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A Man's Ride or a Girls Ride?

By Wom Battle

Another perfect winter Sunday morning saw my son and I meeting up with Roy for a planned all day 400k or so ride.  JP (or should I say Mr Gunna) piked out at the last minute citing helping a friend move house, some people just don't order priorities correctly!

We left the local servo a touch later than planned and headed up towards Maitland where we intended turning off the New England Highway towards Bulga and tackling the Putty Road doing a big loop through Windsor, Galston, Cowan and an easy last leg down the freeway.  Just as we were warming up, Roy and his daughter were chilling down which saw them decide to turn towards home at Lochinvar.  Not phased by this I said to my son "Well mate, what's it going to be, a girl's ride or a man's ride?" He replied in his cracking mid pubescent voice, "A man's ride Dad" and laughed.  We were off!

As we turned off the New England Highway to head towards Bulga we caught up to a couple of sports bikes heading the same way and one of them kept us entertained by popping wheelstands every now and then at 100k's plus while riding through the scarred landscape provided courtesy of the open cut coal mines in the area.

We stopped for an awful coffee and OK hot chocolate at Bulga and while chatting half a dozen or so other riders on a mix of sports bikes and BMW RS's stopped in for a Pit Stop.  I was surprised and pleased by the attention they paid to my white and silver Road King at the stop before they were on their way.  The group were all my age or older, clearly out for a good day's ride and well kitted up for it.

Coffee not finished it was time for us to keep going and just before we pulled out a large man on a Harley Street Glide rode past us so we slotted in behind.  I've not been on the Putty Road before (at least as far as I can remember) but soon enough after Bulga the road got very scenic and very winding. The Street Glide in front was going pretty hard and I got the feeling he knew the road so I was happy to let him lead, although unlike him, my preference is to lean in further and stay on the correct side of the road :-).

We were buzzed by a couple of kamikaze's through the tighter bends and one of them, I noted, turned around at one point and headed back north into them.  At Howes Valley the Glide turned off which left us alone to enjoy the next, more open part of the trip. 

At the now deserted Halfway House I saw the group of sporties/B'mers had stopped for another rest.  I wasn't sure sure if they'd stopped for sentimental reasons, but I couldn't see anything to look at, so we kept going.

After a while the group we'd passed a the Halfway Roadhouse caught up and two of them passed me.  I decided that that point to tag along for a while and the next bunch of k's to Colo Heights was, well, controlled madness.  There's no way I'm stupid enough to commit details of that part of the ride to the internet except to say that the 2009 Road King's frame does flex, It can't keep up with a 1065cc Triumph Sporty going up a long hill in 5th or 6th gear, but other than that, it's still one hell of a sweet ride under pressure, and surprisingly nimble and stable around corners at speed, even two up.

We pulled in with the group at Colo Heights where the cafe/store significantly outdid the damage to coffee that Bulga managed (I hope it doesn't kill the tree I tipped it on) and we spent some time with the group we'd followed in talking bikes and debriefing the last part of the trip.  After a while my son and I left them too it and headed off towards Windsor at a leisurely pace, but I did notice that I felt much more comfortable cornering on my new Harley, I guessed I must be used to it now.

Heading towards Windsor I really didn't have much of an idea where I was supposed to be going to get over to Galston.  I knew I should find Pitt Town Road somewhere, and managed to. It just wasn't where I thought it would be.  I started following the signs to Wiseman's Ferry, thinking that at least if I got there I'd be able to find my way home and while heading north again clearly missed some right turns that would have taken me "directly" to Galston.  Other than the dwindling fuel level making me wish I'd got some in Windsor I wasn't concerned ans was happy to let the Gods of the Roads take me where they may.  We hit the intersection with the Old Northern Road and decided, while it would have been easier and less risky fuel wise to go to Wiseman's, we turned right and headed back up the hill to Galston.

Unfortunately no fuel there, so we took on the Gorge and I could hear my son on the phone to my wife expressing concerns about running out of fuel, and as a good Dad does, I did everything I could to feed that hysteria.   A tank full of Fuel at the BP at Hornsby and a short while later we were enjoying a late lunch of curry pies and thankfully great coffee at Pie in the Sky at Cowan.

We'd actually made great time to there and as such had the chance to enjoy a couple of bends back down the Old Pacific Highway before slipping onto the freeway which brought us home around 4pm.  During the debrief with my son we both commented on what a sweet long distance ride the new Road King was.  We were both sure we had a couple of hundred more k's in us, which is good news given the daily distances we intend travelling on our November traversal of the south of the continent.

K's Travelled: 485.1 (443.6 by GPS 442 by Google Maps) I'm going to get the speedo checked at the first service, it's not right!The GPS was on for 7 hours, 5 hours 19 minutes moving time and an average speed for the trip at 83kph.  Highest point was on the Putty Road @ 522m above sea level. Fuel: 39.64l @ $56.25


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December 2023