From the epic roads of Japan…

Nagano

Tawarazawa, Shizuoka

Akita Rt. 341

Yamagata-Fukushima border Rt. 2

Kochi Niyodo River Crossing

Aomori Rt. 282

Ehime – Island along the Shimanami Kaido

Tokyo Hidden Gem

Nara Rt.169

Shimabara Rt.58

Kochi Muroto Skyline

Tokushima – Unknown Masterpiece!

Gunma – Shiba-Kusatsu Doro ~ Manza Road

Kochi – Unknown road

Shimanami Kaido

Shizuoka – Nishi Izu Skyline

Hokkaido – Ororon Line

Gifu – Etchu Nishi Line Rt.360

Saitama – Rt.210

Saitama – Sai-Kai Hwy Rt.140 offshoot

Yamanashi – Rt.18

Fukushima – Bandai Skyline

Shizuoka – Nishi Izu Skyline

Nagano – Shimonita Usuda Line

Shizuoka – Kintaro Fujimi Line

Aomori – Iwaki Skyline

Nagano – Venus Line

Being the spring equinox, it was a good opportunity to thaw out the riding skills with a little controlled conditions training.

The Honda Motorcycle School in Saitama runs a good show with excellent instructors and a large fleet of modern hondas to play on.

A couple of days before, the weather took a turn but 17 of our 20 enrolled stepped up for the challenge. What a challenge it was! Temps plummeted to a wintery chill hovering a little above 0โ„ƒ and a steady northerly wind drove the precipitation under cracked visors and into open collars. Brrrr…

Our fleet for the day supplied by Honda: VTR250, CB400Revo, CB650F, CB1100, CB1300

The first hour or so of cone carving and slaloming knocked off the rust while I got familiar with the cb400Revo. 2nd gear tamed the jerky throttle and the crouch or lift technique being instructed helped maintain momentum and weight transition. ๐Ÿ‘

As the laps rolled by, numerous cones were clipped, shunted and tipped. A couple bikes ended up on crash bars(including an instructor’s :-D) and a LOT of adrenalin was flowing. There was a noticeable improvement in control and pace from many. And we were going to need that confidence.

At our first break, the rain started to crystalize and quickly went from rain to sleet and then snow. It wasn’t sticking though so with some instruction on steering and head-elbow-shoulder position, we headed back to do battle with the course, corners and snow!

Great opportunity to push it in disconcerting conditions. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I wasn’t alone. But many had semi-frozen paws and needed regular stops to thaw digits on toasty engine heads.

Disappointingly, the day was cut short due to snow with the afternoon sessions cancelled. But we all got to have lunch together and share slip, spin and near miss recounts. Then, we headed home, some on two wheels, some on four. The ride home through rain and snow was a breeze after the morning’s antics.

Great short but entertaining morning with good training and mates. Valuable warm up for the annual Coast 2 Coast Twistybutt too.

Looking forward to the next one.

# Thanks to Tony for bringing us all together. ๐Ÿ‘

 

Here’s where we start this adventure. Yep, a bus stop. A colourful and memorable one at that in the burbs of Perth, Western Australia.

Cheers Mate, great grub…ย  a bike came a calling.

Wasn’t long before two feet found two pegs again this time aboard one from my shortlist of bikes to live with … Yamaha’s MT10! Great city bike that came with new Angel GTs and some meaty chicken strips. Had to do something about that…
Hit the long straight roads for the hills to the east. Not much rubber rounding there…
Roads were getting windier with the climb into the hills.ย Rolled by an oval I’d played on as a kid. Got my first bee sting to the foot out there somewhere.
Got my 1st BMX trophy here when I was 6. Lots ofadrenalin pumped and skin lost on those jumps and burms, hehehe
Soon came across some locals. Fortunately they were very shy. Zoom in down the road on the left…
Pulled in here for some lunch. Looking better than ever Kala Pub!
Yum Yum Yum! 32 degrees and relaxing under brollies in a mist garden eating a juicy medallion topped with garlic prawns. Life is good!
Looks like I’m not the only one who likes the look of that sign ๐Ÿ™‚ The chicken strips got thinner here and the MT10 began to show its easy rollin side.
The reservoir supplying the Kalgoorlie pipeline and a good riding zone, Mundaring Weir. Was having a great run with the weather but the blue skies weren’t to last.
A spring storm provided a chance to test the MT10’s touring screen rain protection and it did quite well on the dash into Glen Forrest and a stay with a great old mate.
The rain even brought out the ducks at the local pub.
Next morning, the blue skies were back and so was the rolling orchard countryside. Hot too. 32C in them there hills!

Took in the view from the escarpment before zig-zagging back down to the city.

Back in the city, MT10 zone, and where things are more complicated…

What was this guys hand out for? … ?

But it sure is a pretty city and great for night rides. Deserted wide open streets and friendly drivers.
Cicerello’s Fremantle fish and chips were calling making for a nice nightride down the coast.

Glad to see a growing appreciation for local legends in the area too.

The MT10 came fully prepped by http://www.crmotorcyclerental.com.au to carry panniers, tankbag and rear box, all available for rent from CR Motorcycles. Ask for Cody. Also had heated grips, hand gaurds, touring screen, sidestand bigfoot, sliders all over and a RAM mount for a navigation unit or smartphone to complement the power source tucked behind the front clutch side headlight. On the performance front, it had a straight thru pipe giving a menacing growl (earplugs recommended). Boy o boy, what an engine and soundtrack!

 

Having ridden the hills, city and the nights, it was time to hit the beach…

City Beach
Took a dip, did some bodysurfing and man am I out of shape…. think I blinded several beachgoers with my office-honed lilly white bag of bones, too. Hehehe. Felt great to be back in the surf though.
All that frolicking in the chilly spring sea worked up an appetite. Nothing like Kangaroo on the beach! Was delicious!

Cody came to pick up the MT10 late that afternoon and the romance was over. Great Tuesday to Saturday aboard Yamaha’s king of the MT range. Looking forward to the next ride through the old haunts. Cheers for some great riding Perth, thanks for that sonorous crossplane powerplant and cruise control Yamaha ๐Ÿ™‚ and cheers Cody for making the MT10 available.

As the sun set on my final night in Perth, fireworks lit the night drawing a cheer from us on Dan’s balcony and a fair farewell.

 

Spent a couple of days on the tail end of our time in Italy touring 2 up from Firenze through the Tuscan mountains and down to Cinque Terre on the coast and back. 

Picked up the bike from the friendly folks at Tuscany Scooter rental

The S1000XR and Multistrada weren’t available so it was an R1200RS. Complete with topbox and a pannier which fit our gear for a couple days. 

Set the suspension for 2up and we were off fighting our way through morning traffic out of the city. 

Took a while to figure out the navi was set to avoid expressways but once sorted we were off and soon flying through the rolling hills of Tuscany north of Pistoia. 

The mountain and river hugging twisties of Garfagnana. I’m home!

Devil’s Bridge – really, that’s its name.

Autostradas have decent one stop shops and rider fuel.
Beautiful night for riding. Climbing and twisting up over La Spezia.
Smoldering sunset… where are we heading?

Riomaggiore… there it is! One of the 5 Cinque Terre nestled in the crook of a valley lapping the Ligurian Sea. 

A wonder of colours, walls, steps, shadows, depth and dysfunction in the night light threaded with plenty of laughter, footsteps and fresh air carrying wafts of delicious food on the scent of the sea. We had to eat.. 

Yum yum yum!

Woke up in a Mediterranean jewel.  

Click the photo for a video

A wonderous moziac of engineering and colour in the light of the day. Spectacular!

With my better half wanting to see the towns from a boat, it was time to snake along the coastline and do some bike bonding. So, headed north to Levanto before turning around and heading south again to meet in Portovenere. 

Click the pic below for the run from Levanto to Portovenere. Best turn the volume down as the wind noise is horrid ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

And Portovenere was magic! 

Found my copilot ๐Ÿ™‚
Had some pasta in a cup… and gelato of course!
Strolled the streets..

With a deadline before the R1200RS turned into a pumpkin, it was time to saddle up and hit the Autostrada making a beeline for Firenze. 

We arrived just in time to drop off the bike then had a great dinner and enjoyed strolling away our final night in Firenze. 

That’s our 2nd time riding through Toscana. Fantastic again! I’ll be back and for longer next time… 


Got out for a little touge running Friday. 

650km odd and more than a little wet. But a great day with top wingmen and oodles of twisties! Cheers for the laughs Gents ๐Ÿ‘

You betcha! 

Wasn’t cold so why not? Donned the rain gear and rolled. 

Being the first day of the long weekend, the Tomei Expressway was a parking lot. Stupid amount of accidents for the speed and time too. 

Rolled into Ebina SA to meet the lads and they had lamb chops for breaky! Monster header warmed juicy and deliciously seasoned lamb chops! 

And it kept on washing us down for a good part of the run home. But,  with good wingmen and some genuine laughs, the swampass and crotch flood was bearable. 

Cheers for the ride Gents. Looking forward to the next summer touge run! 

Met some of the usual suspects and a gaggle of prospective Twistybutters at a nondescript convenience store nice and early to beat the summer heat. So nondescript that some found themselves in empty carparks, even the most experienced!

With the wait, some were chomping at the bit to get going but most were happy wandering around the herd putting faces to bikes and names waiting for the stragglers.

Meet the early gang

Around 5:15, the engines fired, kick stands went up and those on the 500km course went downhill while those on the 600km went uphill.

The carpark cleared quickly except for one reluctant Ninja 10R which had run out of zap and needed a bump start. Some huffing, puffing and pushing later and the carpark was clear. Our group were definitely bringing up the tail but we had a good group. The mighty FZ1 in the lead followed by GPZ900R, Z1000, Street Triple and Ninja 10R. Good pack of experienced and well matched riders. Had a great run crossing paths with the 500s here and there and 70 odd kms later we pulled up to a red signal around 6:30am with a pack of 14 riders! Was awesome to see.

We climbed up through the cool mountains, took a brief break at the top and then down to the south of Kofu for a break.

No Fuji view today. Good chat and tyre ogling pit stop though.

Fueled up the bikes and huddled inside to fuel the riders. Cheers for the cold drinks Sanekata-san. It was already hot! 8am and 30deg! Hot enough to get us moving, but not without a push for the green machine… then it was off to twist our way around the west of Fuji. Along the way we passed and were passed by Mike B on the mighty African Twin.

Had a great run until my wrong turn up the Fuji Skyline. A wrong turn that turned into a cool reprieve. Nice chill 21deg at 1100m. So, we hung there for longer than we should have. By this stage, we’d welcomed a spritely Yamaha tracer to herd but the GPZ and Z1000 had to split off there and head back to work. Too bad…

Stopped here to regroup thinking the jungle would be cooler. It was… minutely ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

From there it was south into Izu and a run down the Izu Skyline. Divided by traffic,our group of four broke off into 2 with the Street Triple and Tracer missing the turn-off for the entrance to the Big Izzy. Oh well, gave us a chance to tag along with another crew of Twistybutters. SuperDuke Ken, Capponard Beppe and CBR Gil. The 10R approved as it fired to life voluntarily! Then we were off and the 10R was a galloping. By the time we reached the Golden Temple, we were back to two.

Fine day but HOT! So were the tyres ๐Ÿ˜‰
Yum yum wild boar soba for lunch at Amagi Goen
Wasabi Icecream. Blended or raw on the side! Surprisingly refreshing :-p

Twisted on over a couple of touges through the forest across the hinterlands toward lunch. the five of us regrouped there and had a good chat over lunch. I was feeling pretty well drained at this stage and a little crabby. Sure appreciated the feed, aircon and company. And as we were gearing up to roll out KJ and his band of merry twistybutters rolled in all smiles and looking as hungry as we had an hour before. Small world ๐Ÿ˜€

After that we did the south west, west and north west coast and the heat was really getting to me. Remember rolling into a combini and thinking I may not make it. Not the full 600km course anyway. Stood there like a zombie in dire need of a second wind. Mentioned/mumbled I really needed an ice coffee and ‘hey presto!’ there was Tony T with a tall ice coffee. Legend! Part time awesome wingman, part time track racer, part time Skyline fiend and awesome coffee dispenser! Cheers T.

The north west corner was fun and we passed a number of twistybutters going up and down the twisty bits. A tracer here, an orange street triple there and the trio we lost on the Skyline! Met them again up on Heda Touge and was delayed with… bike/rider issues. Soonish, all was sorted and we were off again.

Bolted across the peninsular into the fading light back onto the Big Izzy and decided on going north instead of south, trimming @10km off, to get us to the goal a little hastier. It helped until we hit Atami and its summer festival. Complete with floats, closed roads, men in blue on every other corner and… it was a bottleneck. Sorry all. Didn’t check the calendar on that one. Soldiered on and ran the Seaside Line before climbing again into the hills and up to the goal at Daikanyama. The 5 of us were probably last in but glad to be there. Exhausted but glad.

The FZ1’s speedo/odo is corrected so 664km door to door over 18hours. Slow going? Maybe. Hot? Sure. Fun? Oh yeah. Good riding? You betcha!

Gassed on for a while and then decided to hit the road and we all went our seperate ways. Some back to Tokyo, some back to Kanagawa. And me? Well, I was off to a nearby hotel. 20km away and the rain was starting to spit. It only spat while on the peaks and soon I was barreling down into Susono and some much needed fluids and food! I was late though and rolled in around 9:30pm.

Got in to the hotel and a few of the Twistybutts were lurking around the foyer area in various states of reanimation, topping up on amber fluids. The call was made to head to a restaurant next door where we foraged, drank and shared tales from the road. It wasn’t the huge gathering of the Coast2Coast but it was a good time with fellow Twistybutts. Cheers Gents!

Next morning, woke up to team KTM(Neil and Patrick) heading out. Met others for breakfast downstairs and we were all a little crusty and road-worn.

While the others headed back to the big smoke, Brian(aka Ramen Rider) and I headed for the Fuji area to try something new.

The drone worked a treat and we had fun with it. We screwed around on the south side of Mt. Fuji and then keeping in the cooler temps above 1000 metres, we went clockwise around Fuji to Lake Saiko.

The Ramen Rider
Looking for a short-cut around relentless traffic and stifling heat, we headed for the hills and ran out of tarmac. Brian roared past on the KTM while the FZ1 and I crawled on nursing the Bruce Willis bald rear tyre over jagged rocks and spiky sticks!

At the top, there was a most excellent viewing building with a great launch pad for the drone.

Following that we bade farewell and made our separate ways home. I took the opportunity to scout out some twisty touges in the area but …

Decided to twist it back and wriggle around the traffic. Glad I did!

The Tomei Expressway was moving at a snails pace.

For the last run of twisties of a great couple of days of riding, it was up and over Ashigara Touge and Ashigara Highway back to the coast and home. Great weekend of Kanto’s twisties with the Twistybutters.

Looking forward to the next one.

Rolled into Ebina SA @5am to meet up with another Twistybutter only to find I was the only bike there. Over the next 1/2 hour, the bikes started rolling in.

With a coffee down and the sky lit, we scooted across the carpark to top off the tanks before setting out. I’d fueled up the car the day before at my local for 122yen/litre. Ebina SS with its great service was making us pay for it, 145yen/litre!

Great to climp into the cool fresh mountain air…

The Road Gods have been prepping the twisties for extra grip with a little help from the drifters!

Took the time to explore a little and this shrine and meeting place was a cool pitstop.

What a magic place with equally magic woodwork.

Found some twisties of course!

Although cool on the peaks, we saw a low of 9deg at 1800m around 9am, the forests were alive. And the spiders of Tabayama were out in force….

Yeah sure! Just push the button… And a giant hairy spider will pounce! I’ll wait thanks…

But some were definitely out having some fun once the sun came out. Like this father and son.

Had to to give that a go! Woohoo!!

Was cloudy but bright all morning and around 10’30 the blue skies came out making for some magic views and great roads!

Well, most of the roads were great…

All in all, the route is looking good. We did a good deal of the questionable roads and were able to be back in the big smoke by 2pm, But, we sure missed the cool mountain air. Guess we’ll have to head back out there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Set out at sunset Saturday night and what a perfect night for riding it was.
Rolled in to the Yabanjin compound @9:30pm and was treated to some Yabanjin BBQ fare….yum!
The essentials grilled and prepped for rapid consumption.
Woke up to a different scene .. RIDE TIME!
Sorry to be boring you T … yes, best put the book away. There’s riding to be done! A supercruise to Suwa no less ๐Ÿ˜‰
152 Southbound and Early. No traffic, great views and relatively clean roads.
Uh-huh
Hey there Mr Hand man!
Tiger was all stony-faced about the ‘no trash’ and the FZ1, aka fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, just had to stop for a laugh ๐Ÿ˜€
Mid-morning, already on the 389 and the lower ravine made a great pitstop with a hunting hawk soaring overhead, hand sized black butterflies dancing about and …
…this little stinger took a lovin to Oyvind’s Klim
Pitstop Perfect!
hehehe, cheeky little..ish dragons
Yep, that valley is all yours T
Tea vistas of Shizuoka Pic courtesy of Tony. Cheers T
Award winning Tea and an award winning strut. Work it big fella!
The rubber just kept getting rounder
Plenty of supercruise with the 152-389-362 in the mix. Always a good loop.

Got home right around beer-o’clock then settled in for a memorable french MotoGP.

All around great day out and about riding. Great company O and T. Thanks for the hospitality at the yabanjin compound Oyvind.

Roll on roll on next sunday squirt!

 

 

Busted out for 24hrs of riding, eating, yabbering, riding and more riding with 2 great wingmen JamesK and MTMatt. Cheers fellas!

Had to stop for the amazing sunset from Hakone. I was Fuji bound and beyond.
Took the opportunity at the stop to put on the track logger. Next stop Castle Klauzner in south-east Nagano.
Got chilly on the peaks. Saw 10deg.C east of Mt. Fuji. leaving home it was 26deg.

Made it there in good time and received a warm welcome from James and his band of merry off-roaders just back from a day on the trails.

Next morning – James having hosted to a fine Chinese feast the night before, decided to put on an impromptude fashion show the next morning. Needles to say, we were waylaid ๐Ÿ˜‰
Mt. Fuji from the Venus Line above Matsumoto City. Yep, it’s back there in the haze.
Matt showing where we were and James tickling Abo Touge, where he really wanted to be!
He got his icecream and was momentarily happy.
Abo Touge at 1800+m was cool and James was right at home!
Next stop Hida-Takayama and…
The ‘Lets Enjoy Natural Life’ Windy Cafe.
Right across the road was the secret lair of the one, the only, the amazing Toilet Man!

What’s this? The entrance to the Lost World or KingKongville? Nope, the Gorilla Gate, aptly named by James, is the southern entranceto the Arimine National Park. I’d tried 3 times to get to this remote pocket of the Japan Alps before but weather and circumstances had bedevilled me each time. Not today! But, rain was on the way so we only had a few hours to play. And on the other side?…
Plenty of this…
Lots of that… Look at that landslide!
Endless gorges…
25deg.C by the dam and snow on the peaks. Gotta love riding in May.
If only the Empire hadn’t been crushed…the stoomtroopers would still have this place looking sweet ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The abandon cliff-hangers were pretty gnarly!
More gorgeous gorges and roads winding up and around them.
Team Yamaha! Taking a break before outrunning the rain home. Will definitely be back to Arimine!
Not quite done, we had the roads out of there too. – James twistin’ on the FJR –

Not the longest of days but Arimine sure was worth it.