Ride Report from Gifu.

This is a bit late in coming actually. We went last Sunday and I’ve posted the report on Gaijin Riders and  SBK, but not here. Getting a lil’ lazy as the holidays roll on. Anyway, here it is.

Four of us heading out on the run, one with his eight year old son riding pillion. They, however, returned to Seto almost half-way through as they weren’t dressed for the weather. It was cold and they saw black clouds in front of us. They were wise to turn back as they didn’t have waterproofs. Minutes after they left we were under the black clouds which dropped an extraordinary amount of hailstones on us.

Tony and his son who rode on his CRM 250 for the first couple of hours and then turned back.

We had been on the road for a couple of hours when Tony and his son turned back as they saw very ominous clouds up ahead in the moutains. They turned back, but we didn’t. We headed directly into the moutains. The roads were wet before we hit the hail, so we were following a storm. There was a large amount of forest debris strewn across the roads making them pretty dangerous. Soon the hail was beating the hell out of us, but rather than turn back we reckoned we’d ride on through it ad out the other side. David reckoned the weather would clear on the far side of the moutains.

On an adventure in the misty moutains. David and Fred standing in a torrential hail fall.

The road up the moutain we took was two lanes and not a hassle. The hail was heavy and we were riding through an inch or two of slush so the going was slow. The road down the other side was tight, windy and one lane, intermittently covered in debris and carpeted with slush. We decended the moutain at a snail’s pace. Then we had to stop. Some guy had tried to bring a coach down the road and it had slid on the slush and become jammed in a hairpin bend with no way to get out without a tow. The bus was so well jammed there wasn’t even enough room to squeeze the bikes through, so back up the moutain we went and we took another road down.

The reason for stopping.

There was about a inch of hail-slush on the ground and the gradient was severe, so the back wheels of the bus skidded and its nose and arse were jammed in really well. There wasn’t even enough room to get the bikes past. We had to turn around and go back. God only knows how he is going to get it out without ripping the sides of the bus to bits on the guard rail.

Jammed.

Down the other side of the moutain the hail gave way to light rain and we stopped at a convenience store for some hot coffee and a visit to the toilet. While we were standing here drinking coffee some guy in an older, silver Toyota saloon was turning left out of the carpark onto the road and he scraped the side of his car on a guard-rail from the front fender, along both doors and finishing off just nicely at end of the rear fender. He gouged the entire lenght of the left hand side of his car, or maybe his father’s car. Another epic traffic fail!

Bikes parked outside a conbini.

Getting a coffee.

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb...... Me explaining to David how the guy in the Toyota wrecked the side of his car.

Soon we were back on the road and he reached Higashi Shirakawa. Not a lot of photos actually for the place (none actually) as we just stayed on the bikes for the most of the scenic run. We did make a noodle stop at a lovely little cafe along the way and I had green tea soba noodles. Apparently Higashi Shirakawa is famous for its green tea.

Baldies on bikes. Stopping off for noodles.

David and Fred getting ready for the off.

From Higashi Shirakawa we headed back into the moutains to ride along some more scenic routes, By now we’d been riding for over four hours. The rain had cleared and we were seeing bright sunshine and brisk winds, drying us and the roads out nicely. We made a stop in a lay-by along a moutain road to take a photo or two of one of the many stunning views we saw along the way.

David and Fred having a yarn about something or other.

The view from the lay-by.

This was an excellent ride from 10am to 6pm with well over half of it on fantastic mountain roads. We’ll be doing it again in a while when it gets warmer. It was damn cold, but that didn’t spoil the ride one jot. The three of us were dressed for it and Tony and his son were always turning back after a couple of hours anyway. I’d ride in anything as long as I’ve got by waterproofs on. Fred phoned me two days later wanting to head out again this week, so we’ve got an motorcycling extremist on our hands! There will be another run out in the not too distant future though. Maybe next week before the university classes start back. There’ll be another report from that I’m sure.

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3 Comments on “Ride Report from Gifu.”

  1. Simon V Says:

    “as long as I’ve got by waterproofs ”
    Zo you gaught a gold, did you? :=D

    How did Tony keep his son aboard that bike? Strapped to the handelbars?
    I’ve got Krauser boxes on my TA which proved a backrest and 2 handles (as well as standard foot rests) and kept my kids from falling off even when they fell asleep, which they usually do after a few hours.

    If you want to head up to Shizuoka, we can take you on a few mountain routes once the passes* are open (May). Simple accommodation available for a few. I’m off work from Mar 29 th to Apr 4th, and Saturday pm to Monday night.
    Simon

    * links later


  2. He had a harness that he had strapped to both himself and his son. Neat system. And I did catch a cold, but that’ll not put me off riding in that weather!

    If I was a single man Simon, I’d be off to Shizuoka in a cloud of dust, but with small kids I have to stay close to home to be honest. Any over-nighters I do have in the bank will be kept for a trip I have planned in September/October (not a bike ride). Thanks for the offer though. You never know when I might be able to head out to see you.

  3. Klaus Says:

    Damien,

    “otsukaresamadesu”!!! I know how it is to ride in hail, snow, rain and even on black-ice. Had to go to Uwajima (something like 100 kilometers from my home) a couple of years ago, once a week to assist teaching at ECC. Tell ya, coming home at night around 23:00 my legs were sometimes blue = frozen. But hey, no pain, no gain. And another TA rider – we should open a “Honda TA gaijin riders group”!! Keep it up and CU around.


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