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Sole man with Andy Strapz

This entry is part 13 of 16 in the series Adventure Rider Issue #39

My grandad used to say, “Never argue about politics, religion or sport.” I’ve added adventure-riding boots to the list.Phew. People do get their knickers knotted, don’t they? Sole man with Andy Strapz

My choice a few weekends ago was to chase road corners on the fabulous Omeo Highway, there and back. I’d planned on a total of about 10km of smooth, easy dirt. Smoke from bushfires lined the road on the way north and it was gonna be stupid to head back the same way. My routes home came down to two choices: the dirt or the Sunday traffic mayhem.

I know myself well enough to know the Sunday dipstick patrol would shit me to tears, I’d pass 300 ‘road-cans’ at warp speed, wake up the ‘blue-light disco’ and walk for a month.

Easy choice…so I thought.

Sole man with Andy Strapz

Sole man with Andy Strapz

Overcaution, bulldust, 80:20 tyres, ball-bearing gravel and a tight corner combined to cause a front wheel wash-out.

Repeat performance

Those who know the Woods Point-Warburton Road will tell you it’s a crap road loaded with P-plate-piloted 4x4s with six-inch lift, Boeing 737 tyres and no consideration for other road users.

Overcaution (lack of commitment), bulldust, 80:20 tyres, ball-bearing gravel and a tight corner coalesced into a millisecond, the front wheel washed out and the Bumblewee landed on my right leg and its road-riding boot.

Shaken but not stirred, the bike was put back into the go-forward position, allowed to settle for a few minutes, then I struck out for home.

The next corner one found the brake pedal was bent and wasn’t where it usually was. Then the silly V-Strom front-brake assembly proved to be cracked and moved under my hand.

“Oh, shit. Here we go again,” was the first thought as I hauled it up.

Phew. Message to self: ‘You know you’re supposed to check that stuff!’

Sole man with Andy Strapz

Sole man with Andy Strapz

The right boots were available, but the situation changed after the ride started.

Self diagnosis

My emergency-nursing background is an advantage to fellow riders but often does me no good. All week I convinced myself nothing was broken. Hey, I could walk on it although it was technicolour and I could find no localised boney tenderness.

‘It’ll buff out,’ was my prognosis.


The plan was chase road corners and a total of about 10km of smooth, easy dirt.
Andy Strapz

Shh. It happens

I put up a Farcebook post for a laugh and the majority of readers got it, but some went off like a Blue Heeler pup on the end of a rope. Vitriolic attacks on brands, shapes, colours and foot odour of various boots all missed the point of the story. Circumstances changed around me. I found myself at a gunfight with a machete…I’d planned to smash it at a knife fight.

After about 30km of dirt the arches of my feet were aching from standing.

I knew I was in the wrong boots for dirt road, but enduro-soled boots would have been equally dangerous trying to ride the road serpent aggressively. Missing gears can end in tears.

Adventure riding has changed. Daily it seems to be swaggering toward ADVENTURE Rider 101Andy Strapz

big-bore enduro riding and away from the dualsport backroad exploring of 10 to 15 years ago. That word ‘compromise’ pops up again and again. I checked the map, planned the route and thought long and hard about the clobber to wear.

It’s supposed to work, but we can never cover all eventualities. Like the support crew I required for my tyre choices last column, they really should have been there with more aggressive tyres, different boots, a race collar, a change of pants and a couple of rolls of plaster bandage.

Sometimes we just have to mark it down to ‘faeces occurs’.

“There’s no localised boney tenderness. It’ll buff out.” Wrong.

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