Charters Towers to Emerald
1st hour there were massively long potholes every where. Rain, rain and a cyclone meant the ground is soaked and then some. So the edges of the roads have been ripped to shreds by the duals on all the cattle trucks. Did I mention that it’s very green up here after all the rain?
Don’t plan on stopping anywhere between Bellyando and Charters Towers, because there aren’t any designated stopping areas. Bellyando only serves regular unleaded and diesel. The views coming across the edge of the tablelands from the west is quite special. Coming into Clermont there are just a series of potholes, no roads left to speak of. But one advantage of riding up here is that the thick air and long straights make for excellent economy.
Emerald is a clean town but everyone is walking around dressed in orange, bloody miners. P-platers in brand new HSV’s, Nippon Skylines & Toyota utes. Near the Nogoa River flood debris is high up in the buildings, but it’s all dry now.
Emerald Van Park only has single and double mattresses in their cabins. So if your 6ft or more, be prepared to curl up for the night. No biggy, as the cabin was clean and comfortable.
Another real danger for motorcyclists is the large number of heavy commercial vehicles traversing the highways. Whilst most drivers hate being tailgated, there is an ever present danger in riding close to a road train. Road trains have as many as four trailers, with three axles each, all with duals, plus the prime mover. You are riding behind a group of up to 58 tyres. Before we even get into the physics of it all; the speed of rotation, the force of impact, time to sight the obstacle, etc. Imagine if a tyres tread gets thrown up, over the front of the bike. No don’t that’s just scary.
Remember too; road trains don’t stop for blown tyres, kangaroos, wombats, camels, emus, etc. That plain ribbon of bitumen might change very quickly when following road trains on our highways. Ride safe by increasing that following distance and leaving plenty of room when passing. See you out there.
It seems that many tourists come to Australia and believe they can ride out to Ayers Rock from Sydney and be home for dinner. It just ain’t that easy down under. The incredible distances across, as well as up and down, this great nation mean you have to have an iron butt. Planning trips needs to be organised around fuel stops, because in remote locations there is only diesel fuel. But to the point …
Fatigue on motorcycles is of great concern to all riders. Two hours is the advertised ride time between breaks. Sometimes it will be longer between fuel stops. The heat, the flies, the wind, the flies, the pathetic roads, the flies, the glare of the sun and of course the flies, all add to the riders fatigue. Dehydration is a huge part of planning for a ride in regional and remote Australia. So I thought I’d point you in the direction of some riding wisdom regarding fatigue.
Farriders has an excellent technical article on all of the aspects of fatigue. Read it and implement its recommendations! Till next time, ride on.
The weathers great all year round. The roads vary from flat stick out back to twisting range rides. The bikes are fast, the riders are friendly and the days are long.
Australia is big, damn big. So make sure you bring a GPS navigator and 3G phone. Some days you’ll need every millimeter of that 320km tank range. And 40 degrees celsius is common in summer. Some parts of this great nation will get rain, snow and ice in winter, whilst where I live it rains from November to March – then stops.
So if you’re coming down under and want to know where to ride head on over to another great site: MotorcycleRides.
There you’ll find a great resource compiled by Daniel. There are detailed maps, downloadable GPS co-ordinates, estimated travel times, even videos of local bikers riding their favourite piece of road. It’s an amazing resource and goes to show how friendly we Aussie Riders really are.
Just beware the wildlife here is downright deadly.
It has come to our attention that a vehicle registered in your name has been photographed exceeding the speed limit at road marker 73 on route 239 at 4:59pm on Friday 21st October 2010.
Ever had the displeasure of receiving one of those letters from your local law enforcement agency? Lets not for one minute dream that speed cameras are a blatant tax grab. Especially not the ones at the bottom of the hill. Do you ever wonder if the photos on multiple lane roads with several vehicles get sent to every vehicle in the photo?
Would you believe there are four fixed speed cameras in the Clem 7 tunnel in Brisbane.
Anyway if you are unfortunate enough to be snapped, or pulled over for an alleged breach of the State’s road rules, there is help at hand. Just remember it is an alleged breach, until such time as you admit fault or pay the fine. Do you remember when going to apply for your learner’s permit and memorising The Traffic Act? Uhhhh? Sorry, I meant to ask if you learnt all the various State Laws governing transport? Na, didn’t think so. You studied the road rules. The law, and a highly paid lawyer, will tell you that without a victim there is no crime.
More legaleese can inform you of the need for every speed detection device to have a current certificate which ensures the device conforms with the National Measurement Act. Even the police have laws they need to follow, remember. But do they? How many TV segments have you seen that clearly demonstrate the incorrect use of radar detectors and speed cameras?
Finally, do you have to report any road rule infringement notices to your insurance company? Read the fine print of your policy, or risk losing your cover in the event of an accident.
So I was thinking of blogging about some of Australia’s best motorbike roads. A list of road names, their qualities, distance of ride, some pics or maybe even videos. You know the sort of thing. Take Upper Road 1 for 12km, turn left at First St and follow to Big Rock. Stop for coffee, etc etc etc. But why reinvent the wheel?
Here’s an old blog by someone calling themselves the Iron Chef over at Blogger. So if you are interested in reading about some of the best motorcycle roads in Australia get over to Motorcycle Paradise and check out his reports. It’s all there.
Oh the power of the internet.