Ride Down Izu Aug 30th 2003

John asks Stu "How many cows did they kill to make those leathers??"

Stu's VRT1000F 

Paul's R1

In front of Sports Riders

Getting ready to go

Paul needs Coffee and or sleep

The bikes

Jim's Mighty BMW R1100GS

End of Summer Izu Ride and Snorkel

Jim and John had suggested a ride down the cost of Izu and then lunch on the beach along with some snorkeling. Sounded like a plan to me. We decided on a date of August 30, 2003, which was a Sunday.

In arranging this we also got Neil Yamada go come along. Initially we made the plan of going down to Johnfs place in Yugawara on Saturday night for a beer or two and telling lies. This plan got a bit complex as John was down in his wifefs hometown, Numazu, visiting her family. Johnfs brother was also in town from Oz. John being the great guy he is came back to Yugawara and let us invade his home. Jim got down there firs. Neil and I prepared to meet up at the Tomei Entrance McDonalds between 9:30 PM and 10:00 PM, then at near the last minute Paul Herr decided he wanted to come along, great the more the merry!

We arranged to meet up with Paul near the start of the Odawara-Atsugi Toll road, where he would get on from route #129. We did not know at the time that the only place for us to wait for him was the merging lane, not the safest spot to stop at near 11 PM. We left our bikes running while we chatted and waited, so at least the cars could see our taillights etc. I donft know how long we were there, but it was a little too long. My fuel light came on at some point and now I needed gas fast! We asked at the next tollgate for the nearest gas station, and found out that there were none on the expressway, and in fact the next smallish town that we could get off at most likely did not have an all night gas station. We pushed on to Hakkone. Going through the long tunnel before you turn off at Hakkone the VTR started to flutter, goh-oh, Ifm out of gas!h I thought, as we rolled past the entrance to the Hakkone Turn Pike the bike was really out of gas. I had to push through one intersection, then Paul and Neil took turns gStraight Leggingh the bike and me, to do this the rider with gas pushes the dead stick rider with his foot, usually a good solid point like the back of an exhaust can or a foot peg can be used. I know it is hard work, thanks for the push Neil and Paul! As luck would have it we soon found a gas station, but it was closed, and the guy was just washing up. He apologized profusely, but he could not open the pumps, he said they were on a time lock! He did lend us a small hand pump so we could transfer gas from Neilfs SV400 to my gas hog VTR1000F, and he told us of a 24/7 gas station just up the road. Nice guy!

We finally rolled up to Johnfs place around midnight, and Jim was well into the remains of a bottle of Tequila. He was feeling no pain and was sure talking a lot of smack, NONE of which he claims to remember the next day <wink>.

We got to bed around 2 AM and John got us up at around 6 AM, he had to drive back down to Numazu to pick up his wife, daughter and his brother who had all stayed over at his wifefs parents, thanks again to John who really went out of his way to be a good host.

We got on the road about 6:30 AM and went to Jonathans Family restaurant (kind of a cheap Dennyfs), the mean was OK, next time we WILL go to Dennyfs. They had a breakfast special with a fried egg and bacon, I wanted mine scrambled, they sucked their teeth three times and said that they could not do that, so we pressed and the waitress went back and asked the cook if they could arrange it!!!! I guess the cooked was in a good mood, because they broke the rules and scrambled my eggs for mec


Neil's Suzuki SV400

Stu's Thundering VTR1000F Firestorm

Paul's Yamaha YZF R1

On the move

The four of us left the restaurant and were on the road to Atami by about 7:30 AM. We went up to the Izu Skyline. On the way up the clouds looked rather menacing, and as we got nearer the clouds had settled onto the road. We drove at a fairly sedate pace for about 15 minutes, and then the clouds were gone! We almost had the road to ourselves, I guess at that early in the AM and with clouds and what looked like rain in the mountains no one but us were heading down Izu from Hakkone. When we got to the toll booth at the bottom of they Skyline I wanted to head back and go all the way back up to the parking area with the gas station, top up and head down the Skyline again. Jim wanted to press on further Southward promising better roads ahead, so we did.

Ifll have to get a map out and figure exactly were we went, but to any of you who have been down this way, we ended up getting on the Cow Place road and heading down hill. The top of this very narrow very twisty (VERY FUN!) road was again in the clouds, but down a little further it cleared up and we could hoon again! There were very few cages on that road too. I know that some donft like that road, but I just love it. It is very narrow in spots so you have to watch it, and be sure you stay in your lane, when there is a centerline that is. In Canada where I first road sport bikes we road a lot of roads like this and I feel very at home on them. We got down to the bottom and I wanted to top up the VTR again, ya I know it gets lousy mileage, but it sure is fun to ride!

From there we headed south along the west coast of Izu, the roads here were great with light traffic again. One spot I took off to set my own pace and Paul was behind me with Neil and then Jim. I have having a hoot; these are good roads, not such high speeds, but almost no straight sections either. I got going and then I noticed that Paul was no longer in my mirrors?? Oh shit, I thought, he binned that nice newly restored R1c.

I turned around and went back, Paul, Neil and Jim were coming my way, but pulled over at a rest area kind of place. It seems that Neil tossed his SV400 down the road again!! Neil recently replaced the foot pegs on his SV with some aftermarket sets that are a bit further back and higher to give him more ground clearance. The problem was two fold, one is Neil likes, really likes to toss that bike over on itfs side fast, hard and deep, which he did this time, but the biggest thing was that the road had an off-camber to it with a kind of hump in the middle of the corner, and that is what ultimately got Neil. The new rear sets are the race kind that doesnft fold, this way they act as a slider, keeping the bike off the tarmac, and they will provide some protection to your foot leg if you crash, as the whole bike cannot lie on your leg. The left side peg touched down hard lifting the rear off the road and that was it, Neil was on the tarmac. Paul says he saw the crash in his mirror, and Jim came around the corner to see Neil on the ground, I missed the whole show!!

When we stopped at the rest area, we checked the bike over; the slash guards worked well and kept the bike from any major damage. The left footpeg was ground about ¼ away and the bolt holding it to the rearset was bent, so the footpeg was at a bit of an angle, and the shift rod was also slightly bent. With some roadside TLC the SV and Neil were soon back in the saddle. Neil was wearing his stitch. There was some damage to it, but Neil will only have a few bruises. After this crash Neil was seen to go much more cautiously round corners.

Let's go

Sleep I need some

Look I'm an offroad dude

We got near the place we were to meet up with John and family so we stopped at this big supermarket to buy lunch. We bought way too much food and then headed off to the meeting place with John.

As we pulled up to this small town on the very southern tip of the Izu peninsula we could see Johnfs green van parked down by the dock, and John standing by the vancwait a minute, that is not John, he is too tall and good looking <wink> We met Johnfs brother Joe, and I have to say he sure is a nice guy, very funny, good sense of humor!

We then get our swim gear on and load up Johnfs van with our stinky bike gear (sorry about that John!). We pay 1000 yen for a round trip ride out to this isolated cove on the coast that short of repelling down a very steep hill you could not get to. Just across the way from this beach is a small island. We quickly got into the water as staying on the shore sucked with all of these bugs swarming on everything and anywhere. Can you imagine a cross between a cockroach and a shrimp? That is what these things looked like. Jim says they donft bite, but twice the stupid bugs bit me. Swimming around was great, and with swim fins a mask & snorkel I sure had fun!

We could see some monkeys out on the small island and for whatever reason we all decided that we should go out and take a closer look at these monkeys, so we did. When we got there and hauled ourselves out of the water the monkeys were being very intimidating showing us their teeth and making gPiss-offh sounds, I think the males realized that Jim was with us and they needed to protect their femalesc.<wink> We headed back to the beach, and it was a really tough swim, Johnfs brother Joe did it and he did not have swim-fins like the rest of us. We had to swim against the current that was running between the small island and the shore, hard work!

We got all of our gear together and headed back to the small town where our bikes were parked, changed and said our goodbyes to John, Joe and family. From here we headed out down the road, but I wanted to stop at the first store, as I needed a cool drink. I figured that this would be a good time to let Neil have a go on the VTR, while I rung his SVfs neck. We swapped bikes and then a few Km down the road I saw Jim and Paul pulled up at a small store but Neil didnft see them, I motioned to Jim that I would catch Neil and come back. Ok, but Neil is on the VTR, thundering V-twin, and Ifm on the SV400, with no working horn!! It was really funny, every time I could catch-up to Neil, he seemed to think that I wanted to play and he would bump the pace up a notch, I flashed my lights and waved my hands, but he did not stop! Finally I got close enough and YELLED at him and he stopped, he was just having too much fun! We went back to the store and bought some souvenirs and a drink.


Jim and Paul on the boat out to the snorkeling place


The cove were we went snorkeling

John's Brother Joe (left) is visiting from Oz

John and Saori's daughter Erika

Wet, tired, ready to get back on the bike

On the road again

Now it was getting a bit later in the day and we had a long way to go back to Tokyo. We decided to NOT got up the East coast as we knew from previous experiences that we would hit all the traffic heading home, so we basically went back the way we came. At the base of the Cow Place road we stopped for gas and then a coffee at the local 7/11, and not too much later I was sure happy we drank that coffee as I was getting tired. From there we crossed the middle of the Izu peninsula back to gShuenjih (?) and onto the Skyline. On the last ¼ of the Skyline we hit the clouds again, but this time it was dark, so it was much more excitingc. At the end of the Skyline Jim took off down to Yugawara as he had some unfinished business there, and the three of us, Paul, Neil and I went over to the top of the Hakone Turn Pike. The clouds, or Fog got really thick here, and our lights were just about useless. When we got to the parking area at the top of the Turn Pike it was totally empty and the fog was quite thick. Paul suggested that we take a break, so we did, and about 20 minutes late we started down the Turn Pike. Luckily for us the clouds only went down about 1 or 2 Km and then we were just riding at night! The Turn Pike in the dark is kind of surreal; you can go fairly fast, as the corners are mainly sweepers with no surprises. We got gas at the same 24/7 gas station that saved my dry VTR the night before and were on our way. Once we were on the Odawara-Atsugi road Paul took off at his own pace, Neil and I stayed at a slightly slower non-A-plate rate. Traffic was fairly light on the Tomei and we made it home at a reasonable hour. A very long day, up at 6 AM and home at 11 PM, I donft know the kind of mileage we put on, but I think I filled up the VTR like 6 times, so the ride was maybe near 500 KM.

Overlooking the cove we were at

Jim in black

Neil (the guy who took most of these pics) gets in front of the camera on Paul's R1

Hey the color match!

Speaking of the VTR, it ran flawlessly, I was really happy with it, the power was smooth and steady, and the handing was confidence inspiring. I really like the new Bridgestone BT001 tires, the stuck like glue to the road and did not give me any moments at all. I doubt that I will get much wear out of them, but I donft care about that, it is not like Ifm commuting or anything.

It was a fantastic day overall, and I have to say that after doing those 3 SRTT events I really feel that my riding has become much smoother, and safer, while at the same time I was able to up my pace a fair bit. One of the things I did was to limit myself to 2nd gear for most of the twisties and when I did shift into 3rd on a straight I would not whack it wide-openctoo oftencthis kept my speed reasonable, but I felt like I was going much quicker and much smoother. I really got to say that if you want to ride safer, and faster you should get some of the SRTT training, after all SRTT stands for Street Rider Technical Training. One other thing I was surprised to see was that my tires were scrubbed right to the edges, no gChicken Stripesh at all. I was not out trying to do this, and my using the body steering that Naito Sensei teaches at SRTT I felt that the bike was not leaned over as far, but I guess it was leaned over farther than before. All day I did not have one scary or out of control moment, well Ifm not counting the running out of gas part, and I have to say that I think I was running at about 70% on the twisties, leaving myself that 30% buffer for whatever is waiting around the next curve.

Yes a great ride. Sorry that this has become so long, but I had some time last night stuck behind the cash register with little to do, so I started it, but now I really must finish it!

I hope to see Jim and Paulfs reports up here too, as well as Neil finishing his, it will be fun to see how the different guys remember the same events.


Paul says "I told you I needed more sleep

I need a pillow

I need embalming
Headed Home