A few weeks ago I made the decision to join in on what is called a FarRide, which (to sum it up) generally involves getting on a motorcycle, riding to somewhere remote, having a feed with other folks with the same goals and then riding home again. The goal in question being to travel at least a thousand kilometres (or six hundred and twenty miles if you like) by bike in the 24 hours surrounding the meeting window (which was in this case lunch). Some folks travel the whole distance to the meet and then stay the night, others (like myself) travel roughly half on the way there and half on the way back.
My initial plan was to make a leisurely pace in a southerly direction taking some of my favourite detours along the way, however after taking a quick squiz at some maps it seemed that I might have underestimated the distance from me to Bremer Bay (the appointed location for this rides meet). After discovering that it would be close to a 550km (340mi) journey in almost a straight line, I decided to nix the idea of detours on the way there and just aim to be there in time to get fed.
I’d done a bit of a warmup in the two weekends prior, riding 240km (150mi) out to Northam in the 37 degree (99F) heat on the first Sunday followed by the 360km (224mi) round trip to have lunch with my parents in Australind the week after. And although the furthest I’d travelled in any one day before was about 917km (570mi), I was feeling pretty good about the trip ahead, aside from the start time.
I’d agreed to meet a riding mate, Steve, in Armadale for a refuel and a start point, aiming to leave there at 0515 in the morning, which meant a 4am wake up for me. Having got home from work the night before, I checked my tyre pressures, adjusted my chain and fueled the bike up before sitting down in front of a movie with dinner to zone out before an early night. After only beating the snooze button once, I geared up, shoveled down six Weet-Bix and headed out the door.
Seeing as how the weather had been hot and gloriously sunny in the week coming up to the ride, I didn’t bother to ‘rug up’ as you might say, which proved to make the first couple of hours ride quite unpleasant. While the outside temperature didn’t sink into the single digits, the wind chill from riding the bike was significant and the sun wasn’t due to show itself for some time.
Fighting off the effects of involuntary cryonic stasis, I met Steve on time and we discussed the way to head out. I had planned on utilising my regular method of heading off with a general bearing towards the target, following road signs, getting lost once or twice but eventually arriving intact at my destination, however seeing as how Steve had already plotted the route into his GPS mapping device, it would’ve been impolite to kybosh all his hard work. This was the route ahead…
It wasn’t long out of civilisation before things got rough. With my body attempting to go into hiberation and my prayers for sunlight going unanswered, we were set upon by wild suicidal bunnies. The first made a direct line for the front wheel of Steve’s bike from the side of the road, only missing it by chance. A few minutes later, a second rabbit made a similar attempt on my bike in the dark before dawn, prompting me to consider if there had not been some manner of bunny suicide pact arranged.
We stopped briefly in Williams around 6:45am so that Steve could visit the gents and I got a few minutes to try and thaw out in the (finally) rising sun. We met a couple of other guys headed for the same destination and said a brief hello before agreeing to chat more at lunch. Keen to keep up the good time we were making, we kept rolling on to Wagin where we fuelled up opposite the local Giant Ram.
Back in the saddle we shot through Katanning and Gnowangerup before stopping again for fuel at Jerramungup (I swear I don’t make these names up). A few more riders pulled in and since we were ahead of schedule we stopped to have a chat in the sun over a coffee and a pie (or pastie if that’s what takes your fancy).
Not long after that we managed to pull into Bremer Bay over two hours before the meet window, the first to arrive, being so early and all. It wasn’t long before we had company and we sat back for a relaxing lunch and a yarn with other nutters who like nothing better than to ride endless miles to grab a feed. I got to meet a few new folks, a few aquaintences from the net and a couple of old friends that I hadn’t seen in far too long. I also managed to get sunburnt standing around outside the Bremer Bay Resort Hotel basking in the warmth of the unforgiving day star, but such is life. Miraculously the Hotel also made by far the best coffee I have ever ordered at a bar, so I had at least two.
Having travelled just over 560km (348mi) to this point I wasn’t concerned about not making the days target, so at 2pm we started heading back along the same route. And so it went. Bremer Bay – Gairdner – Jerramungup – Ongerup – Kebaringup – Gnowangerup – Broomehill – Murdong – Katanning – Marracoonda – Woodanilling – Boyerine – Wagin – Arthur River – Tarwonga – Williams – Narrakine – Crossman – Bannister – Mt Cooke – Ashendon and finally back to Armadale, from where I shot back across to the Freeway and North towards home.
I eventually pulled into the garage some time after 8pm, 1148km (713mi) and thirteen and a half hours after setting off. My thighs were feeling a bit stressed out, along with my forearms, but generally the body had survived quite well.
It was a good day.
Let’s do it again.