October 29, 2004

MHR Mille vs Dave the Archbishop

Posted by DaveSmith

Beenleigh to Mt. Glorious
Days 10 - 14
Sat, Oct. 23 - Wednesday, Oct. 27 2004

One rare bike plus one Dave Smith equals one slightly damaged rare bike

Brendan and I ride out to Ian's house and we polish off a case of
beers. Brendan goes home and Col & Ian make tea. Tea is what they
call dinner out here. That took me a bit to catch onto. Col, is
short for Colleen, Ian's wife. They met at a motorcycle meet 21 years
ago and have been together since. Ian has also wanted to be a heavy
equipment mechanic since he was 11. I wish I had that sort of goals
in life, but I'm 34 and never had any sort of long term life goal.
I've also never had a girlfriend that's lasted more than a year,
either. Maybe I can find a girl on this trip with wanderlust who
rides motorcycles. She's probably hiding next to the pot of gold at
the end of the rainbow.

Ian and Col have a daughter Shardi (10) and a son Ross (13). Ross is
in boarding school and we haven't met in person. I've been sleeping in
his bed. Shardi is the nicest kid I've ever met. I hope my sister
Kellye won't tell my neices Emily and Sophie I said that. I haven't
met my nephew Ben enough to know how nice he is.

They have a 10 acre place with a nice dog (so far everyone and
everything I've met in Australia has been really nice), a pond, the
neighbor's horse, geese, ducks and we're surrounded by local birds
that sound like we're in a jungle when the make noises. Australia has
wild parrots, cockateils (sp?), galas, parakeets and usual US petstore
birds. Lots of color and lots of crazy sounds. It sounds like a
jungle movie at night. I envy Ian. Has goals in life that he's
reached, a great wife that he's spent his life with, nice kids, a
great place to live, and he's traveled all over Australia on
motorcycles. He has a Kwak (not closely related to the Duc no matter
the sound) 1300 with a sidecar that he rides with with Col. They
didn't have a car for years and the sidecar was it. He's got about
160,000 km on the MHR that's he's owned for 15 years and he rides it
everywhere over every kind of road (paved and dirt).

Ian is another Bevelhead (old Ducati email list member). He told me I
should be taking pictures of the Bevelheads I meet which is a good
idea. By the end of this trip I'll have met more Bevelheads than
anyone else, I reckon.

The 2nd day I was here Ian and I polished off another case of beer.
It was light beer, but that's different than light beer in the US.
Most American beers are what are called "canoe beer" in other
countries. Like having sex in a canoe, you're fucking close to water.
Light American beer is canoe beer with extra water added. Light beer
here, at least the one I've had, is actual beer that tastes good with
standard US beer alcohol. On the 3rd day with Ian, we got a case of
medium beer which took us 2 days to polish off. That one has a bit
more booze.

The 2nd day was when Ian said, let's go on a ride and gave me his
Ducati MHR Mille to ride. For the non-Ducati people, it's a 1000cc
Mike Hailwood Replica. Mike the Bike Hailwood is arguably the greatest
motorcycle racer ever. Ducati made around 800 bikes after Hailwood
won an Isle of Man years after he retired. And the Isle of Man is the
greatest motorcycle race in the world. So the night before, I dreamed
of wrecking the Mille into a car. The biggest bike I've ridden was
Keith Sabini's 750cc Honda which was just around the block.

Ian's garage is at the end of 330 meters (roughly same with yards) of
gravel road. The Mille has an on/off clutch that Ian dumbed down for
me by changing to softer springs. I didn't drop the bike on the
gravel so I figured I'd do fine.

Had to get used to changing gears in the normal position. My 250cc
Duc has a right handed heel-toe shifter and a left handed rear drum
brake. It took me a bit to get used to. It snicks into gear. I'm
sure that someday that will make no sense to people anymore. It's
super smooth gear changes that most bikes have of the last 20 years.
On my 250cc you have to change gears with some pressure and I still
find a false neutral once in a while. I'm sure that by the time I
round Australia, I'll be smooth at it though.

The roads in Australia are great riding roads. At least most every
road I've been on between Phil's and here. Lots of curves that I
overbrake for on the Mille. I tried to get used to the bike and when
I'd convince myself to just toss it around a corner it was smooth and
handled great, but I'd think about how much the bike would cost to fix
so back into slow jerky riding. The whole ride was that. Me talking
outloud to myself, "Just don't think about it and ride it" and it'd
smooth up. Followed by "If you wreck this bike, you're savings will
pay to fix it and the credit card will pay medical and the flight
home". So straight back to riding like I've never ridden a motorcycle
before. I'm sure you can see where this is leading up.

Nice slow left turn, downshift nicely and I use the rear brake like a
drum brake. Easy pressure for a drum brake and overkill for a rear
disk brake. I'm too short to hold the bike up so down it goes at
about 5mph (8kph). Which is, if you're asking, enough to break a
windscreen, add a scrape mark to the clip-on and front break lever and
bend the rear brake lever almost to the snapping point. So of course,
that was snapped off trying to fix it roadside. Or maybe Ian just
wanted me to stay off the rear brake.

It's the first bike I've dropped in 10 years (the one other time was
right after I got my first bike and I was parking it in wet leaves).
One of the most embarrassing things I've ever done, and if you know
me, I'm doing something that would embarrass most 10 times a day.

So to make up for it, my new plan is to drop the new MHR that Ducati
released a couple years ago and then drop a Britten (they made 10 of
those). I'm really relieved that I didn't smash into a car or tree or
slide off one of the cliffs but I feel like a jerk for sliding it a
few feet.

After that on the ride the next day, I took my bike. I think top
speed is 80mph/110kph and if I drop it, no problem. I'm sure at some
point I'll drop it anyway. I don't think it's possible to ride round
the world without doing that. But maybe that's out of the way with
the MHR incident.

That ride was great. We went to O'Reillys which is a national park
that used to be a dairy. Lots of colorful birds (galas, I think),
bush turkeys and a great ride. Roads narrow enough for one car with a
cliff down one side and mountainside up the other. Roads in Australia
don't have a shoulder, by the way. And rarely anything to keep you
from sliding down the cliff.

We walked on the treetop walk and climbed up a treetop ladder. I don't
think walks like that exist in the US. The government would get sued
for that.

We were both on reserve and Ian coasted his bike down the mountain.
Not sure how far that is -- 28 klicks (12 miles) or so. I couldn't
see him and thought about going back but figured I should make it to
the bottom where the fuel station is before returning. He barely made
it and put 21.2 liters into a 21.1 tank. Ran the fuel lines, float
bowls and fumes out with that one.

Today I head for Gavin's place (another Bevelhead). I've been on a
lot of email lists, but the Bevelheads have been amazing. Lots of
help out here in Australia, and a couple of New Zealanders have
offered me places to stay out there (as long as I stay off their
bikes). After Gavins, I head north to Bob Dumma's (another
Bevelhead). I might stick around until Graham Eyre returns from
Tasmania, but not sure about that. I want to see Darwin before the
wet sets in. Cyclons I can do without (except the kind from
Battlestar Galactica).

Answering a few questions:

The Archbishop thing is a religious thing I paid $5 for from the
Universal Life Church. I can marry people legally but it's a joke.
I'm not the religious type.

The toilets in Australia aren't like the ones in the US, so it's
impossible to tell if they swirl the other way. Hold on, let me check
with a sink. Yup, it's the opposite way. Pretty fancy. I've also
seen the Southern Cross.

I don't know where the nearest place to get Coca Cola made with sugar
is. Does Mexico put ingredients on bottles?

Posted by DaveSmith at October 29, 2004 07:19 PM

so keith dropped mine with the front brakes that worked better than he thought and you dropped a mike hailwood with the rears that worked better than you thought. maybe i can drop peter's new mv brutale using both.

Posted by: sex creepy at October 30, 2004 09:13 AM

Dave, I think it's Cylons. Adama and Starbuck would be very disappointed!

Yes, you can get Coca-Cola with sugar in it in Mexico and soda in glass bottles too! The person who decided to use corn syrup in sodas should be forced to have a corn syrup enema (the rat-bastard) and don't get me started on glass vs.

Posted by: Farmdog at October 31, 2004 11:12 PM

Dear Dave,
I've finally left Lucky C. Meet me in front of that swinger bar, I can't remember the name, -the one you used to frequent-in Sacramento, on Jan 18, 2007, at 7.45 am.

And bring the nudie pics

Posted by: pinky tuscadero at November 2, 2004 12:46 PM