Monday, October 05, 2015

BRRBT Navigator's Delight

Yesterday was our monthly Blacktop ride and while Saturday was a beautiful day the news was full of wind warnings for Sunday.  Things were supposed to be pretty bad down South with it hitting us later in the day.  It did get pretty exciting down South too...

I left home completely oblivious to the hazards of mobile water tanks but concerned about the darkish sky and ominous clouds.  I also left home on the Vee rather than my usual blacktop weapon, letting the Connie rest up a little for next weekend...

In Feilding most of the guys were already there when I arrived so we hit the road just after 9 and headed out to Halcombe.  After grinding some metal off the Vee's main-stand on the Halcombe Road we rode on to Marton.

Makuhou Road is always a fun little squirt and it was a little bit more exciting this time around with plenty of gravel and dirt spread across the road courtesy of the recent bad weather and slips.  Three adv bikes got through pretty easily and the rest managed to dodge the marbles well enough too.

North of Wanganui we turned off to the left on a new to me road (Rapanui Road) which took us on a nice little tiki-tour to Kai Iwi where we stopped off to check out the beach.

Some of the BRRBT regulars

Mark's new Beemer

Lovely weather to the South...

...and the North
After about ten minutes we'd had our fill of standing around in the wind and decided to carry on riding in it.  We made our way back out to the main road and onto Waitotara.  Here we headed inland a bit and got to check out the flood damage up the valley.  Man, the place has been hammered - many paddocks were still completely covered in silt and the roads had plenty of mess over them too.

Our loop eventually got us back out on SH3 again for the trip back towards Wanganui.  But another loop inland on more storm damaged roads kept us out of the traffic and we got to have a little play on some nice tight twisties before popping us back out onto the main road again.

Back in Wanganui it was time for lunch and to water the horses.  Mark and Rob snobbed us, pretending they had better things to do, so it was just seven of us left for the short afternoon loop.

Our afternoon started with a trip over to Fordell and then along Wanganui road to take us back into Marton again.  Riding out of Marton a little voice in my head (actually a loud Neil over the intercom) was questioning as to why we were riding on the same road for the second time in one I'd said earlier, I was just following the route in my GPS set about a month ago and long forgotten...

Instead of riding Makuhou Road again, we turned in the opposite direction to make for the dreaded SH1.  We stayed on it for about 400m before taking another turn that took us down close to the Rangitikei River before looping back up to SH1.

Another couple of km of SH1 had us turning onto the Halcombe Road, again...

But the next loop along Pryces Line and Makino Road took us on another loop that avoided Halcombe before spitting us out back in Feilding - and that was about it for the ride.  After coffee in Feilding we all split up and headed off on our separate ways home - all without seeing a single water tank on the road!

More pics here.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Video geekiness

I've been meaning to write-up this little post for a while so if you've been waiting for it, here it is...

You may have noticed that lately a few of my videos have got a bit of information overlaid on them - speed, the route I'm taking, elevation etc.  So how did I do it?

Well, a while ago someone had posted up the below video on how to use free Garmin VIRB software.

The software is designed to be used with Garmin VIRB products but the video did list a few other Garmin devices that it works with too.  Zumo 550's weren't on the list but I thought it was worth a crack.

Well, bingo!  It worked and was pretty easy to use as well.

Getting the data onto the video is pretty easy but the software is otherwise fairly basic in it's functionality.  For my videos I've been creating the video in the VIRB software, saving it and then editing it again in my other video editing software to add other bits and pieces.  A bit time consuming but it works...

Even Nev has had a go on this great bit of video:

So there's at least two geeks out there using it...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Spring has sprung

Last week Neil received a parcel that he'd been waiting for for quite some time and he was quite keen to put it to the test.  He was keen for a ride on Saturday but I fobbed him off until Sunday and this was a pretty good move - while the weather on Saturday was pretty damn nice, Sunday was a pearler!

We met up in Hunterville and once we'd coffee'd up we headed North and aimed for one of our favourite bits of gravel - Watershed Road.  This was a blast and below you can see Neil's new toy in action as he chases me up the road.

After this little bit of excitement we pulled up to remove layers, down some water and take in the lovely day.

We finished off the gravel and found ourselves on the tarmac of Tiriraukawa Road.  Here I uncharacteristically got away on Neil a bit and when I started not being able to see him in my mirrors I pulled up.  It  turned out that the Triumph needed some loving.  Not a bad spot to stop...

Next up we had to make our way up over North Ridge Road - another great, if a bit tight in places, piece of gravel.  Once again Neil followed to capture some of the excitement...

Okay, so that looked fairly exciting and I guess it was for a moment.  At the top of the hill we stopped again to take in the great views.

Breather over, it was time to drop down the hill into Taihape and feed the worms before the afternoon leg.

After lunch our first section involved a fair bit of tarmac but it was still a lot of fun - the weather was fairly shocking too...

We eventually ended up on another favourite road - Turakina Valley Road - and more gravel.  Unfortunately some useless sods had been spreading more gravel on the road and it was a bit deep in places for my liking - still plenty of fun though.

We then blasted up the hill on Okaka Road before turning right onto Pohonui Road.

Pohonui Road is really nice as it takes you along the side of a nice valley - plenty of nice views to put you off your riding if you're not concentrating.

Mama with new triplets and no brains

Searching for wascally wabits

Eventually we were spat out onto Turakina Valley Road again and this is where we split up as Neil headed home (via Turakina Valley Road) and I made my way back to Hunterville and then home via Vinegar Hill.

So yes, it looks like Spring is finally here and we're looking forward to more great riding weather - bring it on!

More pics here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

BRRBT - A Short Warm up

Neil and I have a little ride that we are doing in October so for this month's BRRBT we decided that we should get in a little seat time and run the ride fairly closely (in terms of stops etc) to how we will need to do on the big day.  What we were unsure of was how many of the other BRRBT crew would be keen enough to join us...

As it turned out I got quite a few positive replies and even though the weather forecast was not stunning, 12 of us turned out early Sunday morning for an 8am departure from Feilding.

Terry was the last to arrive and while we were waiting for him to gas up the skies started getting darker as some weather approached from the South.  Riders started getting nervous so we skedaddled as soon as we could and took off towards Halcombe.  From memory we only got a few tiny spits as we made our way across to Wanganui.  The roads were wet in places though and Wanganui looked like it had been hit by a good downpour not long before we arrived.  We picked up Russell just out of town and carried on up through the 'naki to our first stop in Stratford.

The stop took a bit longer than I would have liked (but hey, not everyone was practicing for an endurance ride) so I took off without the rest of them to give them a bit of a hurry up.  They soon caught up to me on the still wet roads of the Forgotten Highway.

The wet roads tempered our riding styles a bit and we couldn't quite have as much fun over the Saddles as we normally would have but it was still a fantastic ride with only the odd slip to weave around.

Eventually we dropped off the Whangamomona Saddle and into Whangamomona itself.  No stopping for us though as lunch was waiting for us in Taumarunui.

Just out of Whanga the roads dried up for a bit although there was still the odd obstacle to deal with...

And then of course, it went dark for a bit...

Before the delightful gravel section which was wet and "interesting" in places but a lot of fun.

We had more wet roads on our way towards Taumarunui but eventually arrived (although not as one big group) and found somewhere to feed the worms.

Here we lost 2 of our riders as Neil's worn out tyres were not giving him a lot of confidence in the wet conditions and he and Neville rode on towards home (Ohakune and Wellington).

After our graze the rest of us followed them Southwards where we managed to find some weather for 5 minutes or so before tooting as we went past the Speed Triple twins in Owhango.

Screen up, grippers on!
We arrived at our next fuel stop in Waiouru where while it wasn't raining it was pretty cold and the wind was also making it's presence felt.  Looking South and East towards the Napier-Taihape road things were not looking a lot better and more than one of us was wondering if it was a great idea to head into the blackness.  In the end the group split in half again with some heading home down SH1 and just 6 of us sticking to the game plan.

The Napier-Taihape run turned out pretty good with the weather not being nearly as bad as we thought.  It was fairly warm but we still had the odd light flurry of snow and on there was snow melting on the side of the road in a few places.  We stopped once as I wanted to clean my visor - the snow was sticking to it and my preference is to be able to see where I'm going at least some of the time...

We got some nice dry roads on the last quick leg into Fernhill  and it was nice to be able to enjoy the lovely roads in a proper fashion.  From there we pointed South and carried on down SH50 until our next stop at Dannevirke.  This was planned as a last fuel stop for those that might need it but I don't think any of our crew actually filled up.  Colin and I said our good-byes and scarpered for home.

I ended up back home by about 5:30 and it was nice to get my gear off and warm up a bit after what had been a pretty cold ride in places.  There were a few sore spots but I was as good as gold the next day (rode the Vee to work in -1 of frost) and hope that this little warm-up has got me ready for the main event in about 4 weeks time...

More pics here.