A December Saddle Sore

Martin Little

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
With IBR23 only 7 months away the preparations continue

Saturday 10 December, I collected my starting receipt at the local servo at 2:46pm and pointed the bike northwards towards Sydney. The ride plan was simple, head north to Guyra, NSW via Gloucester, turn around and go home via the Hunter Valley. And along the way practice a few bonus point photos.

Starting Docket, time to ride.

It was a beautiful cool night, some stars out, and virtually no traffic, even on the Hume. What was noticeable was the increase amount of fresh roadkill on both the Federal Highway and then the Hume. Rolling into Sydney, I made a call to fuel up early and stopped at the BP on Southern Cross Drive near the airport. In hindsight this was a good decision as it allowed me to avoid the Ourimbah truck stop which I’ve always found to be a very slow and time-consuming place to stop and fuel up. Once fueled up it was a clean run through the Eastern Distributor, across Sydney Harbour bridge for the first photo of the ride.

A cloudy day down on the harbour

That task completed, I headed northwards, taking Pennant Hills Road for old times sake. Hardly any traffic, with the benefits of Northconnex clearly on display with the reduced volume of traffic for a Saturday morning. The run up to Newcastle was uneventful, just watching the miles roll under the wheels and letting the mind wander. North of Newcastle, I took Bucketts Way up to Stroud and then Gloucester. There were some roadworks, but otherwise a good run up to Gloucester, where I stopped for a coffee and a snack.

Stroud NSW, School of Arts

Gloucester, NSW. Time for fuel and a coffee

The ride up Thunderbolts was excellent, the countryside was lush and green, the sun was shining and the road was in reasonable condition. Near Barrington Tops the clouds descended, mist closed in, and the temperatures plummeted. This persisted almost all the way into Walcha. And the road! The sinkholes appeared, and it was a matter of weaving my way around them. I had a car in front of me, which I was happy to now follow as they gave an early warning of these sinkholes!

Thunderbolts Way, always one of my favourite photo stops

Walcha was busy, as I rode through. The road to Uralla was more potholes/sinkholes, so progress was slow and steady. Perfect for soaking up the countryside. At Uralla, I turned north on the New England settled in for the last stretch up to Guyra. Rolled into the servo in Guyra, collected my docket, then turned southwards for the run home to Canberra.

Guyra, NSW and time to head for home. The clouds are clearing away and the temperatures are rising

The temperature was slowly climbing and near Tamworth it was nudging high twenties, low thirties during the early to mid-afternoon. The small towns/villages of the upper Hunter came and went, gorgeous riding on a hot summer’s afternoon. Before too long I was through past the power stations and back on the freeway to Sydney.

Uralla NSW, southbound on the New England Highway

Tamworth NSW. Its hot now, time to keep them wheels turning.

I would normally stop at Pheasants Nest for fuel and food, ahead of the run back into Canberra, but with the major reconstruction works of the servo underway, I continued onto Sallys Corner to fuel up clean the lights and mirrors and wolf down a pie and sausage roll. Back on the road in the deepening twilight, and traffic was heavy. Noting the abundance of fresh roadkill about I was very happy to sit in the traffic and let things flow along. On Federal Highway I spotted 3 cars sitting on the side of the road with frontal damage, from what appeared to be kangaroo strikes.

Sunset on the Hume, Sallys Corner NSW. ready for the night run into Canberra. That pie was delicious!

I rolled back into the ACT right at 9:20pm, collected my finishing docket at the local servo and was back home 5 minutes later, job done with 1,659 kms under the belt, and the first SS1600 for the RT.

Job done and the first Saddle Sore on the RT. I celebrated with some chocolate!


Premier Member
Awesome photos Martin, that was a nice read. Congrats! I see you have the same highway pegs I’ve been using - very nice setup on your Beemer too :cool:


Premier Member
Just catching up after a few weeks away in the car Martin! Excellent work once again mate. Another great report and photos. Best wishes for your continued training efforts. I see in a recent IBA email that the current blizzard conditions in the USA has resulted in a significant reduction in ride applications. Great news for us down under!