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).


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.

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

Day 65 – Hayden To Perth (330 km)

Hmmmm, the last day. There’s still one or two things to do at the start, but the trip is nearly over. No rush (again) though – Ellie was at work and would need to get home before me to let me in.

I started to walk a little yesterday evening towards “Hippo’s Yawn”, but got lost – just a bit – so that was the first destination. This is just another rock formation a little way from Wave Rock (< 1km). Yes – it does look like one:

Just north of Wave Rock is another large granite rock formation. I went for a short walk around these, but it was getting warm already, so I just focused on the aboriginal rock art at Mulka Cave. Surprisingly, there’s no rope, fence, or glass protecting them, and there’s no graffiti. Although, they are only around 400 years old.

OK, hometime. I was still in the wheatbelt, and was in it for an eternity – I knew it was large, but I had no real idea as to how big it was… I was travelling east to west and it’s longer north to south.

I did manage to find every grasshopper/locust (they were small – couldn’t tell) along the way. Those little Messerschmitts would just sit on the road and wait for the bike to approach, then lift off at the last minute. They hit quite hard on the knees, and they made a big mess on the front of the bike.

I knew when I was getting close to Perth: the forests started to appear and the traffic increased.

Then, the metro area got me:

I did a final refuel just before home, with a total distance covered of  22,559 km. I was done.

I had that confused feeling of being glad I was home, but wishing I was still out there. I know I’d only just scratched the surface as the ride was more about getting from A to B, and not about A and B. Ellie & I have lots to cover later.

So, time to start planning the next one. 😉

Day 64 – Esperance To Hyden

First things first – get some cash – lesson learnt. While in town I happened across their local Sunday markets. Since not much else was open I paid a visit. It’s pretty much just like, say, the Freo markets but smaller – and like all other country towns I expect. This though was placed in an area surrounded by some of their older buildings. Nice.

I also managed to pickup a nice lampskin for the bike seat for $55. First one that I’ve found that was large enough and cheap too. 😊

Last night I did a quick Google and spotted something I had to go and see…. Esperance Stonehenge. It was only 12 kms away so why not.

I’d already seen and walked inside (a while back) the original so I had high expectations. I have to say, I was worried on approach as the stones looked like polystyrene or something very fake, but that was the way they were “polished”. They’re made of pink granite from around the Esperance area and were meant to be in Margaret River before the project took a dive and a local rescued it.

They say it’s a replica of what Stonehenge would have looked like 4000 years ago – aligned with Esperance’s solstices instead.

It just seemed odd that it would be here. Anyway, a bit quirky but worth the visit.

Next stop Hyden. The road winds its way through WA’s wheatbelt – much of it yet to be harvested.

It’s a wonder anything grows here… the salt lakes would suggest it’s quite a hostile environment for agriculture.

I arrived at Hyden caravan park (adjacent to Wave Rock) and checked in. The weather was starting to turn foul (of course!) so I quickly unpacked, put up the tent, and went for my first look-see of the wave. It’s a lot higher than I expected (and yes Ellie – I’m wearing those horrible shorts!)…

The small dam at the top – which uses the large sloping rocks above as a catchment area:

The forecast storm was approaching, so I had dinner and climbed into the tent with wind and thunder all around. Tonight was my last night on the trip with just 350-odd kms to go.

It was starting to sink in. 3 years in planning and it was nearly over.


Day 63 – Baxter Rest Area To Esperance (509 km)

The problem with road-side rest areas is that, well, they’re next to a road – and the Nullabor has a steady stream of road-trains 24hrs/day. So, even with earplugs, I didn’t sleep well and woke with the headache. A fistful of ibuprofen did the trick though.

Back in WA time (with no daylight saving) I exited the tent at tweetie-bird time and sunrise, only to find it was still 4:30 fricken AM! I was up, and the other grey nomads were making their noise too so there wasn’t any point trying to go back to sleep.

Continue reading “Day 63 – Baxter Rest Area To Esperance (509 km)”

Day 62 – Ceduna To Baxter Rest Area (896 km)

Ok – this rain thing isn’t funny anymore. Drizzle drizzle. It’s not that I don’t like rain, or mind riding in it (if you have the right gear) but it does make for a slow start in the morning… having to wait for it to stop, rush out from under cover, pack a bit more, rush back under cover, rinse, repeat. Either that or everything gets wet. I eventually had it all done with the 1 thing that wasn’t going to go in the trailer dry and that was the tent itself – absolutely waterlogged. Never mind though – with a bit of sun and wind it dries very quickly so that will happen later tonight.

Ceduna – been there, done that – Eucla here I come.

The rain/drizzle continued sporadically for several hours. A little annoying but it did keep the temperature down. As I mentioned before, some find it boring, but it is an ever-changing scenery.

Continue reading “Day 62 – Ceduna To Baxter Rest Area (896 km)”

Day 61 – Wilmington To Ceduna (534 km)

Horrocks Pass is a short road that winds its way through the Southern Flinders Ranges. It’s a road that I’ve ridden twice before (to and from Adelaide in 2013). Each time the weather was crap at the time, so the views weren’t brilliant.

Yesterday I spent most of the day riding into a storm that also covered Horrocks Pass, so part of my decision to stay in Wilmington was to give it a chance to clear. That was a waste of time.

The road itself was covered by cloud when I woke in the morning, and the rain came a bit later to add something “extra special” to the ride. ☹

I thought of just hanging around some more but that would just waste time, the park wasn’t that interesting, the rain had come, and I could be there for a while. So, bugger it – off I went.

Continue reading “Day 61 – Wilmington To Ceduna (534 km)”

Day 60 – Adelaide To Wilmington (346 km)

I slept well. It was only a brief stay, but it was great to catch up with Derek & Julia again. Ellie & I will definitely be paying them a visit when we come through here… just not sure when.

Anyway, I headed slightly south-east to get to the hills rather than tackle Adelaide’s traffic (even though it was around 10 when I left). It was a warm one… 32 on departure.

I headed up to Mount Lofty (a great name for a mountain)… lots of twisties I wasn’t expecting.

Continue reading “Day 60 – Adelaide To Wilmington (346 km)”