Back in time ... The Great Australian Ride Send Off - 9 August 2014

Now that university has finished for the year and the Horizons Unlimited Queensland 2014 meeting is over, I have decided to break free from 'the subtle tyrant of time' and go back and finish some photos, videos and commetaries from earlier this year. Thus, there will be a few posts over the next month that will refer to events and rides out of chronological order.

The first one of these is the Great Australian Ride 'Send-off'. Each year a group of riders led by the charismatic Stuart Ball, head off from Byron Bay and cross Australia, through the centre, to Steep Point in Western Australia. For those of us who are not yet ready to tackle such a challenge, we can do certain legs of the journey and this year I joined the send-off from Byron Bay to Tenterfield. It was a great day, a real carnival atmosphere and countless bikes left Cape Byron lighthouse together. The entire event is desinged to be a great adventure and raises funds for the Sids and Kids Foundation in Brisbane. Here is the video of my early morning ride from the caravan park to the lighthouse. If you listen closely you can hear that the bike needs a service and some nuts and bolts need re-tensioning.

I'll be doing another video of the ride from the lighthouse to Tenterfield and trying something different, an audio commetary. Not sure what I will say, I need to think that one through.

Until the next post, ride it like you stole it.

Saturday 11 Oct 2014. Repairing the DR800.

The DR800 is coming together slowly. Spent a few hours today putting it back together. Today was about putting the oil cooler back in after straightening the fins and a repaint using Taubmans White Knight Engine Enamel. Straightening the fins will allow air to flow through the radiator and cool better. A good black paint job using a thin film of paint that is designed for the higher temparatures will allow better heat transfer to the air flowing through the fins. Its important to keep the oil in its best operating temparature on all machines but a more difficult task on air/oil cooled machines as they have no supplementary cooling water/liquid cooling systems to help.

I also spent a few hours on the wiring loom, no pictures as yet as I realise that the last hour was spent soldering several wirings on the wrong side of the frame. In some ways a good things as I get more chance to practice the soldering and its great to know that I can now stop, check, recognize a mistake and fix it before doing something silly like setting the bike on fire.

These two pictures are the oil cooler before repair.

 The last two are the cooler after repair. Its not perfect but much better. Replacements are not available but the late model Suzuki DR650 oil cooler is similar and should fit if ever needed. Another popular ghetto modification is adding a small 12 volt fan connected to either a manual switch or a thermostate switch set to somewhere between 85 and 95 degress centigrade. Something to think for the future.

Friday 3 October to Sunday 5 October 2014. Horizons Unlimited Beaudesert 2015

I've had the photos up for a few days but have held off putting the text up. Its now been a week and some time to reflect. By all reports and many emails, facebook messages and personal chats it was a success and we have touched a few lives. Although Horizons Unlimited is ostensibly all about motorcycle travel, the fact is that its is about taking stock of where you are at and thinking about what you are doing in life. Dualsport riding and adventure travel provides an opportunity to forget about the mortgage, put aside the worries of work and focus on the moment. At the end of the ride you ofte get the chance to enjoy the view and reflect on God's creation and your place in it.

Here is a photo of Mal MacConnell's custom adventure-spec Suzuki DRZ400. A beautifully prepared bike. Look out for Mal's new business called Adventure Bike Australia. I expect it to do very well.

Stuart Ball's KTM990 Adventure. What a beast. Stuart runs the Great Australian Ride, which is a crossing from Byron Bay to Steep Point across the middle of Australia. All funds raised go to the Sids and Kids charity and in 2014 the cheque handed over was for just over $68,000.00.

Lachlan Campbell's display of his custom made hard panniers and top boxes sold as MTD Luggage. Lachlan has been a long time supporter of Horizons Unlimited and the quality of his work is fantastic.

Brian and Shirley Hardy-Rix have travelled all over the world on large BMW bikes. They have released two books, "Two for the Road" and "Circle to Circle'. In the first book, Shirley begins by re-counting how the cancer of her sister encouraged them to re-evaluate their lives.

Chris, what a legend. Will be heading off on his second "Big Lap" of Australia in Ausgust 2015. Chris has been on several ride days with Horizons and nothing stops him. What a legend.

A view of the campsite. Plenty of powered sites, space for plenty more in 2015.

Rachel and Skip came down from Cairns to help out and run the raffle for Aussie Helpers and did a great job. Well done guys and thanks.

Slow bike race. Apparently the ability to balance whilst going slow is a good thing to master. Slow?

On Friday night I gave a quick presentation on Timor. Due to lack of preparation, I forgot half of what I wanted to say. The bottom line is that Timor Adventures provides the opportunity to have a real adventure in a short space of time. One that is really worthwhile and I recommend to anyone. For me it is not a question of if but when, I will be back.