Friday, 31 August 2007

Michael Barnes part 4 “A ride to the MZ Club of Finland 2006 rally”

Part 4 is here and we start off with two photos from the Sweden leg of the trip before Michael gets into Finland.

Campground at Vaddo, Aland Islands.

Crossing the Baltic Sea.

There were 62 riders from Finland, Russia, Holland, Germany, one from the UK and one from Australia. The Australian collected a longest distance award and an armful of memorabilia at the awards ceremony on Saturday evening which included a book on the history of the MZ marque written in impenetrable Finnish. The Finns are unassuming and straightforward people and I was treated kindly, they are nice people to spend time with. On Saturday night the women and then the men took a sauna followed by a dip in the lake, the water in the lake was room temperature warm. The sauna after days of riding was just fantastic.

It was good to spend time with my friend Keijo, he is the MZ Club of Finland’s secretary and one of the rally organisers. Finns on average drink a lot of strong alcohol. Drink driving accidents are all too common and the club guys were concerned about the drinking at the rally, not that I noticed that much but probably Finns are quieter drinkers than Australians. Keijo thinks they will move the rally further north next year closer to the Arctic Circle and some distance from shops. Keijo was hit by a drunk driver head-on on the crest of a hill a few years ago. He suffered terrible injuries which he continues to deal with bravely.

I parted company with Klaus, Detlef, Thom on Sunday morning. Klaus is a train driver for German Railways in Hamburg. He was only able to get a short time off work and had to return home the way we had come.

I rode south alone for 300km on freeways and back roads my destination Hanko on Finland’s southern tip to catch a ferry to Rostock in northern Germany. I was now only about 500km west of St. Petersburg in Russia and would have liked to have continued east , the traffic was light, the road and weather were fine but I wanted to see more of Germany and France before riding back to Felixstowe. This countryside had bigger mountains than in central Finland , it reminded me of northern NSW without the traffic and the cops. The big roadside diner I stopped at near Helsinki was really very good too offering high quality food buffet style with a view of green mountains from big windows.

The bike with 50,000km on it was still running OK, the only problems being a slightly weeping fork seal and an annoying worn intermittent rear tail light connection. The oil seal probably suffered as a result of the forks being compressed for three months in a sea container. The petrol cock leaked for a short while too. I stuck a small piece of wood behind the tail light bulb connection.

The Hanko-Rostock ferry cost 600Euros (AU$1007) on a SuperFast ferry run by the Tallink line. At a cruising speed of 27 knots the 1400km journey past Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea took 24 hours. It wasn’t quite as fast as the now extinct 40 knot DevilCat service across Bass Strait.

I arrived at Rostock at 8pm German time and proceeded to get very lost looking for a minor road out of the city. My destination for the night the historic town of Bad Doberan 100km west. Somewhere in the Rostock CBD I stopped at a huge intimidating Police building pretty desperate to get clear directions. The Police were amazingly friendly and curious about my trip on an East German bike with Australian plates. Before reunification in 1989 Rostock had been part of communist East Germany and a major industrial centre with a population of 253,000. The world’s first jet planes were tested there in World War II. When Germany was reunited the population declined to less than 200,000.

I was just 300km north of the MZ factory in Zschopau near the border with the Czech Republic but I chose to ride towards Belgium and France. MZ are the oldest motorcycle manufacturer still operating in the world. The current name Motorrad Zweiradwerke literally translated means motorised two wheel factory. A rad is any kind of wheel in German. Zwei the number two . Werke ; factory or works.

I got to Bad Doberan about 10pm , it was still light but it had been raining . The narrow cobblestone streets were very slippery. A German Bad town is a spa or resort town. One night in the City Hotel cost 66Euros (AU$110.00) . No one I met could or would converse in English which reinforced the olde worlde atmosphere .

I collect old road maps and since I don’t own a Garmin I had brought a few Michelin and Esso maps of Europe from the early 1950’s with me hoping to find roads not included on modern maps. The old maps sold at garages from the 1920’s to the 60’s before the main roads were built up into highways and freeways were generally more detailed than the equivalent maps sold today. A sat nav unit would have saved a lot of tooling around with paper maps however.

I left Bad Doberan following minor roads more or less in a south-westerly direction through green flat countryside the smell of pig farms or biodynamic fertilizer , I couldn’t decide which, in the air and huge wind farms ever present on the horizon. A friendly bike shop in the city of Nienburg fixed my dodgy tail unit for free in ten minutes.

West of the town of Belecke in south-western Germany I found a great mountain road that took me through the Hurtgenwald , the locale of the Battle of Hurtgen Forest in November 1944 -January 1945. I had wanted to see this area. A series of battles were fought there that are mentioned only briefly in the older official American army histories because of the very high number of American casualties inflicted by the dug-in defenders and by friendly fire . The battles could have been avoided by circling around the forest and cutting off the Germans in a pincher movement rather than attacking them directly in the rugged terrain. I saw a small memorial to a German officer who tried to rescue an American from a minefield but died in the attempt. It was erected by the Americans .

Riding on into Belgium an autobahn took me past the turnoffs for Aachen, Liege and Mons. I stopped eventually at Mons for the day, a Friday, having ridden 460km , booking into the Infotel Hotel near the centre of Mons not far from the huge and ancient cobblestoned market square . The cafes and restaurants were full of people enjoying themselves . A line of motorcycles were parked in the front of the medieval town hall building.

The next installment will be the last one in this tremendous trip. Michael can you do another overseas trip please mate? ;-)

Amazing One Wheel bike....

Just found this on the Net. Would hate to tour in it. Wonder if they do a Cafe Racer version?? ;-)

This came from MySpace TV.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

If Godzilla and Pokemon rode bikes….

The Japanese seem to have this thing for cult figures or icons. I don’t mean the nasty ones that tell you they are god and take all your money. I mean the icons that have come out of Japan. Like Godzilla. Pokemon. Monkey and the Phantom Agents. They seem to do this with their motorcycles too. Take the humble Yamaha SR400/500. I am finding more and more shops in Japan that make customs parts for this range of bikes. You can dress them up as bad boy choppers or make them look like old British singles from the 50s.

At times I will be featuring the different sites I find as I ride the net. And no I have nothing to do with these shops. I am just sharing what I find. :-)
One such shop is Mr Scary MC. I love the name. I wonder is he really is Scary?? ;-) They have customs parts that are very colourful.So much so that they seem to be very untraditional when it omes to customs bikes. As you can see from this Titanium Muffler system.

There is no mistaking their customised SRs. You won’t lose this one in the bike park at a MotoGP meet.

Michael Barnes part 3 “A ride to the MZ Club of Finland 2006 rally”

Here is Part 3.....

Day five since leaving the UK. I’d now ridden about 850km with Klaus, Detlef and Thom. They spoke English fairly well as do most of the folk I met in six countries with the exception of France. This day we rode 240km east to a campground on the Baltic Sea coast south of Grisslehamn and the ferry port to Finland . We avoided the capital Stockholm by riding minor roads around it in a big loop through Koping, Tillberga, Skokloster and Vaddo. The countryside in a large part of Scandinavia is mostly flat having been ground down by the weight of a couple of kilometres of ice in ages past. The Baltic Sea is shallow for the same reason. It’s still very attractive with its neat towns, green fields, distinctive rust red coloured farm buildings and distinctive stick fences.

Highway 26 Central Sweden.

The guys took me to the Skokloster Motor Museum set in parkland and part of Skokloster Castle, the biggest private castle in Sweden. The exhibits are displayed in an old building with 1637 carved over the entrance but inside the style and fittings are all modern Scandinavian. There were only six motorcycles on display, among them a beautiful BMW 250 single racer and a large capacity Swedish Monarch. The entrance fee is 50 Swedish Kroner (AU$9). A feature of the Skokloster Motor Museum are the tableaux of mannequins in uniforms arranged inside and around every vehicle. A lot of work has gone into putting together the uniforms, accessories and period ephemera so that they complement each vehicle realistically. In particular the red 1961 Lancia sports sedan with an airline pilot and air hostess as driver and passenger, their baggage, hats, flight documents and magazines on the back seat and window shelf, all wonderfully authentic. Skokloster Castle is accessible by boat, a beautiful white wooden motor cruiser, from Stockholm Town Hall.

We rode on east another 100km and took a hut in a campground located in a clearing in a pine forest at Vaddo right on a sandy beach on the Baltic Sea . Stopping at a supermarket for food the range and quality of the stock was impressive but pricey of course.

We were now only 50km from the ferry port of Grisslehamn and arrived there the next day by a small road that followed the coast winding around bays and headlands through forest. Traffic was minimal but there was a good crowd of people and assorted vehicles waiting at the port terminal to take the Aland Island ferry.

The Aland Islands group are Finnish territory and lie 100km east off the Swedish coast. The 3 hour ferry trip over sparkling smooth waters with a big Scandinavian buffet laid on was great. We were hungry having camped for days and tucked into all sorts of delicacies at a table by a sunny window. The ferry fare was 990 Swedish Krona (AU$180) including lunch.

Sign at Wargata, the Aland Islands, Baltic Sea.

The Aland Islands are very green and attractive with lovely small roads. We took huts for one night at a campground near Vardo again right on the Baltic Sea shore. Over a 2 day period we caught a total of four ferries, two big and two small to get us across all the islands. We landed in Turku, on Finland’s south-western coast having travelled 317km but actually rode only 110km. We were still on the same lattitude as central Sweden , the weather continued to stay pretty well ideal for motorcycling. Riding north-east 270km on a highway we reached the city of Ikaalinen and our destination the campground on one of the lakes surrounding the city at 7.30pm Friday evening. I can’t say night because it doesn’t’t get properly dark until 11pm.

Part 4. The only Aussie at the Rally. I wonder why? ;-) Should be up tomorrow night.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Michael Barnes part 2 “A ride to the MZ Club of Finland 2006 rally”

Here is part 2 of Michael's ride to the MZ Rally Finland.....

Getting to Felixstowe from Heathrow Airport by public transport involves three train connections to Paddington Station, Ipswich and Felixstowe and takes about three hours.

I needed to stay overnight in Felixstowe and I chose the Grafton Guesthouse recommended by Dave Milligan. I’m glad I did because the proprietors Geoff and his wife couldn’t have been more obliging. The next day Geoff stored some of my luggage for safe keeping and drove me the two miles to the shipping depot to collect the bike. It’s a powerful thing to find someone who is
prepared to help you ( a motorcyclist) on your way when you’re thousands of kilometres from home and don’t know a soul.

Felixstowe itself is a popular seaside holiday town noted for it’s Victorian -era buildings. Summer booking for the Grafton and anywhere else in town should be made well in advance.

The bike was waiting for me in a warehouse corner looking just as I had left it in Melbourne. I signed a few forms in the office and the bike was mine. 14 bikes were shipped in one container to Felixstowe and Dave insists on clean machines to avoid any problems with Customs such as mud under wheel guards. I had stored my riding gear in the panniers, my helmet in a bag locked to the bike. Panniers were wrapped in bubble wrap and placed beside the bike .Dave’s UK agents say there have never been any problems with his shipments. My bike had had a thorough shop service at Readfords in Dubbo before riding to Melbourne plus a new battery and a Pirelli Diablo rear tyre.

After a few loud backfires that disturbed seagulls in all directions the 660 single engine started and I rode the few k’s back to the guesthouse to load my gear. Later that afternoon I rode to the 60 miles to the Harwich ferry terminal. It was a sunny day and riding your own bike in a foreign country is a big buzz and the feeling never left me in the four weeks of daily riding ahead.
I would be needing that heightened awareness when the time came to ride off the Denmark ferry and adapt to riding on the right hand side of the road.

While I was waiting to board a group of 100 or so Danish Hells Angels started their engines inside the cavernous ferry. They rode out throwing out a really loud amplified and sustained roar like a squadron of taxying Flying Fortresses about to take off to bomb the ball bearing factory at Schweinfurt. I’d heard that sound often enough before living just 500 metres from the Mitchell Highway as I do, but this noise was much louder. What struck me was how clean they looked. Geez even the Hells Angels look smart in Scandinavia. A sunny Sunday on the Mitchell Highway means the ‘rebels’ and ‘outlaws’ are out in big numbers. If they are such individualists why do they all look the same ?

While waiting I spoke for some time with a fit looking 68 year old ex-policeman from Norfolk riding to Germany on a Deauville to visit his son. He had trenchant views on the current state of his country. I learnt that GB stickers on vehicles stands for George Bush.

Out on the deck of the ferry as it beat into a strong cold north-east wind I wondered what I had got myself in for riding a motorcycle to Central Finland, 800km from the Arctic Circle.

The ferry unloaded passengers , cars and dozen motorcycles at Esbjerg at 1.30pm Sunday. As a non-EU citizen I had my passport stamped and my non-essential International Driving License scrutinised. I had downloaded maps from and Google Earth , my destination that day was Bad Bramstedt 300km to the south. The weather was warm and sunny, the traffic light so I was able to concentrate on staying on the right side of the road. It’s especially easy to forget when pulling out from service stations and negotiating the numerous roundabouts. Indicating when exiting roundabouts is important.

On German autobahns and French/Belgian autoroutes indicating your intention in a deliberate manner is vital, as are functional mirrors. It is shocking how fast cars come up behind you on the outside left lane and catch you unawares. You are behind a truck wanting to move left to overtake, one second the lane is completely clear, a moment later as you signal to make your move a vehicle is diagonally right beside you waiting for you.

I sat on a cruising speed of 130kph and stayed mostly in the middle lane. The faster cars and bikes, that is roughly one third of the vehicles on the road, including little Smart Cars, cars pulling trailers and cars with upright bikes on the roof were passing me in the left lane like I was standing still.

For all that the general impression I got of the standard of driving was pretty good, I sensed that drivers around me could see me. On hilly roads in Scandinavia, Germany and France truck drivers would move to the inside and wave me past if they were able to.

The feeling of confidence , such as it was , diminished somewhat in the thicker UK traffic where the same number of cars as in France share a much smaller land area. Australian freeways may be duller to ride on than Australian rural secondary roads but in Europe the argument for choosing the freeway is stronger. They are faster of course than Australian freeways and many European main roads and a great many secondary roads unlike Australia go through a village every 5-10kms complete with traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.

Traffic’s a bore but there are occasions when I’ve positively wanted other road users around me. In 1971 I was riding a Honda CB450 on a 130 mile stretch of nothing after dark between Grafton and Casino. There was and still is only one small place, Whiporie, midway. Back then there was barely any signs of human settlement. Most freight went by rail, trucks were small and few in number. I was young and impressionable, read frightened, it was a pitch black night and I imagined I saw a face in the left mirror like the one in the mirror on the wall in the fairy tale.

On European maps autobahns/auto routes/motorways are red or yellow, main roads are yellow ,secondary roads are white, minor roads are uncoloured. I got myself lost in built-up areas a number of times when I missed the turn-offs I needed. Was that turnoff to the D938 before Kittylitter and after Ratsak or the other way around? Eventually I got to Bad Bramstedt while it was still daylight at 7.30pm. Klaus rode up and met me in front of a coffee shop in his MZ outfit.

Nickolas Paetow, aged 9 , outside his father Klaus's house , in Bad Bramstedt, Northern Germany, June 2006.

Klaus and I set off the next afternoon with two additional riders, Klaus on his ex-German army 1980’s MZ ETZ 250 bought at auction, Detlef on a similar MZ and Thom on a 2005 BMW 1200 Roadster. Detlef’s handlebar mounted Garmin calculated the distance to the Finland rally at 1695km. Using the Garmin to find smaller roads we rode north-east through green countryside averaging about 80kph. It was hot sunny Sunday and the German countryside was full of bikes. We took our first ferry, a 45 minute trip to Puttgarden on the northern tip of Germany. From Puttgarden we took a second 20 minute ferry ride to Rodbynhavn in Denmark. The cost was 50 Euros for both trips.

Klaus, Detlef & Thom checking out the route on the GPS while waiting for the ferry to Denmark.

Denmark was green and flat with light traffic on excellent roads and no rubbish on the roadsides. We rode 300km stopping at Helsingborg in Sweden at midnight when it was truly dark. Helsingborg is beautiful city, we crossed the harbour on a small ferry. The dark profile of many historic buildings on the shore front looked great , the harbour waters reflecting the light of a full moon.
The campground the Garmin directed us to was closed so we rode the 10km back through a dark forested mountain road into Helsingborg. Dead tired by this time we stayed at the Stadsmotellet close by the ferry terminal, a nice place but pricey.

The next day was spent riding mostly on highways because we were unable to find quiet roads running roughly in the direction we wanted to go, north through the centre of Sweden. Once again I was impressed with the standard of driving, the traffic was heavy but well ordered. It didn’t feel threatening.
We rode north 300km in bright sunny weather via Jonkoping and Huskvarna stopping at 7.30pm at Hjo a Swedish resort town on Lake Vattern, 135 km and 31 km wide, the fifth biggest lake in Europe .

Detlef’s Garmin led us a to an attractive campground right on the lake. I took a hut for 450Kroner . I didn’t pack camping gear, I was 24,000km from home and travelling light. It was 29c warm but the Lake Vattern Water Monster wasn’t keen on sunbaking that day . According to local lore in 1897 local swimmers fled in panic when it walked on Varamoviken beach on two short thick legs.

A midday rest stop in Sweden.

Swedish sealed roads are in good condition, nice cut clean grass on the verges, no gravel on corners, clean rest areas, no signs riddled with bullet holes. I felt like Jed Clampett arriving in Beverley Hills. Our overall progress was pretty modest however because of the slow 250’s and the number of junctions and roundabouts we had to negotiate. We rode 270km north-east the next day stopping at the campground at Mariefred on Lake Malaren at 3.00pm.

These are the average prices for campgrounds in Sweden ;
Your own tent plus use of facilities ; 55kr(au$10 per person).
A hut with four bunks plus of facilities ; 400kr(au$72).
A hut with four bunks and ensuite ; 450kr(au$82).
The proprietors allowed me use of the laundry to do some much needed clothes washing.

Part 3... Michael is 5 days into his trip and about to enter Finland. Should be posted tomorrow night...

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Michael Barnes part 1 “A ride to the MZ Club of Finland 2006 rally”

This is the first installment of Michaels write up on his trip to Finland. I have already had the privilege of reading this all the way through. I am very envious of him. What an amazing trip. So now it is over to him……

I had decided that riding my own bike to Finland to visit my friend Keijo, another MZ rider, was feasible and something I could manage.

I have another friend in the northern German town of Bad Bramstedt , Klaus and my plan was to ship the bike to the nearest port , Hamburg, 40km south of his house.

Klaus would help me collect the bike and we would then ride to the Finnish MZ Club annual rally on June 18th together. I have a 2000 model MZ Skorpion with 48,000km on it purchased new from Readford’s in Dubbo. Klaus has an MZ 250 ETZ model.

Michael's son Peter with his dad's Traveller.

Using a Garmin (global positioning system) we would ride the 1700km finding back roads where possible. Our route would take us from Puttgarden on the tip of northern Germany through Denmark to Sweden , then north up through central Sweden to Grisslehamn, then east across the Baltic Sea by four ferries through the Aland Islands on to Turku on the Finnish west coast . We would ride 270km north-east to the rally site outside of Ikaalinen in central Finland.
The ride as it turned out was fantastic and went pretty much as planned .

I found out about Get Routed a motorcycle shipping service run by Dave Milligan. Inquiring I found that the dates for Dave’s UK shipment were fairly close to the timing of my trip. The sea voyage takes 43 days leaving Melbourne in March 2006. At that time Dave was shipping bikes from Melbourne to the port of Felixstowe on the English Channel, in Suffolk, about 100km north of London. He now ships out of other capital cities.

Most of the bikes are ridden by their owners to race meetings on the Isle of Man, the North-West 200 in Northern Ireland or the Dutch TT at Assen. Dave chooses shipment dates to coincide with these events.

He charges $2,800 sea freight for most machines short of Gold Wing-size ex Melbourne to Felixstowe and return to Australia. Included in this price is the cost of secure storage while the bikes are awaiting shipment from Melbourne and likewise in Felixstowe, container hire, Australian & UK Customs paperwork and clearances, marine insurance, loading & unloading . I was assured that there would be assistance available at the shipping depot to pick up the bike during office hours. Dave arranges optional comprehensive insurance coverage for the both the UK & EU through Carole Nash for 80 pounds In transit the bikes are packed securely in their own container on individual cradles.

This was all good . Looking further I found a ferry runs from Harwich , just south of the Get Routed agent’s depot in Felixstowe to the port of Esbjerg in Denmark. Esbjerg is 300km north across the border from my friend Klaus’s house in Bad Bramstedt in northern Germany. So I changed my original plan of arranging shipment of the bike myself to Hamburg and chose Get Routed’s all-inclusive service to Felixstowe, UK. By choosing Get Routed I would also get to see the UK which I hadn’t really anticipated. As the crow flies Get Routed’s depot was only 6 kms from the ferry terminal however both are at northern and southern tips of a large bay, the round trip by road was 60 British miles of motorway and suburbs.

Other general customs agents that claim to offer a comprehensive service to any major seaport or airport ;
World Wide Customs and Forwarding Agents ;
World Wide Shipping Agencies ;
The Horizons Unlimited website also has first hand accounts of shipping bikes.

Part 2... Michael arrives in the UK and heads off to Europe..... Should be posted tomorrow night.

Monday, 27 August 2007

There are more of us Scorpion owners in NSW.

There are more of us out there! Michael Barnes from Dubbo was pointed to this blog by another MZ owner, Rory McPherson from southern NSW. Michael is a MZ Scorpion Traveller owner and lives in Western NSW. That makes 5 of us that I now know of in NSW. Michael has travelled very far on his Traveller. He shipped the Traveller to the UK and then rode from there to Finland for the MZ Rally 2006. During he Europe leg of the trip, over a period of a month, he rode a total a nine ferries. The shortest 20 minutes, the longest 24 hours.

Here is his Travller in the parking lot of a hotel in Helsingbord Sweden.

Hey thats why they are called Travellers.

{EDIT} Here is a map of the route that Michael took. Over the next few postings to this blog I will have Michaels write up of this trip and photos. This is going to be a great touring treat.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Deus Ex Machina & Deus Café.

Today I and Lilly, youngest daughter, rode into Camperdown. We had a mission. To try out the café at Deus Ex Machina and kick some tyres in their bike shop. We wanted to sample some of their hot beverages and soak up the 40/50s atmosphere. No way were we disappointed. What a great place. Not just for die hard bikers but also for the locals.

The shop/café is located at 98-104 Parramatta Rd Camperdown. About 5 mins from the centre of Sydney by fast single cylinder bike with open megaphone. If you can’t see the giant DEUS bike logo painted on the side of the building just look for the cool bikes parked around the shop. The MZ looked great parked next to a Guzzi Griso. Around the corner was a Triumph chopper, a tricked up SR500 single and the Japanese brother of the MZ, a SZR660.

Walk into the Café and you are great with lots of noise. Good noise. Happy noise. People sitting around chatting over a hot drink and a meal. Biker people with jackets and helmets. Locals who come here for their cuppa fav poison. The café staff is busy as. This is a good sign. Means they serve food that makes you want to come back. We ordered our drinks and sat down. Within minutes we were given a free cup of water. No sooner had that been put on our table when the drinks arrived. Well done café staff. I like it when the drink arrives hot and quick.

Lilly had the hot chocolate. You could tell it was good as she had a grin from ear to ear. When asked what she would rate the hot chocolate out of 10 she gave it an 8. My Peppermint tea was wonderful. We didn’t order a meal but the prices were very good. Cheaper than some of the cafes in Parramatta.

Beckoning us though was the bike shop. Automatic glass doors link the café and the bike shop. So as you sit and sip your tea you have these masterpieces of motorcycle re-engineering gleaming at you. Inside is the Mecca for the biker who likes their bikes to have no more than 2 cylinders.

“Deus is a completely different kind of motorcycle company. While focussing on the supply of custom motorcycles, parts and accessories, Deus promotes and celebrates a custom motorcycle culture that first appeared in Europe and America in the 1940s and which has recently been revived by groups of young enthusiasts in countries such as Japan, America and Australia.” Their website states.

They major in taking SR400 Yamaha singles and doing wonderful British styling type things to them. Or maybe you are into the Yankee flatracker style. They can do that to an SR400 as well. Or how about a Kawaka W-650 that has had a facelift. Or at 1930s Harley racer. The shop floor is lined with these customs bikes. My credit card was throbbing knowing how much I would have loved to have bought a ‘TT’ SR400. I am not going the mention here how much the bikes cost. You can go in their and see for yourself. But be warned, they are worth every dollar that is on the price tags. If only DEUS was around when I had my SR500 18 years ago. She would have been in there in a flash for the DEUS treatment.

Deus™ SR400 'TT'

Just one of the many SR400 for sale.

Deus™ DR650 Longtracker.

Deus™ Grievous Angel SR400.

Another custom SR400.

Some more custom Iron.

SR400 Import from Japan I believe.

Deus™ w650 Cafe Custom

DESU is not just about the bikes only. They have their own brand of clothing and fashion accessories for the biker. For kids as well! They stock retro looking helmets, leather jackets and a great selection of books. How about some custom parts for your bike? They do that as well. Stocking chrome fuel tanks, instruments and small bullet style indicators. There is also a workshop on site. But I didn’t take a peek in there. The MZ may have thought it was getting some Brit bling and I would never have been able to get her out of the shop then. It’s about time we had a custom bike shop that was not just about apehangers and drag pipes.

As Molly Meldrum used to say, “Do yourself a Favour” and get down to Deus Ex Machina & Deus Café. Even if it is just to have a cuppa and drink in the atmosphere. You will not be disappointed. DEUS is about a lifestyle. Looking cool and riding a cool retro bike without the oil stained driveway.

DEUS also have an online shop. But go have a look in person.

Thank you also to DEUS for letting me flash away with my camera.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

David Jeffries full lap of the TT race Isle of Man.

The Isle of Man TT races would have to be the best bike races every. This is no road race circuit. It’s around the streets of the Isle of Man. Here is a full lap of the course. The rider and commentator is David Jeffries. Hold on tight. It’s fast. Very fast. Wait till you see him ride through 2 villages. Sit back and enjoy 20 odd minutes of great riding.

On a sad note David Jeffries was tragically died on May 29th, 2003, when he crashed at Crosby on this circuit during practice. David Jeffries Tribute.

Go for a ride with some Hayabusa High-Performance Sidecars....

As you would have gathered from reading through my blog I love sidecars. Yes I am a wee bit wonky. ;-) I found this great video on YouTube and have to share it with you. This was shot in the USA hence the chairs being on the 'wrong side'. You may never get to ride an outfit but this will show you how much fun it is. Enjoy! :-)

Sunday, 19 August 2007

‘250s do The Nasho’ ride

Yesterday I went on the ‘250s do The Nasho’ ride that was arranged via the Netrider forums.

I was not supposed to be riding this weekend. After spending all that time bending over cleaning the oil off the back wheel the weekend before, I had pulled the muscles in my back. I had pulled out of a ride arranged for this weekend due to my back. But by Friday night I was right as rain.

I know the MZ is not a 250 but a ride through the Royal National Park with a whole bunch of other riders was too good to pass up. Plus some of the 250s on the road are faster than the MZ.

The main meeting point for this ride was Sylvania Mcdonalds. Four of us (Sleddog, BRD007, Andu and me) meet up at Krispy Kreams at Liverpool. We travelled along Heathcote Rd and it was freezing and wet in places. That cold that I was getting cramps in my left foot from the cold. Was this a sign of what was waiting on the road in the NASHO?

BRD007's 2007 Hyosung GT250R

Sleddog's Suzuki Boulevard M50

Some of the 33 bikes and riders that turned up for this ride.

I took the very last position behind Sleddog when we final took off into the Royal National Park. Last time I rode down through here was on the Virago and sidecar so was a bit rusty on a solo.

There is some very beautiful scenery through this ride. At times you can see the sea and then you drop down in the rainforest valleys and the air is so clean and fresh. But this brings hazards to the rider. The trees in places totally overhang the road and this means that there are very wet and slippery spots. I didn’t see it but there was moss on the road. Some of the corners are not signposted very well. The road surface can vary from very smooth to as rough as guts.

Sleddog and I rode along with Andu who was on his first ride on a Suzuki GS500 and had only been riding for 2 days. His L was still so new and yellow. Soon we came across the first rider down. A Honda 250 Spada had come into a down hill corner too quickly and went straight into an embankment. Rider was fine and the only damage was a broken front brake lever. He had others with him too help out.

So off we headed. Not much further along we come across a big group of Netrider guys all parked up on the side of the road. A bike has gone off the road big time. The rider didn’t make the right hand turn and went down a small gully into a creek. He was sitting up on the Armco fence. His bike was down maybe 30 feet in the gully in a million bits. A total right off. How he came off who knows. He was on his own when it happens and can’t remember what happened. From what I know he came away a bit shook up and with a very sore rib cage. He was so lucky not to have been badly hurt. An Ambulance was arranged to attend the scene.

Most of us pushed into Scarborough Hotel for a well deserved drink. Then the rain came. Not much but enough to make us think it would be a wet ride home. After finishing our drinks Sleddog, BRD007 and I headed for home. With maybe more rain coming we went straight back up the Princess Hwy and on home.

Even thought there were some mishaps I still enjoyed the ride.

The highlights for me were.

A) It was so good to see so many bikes all in one place at one time with one purpose.

B) Being near the rear of the mob as we all rode off to Loftus oval. It was great to see bikes across all the lanes.

C) The look on some of the car drivers faces when we pulled up in a big group at the light. Maybe they thought it was something from STONE.

D) The road in places through the RNP is beautiful. So too riding through the tree shrouded roads and hearing your own bike’s exhaust.

E) Sleddog doing the little finger wave at the fool in the Ford Escort who thought he would show off by trying to do a burnout u-turn and failed.

F) Meeting new people with the same interests. Bikes!

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