight avenues, deep forest roads and cliff edge off-camber corners. The run is almost equal part bumpy, poorly-maintained bitumen and beautifully sealed and smooth b-road. Along the way you catch glimpses of the far off Blue Mountains vistas I had to capture on the way back.
One of the key assertions I can take away from the trip there is that the Yamaha T-Max, a recent addition to our cavalcade of 2-wheeled machines is probably too comfortable as Luke our compatriot was motivated at a leisurely pace on this particular steed rarely straying above the speed limit. I also figured out that my bike, a Triumph Speed Triple is not that suited to touring as it is hard and easily dislodges your lungs, that being said when the going got curvy I had a lot of fun poking the knee out and carving around the corner like a skier.
We stopped at Wiseman’s Ferry a small settlement on the Hawkesbury River for a spot of peace and relaxation with drinks, punctuated by the sound of V-Twins, Parallel-4’s and everything in between, huffing, growling and popping by the cafe we were seated at. On the way down to river elevation we ran into 5km/h traffic, at the front a liquids tanker driving down the dual carriageway switchback road, forced convoy in tow. I decided that an overtake was necessary and although the maneuver was completed without any other car coming the other way, my blood spilled needlessly or even a hint of a clenched buttock I was acosted by a driver further down the way clearly unhappy about driving his car and life in general who asked if I had a deathwish. To that I say no I do not, calculated risk, knowledge of vehicle capabilities, I’m riding a bike, middle name etc. I wonder why people do that, pick fights over a non-event, seems like pointless road-rage to me.
The ride back was much more to my liking as I led the way, gently pushing the envelope of the speed laws at any particular stretch of the road. There aren’t largely straight segments of tarmac so speed and boredom don’t factor highly. I was in my element and the bike felt just right (except where there are bumps). We found a deserted road and wandered down part way to find it was a quarry and so we stopped to admire the scenery and just breathe in the cold way-out air, freezing our bottoms off.
After some speed runs on this deserted stretch of road we headed off home, about 1 hour away retracing our path this time with my bike in the lead. The feeling of riding without the cares of life, work and responsibility for anything except, throttle position, weight distribution, road surface anticipation, speed and traction is sublime. For those few short hours I am free to be myself and disconnect… except for that blasted bluetooth headset in my helmet.