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April 2006 Club News

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Ladies Overnight Ride to Bridgetown

Seven magnificent girls (and their bikes) get ready to set out from under Albany's grey sky

Marg and I set of from Denmark under grey ominous skies (we packed our wet weather gear just to be safe) along the Denbarker Road to meet the Albany girls at Gilberts. By the time we hit Mt. Barker the skies were blue and the temperature was rising. Chris, Raelene, Tammy, Julie, Karin, Kerry and Sharon pulled in to Gilberts about ten minutes later and after introductions, we got into the heavy deliberations of cake or brunch – well it was going to be a long day and we had to keep the bodies, as well as the bikes well fuelled!

Next stop Cranbrook, to feed the bikes this time. We detected a few amused looks from the locals, one even enquiring with a smirky grin if we ‘were an all girl club’ – we decided the keep them guessing. Off to Broomehill – another quick fuel opportunity for those who hadn’t at the previous stop. The temperature was rising quickly now – must have been in the upper 20’s so it was back on the bikes and off to Kojonup for a lunch break.

Great ride through to Kojonup, reminded me of the Woogenellup Road scenery, a few good bends and long straights, which most of us took full advantage of – we needed the wind to keep us cool guys! Another fuel stop at Kojonup, then off to the park to strip the riding gear and organize lunch.

Raelene and Marg stood guard over the bikes while the rest of us went to Clarky’s (now the V-Max Café - and he doesn’t even own one?) to join the queue for lunch orders. Back to the park, looking for shade, it had to be in the 30’s now, enjoying the sandwiches and gulping the water. Next stop Boyup Brook. Must admit by this stage, I just wanted to get to the next stop as quickly as possible as it was mighty warm, so the details are a bit of a blur.

Tammy and Sharon both required fuel, so set off to find it in town while the others regrouped on the road heading to Bridgetown. I was waiting for Tammy and Sharon on the road into Boyup Brook and through a communication hiccup the three of us were left behind. Not a big deal but we had absolutely no idea where we were staying in Bridgetown other than the ‘back packers hostel’.

On arrival in Bridgetown three separate enquiries to locals could not put us on the path to the hostel. Thank god for mobiles, was finally able to contact Marg, we were only a block away.
Everyone headed for the showers, a short rest, then down town for pre dinner drinks at the newly refurbished Bridgetown Hotel – very nice. The Manager showed us through the upstairs accommodation, for our future reference – I’ll get back to this guys!

Dinner was at the 1896 Café (used to be the antique shop) just down the street a bit. We were seated outside on the verandah as it was still warmish. Didn’t hear one complaint about the meals, good sized servings and delicious. The coconut pannacotta dessert is definitely worth going back for. Must say the hostel is very good value, beds comfortable and ablutions spotless.

During the night I got up for a ‘stroll’ and on the way back to my room spotted my bike and the park light was on. Sitting on my bike (in pyjamas) unlocking the steering and turning off the light, I realized what a sight it would be if I was spotted. No matter, at least I was not going to have a flat battery in the morning.

Karin demos the jump start art
Karin demos the jump start art - not everyone
looks certain of success at this stage...

We were all up and ready to go by 8.30. I must have put the whammy on Marg, because her battery had no life whatsoever! A few of us gathered around the Virago, checking the battery connections etc – looking like we knew what we were doing, repeating things we had heard our husbands/partners say in similar situations. After learning one of the local mechanics had ‘gone fishing’ (he apparently had the jump leads) and the other couldn’t leave the service station unattended, Karin decided we could have a go at jump starting the bike.

Karin mounted the reluctant steed and after a nudge down the hill, she did her thing and jolted the bike into life. (Marg, check if you now have to replace your back tyre!) The big descent out of Bridgetown was slow as there were roadworks involving gravel but we all negotiated it without incident. Balingup was calling us for breakfast.

We pulled up at the Magic Mushroom café and rushed in to place our orders as we had built up a hunger sorting Marg’s bike out. Marg decided to go off in search of fuel but alas, the Virago refused to budge again. Two male Ducati riders had, in the meantime, pulled into the café for breakfast as well. They asked if we were having problems so we filled them in. Absolutely no offer of assistance, so once again Karin jump-started the bike right in front of them – wiped the smirks clean off their smug faces!! Girl power – yes.

Nice twisty bits of road
Nice hilly, twisty bits of road near Nannup

Headed off to Nannup – I don’t usually enjoy the road through here as in the past it has been colder and the road slippery. However I thoroughly enjoyed it this time as it was warm, bright and dry - no moss or honky nuts to be seen. Pretty sure the other girls were of the same opinion. The other side of Nannup we took the Graphite Road through to Manjimup and it was a great ride.

We pulled into Manjimup just after noon, regrouped at the BP before heading to Walpole to meet the boys. Tammy was first away with me close behind. I kept her in my sights for at least ten minutes before she was gone. I reckon she has a short cut through to Walpole but is not sharing it with anyone, cause by the time I arrived she had refueled, ordered lunch, combed her hair and reapplied the lippy!

It was a great weekend, hats off to Julie and Sharon – they both got their 250cc licences in early December and are riding very confidently and capably. Thanks to Raelene for organizing the weekend, it going to be a hard one to beat.

Oh, nearly forgot guys. If you really, really want to impress your better half, or have some big time grovelling to do/get out of the dog house etc – you get the idea, take her for a stay at the swank (they’ve got jacuzzi's) Bridgetown Hotel – better still, make it a long weekend and clock up some extra brownie points. (Is this directed at you Richard? - asks Bob)

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