Burger, beans & bridges

I took advantage of an improved weather forecast for Thursday 21 August and took run inland to central Victoria to visit the Moto Bean café as recommended by Raymond Herd, on his excellent Sandgropher motorcycle travel blog.

Again it was a fairly cold, around 7C for most of the morning, however, it is still winter I guess. My route was from Geelong to Ballan, then Daylesford and on to Malmsbury – specifically the Moto Bean café.

You may have guessed that the Moto Bean café is a moto themed café. It is a new purpose built building and rather than following the ‘1960’s diner’ theme, the owners have opted for a slightly industrial /warehouse style – and have pulled it off really well. The place is spacious, warm and inviting – especially for motoring enthusiasts of any discipline – but also generic enough not to scare off non moto enthusiast patrons. However, it’s certainly great to go to a café that has magazines lying about that are of interest – namely a good selection of motorcycle magazines.

As is my habit duty, I sampled a tasty burger which the chef was happy to cook for me even though it wasn’t quite time for the lunch menu to commence. I also had a very friendly, welcoming chat with George (who is one of the owners), who took the time to explain the background of some of the display bikes, the construction of the café and some local scenic rides.   Unfortunately I didn’t make it to Mt Alexander, but will be back to check out the area soon.

Have a close look at the motor grafted into this K0 series Honda Four.

Malmsbury is also home to a large brick and masonry arched bridge built between 1858 and 1860, known as the Malmsbury Viaduct. Its just a walk through the park from the café.

As I was leaving the cafe, a friendly patron suggested that I should also check out the historic Taradale Viaduct which is just a few kilometres down the old Calder Hwy. I was lucky enough to snap a train traveling over it – just as in the pic on the history info plaque. Now compare and contrast the bridge itself in the following two pics.

I’m guessing that you noticed that in the 1862 pic the bridge is constructed of only masonry columns and no iron work. The iron columns were added much later in the 1930’s to cope with heavier trains.

After taking some shots of the bridge I headed over to the pretty Sutton Grange road and from there over to Castlemaine for some fuel, then home to Geelong via Maldon (out of my way a little I know), Newstead, Creswick and Lal Lal –skirting around Ballarat.

For all the pictures, click HERE (then press ‘Slideshow’)

All up, a grand day out riding. A new venue, enjoying some tasty food and hospitality, some new roads to explore, with a little history thrown in to add interest.

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Motorcycle Cannonball run across the USA

I’ve spent much of the past two weeks following the 2012 antique motorcycle Cannonball run across the USA. The race runs from New York City in the east to San Francisco in the west.

The motorcycle currently in 1st place is 99 years old and has completed 1,927 miles so far. Yes, that is a 99 year old machine being ridden coast to coast across the USA.

Lots of good info and pics here on the Motorcycle Cannonball dedicated site. Also on their Facebook page linked form there. Another great source of a day to day info of the event is on the Antique Motorcycle Club of USA website.

Many of the riders have substantial back up teams and mobile workshops with them. At the other end of the scale is Doug Wothke who rode his 1928 Indian from Alabama to the starting line in NYC alone and has no back up team. Unfortunately Doug has had some serious mechanical failures along the way. Read all about Doug’s preparation HERE and his postings on ADVrider and you can track him via his SPOT.

There is also an Aussie from Melbourne in the race. He is Chris Knoop, riding a rare JAP powered Invincible. His blog is HERE.

I’ve embedded some YouTube video footage below, that really gives a feel for this event, courtesy of Robin Haskell on YouTube. Thanks for sharing this great footage Robin!


Chain maintenance on the road

I bought this device called a PackJack to make chain maintenance easier when away on tour. Our usual routine has been to get a couple of guys and man handle the bike levering the back wheel into the air, using the side stand as a pivot. The third person then sprays on the chain lube.

The PackJack is a small temporary stand that eliminates the “two guys”, and lifts the rear wheel a couple of centimetres so that it can be rotated to apply the chain spray. It’s  simple, really well made and comes with a small carry sack (pictured).  I stress that I purchased this with my own money and did not receive any price reduction incentive to post here. The postage cost from Canada is a bit of a killer at $20 CAD and brings the total cost to around $50 delivered to Aust – which is pretty pricey.

Here are some pics.


 

 

 

 

Here’s a LINK to the PackJack website with some video. For some reason I can’t embed any video on my blog at present. When I release the stand, my PackJack doesn’t just fold back as in the video – mine typically just falls over or flys off a bit. However, I’m guessing that this is a function of releasing the lift on such a heavy (250 kilogram) bike.

I emailed Greg from PackJack with a couple of questions about the stand before I purchased it and experienced prompt, friendly communication which made the online transaction easy and personal.

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Cold and windy

Marty and I took a short run today, however, with temps of around 9C and strong gusts of wind our hearts weren’t really in it. A hot drink at Gellibrand and a chat with Paul about his recent Kapunda 24hr off-road endurance race, and we were on our way back home.

Here’s a reflection shot of me astride my ZX14 after I’d given it a clean. Actually taken on a different day but just wan’t see how it looks online!