no politics...just ridin'

Share The Road....Please?

Riding into work this morning and coming up to traffic lights, I decided to split traffic to get to the front. As I was about five cars back from the line, the lights turned green and the traffic started moving, so I pulled into a car-sized gap between two vehicles in the right lane, intentionally making sure that I allowed plenty of space for the trailing vehicle.....then this driver cracked a sad.

For some unknown reason, he chose to claim back "his piece of road" that I had so rudely stolen from him. I watched him in my mirrors accelerate up to and then to within an inch or two right alongside me in the same lane that I was riding in. Why? What was this guy thinking? What was he going to accomplish in doing this? For some unknown reason, there are a few drivers who simply refuse to give up a little of "their road" - that bit of tarmac extending up to 3 metres in front of their vehicles. I did not impede him or slow him up, and there was initially quite a bit of distance between the rear of my bike and the front of his vehicle when I did cut back into his lane. This guy was just one of those arseholes who outright refuse to share the road with or acknowledge the presence of a motorcycle. I seem to have noticed an increase in these types since returning from overseas.

Anyhow, I held my position in the lane as this guy firstly came right alongside me and then backed off. I also slowed significantly once he did back off and allow me back into the centre of the lane, just to piss him off - had he not done what he did, I would have been gone in no time and no one would have been inconvenienced. I know this was a risky move on my part, but I refuse to be intimidated by these selfish and inconsiderate people. Unlike cyclists, who frequently slow the flow of traffic by blocking a lane, I do pay registration to use the road and move along at or above the general speed of traffic and am usually gone within a few seconds of "cutting in" on you.

So how about sharing some of "your" road? Please?

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Hinterland Run

Had a call during last week from Darren, a guy that I met whilst on holidays in Phuket. He wanted to know if I was up for a ride sometime over the weekend just gone. For one reason or another, I have been unable to get out on the bike for the last few weekends, so I was very, very keen for a fix. We agreed to meet up not far from his place, and do a short squirt on some of the more popular roads in the area.

Sunday morning could not come quick enough for me - I was up early and readied the bike. I had a look outside, but there was no way I was going to let some cloud cover or a bit of rain put me off. I did however stow the wet weather gear under the seat just in case. I grabbed a bite to eat and then took off at about 7:30am for the ride to our meeting point. The ride down through Mount Cotton and onto the M1 was pretty uneventful - I stopped along the way and fuelled up and was surprised at how quiet the roads were. I assume a lot of people would have taken a look out their window, seen the clouds and decided to go back to bed. My preference is to ride early because the air is cooler and the roads are clearer.

I took the Nerang exit and followed the road out to the Advancetown Pub turn-off where Darren was waiting on his Ducati 900SS. Because he forgot to bring his wets, we followed Beechmont Road for a short distance up to his place, picked them up and then continued up the mountain. I was more than happy for Darren to lead us for the ride, as his knowledge of these roads was superior to mine and in these conditions this would be an advantage. As we climbed, the roads got damper and the clouds got closer, but still no rain. We took this section of switchbacks at a moderate pace due to the slippery conditions, but once up on top, the roads dried out and we let the bikes do their ‘thing’. After passing through Beechmont we headed down the other side towards Canungra. Again, the roads were damp, mainly due to the overnight rain and roadside tree coverage, so back to a moderate pace. We rode into Canungra and headed for the Outpost Café for a coffee and one of their beautiful chunky steak pies. It surprised me to see so few bikes parked at this café – usually they are lined up on both sides of the road and it is hard to get a table.

We departed Canungra along the road back towards Nerang, and turned right onto Clagiraba Road. This is supposed to be the road that has claimed the most motorcyclists in the Gold Coast region – I was surprised when told that by a SMART instructor after completing the rider training course last year, mainly because it is not what I would call a fast road. You travel past semi-rural type properties bordering the road and although it does have some pretty tight corners and sharp crests, I would never have picked that road. In hindsight however, it can lull you into a false sense of security if you are not familiar with it – it can also get busy as a lot of people use it as a short cut and if it is not ridden a little on the conservative side, it can surprise you. Anyway, we reached the other end, turned back onto the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road and not long after passed the spot at Advancetown where we initially met earlier that morning.

The short section of road from this point heading south for about 13kms to the Springbrook Road turn-off is one of my favourite stretches of bitumen – long straights and numerous fast right hand sweepers heading up and over a crest and downhill into a left hander which switches back quite tightly - a real buzz to ride. You can get over a long way on the lefties and not have too much of a worry, because the surface in the turns is good - its then power on and up the hill to the next sweeper. The great thing about this stretch is that it can be enjoyed at a reasonable speed – you don’t need to be doing ridiculous speeds to enjoy the flowing sweep-corner-climb effect. The road on Sunday was mostly dry through here and whilst running slower than I usual, I still had a lot of fun following Darren – one minor incident did occur when my rear wheel drifted a little on the exit of the last tight left hander, probably due to some debris or a small damp patch and my PR2’s not being as grippy as they should be.

We reached the Springbrook turn and continued onwards, climbing up through Pindari Hills for the ride through the Springbrook National Park. Again, the higher we climbed the damper the roads became, so it was easy-does-it from here onwards. From the Springbrook turn-off, our decent was taken slowly – this road is not in the best condition in the dry let alone the damp conditions we were riding. A lot of wet corners and a little bit of traffic slowed our decent further. The two or three one lane timber bridges on this road were very slippery and I actually felt my front drift a little whilst negotiating one of these. The other point about this road is that there is nowhere for you to go should you hit the road except into the rocky wall on your left or over the edge and down a rather steep embankment on the other side – all the more reason to take it easy and stay switched on. Aside from all this, our decent was still a really enjoyable ride and incident free with the added bonus that it had not yet rained. When we reached the end of the tight stuff, we were able to open the bikes up a little for the final run into Mudgeeraba.

We reached the Woodchoppers Inn at Mudgeeraba just before 11am and after parking our bikes, went in and downed a couple of well deserved beers. That ride was fantastic – a great ride to do if you don’t want to spend all day on the road but still want a bit of a challenge. It certainly got me hyped and I plan to do it again, when dry, real soon.

You can check out the route we followed here.

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