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Starting adventure riding - Part 2 - Wheelbarrow Ridge Trail

After Part 1 where we tried out a technical trail following Leets Creek, we now crossed the Webbs Creek Ferry to follow Wheelbarrow Ridge Trail. This is more open road style dirt rather than technical but it's a good opportunity to understand the bike some more and get used to how it feels at speed on the unpaved surface.


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Bike riders are the worst.

We're gonna turn off onto the Wheelbarrow Ridge Track.

The Yamaha T team.

Which is called the bicentennial track.

Did not expect that I have to admit.

Good little road but the worst thing you can have is an oncoming motorcycle.


We rode that one a few weeks ago, going the opposite direction, yeah and um yeah.

Because, particularly two bikes, they're leaning towards each other.

How many bikes are on the wrong side of the road?

Yeah, yeah.

I ride that really carefully because I've come around corners and I’m going, you're on my side of the road and you're leaning across.

Yeah yeah yeah.

What if I was a car?

Yeah yeah yeah.

Motorcycles are the worst.

Pushbike riders are the worst.

Ah, but they don't lean as far as the motorcycle riders.

Yeah but they don't stay in any set, no at least the bike you know is going to be on the inside. They're all over the shop.

True. Okay, what we're going to do now is cross that bridge and the start of the Wheelbarrow Ridge Road is just after that.


And if you went all the way along to the end you would hit the Putty Road.


Okay. We're going to turn off onto the Wheelbarrow Ridge Track,


And that's going to bring us back down over here, okay?


Okay, awesome.

This I wish my bike was running.

There you go. It's a beautiful day, especially now that we've been released.

But mine’s an old 1984 RZ250.


It little a nice 2 stroke street bike.

Still getting used to the height of this thing.

Thank you.

A drink and some snakes?

Did you bring water?


So that typically, that's, that right there is an adventure style road, that's how I view it. You're going somewhere. You guys went to Nundal I believe?

To Moonan Flat.

Moonan Flat, sorry, yeah.

Same direction but you went on bitumen?

Yeah, we didn't get into Barrington Tops.

Yeah, there are some great roads around that area. That to me is, that's the adventure. You're going somewhere, you're camping, you're doing this on bikes which can go on all roads.

You've got that, no abs on the back but abs a tiny bit on the front?


How do you find that?

That's perfect.

For this sort of road?


yeah oh isn't it good to be out?

Oh, this is the new one isn't that? So it's the Yamaha T team?

Yeah, the Tenere Tragics.

Now it's Vern and Bill.

Bill hey this is Chris.

Chris, how's it going?

Yeah yeah, you got your rubber glove on underneath yeah?

Do you know these guys as well?

I've seen Bill around, I haven't met Vern before. Yes, so what do you think of the new one? Well, I haven't ridden it yet.

Oh, that's yours okay.

Which is 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.

Yep, okay, awesome.

All right, This is Wheelbarrow Ridge Track as opposed to Wheelbarrow Ridge Road. Apparently used to be a lot more technical but since it's been graded, it's not as technical as it used to be. Much to the despise of some riders.

Heaps of people out today which is awesome and very unsurprising.

Basing my speed, of course on the capability of the bike and myself but also based on people coming the other way. There's a bit of a busy road, I've already encountered a couple of bikes but no doubt encountered cars even trucks at some stage.

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

Are they lost? [Laughter]

How are you going?

Good, yeah yeah yeah, getting more comfortable.

Just staying in balance.


You're finding you're gripping the handlebars too much, you're not balanced.

Yeah, that's, there are definitely moments where I go...but it's the gear shift as well, like, I have to move my foot so far forward to get to the shifter, like, from back here. I literally have to lift off get my foot off

And I do as well.

Right, yeah.

Yeah, so you end up riding on one thing.

Yeah okay.

Can we give these guys curry?

Every time you start, you're gonna reset the ABS.

Gonna walk up here, okay?

Yeah, yeah.

This is part of the river that we've actually been on?

This is the Hawkesbury.

But is it like, we've been on this path?


Just getting my bearings.

Yes yes yes. So that's the road down there.

River Road

River Road, see that a little bit coming down?

Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yep yeah

Down there is with us, where it drops down into that little gully.

Yeah okay.

Yeah cool and back around and then back up. Yeah. See bits of it over there.

Yeah no-no. We did all this. We came in...

I’d need to see on the map, I'm pretty sure we came in a little bit further up yep and we did all this and came around but this is Leetsvale.

Right, all right.

I think. I'm going to remember, I think this is Leetsvale.


I came down here just after the floods and all that was brown.

Yeah yeah.

So then so you got a nice spot here, once you're, sort of, you can stop but…

You're also, you got to think about well that ledge is obviously the next.

That's the exact issue right and you could go, I mean if you're hitting at the speed you go around the outside of that well you could?

Picking your line, you could come down here and drop off very nicely here yep right down and yeah look at.

That's not as steep as it looks.

No, that's why walking is so much.

yeah yeah yeah

You could also come down here yep and pick up this one and cut across but see that's that would be difficult in itself. You'd actually need to kind of come across here and try and drop down there.


You're all right, I think the overlay is better. Come down here.

We got a little less momentum, you can there. You've got to have some momentum whereas here you can kind of you're coming down here.

Then probably want to aim out over here.

Because it's not, it's not necessarily where, where you want to be when you're attacking this bit but where you want to be 20 meters later. Like playing snooker. What balls do I need to be close to the holes pockets?

Teah so and then usually you can come either down that side or down yeah so yes that's exactly right you've got to look okay if I’m going to pick that spot where do I want to end up here?


Bill, thank you for this morning, that was great and it was a great ride, hanging out. So I learned a fair amount today which was awesome. A few little techniques and so on. I also learned a lot about this bike. I’ll tell you what, around the streets yeah it feels really clunky, a big single-cylinder thumping away but in the dirt, this thing just comes alive.

Certainly, there are more superior bikes these days but this is a very very capable bike and actually really enjoyed riding it today. I feel a lot more comfortable with it. Bill made a really good point at one stage, talking about the amount of energy-conserving with adventure riding. You're always looking to conserve energy and particularly when you take on a whole new bike. You find that you burn a lot of excess energy. Part of it is nervous energy, part of it is because it's new and different and then a lot of it is because you just haven't quite got comfortable. When I ride the MT09, it feels so light on the handlebars. I just feel complete... I feel, you know, that’s why people say, like, feel that one with the bike, I know that sounds wanky but the premise is that you feel so connected to it that you can make the tiniest little adjustments with the least amount of effort. I think that's the key, right? I'm still finding I’m putting a lot of effort into getting it to do what I wanted it to do. It's not the bike's fault, that's me getting used to it. It's me adjusting to it, getting used to what movements do what, you know and that's the funny thing is, yes, there's different techniques and sound that you use in the dirt that you don't use on the road and vice versa and it's not those techniques necessarily, it's just what's you know just the exact right amount of balance to move this to there and you know exactly how much steering input it requires and all those little bits and pieces. That just comes with time. Once you get familiar enough with anything, really. So I'm still getting to that point but I feel like I've made a massive dent in that today. I've really sort of progressed forward with feeling comfortable on the bike and particularly those later stages, even those big sort of open dirt road, it just felt, I felt much more comfortable about where I was positioning the bike on the road and the bike was doing a lot more of what I expected.

So yeah, so that was a great takeaway for today, that we've got to find quite a few little nice roads to add to

Yeah, a bit more content for the website, which is great.

Anyway thanks Bill. Stay safe, have fun, see you next time.

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