Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Mark's Stag

Last weekend was Mark's stag do and he did things a little different.  Rather than getting plastered, having his eye brows shaved off and eventually ending up in jail he decided that a weekend away on the bikes and some "adventurous" activities was the way to go.

So on Friday he and I packed the bikes and headed for Napier to pick up his brother Clinton.  On the way up we were forced to take the Saddle (the gorge has been shut with a massive slip for about a fortnight now) and then up to Danniverke via Topgrass Road.  From Danniverke it was just a quick squirt up to Napier where we discovered that we were late - or that Clinton was dead keen to get stuck into the weekend's activities.
Route there & back
Mark loaded up Clinton's gear and I set the Connie up for two-up riding and then we were off again.  We had a great ride through to Taupo although the summit cafe appears to be dead and the roads were very wet in places.  The PR3's felt really good in the wet and I had absolutely no issues with them.  The Connie also went well weighed down by two big jokers although it was just a little thirstier than normal...

In Taupo we hit the local subway before taking a round-about route - Poihipi Road, Tirohanga Road (fantastic) and SH30 - to Rotorua.  Once in Rotorua we parked up at out motel and relaxed before walking into town in search of a meal.

Saturday was the day for our adventures and after visiting the local Suzuki shop (to kill some time) we made our way to adventure number one: quad biking.  We had booked a 2 hour ride with Quadzone ATV Tours and after gearing up our ride instructions included "give 'em death", so that it was we proceeded to do.  The quads were 350 Yamahas with auto transmissions which made the riding a lot simpler and we had a ball blasting up and down big hills, bouncing over rutted bush tracks and of course splashing through bog holes.

Resting before the next mud hole
The guide was great and after keeping an eye on us and assessing our riding he led us on some great trails that demanded a fair amount of skill in places.  We also got faster and faster as we got the hang of things and  had great fun getting stuck in (or across) ruts and bog holes - it just wouldn't have been the same without the odd mishap!  In fact Clinton managed to park his quad on it's side and I bettered him by ending up upside down.  The guides response was the same as ours - laughing his head off!

By the end of our 2 hours we were starting to get pretty tired in the arms and shoulders but it really was a lot of fun.  We're very glad we did the two hour ride as the shorter ones don't manage to get onto some of the places where we went and the trails through the bush were a blast.  Another thing we were glad about was the quads, they also run sports quads and we initially wanted these but they were booked out so we got the autos which are farm quads and offer better ground clearance than the sports models - once again we may not have been able to go where we did on the sports quads.

Finished in the mud we got changed and headed off to our next activity - the luge.  Once we had ridden up the cable car we grabbed a quick drink as we were all dry as an Arab's sandle after the quad biking before lining up for the luge.

Our plan from the start for the luge was to go hard and stay off the brakes.  This worked very well until the first corner where we had a massive pile up with me skinning my elbow and all of us nearly dying from laughter.  Pretty soon we were right back into going as hard as possible and in the end only using the brakes on 2 corners each run.  However I wasn't the only one to loose some skin - while trying to chase Clinton and I down Mark came a real good cropper and grazed up his arm really well - just a shame we never saw it.  After our 6 luge runs we rode back to the motel and sorted ourselves out with showers and plasters before walking up the road for tea.

On Sunday morning three cripples (damn those quads) struggled out of bed and rode back to Taupo (this time via Reporoa and Broadlands) for breakfast before tackling the Napier-Taupo road again.  This time around the weather was perfect and the riding was great.

After dropping Clinton off we returned home again via SH50 and another trip over the Saddle.  A nice quiet ride to top off a great weekend.

More pics here.


  1. Maybe getting eyebrows shaved off would have been less painful. Admittedly, not nearly as much fun.

  2. What a great weekend Andrew, much of it in my old stomping ground when we lived in Tokoroa. Quads are great fun eh? Fairly tiring to ride, even if you don't try and travel upside down, hehe!

    Are your PR3's the "B" spec with reinforced carcass. I understand from the UK Blackbird forum that there are 2 specifications.

  3. Yeah the quads were a real blast!

    Not sure about the PR3's - will there be something on the side of them? They were magic in both the wet and dry. The Connie was probably carrying around 200kg and there's no knarley wear on them that you might expect if you had some soft rubber on. They've about 1,300km and look very good so far - fingers crossed!

  4. Great write up ate and what a great weekend. Whoooo roll on summer.

  5. Andrew:
    Just had a look on my rear PR3. There's a box on the sidewall which has load data in it. At the left hand end of the box, mine has "LR B" in it, which is the heavier rating.

    For info, the "B" spec on the michelin site has a parts number of T 16808 and the standard tyre is T35581.