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Monday, August 03, 2015

August BRRBT - Keeping it local

Yesterday was our monthly BRR Black Top ride and as you can tell from the title I kept it fairly local with us not ever being more than about an hour away from Palmy.  And yet we still managed to cover around 340-350km.


About nine of us met up in town and headed off under uncertain looking skies for the first squirt up over the track.  The road was a bit damp and there was a bit of fog hanging around but the track wasn't in pretty good condition - you could still see where the tree and the big slip had blocked the road a month or so ago.

The fog was gone as we dropped down the other side of the hill and the reason for this was probably a chilly and frisky breeze that was blowing us around a little.  A quick squirt through Mangamire was followed by a short stretch of SH2 before we crossed over onto Mangaone Valley Road.  The weather was definitely a bit better over this side of the ranges.



Rather than popping out onto SH2 again at Pahiatua, we crossed over to Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road and took this for about 150m before turning off to parallel the main road in behind Mangatainoka and through to Hopelands.  It was through here that we confirmed that we were indeed travelling the Back Roads as we were stopped by stock movements twice and were riding through plenty of "sign".



Next up we crossed SH2 again and made our way up over the Saddle, dropping down into Ashhurst where we stopped briefly for fuel.





From Ashhurt we took a convoluted route to our lunch stop at the Waterford by popping out to Colyton and then fanging across Valley Road - slippery going in places.

After lunch we carried on around the loop towards Apiti.  The roads were very similar to the ones we'd ridden in the morning - damp and covered in winter wreckage of mud, stones and small branches.  Nearing Apiti I noticed a familiar warning on my gauge - "Low Rear Tyre Pressure".  Yep, my poor tortured PR3 had picked up a sharp stone or something and was on it's way down.  A wee pause to fix it was on order.


And people laugh when I say I carry a compressor!


Tyre fixed and we were off again.  Here we left the "loop" and carried on towards Rangiwahia on Main South Road - this being my first trip on it since they finished sealing it.  A nice picturesque little ride.


Once again we avoided another big township (Rangiwahia) by turning right at the end of Te Parapara Road and making for Mangaweka.  As expected the road was fairly messy as we dropped down to the bridge.


At the SH1 turn-off we lost Neil and a few others (a better place to be?) and cruised down towards Ohingaiti.  Oh well, time to hit the back roads again, keep an eye out for the turkeys...


If you watched that video 'til the end you'll notice that I had another little problem...


I know it's good practice at fixing punctures but this was getting a little annoying.  Nevermind, I reckon we were on the road again in about 10 minutes and the rest of the ride through to Kimbolton was uneventful.

We stopped in the hope of getting a coffee in Kimbolton but alas, the cafe was shut so we just said our goodbyes and made for home.  I was only just able to keep up with Colin as he pedalled his Wee furiously into Fielding - what a demon!

Home just after three, I parked a filthy Kwaka in the shed and went inside to start planning next month's ride...

More pics here.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Back Road Riding

Yes, today was our monthly Black Top Ride and yes, we found some back roads.  And had to share the road with quite a few mobile obstacles...







More later...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Flipping a few stones

Having not had the chance for a decent ride in the past few weeks today I decided to remedy that by getting out for a short ride on the mighty Vee.

I decided to take a trip out around the Pohangina Valley but to take a few roads I hadn't taken in a while.  It was also going to be interesting to see what the roads were like after some nasty weather a few weeks ago.

I cruised across town and out through Kelvin Grove before finally hooking up with my first bit of gravel on Watershed Road.  It had been a few weeks since I was last on gravel so it took me a while to get comfortable on it again - some of the gravel had had a grader over it recently so this always adds to the fun.

Soon I was on the familiar Zig Zag road but rather than carrying onto Ridge Road I instead took Finnis Road down into the Pohangina township.

Gravel!

Finnis Road

Dropping down the hill into Pohangina
Next up was some fast gravel on Pohangina Road to Makoura.  I had a blast along here as I'd got the hang of the slippery stuff and had the tail hanging out a bit on a couple of the great uphill turns - oops!

Pohangina Road
Up  on top of the ridge things got a bit slower but the scenery got better so I pulled up for a quick photo stop.






At Utuwai I hung a left to make for Apiti.  After dropping down to the river and clambering back up the other side the road straightens out and is a real hoot on a big dual-purpose bike - you can guess why.




The gravel finally ran out in Apiti so I settled into a fast cruise back to Cheltenham where I stopped for some bacon & eggs wrapped in pastry before carrying on to the old's place for a coffee.



I was finally back home around 2 in plenty of time to give the mower a bit of a thrashing too.  The bike and I both enjoyed our little potter!


More pics here.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July BRR Adventure Ride

Sunday was our monthly Adventure ride, only it wasn't...

Our ride was planned to take us over into the Wairarapa and towards the end of the week the weather forecast was looking fairly dodgy.  On Saturday night it was looking even dodgier.  So, at 5am on Sunday morning Neil fired off an email cancelling the ride - I think this is a first for a BRR ride.

But, Neil was already down here, staying the night at Colin's - and he had to get back home to Ohakune...the weather would be better up on the plateau eh?

Well, maybe not.  Apparently he hit snow by the time he got to Ohingaiti and it tagged along with him all the way home.  It did mean he got some great pictures though:

SH1


Downtown Waiouru
Shot of the day!
Snow-cat
More pics here.

Monday, July 06, 2015

BRRBT Surfing the Seafield Road Surfaces

Yesterday was our monthly Black Top Ride and after the flooding that we had a couple of weeks ago I changed our plans from a few loops around Wanganui to a visit to the Hawkes Bay.  The plan was a quick trip up SH50, then to revisit Seafield Road (which was an old haunt of mine), across to Havelock North for lunch and then return via Middle Road and a new to me stretch through Hatuma to Weber Road and then home.


After a night that brought the odd shower of rain the day ended up starting out pretty fine and when I got to our launching point in Ashhurst there was already a few of the gang gassed up and ready to roll.


Looking good out towards the East...
Once the rest of the group (including 3 Buells!) arrived we caught up for a bit and then mounted up and went to check out the gorge.  It was a slow trip through the gorge, stuck behind traffic barely doing 50km/h and it was nice to finally get North of Woodville and get rolling along a bit better.  Even though it was turning into a bright sunny day the roads were quite wet in places so there must have been quite a bit of rain overnight.  By Tiko I sensed that some might want a breather so we pulled up at the pub (shut so no coffee) for a leg stretch.


Crappy winter's day!


Leaving Tiko we hit my favourite part of SH50 - a stretch that takes you up over a nice little hill and is jammed packed with great corners.  Even though it was damp under foot tyre, it was still fun!


At Fernhill we turned off 50 to head into the wops past Puketapu and finally to Seafield Road.  Watch the video and substitute the soundtrack for that of my wee RG250 ring-dinging it's way (over 20 years ago) through some great windies...


Popping out at Bayview we cruised into Napier and here we got a bit separated.  Looking behind me, I only had one person following me so I pulled up to wait...and wait.  Not good.  I got on the phone to Neil and got the bad news that a young chap on his first ride with us had ridden off the road on Seafield Road.  Luckily he was fine and the damage to his ZX-6 just cosmetic - lucky...

Reunited in Napier, we decided on an early lunch and enjoyed it sitting outside in the sunshine of a great Napier day.

Count the clouds...


After a nice lunch we remounted and followed the waterfront out of Napier and onto Clive.  Here we fuelled up and said goodbye to the Ninja rider and his riding mates and made for Havelock North and Middle Road.  Not much to say about Middle Road except that it was it's normal fantastic self, enter exhibit A - ignore the bug juice...


Eventually we were back onto SH2 and we pootled along it until just South of Waipuk where we turned off onto Hatuma Road.  I'd never been through here but had always been keen to go for a nosey.  It and the subsequent roads that eventually got us onto the Weber Road were fantastic.  They started off fast and open before getting narrower and windier.  The surface was mostly good except in a few places where there was the odd bit of metal or mud on the road.  The wind also came up a bit and we got blown around some in a few places.

My GoPro got splattered again and all the video I got looks a bit like this:


Neil managed to capture a few of the Buels playing around behind him though:


We stopped again at Weber Road for a quick natter (a cold wind was a blowing) before the last leg home.

Barry wearing a bit of mud

Decisions, decisions...

Russell and his wee Guzzi

Colin reeling in a Trumpy...
We turned right at the sign and were soon heading South of Dannevirke.  I took us off SH2 again and made for the Saddle.  We got a few spits of rain on our way and things looked fairly black near the hills but in the end the trip over the Saddle was in pretty good conditions - still plenty of roadworks but a lot of progress has been made.

In Ashhurst a few of us stopped for a drink while the rest departed for home after a cracking ride in fantastic (it's supposed to be winter) conditions!  Now where too next month...

Ring-a-ding-ding!