Burger, beans and bridges

I took advantage of an improved weather forecast for Thursday 21 August and took run inland to central Victoria to visit the Moto Bean café as recommended by Raymond Herd, on his excellent Sandgropher motorcycle travel blog.

Again it was a fairly cold, around 7C for most of the morning, however, it is still winter I guess. My route was from Geelong to Ballan, then Daylesford and on to Malmsbury – specifically the Moto Bean café.

You may have guessed that the Moto Bean café is a moto themed café. It is a new purpose built building and rather than following the ‘1960’s diner’ theme, the owners have opted for a slightly industrial /warehouse style – and have pulled it off really well. The place is spacious, warm and inviting – especially for motoring enthusiasts of any discipline – but also generic enough not to scare off non moto enthusiast patrons. However, it’s certainly great to go to a café that has magazines lying about that are of interest – namely a good selection of motorcycle magazines.

As is my habit duty, I sampled a tasty burger which the chef was happy to cook for me even though it wasn’t quite time for the lunch menu to commence. I also had a very friendly, welcoming chat with George (who is one of the owners), who took the time to explain the background of some of the display bikes, the construction of the café and some local scenic rides.   Unfortunately I didn’t make it to Mt Alexander, but will be back to check out the area soon.

Have a close look at the motor grafted into this K0 series Honda Four.

Malmsbury is also home to a large brick and masonry arched bridge built between 1858 and 1860, known as the Malmsbury Viaduct. Its just a walk through the park from the café.

As I was leaving the cafe, a friendly patron suggested that I should also check out the historic Taradale Viaduct which is just a few kilometres down the old Calder Hwy. I was lucky enough to snap a train traveling over it – just as in the pic on the history info plaque. Now compare and contrast the bridge structure in the following two pics.

I’m guessing that you noticed that in the 1862 pic the bridge is constructed of only masonry columns and no iron work. The iron columns were added much later in the 1930’s to cope with heavier trains.

After taking some shots of the bridge I headed over to the pretty Sutton Grange road and from there over to Castlemaine for some fuel, then home to Geelong via Maldon (out of my way a little I know), Newstead, Creswick and Lal Lal –skirting around Ballarat.

For all the pictures, click HERE (then press ‘Slideshow’)

All up, a grand day out riding. A new venue, enjoying some tasty food and hospitality, some new roads to explore, with a little history thrown in to add interest.


Balmy winter ride

I’d been hoping for a ride this weekend. Saturday turned out to be as forecast – rain and clearing showers. Sunday was forecast to be cloudy with an unlikely temp of 18C. So I couldn’t believe my eyes Sunday morning when I awoke to glorious sunshine with barely a cloud in sight. It was too good not to ride so I  took a short run in what turned out to be beautiful weather conditions considering that it’s winter here.

My route was from Geelong to Forrest, then on to Beech Forest via Turton’s (treacherous) Track, Gellibrand. After a stop for a drink at the Gellibrand store I skirted around Colac and headed for home. It was around 6C when I left at 9.30am and an incredible 20C when I got home in the early afternoon.



Kawasaki ZX14

April 1, 2011 saw my new Kawasaki ZX14 (ZZ1400) ready to be collected. Well, I just could not collect a bike on April Fool’s Day so I left it until 2nd April.

I bought this motorcycle from Peter Stevens Elizabeth St store in Melbourne (Aust). The whole deal was done over the ‘phone sight unseen – it was a brand new bike and I’ve ridden a mate’s ZX14 so I knew what I was getting.

I had hardly gone 2 city block and I realized that that this motorcycle and I were ‘right’ for each other. It is such a user-friendly package, despite all that horsepower!

I’ve added aftermarket mufflers by Megacycle in Melbourne, Ventura luggage rack, a Radguard radiator guardfrom Sydney and a Skidmarx rear hugger from the UK. I got the OEM Bridgestone tires off pretty quickly and replaced them with Michelin PR2’s.

Here’s some pics;

Two up through the Otway ranges

Mrs T and I took a leisurely 305 kilometer loop from Geelong to Forrest, Apollo Bay, Lavers Hill, Gellibrand, Birregurra and back to Geelong.

Route map

First stop was Forrest (Vic) for coffee.

The run from Apollo Bay to Laver’s Hill is via the Great Ocean Road. Much of it in this section is actually inland through eucalyptus forest. Lovely big open sweepers for the most part and one section of quite tight curves. Despite being summer holidays the traffic traveling along the GOR from Apollo Bay towards the 12 Apostles wasn’t too bad.

We stopped in Laver’s Hill at Blackwood Gully for lunch. It has a great outdoor deck area.

Lentil burger

Ham, cheese & tomato focaccia

From there we traveled inland through the bush and farming land via the backroads to Geelong. The weather was mostly sunny and at around 22C was a nice temp for riding.We need to stop reasonably often as Mrs T gets some vibration via one of the pillion footpegs which eventually makes her foot numb. I haven’t been able to solve this problem yet despite replacing the rubber bush in the footpeg mount recently.

New Years Day Down Under

The West Coast Procrastinators finally got their act together to reprise our NYD 2008 run. The route differed slightly, but still involved the 12 Apostles, two old Norton Commandos, two Japanese motorcycles and plenty of time spent chatting over a tasty lunch together. Let me tell you a little about my riding buddies.

In addition to his Norton Commando, Andy has numerous other motorcycles. Complete and going are a 500cc BSA twin, a newly acquired 1972 T250 Suzuki Hustler, and an old 350cc Panther single. Under restoration is a 450 Ducati and another BSA. I’ve probably missed some, as there are numerous other motorcycles in various states of completion.

In addition to his Comando, Steve has another complete and rideable Norton single, an RD350 Yamaha and currently has a 500cc twin cylinder Norton Dominator under restoration. He also kindly houses my wife’s rideable, but incomplete, early 1970’s CT1 – 175 Yamaha and some miscellaneous motorcycles and parts of Andy’s. Both of these guys were my mates from our teenage years, when motorcycles and riding was our common bond.

Neither Marty nor I are are into restoring old motorcycles. He’s my main touring buddy (and features in most rides on this blog) and we’ve been great friends for the past 25 years.

We headed off from our rendezvous point in Colac (Vic) which is approx 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Melbourne. Our lunch destination turned out to be the cafe at a distillery in the tiny Western District township of Timboon (Victoria). This is quite close to the famous 12 Apostles and the gas processing plant for the Casino Natural Gas off shore rigs.

Here’s a map of our route starting in Colac at Steve’s place, which is approx 80 klm (50 miles) from my home.

This was a great start to 2011 – thanks fellas!

Ride safe in 2011 everyone!