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Starting adventure riding - Part 1 - Leets Creek Trail

My goal in starting adventure riding is to ride a motorcycle to Craigs Hut and go camping in the Victorian High Country, however, there is a lot for me to learn before I do that and luckily I have good friends who are helping.


Bill took me out for a ride on the Tenere 660 to find some trails to start getting familiar with riding a bike in the dirt and particular on roads that are a little more challenging.


On this ride, Bill took me along a short but mildly technical trail that rides alongside Leets Creek down to River Road near Wisemans Ferry. Later in the day we then continued up along Wheelbarrow Ridge Road and Trail, that'll be in the next episode.



Transcript

I love knobbies on the road, right, yeah the reason is…


It's funny when you start to realize you're looking down instead of ahead when you realize you’re starting to panic a bit. Panicking I think it's probably too strong of a word but...


My good friend Bill is taking me for a little trail run today. Now Bill's tried a variety of bikes, recently ended up selling the Multistrada and bought a Tenere 700, unsurprisingly.


Actually, Bill is the first person I ever went riding with. We used to be neighbours, across the road from each other and Bill had a Buell then believe it or not. Anyway, looking forward to today, looking forward to discovering some trails, looking forward to seeing how I go in the dirt, yeah, with a big heavy bike. This is the experience I was actually hoping for a way back when I got the first dirt bike, was that discovery. The whole thing is about not just jumping in the dirt but you're overcoming the dirt in order to get to the challenge, get through the challenge to get to your destination and discover new places. That's the fun bit, that's what I'm looking forward to, so hopefully, that's what today's all about. Let's See.


Just pulling out onto, uh Cattai Ridge Road, I think, as we're about to pull out, there's a good 20 odd bikes ride past. I think we're gonna see lots of bikes out today.


This is a road I've never been down really, running across the top of the ridge.


How's the bike going?

Good good.

How are you feeling?

I've got, um, it's like a desert tire on this, like a sand tire on the front, yeah, which is what it came with.

That's all right. What pressure are you running?

I pumped them up a little bit because it was actually quite noisy so 32.

Okay. So that with all due respect, these will grip like [ __ ] to a blanket. You've got to trust it.

Yes, yeah.

Okay. I'll tell you that right now if you trust it, you'll be surprised. The big thing with knobby tyres or adventure tyres or whatever on the road is, don't surprise them.

Yeah, okay, yeah.

Don't accelerate or brake abruptly, that's where you get some very exciting times. If you treat these with respect, you can push these into corners like you would never believe.

Yeah, yeah.

So, I'm not telling you something I haven't done, yeah. They are awesome, they just don't like being surprised.

Yes

as most tyres don't. Road tyres can handle it a bit better because they've got a bit more grip but these ones. The joy with, I love knobbies on the road

Right, yeah.

The reason is when they get close to the limit, they start to squirm.

Yes, yeah.

So you have a broader margin for safety. You can actually feel the bike going oh oh okay whoo.

Yeah, like having a car on shitty little tyres and yeah they move around a lot more.

Yes, as long as they, that's right because there are some shitty little tires that let go really quickly.

Yeah.

Whereas if you have nice sticky Pirellis, Bridgestones or whatever, all these things it's grip, grip, grip, grip Bang!

Yeah yeah.

And then oh [ __ ], what happened.

Yeah yeah.

Whereas these are great.

Yes.

Uh, okay, so this is a great little track. It's going to go for about 5 k's. It goes all the way down to the Hawkesbury River, down to River Road and it's like this.

Yep, okay.

This is a great way of breaking yourself in and there are some nice erosion ditches and stuff. Yep.


So.


So far, so good.


I'm sure this is pretty down there but I have to admit I'm not really looking at it.


The creek is just there, okay.

Yeah.

All good?

Yep, all good.


How was that?

That was a great, good little track, just to get the brain into gear, isn't it?

Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, absolutely.

Moving around the bike you're good?

Yeah, no, it felt really good.

It looked good from my quick glance.

Yeah, it was, it's obviously me getting my head around it, is the main thing.

It's being smooth, letting the bike move underneath you.

Yep

and getting that smoothness going and keeping your momentum. A comfortable momentum. If you can go, if you start to go too fast, things happen really quickly and...

Yes yes yeah,

...that margin for safety gets very short.

Yeah yep yep.

So getting a good rhythm and keeping your eyes up and looking ahead and going okay I'm just going to ease on that front brake.

Yeah yeah.

The other thing I find, by resting my finger on that front brake all the time, I can control the throttle better.

Yes, right yeah yeah yeah yeah.

Because it's too easy to get, you know what they call whiskey throttle. It's jerking and carrying especially when you've got bikes with this sort of power in it.

Yep yep.

Now we've got two choices, we can turn left here and we're going to go along to the Colo Ferry or we can go back up the top there and come back down and go to the Colo Ferry?

Oh yeah, whatever. I'm going to do that one again?

Yeah, going uphill is good fun.

Yeah, may as well, absolutely.

Good fun and good practice. Interestingly, this is probably going to be the toughest thing all day.

Right okay, yeah but this is the stuff I wanted to try so yeah.

This, it's interesting, this is on the, for me, it's on the sharper end of adventure riding.

Yeah.

The more technical end of adventure riding.

Yeah.

For me, Adventure Riding is, okay I'm gonna go from point A to point B and if I find some great roads, I'm gonna do that.

Yeah

And my overall safety factor is going to be greater because I want to get to that distance.

Yes and yeah.

Whereas if I'm on the old KTM you had or my WR250, it's ah let's eat it up.

Yes

Okay, we'll turn around, we'll go back and do this again.

Excellent.


So


Still learning how to change gears while standing up still.


So


Oh, it's rocky.


Bill’s bolted. Must be because of his bike, yeah, it could only be because of his bike.


If I had his bike, I could totally keep up with him /s.


Not. Nne day.

The rocks, gotta lookout for those rocks.


I do need to get fit, don't I?


It's funny when you start to realize you're looking down instead of ahead, that's when you realize you’re starting to panic a bit. Maybe panic I think is probably too strong a word but yeah.


When you're not, uh, as in control as you feel comfortable with.


Yeah, it's definitely, it's definitely me, not the bike. It's me that is lacking the capability at the moment. This bike is amazing. I'm sure yeah no it's not, it's not a 700 but still a very capable bike.


Oh, I need to get fitter.


There's probably a lot of nervous energy you're using up as well.

A hundred percent, yeah.

Okay, what we're going to do is go down here again.


Sounds good.


Well, doesn't bitumen feel comfortable?


That was a lot of fun.


I'd love to say I could do that all day long but in reality, my fitness is probably going to stop me from doing that, so I need to sort that out.


Back onto River Road.


Good little road, yep but the worst thing you can have…


In the next episode


It's the Yamaha T team.


It's called the Bicentennial track.

Yep, okay.

When it, when we hit that, we're going to go along there a little bit until there's an intersection, I'm going to go down that intersection a little bit. I'm going to take you to a lookout.


I did not expect that I have to admit. I did not expect to see cyclists on this road.




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cartergj
cartergj
Jun 02, 2022

Nice one. Interesting chat about how knobbies behave on the road. 3 of us did that trail in early May from the bottom up to the top which was probably easier than the direction you went, but after the rain deluge in Jan, Feb, March it was well and truly beaten up and I had one bad line where my bike slipped into a rut and was just suspended on the sandstone by the foot pegs, rear wheel off the ground. Had to throw rocks in and rock it back and forth to get it out and that was the first 10k of our 320k to Hill End

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