You are currently viewing 10th June 2023: Pirate’s Ride to Hill Top Bakery

10th June 2023: Pirate’s Ride to Hill Top Bakery

It’s a long weekend – so one of two things could happen. Firstly people get busy with “stuff” – families, grandkids, cleanups and so won’t go on a club ride. They also get put off by that bizarre beast – double demerits. OR secondly – people think “I’ve got an extra day this weekend, Good chance to go on a club ride. So which was it???? The former wins – and we had 5-and-a-half riders.

So – being a Pirate Ride I led Keith, John, Beat and Martin – with the half being Bill who explained that he would only join us for a short blast before resting his painful arm/wrist. Unusually we had no other radios – so Keith went TEC and communication was purely visual.

Further – we had every rider on a different brand bike! 1 BMW GS, 1 Triumph Tiger, 1 Honda VFR, 1 Suzuki Hyabusa, Bill on his Harley and John on a Moto Guzzi.
No Yammies or Kwakas – and Big Al deserted us to join a group of classic-bike riders so no Ducatis.

So – before we engage is the ride description – let’s think about double demerits for a minute…
Tassie, Victoria, SA and Northern Territory don’t apply double demerits at all. Queenslanders have double demerit points all year for certain repeat offences committed in a 12-month period.
NSW alone hits it’s drivers 6 times a year with double demerits. It supposedly is to “incentivise safe driving during periods of increased crash risk.” So what that means is the driver/rider becomes even more paranoid about being 4-5 km/hr over the speed limit and spends more time watching the speedo and less time watching the road and scanning for problems. How does that help drivers remain observant and concentrating on conditions? It actively interferes with this.
“There is no proven safety or deterrent benefit from enforcing double demerit points during holiday periods only,” a Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said. “It is more effective to enforce double demerit points for repeat offenders all year round as this directly addresses recidivist behaviour.” This quote is from the SMH on April 2, 2023.

Royal Automobile Club of Queensland manager of road safety Joel Tucker said Queensland had rejected double demerit points during holiday periods numerous times in the past in favour of enforcing double demerit points for repeat high-risk offenders. “We think this is a better approach because road safety is a 24/7, 365-day-per-year commitment, not something that people should only think about on holidays,” he said.
What a very salient comment. Double demerits over long weekends which include all Friday and Monday is clearly a technique devised by bureaucrats to increase the perception of power in the law enforcement agents and to instill uncertainty in drivers at the expense of their driving prowess.

Back to the ride report.
Great weather. It’s winter – so it stays at about 11 degrees during the ride but the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the wind is a zephyr.
I was going to head down through Helensburgh to Otford – but my troops advise that the bridge into Otford is still out of action. So we just take the old Highway straight down to Appin Rd. Bill leaves us at Helensburgh while the rest of the troupe religiously sticks to speed limits. Is that evidence that double demerits work? Clearly we are all very much safer doing 100 instead of 105. Absolutely. Ouch – my tongue got stuck in my cheek.
On the Appin Rd there’s a white unmarked ute with it’s red and blue lights on. You’d never pick it is a line of vehicles. I signal to the group with the raised left arm and twirling a la the old fashioned revolving light. Haven’t used that for ages. Do people remember what that means???

Left at Appin, down to Broughton Pass to Wilton and then to Bingara Gorge because there are now lights on Picton Rd to allow a safe right turn. You should see the estates being built opposite the turn to Bingara Gorge!!! And, for that matter, the houses that are mushrooming in Appin. Good grief. Left onto the freeway and off at Avon Dam. Through the Y towns and on to turn right at Colo Vale.

At Hill Top we get to have a great morning tea sitting on their verandah in the sun. Discussion swirls around land and house prices in and around Sydney. Don’t worry about Lotto. You need to win twice to buy a house in Sydney!

Martin has surreptitiously left his keys on the counter in the bakery – but none of the girls took the hint. Instead they just returned the wayward key.
We also had a chat about Keith’s Triumph which, on our last ride, had refused to start. Keith had been fighting with Triumph for some time about this issue with his new bike. Well – finally the dealer replaced the aberrant machine and Keith, for a nominal fee, now has a brand new Tiger 1200.

Mornos done and dusted and we give the “5 minutes” call. On we ride to Thirlmere where the steam trains are bust on the tracks to Buxton for the long weekend.
Right and left at Thirlmere, down to Picton and over the Prince St single-lane bridge and then right on Menangle Rd all the way back to Wilton. We then retrace our steps to Heathcote and do the usual farewell on the southern approach to Heathcote.

It was actually a lovely ride. Relaxed. Easy. Good company at mornos. Thanks Keith for going TEC for me.
The end. Arrrrr.