Battle of Bendigo
a.k.a. How to lose three people between Sth Yarra & the Bolte Bridge
This ride report was originally published in the August 2010 issue of the Motorcycle Tourers club magazine, ‘Chain Lube’.
Sunday morning dawned and I peeked out the window to see blue sky, Yippee thought I.
Decided to go back to bed….oh hang on that wasn’t supposed to be mentioned….so a bit later….headed off to Sth Yarra for a coffee and arrived about 0850, first one there.
Then the bikes started to roll in and it actually became an issue as where people could park.
Next thing I know this very excited 12 y.o. arrives with a new shiny toy and we all oooh’d and ahhh’d at Justin’s new 675 triple… with 50 kilometers on the clock and a strong smell of burnt paint/plastic.
It was getting close to departure time so I rallied the troops and did my blurb about generally where we were going, with a strong mention of the fact that there would be NO corner marking until Sunbury and as nobody put up their hand when I asked if it was needed, proceeded to thank Justin for being tail rider to Sunbury, where he and Adam T were then returning to Melbourne. Michael W said he would pick up the reins at Sunbury and keep us all together until at least lunchtime.
So off we set and what a great sight it was to see so many bikes falling in so “gracefully” behind the Maj…. I thought that the sun was getting strong, but it wasn’t until someone made a comment towards the end of the day about the glare of 40 eyes burning a hole in my back that I found out why it seemed so warm. LOL!
The group started to split a bit on the approach to the on ramp for the Westgate Freeway (I had no idea as to how much at this stage) and as I had a few bikes in my mirror and pushed on to Sunbury.
Traffic was light and we seemed to make good time…but I was a bit confused when told that a few members had mistaken the big arching bridge way off in the distance for the way to get to the airport….I must contact Vic roads as the 10 metre x 10 metre overhead signs are just not clear enough!
Needless to say we all finally came together at Sunbury with as mentioned earlier, Justin S and Adam T heading off… while we were then joined by John H, John C and Mark ?… sorry I am hopeless with names. I contacted the café and let them know that our numbers were now 20 people, not the ambitious 16 I had hoped for…
1 scooter and 17 bikes then headed off towards Riddells Creek, New Gisborne, Mt Macedon with its moss covered frosty road, with Adz sprinting off ahead to catch shots of one and all negotiating a slimy 10km/hr corner, then down to Woodend for a regroup. Linda did a quick dart for some energy juice for the bandit, then we wove our way to Tylden and along to Kyneton.
I opened up the speed a bit just past here with H hard on my tail and for some reason backed off from the 140ish we were doing to a “respectable 120” as we whipped past an officer of the law travelling in the other direction… I hoped that as he was now in plain view that none of my fellow warriors would be caught out as I so nearly was. Who knows? Maybe it was his surprise at the speed I was doing that distracted him?
The road was long and winding… mmm song lyric comes to mind, as we headed to Redesdale for a bit of fun out across the bottom of Lake Eppalock… no don’t be silly, I kept to the road. Soon we were close to Bendigo and as I was a bit unsure of the exact turn left, right , right, across the roundabout, veer left method of getting into the heart of town, had Maxy W lead us to our well earned lunch.
It was under the shadows of the Bendigo bank we were met by Gary van D with the lovely Michael, along with John M, who had all travelled down, across, up? from the Castlemaine environs to partake in some frivolity.
I must say that the café was a true gem and the food was great, the staff was a good diversion for the eye and I think everybody enjoyed the location with enough passersby to keep it interesting.
Once everybody was gathered outside, I finally announced the next destination and one certain young lady replied F*#! Off!… seems that I wasn’t to be believed. Yes folks we went to church! Or rather to Bendigo Cathedral for some “Kultcha”.
We were given a fast fact filled history of the cathedral whilst meanwhile a man played with his organ err um I mean the pipe organ… and had a go(o)d look around.
We then headed off to fill up with fuel… 8c a litre cheaper than in Town and we were off on our merry way. Michael K headed home in the white roller-skate.
It was on the run to Heathcote that I again felt the sun on my back… something about people sending me heated mental instructions of ignoring the double white lines and overtaking that damn Gemini! Sorry folks, but I was in cruise mode as I knew we had some excellent runways free of demerit points to travel a bit further on.
Once at Heathcote, we turned towards Mia Mia and rattled our way down some lovely roads with great scenery. Gary van D headed off at Glenhope and It was at Mia Mia when Johnny M beeped his horn and tootled off down towards Redesdale and home… if we had only traveled 4 more kms we would have completed a circle, but this wasn’t to be!
There’s a track winding back to an old fashioned shack… oh, sorry…
It was at Mia Mia that we joined the Burke and Wills track for the run across to Lancefield… gentlemen start your engines! 34 kms later after much high speed shenanigans on some quite narrow bits of tar… (where did that bloody pothole come from?…) we met up with the road into Lancefield and I got lost looking for the main street…
This lead to a 5 bike corner marking exercise to stop at the bakery… closed, corner shop… open!
This was deemed the end of the ride and everyone had the option on staying/going once we had ensured that everyone had made it to arvo tea.
I want to thank Juzzy for living up to his name with wayward riders on the way to the second pick up. Michael W for remaining as Rear rider for the balance of the day and to everyone who came out and made my ride such a success.