The unexpected – such as detours and bits falling off your bike – can turn your average Sunday ride into an adventure … for better or for worse. But wait, this story does have a happy ending. And we all love a happy ending!
While any time on a bike is better than just about anything else, it’s also good to mix it up a little bit. However, we all tend to fall into the pattern of following the same old routes every time we go for a ride.
How many times have you passed a road and wondered “where does that go?” If you have tolerant riding partners, turn off and do some exploring. Better still, do the exploring when you are on your own. Then you won’t have anyone complaining about being led up dead ends.
On Sunday we headed off for the typical run from Brisbane to Kenilworth and back. It’s a great route, but it can be a bit tedious in places as well as overcrowded by Sunday drivers. On this particular route I know of at least 10 little detours that loop out from the road and join up again, taking you to more interesting places and roads and away from the traffic.
Some of the roads are a bit bumpy, some are very narrow, one is particularly steep, some go through unfenced areas where you have to watch out for straying livestock and others turn to dirt. While an adventure bike would be best suited, all of the roads can be tackled on just about any bike, so long as you take your time.
For those who live in South East Queensland, here is a list of the detour road and street names to look for which will take you on a nice little sojourn from the normal route: Bygotts/Bunya Rds, Old Samson Rd, Kriesch/Hipathites Rds, Kobble Creek Rd, Armstrong Creek/Lees Crossing Rds, Ocean View Rd, Robinson Rd, Delaney Creek/Dewhurst/Vidoni/Stanford/Neurum Rds, Old Cove Rd, Bellthorpe Range/Gap Rds, Postmans Track/Aherns Rd, Eastern Mary River Rd. There are probably many more detours you could find on your Hema maps or GPS. Be aware that Delaney Creek has some dirt and Postmans Track is very steep.
At the Pit Stop Cafe on Mt Mee, I noticed that the pillion comfort pad on my BMW Vario top box was loose. It had been pointed out to me by a friend on the last ride and I had forgotten to tighten it.
When I got home from the last ride, I had put off the job because – like most BMW routine maintenance – I thought it required several different tools of varying sizes. Why BMW don’t use the same conventional bolt sizes is a mystery. Maybe they want you to buy their expensive toolkits!
(As it turns out, it’s just a matter of five philips-head screws!)
Anyway, I rattled the pad at the cafe and thought it should hold, although at the back of my mind I thought I should probably put a piece of gaffe tape over it to hold it in place, but my friends were keen to get away after a lengthy breakfast, so I didn’t bother.
I didn’t notice it was missing until lunch time in Kenilworth where we also sampled some cheeses at the cheese factory. (In fact, I had sampled so much delicious cheese I was too full for lunch!)
Suddenly my idyllic ride mood was destroyed as I realised my stupidity, laziness and lackadaisical attitude to checking for loose bolts had resulted in losing the pillion pad. Although it’s just a piece of plastic with some foam and a vinyl covering, I knew it would cost an arm and a leg. Even the BMW “off-road kit” for the Vario top box – which consists of a couple of bolts – cost almost $60.
Anyway, I decided that I would retrace my complex set of detours to see if I could spot the missing item. Since most of these roads are in remote areas, I was vainly hoping it hadn’t been run over and destroyed. However, I knew my chances were slim. It could easily have bounced off the road into the long grass on these rough and narrow tracks.
So it was a long trip home that gradually grew more and more depressing.
But this isn’t a tale of woe. It is difficult to be depressed when you’re on a motorcycle on such a beautiful day. And as it happens, I found it!
The pad had probably come off when I lifted the top box lid to get my gear out at the cafe and had fallen on the back seat. It managed to stay there until the first corner at the next detour on Robinson Rd. And there it was, in the middle of the road in pristine condition!
Don’t you love a happy ending?
When I got home, the first thing I did was pore over my bike with a fine-tooth comb – or at least several different sizes of specialised BMW tools – and tightened every nut and bolt I could find. Lesson learned!