Saturday, November 30, 2013

Summer weather

Today the Connie and I had a bit of a mission.  I'd decided to go up to the 'naki to nephew Alex's 4th birthday party but the Wanganui Toy Run was also on...problem?  Nah, I decided that I'd pop over to Wanganui, drop off a toy and then just carry on up the party.

It was pretty breezy as I rode over to Wanganui and I even had a little bit of drizzle as I rode through Turakina.  It was a lot better when I got into Wanganui and after a bit of tooling around I finally found the Toy run start (different place this year).  I dropped off my toy and caught up with Santa - Bryn who rides with us on the BRR rides - and then carried on North.

Rolling out of Waverly the wind went from merely gusty to blowing it's guts out and this pretty much was story all the rest of the way up.  On my favourite little short-cut I even had to do a really quick evasive maneuver when I came around a corner and found a branch across my side of the road.  Luckily there was nobody coming the other way and I managed to swerve around it with no problems.

North of Stratford I ended up also having to deal with wet roads so took my time, especially on the narrow and slippery road that heads inland to the farm.

A Ratipican Pirate
Once there it was party time with kids everywhere and all sorts of goodies to eat.  While there the weather really packed it in with a massive amount of wind and rain - things weren't looking that flash for the ride back!

Luckily the wind eventually died down and the pouring rain let up and at about 3:30 I decided that I'd better get while the getting was good.  I left the farm and started my trip back with just a few spits of rain but very wet and slippery back roads to negotiate.

Back out on the main road I got a few light showers but no massive downpours or howling gales to contend with so actually had a pretty good ride back.  About two and a half hours on the road and I was home safe and sound.

What happened to that great weather we had last week?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Picasa Weirdness #3

And this one is a good one!  First the three (yes, three) original pics I took on Saturday's ride:

All taken with my pretty crappy (quality wise) little Fujifilm camera while I was sitting on an idling V-Strom.  Magic then happened to give me this:

Unfortunately Picasa will only let you see it a low resolution version but in the full sized version (4531 x 1200) I was able to download you can only just see the places where the pics were knitted together.  You can however see where it has cropped the pics height wise to line things up - pretty cool software and totally automatic if you have a Picasa account.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Castle Point and gravel

This morning Brian rang and said that he and Lloyd were heading for Castle Point for a ride and did I want to join them.  Dilemma - I had a new tyre on the Vee needing to be put to the test but Brian and Lloyd were road riding...

I put my thinking cap on and decided that with a careful choice of route I could go to Castle Point and take in some gravel to test the new rubber.  In the end I told Brian that I'd see him in Castle Point and then loaded the DL up.

The tyre took a wee bit of getting used to as I headed up over the track but I guess it was just that new tyre feeling as I settled into things fairly quickly.  For my first taste of gravel I took in Tararua Road and once again had to get used to riding on gravel again and on the new tyre.  I think the damn grader had been through at some stage as there seemed to be plenty of gravel to slip around on.

In Pahiatua I gassed up and then made for Alfredton.  It's all seal through here so I just cruised on down before stopping just out of Alfredton at the turn-off to Castle Hill Road.

Here I fiddled with the Go-Pro to see if I could get it to take piccys for me but after ten minutes I had absolutely no joy so turned everything off and started on my way through to Tinui.

Last time I came through here it was with the BRR team and the gravel had been graded leaving it very slippery.  Today it was a lot better and I really enjoyed the ride.  Another thing I noticed was the logging that had been going on - there were quite a few pine plantations that had just been harvested with logs lying awaiting pick-up and some serious hardware parked in paddocks.  Rather than take pics of this I tried to find something better to photograph.

Look!  A V-Strom!

In the end I discovered that it's only about 90km from Pahiatua to Castle Point so taking in a bit of gravel certainly gives you a good short cut.  This meant I wasn't surprised to find out that I'd beaten the other two there so went for a ride up to the car park for some more pics.

Serious boat trailer

Then it was back to the shop to park up and order some lunch while I waited for the guys.

About ten minutes later the guys turned up and we caught up over lunch before deciding on the route back.  Rather than retrace my steps I decided to ride with the guys as far as Eketahuna and then go in search of more gravel.

We had a good ride back towards Masterton and then turned off to take Route 52 up to Alfredton.  Brian and Lloyd missed the turn and as I didn't, I ended up getting away on them.  When I got to Alfredton I was really puzzled that they hadn't caught me up.  I waited about 5 minutes and then decided that they must have taken another turn-off further South and that they were probably wondering where I'd got to.  As I turned into the gas station at Eketahuna I found myself pulling in behind a certain bug-eyed Trumpy and VTR so my suspicions were confirmed...

Just out of Eketahuna I turned off the main road and straight onto more gravel to take me over closer to the ranges.  I had a great ride up Cliff, Quarry, Mangaroa, Mangaraupiu, Kakariki, Pukehoi and Kopikopiko Roads (even if the graders had been at work again) and got to take in some more great scenery.

Kopikopiko Road eventually got me back onto tar at Nikau Road and I settled in to cruise home for a well earned cold drink.  Fabulous day out on the big Vee!

Tyre works!
More pics here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Night Ride

The Connie and I managed to get along to the Friday night ride tonight for a wee pootle on some back roads to Feilding.

When I rolled up to Courtesy Suzuki there was already probably 20 bikes there and more kept coming in right up until the time we left.  I caught up with a few of the gang and then somehow managed to get lumbered with lead rider duties.  After a quick discussion on where we were going (I thought I had the route sorted) we all mounted up and made our way over towards Fielding.

I had the GoPro on but seeing as there was nobody in front of me I decided to set it to take pictures.  It then decided that it would take about 20 and then stop...

We managed to get a bit spread out on the way over due to traffic and I guess just the number of bikes so in a couple of places I slowed right up or stopped to make sure we hadn't lost anyone.  Once in Fielding we took Makino Road out past Stanway, back into Halcombe (I took the wrong road robbing us of a few kms of nice twisty roads) and finally back into Fielding for a drink and a chat.

A nice wee ride of about 70km.

Vee Rubber

After 9,500km the rear Heindenau K60 is coming off the DL and going in the bin.  Here's what it looked like when new:

Very chunky
I bought the Heinies because I'd heard that for quite aggressive tyres they were supposed to wear very well.  When I first put them on I took things a bit easy on them wanting them to last but after a while I decided to just ride them like any other tyre.  This meant hammering them whether on tarmac or gravel.

A puncture I picked up while possibly running the pressure a bit low on rocky terrain
On road they've felt pretty good, on my first ride it was wet and they slithered around a bit until they got buffed up a bit and then they were fine.  On gravel they have been great except when in very deep stuff (with the centre ridge they tend to not sink in to give decent bite) and it takes a bit of a handful to get the rear sliding.  On one trip across North Range Road it was quite wet and the tyres handles the clay/mud in the big puddles up there pretty well - the rider was a bit nervous though...
Half gone
Looking at the wear on the tyre you can kinda tell that a 1,000cc V-twin does a bit of damage - most of the wear is in the centre of the tyre and even though the tyre has been to the edge there is still plenty of meat on the sides.

If only the centre had lasted better...

Overall I'm reasonably happy with how the Heiny has gone (and the front is still going strong) as I have been hard on it but one negative is the cost.  I could get a PR2 for the Connie for the same money or less and get more km out it - the PR2 would probably not have been so good in the gravel though eh?

So the wheel is off and hopefully the guys at the shop are getting stuck into putting the new hoop on.

Mmmm, fresh rubber
This time around I'm having another experiment - I'm trying a Mitas E-07.  Neil runs these on his Tiger and likes 'em so I thought they were worth a try.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the compound is not as hard as the Heiny but they are considerably cheaper than the Heinies.

Might get the chance to give them a test tomorrow...

Here's Neil giving his thoughts on the E-07's:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Koro's vids!

Tucked in behind some likely lads just cruising up SH1:

Koro on the Paras:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Update on the peepers

So Saturday's C1KC was my first longer ride wearing my contacts.  They were in for nearly 11 hours of riding and probably over 15 hours for the day.

I was kinda worried about my eyes drying out (and forgot to take eye drops with me) but found that as long as I kept remembering to blink often enough I really didn't have an issue.  Funny how remembering to blink can be a bit of an issue when concentrating on certain sections of the ride...

One of the things that the optometrist mentioned when I first started talking contacts with him was an increased sensitivity to light.  I have definitely found this to hold true, especially when driving or riding.  Stopping to change to my tinted visor in Pemberton was well worth it stopped the squinting.  The tinted visor stayed on for the rest of the day.

Funnily enough Meanie was cursing his glasses when we got to Upper Hutt and I had to have a little smile to myself.  I was especially glad to not be wearing glasses when we rode over the Rimutakas as there was a bit of fog as we started the descent as well as the odd spit of rain - the exact conditions that have caused me problems (particularly at slow speed on the DL) in the past.  It was good not to have to worry about fogging and also knowing that if I did experience fogging I could always pop the visor and not get rain on my glasses...

So, very happy with how things went - I even got them in pretty smartly at 4am in the morning...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Other C1KC write-ups


Koro's ST actually stationary
Mr Hitcher

Photo: Mrs H

2013 C1KC

Yesterday was the 7th running (and my sixth) of the Capital 1000km Cruise and what a great wee ride it was!

As per usual for us Palmy lot it started early with 5 riders meeting for a 5am departure to the Upper Hutt official start (we get to start and finish in Palmy).

We left in some very light (shouldn't even mention it really) drizzle and the further South we got the lighter the day got.  Out first bit of fun was the Paekakariki hill which was in great condition and put smiles on quite a few dials.  It was just a short squirt over Haywards and up the motorway a bit to the official starting point where we signed on and caught up with some of the regulars.

Neutron Silver is the fastest colour!
Someone else with taste...
We got away again at about 6:45 and followed a few bikes on up the Rimutakas.  Steve and James somehow got ahead of us just as we hit quite wet roads.  I just tacked on behind Yod for a careful ride over the hill.

From the bottom of the hill we followed SH2 up through Featherston, Greytown, Carterton, Masterton (taking the bypass) and Eketahuna.  North of Eke we turned off to take in the familiar roads through Mangamire and up and over the Track to our first compulsory photo stop at Aokautere.

No time to check out the swings in the playground
From Aokautere Meanie led us into Ashhurst (just in case Yod or I got lost) where it was time to fill our tanks for our longest planned run - Yod a little concerned about the 330km range that he was going to ask from his 'bird.

Still on home turf we cruised on out to the next photo stop in Kimbolton.

Familiar pic?
Then it was time to get stuck into the great road to Rangiwahia.  By now it was getting fairly sunny and warm and at Pemberton I had to stop to remove a layer and change to my tinted visor (yay!).

Popping out onto SH1 at Mangaweka I noticed we'd picked up a new tail-end Charlie in the form of our ride organiser KoroJ.  He behaved himself and sat behind us for the quiet run up to Waiouru.

We managed to get through the desert road without a run in with any radar buddies but did go past one of our number who had managed to upset them somehow - bummer!

We finally got off SH1 at Taupo when we took the option to take in Broadlands Road through to Reporoa.  The road through here is pretty straight and boring but at least there is some pretty nice scenery to look at while you pootle along.  Apparently a certain 'bird's fuel light came on just after Reporoa so I guess the sweating probably started about then until we finally found a gas station in Rotorua.

Rotorua was also a photo stop and after we'd nabbed our pics we decided it was time to feed the inner man and started looking for an eatery of some description.

No time for luge rides today :(
Unfortunately by the time we'd got to the photo stop we'd gone past all the cafe's and fast food outlets so we just had to carry on and see what we could find up the road.

SH5 (the Thermal Explorer highway) ended up being quite lovely and we found some more nice corners just before we plunged into a beautiful bush shrouded bit of road.

Pic stolen from the web
In the middle of this lovely spot we managed to find a cafe where the three of us quickly placed our orders before a couple of other riders from Wanganui could get  in ahead of us ;)

Bellies sorted and about half the run completed we remounted and made our way to Putararu where we slotted in behind a mufti cop.  Luckily he wasn't heading in our direction but it was his loss as Arapuni and Pearsons Roads were just spectacular - the views were gorgeous and the roads simply magic.

At the intersection with Old Taupo Road we stopped again for some more photographic evidence before getting to sample more fabulous roads.

As Yod pointed out: he and Meanie are unable to park straight...
Yes, do ride this road!
I'd ridden Old Taupo Road (or bits of it) before and it is an absolute cracker - just a superb piece of motorcycling road.  Beautiful curves up and over small hills surrounded by more great scenery - dammit, we were suffering I tell ya...

Eventually we ended up on SH32 which took us quickly through to Whakamaru and then through to Kuratau Junction where we were forced to take in yet another great road (SH41) to Tokaanu.

From Tokaanu we took SH47 across to National Park.  Along the way we caught up to a couple of the other riders and tacked on behind them for the tow all the way through to Raetihi and our last fuel and photo stop.

Not a bad day
Being in Raetihi and needing to get home meant that we were unfortunately forced to take the Parapara's down to Wanganui - oh drat it all...

Yes, I am kidding, if you've read this blog before you'll know that me and the Para's are best buddies (it's only been a couple of weeks since I last had the pleasure).  It turns out that Yod, Meanie and the whole C1KC field also get the warm fuzzies when the Para's are mentioned...And yes, it was a great ride!

Naturally we also took the detour through Okoia and then Yod led us over through Marton and Halcombe to Fielding where we stopped to say our goodbyes before heading our separate ways home.  The consensus among the troops was that it had been a perfect day out with 1,077km fabulous km logged and left three tired riders with big grins but sore butts!

View 2013 C1KC in a larger map

More pics here.

The spoils

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Blue skies and curves a plenty

Yesterday was a right cracker and after I had my arm twisted ever so slightly by Brian, I joined him, Roscoe, Lloyd, Chris and Dave for a afternoon's ride out to Wimbledon and back home via Waipuk (and a few other points).

We met up in Ashhurst and cruised through the gorge before taking the usual back roads through to Dannevirke.

Not a bad day for it
Just before Dannevirke we turned off to hit the magnificent Weber Road.

Makirikiri Road
We had planned to take a new to us road through to Ormondville but firstly we had to find it...

Lloyd waiting while we decide if we're at the right turn-off
When we found the right turn-off we were very disappointed to find the road closed due to a tarmac rally - not sure why they couldn't have just let us through...

"You shall not pass! I have a hi-viz!"
With the way imperiously blocked we had no option but to continue out to Weber and pick-up Route 52 (damn it all) to Wimbledon and Waipuk.

From Weber to Wimbledon the road has suffered a lot of damage over the years and there are slumps in the road, pot holes and just plain bumpy bits of road to contend with.  This makes it a bit of a challenge but a good ride all the same.  Unfortunately there was one slight little incident that meant some of us were waiting and wondering for a bit but luckily no real harm done.

Out next little squirt was up to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu (always like to chuck that name in).  Here's Lloyd harassing a poor old V-Strom:

From Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu (tee hee) it was just a short squirt to Porangahau and then on up to Waipuk for fuel and a drink.

Our route home mainly took us back down boring old SH2 but at Oringi I had had enough and led Lloyd and Dave on a quick detour through Jackson and Hopelands Road and then onto Woodville.

Somewhere just before the gorge my jacket sleeve blew open and a piece of my armour blew out.  I noticed the sleeve but not the armour so I was lucky that Lloyd spotted it and went back for it - good stuff.

I got home just before 6 after a nice little ride of nearly 300km - I little warm up for next Saturday's slightly longer excursion...