Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cornering Practice at Albert Park Lake

My brother and I went cornering on the GP track at Albert Park Lake.  I'm the one in the black jacket (with the L plate).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cue Evil Laughter

Traffic was stopped all the way into Eltham.  Boring!  So I took a left turn down towards the library, in the hope that I would wind my way through to the back streets behind the train station and go home down the back streets.

Round the sports oval I go, slow riding, looking cool.  Well, looking like a fat guy on a bike in hot sweaty leathers, but I felt like I looked cool and that's what counts.

At the end of the sports oval there is a road that leads out behind the railway station.  It goes exactly where I want to go.  Except it's blocked by a gate, and the gate is locked.

But next to it there is a nice gap between two posts ... I reckon a bike could just about fit through a gap like that...

And then it happens, for the very first time.  As I ride between the posts and onto the road of freedom, I start laughing like a maniac inside my helmet.  The uncontained joy of riding a vehicle that can take me down the freeway at 100 (no questions asked) being the same vehicle that can fit between a couple of posts and allow me to take a shortcut home that avoids all the traffic.  Sure I'm hot, sweaty, smelly, and all that.  But I'm the happiest man in the world!

Found it!

It was hiding above 8,000 rpm.  Not a rev range one gets to in a 60 zone ... unless you want to do all your riding in first gear!

But getting up to speed on the freeway... yup, there it was, just waiting for me to discover it.  Fuel consumption is up a bit - now doing about 5.5L / 100 Ks.

Odometer: 2014 Kilometres.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where's the rest?

I confess, it happened sooner than I expected.

I'm in my fifth week on the road.  I've done less than 2,000 kilometres.  And today it happened.

I've turned left onto Queens Parade off Alexandra Parade - which translates to leaving the bumper-to-bumper stop start and hitting free, unhindered asphalt.  And with nothing in front of me but the promise of home and a Vodka, Lemon Lime and Bitters waiting for me, I twisted the wrist.

And yeah, ok, the bike accelerated.  It did.

But I was in second, and for much of that I must have been pretty darn close to the optimal torque band.  And I have to say, I was a little disappointed.

I keep reminding myself: this is a LAMS bike.  LAMS is good.  LAMS means I'm less likely to kill myself.  I like LAMS.  Especially with Rosemary.  And roast potatoes.  But I digress.

LAMS is a good thing - if it weren't for LAMS I'd be on a 250 right now, and would probably have written this post a couple of weeks ago!  And LAMS bikes are much less volatile (or so I'm told) and twitchy than a bigger bike... with less twitchiness comes less likelihood of throwing yourself off, and that has to be a good thing.  And let's be honest - I don't _need_ more than the 500cc at my disposal.  It does everything I need, and it does it very well.

But I'm a little flat nevertheless.  Maybe the next bike won't be the 650 after all...


I picked up the bike on February 6.  On March 6 I ticked over 1600 kilometres.  This is significant for a few reasons.

Firstly, the bike is now officially out of its run-in period.  Much less painful than I expected, and now I can rev it up to 11,000 rpm.  Yeah, right.

Secondly, it shows that over the first month of ownership, I averaged 400 KMs per week.  The question of whether the novelty value will soon fade remains outstanding, however based on those numbers at this point I can predict that I will put about 20,000 kilometres on the bike by Feb next year, and will probably be approaching 25,000 by the time I can buy something bigger (April 25th 2010 assuming I pass my next test on the first attempt).

So if you're thinking that next year will be the year you get your motorcycle license and buy yourself a nice tidy second hand bike, bookmark this page!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Look, Lean, Push

I'm still learning how to corner properly, but this is the method I've come up with thus far ...

Look, Lean, Push

  1. Look - look through the corner to the exit, or if you can't see the exit look as far through as you can
  2. Lean your body to the side of the bike you want to turn - sliding across in the seat a little bit helps
  3. Push on the inside handlebar to tip add a bit more lean if necessary.
When I did the HART course, they told us that to turn the bike, you just look where you want to go and the bike will go there.  That's true, but knowing a bit more and learning how to manage turns adds a whole new set of skills to your bag of tricks, which can be extremely useful in a pinch.  And thus far, look lean + push seems to add a whole new dimension to my cornering, though I've still got a lot of learning to do!