After an eight-hour sleeping pill-induced shut-eye session, I woke this morning to see the Australian sunshine for the first time since landing. God, I love it here.
An English mate of mine, Andy, who now lives in Oz, picked me up to collect the Ducati Streetfighter S press bike I’ll be using for the week. He’s just bought a standard white Streetfighter as a result of me banging on about how good they are. He reckons it’s the best bike he’s ever owned too.
The last time I was here he picked me up from the airport in his BMW M3. He span it showing off within five minutes of hitting the road, which was funny until we saw the car behind (which we were now facing) was a police car...
On the way to the Fraziers Ducati in Sydney on the back of his bike, a few well-timed punches to his kidney area stops him from getting over-exuberant and us from getting into trouble less than 12-hours after arriving here.
Ducati kindly lent me a sat nav to help me get about for the week, but aside from that my bike is completely stock. Just like my old standard-model long termer this Streetfighter S is a joy to ride around town, a cinch to flick in and out of the continually snarled-up city traffic and more than willing to ‘stunt about’ on the way into and out of junctions.
Saying that, the police here are super-strict, and there are loads more of them compared to Britain, so you really do have to behave yourself.
You don’t notice any of the advantages the better Ohlins suspension gives, or the lighter wheels, or traction control for normal riding, although it does feel different to my old bike. I set my damping up to be firmer at the front (although the fork springs could do with stiffer replacements) and gave it more ride height to help it steer faster, but for the type of city riding I’m doing at the moment, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.
In the 35 degree heat this black bike is like riding a white hot barbeque brick and in leathers it’s almost unbearable. I’m not expecting too much sympathy here given the weather in the UK, but it’s funny how quickly you forget about being cold when you’re roasting, and vice-versa.
I’ve been riding around Sydney all day, more to stop myself from sleeping than anything else, due to the jet lag. On the first day of a trip to Australia you always get a sick feeling in your stomach in the middle of the afternoon when you body-clock thinks it’s 4am...
Tomorrow I’m heading out to the Old Pacific Highway for a Sunday ride-out with Jeff Ware, the Editor of Aussie mag: Rapid Bikes. He used to partake in a spot of illegal road racing up there so he’s sure to show me a thing or two. Hopefully there will be a couple of special guests tagging along too. I’ll let you know how we get on in my next blog.
All Australia blog entries:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6