All roads lead to Apollo Bay

Inland route to Apollo Bay, back via Great Ocean Road (320km)

Only recently I’ve discovered what a great place for motorbike riding the area West of Geelong is. Obviously there is the Great Ocean Road, quite possibly one of the best motorbike routes in Australia — that is, unless you’re stuck behind a slow tourist vehicle on a long double-lined section of the road.

But it’s not just the Great Ocean Road; there are a lot of options for heading inland first, then descending through the Otway Ranges down to Lorne or Apollo Bay on windy forest roads, then heading back East on the Great Ocean Road. Starting and finishing on the Bellarine Peninsula, this ends up being a nice day trip of 300-350km.

Fair bit to go to Apollo Bay
Fair bit to go to Apollo Bay

With the dreadful winter months finally over, and a long Grand Final weekend with terrific weather upon Victorians, I went for a bike ride last weekend. I decided to follow a similar route to the trip a few weeks ago, but this time at a slower pace with photo breaks, and continuing inlands to Apollo Bay instead of Lorne.

The official road sign for 'motorbike road'
The official road sign for 'motorbike road'

Basically instead of riding Deans Marsh - Lorne - Apollo Bay I went Barwon Downs - Forrest - Apollo Bay this time. After Forrest the road turns into a windy, spectacular forest road with great ocean views towards the end while descending to Skenes Creek.

In Apollo Bay I stopped for lunch and was reminded of the greatness of riding a Ducati Streetfighter instead of a boring Japanese bike. I had parked my bike next to a bus of Chinese tourists, and when I returned from lunch, I found a crowd of admirers surrounding the bike, watching me as I packed up and moved on.

Apollo Bay
Apollo Bay

While refuelling, still in Apollo Bay, I watched an Indian tourist wrecking his rental car by driving against a concrete boundary while maneuvering around the busy service station. I have no idea how anyone could manage to not see that wall, but he wasn’t very tall and probably should have adjusted his seat since he could barely look over the steering wheel. Always something happening on the Great Ocean Road.

After another short stop at Lorne, I rode back via Torquay and Ocean Grove. I have now done more than 6.200km on the Streetfighter since I purchased it, and with the recent trip to the Phillip Island GP circuit and some longer day trips on the Great Ocean Road, I can feel I’m more and more confident on the bike, and every trip becomes more enjoyable.

Ocean Grove, last stop before heading home
Ocean Grove, last stop before heading home

I’m also slowly giving up my opposition to bike modifications. I always felt the bike looks best in the way it was designed in Italy, but I’ve now started to make some careful enhancements, such as converting it into a monoposto (removing the passenger seat and foot rests), and replacing some of the ugly plastic panels with carbon fibre. I’m not really a fan of the carbon fibre look, but in some areas it looks better than plastic. I’ve also added a short tail license plate holder, and a quickshifter (to show those Porsches what real acceleration looks like).

Looking forward to a great summer of motorbike riding.