Published on May 7th, 2009 | by Rare White Ape
There I was, staring into outer space, enjoying fine ale in a quiet gentleman’s club, when I was startled back into the now by a man that looked like Kirk Hammet. He was brandishing what appeared to be a large book with a motorcycle on the cover.
When I shook off the daze, I realized that the man was not in fact Kirk Hammet – it was Stone – and I was not in a gentleman’s club, I was at Mick’s place in Sydney for the BIKE ME! Tournament. The book that Stone had presented me was a copy of Bitch’n Bitumen: Australia’s Ultimate East Coast Road Rider’s Guide.
Stone had mentioned that the editor of the book himself gave copies to a few of the reprobates from the Southern Clan at the Melbourne Motorcycle Expo a few months ago, on the condition that they use the books and post up a review on the BIKE ME! website. Stone was unable to find the time to carry out his mission, so he was kind enough to give it to yours truly, as long as I fulfilled the task he was given.
I gladly took the guide back to Queensland and began flicking through the pages over the next few nights.
Bitch’n Bitumen is designed specifically as a motorcyclist’s guide to riding on the east coast of Australia. It contains plenty of handy maps and local road information with locations of service stations, lookouts, eateries and other points of interest, as well as tips for ride preparation & safety to make your journeys as smooth as possible. And by logging onto the Bitch’n Bitumen website, readers are able to download short clips of the best sections of road.
There’s even a section for cars in the back, but who wants to waste perfect weekends by driving one of those?
The book is split into sections based on the state in which each map is located. Some sections are linked by suggested routes for longer rides, like a six-day trip from Sydney to Brisbane, or a five-day tour of Tassie. A look at the key map shows that there are no gaps from Melbourne, all the way up to the Sunshine Coast; it seems like it is possible to navigate the entire way solely through the use of this guide.
There’s probably a month’s worth of continuous riding here!
While skimming the pages, I decided to choose one of the featured routes near to my place that I haven’t ridden on before. The opportunity presented itself to go in search of Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious, on the western verges of the Brisbane metropolitan area — definitely the most popular route for the weekend thrashers in the area.
The guide is very thorough in its description of what the rider will encounter on any given day on a chosen route. For instance, while talking about Mt Nebo, the guide warned of Nebo’s unique split-lane hairpins, as well as a beaut bike-friendly cafe at the top of the run. On Mt Glorious Rd, the guide mentioned ‘chaotic’ switchback hairpins. In both instances, Bitch’n Bitumen was spot-on.
I must admit that I wanted a luggage-free ride, which meant that I didn’t have the book with me. If I did, I would have continued my journey around Lake Wivenhoe, but instead I chose to stop there, turn around and come back again.
My reason? I wasn’t sure how far I was from a service station. A quick check of Bitch’n Bitumen would have shown me that there were three servos on the lap of the lake.
The book definitely contains value in that respect. So far we have seen what this guide is good for, but what is it not good for?
Well, if you’re an experienced rider that has seen pretty well all of what the east coast has to offer the discerning motorcyclist; then Bitch’n Bitumen will be a waste of money. Also, a lot of the information is now somewhat out-of-date, having been compiled sometime back in 2006, so one must not rely totally on this book to let one know exactly what one should expect to see on a ride, and the disclaimer at the front reflects that. But, if you’re new to riding, or even if you’re not-so-new but want to explore roads unseen, Bitch’n Bitumen is the perfect addition to your riding kit.