Southern Midweek Ride, 1 August

“Oh, We Do Like to Ride Beside the Seaside”

We gathered at Tooradin’s United Servo carpark, greeting and talking in drizzly misty rain.  Terry our leader for today gives us the brief, claiming that we would soon be sitting in the sunshine enjoying morning tea in Balnarring.  We head off being happy to do Tail End Charlie’s duties.  Something different.  There’s only 10 of us on 8 bikes, so shouldn’t be too hard staying together, or rounding up any disobedient corner marshals.  Terry’s done his homework and after we head south and make the turn onto the Tooradin-Tyabb Road, my visor is dry and the sky is clearing.

We take the Westernport Hwy, the Frankston-Flinders Road (C777), do the Hastings dog-leg and onto Bittern.  There’s very little traffic around except as expected in the towns and we got split up a couple of times.  It was very heartening to have a considerate slow van driver out of Hastings move to the left on a safe section of road, and let us pass and catch up to the group.  We give a “thank you wave” as you don’t see much road courtesy these days, and that needs to be acknowledged so that good driver knows it’s appreciated.

We’re soon in Balnarring, queuing for coffee in the renovated Village People Café, and guess what … we are a very happy bunch sitting outside in some brief sunshine enjoying our morning tea!  Terry, the fortune teller.

Back onto C777, we travel through Merricks and past the Point Leo Estate which we have visited, and where you can relax with a glass of local wine as you wander through a rather “quirky” sculpture Park.  Shoreham is next, then a right turn at the roundabout in Flinders to continue on C777.  We are never far from the Westernport coastline and often we could see the water.  From Shoreham on, we’re on one of our favourite parts of this ride, going up and down hills, sweeping through open curves and then out of Flinders, weaving our way along Boneo Road … a lot of fun.

We are now through Cape Schank and take Limestone Road, Truemans Road and Browns Road past the Peninsula Hot Springs resort to Dundas Street and go north to Point Nepean Road at the Bayside suburb of Rye.  We parked in the Rye Pier carpark opposite the food shops with quite a choice for human fuel.  As if I am a young boy again, you can’t go to the beach without having fish and chips, so Shark Shack it is.  Very much enjoyed spending time with the group having lunch at the sidewalk tables in Rye.

Some of the Bikes

Terry is leading the ride on his Honda 2014 VFR.  By his report, he just “loves” that V-4 engine and I can understand why.  It is legendary and about this date it had been developed to have “VTEC” – Valve Timing Electronically Controlled to change cam profile, valve lift and timing by the bike’s computer, giving higher RPM’s, very smooth running and good fuel economy, with the bonus feature of an explosion of extra power above 6,000rpm.

Conor is riding his 1973 Honda CB750 Four in “as-new” condition, complete with the now rare but original 4-into-4 exhaust system.  He pretty much Slam-Dunked the Classic Bike Prize, playing the Japanese Superbike card to trump the others.  The Honda 4’s hit the bike market like a tornado in the early 70’s with many blaming the Japanese 4-cylinder rockets for the demise of the English Motorcycle Industry.  Probably not that simple but certainly significant as the in-line fours from the big 4 (Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki) became the basic platform for modern performance bikes, just as the British parallel twins were in their day.

Triumph has re-established their brand as a “Premium” motorcycle producer, fighting back with high-performance “Modern Classic” twins, and also exceptional triples like Graham’s new “Dual-Sport” 900GT.

Maybe Conor and Graham are discussing 4 cylinders versus 3

Our trip home comprises the Bayside Beach Road out of Rye, idling through Tootgarook, Rosebud and Dromana to the Safety Beach parkland foreshore.  Then down into the “submarine” tunnel under the Aqueduct connecting the Martha Cove residential complex to the Bay.  Here they certainly have a passion for every conceivable type of water-sports craft tied up at their own piers.

Now for our next favourite bit.  We downshift and power up the hill out of the tunnel onto The Esplanade that follows the coastline on top of the cliffs above Port Philip Bay to Mornington.  Easy relaxed comfortable bend-swinging on this “good” re-surfaced road, giving Vicki and Mez on pillion a great view.  Who says you have to go to exotic locations around the world to enjoy a pleasant coastal road with little traffic – how good is that.

We go through Mornington avoiding the main street café hub and past the Mills Beach Lookout to take Beleura Hill Road back onto the Nepean Hwy.  We descend Oliver’s Hill into Frankston for a farewell re-group.  Thanks Terry, for a cracker of a day enjoying both of The Peninsula’s coastlines and member’s friendship.

Ride Safe, David and Mez.

Southern Midweek Ride Participants List for 1st August 2023.

Rider Bike Year
Conor Murphy Honda CB750 1973
Michael Dunne KTM 990 2010
John Killingsworth BMW R1200GS 2011
Terry Hoare (Ride Leader) Honda VFR 2014
David & Mez McLennan (TEC) Triumph Thruxton S 2016
Peter Hanson Triumph Street Twin 900 2017
John & Vicki Best Suzuki SV650 2021
Graham Boulter Triumph 900GT 2022