Lake Parramatta Night Ride

Lake Parramatta Night Ride

Along with my daily dog walks I would like to do some regular mountain bike rides and at this time of the year it means night rides.

Since the end of Surf Life Saving season I have done no training which was good at the time since nearly every weekend was taken up with some sort of trip away with the surf club or bike club or the dudes I ski with at Thredbo , These trips usually involved a fair amount of exercise but also heaps of beer, late nights and lots of food.

But enough is enough and I am trying to get back a bit of fitness before ski season starts and it’s back to beer, late nights and lots of food again. (Maybe I have to stop hanging around with the local piss-pots …. mmm recurring pattern here)

Angus has been dead keen on mountain bike riding since I took him on his first trip away riding downhill and cross country at Thredbo earlier this year, We went in February for a few days then again over Easter and to end the summer season Anzac day weekend. About 11 days already clocked up riding the chairlifts on our season passes. Heres a link to one of the trips

It was another beautiful warm autumn night ( Jenny will hate this as she wants winter to come) perfect for an afternoon ride. so we headed to Lake Parramatta a few minutes from home.

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By the time we got the bikes off the car and geared up it was almost dark however we both have high-powered bike lights and when I say high-powered  i’m talking small sun sort of brightness. I have a pair of AYUPs which are 700 lumen twin lights and Angus has 2 massive Nite Lights 1000 lumen singles.

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We utilise two of these lights each, one  mounted on your handlebars and another on your helmet so you can look around corners. The trails at Lake Parramatta vary from open fire trail to overgrown time-tunnel sections to winding single track and the lights work very well in all variations. The only thing you have to watch out for is trying not to react to projected shadows, a few times I thought something was running out from the darkness across the track only to find it was the shadow of a plant.

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He must have been going thru hyperspace

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Here is the download from my Garmin watch

Click the link below or here to see more details

Daily walk with Roxy and Garmin

Daily walk with Roxy and Garmin

I have been doing our old “around-the-block” dog walking loop each morning with my dog Roxy

We used to walk the dogs every day when the kids were little, in back pack child carriers when they were too small to walk.

As they got older we would take them through the bush reserve along the creek and then back onto the course you see below which I will start doing next week

Now they are both at high school and leave home at 7am so its just me and the dog and my Garmin

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Around Xmas I bought myself a Garmin Forerunner 920XT which is a training tool, GPS bike computer and “Smart Watch”

Mine is the Triathalon model – different colour ( not as garish) – subtle black and grey compared to the bright blue and black or red and white

It comes with both a pool and a running/cycling HR monitor


I haven’t spent much time configuring it yet but it seems to work “öut of the box” ok

It is a pretty fancy piece of kit  with a Heart Rate monitor that connects to the watch which connects to my phone that connects to the internet and uploads the activity to Garmin’s Connect website which you can manage your activities and then connect with other Garmin users…… Lots of connecting !

Once logged onto the Connect site you then can edit and share the activity with the “community” on the Connect site or Facebook etc

I have chosen to embed the code in my blog so you get a summary and the option to click the link on the image to “View Details” and get all the stats of the session

It also lets you add the gear that you use – another social media marketing concept where you can see what others are using and be inspired to “Keep up with the Jones’s”

Like anyone is going to care about my 10yr old The North Face Hedgehog Gore-Tex XCR shoes and 2007 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR mountain bike.

Anyway I will be posting some more activities and gear reviews  soon

Angus and I are doing a night ride at Lake Parramatta tonight – stay tuned


It’s a long way to the shop if you want a Sausage Roll

It’s a long way to the shop if you want a Sausage Roll

Its not just a misheard lyric of the ACDC song Long Way To The Top….

It’s a long way to the shop if you want a Sausage Roll

Making sausage rolls is easy and ones from the shop taste like crap

Without having to make up a mince mix my method of sausage rolls is easy as !


You only need a puff pastry sheet, three sausage rolls (thin), one egg and an oven.

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Place the frozen puff pastry sheet on a chopping board to thaw – i use Pampas

Once thawed cut in two

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Cut one sausage in half

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Cut the sausage long ways from top to bottom to split the skin and peel the skin off

I used 1 1/2 Spicy Italian and 1 1/2 Moroccan Lamb and Lime

These are from Mc Farlands Butcher in Northmead NSW

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Place in middle of each section

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Break egg into cup and whisk with fork until white and yolk are mixed uniformly

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Brush onto both sides of cut in pastry with fork- give your dog the leftover egg it’s good for their coat !

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Roll up the pastry to over the first sausage and peel the plastic off then tuck under to seal with egg

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Repeat to other sausage then chop in half and then in quarters

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Brush with egg and use fork to make stripes or dots to differentiate type of filling

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Place on oven tray and cook for 20min on 200c

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My Motorcycling History

My Motorcycling History

Craig Katen Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc. Member of the Month Report

 How long have you been riding?

About 40 years, I started out riding friends mini bikes around 10 years old and eventually ended up with a family hand me down  which I out grew and handed back. At age 14 my friend’s parents had purchased a holiday farm property up the North  Coast and bought him a Honda XL 125 on which we took turns riding around a scramble track in a paddock. We also used to go exploring around the fire trails and bush tracks in the area which got me interested in Enduro / trail bike riding.

 What bike(s) have you owned?

After leaving school I landed my first job with a motorcycle products importer/distributor  which eventually became  Monza Imports. I used to place the orders  for parts and accessories , look after the computer systems and warehouse and quickly became interested in getting a bike .

I bought my first bike, a 1983 Honda XR200R, from one of the guys at work and I got involved in trail riding and Enduro racing.

In 1985 I then purchased a new Honda XR350R which was a mistake, a total pig for racing, 135Kg and 20Hp – soft, heavy and not much quicker than the 200 and after a year or so I realised that to be “competitive” you needed to have a European 2-stroke bike.

The answer was a 1986 Maico GME250 Enduro which for me made an amazing difference. It was fast light and incredibly easy to ride. Weighing 100kg and having 49 horsepower, 300mm/350mm suspension, front and rear disc brakes it was like going from a Nissan Cedric to a Group B Audi Sport Quattro rally car. A proper race bike, It went, it stopped, it handled . I joined a club and raced it in the NSW Enduro Series and I’d dare say it would be competitive even now.



1989 at Watagan State Forest

Maico 1989 - Watangans Forest (Large)

1989 at Watagan State Forest


A career change, relationship, buying a house, going overseas, friends moving on and a change in hobbies all accounted for a bike sitting in the shed for 15 years and me not riding any motorcycles  what-so-ever.

During that period, however I became a keen mountain biker which kept my riding skills up to a certain degree.


Royal Enfield Purchase


Sometime in July 2012, I did a job in Sydney  and was passed by a bike that I had not seen before “in the flesh”. It was in military spec so I assumed it was old, it had a single cylinder motor with wartime Harley Davidson looks about it. I followed the bike for a while in the traffic, along South Darling St, across the harbour and lost it about Falcon St.


I have always had an interest in choppers but had become more interested in recent years after watching the American Chopper series, I even bought a classic cruiser push bike with similar looks to the Enfield – black frame with chrome bars / wheels / etc, springer seat and full mud guards as there was no way I could afford the $50k required for a custom Harley.


I considered other classic styles of bikes, Triumph, old BMWs even Ural but it was still out of reach. A friend of mine has a 2005 Triumph T100 Bonneville and I always thought I’d like to get a similar bike one day if I had the money.  I had heard of the Royal Enfield brand before and knew a bit of the history (well, enough to know it was originally British but then made in India) They originally made guns and then bikes and went broke like BSA, Norton et al with the Jap bike revolution. So I went on the Internet and started investigating out of curiosity. I had no idea they had been revamped, were imported into the country and available new here as I assumed the bike I saw was a private import and old.


The Enfield seemed to “tick all the boxes” – Classic look and feel, affordable, not too powerful, easy to ride, customisable, no work compared to buying an old bike.  After a couple of visits to the local dealer Motociclo who were great , I eventually went on a test ride. No brainer – within a month of seeing one I had one!


Maico GM250E 1986 Restoration

After reviving my interest in motorcycling by purchasing a Royal Enfield , and being asked by my son Angus “Don’t you already have an old motorbike in the shed and…. CAN I RIDE IT !!!!! ?  ” I decided to restore my old Maico which had sat in the shed under a shower curtain since the 90’s.

After it had been dragged out and dusted off with most parts accounted for and an engine that started after only a few kicks  I  stripped the bike down, commissioned the brakes to be totally rebuilt , replaced the air filter, chain and front  sprocket and here it is. Needs a carby service and new tyres and as you can see the rear guard has gone chalky.


2012 Almost 100%

My old gear still fits !



 Pacific Park  2012 First ride in 15yrs

Then I really got the bug and bought the kids trail bikes and me a 2014 KTM 500 EXC Enduro in 2014

 bikes ktm yam    




Bikes I’ve owned

Mini bike at age 10

Honda XR200Rc 1983

Honda XR350Re 1985

MAICO GME250 1986 – Present

Royal Enfield C5 Classic Black 2012 – Present

KTM 500 EXC Enduro 2014 – present

Have you done any interesting rides and where to?

Having been an off-road only rider for so many years I did not ride on the road except for pre-race tuning and warming up the engine before an oil change.  I had not done any real road rides at all until I started coming along to Royal Enfield club rides.

The way weekend rides are organised by the club lends itself to being partner friendly and soon Jenny was interested in coming along too.

We  really enjoy the  “Ride somewhere  –  Have dinner and drinks – Stay overnight  – Ride home next day”  format.  Jenny recently had a hip replacement which has made long trips easier but prior to that she had trouble getting on and off and discomfort after about 30mins in the saddle.


Side car



On the 2014 Bundanoon trip she had a ride in John Wrights sidecar and last month on the way back from Orange we rode Mike Floyds’  Moto Guzzi California which she almost fell asleep on it was so comfortable.

We are still looking at getting a bigger touring bike to make long trips more comfortable and allow more luggage but until then we are happy touring around on the Enfield.

Do you have any other interests, hobbies which may be on interest to your fellow Members?

In summer we are involved in a Surf Life Saving Club where I am a Nipper coach and Jenny is Nippers Secretary  and a SLS Official.

Jenny ,our daughter Emma and I are patrolling members and our son Angus is a Nipper competitor so most weekends are spent working at the club, patrolling the beach  or attending  surf carnival competitions.

In Spring and Autumn we try to do some downhill mountain biking at Thredbo  or dirt bike riding or camping.

In winter we are keen downhill and back country skiers  spending time at Thredbo  and in  Kosciusko National Park

I also maintain an internet  blog site which I use to chronicle my adventures and sell some gear.

I have included links to some articles of interest. ( this is a work in progress as I am changing hosting platforms and design layouts)

 Do you have any special skills which may be of interest to other Members ?

IT  Equipment Sales and Support , Website hosting ,  e-Commerce  and Blog site setup

Electronic  Security, CCTV, access control systems

Technical writing and documentation

Surfboard repairs


Do you have a ‘wish list’ for bikes you’d like to own in the future?

BMW R1200RT or BMW R1200GS

Ducati of some description

Harley Chopper –  if I won lotto and could waste $50K on a garage ornament

 Is there anywhere you’d like to ride in Australia or overseas?

On an Enfield there would be 2 destinations – India then England

On an adventure bike  Central Australia

On a touring bike down the east coast then to Perth

 Any suggestions for RECOA rides?

Mid North Coast / Hunter Region

Snow Season is coming !

Snow Season is coming !

I went for a walk with the dog this morning and noticed that the shape of the clouds indicated some fast moving air in the upper atmosphere.

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This is usually an means there has been a system come thru and at  this time of the year it would probably be snow-bearing.

I checked the BOM and sure enough there was a Severe Weather Warning -DAMAGING WINDS FOR PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST


BOM 160512 MSLP SATPIC (Small) (Custom)

I then looked at the snow forums and Thredbos website they had had their first snowfall of the season (so I copied a few pics)

thredbo eagleway 160512  perisher

Most of it will disappear before any lifts open but to quote the weather forum mantra “ït will cool the ground” if nothing else