The life of Riley...my first year riding

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Hide & Seek, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

    Joined:
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    NSW, riding heaven soon to be Berlin, riding hell
    Hi, my name is Riley, I'm 27 years old, from the land of Oz, and I'v been sober for several hours now. More importantly I'v been riding and lurking on ADVrider for a little over a year.
    I'v put this post together to introduce myself and share some of the more memorable rides I'v done. I'm a late comer to riding. There always seemed to be something else to blow my money on. This changed in 2011 when I backpacked around Europe for a few months. It was an amazing trip but the whole time I wanted to go further and see more then the buses and trains would let me. I wanted the freedom to explore at will. A bike seemed the only answer, only problem was I couldn't ride, or at least I hadn't tried yet.
    So back in Oz I buy the first, cheapest POS I can find. A mighty Kawasaki KLE500, the underdog...

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    After a few rides up and down the driveway, maybe a total of 30 minutes riding I'm ready for my first ride. Alone and with no idea. I plan to ride from my home near Tucabia in northern NSW to the coast, following the forest roads. About 20km as the crow flies, a lot further as the bike rides.

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    Overall it went pretty well considering I basically couldn't ride. The bike was dropped a few times on steep, rocky uphill sections with deep washouts. It did somehow get out from under me on some slippery clay and get bogged in a swamp. I did get through to my destination, the Sandon River camp ground, without too much trouble. A few experienced riders seemed surprised I made it on a larger bike. Whatever, from then on I was hooked.

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    By early 2012 work took me to some crappy little town in central Queensland. I can't recommend anything about the town but there was some great riding in the area. Stay tuned...
    #1
  2. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

    Joined:
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    NSW, riding heaven soon to be Berlin, riding hell
    Carnarvon Gorge Ride winter 2012


    On one of my few days off a ride is just what I need to unwind. No real plan is made and no destination is in mind. For no particular reason west is choosen as the direction of travel, maps are bought on the way, more as an after thought or a souvenir then anything.



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    It's one of those perfect sunny riding days, and so I just keep on riding. At some point I realise I'm near Carnarvon Gorge so decide to check it out, it's ment to be nice. The ride into the national park is awesome. Gravel roads with a few creek crossing, even bits of American WWII bombers lying around. Garnarvon Gorge has this nice peaceful feel about it, it would have been nice to stay longer but it was already late afternoon and I didn't want to ride too far at night.


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    Just out of the national park and I'm on reserve. Not good, seems I'v under estimated the distance to get here. Perhaps if I lay over the tank to cut down wind resistance I can make. Nope. I'm rolling to a stop about 20km out of town. Not home town, that's another 180km from the town I just pulled up 20km short of. So much for not riding home in the dark.


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    It doesn't take long to hitch a ride into town and buy some fuel. Next problem, there is nothing on the road back to my bike so no one is diving out that way this late in the day. In these kinds of town the pub is where you get information. I hear of a pair of cattle drovers heading back to the cattle station they are working on just short of where my bike is stranded. Just need to wait an hour or two for them to finish their drinks. No complaints, any help is better then no help.


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    As it turns out they are driving a two seat ute so I'm riding in the back. It's dark, it's getting cold and I'm wet from riding through water. But I'm almost on my way home so I'm happy. We find the bike, fuel up and I'm homeward bound...maybe...


    Almost as soon as I ride away the silencer decides it's not coming and falls off. This is going to be a long night. Luckily the drovers see it all happen and invite me back to the cattle station for some late night, drunken repairs. They do some dodgy looking welds and I wrap some fencing wire around it for for insurance. It will it do, it has to.


    Finally late at night, cold and still a little wet, I start the 200km ride home. It wasn't a big ride to some exotic place, but it was an adventure...
    #2
  3. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

    Joined:
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    NSW, riding heaven soon to be Berlin, riding hell
    Cania Gorge Ride winter 2012


    Somehow I had scored myself two whole consecutive days off work, something about a public holiday and not wanting to pay the overtime, tight bastards. The descision is quickly made to do my first overnight camping ride. Cania Gorge is chosen because the journey can be done riding mostly remote unsealed roads through cattle stations, perfect for an unlicensed rider.


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    The bike is loaded, perhaps over loaded, and I set of with adventure in my soul. It is one of those perfect blue sky winter days I like so much that leaves an uplifted, positive feeling. The roads were just what I was looking for, constantly changing from small rocks to big rocks, round rocks to sharp rocks, hard packed dirt to loose gravel and even a few sections of sand to keep it interesting.



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    There was nothing out there except the cows,eagles, llamas or alpacas (whatever they were they seemed out of place) and endless blue skies over rolling hills that seemed to stretch on forever.This was exactly the kind of trip I started riding for. Just me and my machine exploring roads no one else would bother with.



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    These guys seemed out of place
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    GPS? ha, where is your sense of adventure!!!
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    Camp was struck at the caravan park where at night they set camp fires and played 'Red Dog' on an open air projector. This was the kind of blissful weekend that left you feeling good about life, recharged. All that was left was to get home. It's a long weekend with the extra police patrols that come with it, I have no licence so I head home on the back roads I came on, easy...maybe...



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    My faithful steed has other ideas, it turns over but just won't fire. Perhaps it wants to camp another night. I can't, I'v got work tomorrow, this won't do at all. It's acting like it's flooded so I let it sit awhile. Ok long enough, I got to be on my way and with a push from some friendly campers and a healthy dose of WOT it fires. Awesome, I'm on my way. Mental note to self: under no circumstance let it stall, wind up the idle just to be sure.


    Not far up the road an erratic surging develops and is quickly at the point of being unridable. With over 200km to home I pull over to see what can be done. The bike is striped down on the side of the road, the carbs are pulled apart and absoultly nothing is adjusted, then it's all put back together. Changing nothing seemed to do the trick. It fires up, runs even, not well but good enough to get home.


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    With perhaps 150km to home, on these remote roads I like so much, the bikes starts to wobble in all the wrong kind of ways. The rocks are bad but not that bad, best stop and see what's going on. Flat rear tyre, nice.


    Here is the situation, the facts of my prediciment: I'm in the middle of nowhere, my rear tyre is flat, there is slim to no chance of anyone coming along this road, there is no town or any help back the way I came and I have no spare or tools for a tyre change. Now on the bright side, the good thing about having only one choice ahead is you can't make the wrong decision...so push on it is.


    I quickly find anything over 3<sup>rd</sup> gear is suicidal, and that's on the smooth sections of road. It's going to be a long ride home. Luckily I don't have to be back to work until tomorrow. The rest of the ride goes as smoothly as riding a bike with a flat rear tyre on rocky roads can. One block from home and I can feel the relief of putting this little episode behind me. The 'man' (that's policeman) has other ideas.
    “Show me your licence!”
    “Um...yeah...about that...I swear I only went for a quick ride around the corner” is the best I could come up with while sitting on a bike loaded with camping gear and fuel cans. For some reason he's not buying it. Even though I'm thourghly beat from this marathon ride I end up pushing the loaded bike the last several hundred metres home in the heat of the early afternoon. Funny he didn't seem to notice my erratic riding or flat tyre...


    From this the next adventure is a trip to the local court house. I decided to drive this one. The place is packed with repeat high range drink drivers and serial no hopers. I'm one of the last called, and with probably the only clean record there that day and and winning smile I walk out with a resonable fine and some friendly advice.
    “Get your licence”

    So now I'm living back in northern NSW, with a licence, continuing the adventure...

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    #3
  4. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

    Joined:
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    NSW, riding heaven soon to be Berlin, riding hell
    And here is some pictures from home, because everyone likes picture

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    Even I draw a line at 30 metres of waist deep salt water.

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    If a KTM 300 can do it, then so can a Kwak 500

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    #4
  5. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

    Joined:
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    NSW, riding heaven soon to be Berlin, riding hell
    It's not all blood, sweat and tears on some rough and remote road.

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    #5
  6. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

    Joined:
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    I'v really grown to love and respect this bike. It's hard not to form an attachment when you've been through so much together. Unfortunately soon we must go our separate ways. I'm moving to Germany to start a new set of adventures and there is no room in my bag for the little Kawasaki that could :cry

    For Sale: KLE500, never missed a beat, I swear :rofl what am I saying I can afford to rest the poor old thing in the shed until I come home...if I came home
    #6
  7. Hesaid

    Hesaid Long timer

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    Love some of those pics. Really looks like perfect country for an adventure. Your no plan/no license/beater bike approach is about as opposite as can be from the direction we took... But it seems to have worked out much better. Hope Germany goes well for you, ride there and take pics as well.

    MV
    #7
  8. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
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    807
    Location:
    Darnestown, MD
    Hide & Seek,

    You have posted somw very nice pictures and commentary, I hope your move doesn't hinder your riding (and ride reporting). Is it just me, or are the Llamas somewhat removed from their natural territory?

    All the Best,
    #8
  9. aeneas

    aeneas Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
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    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    Thanks for posting the pictures.. interesting adventures you had, nice scenery.. totally different from how Germany looks like :-)
    #9
  10. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
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    998
    Location:
    God's country, Western North Carolina
    Your off to a great start, add some more when you can!

    Cheers
    #10
  11. DBrentMiller

    DBrentMiller Sojourn Chronicles

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH USA
    I enjoyed reading about your adventures. I hope you can find something to ride when you move to Germany. I think we'd all like to continue reading your reports. :nod

    Brent
    #11
  12. Casey.

    Casey. Nerd on a bike

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
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    Location:
    Wichita, KS, USA
    I enjoyed your writing and pictures. I'm also new to the sport, and we share the same motivation. I wish I had that kind of scenery... but I'm hoping to surprise myself - maybe central USA has more than wheat fields.
    #12
  13. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

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    It had me worried I'd missed a turn somewhere and ended up in South America.

    That is definitely on the cards. I will get on the regional board and find out what's involved in owning a bike there. I hear Kawasakis are cheap in Germany :D
    The advantage of spending so much time traveling in rural Australia is it seriously warps your sense of distance. For me a quick ride from Berlin to say...Tunisia or Mongolia won't seem like such a big ride...
    #13
  14. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

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    It's certainly different, but I was surprised how much Belgium, between Ghent and the coast looked like where I'm from in NSW. Actually Belgium will probably be one of my first trips. I have friends in the eastern, German speaking region and Brussels.
    #14
  15. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

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    NSW, riding heaven soon to be Berlin, riding hell
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    #15
  16. Rhino-1

    Rhino-1 Been here awhile

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    Los Angeles, CA
    True adventure, right there. That's the kind of stuff you'll remember as you get older (and with deeper pockets...). That first, simple bike, with the wind in your face and a destination unknown (but back in home in time for dinner. :D ).

    Good stuff! Thanks for sharing! :freaky
    #16
  17. Reverend12

    Reverend12 Well there it is..

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    Great Report! :clap
    #17
  18. grizzzly

    grizzzly The Pre-Banned Version

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    :clapcool RR
    #18
  19. Hide & Seek

    Hide & Seek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    NSW, riding heaven soon to be Berlin, riding hell
    Here is a short story about an interesting ride home from work sometime last year.

    Riding home from work, it's a little before 10pm and cold out on the bike. About half way home the bike loses all power and suddenly the throttle spins all the way around. Snapped cable, damn it. It is a known mobile phone dead spot and it could be a long wait for help to come by.

    Riding home with no throttle is the only option.
    Nothing that can't be solved with a little bit of thinking out side the square. It will have to be done using the idle control on the side of the carbs. So the idle is wound up to about 5k, click it into 1st and forward motion, success. All good as long as there is no need to stop....

    So here is the procedure: to accelerate/change up a gear reach down with the left hand wind up the revs, hand back up top to the clutch, grab it and hear the engine scream, click it up a gear and all is well....almost. This idle control screw only opens the throttle half way. So it's a slow ride home. Maybe just as well.

    I have no idea what I would have done if a kangaroo had jumped out, but one didn't and I'm home so whatever, all is good.....
    #19