no politics...just ridin'

Esk, Hampton & Plainland

After a week spent with Kat & the kids down the coast at Yamba I was hanging for a decent ride. I contacted Grizz to see what he was doing on Sunday and he let me know to be at the Goodna Caltex at 8:45. I contacted Koff and he seemed keen but unfortunately had to pull out in the end. Because I had stayed down at Kat's place this meant an hour's ride to get there, so I had a pretty early start. The ride up the M1 was fantastic - very little traffic and not one cop spotted. Took the turn onto the Logan Mwy and again there was very little traffic/no cops all the way out to the Ipswich Mwy and Goodna.

I was suprised to see quite a large group of bikes waiting when I pulled in - it soon became obvious that we were riding with a group of some sorts, as Grizz and Panda were in amongst them. I fuelled up, pulled over to the group and said g'day to them. Poor old Grizz lost a mirror on the way through one of the toll gates - he took off to ride through with Panda, but the gate decided to give him the chop and sheared the mirror off at the mount as well as left a couple of decent scratches in the helmet. I would be hitting Qld Motorways up for repairs!! Anyway, caught up with Kiwi Jim as well as Mike and Lizzy who were the only others I knew. Grizz told me that we were riding with the Social Club or SC - they aren't associated with anyone in particular, just a group of guys & gals that meet once a month for a squirt and a catch up. The majority of the bikes were HD's but there were a few Jap cruisers - even four VTX's - and a couple of sporties. All up I think there were about 25 bikes - I met quite a few of them and they were very welcoming.

After about half an hour the call went out and we geared up and headed off. The first stretch took us out along the Ipswich Mwy, Brisbane Valley Hwy and then we turned off and rode towards Fernvale. The pace was fairly relaxed on this first short stretch giving all a chance to find our place in the pack. Once in Fernvale we pulled up for a short stop to pick up any straglers. I took off before everyone else and pulled up a short distance down the road to try and get a pic of the group. Would have been some great shots as they rounded the bend and headed across the Brisbane River bridge but my camera just wont take progressive pictures so I only got a couple of average lookin shots. After all had passed, I packed away the camera and took off in pursuit. The group had spread out quite a bit with some going for it and others just cruising along. I worked my way through the pack passing quite a few of the tail bikes - that was great fun chasing down the leading group, although I never caught em till we stopped. I was kind of oblivious to the route we took coz I was having so much fun concentrating on my riding - there were some nice long straights with plenty of long sweeping curves thrown in - I was moving.

The lead group pulled up at the intersection ahead and I pulled in not too far behind them. We hung around until all had caught up - this was one aspect that I liked about these guys. Everyone was aware of our next destination but even so, the group waitied at major turns until all had caught up to be sure every rider was still with us. From here we headed in towards Esk. The morning was fantastic for riding - clear skies and quite warm, almost hot. Riding out this way makes you realise how much we are in need of some decent rain. It is just so dry - you dont appreciate it until you get out here and see it - the fields look dead with nothing much green, and with this area being one of Brisbane's major water catchments, it is no wonder we are on water restrictions. Can only hope for rain! Anyway, we rolled into Esk and pulled up at the pub for a few refreshing ales under the shady front balcony. We stayed here for a while - turns out one of the guys had snapped a clutch cable - a few others assisted him in rigging something temporary up and he was able to head off for home.

Headed off from Esk and up towards Hampton along the Esk-Hampton Rd. I again managed to get up the front and stopped for more pics of the group from an excellent vantage point. This route gets better every time I ride it - a fair length shaded by a state forest and stretches of the bitumen have been resealed recently. It is far better than the single lane track that I followed the first time I came up this way. I again set off in pursuit of the pack - this stretch was far more enjoyable as it is a lot tighter than the long straights on the way into Esk and the GSX just loves the curvy stuff. I rode her fairly hard but still well within my limits - this is where I really got to appreciate the extra ground clearance over the VTX as well as the extra power coming off some of the tighter curves. Man it was great. I caught up to the leaders just as they pulled over for a stop at the top. Once everyone had arrived we turned left and headed to the Farmers Arms. They serve a good pub meal here and this is where we stopped for lunch.

We left about an hour later and the majority pulled in for fuel a little further up the road. From here we rode a little further along the road to Toowoomba then took a left turn down through Murphy's Creek. This was a good little detour and my first time on this road - a few steep hills had me grabbing handfuls of brake and at one point I got a scare thinking I was airborne over the bars. She has great brakes and I am still getting used to the grab on them!! We finally found ourselves on the the Warrego Hwy. This is where things livened up a bit - a few of the boys took off and most of the group followed. Was a good squirt along the highway from Hellidon to Plainlands - luckily a bike heading the other way gave us a heads up on a cop car a little further down the road and we reigned it in before they were able to point their radar gun at us. We made it to our destination where we took the overpass off to the pub for another round of refreshments. Really noticed the heat once we stopped here - man it was hot! Got a cold beer and it hot the spot. Didn't hang around too long - what with Grandpa Joe and his band putting us to sleep with the crap they were playing, bikes started leaving. This is basically where the group ride finished up with smaller groups heading back to Brisbane.

We were one of the last groups to head off and once on the highway it was on - Panda decided to take the lead and stupid me tried to keep with her. Of course we all know that Panda is nearly always up for a squirt and she went for it with me tailing her and the others tailing me. I kept thinking about what Grizz always says to me - if you keep with her she thinks your pushing her so she just goes faster. Oh well, I did and it was fun!! Made it onto the Logan Mwy and then headed back to Grizz & Panda's place for a coffee. All up I notched up just under 500kms for the day. Was a great ride with a good group of riders - will be riding with the SC crew again.

The bikes at Goodna

All the VTX's

The group rounding a bend

...more of them as they pass...

....and they ride off into the distance!!


Waiting for the tail enders

In the shade at The Esk Pub

The bikes at the pub

Some of the bikes on the road up the range to Hampton

....and a few more!!

Jim being a typical bloody Kiwi!!



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