It’s 2017 so back on your Bikes, Matey’s !
New Years Day, team wiljen go for a ride around Rockingham with Mandy, she is keen to do a section of the Munda Biddi.
5th January 2017, Thursday.
Jenny goes for her Unrestricted Motorcycle Licence.
Last blog post l mentioned that Jen was keen to get her “Big Bike Licence”.
Prior to our 2 month Indian Motorbike Tour, we picked up a very low kilometre 2014 purple, 883 Iron Sportster, Harley/Davidson. We aren’t huge fans of the “Harley” marquee but on this particular occasion the positives out weighed the negatives.
The major positives are, it does not have an overly powerful engine, it has a low seat height, it’s not too heavy for the smallest of the USA built Harley’s (250kgs), still has stock standard pipes & suspension, very reasonable purchase price & exceptionally good resale value. Oh did I mention Jenny loves the colour purple !
Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to take the victory photo of Jenny achieving her unrestricted bike licence. After a few short years she has come a long way. Great effort Jen, I’m proud of you & love you. W
To be fair it actually isn’t too bad a bike, enjoyable & fun to ride, handles better then you would think. The only thing we dislike is the indicator set up. It has a switch on each side of the handle bar i.e. left side for turning left, right side for turning right. It is suppose to also be self cancelling, but doesn’t always cancel out after the turn, so you need to always double check. Most other bikes have a combination toggle switch on the left hand side of the handle bar that you operate with your thumb & cancel manually. We think this is a better set up, though it is what we are accustom to so we are bias.
The only other issue is that the solo seat isn’t overly comfortable after a couple of hundred kays, but that’s not really a big deal, easy enough to replace the seat and it’s not intended to be a long distance touring bike as it only has a 12.5 Litre Peanut style tank that only gives you a range of around 250kms.
On the morning of Jenny’s motorcycle assessment we are up at 6am, we have some breakfast & coffee, then go for a 40 minute practice ride. We top up with fuel, do some tight slow speed turns & practice some emergency braking techniques.
Then at 7.45am it’s over to the Mandurah Licensing Centre. Jenny is super nervous, the Assessor comes out on a small quiet Yamaha 650, you can almost read his thoughts as he casts his eye over the purple & chrome Harley.
He has that look of contempt, not to worry he takes out a rider intercom system for Jen to use, but his mood soon improves when Jenny says she already has one installed on her helmet. After a short period of time the Assessor & Jenny have their Sena intercoms paired.
So off they go, the stock standard Harley pipes burbling away, with the quiet Yamaha in hot pursuit. As luck would have it the Assessor took Jenny to exactly the same spot that we had practiced the tight turns & emergency stops on numerous occasions (I knew there was a 50/50 chance that he would take her there). Then they rode around the City of Mandurah. The only thing he could fault Jenny on was on one occasion she didn’t cancel her indicator in a timely fashion (as written above, bloody poxy Harley Davidson indicator design !) & on a couple of occasions she stopped slightly to close to the car in front of her at the traffic lights.
They both arrived back at the Licencing Centre about 10 minutes earlier then expected (usually a sign that something has gone wrong & you have been deemed as not yet competent).
They both head inside while I wait patiently out in the car park. The Assessor had a complete poker face & said to Jenny “well it’s quite obvious you know how to ride, you have passed”. He then ran through the couple of minor issues during the test & some other general bike safety tips, but he was very happy to sign her off.
Well done Jenny, welcome to the world of real bikers, you’ve definitely earned it !
Munda Biddi, mountain bike trail, Donnybrook to Donnelly River.
8/01/17 Sunday to 13/01/17 Friday.
The MB Crew:
yours truly Team wiljen, now aged 47 & 46 respectively, still learning, not much cycling over the past 12 months. But have completed a couple of multi month long distance tours in 2015. Jenny’s right knee still causing her grief after last years operation. So mentally fit but physically only average fitness.
Bikes: Both English built Thorn Nomads by SJS Cycles, identical bikes except for different sized frames, measured to fit us. Steel Framed with S&S couplings, chain driven 14 speed Rohloff Speed Hub, 26 inch wheels. Heavy Duty, Expedition Style Touring Bikes. 2012 model, price of purchase….expensive !
Will & Jenny’s 5 year old Thorn Nomad Expedition Touring Bikes, they have only done about 9000kms so far, more long distance riding required.
Max 54yo of Cycloaustralis ,experience level “Extreme”, just finished 18mths, 13000km. So very fit.
Bike & Trailer combo: Dutch built Santos Travel Master, 29 inch wheels, Expedition Touring Style, alloy & custom frame (sized to owner). Drive train 14 speed Rohloff Speed Hub with Gates Belt Drive. Cyklorama.se prototype trailer from Sweden, (BOB style). 2015 model. Cost, very expensive.
Max loves his Santos, says the Rohloff, belt drive combo is brilliant.
Mandy 42yo (Jenny’s younger step sister), keen & fit, ready to ride, but just starting out. Looking for a new lifestyle. Previous longest ride, about 20kms on the coastal plain near Rockingham.
Bike: Liv Brand, 26 inch wheels (cheap & cheerful Chinese brand). Steel Mountain Bike Style with front suspension & derailleur gears. 2014 model. Price, low end, very affordable.
Mandy’s Liv bike performed well & completed the whole 110kms with out any major problems.
Barry 68yo (retired), lots of hiking experience & regular road cyclists “the young old bloke”. Often rides 100kms plus on paved cycle paths. Very fit.
Bike: Avanti, 29 inch wheels, medium valued Alloy framed Chinese Mountain Bike with front suspension & derailleur drive train, 2013 model. Possibly the best suited bike for the MB out of the 5 bikes on our tour.
Barry’s bike went well until it was unfortunately damaged near the end of our ride by a stick.
What I’m trying to portray here is it doesn’t matter your age, skill level or how expensive your bicycle is, anyone who has reasonable health & fitness can do this ride. They can ride the whole length if time permitting or just do it in sections. The overall ride from Mundaring (Perth) to Albany (approx. 1000kms) takes the average person 28 days. It can be done in 10 days if you travel light & are super bike fit.
8/01/17, Sunday. 2kms. We set up the pieces of the puzzle for a successful 3 day ride along the Munda Biddi Off Road Cycle Trail (MB) . The Crew all arrive early at “Casa wiljen” we load up Mandy’s small Hatchback & our Land Cruiser, which also had our trailer hooked up.
Heading out at 9am we head for Donnybrook via Bunbury about 150kms away.
Land Cruiser & Trailer all loaded up for the 150km trip to Donnybrook.
Once at the Transit Park in Donnybrook we unload the vehicles & set up camp.
Jenny & Mandy are in the Hatchback & the 3 Blokes travel in the Land Cruiser. At 11.30am we arrive at Donnybrook. You need to head for the local BP Service Station to book into the Town Transit Park. Mario the owner at the BP Servo had earlier said it would be ok to park one of the vehicles out at his place (Thanks Mate).
At 1.30pm Mandy & I head off in both the now unloaded cars for Donnelly River, about 90kms south of Donnybrook. Once at Donnelly we have a quick chat to one of the staff, Andrew & he shows me where to park the Land Cruiser & Trailer. We have also booked one of the old Mill Houses for one night for when we arrive there on Wednesday.
After parking up the Cruiser with the fridge still running packed with food & beer. Mandy & I head back, while we both do the car shuffle the other three sort out food & drinks, they found an old foam fruit packing esky with a lid so load it up onto Max’s bike trailer, buy some ice and other evening essentials. Mandy & I get back into Donnybrook around 4pm, we arrive at the Transit Park & find our camp site deserted. It doesn’t take long to figure out the other three are all down the Pub !!! Mandy & I grab our bikes and head into town for a well deserved coldie at the Apple Tree with the rest of the team.
After a communal BBQ dinner & couple of beers we were all in our tents by 8.30pm.
Barry cooks up a storm on the BBQ, while the ladies sort out a salad… Max & I help by cleaning up.
9/01/17 Monday, Donnybrook to Jarrahwood, 44kms, max temp 35C. Depart at 8.30am.
It was a hard ride to Nala Mia Hut in Jarrahwood. Lots & lots of tough sandy sections. At about the 30km mark the four newbies were struggling so Max bought out the big guns, “Salted Plums” to give us all a boost. They were hard core, Baz & Mandy weren’t to sure about them but team wiljen thought they were ok. We all had a laugh at our screwed up faces…..good one Max.
A bit further on Max thought we were on the wrong trail, his GPS was indicating a different trail. Jenny was certain that we were on the correct path, she distinctly remembered crashing on that particular sandy section two years earlier. I was 90% sure Jen was right. After a quick team “committee” meeting we decided to continue on for another 500 metres and happily found the next MB trail marker sign. Keep in mind it’s 2pm in the afternoon and bloody hot ! Arriving at Jarrahwood felt so good !
That night we all slept out together in the trail Hut without our tents.
10/01/17 Tuesday, Jarrahwood to Nannup, 27kms, Max temp 31C. Easy ride along converted Rail Trail, loose gravel but still good going. Depart at 7.50am arrive 11am. Lunch at Blackwood Cafe. Staying in the Nannup Caravan Park. Had dinner at the Nannup Hotel, while watching 20/20 Big Bash Cricket, how easy is that !
11/01/17 Wednesday, Nannup to Donnelly River, 38kms, max temp 35C. Departed at 7.35am. Lots of up hill riding but generally good surface, checked out a 3.5 acre property 8kms out of Nannup on East Nannup Road (but no good). Stopped at Willow Spring after riding 25kms for an early lunch at 10.45am. A top notch little hidden free camping site.
Back on the gravel roads, we need to keep an eye open for Logging Trucks, 3 of them past us.
Max’s Blog : https://cycloaustralis.wordpress.com/
At the 30km mark, Barry was powering up hill on the track & a stick became caught in his drive train, smashing the derailleur tension sprockets (we were still 8kms out from Donnelly River). It was a bit of bad luck & disappointing for Baz.
After another team meeting between us all to scope out what the best extraction plan would be, we came up with a solution.
Max worked out the coordinates on his GPS for a place a car could reach which was about 1km back. At 12.45pm Jenny, Mandy & I head off, we spent the next hour riding the 8kms, we continued riding up lots of hills on tight tracks through the forest in mid 30C temperatures to Donnelly River. When we arrived at Donnelly both Jen & I were pretty much down to our last mouth full of water (I had left my emergency water supply with Barry & Max), Mandy still had about a litre of water.
We sorted out a Timber Mill Cottage, collected the Land Cruiser & Trailer then I headed to the prearranged coordinates to find Max & Barry. The tracks are pretty confusing out there in the forest & I spent about 10 minutes extra just trying to orientate myself using the Munda Biddi map & our highway based Garmin vehicle GPS (i.e. it doesn’t do off road tracks). Finally at 3pm I saw Baz on the trail happily flagging me down.
After loading up Dreamy & Slack Chain into the trailer we all headed back into Donnelly.
Mandy had a family issue so needed to head off, Jenny drove her back with her bike to Donnybrook. Just after 7pm Jen arrived back into Donnelly. We celebrated the completion of our 110km ride along this section of the Munda Biddi with a BBQ, Salad & beers.
Thanks Max, Baz & Mandy for coming along, you are all great company & fun to ride with ! Good job Jenny, setting up the ride !
12/01/17 Thursday, Donnelly River, Raining & 21C Max temp, it’s suppose to be mid summer ?
So what do 4 people do, when they no longer work in regular employment & they find themselves in a historic ex-Timber Mill Town ? They have a quick meeting & decide to stay another day !
First up Jenny & I went “old school” & used a nearby pay phone to ring our son Hayden for his birthday, there is no mobile phone or Internet reception out here.
Later we went into Bridgetown to pick up some supplies & catch up with our friends Julie & Jon. Then back to the cottage at Donnelly River, another BBQ & more good conversation over a beer while watching the Birds, Emus & Kangaroos. I know it’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
We check out the dam (& water supply) for Donnelly River, actually quite full.
Lots of friendly wildlife come to check us out.
13/01/17 Friday, Donnelly River to Mandurah. By Car. 225kms, via Nannup & Bunbury.
We all are up around 7.30am, enjoy a few coffees, have some breakfast, pack our bikes & gear into the car, tidy up the Mill House. We head out of Donnelly River just before 10am.
Along the way we have to stop a couple of times to readjust the load, after a few hours we arrive at Barry’s & Shirl’s house, help Baz unload his gear then head back to our place with Max planning on staying the night.
Max volunteered to cook us all dinner but needed some supplies, I couldn’t be bothered getting the Land Cruiser out again so we took the Super Tenere Bike. Max has absolutely no safety gear so Jen & I lent him some of our stuff. He did look very metrosexual with Jenny’s helmet & bike jacket on. Very funny !
I don’t usually ride my bike with a bloke on the back, like never ! Still beats taking the car.