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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Splish, splash, slither...

What's wrong with these two pictures?



Just in case it was too difficult to work out, the bottom pic shows the current tyre on the Tenere - a worn out Tourance.  The top picture shows a spanking new set of E-07's just waiting to be installed...

Enter a couple of devious BRR riders with a plan and I'm in trouble...it's not like I could pass on a ride is it?

Yep, yesterday an email arrived from Ross suggesting a wee gravel ride today and I jumped at it as I feel like I've hardly done any riding lately...Oh, and did I mention that its been raining on and off for well over a week now?

I left Palmy in fairly nice weather and arrived early in Bulls to meet the others.  Gas and a coffee purchased I parked up to wait.  First to arrive was Russell, followed a while later by Ross, Colin and John.  Oh, and by now it was raining...

Check out the knobblies on 4/5 of the bikes...
After the lads had dealt to their own coffee's we took off and made for Fordell.  From there we cut back across Kauangaroa Road before turning off up Mangamahu Road.  Funnily enough the roads were fairly damp through here and fairly slippery - I took things pretty easy and allowed the DR boys to clear out for a bit.

Eventually we ran out of tarmac and hit the gravel.  Did I mention its been raining a bit lately?  Well, yeah, it has - even up the Whangaehu Valley.  Where there wasn't gravel there was either mud or slippery clay type stuff.

The boys with tyres on soon left me to it as I took things quietly and tried to stay on the road.  The greasy bits were definitely a bit challenging with the front end just going where it felt like.  Out the back though the traction control did a pretty good job of keeping things under control - as long as the front was pointing in the right place and there was no mud I could just point and squirt.

Here's a bit of the excitement and if I do say so myself - some of the best video I've ever captured...


After a short break to help Colin eat some of his jet airplanes we were back into it and once again I was definitely tail end Charlie.

The next exciting bit for me was Burma Hill.  This is a pretty steep climb in places and yes, there were some boggy places that had me sweating a bit.  Once again, I think that the traction control and 1,200cc of torque got me up the hill and back onto some better gravel at the bottom.  There were a couple of butt clenching moments I have to say.

Next up was a short stretch of Fields Track in reasonably wet conditions before once again turning off onto the gravel of Owhakura Road.  This was much more my style with an awesome climb up a hill on good gravel - the big blue bike liked it and we got to let loose a few more ponies.  The others still cleared out on me...

A short section of tar then got us back to SH1 where I said goodbye to the troops and made for home, leaving the others to tackle Turakina Valley Road by themselves.  A quiet pootle down the main road got me back into Feilding in time to catch up with my Blister and family (who were visiting the olds) before heading how to get out of wet gear.

The ride was plenty of fun but I get this feeling that some tyre changing will be happening pretty shortly...

BTW: the rain washed a lot of the mud off the bike...




Pretty happy with that economy...

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Accidental Gravel ride

The weather has changed again here - after nearly a week of nice cold, frosty but sunny days we've changed back to warmer drizzly days.  This morning I got a few chores done and then happened to notice that it wasn't raining so thought that I might be able to squeeze in a short ride on the Yammy.

The folks were off exploring Woodville/Pahiatua in their bus so I thought that I might just pootle across and see if they had any coffee.  I didn't bother with any of my Adv gear and even forgot to change over to contacts - it was going to be a short ride after all...

After riding through town and on to Ashhurst I hit a hold-up in the gorge.  It seems that a tin-top couldn't manage to stay out of trouble and had ended up wrapping itself around something.  After 5 mins or so of waiting it had finally been scraped up and carted off and I was on my way again.

Just before exciting the gorge i ducked down into the reserve where campers often park and had a nosey for the olds.




No bus in these pictures 'cos I never found them...

There was no sign of them in Woodville either so I carried on through some light rain to Pahiatua.  Once again they were MIA so I chucked around a few ideas before deciding on riding a bit further South and the taking some gravel roads back up along the ranges towards Mangamire.

The first bit of gravel up Cliff Road and along Quarry Road was in really nice condition and I zipped through fairly nicely.  There was a bit more gravel on Mangaraupiu Road and the combination of rain on my visor and old Tourance's kept my speed down.  Contacts and a visor that would stay up would have been nice...

Pukehoi Road was in much better nick and the bike really enjoyed the chance to boogie along a bit more.  The only other traffic I saw was a couple of kids on a little XR tearing off on some errand for Dad I 'spose.




The light rain was still hanging around (yes, it was even raining in the pictures above) but I was really enjoying the riding and I might even be getting used to how the big girl handles the gravel - hint: very well.  Plenty of good views along the way too.





By now I was getting near to the end of the gravel but it was all nice and open so I got the opportunity to dial up a few more herbs and experience a little yellow light on the dash flashing away at me.  Traction control is pretty damn neat!  I had it in mode 2 which allows for a little bit of misbehaving and I managed a short power slide coming out of one nice fast corner followed by the previously mentioned flashing as we pounded on up the road - fantastic fun!

And then it was all over, I was back on the seal of Nikau Road.  A blustery ride on damp roads over the track ended with me finally back in town.  A couple of km in harder rain saw me home about one and a half hours later than I'd planned...


Wednesday, June 08, 2016

June BRRBT - Up one side and down the other

Last weekend was a long one here and the weather had finally fined up just in time for our June tarmac ride.  Sunday was the day of the ride and it was probably the pick of the days - pretty chilly but no wind and plenty rays to catch.

I got away from home a little later than planned - trying to find something vital probably - and so was quite surprised when I got to Fielding and saw a lot of bikes already there and ready to rock and roll.


And as per usual, rather than simply changing worn tyres, there were some new steeds on display - some just a little bit special too...





Our first leg took us over through Okoia to meet up with two more riders in Upokongaro.



Next up was a delightful if slightly cautious (cold, damp roads in places) trip up the Paraparas to the bottom of Fields Track.  Here we lost the Tracer and a hungry super-charged beast (with a rider who didn't fancy pushing) while the main bunch headed up Fields Track.

What a neat little ride!  The road was in far better condition than I expected (it is winter after all) and up front I chased the sheep and peacocks off the road for everyone before stopping near the top to take in the fantastic view.




The rest of the ride through to SH49 was just as good.  Here is just a little taste of one great back road.


In Ohakune we stopped to say hi to Neil who was out and about wearing fluro lycra for some reason but didn't hang around to eat there as the town was flat out with their "Carrot Carnival".  Instead we shot across to Raetihi for a late lunch.


After lunch it was time for the main event - the River Road.  I hadn't been down it in a while as it had been closed for a time due to storm damage.  Reports from those who had been down recently warned of roadworks and mud...they weren't wrong...

At the beginning of the road we had to go through a lot of patches of new seal with plenty of marbles available to slither around on.  South of Pipiriki things got even more exciting with the odd slip and several sections of mud/clay to negotiate.  Have no fear, I was on a road bike with worn out PR4's - no problemo apart from wheelspin at just over idle...I should have had the GoPro on to capture this action - the below video is from where the road began to improve...


The further South we got though, the better the conditions and we had a nice little squirt before pulling up to check out the view and wait for stragglers.



Not sure what Robin had been up to...

KTM's can't help playing in the mud

Rob in particular really enjoyed the River Road - 200hp must have come in handy...

This poor wee Gladius took a wee mud bath but rider ok
And another Wee brings up the rear.
After the regroup we split up and went our separate ways with some heading into Wanganui for fuel and others visiting Okoia again.  Even I had to stop for fuel in Bulls and saw a few of the others roll through while I was doing this.  I got home just before 5pm and after putting the Connie to bed lighting the fire was a priority.  Great ride on a beautiful winter's day!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Splashing around...

...and neglecting the poor old Connie :(

Today was supposed to be the BRR Adv ride but the ride got cancelled as we've had a lot of "weather" (and today's forecast was not pretty either) so I had to amuse myself with a short little ride that took me in and out of more "weather".

To kick things of I decided that it was time for a Yamaha to collect a tag and picked up the old tag in Awahuri on my way to Halcombe.


Somewhere (possibly near Halcombe) I picked up another picture for the new tag...

Tricky!

Could have been the tag too...
Now it was time to find some gravel.  I carried on towards Stanaway looking for a short gravel road that crosses over towards Beaconsfield that we'd ridden once before.  The first road I went down wasn't it but got me onto Makino Road so I rode past Colin's place to see if he was around but there was no car there so I turned around and retraced my steps back to Stanaway Road.

As it turns out the next road (Junction Road) I turned down wasn't the one I was looking for either but at least it was gravel and a little longer.




Once again I ended up on Makino Road and I used this to get me over onto SH54 for about a kilometre or so before I turned off onto Beaconsfield Valley Road.  This road starts out on tarmac before finally turning to fast gravel and then slow gravel.  It was good fun but I wore a fair bit of rain and visibility wasn't the best...





Turning onto Waituna Tapuae Road and feeling a little damp I said goodbye to the gravel and started heading home.  Back on the tar and in "wet fast cruise" mode I found quite a bit more rain which was very keen to make friends with me so I hunkered down, turned the grips up and pushed on.

Eventually I out-ran the rain and a pretty nice little cruise back into town and as I write this the bike is safely in the shed and the rain has caught up to me again...