Time for new front rubber

I’m a tight-fisted wan*er. I don’t like wasting money and throwing away stuff that is still useful.

I believe I still hold the world record for “most KMs travelled for a PR3 front tyre on an ST1300” – set at 37,425km.

However, winter is here in Perth and we’ve been getting a lot of rain. We’ve not been breaking records, but there have been lots of puddles and standing water on the road. So, safety first.

I’ll be replacing my current front Michelin PR4 with the same (Road 5 GT isn’t available for the ST1300 yet). This one went on just before I started my lap around Australia last year. It’s seen a lot of long straight roads. While I was tagetting the twisties where I could, I’m quite surprised it’s not “squared” off much at all. The photos below show the profile that it’s pretty much had throughout its life. The 6,000+km I’ve done in Perth since my return hasn’t really “rounded” it any more. As you can see – there’s actually still a fair bit left to go too, but again – safety first.

Given some of the road surfaces travelled were as harsh as hell, and the fact I was towing a trailer, I’m not surprised I didn’t set a new record (I was getting < 50% of my typical wear from the rear tyre with the trailer).

I’ll give the same answers to the same question of “how do I manage to do that?” – maintain good tyre pressures (44-ish for me), and I don’t ride like Casey Stoner.

So, drum-roll please… here she is at 30,000km…

A Sweet Farkle – garage door remote

I’ve just completed a pretty easy farkle… for the last 7 years I’ve carried a remote control for my garage door in my bike jacket pocket. As I approach home I use my right-hand (coasting) to push the button. It’s only a summer vented jacket. So, if it’s rainy I’ll also have a rain jacket over the top and, of course, wet-weather riding gloves which causes problem pressing that pesky little button.

So, borrowing a few ideas from the interweb, I can now open my garage door by flashing my bike’s hi-beam:

Now that I’ve done it, I wish I’d done it years ago. Here’s the how-to:

Open up the remote control fob and locate the contact point for the push button (mine has 3 buttons). Trace the circuit and locate a solder joint for each. Solder 2 thin wires to each: be careful as the tracks are super thin. For the wires, I actually used some stripped cores from an old ethernet cable (I’m lazy and cheap). Feed the wires outside the casing and close it back up. Note that my existing button continues to work. Sorry – no photo for this – but I’ll grabe some soon and update.

Connect a lead to the wire coming from the hi-beam switch into the hi-beam relay. See photos from ST-Owners for access to the relay here.  Here, you can see mine (I just used one of these clamps with a spade connector):

Run the lead through the frame and backwards to the area under the seat.

Get a standard horn-relay – it doesn’t need to be high-current as it’s passing bugger-all through it (from a 3V battery in your remote) and wire it up as shown here (forget the fuse):

The capacitor/resistor will ensure that even if you turn on your high-beam (instead of just flashing) then only a momentary pulse is sent to the remote control. If you don’t include the capacitor/resistor and just wire it directly to the earth then running high-beam for a long time may flatten your remote’s battery. The relay, 1000uF polarized capacitor, and 10K resistor will cost <$10 from JayCars.

The wire from the high-beam switch is connected to pole 86 (pink), and the ground pole 85 is run through the capacitor/resistor then to the bike’s ground/frame/-ve.

Then, the 2 wires from your remote control are connected to poles 87 and 30 (it doesn’t matter which as it’s just closing a circuit).

Here’s the finished product (just a working prototype – I will clean it up, make sure contacts are insulated, etc…. one day, maybe).


My bed

Soon after we got home from Brisbane we got our new bed… King size, and nice and firm but soft at the same time.
Looking forward to it again… I’ve slept very badly here in the hotel.

Another visit to Adelaide

This is my 2nd visit in 3 weeks – working on a little gig for SA Water – checking out their disaster recovery environment.

Weather good, not that I’ve been able to look around much – way too much work on. When I’m not sick, I’m working in the hotel room. 🙁

It’s OK though – a few months ago I was kinda wondering where the work would be coming from… not a good thing approaching hte company’s end of  FY – need to avoid the growing target on my back.

Now there’s about 5 things in the pipeline.

From Sidney, …

Sidney says this is for the most incredible Mr Fox adventure of the year, although in this case quite possibly of the decade, and there have been quite a few. This year the award goes to Uncle Rob & Mr Fox no.16 a.k.a. Ozfox for their three-month 20,000km circumnavigation of Australia and Tasmania. It is something that will never be repeated and apparently Uncle Rob and OzFox are now umbilically linked, much to the annoyance of Auntie Ellie, he says.

Made it to Moorooka

Today was a lot easier… slightly shorter distance and the temp was only a top of 30.

I was intending to stay with JK on the Sunny Coast but Grace managed to arrange the keys early for me.

So, I’m in her flat and have emptied her stuff onto the loungeroom floor. Getting the keys early makes it a lot easier as I don’t have to worry about dumping it somewhere when I grab the gals from the airport in a few days.

I’m without power and therefore there’s no aircon. However, I’ve had a nice long dip in their very nice pool, showered, and am now sitting in the gentle breeze on the balcony with no bugs.

I’m thinking I might move the camping mattress out here for the night… lovely!

I’ll post up some piccies of the place tomorrow when I have daylight.

Yep – mad.

I’m at the end of day 3, and won’t need day 5… arriving in Brissie tomorrow. I must admit – while there’s been a lot of driving – it hasn’t been that hard.

Plans being plans – real life didn’t follow…

Grace’s little Suzuki Swift was packed to the ceiling – with my stuff taking up the front seat. I’d taken a minimal selection of camping kit to keep the cost down, but I only need it for 5 days (I thought) and I’d have to bring it back on the plane so it was only the bare essentials.

I left home on Friday (Australia Day) at around 5:45 – so pretty much on time… heading out of Perth via Roe Hwy. As I took the exit for Great Eastern Hwy I found myself 6 cars and 2 semis back from a train taking up 2.5 lanes… yes – a train. Doing around 30kph I thought 5 days may not have been enough.

We all crawled along for about 20 mins when they finally pulled over and let the hundred or so of us by. Brisbane here I come.

I was aiming for camping around Balladonia (around 900km). It didn’t take long to realise that I’d be there way before dark so I figured I’d go as far as possible… probably Caiguna (Halls Creek’s close relative). I got there, with still more time to come.

After doing a few calculations to allow for Central Western Timezone, my weather app’s sunset times for Eucla, and also a phone call to the motel in Madura I decided it would be worth the extra drive to get ahead. Unfortunately, I didn’t allow for the roadworks along the way. Work crews seem to like closing the entire road at the end of the day so they can put away their trucks, etc. In the end, I arrived well into dusk – a big no-no for me in the countryside due to the wildlife. I was only doing around 80kph on arrival.

Not a great motel, but for $50 I wasn’t complaining. With nearly 1400km completed on the first day I immediatley started to think that a 5th day may not be necessary.

Up bright and early I aimed for Port Augusta. At one of the fuel stops along the way I checked the tyres. The rear left was nearing its end-of-life (having been left on the front too long for Fangio’s driving style). Like my recent lap of Oz on the bike, I started to worry about it – needing a new one in the middle of nowhere is one thing – blowing it out is another. It was Saturday, so I was hoping a tyre shop in Ceduna would be open (it’s a common size). Nope. Hmmm – this might be fun.

On to Port Augsta. Problem is I’d be there on Saturday night/Sunday morning and it’d be unlikely that a tyre shop would be open – I didn’t want to waste a day, but I may have no choice.

Hot, hot, hot! Soon after I left Madura the temp climbed and sat at around 40 for most of the trip, hitting 43 for quite a bit – with humidity climing too. However, Grace’s aircon worked a treat… quite possibly since 75% of the cabin space was taken up with her crap so it didn’t have much air to move around. I refuelled in Kimba: under cover I honestly felt like I was getting burnt it was that hot.

Another motel in Port Augusta – better, and more pricey ($90). Before I left Perth I was worried about the heatwave striking south-east Oz at the moment. There was no way I was going to be able to sleep in a tent and drive the distances I need to drive. So – hotels were required (and the camping gear wasn’t).

I woke on Sunday morning early, checked the internet for tyre shops that might be open in Broken Hill (maybe 1), then I checked the forecast for Port Augusta – 46 today. Time to get outta Dodge. It was only going to be 42 in Broken Hill (!).

The road from Port Augusta to Broken Hill must be Australia’s kangaroo graveyard – hundreds (literally) of fresh meat along the way. At one point I felt like I was on the Esses at Bathurst – the little Swift wasn’t going to go over many of them, so I had to go around.

In Broken Hill I checked for the tyres shop whose Google page suggested it might be open – nope. However, the tread on the rear tyre was OK so I was confident I’d make the whole trip without any problem (but will keep checking).

Hot, hot, hot still – and I was looking for longer times in the car so no touring of Broken Hill (Mr OzFox will have to come back some other time).

As I was leaving – about 1 block from the central/main intersection in town I passed a herd of goats just roaming the streets…. never seen anything like it.

The road from Broken Hill to Nyngan (where I am now) had fewer kangaroos, but loads of sheep, goats and emus. Here’s a little family:

The temp sat at around 42 for most of the day – and at around 21 inside the car. The Suzuki Swift is a brilliant little car. It’s only a 1.4L auto, but it hums along at 110 very easily. I’m 186cm and there’s plenty of room for me. The cruise control tries to kick it down a gear (where it screams) going up some hills so I had to keep on top of that. As a form of transport it does have 2 wheels more than it really needs, but airconditioning is a nice accessory.

On to Brissie tomorrow.

Am I mad?

OK, to help Grace relocate to Brisbane for her studies in musical theatre, I’m driving her car across from Perth. It’s actually cheaper that putting it on a truck/train cos: I have to fly across anyway (so I save an airfare) for registration in QLD (cos it’s a lease it has to stay in my name, and I have to be there); being a novated lease the fuel is tax deductible, etc.

So, roughly 4,500km in 5 days is the target – no night-time driving. My only fear is the hot weather experienced in south-east Oz at the moment.

When I arrive, it’s: new tyres, service/safety inspection, rego.

I’ll be packing a cordless screw driver to help with assembly of flat-pack furniture.

Wish me luck.

Follow me on Spot here.

My lap – a quick summary

I’ve been back for a fortnight now. I’m back at work, but wishing I wasn’t. Before I forget, here’s a quick summary of the trip – numbers and commentary…

Days 65
Total Riding Distance (from ODO) 22,559
Fuel (Litres) 1,324.25
Fuel (Total Cost) $1,876.36
#of Refuellings 89
Average $/litre $1.417
Most expensive fuel $1.886 (Balladonia, WA)
Cheapest fuel $1.215 (Peterborough, VIC)
Average distance between refuellings 250.65
Longest day’s ride 896km, 9h10m
Average distnace/day 347
Nights 64
Nights in tent 45
Nights in hard accommodation 19
Times tent was pitched 43
Days not relocated “home” 6
Best Road Surface Bathurst Racecourse
Worst Road Surface Karumba to Atherton
Best Ride
Hobart to Bothwell, via Gordon Dam & Lake Pedder, with Diesel
Worst Ride Approaching Alexandra – cold and wet through
Best Twistie Too many to separate
Best Camp/Caravan Park Esk Caravan Park
Worst Camp/Caravan Park Halls Gap Caravan Park; Baxter Rest Area (near Balladonia)
Biggest Riding Mistake
Going up a very steep & narrow one-way road in Thredbo with trailer
Worst Oh-F**k! moment Wind blowing bike over on first day, even before tent was up
Worst Equipment Failure Brake pads @ Geelong
Luckiest Moment Discovering brake pad problem before damage
Best Day Visit to Gordon Dam & Lake Pedder with Diesel, finished with camping in Bothwell, bottles of plonk, Spam, and great company.
Worst Day Day of cold/rain from Khancoban to Alexandria, having missed Great Alpine Rd
Biggest disappointment Not being able to ride the Great Alpine Rd due to weather
Best Place Tasmania as a whole
Scariest Moment Kangaroo u-turn in front of me near Karumba
Funniest Moment Brief discussion of pendulous testicles with Diesel
Hotest Day 39c & humid – Lake Argyle to Katherine
Coldest Day 7c – Khancoban to Alexandra
Best View
Mount Wellington, Lake Pedder, Gordon Dam, Wineglass Bay