Ian wrote to tell about a recent trip from his home in Sydney to visit friends in Rockhampton, Qld. A total distance of over 1,600km. He had a good bike to do the trip, good roads, what, you might ask, could go wrong? Well, let him tell you!
I recently had the opportunity to do a little trip. My lovely partner was in the UK showing off our newly born son and so I decided to visit a friend I hadn't seen for many years who had just moved back from the west coast to take up residence in Rockhampton. So a plan was hatched to ride from Sydney to Rocky and back. Two days ride up, two days there and two days back. Now, could I have scripted it to be worse than it turned out? Well probably, but not by much!
If you are a Rugby League fan you may recall the weather for game one of State Of Origin (2010). Plenty of rain to say the least.
That’s what I woke to on the day I was setting off; and to say that I had trouble dragging myself out of bed at 5:30am when it was bucketing down is an understatement! Well, I had rain on and off all the way to the border.
I rode through to Toowoomba (just over 900kms), where I bunked down for the night; after watching NSW loose in a Qld pub ... that was fun! (I bet it was! You’d want to cover the number-plate up and pretend you were a local wouldn’t you? Elwyn).
Next day, I rode to Rocky (about 650kms); and to keep the story short, I spent the following two days with a stomach bug which had me on and off the loo far more frequently than I thought humanly possible. Lost over 4Kg in body weight in those two days. I was very close to making the call to fly home, but thankfully I did come good and so was able to make the return trip by bike. (After passing on my bug to one of my hosts).
The return trip was a repeat of the trip up in that the Qld leg was lovely weather, but the NSW leg was wind and rain pretty much all the way. The trusty mount for the trip was my 2000 Moto Guzzi Jackal; which you can see in the photo above. (The pub in the photo – Ian isn’t sure of its location now – was closed when he arrived. Just another disappointment! Elwyn).

Some other facts and figures and what worked.

The Trip Up:
Scone                260k
Armidale        248k
Stanthorpe        250k
Toowoomba        150k
Goomeri        205k
Monto                260k
Gracemere         240k
Total                 1631K's

Fuel - 92.94Ltrs giving 17.35 / Ltr

Some Gear I Used:
My much loved 25year old leather jacket. Australian Made -  MCA is the brand I believe ... not sure they still exist. It hasn't got armour which is the down side, but I do love it ... very comfortable, can always keep warm in winter with it (layers are the key as we know) and never too hot in summer.
Forcefield Pro  back protector. Purchased for the trip. I hope I never have to test it, but it was extremely comfortable. No reason to ever be without it.
Rossi 811 boots. Tested the waterproof claim! I did get some seepage on the return trip. Inspection showed probably through the flag behind the zipper. This being one area where there is no waterproof lining. To put this in perspective, I had a damp sock, wasn't cold at all and was in rain all day. I'm not complaining ... they performed as well as I expected.
Dainese Jerico. Very good. Totally water proof. Only issue was my hands did get cold coming over the bumps around Armidale. But I'm not sure any gloves would have kept me warm there. It was very cold and very wet. Heated grips are the answer I think.
Draggin Cargo + Knee Protectors. Jeans were very comfortable. I was sceptical about the knee armour, from a comfort view point, but I had no issues at all.
DriRider Rainsuit. They are about $100. It did the job, so no complaints. I don't expect it to last forever, but for the money, these are great.
AirHawk Seat Pad.... A gift from the heavens! Enough said.
Andy Strapz - Topsakz. This was the bag’s first trip and it was great. Worked a treat, never moved and looks like a chainsaw would struggle ripping it. Actually when I was showing my mate in Rocky, I said I believe it’s made from truck canvas and his comment was if trucks used that canvas, they'd have a problem at the weigh bridges! I can't remember the cost of the bag ... I know they're not exactly cheap, but worth the money I'd say.
Oxford Tank Bag. This has been with me for a while now and is probably past its best. I would say it falls into the same category as the rainsuit ... cheap but does the job well and I'll be happy to replace it with the same when it does actually fall apart. I guess the only down side is that I have got a couple of scratches on the tank because of it. But I don't think that’s a brand-specific problem.
Well, that about it. Hope you find this useful.

Thanks for the story Ian, and I’m sure your recommendations on gear will be much appreciated by everyone. It’s always good to know what works – especially in such trying conditions!
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