This weekend marked a big milestone in the Australian long distance riding community with the inaugural meeting of IBA Australia in Parkes NSW. And as is only right and proper (and a requirement for attending) taking the short way to the meeting just wasn’t an option.
So as Parkes is less than 300km from home a longer route was required.
So this was the plan. A small detour via Albury, Deniliquin, and Bourke – a total of 1,684km and meeting the minimum 24 hour ride distance. Russell was joining me on this ride and we discussed a number of timing options and in the end we opted for a relatively late start of 7am on Friday which will see us finishing at around 2am on Saturday morning.
Over the past week Canberra has been consistently under zero degrees every morning so it was going to be a cold ride and all the thermal and electric gear was dragged out. In the end we were greeted with drizzly showers keeping the temperature above freezing. By Albury the sun had come out and the temperature had reached the dizzy heights of 10 degrees.
By the time we hit Hillston for our fifth fuel stop of the day we came across our good friend Ed who was on quite a different ride to us. So for the next hour we shared the road to Cobar before Ed turned off to Nyngan and we continued north to Bourke.
The thing I love about these rides is seeing friends unexpectedly in far away places.
With an ominous warning from the service station attendant of kangaroos everywhere we headed north into the darkness. Riding though countryside like this at night can be unsettling on a bike when the wild life is active and it requires you to be hyper-vigilant.
As we had heaps of time we could afford to just back off and take our time.
While the road to Bourke was clear the same can’t be said for the return run to Nyngan. For the first 100km the roos were everywhere! Just everywhere! In places they were just lining the road. Some content with watching you ride passed. Others were intent on throwing themselves at you. And then one little crazy guy sensed his moment to shine in the limelight, and thrust himself into my spot light. This was his stage and he took full advantage, left, right, left, right and then off. But no this was his moment so back he came for an encore performance. And while all this was happening Russell was being treated to his own show of dancing tail lights with the brakes flashing and dancing left and right.
And just as Russell senses that their numbers had died down he generously took point.
So after a couple of tense hours we enter Nyngan and enjoyed a breather at another servo in the middle of the night.
From Nyngan it was a pretty easy and uneventful 2 hour ride into Parkes where we fueled up for the last time, finishing our ride at 2am. Right on time.
The inaugeral IBA Muster on Saturday was a great sucess. Catching up with so many old friends and the opportunity to meet new friends and swap stories of rides and adventures in our country and rides abroad. We are quite a diverse group from many different walks of life but we all talk the same language … LED, HID, Aux tanks, helmets, fuel range, moving average, overall average, roos. Long distance riding is our language and we love it.
It was also great to hear about the preparation that goes into getting ready for the epic iron butt rally held in the US and some of the ups and down of participating in such an event.
Then the last thing to tick-off before leaving Parkes was a quick spin out to the Dish made famous by the classic Australian movie – The Dish.
Looking around at all the bikes I started to wonder what made the ideal long distance bike. Was it a big full dressed tourer, sports/tourer, or an adventure bike. Does it need a big barn door fairing, an aux fuel cell and heaps of other farkels. Well as the following photos will show there is a wide assortment of bikes and the only real common theme is aux lights. As a long distance rider you will be riding in the night and it’s really nice to be able to see what’s out there.
Like I said it takes all sorts … and their bikes are a real assortment as well.
And then it was time for home. And with only 300km to travel we had plenty of time to stop for coffee and talk about bikes and our next ride.
There’s always time for that.
Escorting the twins home