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Wiseman's Ferry Ride: Past the 7000k mark!

Date:
By Wom Battle

Today's HOG ride was to Wiseman's Ferry.  The morning weather looked slightly threatening, but certainly not enough to even consider not going.  My son was very keen to come along and armed with his new gautex all weather gloves we headed off to the meeting place in Belmont.  Five other members, one with his wife as pillion, were lined up almost ready to leave.  Chapter tradition dictated that as the last to arrive it fell to us to document the journey for the next edition of the Chapter magazine.  After fuelling up, the route was formally described to all and we headed south towards the freeway.

One of the group I'd had some concerns about on a short ride a while back where he had exhibited a tendency to wander in the lane (among other things) that made it quite difficult for riders nearby to sit back and enjoy the trip. Today was to be much more interesting.  As luck would have it, I found myself riding directly behind this rider, who was riding in the position to the left of the road captain. My son, who was with me on that previous occasion, commented sourly on lady luck's choice.

The beginning of rides is always fun.  The roaring sounds, the feeling of riding off into the "unknown" mixed with conflicting thoughts about the possibility of rain and actually being "hardened enough" to really not care.  Happy thoughts were gone by the time we hit the Swansea bends. Wandering and abundant gaps left by the rider in front of me often saw the Road Captain, who was riding conservatively at or below the speed limit, out in front by himself.  The rider to my front right also needed to leave significant room.  At a light stop before the freeway the Road Captain suggested to the rider the correct position to adopt, my son and I knew that that was wasted breath. 

However, on the wide, dual lane roads and on the freeway, knowing what to anticipate and getting used to the sense that the Road Captain was more of a forced scout, we were still having fun. We turned off at the Peats Ridge exit and then towards Wiseman's Ferry at which point the road became narrow and corners abundant.  As is our practice on narrow winding road we formed up in single file.  It was at this point it became evident that the rider, now two in front of me, also had some difficulty with tightish cornering.

Right bends were taken very wide from the start with lots of brake and after a few times nearly running off the road, he did.  Fortunately he held it together and made it back on to the road, but not before the rider immediately behind hime had to accelerate past and I took evasive action to make sure he didn't come back on to the road into us.  Left bends saw him on a number of occasions ending up on the wrong side of the road, potential disaster if a car was travelling in the other direction, particularly given that many of the bends were "blind" s's.

At that point my son suggested we leave the group, he wasn't comfortable with the possibility of witnessing an accident.  I decided to keep going but to give the rider, now directly in front of me, plenty of space.  The near miss didn't seem to make any difference to the rider's lines, the only noticeable change was more savage braking and crawling around right corners at a near stop.  Thankfully the speed limit on most of this portion of the ride was 60 - 70k's.

A stop at Spencer saw the Road Captains speak to the rider, who seemed somewhat oblivious to the chaos caused. He was placed second last in the small group, the rear Road Captain agreeing it was the safest position for him.  While we were stopped having a coffee my wife and other children drove past on their way to meet us for lunch at Wiseman's Ferry, we rated a small wave from her :-).

We left Spencer and I took second spot behind the Road Captain.  From that point really enjoyed the scenic ride along the river to the Ferry and cornering without being forced to brake with fingers crossed.  The roads were lumpy but good enough to tip in a bit with the speed limits ever changing between 60 - 70 - 80k's.  A small wait for the ferry saw us across the river and straight to the Wiseman's Ferry Inn for soft drink and lunch. 

We were there about an hour and a half, the Inn was a beautiful old place with a nice warm fire, great food and the conversation didn't dwell on the rider issue.  Smaller groups can be nice to ride with, you get the chance to chat to everyone. Two of the six (one the Road Captain that had the rear of the group) had commitments at home and left early which left four of us for the return journey.

It was decided that the "official" part of the ride was to be over when we got back to the freeway.  When the return order was being decided I took second position, I wasn't keen on subjecting my son to having to be part of nursing "the rider" back around the corners, or to the potential risk.  Frankly I was pleased when the remaining member put his hand up to follow.  The ride out was similar to the ride back, very scenic, moss on the road type stuff, but I spent most of it looking in the mirrors wondering if I was going to see the lights of the two bikes behind us come around the corner behind. 

We stopped again at Spencer for a short break.  My wife and daughters followed thr four of us back towards the freeway. Her description of what she saw was more colourful than my own, particularly as a line of traffic built up behind her. At one point I looked in the mirrors to see the rider cross onto the wrong side of the road after a simple left turn at an intersection.

With a sense of great relief we made it back to the Freeway and the official part of the ride was over.  As such we were free to return home whatever route or speed we chose.  With my new Road King hopefully on the way and other things planned next weekend, I knew that this might be the last trip I took on my 1998 Classic, so I decided to leave the small group behind and let loose a little heading back home up the freeway at X + 9%. Soaking up the k's with my son, my wife and daughters behind enjoying the simplicity of the freeway with only cars and trucks to worry about.  Close enough to heaven for me.

I'm really looking forward to my next ride to Wiseman's Ferry, the day really had the potential to be a great ride.......

A small milestone was met, I passed my 7000km mark on my 1998 Classic.  I'm not quite doing a thousand k's a month, but not that far off.  Who'd have thought! 

Distance travelled 280k's
Fuel: $12.50

 

 


















 

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December 2017
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