There is really only one way to mark the end of a great year, and thats with a great big ride. With the month of December to play with, I (Ryan) embarked on my first real Aussie road trip that would take me out West of Sydney, inland to Melbourne via the Snowy Mountains, and back up the coast home to Sydney.
Mulling it over after a particularly long and stressful year of work, I decided to take on the ride alone armed only with a tent, sleeping bag & whatever change of clothes I could carry and try to get a fresh perspective to take into the New Year.
Prior to setting off, I put a little work into setting up my Harley-Davidson Forty Eight and make it a little more road trip friendly. With a 7.9 litre tank that gets roughly 120kms during highway riding before it needs juice, that simply wasn’t going to cut it – so the tank swap came first.
I was lucky enough to pick up a near mint Harley Iron 883 Sportster tank on eBay from Germany for just AU$300 (HD wanted AU$1200) and spray it up myself in time to leave. I went for a simplistic approach that went with my ‘all black’ themed motorcycle, but also not wanting to lose the Harley-Davidson branding entirely, I knocked up a quick stencil of the simplified badge and sprayed that on before the clear coat finish.
Next in line was storage to transport the tent etc, this came in the form of the Burly Brand 20″ Sissy Bar that delivered from the states in record time. I gave everything a test fit to make sure it was good to go and set off the next day.
My first stop was Yass, a small town not far from the nationals capital, Canberra. I stayed at the Hume Lake Tourist Park and found a nice spot right on the water.
This gave me my first chance to out my new Vango Omega 250 tent with it’s motorcycle storage space. I’d given it an online measurement test prior to leaving but didn’t take the sissy bar into consideration, with that removed the fit would have been perfect but as it was, I had to leave the rear end out in the elements.
Some of the views in the local area were breathtaking – particularly this one on the way down the camp site.
My second day found my heading to Albury, dropping down into the mountains and heading through Bright and the Alpine National Parl. For those that don’t know it, Albury it’s a small city just over half way from Sydney to Melbourne. Here I could replace my broken headphones & check into a small hotel for the night.
I ended up finding the Manor House Motel on WOTIF and it was awesome, even just for the underground parking I’d highly recommend it for anyone else doing the same journey.
Honestly other than a quick spin through the shops, I didn’t find much to see in Albury and decided to boot it down to Melbourne early the next morning.
There were some great places to stop and take a rest on the way with some really epic lookouts. Here are some shots from the journey so far:
Melbourne came along quicker than I anticipated so I decided to spend two days there and checked into 420 Punt, a boutique guest house in Yarra. Again, I can’t speak highly enough of this place. The two Scottish owners, Sarah and her husband Jamie have done an amazing job making a place that really feels like you’re in a home away from home. The decor and service was phenomenal for the price, I’ll definitely be staying there again. I didn’t take many photos but here is the front & kitchen area:
On the first night I met up with some local ninetynineco followers and after a quick burger we hit the streets and rode to St. Kilda for a bit of a beachside meeting spot. Probably 20 bikes for the ride and 40 at the meet so was a good laugh plenty of nice rides to drool over.
The next day brought on the reason for the trip in the first place, a visit to The Kustom Kommune. The first of it’s kind in Australia, TKK is a communal garage with a subscription model allowing locals to come and build or work on their motorcycles in a friendly environment with all the tools and expertise on hand. Co-owner Jimmy gave me a warm welcome and a good tour of the place, showing me around the workshop and some of the builds going on along with some of the upcoming ones (which we’ll cover in upcoming blog posts).
Having seen it hundreds of times and riding one on the trip, I was really excited to see the custom Harley-Davidson Forty Eight that the Kustom Kommune owners and members had worked together to build. Photos will never do it justice as the care and attention to detail in it is something that you just have to see first hand. The twisted up pipes, relocated oil housing and beefy chain conversion simply make it look like a completely different beast.
Right alongside it was their second build, the new Harley-Davidson Street 750 that they have converted into a Tracker. Again the starting canvas was almost unrecognisable and the creativity that went into the build was inspiring.
With the small amount of clothing that I took with me, I’d never been more grateful for a fresh t-shirt, and Jimmy hooked me up with a nice ‘Wrench, Ride, Repeat’ tee from their own range.
The route home began with a stop off at Lakes Entrance with some nice country sections along the way.
The ride into Lakes Entrance is beautiful. So many scenic openings in the trees where you can see the estuary winding into the town. I pulled up alongside the water for a bit of a break and then checked into a local campsite.
This night was particularly hot and I woke up in the tent at around 4:30am. After laying there for half an hour I decided that I’d seen all the coast from here on up so rather than breaking the trip up into two days, that I’d try and push through the next 800km in one day and get home that night.
Two tired shoulders and one tired back later and I was home, chocolate milk in hand, with the NBA on the TV and settled in for an evening of absolutely nothing but that.
Needless to say, I had an absolute blast and am looking forward to a Byron Bay ride over easter with a few fellow riders, more to come on that…
If you’ve been on any long rides and want to share them with us we’d love to see them. Tag us with #ninetynineco on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
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