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October 2014 Club News

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My ďQuickĒ ride from Albany WA to the 2014 ďAussie Triples RallyĒ in Ballina NSW on my 1975 Triumph T160 

By Steve Collins

Reading ďThe Old BikeĒ magazine about three years ago I noticed a rally advertised for T150 and T160 bikes in Ballina NSW called ďThe Aussie Triples RallyĒ.  I thought Iíd love to do that, until this year I wasnít able to do it for various reasons. I sent away for the entry forms organised my accommodation, paid the money, thatís it I was committed to do it, so no backing out now.

Steve and
          Triumph Trident T160. Iíve owned my 1975 T160 for six years, after a few modifications to improve it, twin discs, English tank, electronic ignition, Mikuni carbs, back rest and rack. I changed the speedo to kilometres to help work out the petrol stops. The trip meter was broken so I replaced it. I fitted a water proof cigarette power source for a GPS and to charge my phone and with a new chain new rear tyre, a Dunlop Roadmaster TT100 and new oil filter it was ready to go.

I set off early on Saturday 9th August 2014 having packed the bike carefully so I could carry three litres of oil in one saddle bag, three litres of petrol in the other with some tools, an inner tube etc. I put my back pack bag on the bike back rest backwards to give me a more substantial back rest, I had my small tent, sleeping bag and air mattress on the rack.

Not to mention my sheepskin to sit on, probably the most important bit of kit on board! Iím up at five, raring to go, all kitted out, helmet on, try to kiss the wife goodbye oops! Got the helmet on too soon. Put the GPS on, no it wonít work, itís the old one from the car, it worked perfectly before, never mind doesnít matter Iíve got a map! With a big smile on my face Iím off, I head for Esperance, the bike is great, started with the push of a button, bloody hell its cold!

How I wish for heated grips, after an hour Iím thinking a heated seat would be good, bit longer down the road and Iím thinking a heated suit would be even better! By mid-day Iím still freezing cold, my nose is streaming. Not to worry I have a plan, every time I stop to fuel up Iíll put Vaseline on my nose, bloody hell by the time I get there Iíll look like ďRudolph.Ē

The T160 runs great all day and I get to Balladonia about 4:30 pm Iíve travelled 800 klm, I think to myself if I stop I will only put up the tent and go to the pub so I decide to go onÖ my first mistake! The next road house is 200 klm away Caiguna. I planned to stick to 100-110 klm per hour which I did till it got dark!

Fifteen minutes later Iím doing 110-120-130, its ok líll get there soon. Well 30 klm to go and the bike starts to miss, no funny noise, I try the reserve tap and off we go again. Bit later Iím thinking Oh shit am I going to make it, well the tank was completely empty when I rolled in with a little leg power to the pumps. I can get 260 klm  travelling at 100-110, what a day, let me tell you I was so pleased to get off the bike my arse was so sore.

Now I have to put my tent up in the dark, no fun at all. The tent thatís another learning curve, I bought a cheap tent being a scrooge McDuck, big mistake, you only get what you pay for, take my advice and buy a decent one itís worth the money! My tent was bloody awful! My air mattress was great thank heavens and the little 12v air pump to blow it up was excellent. It was so bitterly cold I slept in all my clothes in my sleeping bag every time I slept in my dodgy tent!

Up early next day check the bike over, oil the chain, check engine oil, pack up my stuff and Iím away by 7:30 am, Iím a bit warmer today. I make it to the Nullarbor Roadhouse and even put my tent up in daylight and had time to check the bike over, it needed a drop of oil and lube the chain. Another cold night off to the pub and a bite to eat. The bike gets a fair bit of attention form ďthe Grey NomadsĒ, it appears a lot of them used to have one! Usually they are surprised itís got three cylinders.

Port Augusta is the next destination, another early start, off and riding, on the second fuel stop I notice there is oil leaking out of the front push rod tubes. I decide itís not bad and I can fix it in Ballina, but it does make a mess. By 4:00pm I was at Port Augusta with my tent sorted and mattress blown up, shower and pub now. Iím thinking I could get to Cobar tomorrowÖitíll be a very big day.

Talk about big day, my arse is completely numb, the seat on this T160 is bloody awful I think they ran out of foam at the factory, in fact Iíve got my sheepskin doubled and itís still bloody awful! So anyway I push on, I made it past Broken Hill then Wilcannia on dusk, Wilcanniaís not a great place to stop, so Cobar here I come. Well my mind was quickly taken off my sore arse cause out came the wildlife. Never in my life have I seen so many goats, bloody goats everywhere, emus, roos and yes sheep too! It was a very bad decision to push on, I even stopped feeling cold I was so intent in looking very carefully at what was crossing the road.

Finally at 7:30pm I see the sign for Cobar and the Pub! Sod the tent tonight Pub it is tonight, man oh my sore arse. You wouldnít believe it, get to the pub and the pub was full up. Went to the next one ďsorry weíre full upĒ I was just about to go and put the tent up and the lady called me back, yes they had a cancellation. Apparently the variety club were in town and thatís why everywhere was booked out. Word from the wise never ride that road in anything other than daylight.

I passed masses of dead animals on the side of the road as I leave Cobar on my next dayís ride to Tamworth. A great uneventful ride to Tamworth and it gets even better I stay at a Big4, luxury! After I set up my camp check the bike and shower I decide to treat myself to a decent meal.

So Chinese it is, now I have to tell you Iím allergic to crustaceans but usually there is no problem I just make sure or should I say my wife makes sure nothing Iíve chosen has prawns etc. in it! Yep you guessed it, a couple of prawns must have slipped past me, next morning I wake up with eyes so swollen theyíre like slitsÖ great! Thank goodness for antihistamines. Iím thinking what with the cold weather and all by the time I hit Ballina I should look reasonably normal!

The ride to Ballina was very beautiful countryside, passing by Armidale and Grafton, the roads are really good around there too. Honestly it makes me wonder why I live in WA. Sometimes. I arrived in Ballina at 2:30 pm, after booking into my accommodation I thought Iíd better tidy up my bike. The front mudguard had come loose so I had to repair it, the chain guard as well but she still started at the push of the button. The oil had made a bit of a mess but after a trip to the car wash she looked as good as when I left home.
Most people at the rally thought I was crazy to ride 4437 klm just to get there. Its funny when you have done it you forget about the cold and the discomfort and your arse has recovered when you thought it wouldnít be possible!

The bikes at the Rally were fantastic, better than new ones, there were BSA Triumph, Legend, Rob North, and Hurricanes. The people were great, very friendly, helpful and great company. The rides were all well organised, the entire thing was well organised and Col and Nancy are to be thanked for that, they did a brilliant job.

The weather was terrible for the rally it poured with heavy rain the entire time. I confess I did have another mishap, my iPhone got wet even though it was in my inside pocket, so did my tom tom, but through a very wise ladyís advice I discovered the magic of rice and luckily my phone is back to normal. My track records with phones is not good so this was a great result. I did win the trophy for the person who travelled the longest distance to the rally which I shall always keep with pride.

I left Ballina early Monday morning to start my journey back to Albany knowing Iíd have very long, wet, freezing cold days with the compulsory sore arse. My plan this time was to stay in pubs all the way home which I stuck to and I went through Cobar in daylight! I had to replace my rear tyre in Port Augusta, they only had a front one so I had to change the old front one to the back, and the new one to the front.

I wasnít impressed with the Dunlop Roadmaster TT100, I only got 7550 klmís out of the rear tyre. The bike was really great, I didnít repair the oil leak because I couldnít get the gasket or pushrod seals so I had to put up with the mess. The chain and sprockets were worn out and still she started on the button. I arrived home in Albany Friday night at about 7:30pm having travelled 9972 klm, thatís there and back including the organised rides at the rally.

Arriving in
          the dark.Here are list of things I learnt:

  1. Do not buy a cheap tent.
  2. Donít push the bike too hard or it will break or run out of fuel.
  3. The seat is bloody uncomfortable but itís amazing how quickly your arse recovers!
  4. Keep away from Chinese restaurants.
  5. Put your iPhone in a plastic/waterproof bag as well as in your inside pocket and carry a bag of rice just in case.
  6. The T160 is a really GREAT bike!

A very big thank you to Col and Nancy McAndrew and to all the people I met and made friends with at the Aussie Triples Rally 2014.

Bob's presidential note:
Congratulations Steve, great achievement and its a complement to you having the bike so well sorted.

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