Early March I joined another overnight bike ride organised by the Ducati Owners Club Victoria. This one was over three days and went through Gippsland and the alpine region.
The first day was going to be long, but for me it was even longer since I had to travel an extra 140km just to get to the meeting point in the morning. We were leaving from Diamond Creek and heading via Healesville to Moe where we were joined by the rest of the group. We had bikes of all kinds with us: several Multistradas, ST's, Monsters, a few Aprilias, one MV Agusta and more.
Via Omeo we then rode over the top of Mt Hotham and down on the other side, to Harrietville, where we based ourselves for two nights. Riding over Mt Hotham was spectacular, and the weather was perfect. Riding down to Harrietville most of us were riding extra slow, since the road is known to be very slippery for motorcycles.
For me the first day ended up being 681km in total.
On the second day we got delayed in the morning, because not only was breakfast late, but there was also a large bicycle event in the area, which went right past our motel. Several roads were closed and others had reduced speed limits, so we had to alter the planned route for the day.
As much as I enjoy cycling myself, it's rather baffling how cyclists can simply decide to hold a major race with hundreds of participants on public roads, and authorities are happy to close the roads or reduce speed limits. Obviously it's a major inconvenience for anyone else who wants to travel these roads.
We first rode to Lake Buffalo for a nice group photo on the dam. Afterwards we rode up the road to Mount Buffalo, but only to the Chalet where we stopped for refreshments, and to enjoy the views. The Mount Buffalo road is probably one of the greatest roads for motorcycling – unless it's a weekend and there is lots of traffic. It was the second time within a few months for me – after my trip last year – and on the way down I had an absolute blast.
From Mount Buffalo we rode to Mount Beauty where we had lunch at Annapurna Estate, a beautiful place among hazelnut trees. We had booked in advance so they were expecting us, and we had barely sat down when they started serving delicious risotto, or alternatively, lamb.
After lunch some of us rode straight back to Harrietville, while the rest spent the afternoon going the long way back via Stanley and Myrtleford.
Overall the distance on the second day was around 410km for me. Again, we rode some incredible roads, and the weather was perfect.
On the third and last day we packed up and checked out. Time to ride home, but not after checking out another bunch of terrific roads. Via Myrtleford and Oxley we rode to Whitfield. From my trip to Mt Buffalo last year I knew already that the Mansfield-Whitfield Road was an absolute cracker: super fast corners, beautiful forest, very little traffic. Before we reached Whitfield, I decided to overtake most of the group and take a spot near the front, so I wouldn't be held up by slow riders.
As expected, it was amazing! The Hyperstrada was flying and I managed to overtake several other riders on faster bikes simply because the Hyper is more agile, has far superior corner speed and allows me to brake hard and late due to its low weight. I love this road, it's a dream for motorcyclists.
In Mansfield we regrouped and got fuel, then we rode the last short bit to our lunch stop at the Kevington hotel. Typical Aussie pub meals: burgers, fries, steak. More or less.
During lunch, I decided to join a few others who also live on the Bellarine Peninsula and planned to head off early in order to get the last ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff.
We rode towards Healesville on the incredible Eildon-Jamieson Road. What a dizzying road, it is literally just corner after corner after corner, I have never seen anything quite like it. Again the Hyperstrada was hard to beat, but halfway through felt some minor slides over the front wheel and backed off a little. I'm riding on dual purpose tyres after all, not the grippiest ones. After dozens and dozens of bends it also started to get exhausting, so I was glad when I finally reached the end of that section and pulled over for a drink.
After several more exhausting hours making our way through weekend and holiday traffic, especially around Healesville, we just so made it onto the ferry in Sorrento, and so early evening I was back home.
In total I did 1667km in three days and it was fantastic. DOCV organises some amazing rides, they know all the good roads and I've always enjoyed their overnighters.