Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Coast to Coast

Saturday was the annual Coast to Coast ride which is run by the Woodville Lions to raise funds for our local rescue helicopter.  It's a run that I usually do as it's a charity I like to support - I have been on 3 different rides over the years where the chopper has helped someone out.  Not a good statistic (and I don't think it's my fault) but it is nice to know that there is fast help available when you're riding out in the wops.

I had quite a busy weekend planned so this time around I decided that I was only going to go as far as Woodville and miss out the usual trip to the beach at Akitio.

After dog walking and a few other early morning jobs I fuelled up and made my way out to Himatangi.  I was pretty early and managed to find a park next to another silver Connie.  It turned out to not be Brian but I soon ran into him just up the road a bit...


While we were waiting we got to be showered in dirt by the helicopter landing nearby and I managed to catch up with quite a few NZ Distance and even BRR riders including one (and I hope this cheers you up Chillertek) who is currently hunting for his 4th rear tyre in 6,000km...

Supercharged tyre eater and friend
By the time they gave the ride briefing there were plenty of bikes lined up and the day was getting hotter.  I had all the vents open on my gear - Adv gear rocks in hot weather!



The ride tagged onto the Himatangi Beach Xmas Parade (yes, there is such a thing) and puttered on out of the small settlement.  We then got a little more pace on and made our way across to Foxton and then Shannon.

Then we turned North and made our way towards the Pahiatua Track.  Getting nearer to the track myself and a lot of others started getting passed by all sorts of idiots intent on a fast run over the track - not sure how that went for them, what with a cop leading us an' all...

One of the more disturbing things I saw was a blue Gold Wing go past on the wrong side of the road entering a blind right hander.  You'd think the rider might care more about their kid who was riding pillion than play around like that.  Luckily they made it and had maybe 2 seconds to spare between when they pulled back in and the next car came around the corner - moron of the highest order!


I managed to keep control of my inner squid and took it pretty quietly without passing anyone.  And so did Rob on his 200hp weapon - I spotted him behind me for a while before being astounded to see him replaced in my mirrors by a Harley.  Somewhere there is a Harley riding telling a slightly unbelievable story - I wonder how fast he was going in his story?  My guess, 80-90km/h...

Anyway, we made it up over the track, dodged trucks that can't quite fit in their lane, cruised on through Balance and then puttered into Woodville where we became a part of their Xmas Parade too - great to see all the kids loving the bikes!

And after demolishing the BBQ lunch I scarpered and enjoyed a fantastic ride over a pretty deserted Saddle and down into Ashhurst and home.  Next year I'll need to check out the beach again...


I've lost a badge somewhere...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Animals I have met

The other day I was telling someone my Emu story and it occurred to me that I seem to have reasonably frequent run-ins with critters while out and about on the bike.  Getting into Adv riding has only increased my odds.  So far I've been lucky in that the run-ins have only been eye openers for me, although some critters were harmed  (unintentionally) in the making of this post...

So, now for a bit of a list and maybe some tales...

Birds

They say that in NZ we have a bird for every job that mammals do in other places (our only native mammals are a couple of little bats) so you tend to see a few.  I won't mention every bird I've seen but just the ones where things have got interesting:
  • Swifts - normally travel in squadrons of hundreds and explode on impact when hit by an RG250 at 80mph...
  • Sparrows - small and fast.  Will cook right through when wedged between the oil cooler and fairing on a GSX750F.  Cooked sparrow comes apart easy...
  • Pukeko - dumb enough to run into the side of a Tenere.
  • Hawks - big, slow, angry and not to be messed with.  Often snacking in the middle of the road.  Nearly took one on the handlebars of my GSX400X - would have been exciting.
  • Weka - don't normally see them on the road but they are nosey so and so's
Amorous weka meets SB...
  • Ducks - hard case jokers.  Slow to cross the road unless they lift off.  Unfortunately hit some little ones with the VTR one night.  Mark hit an adult duck one day and it was like watching a cartoon...
  • Magpies, seagulls, pheasants - morons that get in the way occasionally.
  • Penguins/kiwi - only seen warning signs so far.  Seen wild kiwi on Stewart Island - cool!
  • Turkeys - are turkeys...
Why did the turkey cross the road?
  • Emus...
Small furries
  • Cats - quick but dumb.
  • Hedgehogs - slippery, often flat.
  • Dogs - not too bright but man's best friend.  Did see a smart lab the other night - he used the pedestrian crossing to get across a busy road (yes, he was taking himself for a walk too).
  • Rabbits - fast, but not as fast as a Connie.  Soft.
  • Possums - harder than rabbits.  Slow, can be dazzled by lights, make a thumping sort of noise when hit by a Connie mid corner.
  • Rats, Weasels, stoats, ferrets - introduced pests (like all the others above) that munch on our birds.  Small, fast and hard to hit, but I try...
Bigger stuff
  • Goats - quick, agile.  Often all over the road but pretty good at getting out of the way.
  • Sheep - dopey, generally have no idea.  The smartest ones appear to live on the French Pass road - no fences but they know to get off the road for vehicles.
Not the French Pass Road (much further South)
  • Pigs.  Domestic ones are fat and slow but normally stay off the road (they like wet, muddy drains though).  Wild ones are small, fast, hard and hard to see at night - would not want to hit one.
  • Seals - only on the rocks at the side of the road.  Only seen fur seals but would like to see an elephant - as long as it wasn't on the road...
  • Deer - fast, scatter brained.  Scare Concours riders when they run out in front of them at 2am in the night.  Not so bad in daylight - and this is the French Pass Road.
  • Horses - big, solid, dumb and sometimes on the loose on the East Cape.
  • Cattle - see horses but with added poo and more moo.  Have tangled with calves, cows, steers and bulls in my travels...

So far not many moas or Fiordland moose...

He froze upon seeing the Connie pull up...

And I'd be unlucky to come across a sign like this (popped up in my Facebook feed by coincidence).  I will keep my eyes peeled though...perhaps best to stay away from any Jenny Craig's...


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wanganui Toy Run

Well it's that time of the year again - Toy Run time.  Yesterday was the one organised by the Wanganui Ulysses and I normally try to get over for it.

I left home early as I needed a new pair of gloves and thought that I'd check out the bike shops in Wanganui.  It was a really nice ride over as it was still nice and cool - it was a bit of a shame having to stop in Wanganui...

In Wanganui I rode some small bits of the Cemetery Circuit while checking out the bike shops.  I didn't find a great selection available (still a lot of winter gloves on display) and definitely not in my size - bummer.

With plenty of time up my sleeve I parked up in the main street and located some bacon and eggs wrapped in pastry to feed the worms and kill some time.  Then it was off to find the ride start.  Simple: just ride up the street and get flagged down by a Ulyssian...

Still early...
Parked up it was time to hurry up and wait but bikes were arriving all the time and the organisers reckoned that we ended up with more than last year so that's good for them.

Compressor blocking my view of some nice 'busas.



(BTW: the three pics above were taken with my ancient little Olympus, still takes nice pics and better than the Fujifilm).

At around eleven we mounted up and made our way out of town via the main street and followed the river out of town.



The route took in the main road for a while before switching to back roads to Marton and Halcombe.  It was very slow and the day was getting warmer by the time we hit Mount Stewart.

The ride was heading to Himatangi but I didn't really need to go to Himatangi so stuck with it until they were definitely heading further away from Palmy and further towards Himatangi.

Breaking away from the group meant that I could pickup a bit more pace and cool off a little.  Rather than heading straight home I stopped in at the Honda dealership and managed to find a pair of gloves that hopefully will last me more than 5 minutes.


Anyway, not a huge or very exciting ride but good to support the Sallies with a small toy and donation.  Here's some more of the action:


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Silly Season

So apparently the silly season is upon us and everyone is supposedly under pressure, tired out and in need of a break.  Meanwhile our road toll has already exceeded last year's tally and the remedy is speeding fines for 5km/h over the limit - the same solution as every holiday period for the last few years (thanks Australia). 

Anyway, there must have been something weird happening in Palmy yesterday as I witnessed 1 near miss, got myself wrapped up in another and came across two separate accidents...Our populations is supposedly around 84,000 (when the scarfies are in town I 'spose).  Not a bad effort for one day's work, but these are only the ones I saw...

Near miss number 1.  4WD fails to give way to a motorcycle (not me) on the big roundabout just up the road to me.  I got a good view of this and the poor rider must have messed his jacks when a dirty great SUV appeared next to him.  But then, the 4WD must have been in a hurry to just nip around to the left and go blasting up a short dead-end street.  Dramatic re-creation below...


Next up, it was my turn to enter the chaos of the roundabout.  Mine was nowhere near as serious as I was never going to ride the poor old Tenere into the side of a truck that decided to not give way to me.  I did however come to a complete stop in the middle of the roundabout.


Two near misses in less than a minute so now it was time to see what happens when a near miss turns into an event - and this one looked pretty nasty, I hope nobody was injured.

I was held up majorly (along with hundreds of others) by an accident on Fitz Ave which is a major road coming into town.  At an (intersection controlled by lights), two cars had come together with quite a whack - the front wheel, axle and suspension had been torn from one of the cars and neither will probably ever turn a wheel again.  This is a 50km/h zone.


At work, a number of my team were held up by the accident and it was a good topic for our safety moment.  I was able to add in my other earlier adventures...Lots of head shaking all around...

Just after 5pm I was in my car (swapped vehicles, dog in the back) and making my way to the old's when I got held up by the next accident.  This time around a bus had taken on a car.  To me it looked like the bus had decided to turn out into the traffic (busy road, 2 lanes each way) and managed to tag some poor unfortunate.  People everywhere, chaos etc etc.


Well, I'm not an expert but I don't see speed as being a factor in any of these near misses/accidents.  Maybe one of the cars in accident #1 was getting along but far more likely was that someone was running an orange/red. 

What I reckon was the cause of all of them was silliness and I don't think you can use the time of year as an excuse.  In each case someone decided to ignore road rules or to make a risky decision.

ACC have taken a lot of stick about the ridiculous cost of bike registrations (plenty from me for sure - it costs me over a grand a year for 2 bikes) but they have been putting some money into subsidised rider training and then there's Geoff and his mates also offering good training to bike riders.  Advanced driver training courses are available but they are never even mentioned when the police are talking about road safety and I don't think there's any such thing as subsidised driver training...

But, unfortunately driver/rider training is probably only taken up by sensible people - the idiots out there are far too good to need it.  If only the cops could get silliness detectors for their cars...

Anyway, not the most eloquent rant and I certainly don't have all the ideas to fix stupid but please be careful out there, no silly behaviour, watch out the other loonies, have fun and take care over this silly season!

Might be safer sticking to the gravel...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Windy Tag

So after a beautiful sunny week in which I rode the Tenere to work 4/5 times (would have been 5/5 but I needed the car on Monday) the weekend has disappointed somewhat.  Both days have been reasonably fine but with a cold wind a blowing and as I type this it is beginning to look like rain - nice...

Anyway, enough whinging, I did manage a quick ride today to go out and nab Owl's tag.


I got blown around a little but the tag was probably less than 10km from my place...

Who wants a Super Duke when you can have a Super Connie!
My next job was to find the new tag and I took in a few back roads trying to look for something interesting to use.  I somehow found myself in Opiki but rather than take a picture of another school I turned off onto Tane Road where I eventually found a road sign that might prove tricky to find...


When I got home and posted the pics in the Tagorama thread I discovered that someone else was out there tag hunting: https://www.kiwibiker.co.nz/forums/showthread.php/104968-Tag-o-rama!?p=1131072857#post1131072857

Well, at least I bet him eh?  But then:

No flies on Phil...
It definitely must have been a tricky tag then: it took Phil 51 minutes to get it and post up...