Our talks about the trip were becoming more frequent, more detailed and suddenly more real.
Are we really doing this?
So many of the best laid plans peter out to nothing in life, like surfers drinking beers around a fire on the beach promising they too will be there at Bells for the 100 year storm.
Are we the Grommits, or the Bohdi's and Johnny Utah's of this world?
Totally excellent film references aside, we promised ourselves to make this thing happen.
We had to start somewhere and for me that meant learning to ride.
Not learning to ride better, learning to ride at all.
Despite having grown up in Shepparton, I had somehow managed to completely avoid ever even sitting on a moto.
So I signed up for a Learners course and started looking for an old bike.
I wanted something old (read cheap) and preferably in need of a little love; if we were going to be riding these bikes for a year, we needed to know how to fix them.
After only a few days of looking, I found a shiny little 1985 Suzuki GSX250S down in Echuca.
As soon as I saw it I fell in love and the bloke reckoned he could even deliver it to me.
I found some old ugly Panniers in the Trading Post for $100 (what's he asking?) so to learn how the the bike might handle fully loaded and got to working out how to fit them to the bike.
|The Atley Angle Finder|
|TRON at the 12 Apostles|
Using a Gregory's workshop manual I proceeded to tear the bits off him.
New Piston rings
New Valve Stem seals
New gakets all round.
|Tank, Saddle, rocker cover and some body parts|
|This bolt took me nearly an hour to remove.|
|Camshaft bolts. There are 4 per camshaft, 2 were snapped off and sitting loose in the engine.|
|Camshafts, Cylinder head, Carbie et al.|
To get a bit of road experience I threw a tent on the back and hit the road, riding up into the hills of Jindabyne, NSW for a 1600km round trip over 3 days.
|Loaded for the road|
|Testing out the waterproof GPS|
Buying an old bike you don't really need to worry about is by far the greatest way of teaching yourself. Let's hope that none of these skills will be needed.