Been a few months since I last posted, been too busy riding around the back roads and logging trails of NSW's mid north coast. I often ride with a local Ulysses group and have generated a fair bit of interest in the GS and exploring dirt road options, and now we run a Dirty Wednesday ride each month. Bikes range from Triumph Tiger, V Strom, Adventure GS, Husquvanas. One of the guys even bought a tri colour 310GS just like mine.
I'm getting far more confident on the dirt and gravel but Im still very much a novice as was pointed out on a recent ride on a very technical trail, lots of loose rocks and washouts. Was with 3 other experienced riders who soon left me for dead. Rather than trying to speed up I decided to putter along in 1st and 2nd and try and keep the bike upright. Eventually the other riders came back looking for me and I was very aware that they were in a different league.
Since owning the GS one of my pastimes is looking over forestry maps trying to link up various roads and create dirt routes that bypass the highway, with various success. Last week I left the boys after lunch and went looking the trail that had led to my last GS getting drowned in the creek. I was in the right valley this time, riding solo and following a dirt track trying to get up on to the ridge. 25ks in I come to a creek, not that deep but after last time I decided not to risk it, even though I was only
2ks from the ridge road I was aiming for, so it was retrace my route back to the valley floor. Went looking for another road up to the ridge but missed it, so I eventually headed back to the Hwy and a beer at the Telegraph Point pub.
It was pretty hot but with a beer in my guts and another look at the map on my phone, decided to try another way in and again set off on another ridge road. These roads vary in surface, where the logging jinkers use its pretty good except for the rocky sections tossed on the boggy bits, but about 20ks in the road began to deteriorate into two tracks as it wound its way deeper into the forest. As I was on my own I started getting concerned about coming unstuck, the rougher the track became, and the fewer tyre tracks on it. 5 ks later thought discretion was the better part of valour, this was a road that needed a buddy, so I turned the bike around again and got back down the mountain on a trail that I knew. Im getting a good idea about what roads I feel comfortable on and what roads are too technical, espacially on my own. These are generally rocky trails with washouts and steep hills. I generally ride at about 40-50kph on the good stretches of these dirt roads and if its been recently graded I find the GS can get along near 90kph. I wont cross rivers on my own, it just gets too hard if you have a drop. Many of these forests turn into a maze of tracks and i will often stop and check my location on the phone map to prevent ending up totally bush whacked.
I eventually got home in the late afternoon with nearly 200ks on the clock, if Id stuck to the tar it wouldnt have been more like 60Ks, but I managed to get a better understanding of riding the ridges.