RIDES REPORTS PHOTOS GUIDELINES FORMS REGIONS CONTACT HOME IMPORTANT NOTICE TO JOIN US ON ANY RIDE you must have completed our “indemnity form” as well as our “contact details” form. They only need to be filled out once, before your first ride, and after that you can just come alng without any formalities. The forms are available by clicking on the link above, and then printing them. Please fill them both out and mail them to the address below at least one week prior to your first ride with us. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU MAIL TWO FORMS We occasionally receive an indemnity form with no contact details form, and we have no idea who sent it. So please double check. Once we have your forms, you’re all set. MAILING ADDRESS FOR FORMS: Adventure Riders HQ PO Box 107 Albion Park, NSW 2527 FOR INFORMATION ON ANY OTHER MATTER CONNECTED WITH OUR ADVENTURE RIDING SIMPLY CONTACT: GARY WICKHAM Adventure Riders President Email: garywickham@bigpond.com.au IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL RIDERS DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY OF RIDES The following is a guide only, as by its very nature, riding motorcycles on unsealed surfaces exposes riders to a wide range of unpredictable and challenging conditions and circumstances.  All participating riders should be prepared for an escalation of difficulty on any ride at any time, and participation in the ride implies acceptance of complete responsibility for their own safety. TOUR - Designed as an easy introduction to adventure riding,  these rides aim to stay on sealed and good quality unsealed roads. A note of caution though: Adverse weather conditions can affect road surfaces, and riders must be prepared for any eventuality. EASY – Mainly sealed and made unsealed roads, with challenges primarily being the risks of motorcycling on loose, rough and slippery surfaces. The probability of dust, sand and mud. MEDIUM – Potential for somewhat longer distances, and/or travel on made unsealed roads as well as unmade tracks.  The probability of steep unmade hills, river crossings, sand, mud, rocks, logs and other challenges. HARD – Significantly longer distances, and/or travel on made unsealed roads, unmade tracks, and off-road. Considerable exposure to steep unmade hills, river crossings, sand, mud, rocks, logs and other challenges. EXPEDITION - For longer distance rides, where riders are likely to encounter the widest range of conditions, including the most challenging terrain.  Navigation may be the responsibility of the individual rider, and all riders need to be completely self-sufficient. Motorcycling on unmade surfaces is unpredictable, and therefore you should always allow for the unknown.  Regardless of how well planned a ride may be, and the Grades listed above, there is always the potential for unforeseen circumstances to develop which may significantly alter the situation.  These may include bad weather, breakdowns, altered road conditions, navigational difficulties, natural events such as fires or floods, and many more.  In these circumstances the difficulty of the ride may escalate in an unforeseen way.  You must be prepared in advance to accept that these risks are beyond the control of the Ulysses Club, it's members, and ride organizers, and can not be avoided by the exercise of reasonable care.   The only way to avoid risk associated with motorcycling is to stay at home and watch TV!   That's for sure... CHECKLIST OF SUGGESTIONS FOR OUR RIDES Please note: The following checklist is a guideline only, based on our experiences of the past.  It is not intended to be, nor could it be, a definitive list.  Nor can it anticipate all circumstances that may occur in the future.  The Ulysses Club, this SIG, and club members, offer no guarantees that these suggestions are suited to your particular circumstances.  You should rely ENTIRELY upon your own investigations and judgement before fitting out yourself and your motorcycle in anticipation of joining us on a ride. - To check your SUITABILITY for any ride, it is strongly advised that you satisfy yourself with certainty that the ride you intend participating in is suited to your skills and your bike’s capabilities.  This is the first rule of our rides.  It’s not fun manhandling a large motorcycle weighing in excess of 200 Kg’s out of some boggy mud-hole.  Particularly when you may have a lightweight bike sitting in the shed at home.  Get it right – phone the Ride Leader first. - Motorcycle PREPARATION is EVERYTHING.  Make sure that your bike: - Is registered - Is recently serviced, including all lubricants, filters and brakes - Is fitted with good condition tyres with tread patterns appropriate to the planned riding conditions – more aggressive tread patterns are generally better suited to our rides.  Tyres such as Metzeler Karoo’s and so on are popular with our group. More road-oriented dual-purpose tyres such as Bridgestone TrailWings are less popular, as they may offer less grip in mud, sand and on loose road surfaces. - Has tyre pressures suited to the terrain and load - Is carrying any necessary spares such as clutch levers, sparkplugs, etc - Has a first-aid kit on board.  Even a basic kit of pain killers, crepe bandage and a few bandaids is better than nothing. Of course, a fully featured kit is better still. - Has a full set of tools, and you have USED THEM to work on your bike, so you know that you have a tool for EVERY situation.  You’d be surprised how many factory-supplied bike tool kits do not cover every situation you may have to deal with.   Check…and add what you need to the kit - Is carrying a puncture repair kit and a pump or gas cylinders, and you KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.  One spare tube (front wheel size only) is also a good idea – even for tubeless bikes. And don’t forget at least one tyre lever! - Has sufficient fuel capacity, and fuel, to cover the planned distances, plus a safety margin of say at least 10% - Has adequate wear left on both front and rear brake pads.  Not much fun running out of brake pads in the middle of “nowhere”. - Has all nuts and bolts appropriately tightened, and that all fluids are fresh and filled – coolant and brake fluid front and rear. - Has only tried and tested accessories fitted.  Please don’t fit a new accessory such as a luggage rack and try it out for the first time on one of our rides!  Test it first, to make sure it is rigorous enough to survive a tough ride without failing Motorcycle LUGGAGE is often the source of problems for riders.  The guidelines are simple: make sure you DO NOT OVERLOAD your bike.  Carry heavy items in close to the centreline of the bike, as low as possible and as far forward (but still behind the rider) as possible.  This centralises the weight, and reduces the negative impact that additional weight has on the bike’s handling.  Top boxes are popular, but be very careful using them for adventure riding – keep the weight in them very low, make sure they are secure, and don’t let stuff move around inside.  Doing this will reduce the detrimental effect of weight carried high and to the rear of the bike.  As well, you should ask a qualified person to adjust the preload on your suspension to a level appropriate for the weight you are carrying.  So, in summary, if you can, keep the weight low and in front of the rear axle, but still behind the rider.  Pannier racks, with soft panniers, are the first choice for handling and safety.  Backpacks and small tankbags can also be useful for small items.  “Ocky” elastic straps are not recommended – we prefer webbing straps that do not stretch. - PERSONAL REQUIREMENTS are of course up to you.  It’s recommended that you check with the Ride Leader to see what meals you may need to carry.  You may need lunch if the rest stop is not in a town on a day ride, or for overnight rides you may need two lunches and possibly dinner or breakfast.  Check before leaving home.  You will of course need drink for the duration, as well as snacks, medication, and anything else you consider necessary. - TRIP REQUIREMENTS will vary from trip to trip.  At a minimum you should carry detailed maps for the area you are travelling through, and/or a GPS.  The ride leader will of course be managing navigation, but should you become separated from the main group, maps will be invaluable, particularly in unfamiliar territory. If the ride is overnight you’ll need a change of clothes and a bathroom kit.  If the plan calls for camping, then obviously you’ll need a small tent, thermarest, sleeping bag, food, cooking and eating kit, and possibly a small folding stool.  (Note swags are generally considered too heavy for motorcycling off- road, and offer nowhere to store your riding kit out of the weather if it rains.) A camera and spare battery/cards is also pretty useful of course.  And don’t forget a hat of some sort.  Even if rain isn’t forecast, wet weather gear is prudent.  A towrope is also potentially useful, and a length of water-ski rope is perfect.  Insect repellent and sunscreen could be handy as well. - RIDER SAFETY is enhanced enormously with the correct gear.  Make sure your helmet is within its recommended life span, that your jacket and pants are designed for motorcycle use (all the appropriate padding and abrasion resistance), that you have quality goggles/visor that are free of scratches and kept clean, that your boots are purpose-made off- road motorcycle boots in good condition, that you have good quality gloves for both hot and cold weather, and – most importantly – you are carrying completely waterproof outer or inner wear to keep you dry (hypothermia sets in very quickly when you combine wet and wind!).  BUT REMEMBER – no protective clothing yet made will protect you against injury in all cases, so PLEASE ride within your limits.  The best way to avoid injury is NOT TO FALL OFF! IN SUMMARY, we trust you’ll enjoy each and every ride you participate in.  Just remember that preparation is the key to avoiding disappointment.  Make sure your bike is in top condition, that it and you are suited to the particular ride, that you have the necessary equipment and skills to repair your bike, that you have adequate safety gear, and that you travel as light as you possibly can – excess weight makes riding far more challenging than it need be. ESSENTIAL PROTOCOLS NOTE: Motorcycling is extremely enjoyable, but unfortunately it's also a dangerous activity, and riding a motorcycle on unsealed surfaces especially so.  Participants in Ulysses Club Adventure Riders SIG rides join the ride entirely at their own risk.  Each rider is entirely responsible for his/her own safety, preparation, mechanical reliability, fuel, repairs, food and so on.  PRIOR TO JOINING ANY OF OUR RIDES YOU MUST OBSERVE THE FOLLOWING: FIRSTLY:  You are required to provide us with a signed “Indemnity Form” as well as a “Contact Details” form. Both these forms are available by clicking the links on the left margin button menu. You should complete the forms and post your signed originals to us at least a week before your first ride with us.  The address is found under “Contact Us”. You will not be able to join the ride unless we have received these documents, so please make sure you post them with time to spare.  Or, they should be available from the Ride Planner on the day of a ride, and must be completed and handed back prior to commencing that ride. Once we have received these forms, they will remain current for future rides.  Please, however, let us know if any of your contact details change. SECONDLY:  For each and every ride, you MUST contact the Ride Planner to satisfy yourself as to your suitability for the intended ride.  The ride leader will provide you with an outline of that ride, and it is then your decision alone as to whether or not you believe that ride is suited to your motorcycle, experience and abilities.  Additionally, you are encouraged to make your own independent inquiries as to the ride conditions, to further satisfy yourself as to your suitability. THIRDLY:  You must pay careful attention to the preparation of your protective clothing, your motorcycle and any payload you intend carrying.  It is entirely your responsibility to make sure your motorcycle is registered and in sound working order, and that all your luggage and clothing is effective and secure.  Please review our “Rider Advice” segment, above, for hints on preparation. PLEASE JUST TAKE A LITTLE TIME to attend to these issues, as they will contribute to you having safe and enjoyable rides with our group. INFORMATION FOR RIDE PLANNERS We Always Welcome New RIDE PLANNERS... If you’re considering planning a ride for the Adventure Riders SIG, below are a few pointers to help make sure your ride is a success. The success of our Group heavily depends on the success of each and every ride, and the Ride Planner’s management on the day.  A good knowledge of the planned route is of course desirable, but there are a few other things to consider.  If you’d like to plan a ride we’d encourage you to familiarize yourself with the pointers below, which should help you to run an enjoyable and safe ride for everyone. But remember, despite the apparent complexity of the stuff below, most of our riders are well aware of proceedings, and so your day should flow quite smoothly.  No need to be nervous... PLANNING THE RIDE A few points to consider: The detail of the intended route... There are a number of issues here, such as the difficulty of the terrain, the duration of the ride, fuel range required between towns, where are the appropriate spots for breaks and scenic points, meeting points for hooking up with extra riders etc. Also, settle on a starting point - this will normally be just out of your major metro area, usually a service station for easy refuelling, and some way towards the ride destination.  It pays to give a little thought to where the bulk of ride participants are coming from in choosing the start point.  And finally settle on a meeting time, which is normally 8.30 am for a 9.00 am start, although this can be varied if required. Also note that occasionally some routes through sensitive areas require permission from the National Parks and Wildlife Service in your state. In that case you may have to pass on the bike rego numbers to obtain the appropriate permit.  Also be aware that from time to time there are locked gates that may not be shown on the map.  It pays to have an alternate route in mind if you come across one.  Please, never force entry through a locked gate, or onto property marked as “Private”.  This does our reputation no end of harm. Once you have done your basic planning, you will have to specify the GRADE of the ride.  This is explained at the top of the left-hand column of this page. If you intend negotiating more difficult “single track” terrain at some point along the way, you might be advised to specify single cylinder bikes only, or at least have an alternate easier route planned for the bigger bikes. Accommodation requirements... You should of course consider accommodation needs if it’s an overnight ride.  Is it to be camping/pub/caravan park etc?  It pays to contact the likely venues in advance to establish availability and alternate accommodation if necessary.  And it may be that you could offer a choice of accommodation (if available), as some riders prefer “5 star”, while others prefer park cabins, motels or a tent. Rates and contact details for the accommodation options should also be obtained for inclusion on the website Ride Calendar. Planned navigation of the route... There’s nothing like having been on the ride before, but it’s not impossible to organise a ride with only limited knowledge of the route. Good maps are indispensible. Pick the brains of other riders. Preplanning on a GPS is possible using electronic mapping programs, and there are plenty of web based sites where very recent feedback can be found. Note that a GPS should never be solely relied upon – always carry high res maps of the area you are riding through as a backup. And what effect would wet weather have on the ride?  Will rain make the ride impossible in parts? Do you need alternate routes around difficult spots, especially river crossings after rain? Timing for the ride... Will the ride be on Saturday and/or Sunday, or mid week?  And what season?  If you’re riding on the weekend, be aware that other 2 and 4 wheeled vehicles may be around, and some may be heading towards you. Great care should be taken, and you must keep to the left at all times.  Rides in the cooler months have their advantages: ie; no overheating and less dust problems, but always think about the effects of low temperature on riders, both through the day and at night, especially if you’re camping. Winter rains can cause problems at causeways and make moderate climbs much more difficult than when dry. Also remember that wet riders can get very cold very quickly. Emergencies... As Ride Planner it pays to consider the eventuality of a spill or a mechanical breakdown.  There are usually many willing hands on the typical ride, and some with significant mechanical aptitude and the necessary tools to go along with it.  It’s wise however, in addition to your bike’s toolkit, to always carry a tow-rope with you, in case a particular breakdown cannot be repaired trailside.  Also, an appropriate first aid kit is an essential part of your gear.  Make sure you have one, and that it is freshly replenished.  Some of our members have first aid training of some sort as well, so you can make inquiries as to who may have that training on your ride. The Ulysses Club offers a subsidy for first aid training courses, and you may want to consider doing a course and claiming this subsidy – details are on the Ulysses Club Org website.  Lastly, if your ride takes you a significant distance from the nearest mobile phone network, such as the outback, then you should ensure that there is appropriate communication available to you in the event of an accident. The three most widely used are the SPOT system, the EPIRB system, and of course satphone. Many of our members have one or other of these devices, and you need to ensure that one is available to you on the ride. Finally... Once the ride is established (and this is usually months in advance), you’ll need to have it listed in the Ride Calendar section of the website. Simply email John Baker with the appropriate details – date, course, grade, accommodation options and phone numbers etc.  He’ll then list it for you. Oh, and don’t worry if you aren’t inundated with calls straight away. Experience tells us that most riders leave the decision to participate on your ride to the last minute. It’s best not to worry about this, as almost all rides draw a good crowd on the day.  It’s wise however to have 3 or 4 riders as a minimum, for safety and support reasons.  The day before the ride you should advise your local Ride Coordinator who is coming on the ride, and he will provide you with a mobile phone number as well as an emergency contact name and phone number for each person who has previously lodged an indemnity form. You should carry this info with you for the duration of the ride in case you need to contact any other rider on the day. RUNNING THE RIDE The Day should start out with a pre-ride Briefing... Introduce yourself to everyone and make sure that all riders have filled in their indemnity form, or have previously lodged one. Remember, no form means no ride. Make sure that you have spare copies available on the day, and once filled out these should be mailed to the SIG Secretary. Be sure you have the mobile phone number for each person on the ride. And be sure they all have your phone number as well. Conduct a “site induction” which explains the destination, overall degree of difficulty, intended route and stopping points, fuel availability, and any likely locations of challenging terrain and alternate routes if available. Explain that everyone joins the ride at their own risk, that they should obey the road rules at all times, and always ride within their limits. Make sure that each person’s bike is registerd and insured. They should be prepared for all eventualities of terrain, weather and circumstances, and be self- sufficient with food, tools, parts, water, fuel and wet-weather clothing.  Make sure that each rider is satisfied that the ride is within his/her capabilities.  If they feel uneasy at any time on the ride, just let you know and you can direct them to follow an easier route if one is available. Explain that if they become lost, it’s important that they very carefully ride back to the last point of contact with the group and wait there. Remember that the others will attempt to locate them and may be heading in an oncoming direction, hence the need to ride very slowly on the extreme left side of the track.  Remain in one place once they arrive. It may take a while for the other riders to find them, so be patient.  Try to phone the ride planner or someone else on the ride, and if there’s no apparent network available sometimes an SMS will get through. You’ll need to pick a sweep rider.  We normally ask for a volunteer for the job of “sweep” - or last rider. In this role the “sweep” always stays at the back of the ride group to lend both physical and moral support to riders who have stopped for whatever reason. By making sure that all riders are in front of him he also minimises the risk of strays.  You must make sure that everyone on the ride knows who is “sweep”, and the best way to do this is to have the sweep wear a fluoro safety vest for easy identification.  The sweep should be a capable rider who can cope with the pace and difficulty of that particular ride.  It’s common for the sweep role to be split over the day to share the responsibility.  If this happens make sure everyone knows, the best way of course being the safety vest for positive identification.  Being sweep can be quite a pleasant experience. Although they can be exposed to other people’s dust, they can hang back a bit and ride at an even pace, something that can’t always be done when amongst “the pack”.  Any tricky lines or problem areas will have been sorted out, and they get the chance to observe the scenery without worrying about surrounding riders. Explain the “corner-man” system.  On any ride, we prefer everyone to get to the destination as planned of course, so we often use this method. The corner-man system has been around for a long time and works well. The idea is that the rider immediately behind the Ride Planner remains at a nominated corner or point when directed by the Ride Planner. The Ride Planner will indicate with a hand signal when this is required, and the “corner-man” should acknowledge the request with a nod of the head.  The corner-man then finds a spot in full view of following riders (but out of harm’s way), and points his parked bike in the direction that the other riders are to go. He MUST wait there until the sweep rider appears, no matter how long it takes! The sweep rider will normally give him a wave on approach, and the corner-man is then free to follow the trail after the main group.  If the corner-man leaves the corner before the sweep rider arrives, then the group runs the risk of being split in two – not a pretty situation!  One of the benefits of being a corner man is that it gives him the opportunity to have a traffic-free run back to the main group. Finally, count the number of riders and make a note.  It’s VERY important to have this info as it allows you to establish if anyone is missing throughout the ride.  At every major regroup through the day you should do a head count to make sure everyone is still with you. ON THE RIDE... Getting lost and backtracking.  This happens from time to time, but it’s not the end of the world. Ride Planners are a rare and intelligent species but they’re not infallible.  It’s not a crime to have to backtrack, and that’s partly what adventure riding is about. A fact of life is that riders on your ride will be happy to follow you regardless of the advertised route and they are just pleased to be on their bikes. Don’t worry too much about the precise timing of the ride. You are the planner and can always invoke the classic line – “we’re right on schedule”; you being the only person who knows the schedule.  Most people will be having a good time anyway. If you look like you are seriously running out of time, you can usually revert to sealed roads to make up time. Everyone realises that we can’t always keep to 100% dirt.   MOST IMPORTANTLY... The day is for having a good time, and the best way is to be relaxed and enjoy the trails. Just take a minute or two to ensure that everyone is aware of what’s happening, and you should have a great time.