Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I finally caved...

All that pressure from the Long Distance and Adventure riders finally overcame my prejudices, misgivings and sense of taste - I bought a BMW...

Panniers by Touratech...

May need an aftermarket seat for the LD stuff...

Yes, it is weird BMW face ugly...
So hopefully this one will prove to be economical and reliable...

Actually it was a pretty neat way to kill 4 hours or so on a crappy day and I just wish they made a Tenere or Connie...

And now for a brief puppy update...someone is doing a great job of converting her tucker into more dog and is also making a reasonable attempt at learning the rules of the house.  Still no sidecar on the horizon though...

Taken a split second before the paparazzi came under attack...

Yes, that is nose smudge on the camera lens...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Quick fix

Yay, this afternoon I got to get in just a little gravel fix with a trip across some favourite gravel roads to Apiti and return.  But first...

It was time for the Tenere to have a little birthday present (slightly late) in the form of some fresh oil (donk and diff) and filter.  The apprentice was no help whatsoever - climbing all over me while I removing the bash pad and chewing on my ear was not as much help as you might imagine - but I seemed to get the job done ok.

A souvenir from the South Island
Job done, lunch inhaled and vicious apprentice fought off, I geared up and hit the road.  Riding out of town it looked like I was heading in the right direction as there was plenty of wet looking stuff off to the South while I went the other way.  I did manage to find some rain on the way to Ashhurst and there was the odd spit as I turned off up the valley.

My first bit of gravel was an old favourite on Pohangina Road and all the rain we've been having had settled the road down nicely.  It's generally a really fast and fun bit of road but corrugations are starting to form on the climb out of some of the corners - only a matter of time before someone dumps more gravel down.




There was a bit more tar work after the Totara Reserve turn-off before once again climbing up a bit on some nice gravel.







At Makoura Road I turned left to cross over to Apiti and ran into some interesting riding conditions...a grader had been through and churned up the road a bit and then all the rain had softened things up a bit.  A little care was required...




At the bottom of the hill I stopped briefly to get the obligatory picture of the beast.


And then there was a surprise in store for me.  Rather than a rough gravel climb back up the hill, someone had been through and sealed the road!  Spoil-sports!  They'd even carried on a fair way across what was once a really cool, fast gravel section.  Luckily they'd left one last short section that I could have a little play on.

Nearing Apiti I discovered some weather so instead of returning home via Ridge Road as planned, I decided to cut the ride short, wimp out and take the sealed route home via Kimbolton.



Luckily, I out ran the weather a little and it stopped being quite so damp not far out of Apiti and the run through to Kimbolton was pretty good.






The rest of the ride home was fairly uneventful, just the odd spit and nothing to really complain about.


Home by 3pm and into a coffee after a nice little squirt on a reasonable winter afternoon...fire on soon...


Monday, May 08, 2017

New co-pilot...

Hmmm...
Well, maybe not...

Meet Honey who moved in a week or so ago and has yet to decide if she likes bikes...

She does love kids though:

Strutting

That supposed to be a swing or something?
And the meter reader:

Tasty!
Walkies:

I can take that German Shepherd!

Get a move on!
But all the excitement eventually gets a bit much...

Like this pose?

Zzzzzzzzzzz
And she has something against ducks...


She's only about 3 months old so has plenty to learn but is picking up things fairly well.  Sharp teeth...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Still here...

Yeah, nearly a month without blogging!  I guess there's been a bit of other stuff going on...

I actually did take the Connie for a run the other day but haven't blogged the ride yet as I'm working on something.  So, this one is yet another Tenere ride...

Today was an absolutely beautiful day - sunny and calm with very few of the white fluffies hanging around either.  Just perfect for a short pootle to check out some local gravel.

I didn't have some huge plan in mind when I left home - just fill up and head out of town.  So that's what I did.  I eventually decided to work on a small loop that would take a few gravel roads and eventually get me to Feilding to catch up with my folks.

The first gravel was on Watershed Road and it took me a wee while to get comfortable - the roads around here are a lot narrower and generally a bit bumpier than those magnificent gravel highways I was on down South.

When Watershed Road ran into Spur road I had a choice of three directions to go in so naturally picked the wrong one (done that before too) which took me back onto seal and off towards Colyton.



Looking towards Whariti

There it is
Rather than give up on the gravel fix, I turned right onto Taonui Road and eventually hit gravel again just before Pollock Road.


Pollock Road took me through to Ridge Road (one of my favourites), which I took for a few km until turning off onto Coulters Line which would then take me back towards Kiwitea.



Back on the tar again, I stopped briefly to see if there were any trout in the river.





Once again I could have taken the seal back to Feilding but at Kiwitea I went straight ahead to grab my last bit of gravel on Levett Line.



Levett Line took me through Beaconsfield and out onto Vinegar for just a few minutes before I turned again to take me into the back of Feilding.


A quick stop to catch up with the olds and I was off home for afternoon smoko.  A pretty short ride of just over 100km on a perfect day!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

TT2000 Write-up - Day 15

Fifteen days on the road and I 'spose it was time I should think about heading home...

With a 2pm sailing I had plenty of time to get to Picton so I decided to take my time and get in one last dose of gravel around Port Underwood.

After my last fill of South Island Super I cruised across Nelson and found myself at the bottom of the Whangamoa's.  This and the Rai Saddle are always a favourite and although there were a few sections of roadworks to get through it was just as good as I'd remembered.

In Havelock I ignored my normal turn-off (to go through Queen Charlotte Sound) and stuck to the more boring ride on SH6 until the turn-off to Spring Creek.  At Spring Creek I went straight ahead and started making for the Coast.

After pootling through Rarangi the road quickly becomes narrow and windy, eventually the seal ends and you're riding on narrow, windy gravel.  In places the road was a little corrugated and there was even the odd soft bit from the previous day's rain.

Along the way the road rises and falls and takes you past a number of little bays, the first of those that I stopped at was Robin Hood Bay.




Merry Men mowing the lawn...
As I'd left Rarangi there was the odd car on the road but after about ten minutes it seemed like I was the only one about.  One little surprise I had was when a couple of wild pigs (mmmm, bacon) clambered out of the drain and ran across the road in front of me - I don't see that very often...



Nice place to stop for...errr, ummm...
The last little bay I stopped at was Oyster Bay which is just around the corner from Hakahaka Bay - a checkpoint on the 2016 TT.


Looking a little windy...


From Hakahaka Bay the road was seal again and eventually had me Picton with plenty of time on my hands.  I parked up at a cafe for a while but quickly got bored so rode up to the lookout to kill a bit more time.

Not the boat I was waiting for...

Still not the right boat

Picton

Tenere not blowing over in the wind
Sight-seeing over I dropped back down the hill and queued up for the ferry parking behind a GSX250 "Tourer" that had been exploring over in Golden Bay.


While waiting, all the passengers received texts/emails informing us that the ferry was going to be about an hour late due to the high winds - great.  I spent the time yakking to the girl on the 250 and an English visitor touring the South Island on a Wee-strom (he was having a ball and already planning to come back next year).  Bike riders always seem to find something in common to talk about whereas the cage drivers just sit in their cars looking impatient and unhappy...

The crossing wasn't too bad although there was the odd bump out in the middle.  Arriving in Wellington over an hour late meant that the traffic out of town was a lot better than normal and I also got to ride on the new bypass a Parapram - it hadn't been open when I came South.

Apart from one nasty incident when I thought I was going to see some boy-racers die in a head-on (not quite sure how they got away with it), it was a quiet ride home and I think I was parked up around 8:30pm after nearly 6,500 fantastic kms.  What a trip!


Mile muncher!