A Sunday afternoon ride…….on gravel !!!

Sunday afternoon I decided to head out for a ride, and took the road out to the highway, then after reaching Harwood I decided to head over the bridge and go out to the village of Ashby….it was a nice leisurely ride through the village and then I went down along the water until I was on the other side of the river from Maclean…..

After that I headed back through Ashby, then instead of turning towards the highway, I continued on towards Tullymorgan.

I had done this ride once before on the Derbi, but had stopped once I reached the gravel section of the road…..Here’s the shot that I took that day……the road didn’t look scooter friendly, but the VStrom should handle it with no problems……

And so I punched “Tullymorgan” into the GPS, and a message popped up to inform me that some of the road was unsealed….(DUH, I can see that)….. and so I hit the GO button, and off I went.

What I didn’t realise is that it’s unsealed the WHOLE WAY from this point (above), to Tullymorgan, and then it’s another 20km to the highway (with 18km of that being gravel!!)………And so off I went for a heart-in-mouth white knuckle ride on a dirt road that was in really poor condition due to all of the recent rain…….But I made it out the other side, and now I don’t have to do it ever again!

Even though I ride a dual sport motorcycle, I really don’t like gravel, and my street tyres don’t like gravel, and I’m going to stick to riding on hard, black asphalt!!!    I could have kissed the black stuff when I finally saw it again about 2km from the highway!

Despite the apprehension felt during the journey, there was some nice scenery along the way – sadly I didn’t get a chance to stop and photograph it……(might have something to do with the faint sounds of banjo music that I could hear filtering through the trees…???)

However, I did have the video camera mounted on the handlebars and it was running during the terrifying ordeal gravel section, but I didn’t realise that the lens cover was closed until I reached the bitumen……so all I got was a black screen with audio of the bike (crawling along at 30km/h – the max was about 40km/h) so unfortunately there isn’t any footage for you to laugh at admire, showing my dirt riding skills……

Before setting off on sunday’s ride, I decided that I didn’t want to take the top box with me, it’s quite big, adds extra weight, and after riding without it last week I noticed that the bike handles differently.

But I still wanted to take my tools, rain gear (just in case) and some water……but how could I do that without the top box……and while looking around the garage I discovered my bike cover which I don’t use on the VStrom (as it doesn’t fit….)    The bike cover comes with a bag that it can be carried in, which has shoulder straps allowing the bag to be worn like a backpack.

It is the same width as the pillion seat, and has buckles at the bottom of the straps that can be easily undone…..

and so I simply looped the straps around the pillion grab rails and the rear indicators, pull the straps tight and it’s not going anywhere…..and on the bike it looks like this…..

And so for the trip to work today I left the top box at home (as I didn’t have to carry any files or other bulky items) and just brought the “seat bag” and was able to carry my wet weather gear, tools, tyre puncture kit, work clothes, and my lunch and I was good to go.

Once I got to the office all I had to do was undo the clips, pick up the bag and off I go.    And when using the top box, this bag will fit inside it with all the gear packed and ready.

And so just like my “tank bag” solution, it was a way of making use of something that was lying around the house, and didn’t require me to go out and buy a new piece of gear when I didn’t have to.  I have the topbox when I need to carry larger items for work or carry gear that may need to be locked on the bike.   I’ve got the tank bag for wallet, iPod, phone, keys, etc……and its a no-cost solution to my luggage/storage requirements.

Hope your week is a good one, get out there and stay safe,




~ by anthony on January 24, 2011.

2 Responses to “A Sunday afternoon ride…….on gravel !!!”

  1. I don’t like gravel either Anthony but like medicine, the occasional exposure to it is good for us (whomever said that originally is a fool). Fully empathise you as I’ve been forced into the odd bit of gravel on a sports bike and I ended up rigid with tension on the Blackbird which was a bit tall and a bit too heavy for me. At least you came through it ok.

    Nice bag conversion, very tidy!

    Have a gravel-free week…….

  2. Hi Geoff,

    fully intend to stay clear of gravel for a LONG time!

    have a great week too.

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