Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 Coast to Coast

Yesterday was the annual Coast to Coast ride which supports our local rescue helicopter so it's always a cause worth supporting and an excuse for a trip over to Akitio.  Another bonus this time around was that the weather forecasters had made a real hash of things and the predicted wet and nasty weather didn't eventuate and it was hot work just getting out to Himatangi.




BRR bike parked next to a BRRBT Connie
After the usual riders' briefing and faffing around it was finally time to leave.  By now it was very warm and I'd removed my waterproof inner from my jacket and opened up most of the vents - gotta love those vents.

We were led (very slowly) from Himatangi, across to Sanson, Feilding and finally Ashhurst before crossing over to Woodville via the Saddle (more very slow riding).  In Woodville we gate crashed their Xmas parade (as usual) before parking up for our BBQ lunch.


Nice little Impulse - nearly as nice as my old one...

Team Kawasaki waiting patiently

Do 2 x 660 Teneres make a Super Tenere?

The cruiser boys were out in force
With none of the usual team going out to the beach due to other commitments, it was just me, myself and I who departed Woodville ahead of the pack (to stay clear of squids and mobile chicanes) to make my way across to the beach.

Along the way I did catch and pass a few others who had the same idea as me.  I still can't get over how poorly some cruisers are ridden.  The owners seem surprised when their bikes don't go around corners properly and they end up on the wrong side of the road - only to repeat at the next corner.  Oh well, the Connie leaves them behind fairly quickly...

At the beach I joined a few of the others who also choose to get there early and parked up for a cold drink and a snack.

Gotta be early to get a good park...
The weather was still pretty nice at the beach but there was a fairly decent breeze whipping up the odd wave and helping cool things off a bit.



An even wider mobile chicane

Still hardly anyone else at the beach
Over the next hour and a half more bikes turned up and the prize giving got underway.  I don't normally hang around for it but when I do...

Shirt might possibly serve me well as a tent
Having raided the prizes I mounted up and started off on my return trip via Dannevirke.  Just like last year I managed to find some rain (this time lighter) and contemplated stopping to put my liner back in but in the end I just got a little damp and having achieved that the rain left me alone and went looking for someone else.

Nearing Dannevirke I still had plenty of gas so didn't stop and made for Woodville.  A few more spits and a slow cruise got me the and it was finally time to gas the bike for the short hop home.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Not so Forgotten

Yesterday was an important day for one of my nephews so a party was in order and I needed to be there.  Our weather has still not settled down much and the night before I was still tossing up on which horse to take.  If the weather was bad then the Connie was going, but if it was ok then the Tenere was going to be the choice and a slight diversion planned for the return trip...

Well, it wasn't raining in the morning and it didn't look too bad so I settled on the Tenere and hit the road early.  North of Wanganui I discovered that while it wasn't raining, it was certainly blowing.  Luckily I managed to stick to the road and even got to the party early without having gotten wet...

Didn't manage to get any lollies though...
While the party was in full swing the weather changed a bit and there were a few heavy downpours at times.  I kept a bit of an eye on the weather and at around 3:30 decided to start my trip back and hope to dodge the rest of the rain...

In Stratford I fuelled up and then had to make a decision - head home the way I'd cme or stick to the plan and go for a pootle across the Forgotten Highway?  Looking South it was fairly black, whereas looking East it was merely grey and threatening.  I decided to chance it and go with the longer route across the FH.

After nearly getting clobbered by a twat in a Falcon in Stratford it was nice to get out of town and onto a fairly quiet road.  My first stop was at the top of one of the saddles for a quick photo or two.


Not today...


While parked there a camper piloted by some Brits warned me of a rock fall further on up the road.  I must have heard them wrong as I thought they'd said a couple of minutes into the gravel section - more later...

About 30km in, I started to run into the odd short shower and the roads were wet and slippery at times - though the saddles were still fun.  Had to stop for pics of the "new" bike in the republic though.

Not sure where all the bikes were today...


Flash as public transport
A couple more hills to cross and plenty of corners got me to the tunnel, so yeah, more photos...



Not tempted...
The gravel section was fantastic and it was only the warning about  the rock fall that stopped me from breaking too many speed limits on it.  But, in the end the rockfall was not on the gravel but about 2 minutes after it as you climb up the next saddle.  Having ridden this bit quite a few times it wasn't abnormal and no issue at all - never mind, nice of them to give me the warning.

More corners, more rain and wet roads and I eventually was through to Tamarunu probably just before 6pm.  Next, was the run down through National Park (more rain) and across to 'Kune.  By now I was a little cold as I had got a little wet and wasn't sure what to do - I'd initially planned to ride down Turakina Valley as I'd never done it in the North-South direction or in low light...

Well, the weather had improved a little so I decided to try a little gravel.  The first bit wasn't that much fun as the gravel was a bit deep and this slowed my progress a little.  By the time I got to the end of it I'd had enough and was starting to feel a little peckish so pulled the pin and made for the bright lights of Taihape.

Rolling into Taihape it started to rain again and I decide to flag the stop and just make a bee-line for home and hope to escape too much wetness.  After a slow cruise down SH1 and a blinking fuel warning, I turned off for the run over Vinegar Hill.  Once again the roads were a bit wet in places, but hey, I was used to it now and enjoying myself.




Pic of the day!
Having travelled about 50-60km since the fuel warning i made another stop in Feilding for some go-juice and then took off in pouring rain towards Palmy.

Nice one Tenere!
Once home it was nice to get out of my gear and into some disgusting takeaways.  Oh well, at least I got in a decent ride of somewhere around 640km.  The E-07's have seen a bit use now too...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Game of Fours - Blogger Challenge

A fellow moto-blogger, Trobairitz (gee, thanks), tagged me in Game of 4's. A challenge in which four questions are provided, to be answered by four answers to each of the questions, and then to nominate four other bloggers.

The four questions are as follows:

1) What is your favorite food?
2) What is your favorite drink?
3) Places you've been?
4) Names that you are known by?

Favourite Food

You mean I have to choose?  My preference is a seefood diet - whenever I see food, I eat it!

Actually, seafood might be a closer to the truth.  While I enjoy a nice steak (and the salad and chips that usually come with it), you cannot beat a nice piece of fresh fish - preferably one you have just pulled out of the sea yourself.  A bit of lemon juice, some nice spuds and a salad and that's about all you need.

On the road it can be pretty hard finding something nice, quick and tasty - usually the fish is deep fried something with greasy chips.  I get really sick of greasy takeaways so I try and get a nice feed of vegetables once in a while - some sort of stir-fry.  Take-away roast meals are pretty spectacular too.  The odd good cooked brekkie is nice sometimes too - no need for lunch.  Subway and Pita Pitt are possibly healthier than a possum pie or roadkill wrap...

Mmmmm, grease....

Favourite Drink

Hmmm, tricky.  I used to be a cokeaholic but now don't have it much and if I do it normally doesn't have sugar in it.  I tend to prefer fruit juices.  I also like my coffee although I'm not a coffee snob - generally if it's hot and has caffeine in it then it's all good.

On the road I generally take water.  I might have a coffee if I stop at a cafe but normally don't just stop for a hot drink unless it's freezing.  Chocolate or coffee flavoured milk is nice sometimes.  On endurance rides I try to stick to just water - I don't think much of the energy drinks as you normally perk up for a while and then it wears off and you're knackered again.  Maybe one coffee on 1,000 mile day - just before dawn.

Hydrate!

Places I've been

Well, this may not be quite complete but it's close.  All the places I've visited in NZ and thought to take a photo:


I'll try to get to those ones that are missing...

Names I'm known by

Well, let's stick to the one's that are printable...

Banditrider (who'd a thunk?).  This started out as my Kiwibiker handle and then blew out into the name of this blog (to change or not change, that is the question?).  Later on, when Banditrider wasn't available (Youtube and maybe some other forums) it became exBanditrider which is now much more accurate...

EVLED.  This was inherited when I bought the V-Strom - the bike came with a personalised plate.  Apparently Ed owned the bike previously.  I use this as my handle on Adventure Rider and the plate has stayed with me and is now on the Connie - don't tell anyone!

Not so evil Connie
Oh, and you're not allowed to call me Andy!  Ma has a thing about that - don't mess with her!

Next Victims!  Let's keep it in the Southern Hemisphere...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ranging not too far and wide

Well, what can I say - it's been wet, fairly damn wet.  It seems like every day we have at least some rain - if not a thunder storm or periods torrential downpour.  Not dry at all, pretty wet.

Anyway, enough complaining eh?  Today was the best day of the weekend weather wise, so it was the day to get out on the Tenere and go exploring.

Leaving home around 10:30, I took a quick cruise over to Feilding to drop something off before going in search of gravel.  The idea percolating in me was to ride Ridge Road - and that was about it.  I hadn't even really given much thought on which direction and on the where to afterwards.  So, I just rode.

Leaving Feilding I made my way towards Vinegar Hill but then turned off to Beaconsfield to cross over towards the Pohangina Valley.  I got a little taste of gravel on Levette Line and then hit the tar again to Kimbolton and Apiti.

There were plenty of wet bits of tar to test out the rubber and the odd kamikaze on a push bike but then after turning onto Ridge Road I saw just one car all the way through to Pohangina.

The gravel was a little tricky underfoot as it was reasonably deep in places but soft underneath.  The bike would often surf around a bit (particularly when braking) and I didn't break too many speed records that's for sure.  The Valley was just as stunning as on my last trip though.

Note the track the bike is leaving on the road even at slow speed 

I wonder why it's so green?


Just around the corner from where I took the above pictures I came across a lamb and a turkey cohabitating on the same grass verge.  Not sure what sort of monkey business they were getting up to (and hey, it's their business) but at least they stayed put while I pootled past.

I also chased a rabbit up the road at one stage but he cheated and took a hard right without indicating just when I was gaining on him.  I didn't get the next two either...




Towards the end of Ridge Road the surface got a little better (or I got used to it) so the speed came up a little but I was always wary of entering a corner and discovering a muddy exit or some other unexpected excitement.

Dropping down Finnis Road was a lot of fun.  I had thought that it might be quite boggy (a lot of pines shading the road in places) but the surface was pretty hard with little gravel or mud to deal with so it was a nice way to say goodbye to the gravel.

After a few spits of rain around Pohangina it fined up again as I rode into Ashhurst where I stopped for a quick bite before tackling the Saddle - somewhere along the way I'd remembered where the tag was so I had to get over the other side of the hill somehow...

The Saddle was in pretty good nick - some of the improvements they've been making are nearly all done and the road is a lot wider in places and even has a few slow vehicle lanes.  An unexpected section  of gravel through a section of roadworks was an added bonus and once again I had no traffic to contend with.

When I hit the bottom I also ran into the weather and it got quite damp for a while as I made my way along Pinfold and Topgrass roads to keep me well away from SH2.  Eventually I had to cross SH2 to pick up the tag at Oringi.


From here I made my way via a top secret route (you're not getting it easy this time Al) which had me sticking to back roads all the way back to Palmy.  No gravel this time though, although there could have been if I'd tried a little harder.

New Tag

Somewhere...

Eventually my top secret route of oh, about 240km saw me back home where the coffee is and I was a happy chappie.

Partial (minus the top secret bit) map below:

Sunday, November 06, 2016

2016 1KC

Yesterday was the Distance Riders 1K Cruise and obviously I couldn't miss out on this nice little pootle - and it was also time for the Connie to get a little action...

As usual, us Palmy riders (James, Monie and I) started in Palmy at 05:00 and after little sleep - the damn rain kept waking me - I was up at 4 getting my act together.  I bet the other 2 to the BP and got tanked up while watching some other guys trying to sort out a crappy old ute on the forecourt - a little early morning entertainment...

Monie ready to roll at o-dark thirty
As you can see from the above picture the ground was pretty wet but at least it wasn't raining as we departed Palmy and started our trek down to the Hutt.  The ride down was it's usual boring self but I did enjoy Paikok Hill and it was nice to be on Mr Smooth again.

We rolled in to Caltex Rimutaka at about 6:40 and were probably amongst the last of the riders there as they'd not had to ride 150km or so to get to the start.  We signed on with Anne, said gidday to James R and Monie even picked up a prize!


Minutes later, we were off, making for the 'takas with the sun in our eyes and a red ST (James) in tow.  I had a pretty good run over the hill, not getting held up too much so pulled over in Featherston.  The other 3 were not far behind me and Monie tore past taking the lead to Masterton.  The two Connies trundled along behind checking out James R's dancing/riding styles - apparently cruise control gives you time for other things on SH2...

In Masterton we pulled in for our first scheduled fuel stop (James R carrying on without us) before setting out for the first photo checkpoint at Castle Point.  I should have been taking pictures riding out here as it was turning into a very nice morning and there was plenty of nice scenery to check out.  It was a lovely ride out to the beach and one of James's first comments was how he'd forgotten how much fun that bit of road is - he wasn't wrong!



The next Check point was just around the corner at the Riversdale Shop.  I'd ridden through here a few times on the DL but having taken gravel options had not ridden all the sealed bits or even gone into the township.  After one short windy bit of tar there was a nice stretch of road into Riversdale where the Connie had a little bit of fun - only some shepherds moving some sheep slowed me up for a minute or two.


James led off from Riversdale and after some frustration with the GoPro, I managed to get it going and sat behind the speedy little Z1000 for trip back to Castle Point Road.





Back in Masterton we turned North on SH2 for a little before breaking off to ride through Mauriceville.  This was just me trying to avoid main roads again...

In Pahiatua we crossed over the first hill but then ducked through Ballance and the gorge to Ashhurst and then across Feilding and Halcombe to our next fuel stop (after 330km) at Turakina.  By now we'd done 500 odd km and we stopped just North of Wanganui for a decent lunch break.

Even Team Kawasaki need a break every now and again...
Leaving the Nest we carried on out to the coast and checkpoint three at Kai Iwi Beach.


The next hop was take us the Para's to Raetihi.  As usual I enjoyed this stretch a lot but we did get to enjoy some wet roads here and also some of the cause for the wet roads...




In Raetihi James made the inspired decision to stop to add his waterproof liners to his jacket and better gloves.  I stuck with swapping gloves and we rode off into weather that quickly got worse.  We got plenty of rain cruising through to National Park, a nice soaking at Owhango and then sunshine and wet roads on our way to CP4 at Raurimu.

"Yee-ha!"
After the quick photo stop we carried on into Taumarunui for our last fuel stop before turning back out of town and making for CP5 at Kuratau School.

The road up over to Kuratau is always fun but today we had a little light rain, wet road and an absolute idiot in a rental car.  This guy had a major death wish and was consistently drifting over the centre line.  I watched him do this a number of times as I caught up to him and in absolute horror when he crossed the line by about a metre as he entered a blind right hander.  I was looking for places to go as a 4WD came around the corner...

Well, nobody died, and as I passed him (rather be ahead of people like that!) I gave him a bit of sign language indicating where he really should be driving and we carried onto the CP.


While there, our mate went past so I quickly gobbled him up again and rode on into some more rain on the last bit of SH41 into Turangi.

From Turangi it was a pretty quiet cruise down SH1 to CP6 in Waiouru.  The road was pretty quiet with just the one radar Buddy out and perhaps just the odd drop of rain to keep us on our toes.


Next up was a trip down Fields Track to the last checkpoint at the Whangaehu Bridge.  On the way across SH49 we passed a VTR1000 doing the ride and he joined up behinds us for the trip over the track.

The ride to the bridge was pretty interesting and a lot of fun.  First up there was quite a stretch of roadworks which involved quite a lot of reasonably chunk gravel.  Luckily I was on my Adv bike eh?  Then there were damp and sometimes muddy roads and plenty of patchy roads - all designed to keep you on your toes - it was great little wake-up after boring old SH1.



Decided against Burma Hill Road - fun as it may have been...
Apparently James also enjoyed Fields Track too, but Monie wasn't so sure and the VTR rider pulled up with not too many nice words to say about it - some people just don't know what fun is...

By the time we had dropped down onto the Paras it was raining again and this time we turned South.  I was really enjoying things (although my butt was not quite as happy) and once the rain stopped and the roads were drier, well...yeeha!

We stopped briefly at Upo to decide on our next plan of attack and ended up deciding to just go straight home so said our goodbyes there.  A squirt through to Okoia, a putter across to Turakina, another squirt over towards Halcombe and then I waved off the other two as I made my way to Mt Stuart and home while they carried onto Ashhurst and then we were all done for another great 1KC!




Better sort out that message...