The Super Tenere got a decent workout today thanks to a kind invitation from one of the riders on the Adventure Rider Mag forum who had organised a group ride for a quite different array of bikes. Meeting a group of riders for the first time is always a little daunting and riding with people you've not ridden with before can be scary too. Will it be clinically organised with strict rules about order and conformation like a HOG ride? Or will it be a chaotic bunch of lunatics? Oh well, here we go!
The group were welcoming, there were bikes ranging from an Aprilia RSV4, BMW K1300 to an old 1150GS with their riders dressed for the type of bike they were riding. The first part of the ride was a 150k or so leg to Dungog from Beresfield that too us on roads that my GPS had no idea existed. but through some spectacular areas.
The group used a cornerman system (2nd rider waits at corner until sweep arrives) which allowed people to ride at their own pace while still keeping the group reasonably together. There was certainly some "own pace" going on. I found myself giving the limits of the Heidenau K60's a push on the tar. But all in all the ride settled in and the group felt safe.
From Dungog through to East Gresford then heaven knows which way we went to punch out onto the New England Highway for a bit from Glennies Creek Road then back into Hebden Road took us around Lake Liddel the on to Muswellbrook where we stopped for fuel.
From Muswellbrook we continued past Aberdeen and turned right at Sedgenhoe Road winding our way north and east to Moonan Flat where we had lunch. The burgers are great!
From Moonan Flat we went back through Gundy and rode Glenbawn Road past the lake to Rouchel Road. At this point it was time for the sports bikes to head back to Aberdeen to keep to the tar and for the Adventure bikes to it the dirt. A quick goodbye.
So the Tenere's, GS's and a Triumph Explorer went towards Rouchel and turned right at Stoney Creek Road – Albano Road where the offroad fun really started. I was second inline following the ride organiser who was also on a blue Super Tenere. Being new to dirt I was sorely outclassed as he disappeared into the distance with the traction control obviously off. I was also concerned I might have been holding the others up, although there wasn't anyone right on my heels.
At one point after a sharp uphill the road dropped away to the right over a blind crest and the road was deep with gravel. After some puckering, profanity, nearly riding off the road into a paddock (thankfully not fenced), managing to stay on the road, nearly hitting the hill on the other side of the road, managing to stay on the road, more profanity and more puckering I'd experienced the closest thing to an off I've had on this bike.
We stopped to regroup not long after that and I settled down with this spectacular view.
Starting off I popped in immediately in front of the sweep rider and was happy to plug along behind the Explorer and take it very easy. The next part of the ride took us down into the valley on Bowmens Creek Road and across some causeways, some curved, with water running over them. Slippery but fun and I learnt that too much speed gets me wet.
We made out way into the back of Singleton where we stopped for a quick debrief and said our goodbyes as people were about to start peeling off towards their respective homes.
I really enjoyed the day. Most of my rides over the last couple of years have been alone and/or Ironbutt Rides where time and pace are king. Today was a ramble with lots of stops, good company, no sense of urgency and some time taken to stop and smell the roses. A pleasant change.
I also confirmed I've got plenty to learn about making the Super Tenere work off road for me. Now I'm really looking forward to my upcoming Adventure Riding Course.