Radelaide: It’s OK!A mate of mine, Yaegan, and I have both been riding for a few years, and have been thinking of a big-ish trip. Recently, we realised that we both shared the amazing fortune to be unemployed in summertime, and thought that it was as good a time as any to get stuck into it. We had a rough idea of a few roads we wanted to ride and a few towns that we thought would be fun, and eventually gave ourselves a fortnight with a rough goal of Radelaide (not to be confused with Adelaide, the capital of South Australia). In a very wanky Robert-M-Pirsing-Zen-like way, we were focused on getting in some good kilometres (or five-eights of a miles), rather than working to kick up the odo. As such, we tried to stick to windier, smaller roads wherever possible.
After tens and tens of minutes spent poring over maps, we thought that it’d be nice if we could ride down the coast (the Great Ocean Road played a large part in these calculations), and then ride back up through the high country. I put my Triumph Sprint ST 955 in for a major service, which included new tyres, chain, sprockets, gaskets, valve clearances, whilst Yaegs adopted more of a laissez faire approach to maintenance for his Suzuki GS 500. I’ve got a Ventura rack and a tank bag, and was able to strap-on a waterproof bag to the rack, whilst Yaegs used a tank bag, built-on storage compartment and a backpack. We thought it’d be more fun (read cheaper for unemployed students) to camp, so we brought along a tent, a little gas-cooker. As space was at a premium, we packed fairly light – the only concession we made to comfort and fashion was to pack more than one pair of speedos, arguably eclipsing both the refrigerator and the bionic ear as the greatest Australian invention ever.
After final packing and checks, we didn’t end up getting away until about half-ten. We decided to start the trip by heading down through the Royal National Park, with it’s many twists, turns and hills. Unfortunately, we had to get there first, which put us at the mercy of the many dickheads on Sydney’s roads. Shaken, but not stirred (???), we made it into the park, and were immediately rewarded. Adrenalin was running high, the bikes were on song, and the corners just melted away. We stopped in at Yaegs’ cousin’s pad outside Wollongong, and then went to get some lunch. It was about three, and we felt that the day was slipping away from us, and we hadn’t gotten as far as we had first planned. We made plans to have dinner somewhere around Narooma. Thankfully, the road got better, the traffic lighter, and the scenery just beautiful, with the road cutting through these enormous red cliffs with long, fast corners. I began to understand the concept of “candy miles” (which I tried to Australianise to “lolly kilometres”, with varying degrees of success) – this was riding that just invigorated you. The fresh air of the rainforest swept into the helmet, the road was good enough to travel a bit quickly, and there were enough corners to keep you focused. At Narooma, we tried to contact Narooma’s Favourite Son (my wording), Brogan Murray, with whom we played for state, but unfortunately we couldn’t get in touch. Two elderly men felt compelled to compliment me on owning a Triumph. It was approaching dusk, and we didn’t want to risk any head ons with Australia’s notoriously stupid wild-life (google a wombat, I dare you), so took a little side-road down to Bermagui, and were rewarded with a little island, linked by old arch-bridge where we set up camp for the evening. Thanks to some visionary forward planning, we had a few longnecks of both pale and sparkling ales to keep us company. We were also lucky to meet two Germans, Susie and Frank, a man who distinguished himself by catching prawns (on the barbie!) with his bare hands.