Miss Scarlett Goes for a Ride

Something a bit different from my usual offering of sewing, gardening, cooking and photography. Well, ok, maybe a bit of photography.

Miss Scarlett Thunderbolt is on her shake-down trip.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.02.02 pmIt’s about 800km/500miles from home in Mackay to Cairns. We did that trip on Tuesday. It took 12 hours, a fair bit longer than we expected, but we underestimated how physically demanding such a long trip is, and we needed to take more breaks than we would in a car.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.03.41 pmYesterday, we did about 300km/186miles, part of which was the 19km/11miles of steep uphill climb up the very, very winding Gillies range, containing just over 360 bends. Motorbike heaven… Today, we’re taking the Captain Cook Highway north past Port Douglas, turning west inland and up the range on the Mulligan Highway, back south on the Atherton Tableland to Mareeba and Kuranda, and then back down the winding Kuranda range and into Cairns.

On Friday, we do the return journey to Mackay. This time, we’ll be starting really, really early so that we’re in the home stretch when the temperature is at its hottest in the early afternoon.

We’ve learned a few things along the way about the bike, and doing trips of this sort.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.04.09 pm Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.04.36 pmThe first thing is that Miss Scarlett can handle anything we throw at her. Fast, slow, steep or curly, she’s happy and tells us so, singing a growly song of joy along the highways and back roads. She looks after us very well.

The second thing is that we really shouldn’t be doing trips like this at the hottest time of the year. On the journey up here on Tuesday, the temperature reached 39ºC/102ºF. We were wearing jeans, boots, gloves, helmets and armoured jackets. Bonkers…

The third thing is that it’s perfectly possible to pack and carry everything we needed for 4 days away in her two panniers and one large top box, with a small shoulder bag each. And that included camera, laptop, phones, chargers, toolkit and spares, compressor and tyre repair kit.

Finally, although we have comfortable seats with air cushions on top, we need to get off and walk around every couple of hours just to let the blood return to our numb bums! It’s not backs or legs or hips that get sore, just our bottom bones…

We’re planning a longer and further trip in March, when we’re attending the national rally of the Australian ST Owner’s Club in Toowoomba. That’s about 1200km/750miles, plus we’ll be going down to visit my sister and friends in NSW first, so it’ll be even further!

Who knew it was all going to be so much fun…?


29 thoughts on “Miss Scarlett Goes for a Ride

  1. Wowee. Wot, no sewing machine? (just kidding) This is a fabulous trip.

  2. Wow, wow, wow – you little biker chick!

  3. nanster says:

    I am glad your hips tolerate !! How much fun !!

  4. tialys says:

    It all sounds wonderful – apart from the heat!
    That Miss Scarlett is a beauty isn’t she – and she looks so clean!

    • katechiconi says:

      The heat is indeed the only downside, so I think we’ll be waiting a little till the weather moderates before we take another long trip. Miss Scarlett is a gorgeous girl, but not especially clean any more – she’s covered with squished bugs!

  5. Totally bonkers in that heat! Glad it is a great trip in spite of the weather.

    • katechiconi says:

      For a nice change from the heat, we got soaked to the skin – twice! – on the journey home. I can’t quite work out why I was having so much fun, but I was! I must confess, though, that it’s lovely to be home and doing something domesticated instead of hurtling around FNQ at a million kph, beautiful as it was…

  6. the only bike I want to ride is one with 3 wheels and I’ll be the one driving !! lol ! have fun !

    • katechiconi says:

      We’re saving that for when we’re a bit older and not quite strong enough to hold up a 300kg motorbike. Once there are three wheels, I shall be fighting for the right to drive it myself every so often!

  7. EllaDee says:

    Sounds fun but daunting distances and heat, for me anyway, although the G.O. would be up to it. One of the great thing about bike trips is you stop and enjoy, and are closer to the passing scenery 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      The heat was a bit excessive. Which is why we won’t be planning such a long trip again for this time of year. The distances didn’t seem so great, Miss Scarlett is very powerful and fast and covers the ground at a very unladylike pace. You’re right about the scenery – one of the things I like best is catching the smells and scents of the places we pass through. Of course, there’s always a downside, in this case, roadkill!

      • EllaDee says:

        I showed the G.O. your post. He was most impressed “nice bike”, with the trip and the kms covered. I can’t ride much in the heat, maybe the 30kms into town if it’s early in the day and I’m just wearing jeans, tshirt & joggers -so not something I do regularly!
        Exactly! I love the smells but roadkill sucks…

      • katechiconi says:

        Which is exactly why we won’t be doing another long one before the heat starts to moderate a bit in March. But we’re both wishing this morning that, despite being saddle sore, we were back on the bike…

  8. rutigt says:

    Beautiful!!! I like that red machine 🙂 My DH is green of envy. He would really like to have one himself!

  9. Kirsten says:

    Sounds like fun, apart from the overly sweaty-ness of all that gear in those temps!!

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s actually not too bad at high speed, but you do have to make sure and stop in patches of shade, and whip the helmet and gloves off pronto! Those jackets are actually a fine mesh, with armoured elbows, shoulders and spine, so cooler than they look!

  10. Ha! This was fun to read. My son finally sold his last one because his knees were giving him trouble. His dad always had a bike too. I tried to learn to drive one but my instructor was a knucklehead. (husband) Aunty and cousins live in Toowoomba! Have always wanted to go visit them..;(

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve had my motorbike license longer than the Husband, got it when I was living in London many years ago, learned to ride in the middle of London traffic.
      Toowoomba is beautiful, and I think a visit sounds like an excellent idea! If you come, we will come down and see you, it’s only 2 days’ drive away…

      • Don’t hold your breath on the visit. But I’ll let you know if that becomes a possibility. 🙂 Aunty has Alzheimer’s so it’s not likely. It’s funny how we can do anything when we are young. Knucklehead tried to teach me in the back yard. Even the kids though he was an idiot for that. I was so willing to learn though. 🙂 Maybe in the next lifetime. 🙂

  11. simonroma says:

    Lovely trip and photos thanks sounds like fun!!!! I love to tour here in Europe and my trusty Yamaha FJR is a great tool too, she even has cruise control. Bye!!!

    • katechiconi says:

      Bike touring in Europe is a very different proposition; you have so many great trips within reach. Here we have to travel huge distances to get from A to B, so everything needs a lot more planning and careful supplying! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  12. simonroma says:

    Ps motorbikes keep us young I am sure of that. At least young at heart.

    • katechiconi says:

      Young at heart for sure, but my hips and knees might argue the toss… Never mind, we’ll be riding her till neither of us can clamber aboard, and then it’ll be time for some sort of land yacht and a mounting block!

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