Sunday Ride, 23 June

“Motorcycles in the Mist”

Up Springvale Rd heading north, we see 2 bikes ahead and they look classic.  We pull alongside at Williamsons Rd – It’s Conor and Kay Murphy on their Honda CB750’s so we become a trio riding through Templestowe’s mist to Greensborough.  We are fans of the later start time as winter sets in, with low temps in the morning.  We’ve got nothing to winge about, Bayside was 6degC, as other members from areas like Lilydale, the Dandenong Ranges, Gippsland and even just down the road from Greensborough at Viewbank, have had recent overnight temps of 1 or 2degC!  You are a hardy bunch.

The Greensborough Gathering. On the left is Robert Van Lohuizen’s Suzuki GS850 and Graham Boulter’s Yamaha XJR1300. Pre 2000 Superbikes

Greensborough. The Honda CB750 Showroom as Conor and Kay get rugged up for the cold ride day ahead.

21 bikes on today’s ride.  A great classic selection – everything from Keith McCracken’s Honda 1300ST that you have to call BIG, down to Phil Young’s Suzuki DR trail bike that is TINY in comparison.  At the Greensborough gathering, I am admiring Steve’s 1972 CB750 “Goldilocks”, Conor’s 1973 with deep rich brown paintwork and Kay’s 1973 custom “Silver Bullet”.  It’s like standing in the Honda showroom in the packed Melbourne Motorcycle Mecca of Elizabeth Street on a Saturday morning in the early 1970’s.  It was my weekly pilgrimage to Modak and don’t tell my Triumph, but I lusted after the CB750 superbikes on display.

The day was cold with the morning temps from 4deg to 9deg as we progressed through low cloud, fog and thick mist, up and down the hills.  Just about the only activity you can do with this much clothing on is ride a motorcycle, and I am feeling as big and inflexible as the Michelin Man

John K (Leader) briefed us with Phil Young doing TEC as we head off to Plenty, Yarrambat, Arthur’s Creek, Cottles Bridge and on to Yarra Glen

Greensborough. Phil Young (left) in front of his “ill-fated” Suzuki DR “Tail-End mount” with Phil Pilgrim, looking forward to the ride.

Yarra Glen blanketed in low cloud/thick mist. A bit different to the Greensborough sky.

Descending the Eltham Road twists and turns, we broke through a low cloud layer into a thick misty blanket covering Yarra Glen, but coffee is close!

We crowded into The Yarra Flats Baking Co Café and while orders were made, members were intrigued as to why Steve Inman was wondering around waving a very large kitchen spatula!  No, he is not cooking the morning tea, but rather, the café’s key to the public toilet is attached to the spatula!   No wonder chilled gentlemen were following him for a “pitstop”.  We left a misty Yarra Glen on the Melba Highway to Dixon’s Creek and Glenburn.

World Superbikes join the Classic Club in the form of Rob Mullins’ BMW M1000R. The Factory Teams version is leading the 2024 World Superbike Championship.

Conor’s 1972 CB750 & Colin’s Norton 750. Two of bike histories most iconic models. The Commando was Norton’s last big-ticket bike, and the CB750 was Honda’s first!


The Best Bit of Bitumen

The Melba Highway near Yea is colder and also clouded in mist as we take the Break O’Day Road at Glenburn to Flowerdale.  However, after a few kilometres, it’s clear blue sky and sunshine! (what the) This route is popular on Club Rides and for good reason.  Surface is good for a Vic country road, hardly any traffic, beautiful rolling hills scenery and open sweeping curves – This ride to Flowerdale and onto Strath Creek is a favourite.

You never know what might happen on a Classic Club ride.  We were going to have lunch at Yea, but there was a lot of talk about “The General Strath Creek”, a re-development of the General Store/Post Office into a retro café complete with a very large “Open Fireplace” warming a big indoor space with large tables, so John wisely decided to make this our lunch stop.  We had a Roast Lamb Roll that was GOOOOD.  Make a note, when most other country café’s close about 3:00pm, go to Strath Creek which is open to 5:00pm and later on Friday and Saturday.

John and Vicki Best are out on the Bonnie today. This 1969 T120R Bonneville has the most iconic Classic magic I’ve seen. All original, basically John’s owned it from new.

Colin Sullivan with his BMW R1200R with the high-tech pivoting link front suspension and his usual showroom pristine detailing.

After lunch, the main group were going to Yea to get fuel and then complete the ride back through Kinglake West to Whittlesea and down to the northern suburbs.  Those going East would make their way home from Yea.  We did not need fuel as the “run lean, Euro 4 emissions compliant” Thruxton, had 200K’s left in the tank, so we were going directly back to Glenburn, and home via Yarra Glen.  The main group left on stage 2 of the ride, leaving Phil Young and us waving good bye.  We wished Phil a safe trip home but he couldn’t get his 1998 Suzuki DR to start!  “Houston, we have a problem”

Suzuki had removed the kick-start lever on this model, fitting electric start in the name of progress?  The dash lights were on, lights working, fuel in the tank, but pressing the start button … nothing.  Phil and I decided to try and “Bump” start it.  It must have been quite amusing for some other bikers at the café looking on, as we used the main road to try and bump the DR into life.  All we could get was a locked up back wheel and after much pushing and cursing, Phil had a tumble and we dropped the bike.  We gave up!

With Phil bruised and our ego’s destroyed there was no real options for Phil to get home, so now it’s time to use brains instead of brawn.  The Suzuki’s lights are on and don’t go off when you push the start button, and no clicking from the starter relay, so the battery is OK.  Time to get out the tool kit.  Covers and seat off gladly revealed a classic “Bird’s Nest” of “old-style” wiring and separate bits, and thankfully no computer!  We located the high current starter relay, sometimes called a “Solenoid” and using a test light there was voltage at the solenoid coil when the handlebar switch was pressed – Hmm?

The solenoid was jammed open, so the next step was a bit “dodgy”.  Taking a deep breath with fingers crossed, I slid a screwdriver firmly across the power terminals and the starter motor ran and the engine burst into life.  Success, it lives!  With the engine running happily, we re-secured the battery and parts in their place, put the covers and seat back on while Phil geared up, and he headed home with specific instructions – “don’t turn the engine off”.  Later contact with Phil confirmed he got home OK and will get a new starter solenoid from Mick Hone Suzuki, so the DR will soon be back on the road.

Phil Pilgrims BMW R100RSR. A beautifully presented model of the R90S successor with 1980’s angular styling.

Classics at Strath Creek. Jimmy’s Commando (foreground) and Colin’s Red version behind. Those Peashooter exhausts sound great.

John K advised that the main group had a warmer and mist-free trip home through Whittlesea and our own trip home was in 14degC clear blue sky – much more comfortable.  A good-sized group of member mates and another enjoyable day’s riding.  Thank you, John for being our Captain and to all of you that shared the “chilly” country day, gladly nowhere near Peter Keage’s frozen Antarctic residency at Minus 50degC – can’t even imagine that, and will sign off now – I have to go and turn up the heater.

Stay warm and ride safe,

David and Mez.

Participants List for June Sunday Ride – 23-06-2024.

Rider Bike Year
John & Vicki Best Triumph T120R Bonneville 1969
Steve Inman Honda CB750 1972
Colin Borthwick Norton Commando 750 1972
Conor Murphy Honda CB750 1973
Kay Murphy Honda CB750 1973
Jimmy Linton Norton Commando 850 1973
Phil Pilgrim BMW R100RSR 1981
Robert Van Lohuizen Suzuki GS850G 1983
Ian Snadden BMW R1100GS 1995
Paul Clayton Honda VTR1000 1997
Phillip Young (Stage 1 TEC) Suzuki DR200SE 1998
Graham Boulter Yamaha XJR1300 1999
Keith McCracken Honda 1300ST 2002
Colin Sullivan BMW R1200R 2009
John Killingsworth (Ride Leader) BMW R1200GS 2011
Scott Oldfield Ducati ST4S 2012
Paul Clayton Honda VFR800 2014
David & Mez McLennan Triumph Thruxton S 2016
Peter Hansen (Stage 2 TEC) Triumph Street Twin 2017
Rob King Triumph T100 2018
Paul Beukelman Harley Davidson Low Rider 2023