You know where I am, I probably don't

Down and Under and Out

28/04/2018 at 16:07 by brad

Finally, after more than three weeks in Australia, I’m moving again. I’ve been in a youth hostel for the whole time.

Picture related (No. It’s not me. I’m not ginger. Also, my beard is a thousand times worse.)

I arrived here on the third of April having been told that the boat with my bike on it would be arriving in Perth, Western Australia on the fifth, and that’s when I should be in town to hand over my paperwork to the shipping unloaders so they could clear the Carnet and arrange the custom inspection.

So I do this, and it’s about another sodding week to wait between the ship arriving and the crate being present in the receiving warehouse so I can break the fucker open, extract the banana-y goodness and rebuild it to the best of my abilty.

So I pay to get the carnet stamped, pay to get the crate quarantine inspected and pay to get the crate material disposed of, get the bike out, put some petrol and oil in as because when you ship out of Indonesia you’re meant to empty the thing of all fluids in case you decide to fill it full of smack, hookers and bootleg DVDs and riiiiiiiiide off into glory.

Except I didn’t. I rode the bastard thing to the mechanic, because Asia has not been kind to the banana. At that point it was another week of waiting for my appointment, because Australia is a country with real motorbikes in it for the first time since Turkey and other people are ahead of you.

It’s also expensive as hell and I don’t have enough money to bribe myself to the front of the queue. Also the novelty of being white and confused isn’t enough to make people help me straight away.

Here’s a list of things that were wrong with the Banana

  • Chainset was DESTROYED. The rear sprocket was so knackered that if you tightened the chain to proper tension it was out of pitch with the sprocket and would sort of jump-click once every revolution. It was pretty terrifying. The front sprocket was fine though. For reasons I cannot explain.
  • Needs an oil and filter clean / service
  • The steering bearing is worn to the point of replacement, but not dangerously so
  • The chain has been eating into the front of the swingarm as the guard has been work away. It’s not dangerous, but the whole swingarm will need to be replaced if the bike isn’t to be junked when I get home
  • The rear brake was almost completely gone. Eh. That’s fine, says I’ve got some pads and I’ll just change them myself before I roll out.

So all of the work gets done except for the steering bearing, which I’m not too bothered about as all of Australia is looooooong, straight roads that send you mad and make you go buy PVC club gear from the eighties, the swing-arm because fuck you I’m not replacing it and the rear brake because I can do it.

Then I leave the bike there for another week because I’m stuck waiting for a package with all of my credit cards to arrive as they have ALL EXPIRED OR BEEN REISSUED IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS. Seriously. I had a week left on one card and then I would have been destitute and selling handjobs for pocket change in direct competition with your mother and she’s a bit handy with a broken bottle.

I go back to get it, roll it out the back of the workshop, “OK guys, I’m just going to put my pads on and I’m out thanks for all your help byeeeee” except it doesn’t quite work like that. I thought I could change them without removing the back wheel but NOPE. So I get one of the mechanics to come help me out because it’s a ten minute job and it’s easier if someone else holds the wheel while you take it out and put it back on and we discover a weird issue: One of the pads is worn down to metal and the other is more or less OK.

OK, well sod it, I squeeze the piston back, we put the new pads in and put the wheel back on. Because the tech is there he gives it a proper look over and while he does so sees that the wheel is dragging more than it should be. I can’t take it out into the middle of nowhere like this as it’s liable to smash something in the middle of nowhere, so it’s wheeled back inside and it’s diagnosed as being a floating brake that isn’t floating any more. Hitting it with a sodding blow torch is the order of the day, which releases the pins and stop me from either boiling my brake fluid, wearing my disc out to nothing or somehow exploding in a super sweet ball of being fairly annoyed.

All of this is done, the bike is loaded up and I’m off on my way into Australia. The first order of business is to get to Adelaide, which is the nearest major city to the east. Nearest is a relative term, however, as it’s about 2,400km away.

Eh. Sod it. Onwards.

I set off at about 1300 and head… east. I’ve got no plan because plans are for knobs and don’t know where I’m going to stay. I’ve been told to make sure that I don’t ride at night because kangaroos are complete shits and are liable to screw up your day by jumping in front of you at night then pissing on your prone and shocked body before your adrenaline can pick you up enough to say “HOW IS THE BIKE OH MY GOD MY ARM IS MISSING, PLEASE SKIPPY STOP UNLEASHING TORRENTS OF YELLOW BUSH JUSTICE I AM IN SERIOUS PAIN.

I ended up sleeping in my tent on a cricket oval. Not on the green itself, as although I disdain most sport that is slow enough to not be motorised I am still English and as such not a stinking heathen. I was completely petrified that every time the tent rustled I was going to be confronted with a policeman who had an accent I couldn’t take sensibly, and then I’d get tasered.

Luckily, nothing happened and I’m off again as of this morning.

Australia is very big and very… Australian? I guess? It’s pretty much exactly what I expected it to look like. I did manage to see my first Kangaroo. It was dead and at the side of the road. As previously mentioned, apparently they’re complete shits and such I applaud such.

Tonight I am in a town called Norseman, which is pretty metal. It’s the last town before I enter the Nullarbor plain. ‘Nullarbor’ means ‘No trees’, and it’s supposed to be about a thousand plus kilometres of incredibly straight road through an unchanging landscape where if something terrible happens I will be stuck for hours, have to abandon the bike and will possibly die.

Sounds ace.