Monday, January 23, 2012

A lot of Bridges

I hate coming up with titles for my posts but this one seemed appropriate as I spent a bit of time today riding over bridges or taking photos from them.  I also had a spectacular day's riding!

During the week I'd been trying to decide on a ride for this long weekend (gotta love public holidays) and Mark suggested that I try out some roads inland from Kai Iwi (just West of Wanganui).  He'd been through there in a car (bummer) once before and when I looked at the roads on Google Maps it was pretty easy to pick out a nice little route that would take me out into Hill Billy country and then back into Wanganui.  But I had all day so where to after that?  Well, having ridden Fields Track many times I'd always been curious about the sign below - it just looked interesting...

An interesting sign
And so, after a quick play in Mapsource I had a route planned - now for the weather to play ball.  Saturday was spent working around home and then Sunday it rained (forecasted) so Monday was my last chance...

After a night of some quite heavy rain it was very nice to wake up early and see the sun shining so after a hurried breakfast I popped the liner back into my jacket (yep, sunny but a bit chilly) and hit the road.  I took the usual back roads over to Wanganui where it was great to see some old vintage cars (there for a show over the weekend) pootling about  - although I didn't see Nick Mason out fanging his GT40 replica that he brought over for the event...

On the way out of Wanganui I stopped to fill up the bike (parked up next to a big old Dodge) and then made for Kai Iwi.  Here I turned off the main road and onto Rangitatau East Road - I'd done a little of this road before on the Connie while on a Toy Run but today I was going to see a fair bit more of it including plenty of delicious gravel.

The road started off nicely with plenty of nice winding corners but not long into it I found myself sliding around on some new seal (yep, no warning signs).  I hate this stuff as it's always hard to tell how slippery things are - at least with a proper gravel road you know what you're in for!  Anyway, it didn't last too long and after a bit more tar I found myself on the gravel proper.  The gravel was in good nick and the road fairly open enabling me to potter along in third or fourth for most of it.

Rangitatau East Road
Not long after the above picture was taken I missed the turn to Kauarapaoa Road as unusually the Zumo did not let me know until after the turn-off.  Well, at least it told me - no idea where I would have ended up otherwise!  I had to continue on for a few km until I could find a decent place to turn around and then find the right road.

As it turned out Kauarapaoa Road turned out to be a real gem and probably my favourite part of the ride.  It quickly shrunk down to a single track road with grass growing up the middle of it - a sure sign that I was riding in the wops.

I soon forgot about fourth gear and the other gears above that and stuck to second and third as I pootled along enjoying some fabulous scenery including the first of many bridges:

Yep, it's a bridge
Peeking over the side got me my favourite pic of the day.
Another bridge
Somewhere between these two bridges I'd spotted an interesting sign, "Badlands, drive carefully".  I'm not sure whether this was some sort of warning (caution, you are now entering the Badlands) or whether the locals were just caring souls.  Oh well, on we go...

Shortly after bridge number two I rounded a corner and arrived in Badlands proper.  There was a big sign on the fence announcing where I was and hanging on the fence where a number of goat hides and the odd skull also decorated the fence posts.  I didn't hear any banjos (that was possibly due to my ear plugs and the music on the Zumo I was listening to) but should I have stopped for a photo?  I decided not to risk it...

On I went through more fantastic and lonely country until eventually the road changed names (to Papaiti Road) and it was time to say hello to the Wanganui River.

Wanganui River
Pretty soon I ran out of gravel and the tarmac lead me along the river and into Wanganui where I stopped for a quick McLunch before tackling Part Two of the ride.

Part Two started with a quick squirt up the Paraparas (drool) and then onto Fields Track (more drool) to my next turn-off into the unknown.

Yes, it's a bridge (Fields Track)
Whangaehu Valley Road turned out to be a great ride too with nice gravel and the odd stretch of tar.  There was even one descent where it was suggested (by a sign) to use low gear - I choose second and idled down quietly hoping I wouldn't meet anyone coming the other way.  There were also a few bridges:

Mind the puddle
A particularly nice bridge (which I didn't actually have to go on)
Along the way I had to move over for the odd vehicle and dodge peacocks, cattle and just the odd sheep.

1,000cc Ag bike

Eventually I popped out onto a more familiar road (Mangamahu Road) and it was time to make a decision.  I had planned to ride through to Hunterville as I thought that I might need gas but according to the gauge I still had around half a tank left so instead I opted to ride through to Marton via Turakina Valley Road (a wee bit more gravel) and Makuhou Road.  From Marton it was just a short ride back through Halcombe and Feilding to home base.  Six and a half hours and 377km of magic riding!

GPS Map thingee:

More pics (unfortunately I didn't manage to get all the bridges I rode over).


  1. You live in a beautiful place.

    Did any of the skulls on the posts look like they might have been the last people who stopped for a pic? ;)

    LOVE the sheep pic!

    Although it makes me green with envy, thanks for the great ridealong.

    1. Pretty sure the skulls were only 150 years ago I wouldn't have been so sure...

  2. Great trip Andrew, fantastic bit of country to ride around. There is something quite special about being in the wops!

    1. You can say that again! It has to have been one of my best outings out on the DL!

  3. A great way to spend the day.

    Thank you for all the pictures, I have always had a thing for pictures of bridges. They are usually so unique.

    I am glad the weather decided to cooperate on Monday. I like the days where it is somewhat sunny, but not so bright to mess with the vision. Slightly overcast can be welcome.

    1. Thanks Trobairitz, it was a fantastic day. I'm with you on enjoying the overcast days - I hate getting too hot on the bike. There's a few more bridge pics in my Picasa gallery...