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Detours and bits falling off your bike

My bike missing its pillion pad

The unexpected – such as detours and bits falling off your bike – can turn your average Sunday ride into an adventure … for better or for worse. But wait, this story does have a happy ending. And we all love a happy ending!

While any time on a bike is better than just about anything else, it’s also good to mix it up a little bit. However, we all tend to fall into the pattern of following the same old routes every time we go for a ride.

Back of Mt Mee

How many times have you passed a road and wondered “where does that go?” If you have tolerant riding partners, turn off and do some exploring. Better still, do the exploring when you are on your own. Then you won’t have anyone complaining about being led up dead ends.

On Sunday we headed off for the typical run from Brisbane to Kenilworth and back. It’s a great route, but it can be a bit tedious in places as well as overcrowded by Sunday drivers. On this particular route I know of at least 10 little detours that loop out from the road and join up again, taking you to more interesting places and roads and away from the traffic.

Some of the roads are a bit bumpy, some are very narrow, one is particularly steep, some go through unfenced areas where you have to watch out for straying livestock and others turn to dirt. While an adventure bike would be best suited, all of the roads can be tackled on just about any bike, so long as you take your time.

Postmans Track

For those who live in South East Queensland, here is a list of the detour road and street names to look for which will take you on a nice little sojourn from the normal route: Bygotts/Bunya Rds, Old Samson Rd, Kriesch/Hipathites Rds, Kobble Creek Rd, Armstrong Creek/Lees Crossing Rds, Ocean View Rd, Robinson Rd, Delaney Creek/Dewhurst/Vidoni/Stanford/Neurum Rds, Old Cove Rd, Bellthorpe Range/Gap Rds, Postmans Track/Aherns Rd, Eastern Mary River Rd. There are probably many more detours you could find on your Hema maps or GPS. Be aware that Delaney Creek has some dirt and Postmans Track is very steep.

At the Pit Stop Cafe on Mt Mee, I noticed that the pillion comfort pad on my BMW Vario top box was loose. It had been pointed out to me by a friend on the last ride and I had forgotten to tighten it.

When I got home from the last ride, I had put off the job because – like most BMW routine maintenance – I thought it required several different tools of varying sizes. Why BMW don’t use the same conventional bolt sizes is a mystery. Maybe they want you to buy their expensive toolkits!
(As it turns out, it’s just a matter of five philips-head screws!)

Anyway, I rattled the pad at the cafe and thought it should hold, although at the back of my mind I thought I should probably put a piece of gaffe tape over it to hold it in place, but my friends were keen to get away after a lengthy breakfast, so I didn’t bother.

I didn’t notice it was missing until lunch time in Kenilworth where we also sampled some cheeses at the cheese factory. (In fact, I had sampled so much delicious cheese I was too full for lunch!)
Suddenly my idyllic ride mood was destroyed as I realised my stupidity, laziness and lackadaisical attitude to checking for loose bolts had resulted in losing the pillion pad. Although it’s just a piece of plastic with some foam and a vinyl covering, I knew it would cost an arm and a leg. Even the BMW “off-road kit” for the Vario top box – which consists of a couple of bolts – cost almost $60.

Delaney Creek

Anyway, I decided that I would retrace my complex set of detours to see if I could spot the missing item. Since most of these roads are in remote areas, I was vainly hoping it hadn’t been run over and destroyed. However, I knew my chances were slim. It could easily have bounced off the road into the long grass on these rough and narrow tracks.

So it was a long trip home that gradually grew more and more depressing.

But this isn’t a tale of woe. It is difficult to be depressed when you’re on a motorcycle on such a beautiful day. And as it happens, I found it!

The pad had probably come off when I lifted the top box lid to get my gear out at the cafe and had fallen on the back seat. It managed to stay there until the first corner at the next detour on Robinson Rd. And there it was, in the middle of the road in pristine condition!

Don’t you love a happy ending?

When I got home, the first thing I did was pore over my bike with a fine-tooth comb – or at least several different sizes of specialised BMW tools – and tightened every nut and bolt I could find. Lesson learned!

  1. Came down from Mt Glorious one Sunday and realised my tank bag was missing.. with iPhone and wallet in it. Stopped off at a mates place at the gap.. used his computer to “Find my iPhone” and it showed it being back up near the cafe on top of the Mountain. Went back up the top.. looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. Turns out it had been handed in at the cafe. I had removed it (bayonet type connection) when I arrived and neglected to fasten it correctly when I left.

    Never found the Pentax Spotmatic outfit in its Zero Haliburton case that fell off my DT250C out the back of Dayboro in he early 80s 🙁

  2. What should one do if one’s wife falls off the back………does the same protocol apply?

    1. There is no way I will reply to that 🙂 you see the night has a thousand eyes!

  3. Theres a road just south of kennilworth called sunday creek
    it runs through a scenic camping ground called charlie moreland park
    about 7 years ago i was on a sunday ride ,with a lady friend in
    the sidecar of my gl1000 outfit we were going to run through
    to maleny but i made a spur of the minute decisions to take
    a look and see were the road would lead us.
    after some k’s of pretty good dirt we got to the camping ground
    were i paused checking the road ahead and deciding weather to
    keep going. at that moment a car coming the other way pulled
    up.” Whats the road like ?’ i said
    “No problems all good dirt” he said before driving off with a big smile on his face.
    And so it was for about a kilometer. As the road climbed it got narrower, with large
    drop offs were it didn’t have ruts you could lose a small car in it was repaired with
    gravel the size of house bricks, but with sharper edges.
    Meanwhile because i was having to carefully pick my path so i didn’t puncture a tyre
    on the local councils idea of roadbase.The poor bikes temperature was hovering just off boiling.
    All the while cursing the driver we had met, And of course the further you go the
    more you think “it’ll improve soon” it didn’t, except for corrugations so bad that
    i stopped every few k’s just to check nothing important had fallen off.
    finally after what seemed like hours we at last hit some good smooth dirt leading
    leading to one of those charming little hamlets with no one on the streets,no movement
    apart from the occasional parting of a curtain, and the gentle twang of banjo’s
    There facing us on the edge of town was a group sports bike riders, shiny leathers,
    gleaming exotic european machinery ,fresh faced ,well younger than me anyway.
    So i pulled up, oil dripping from fork seals,an acrid smell coming from the coolant
    dripping on the exhaust and all in a gentle haze of steam .
    Whats the road like? they said.
    I looked at them the clipons, rearsets minimal seats shiny leathers a couple
    sporting racing tyres
    ‘No problems, all good dirt i said” i said
    then took off down the road with a big grin on my face.

  4. I found this by accident on Saturday last. Made my ride to Woodford a whole lot more interesting.

    Thanks MBW!

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