Friday, February 28, 2014

Vee Rubber

Today it was time to get the K60 front peeled off the V-Strom and replaced with a Mitas E-07 to match the one on the rear.  This meant I got to use my race stand...

Hover bike!

The wheel removal was a piece of cake although I did have to unbolt the mudguard so that I had enough clearance to remove the wheel.  The front axle was also fairly tight - but then that's a good thing I 'spose.

The Heiny has about 10,800kms on it so has lasted very well (much better than the rear did) and I have even kept it in case I should need it at some stage.

The new Mitas was spooned on by the local bike shop and looks suitably chunky - I sense a gravel ride coming up very shortly...

Replacing the front wheel was the just as easy as getting it off although I did remove one brake caliper to make things a little easier.

Gravel here we come!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Home again

Well, I actually got home yesterday after 3,115 fun filled (well, mostly) kilometres of great riding in the South Island.

My write-up will take me a while to get done but in the mean time here are some maps showing the actual route (more or less) I took on the TT.  If you click on the little bikes (positioned at the various checkpoints) you will see the evidence picture I took there.

View 20TT2000 Day One in a larger map

View 2014 TT2000 Day Two in a larger map

View 2014 TT2000 Day Three in a larger map

More soon...

Friday, February 21, 2014

On the road

This will probably be the only post from the road for the next 48 hours as there is a fair bit of riding to be done in the next wee while.

I had quite a nice (nice and cool) ride down to Wellington until I hit rush hour traffic which soon had mine and the bike's temperatures rising. The ferry was also delayed getting into Picton as apparently there was another one having trouble docking. It was a nice flat sailing though and the sounds were as beautiful as ever.

So now I am hiding in the shade in Picton with plenty of time up my sleeve to get to Blenheim for the 6pm start. It is going to be hot work as temp is expected to hit 30 degrees again...

Right now I just can't wait to hook into the first 260km of the TT...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Getting Ready

With the Connie having just clocked over 100,000km it was time for a bit of TLC before she is pressed into service to again ride 2,000km in 48 hours.  About every 25k she needs a set of these:

So after giving her a bath it was time to rip into it.

The pads always come out nice and easy but the fatter new ones take a bit of ja-ja-jiggling and you have to hold your tongue just right.  With 8 of them to do you get plenty of practice and they get a bit easier towards the end.  Reckon they needed changing?

After the pad change a bit of polish was swabbed around the place and that's about it in terms of bike prep.  Someone is keen to go already:

To check that I still had brakes I decided to gear up (in a sweltering 28 degree) and head out to grab the current tag.

Old tag
New tag
By the time I got home I was fairly hot so the priority was to get the windows open in the house again and find something cold and wet...

Ready to rock the South Island!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Waitangi Day Wander

Yep, public holidays are great!  It means you can get more riding into the week!

Today Brian and I rode out to meet up with Neil and Colin in Ashhurst for a bit of back road carving.  Once again it was a cracker of a day even if a bit breezy at times.

In Ashhurst Brian got introduced to the two dodgy BRR riders and we all sat down (with a non-riding Graeme) for a coffee and a yak before our ride.  Talk about easing into things...

From Ashhurst Neil led us out and onto Pohangina Valley East Road and we had a great ride to Umutoi where we paused to let out TEC catch up.  I also got a nice surprise when Neil offered me a ride on his Speed Triple R.  After thinking hard on it (yeah, right) we swapped rides and I skedaddled off on the Trumpy.

Yes, I know, it has a weird number of cylinders...
Wow!  What a ripper of a bike!  It took off like a cut cat (of course it was the bike, not the rider) making all sorts of glorious noises (from clearing its throat while on the gas to a great crackle when you backed off) from it's aftermarket Arrow muffler.  The brakes were also pretty wicked and the bike could definitely be flicked around on some of the great corners between Umutoi and Apiti.  The map below is the section where I rode the Triple and if you zoom in you might be able to guess at what sort of fun we were having.

At point 'B' we stopped again and when Colin pulled in he had a really interesting story to tell us about his ride from Umutoi.

The three of us in the front had breezed past a ute towing a trailer.  Upon that trailer was a cattle beast...The cattle beast was still on the trailer when we went past but as Colin approached it decided to fall off onto the road in front of Colin.  He reckons he was in one of those positions where you don't know which way to go.  Luckily for him, whether he made the decision or not, he managed to avoid hitting 300kg or so of beef!  Hopefully he has since purchased a lotto ticket and some clean underwear.

Swapping back onto the Connie I settled in behind Neil again as we made our way through Apiti and on towards Rangiwahia.  More great riding got us to the turn-off at Pemberton which took us away from Rangiwahia and to SH1 at Ohingaiti.

Turning left we made for Hunterville but not before taking in Kiekie and Murimotu Roads - well, Neil, Colin and I did anyway - Brian must like SH1 more than us and he carried straight on...

In Hunterville it was time to stop for a nice lunch and more yarning, bikes and riding seemed to be the topic of the day for some reason or other...

Did that Kwaka rider hurt you baby?
One of these bikes has nearly 90,000km more than the other...
After our lunch it was time to ride through to Fordell on more great back roads.  In Fordell we said goodbye to Neil who was forced to head home to National Park via the Paraparas - poor sod.  Colin then led me back to the main road and through Turakina before he too turned off and made parts unknown.  I settled into a well behaved cruise back home to a waiting lawn mower...Nevermind, it was a great day out with the only downside being back to work in the morning - oh, hang on, it's Friday tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

A wee milestone

Well, it's been a long time coming, a lot longer than I thought it would even, but on Sunday the Connie finally rolled over the 100,000km mark.

As it was getting nearer and nearer to the milestone I started thinking about where I wanted to watch the odo flick over.  I really wanted it to be on a decent ride in a great area on a nice day.  On my ride a week ago she was parked up with 99,634km on her so the ride also needed to be of a decent length.

Then Neil hit me up last week keen for a ride on Sunday and I suggested back roads to Hawkes Bay, the Napier-Taihape and maybe some more.  He was happy with the idea so we agreed to meet up at 10am.

Leaving Palmy we were also joined by Colin and Graeme of BRR fame and I led us on out towards the saddle.  On leaving Ashhurst and starting up the saddle I couldn't help but notice that Neil had gone from TEC to checking out my new rear tyre...We had a particularly good squirt over the saddle to scrub in my tyres and waited for the other guys for a few minutes before continuing onto Dannevirke via the usual back roads.  There we stopped for a coffee as Graeme and Colin were turning back - apparently they had better things to do than go riding, I can't think for the life of me what that might have been...will have to catch up with them another day.

Colin's sweet Wee
Graeme's Bemwar
Neil's sparkly new Speed Triple R

Leaving Dannevirke, Neil and I did a short stint up SH2 before turning off to ride through Ormondville to Takapau and into Waipuk.  Then it was another short bit of SH2 to Waipawa before we turned off for Patangata.

Instead of turning left and riding up Middle Road to Havelock, we turned right and rode through to Elsthorpe (negotiating a huge stretch of cowpat splattered road) and then made our way up Kahuranaki Road to enter Havelock from the Eastern side.  In Havelock I said good-bye to Neil as he had some visiting to do and I rode onto Hastings where I fuelled up for my ride across to Taihape.  I also should have taken on some water myself as it was 12pm and the day was getting hotter...

I had planned my route (roughly) so that hopefully I would crack the 100,000km while on the glorious Napier-Taihape road but on leaving Hastings and checking my odometer I was concerned that I hadn't yet got enough kms up.  So I ended up doing a little, approx 20km loop just out of Taradale, taking in a couple of roads that I hadn't ridden in years before hitting the Napier-Taihape.

The Napier-Taihape was absolutely fabulous with perfect weather and the road in pretty good condition except for just a few sections of new seal and the odd bit of hot, slippery tar.  I would like to have more action shots from the Go-Pro (the scenery is fabulous) but the damn thing keeps turning off on me - I think it must lose communication with the wireless remote and just gives up...

I did however stop at the big rock again for a few pics:

As I rode through Moawhango I noticed a road sign that said it was 19km to Taihape.  According to the odo I had 18km to go to hit the 100 so was probably not going to hit it on the Napier-Taihape road itself - bummer.  In my initial ride planning I had also thought that it would be nice to also take in Fields Track and the Para's so that the ride took in a lot of great riding roads.  As the 100km was going to come up just as I arrived in Taihape I decided instead to head North to Waiouru and then (unfortunately) hit the milestone on the dreaded SH1.  A bit of a blow but at least I had another couple of hours good riding ahead of me.

In the end the moment arrived about 12km South of Waiouru and luckily enough I saw the numbers change over and also could find a decent spot to pull over for photos.  No great scenery but the bike improves it.

On the road again the Connie quickly ate up the last 12km into Waiouru and I stopped for a late and well deserved lunch - that cold coke went down really well!

From Waiouru I shot across SH49 and then turned off onto Whangaehu Valley Road to make my towards Fields Track.  About 20km in the sign below flashed past me (Go-Pro was actually working).

I was sure it said something like no through route...what?  Damn it, better check it out.  A quick U-turn later and:

Poo!  What a load of bollocks!  Why wasn't the sign back at the main road?  It looked like I was gonna have to back-track and go through Ohakune and Raetihi.  Oh well, never mind, may as well grab a few more pics of Kawasaki's finest:

I managed to resist this temptation

I quickly retraced my tracks back to 49 and made my way through Ohakune and Raetihi to the magnificent Paraparas.  I had a great ride through here but was a bit disappointed when another bike caught up to me and passed me - cheeky sod!  Oh, wait a minute, it's another Connie - as you were sir, enjoy your ride!

I did however get the last laugh on him.  I took my usual diversion through Okoia to bypass Wanganui and then stopped for fuel at Turakina where he finally caught me again...

The rest of my ride was once again some favourite roads that help me avoid SH1 - they don't get me home any quicker but I enjoy them more with less traffic and some nicer corners.  I finally rocked up at home just before 6pm having taken the bike to 100,243km and the new tyres 609km closer to becoming old tyres.

A great day out on the bike even if I wasn't quite successful in planning the route to put me in a nice place for the milestone to happen but man, this bike is a keeper!

More pics here.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Nearly forgot...

Google+ magic with some of my Moto-X pics.  Not just gifs this time...btw, this isn't all of them...

First corner chaos

Whip it