Repost: Oak Flats ride report (now with added pictures!)

Discussion in 'Australian Motorcycles' started by Gary Woodman, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. Gary Woodman

    Gary Woodman Guest

    I was chided for not posting the pictures; so here they are.

    Regular readers will recall that the Oak Flats ride is usually an overnight jaunt, staying
    overnight at the Oak Flats Inn. But the weekend dawned with gusting salt spray and dark,
    dashing sunshine, remnants of a killer whale which hit Port Kembla Beach the afternoon
    before, emptying the water. Considering the wild and disconcerting types in the main street,
    and the absence of anyone to share at least the cost of a bag of fruit, I kept a close eye on
    the road all day, but well before dark, I decided to abandon the overnight tradition and
    re-plan a day ride for Sunday morning at 4am.

    Gaaah! that meant an early start, to reach the lake in time to see anything; I almost managed
    it, leaving home at 4.50am. I soon realised that I'd forgotten my lunch, so the trip to Oak
    Flats was more tiresome and annoying than usual. I stopped at Port Kembla South for fuel,
    then diverted to the 7-11 (a fetching fluoro orange) for a bar of chocolate. I had to wait
    until 10:00 for them to open (warning! they close at noon on Sunday!), but by way of
    compensation, everyone thought I'd been out riding all that time.

    Past Windang, the tar snakes are a little more tenuous, so I passed Primbee in good time, and
    pushed into Mount Warrigal ascent. A little traffic came up, but no dingoes, and none delayed
    my trip down. A few bikers had stopped at Mount Warrigal (some days before - this was way too
    early for them), where one may catch a glimpse of the Pacific; these people have often come
    up from Kiama for a day ride.

    All too soon I reached Central Avenue, then turned off to First Avenue South just out of
    town. This back road is a pearl on the fringe of Lake Illawarra, with sections along ridges,
    up and down hills, some fine sweepers, and enough tight spots and, at this time, traffic, to
    keep one alert. Quickly it seemed, I was in Oak Flats just after 11, 27km and two stops in a
    little over 2 1/2 hours.

    As I see every time I visit, the Windang Market was booming, and it's rarely easy to park a
    bike in the main street. Also having a little difficulty was a fellow with a dune buggy. He
    told me he has half a dozen fine motorcycles in his shed, including some Harleys and
    Triumphs, but definitely no Jap Crap or Kraut stuff.

    By 10am the Fourth Reich were out and about, still stoned from the night before, meandering
    along Windang Road towards Berry, where they stop for a few more beers around midday and,
    suitably re-p*ssed, attempt to ride home again, after handing out a good beating to any
    Ulysses Club member found to be wearing anything resembling rockers; generally losing a
    member or two along the way, which is great, because it means a vacancy is created and some
    hopeful prospect can become a fully fledged member and in good time, be cremated and have his
    ashes housed in the grounds of the clubhouse next to the stone memorial. (Or is that Stone

    I've seen a few on display[2] - Ulysses Club members that is - but never one on the road.
    They are said to have no difficulty keeping up, despite their advanced years, but I reckon
    the riders would have to plan braking moves well ahead.

    Back at the Windang Bridge, I realised my camera had no batteries, so I don't have any
    pictures of that; all the more reason to stay at home.

    After Windang Bridge, the road straightens up quite soon, magic flip-flop country with the
    road snaking straight ahead to Warrawong. With no company, and negligible traffic, it is the
    truest tri-partite relationship, whatever that may mean, between the rider, the bike, and the
    road. With no distractions save the glorious pelicans and scattered prawners, it is a deep
    and compelling dialogue where the rider advances his/her skill one lane-change at a time.

    From Windang the Windang Road leads north, joining the Princes Highway outside Berkeley. But
    I wasn't to get that far. The high country of Berkeley boasts a Buddhist temple, with the
    wind clattering the flags outside and signs that say 'Danger, poisonous snakes', but I am
    slow, built for comfort, not speed, so I head straight home again.

    Back on Shellharbour Road, one's mind wanders a little on a familiar, unchallenging road; the
    biggest distractions here are the splashes of colour marking unofficial shrines to the
    casualties of the local drug dealer Mick and also Boris the Burner, who makes a habit of
    burning down Aboriginal housing.

    But eventually there was the laneway, the hills of Port Kembla Heights, the BHP industrial
    precinct[3], and the Wentworth Lane turnoff that took me past the dumped car bodies and
    pretty much straight home. Another 2km via Hill 60, making a 45km round trip in 5 hours. You
    can't win it in a raffle; the best day ride on the planet. Only the company and cameraderie
    of fellow bikers could improve it; or at least a lead bike while traversing the Bridge. Maybe
    next time.

    Gary (chidee)

    Gary Woodman, Dec 27, 2005
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  2. its so much better with photos
    Biggus La Great., Dec 27, 2005
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  3. Pisshead Pete, Dec 27, 2005
  4. You should be able to do better than an average speed of 9km/h, maybe you
    should ditch the handlebar basket and streamers.

    Brett ;)
    Brett Danvers, Dec 27, 2005
  5. Gary Woodman

    Chainsaw Guest

    It is indeed better isn't it.
    My previous comment was removed. As I said before, it's one of the best
    ride reports I've ever read - and I'm 93 years old.

    Chainsaw, Dec 28, 2005
  6. Been there, done that, Gerry!
    Pisshead Pete, Dec 28, 2005
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