12 June, 2014

Crossing the Simpson - June 2013

Well, in early 2013 I prepped the KiLleR with Dunlop D606s, a Ventura luggage rack and backpack, crashbars, Madstad screen, tank panniers and a set of saddlebags before taking off in June for the wilds of the Simpson for an attempted solo crossing. I had earlier tested the fully set up KiLleR on a couple of rides up through Lake Mungo, Menindee and White Cliffs and it all worked quite well As it turned out, however, once I left the Oodnadatta track, the addition of many extra kilograms of fuel, water, food, tools, clothing and camping equipment meant that the KiLleR struggled in the soft sands of the Simpson. After a frustrating day of bogging the bike many times on the uphill slopes of the dunes I was fortunate enough to be "rescued" by a group of 4WDers on the Rig Road. They kindly offered to carry my luggage in their vehicles so I was free to ride unburdened, and suddenly what had become a chore became a source of great fun. Well, that was up until the time I realised I had very low tyre pressure up front - zero to be precise - as I had torn the valve stem out of the front Heavy Duty tube by lowering my tyre pressure too much. However, with 300kms to go I decided to push it on and surprisingly I was amazed at how little this affected the overall bike performance and handling - even made it up Big red without too much difficulty! After repairing my spare tube in Birdsville I did the run down the Birdsville track to Leigh Creek effortlessly in one day, and followed this with an epic 1,300km one day journey home the next day in pouring rain, crossing flooded creeks and in freezing temperatures. More to come....

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