Monday, 13 September 2010
Day ride to Dalton
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Spring has arrived. Almost overnight, fat buds have burst and become blossoms... the temperatures in Canberra have struggled to make 15C, and when the wind drops there's actually some warmth in the sun...there's a strange scent wafting on the air (at my house, it's Daphne Odora; crossing Commonwealth Avenue Bridge it's the hyacinths at Floriade – incredible!)
A dry weekend was forecast for a change, and all the fairweather riders appeared on the roads to make the most of the great weather. And those of us who ride at any time of year smiled, turned off the heated hand-grips and gave them The Nod as we passed them on the road. Great to see the number of bikes on the road increasing!
On Sunday I took the plunge and braved a ride with the VVCMCC ACT. That impressively Alphabet Soup-like name actually stands for something, but I get my Vs mixed up. It's the ACT Veteran, Vintage (or is it Vintage and Veteran?) and Classic Motorcycle Club - or something like that. I don't have any of those things (veteran, vintage OR classic motorbike) but they let me ride along anyway, because they're nice people.
We went to the Dalton Pub (officially the Royal Hotel). Dalton is a tiny tiny little town (population 100) – it's the hometown of my dear friend Mikey A, about 11kms on the other side of Gunning, which is a little NSW town sort of between Canberra and Crookwell. Have a look on the map. There's not much there apart from the pub and the post office.
I ride like such a nanna - I was overtaken by people riding hundred year-old bikes, for goodness' sake! (that's only a slight exaggeration, by the way!) By crikey I was enjoying myself, though. So nice to get out on the road – most of my recent riding has been the commute to school and back, and I always say that commuting is to riding as Macdonalds is to fine dining...
Good weather, nice company... the VVCMCC does things in style – the BBQ trailer was all set up for us at the other end (wow!) and people milled around, talking about bikes, admiring bikes, poking fun at Mark (who was immersed in a bit of Moto Guzzi maintenance) and eating sausage sandwiches. Mega relaxing stuff.
The road home took us – well, me and Mark, anyway!- through Jerrawa. What a piece-of-poo road THAT is! Yes, it's sealed, otherwise I wouldn't have ridden it - but it's an up and down, undulating one lane road most of the way (with a 100km speed limit!) and I was terrified of meeting a ute coming in the opposite direction on one of the many crests on the road.
Mark clearly doesn't know me very well. At the junction that is Jerrawa we had a roadsign and some confusion. And Mark did utter the incredible words “Which way do you think we should go?” And then, when I offered my opinion, he actually accepted it and that's the way we went! Amazingly, my sense of direction didn't take us to some god-forsaken gravel deathtrap, and we got back to Canberra without a glitch (or a map!) Amazing!
Wheeeeee – great day!