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Blue Liners Tumut Charity Ride: Day 1

Date:
By Wom Battle

A 4.30am rise in order to get to Warnervale for a 6am meeting with some localish fellow riders striking out for Tumut for a charity ride run by the Blue Liners TMCC.  This rally used to to run regularly in the late '90's and ceased in 2002 and was resurrected this year when the TMCC decided to take over the management of it.  Given I have been looking for an excuse to put some k's up on the new Road King, the opportunity for the 500k+ ride to Tumut and plans to do a loop from Tumut to Cooma, Canberra and home adding another 200 k's to the trip home was just too good to pass up.

There were a group of about 20, a very mixed bag of bikes, at Warnervale when I arrived and although I didn't know a soul a number of them approached, welcomed and engaged me in conversation about our common interest, bikes. After a short announcement describing the next destination we moved off in small groups heading towards Mittagong RSL that was going to be open for breakfast and the first registration/official start point of the ride.

Unlike the HOG rides, there was no expectation that the group would stay together and participants could ride at their own pace.  There was plenty of time left between departures from the meeting points to allow for the riders who liked to take their time to enjoy the trip and things organised at the meeting places to keep people busy if they liked to arrive....early.  I tagged along with a small group of five or so until we hit the M7 and at that point I decided it was time to sit back and let the cruise control take over (which doesn't really suit the concertina riding groups usually do).

It seemed like no time at all and I turned off the freeway into Mittagong and easily located the RSL.  At the time there wasn't many bikes there but the RSL was open and we went in for a nice hot buffet breakfast and a few cups of caffeine (calling it coffee would be a bit of a stretch).  I emerged about an hour later and there were probably 50 or so bikes there and more arriving.  The ride registration was underway so I picked up my pack and spent some time walking through the bikes and chatting to people.  Shortly before 10.30 a ride official made the announcement that it was time to make our way to the next stop, Goulburn PCYC where the local CWA was putting on morning tea for a small donation. 

Once again it was an "at your own pace" affair, I followed a larger group back onto the freeway then set the cruise, overtook some and was overtaken by others.  It was a short 90k or so run to Goulburn and there were signs indicating the way to the PCYC.  The numbers of bikes had started to swell and the atmosphere built.  It'd been quite some time since I'd been in Goulburn so I took some time to refuel and have a look around. It hadn't changed much since it was bypassed by the freeway.

The next destination was the Shell at South Gundagai, the final meeting place before the Police escorted mass group ride from there to Tumut.  More and more bikes arrived and the group was seriously friendly in the almost carnival atmosphere.  The main announcement about the group ride was that no-one was to overtake the Police escort (which had apparently happened in the past), but it was soon evident when the HWP driver took off that that wasn't really on the cards anyway.

Things got a little frantic at one point, I was about a dozen bikes back from the Police escort and a local paraplegic protester decided to make a statement about the condition of the roads by wheeling himself onto the road in front of the oncoming car and procession of bikes.  It's a credit to the skill of the riders and lady luck (and for me the first time I've propped hard enough to kick in the ABS) that a mass sudden stop for this dickhead didn't result in a very messy collision. The HWP officer jumped out of his car, wheeled the complaining moron off the road and the ride continued, although I saw him wheeling himself back out onto the road to play chicken with the rest of the riders behind me.

On the way into Tumut the locals were out and a large part of the main street was closed and empty of cars.  The footpaths were littered with people who'd dropped by to see the group arrive, and as the photos show, both sides of the street were full of bikes by the time we'd all arrived.  After about half an hour or so it was time to head to the Amaroo Motel and my room for the night to get ready for the festivities put on by the local Lions Club.

All up by the Road King Odometer, about 580 k's for the day and a few drinks to look forward to tonight.

 

 

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