Saturday’s ride was an excellent example of a good day out solo.
When last I saw him, Brenton had mentioned he would be working Saturday. I had not heard from Andrew. All the other bikers I know, being Harley owners, are all still probably repairing their bikes. If I wanted to ride I would be riding alone. It was clearly going to be a great day for riding and for photography. The weather forecast said so, and the morning portents confirmed it. It was already 25 C by 09.00, headed well on the way to the forecast 35. In anticipation of a great day I had arisen at 5 in the morning, made coffee, turned on Skype in case my girls would like to chat, and then did the laundry, the vacuuming and gave the kitchen a lick and a promise. On Facebook I announced: “The housework and laundry are done. My flat smells of eucalyptus and lavender. With my insect repellent I smell of rosemary and cedar. I am fresh and cheerful, the black dog fast asleep. I am off on my bike to look for the Black Cockatoos of Kojonup”.
I made sandwiches from salmon, mesclun salad and blue cheese dressing and packed them into my little saddlebag-sized insulated bag along with a can of caffeinated drink, an ice pack and two litres of chilled water. I filled my aluminium water bottle with another 500mls of ice water, wrapped it in wet tissue paper and put it into the cup holder on my bike. I loaded my cameras, wallet and binoculars into the magnetic tank bag.
A word about magnetic tank bags – well, two words actually: Bloody fantastic! So useful for holding the things you want quick access to, and the things you may not want to leave with the bike should you have to go out of sight of it for a few minutes. It is easily lifted off to go with you as a backpack.
Thanks Dave for leaving it behind! It means I can leave the saddle bags packed with tools, first aid and emergency items and extra clothing layers, and still have room for food and water and odds and ends. The tankbag makes a good daypack. If I am travelling further and staying away, I have the the big cissy seat bag as my overnight bag.
Saturday’s ride was to be out the back of Kojonup. As you can see by the mess in this routemap, Google maps, like my Strike GPS, has a few problems with the back roads around these parts. I was riding around that area between Kojonup, Broomehill and Tambellup. The purpose of the expedition was to find and photograph the black cockatoos that inhabit the area. Or, in their absence(as it proved) just to take photos. I like to ride alone when I am in a photography mood, because I stop and spend time as I please. Having a packed lunch was a good idea. So was the copious quantity of fluids I carried – I drank most of it in the heat. It had also been a very good idea to slap on insect repellent and sunscreen . The summer jacket lets the air through the Kevlar mesh, but it lets the sun through too. Flies are everywhere at this time of year.
I have no idea why I expected the cockatoos would be right where I saw them last but I was very disappointed when they were not. Perhaps I thought they were territorial. Not a sight of them anywhere. I did spend some time watching a falcon. I took a few photos of it perched, and a couple in flight. Here is the better of the two:
I was reflecting on how much the countryside has changed with the seasons, The emerald green of the wheat and the gold of the Canola flowers is now almost universally replaced with the dun and khaki of ripened wheat or dried rape and grass, though in some of the wheat fields that are not quite yet ready for harvest a vestige of verdure can still be seen. The flowers are gradually vanishing too and only a few remaining wattles and bottlebrushes provide occasional spots of yellow or scarlet amongst the olive drab trees.
I soon found myself on gravel roads of course, and for a moment I reminded myself that I had kept the lighter 650 for these roads. I had taken the 1300 because I wanted to try out the new raised handlebar position on a longer ride. This gave me an opportunity to check the stability on gravel too. She (we) handled it fine. I half expected it to be less stable because of the added height. It did not seem to matter.
Whenever I saw something that caught my eye, I stopped to photograph it. I had the Nikon with the tele lens in anticipation of bird photos, and the Olympus for wider angle shots. Out of the ride I managed to take a half dozen shots I was happy enough with, once I had shopped them a little. Examples below. More here.
On my return, I dropped by Prosser park, where a vintage car display was being held as part of a weekend rally from Perth to Albany. I had licensed a fundraising sausage sizzle and had to check it out. I took a few photos, chatted with a few folk, and headed home. Seeing all those shiningly polished vehicles reminded me that the Silver lady was very dusty and grimy. Time to give her a wash.
Here comes the handy hints part of the blog.
There are some very effective cleaning products available for motorcycles. Many of them work very well indeed, some not so well. One thing they all have in common is that they cost a lot. Put a picture of a motorcycle on the label and double the price. Put a motorcycle marque on the label and the sky is the limit. In Albany I saw a very nice HD motorcycle wheel detail brush for $43. The HD spray cleaner was $35 for 600ml (20 fluid ounces). Similar car products cost almost as much. One that Sue and Steve gave me for Christmas was very effective, but it did not last long, and at those prices I did not replace it, but set about finding an effective cheaper alternative.
Here it is. Handy hint one:
In a spray bottle put a quarter bottle of Spray and Wipe, a squirt of dishwashing detergent, two capfuls of methylated spirits and top it up with water. Spray it on, wait a tick then scrub and/or hose it off.
This removes dirt, mud, dust, grime, brake dust, bugs, mild grease and bird droppings. If your bike has a chain, and throws chain oil, spray that with degreaser first, then use this stuff.
I clean the fiddly bits with an old electric toothbrush (my ex-wife’s as a matter of fact). I have a wheel detailing brush identical to the $43 Harley one, except it does not have an HD badge, and cost me only $7 at Woolworths.
There are some magnificent polishes available out there too, Some give a magnificent showroom shine. And cost a magnificent showroom price. It seems to me they are getting more and more expensive. I am not convinced they are getting any more effective for the price.
Handy Hint two:
Mr Sheen does the job cheaply and well. Paint, Stainless Steel and Chrome. Don’t spray any onto the tyres.
Speaking of tyres, I also have an extra use for Armour All tyre foam
It is great for polishing saddlebags and the matt black parts of the engine and frame. You can use it on tyres too of course, but you should NOT spray it on to a motorcycle tyre as you would on a car. Spray it onto a sponge and apply it carefully by hand to the sidewall so as not to get any at all on the tread of the tyres. Your safety will depend on this, so be careful.
I cut up old towels, tea towels and tee shirts for washing and polishing. I have a microfibre cloth for the final detailing of the chrome.
It is just as well that part of the pleasure of owning a bike is the cleaning and polishing of it, because after 30 minutes on any Australian road, you have to do it all over again.
NOTE: All product placement in this blog entry is my own opinion and has not been paid for, though the manufacturers are most welcome to make a gesture.