The Ride

I have had some time at home now to reflect and reminisce about my trip, this is the last post from America and a summery of my adventure.

From the initial purchase of a $5,000 roller 10 months ago, a team effort by Dan Carr, Jasin Phares and myself constructed a bike that would carry my hopes and dreams thousands of miles through 3 states and countless events across America.

Mixing style and functionality is a balancing act, Dan laid the foundations for a solid build mixing the right parts into the driveline, Jasin was in charge of the front end and making it all come together and I took it apon myself to handle a lot of the fabrication, lighting and wiring.

But at the end of the day it was time that was going to tell the story on how everything worked together, time on the bike, figuring out what worked, what didn’t, what needed changing, what I could improve on it etc.

After that first day riding the bike to the DMV I had grave fears for my life, with confidence I strapped my whole life to the sissy bar, set my phone on the fastest route out of San Francisco and took it mile by mile.

My worry’s were left at the city limit and once I was a few hours into my ride the realization that things were working out started turning anxiety into excitement.

With every hour in the saddle I got more confident and more comfortable with my setup.

Unless you have done something like this I dont think I could begin to make you realize how intune with your machine you become, I took earphones with me to listen to Spotify as I went along, I didn’t use them once as I was constantly listening to my machine, its tune and the rythmic beat of its heart.

From the highest point in California to the lowest, the hottest to the coldest, feeling how the conditions changed the machine and perfecting its tune along the way is half the fun.

With the bike working so well I could start to appreciate the finer things of my journey.

I would like to thank Biltwell for designing this Exfil 80 bag I designed my sissy bar around this bag and the two were never separated.

With enough straps and storage to keep everything I needed on my journey tight and safe was a huge relief.

But it was the padded tool compartment that flipped down and held most of my Sidchrome 69 piece tool kit that I loved the most.

I never had a time where I didnt have the right tool for the job.

Up front I had the Biltwell Exfil 7 strapped to my handlebars, again the handle bar height was designed to suit the bag and the two were never separated once mounted up.

In the bag I had my two cameras (an old film camera and also my trusty Canon 550D) a phone charger, some paperwork for the bike and sometimes some snacks for the road.

I took with me 2 options for phone mounts, I took two filler caps with me, one stock and one modified with a Quad Lock phone mount. I had my phone in this position for a few days and hated it, I had to look down too far for directions so I swapped the caps and went to my second option.

I used the Quad Lock clamp to mount my phone exactly where I needed it, it was perfect and allowed me to navigate easily and also see where I was going at the same time. With about 20% of the braking capability of a new motorcycle I needed to be on the ball all the time and I couldn’t afford to be dipping my head all the time and looking at the filler cap on the tank.

That completes the setup on the front end.

Above my Biltwell Efil 80 bag I had one of my two Ballard’s Desert Fox fuel bags and with only a little over 2 gallons of fuel in my tank came in really handy.

Rolled up and empty it was easy to strap down ontop of my bag, I would usually pay $6.00 for fuel, fill up my tank and then put whatever was leftover in the bag, that way I could ride carefree and know that running out of fuel wouldn’t be a drama.

With my complete bike all setup and adventure proven I need to run over a few personal items.

I used a Biltwell Gringo S helmet with a clear bubble shield, these helmets are super comfy, they look great and I loved the bubble shield as it gives you a little more breathing room for those cold mornings.

Each day I would make sure I washed the bugs off the shield and left with a clear view, I loved rolling into towns and slowing up, flipping up the visor and feeling the wind in my face.

Joel at Earnest has always been doing great things and I was keen to get in a pair of his new K Canvas pant.

I lived in these for over a month and absolutely loved them, thanks Earnest!

I spent a whole 6 months perfecting my route.

It’s been an incredible journey, something I have wanted to do for a very long time.

To be on the road alone and to be completely at one with a machine that is twice as old as I am is an incredible feeling. I’ll be honest, I had fears about how it was going to go, the complete vulnerability of the situation I was in but in reality it was an empowering and mind altering mission that I will never forget as long as I live.

To travel this way and see the automotive culture in Southern California was straight out of my dreams.

With the 1951 Panhead’s impending arrival on Australian shores my need for this bike at home made my decision to leave it with Josh in LA a little easier. This is where I left it, all I need to do is fly in with a change of clothes, jump on, fire it up and hit the road, my bags still packed, my tools are all there, when that time comes I bet it feels like an old glove and I pick up where I left off.

Till next time.