Tuesday, December 20, 2016

'Twas the tag before Christmas

'Twas the tag before Christmas, when all through the Manawatu
Not a rider was stirring, not even an Owl;
The bikes were parked in the shed with care,
In hopes of better weather and nice still air;
The bikers were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of curvy roads did dance in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains on our next lap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Old Tag
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The blur of a Yamaha was not just all show,
The rider remembering to keep it to 100 or below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature car, the driver with no idea,
With a little old driver so dopey and thick,
I knew in a moment he must be a dick.

Slower than a Harley but nevertheless he came,
And wandered all across the highway, the rider giving him a new name:
@#$% $#@%@ @#$% !$%@#% @$$!
@#$% $#@%@ @#$% !$%@#% @$$!

A bit more throttle meant rider took him on the hill
Then back off again lest he gets handed a bill
As leaves that behind the wild Tenere fly,
When an obstacle is seen, care is taken as it goes by;
So on to the tag the rider on bike flew
With a camera on board for the important photo too—
And then, in a twinkling, the picture was taken
And the search for the new tag undertaken.

As the rider mounted his horse, and was turning around,
Across the road a bunny did bound.
It was close the rider alarmed but the rabbit fleet of foot,
So very nearly was the bunny kaput;
Crisis averted the bike was back on track,
The rider not even turning back.

His eyes remained focused and throttle hand steady!
His visor was clean and his brake hand ready!
For the next little threat that might cross his bow,
Who knew what was next where he did go;
He did not worry nor clench his teeth,
And the helmet, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
The Alpinestars added a few pounds just like on the telly.

He was quick and bright, very sure of himself,
And I smiled when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And posted his picture while giving a smirk,
And laying his finger aside on his mouse,
He noticed that no other taggers did rouse;
No need to be sad or to bristle,
He had earned steak, the others gristle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he road out of sight—
“The tag is mine, try as you might!”
New Tag

Never again...I promise!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 Coast to Coast

Yesterday was the annual Coast to Coast ride which supports our local rescue helicopter so it's always a cause worth supporting and an excuse for a trip over to Akitio.  Another bonus this time around was that the weather forecasters had made a real hash of things and the predicted wet and nasty weather didn't eventuate and it was hot work just getting out to Himatangi.

BRR bike parked next to a BRRBT Connie
After the usual riders' briefing and faffing around it was finally time to leave.  By now it was very warm and I'd removed my waterproof inner from my jacket and opened up most of the vents - gotta love those vents.

We were led (very slowly) from Himatangi, across to Sanson, Feilding and finally Ashhurst before crossing over to Woodville via the Saddle (more very slow riding).  In Woodville we gate crashed their Xmas parade (as usual) before parking up for our BBQ lunch.

Nice little Impulse - nearly as nice as my old one...

Team Kawasaki waiting patiently

Do 2 x 660 Teneres make a Super Tenere?

The cruiser boys were out in force
With none of the usual team going out to the beach due to other commitments, it was just me, myself and I who departed Woodville ahead of the pack (to stay clear of squids and mobile chicanes) to make my way across to the beach.

Along the way I did catch and pass a few others who had the same idea as me.  I still can't get over how poorly some cruisers are ridden.  The owners seem surprised when their bikes don't go around corners properly and they end up on the wrong side of the road - only to repeat at the next corner.  Oh well, the Connie leaves them behind fairly quickly...

At the beach I joined a few of the others who also choose to get there early and parked up for a cold drink and a snack.

Gotta be early to get a good park...
The weather was still pretty nice at the beach but there was a fairly decent breeze whipping up the odd wave and helping cool things off a bit.

An even wider mobile chicane

Still hardly anyone else at the beach
Over the next hour and a half more bikes turned up and the prize giving got underway.  I don't normally hang around for it but when I do...

Shirt might possibly serve me well as a tent
Having raided the prizes I mounted up and started off on my return trip via Dannevirke.  Just like last year I managed to find some rain (this time lighter) and contemplated stopping to put my liner back in but in the end I just got a little damp and having achieved that the rain left me alone and went looking for someone else.

Nearing Dannevirke I still had plenty of gas so didn't stop and made for Woodville.  A few more spits and a slow cruise got me the and it was finally time to gas the bike for the short hop home.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Not so Forgotten

Yesterday was an important day for one of my nephews so a party was in order and I needed to be there.  Our weather has still not settled down much and the night before I was still tossing up on which horse to take.  If the weather was bad then the Connie was going, but if it was ok then the Tenere was going to be the choice and a slight diversion planned for the return trip...

Well, it wasn't raining in the morning and it didn't look too bad so I settled on the Tenere and hit the road early.  North of Wanganui I discovered that while it wasn't raining, it was certainly blowing.  Luckily I managed to stick to the road and even got to the party early without having gotten wet...

Didn't manage to get any lollies though...
While the party was in full swing the weather changed a bit and there were a few heavy downpours at times.  I kept a bit of an eye on the weather and at around 3:30 decided to start my trip back and hope to dodge the rest of the rain...

In Stratford I fuelled up and then had to make a decision - head home the way I'd cme or stick to the plan and go for a pootle across the Forgotten Highway?  Looking South it was fairly black, whereas looking East it was merely grey and threatening.  I decided to chance it and go with the longer route across the FH.

After nearly getting clobbered by a twat in a Falcon in Stratford it was nice to get out of town and onto a fairly quiet road.  My first stop was at the top of one of the saddles for a quick photo or two.

Not today...

While parked there a camper piloted by some Brits warned me of a rock fall further on up the road.  I must have heard them wrong as I thought they'd said a couple of minutes into the gravel section - more later...

About 30km in, I started to run into the odd short shower and the roads were wet and slippery at times - though the saddles were still fun.  Had to stop for pics of the "new" bike in the republic though.

Not sure where all the bikes were today...

Flash as public transport
A couple more hills to cross and plenty of corners got me to the tunnel, so yeah, more photos...

Not tempted...
The gravel section was fantastic and it was only the warning about  the rock fall that stopped me from breaking too many speed limits on it.  But, in the end the rockfall was not on the gravel but about 2 minutes after it as you climb up the next saddle.  Having ridden this bit quite a few times it wasn't abnormal and no issue at all - never mind, nice of them to give me the warning.

More corners, more rain and wet roads and I eventually was through to Tamarunu probably just before 6pm.  Next, was the run down through National Park (more rain) and across to 'Kune.  By now I was a little cold as I had got a little wet and wasn't sure what to do - I'd initially planned to ride down Turakina Valley as I'd never done it in the North-South direction or in low light...

Well, the weather had improved a little so I decided to try a little gravel.  The first bit wasn't that much fun as the gravel was a bit deep and this slowed my progress a little.  By the time I got to the end of it I'd had enough and was starting to feel a little peckish so pulled the pin and made for the bright lights of Taihape.

Rolling into Taihape it started to rain again and I decide to flag the stop and just make a bee-line for home and hope to escape too much wetness.  After a slow cruise down SH1 and a blinking fuel warning, I turned off for the run over Vinegar Hill.  Once again the roads were a bit wet in places, but hey, I was used to it now and enjoying myself.

Pic of the day!
Having travelled about 50-60km since the fuel warning i made another stop in Feilding for some go-juice and then took off in pouring rain towards Palmy.

Nice one Tenere!
Once home it was nice to get out of my gear and into some disgusting takeaways.  Oh well, at least I got in a decent ride of somewhere around 640km.  The E-07's have seen a bit use now too...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Game of Fours - Blogger Challenge

A fellow moto-blogger, Trobairitz (gee, thanks), tagged me in Game of 4's. A challenge in which four questions are provided, to be answered by four answers to each of the questions, and then to nominate four other bloggers.

The four questions are as follows:

1) What is your favorite food?
2) What is your favorite drink?
3) Places you've been?
4) Names that you are known by?

Favourite Food

You mean I have to choose?  My preference is a seefood diet - whenever I see food, I eat it!

Actually, seafood might be a closer to the truth.  While I enjoy a nice steak (and the salad and chips that usually come with it), you cannot beat a nice piece of fresh fish - preferably one you have just pulled out of the sea yourself.  A bit of lemon juice, some nice spuds and a salad and that's about all you need.

On the road it can be pretty hard finding something nice, quick and tasty - usually the fish is deep fried something with greasy chips.  I get really sick of greasy takeaways so I try and get a nice feed of vegetables once in a while - some sort of stir-fry.  Take-away roast meals are pretty spectacular too.  The odd good cooked brekkie is nice sometimes too - no need for lunch.  Subway and Pita Pitt are possibly healthier than a possum pie or roadkill wrap...

Mmmmm, grease....

Favourite Drink

Hmmm, tricky.  I used to be a cokeaholic but now don't have it much and if I do it normally doesn't have sugar in it.  I tend to prefer fruit juices.  I also like my coffee although I'm not a coffee snob - generally if it's hot and has caffeine in it then it's all good.

On the road I generally take water.  I might have a coffee if I stop at a cafe but normally don't just stop for a hot drink unless it's freezing.  Chocolate or coffee flavoured milk is nice sometimes.  On endurance rides I try to stick to just water - I don't think much of the energy drinks as you normally perk up for a while and then it wears off and you're knackered again.  Maybe one coffee on 1,000 mile day - just before dawn.


Places I've been

Well, this may not be quite complete but it's close.  All the places I've visited in NZ and thought to take a photo:

I'll try to get to those ones that are missing...

Names I'm known by

Well, let's stick to the one's that are printable...

Banditrider (who'd a thunk?).  This started out as my Kiwibiker handle and then blew out into the name of this blog (to change or not change, that is the question?).  Later on, when Banditrider wasn't available (Youtube and maybe some other forums) it became exBanditrider which is now much more accurate...

EVLED.  This was inherited when I bought the V-Strom - the bike came with a personalised plate.  Apparently Ed owned the bike previously.  I use this as my handle on Adventure Rider and the plate has stayed with me and is now on the Connie - don't tell anyone!

Not so evil Connie
Oh, and you're not allowed to call me Andy!  Ma has a thing about that - don't mess with her!

Next Victims!  Let's keep it in the Southern Hemisphere...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ranging not too far and wide

Well, what can I say - it's been wet, fairly damn wet.  It seems like every day we have at least some rain - if not a thunder storm or periods torrential downpour.  Not dry at all, pretty wet.

Anyway, enough complaining eh?  Today was the best day of the weekend weather wise, so it was the day to get out on the Tenere and go exploring.

Leaving home around 10:30, I took a quick cruise over to Feilding to drop something off before going in search of gravel.  The idea percolating in me was to ride Ridge Road - and that was about it.  I hadn't even really given much thought on which direction and on the where to afterwards.  So, I just rode.

Leaving Feilding I made my way towards Vinegar Hill but then turned off to Beaconsfield to cross over towards the Pohangina Valley.  I got a little taste of gravel on Levette Line and then hit the tar again to Kimbolton and Apiti.

There were plenty of wet bits of tar to test out the rubber and the odd kamikaze on a push bike but then after turning onto Ridge Road I saw just one car all the way through to Pohangina.

The gravel was a little tricky underfoot as it was reasonably deep in places but soft underneath.  The bike would often surf around a bit (particularly when braking) and I didn't break too many speed records that's for sure.  The Valley was just as stunning as on my last trip though.

Note the track the bike is leaving on the road even at slow speed 

I wonder why it's so green?

Just around the corner from where I took the above pictures I came across a lamb and a turkey cohabitating on the same grass verge.  Not sure what sort of monkey business they were getting up to (and hey, it's their business) but at least they stayed put while I pootled past.

I also chased a rabbit up the road at one stage but he cheated and took a hard right without indicating just when I was gaining on him.  I didn't get the next two either...

Towards the end of Ridge Road the surface got a little better (or I got used to it) so the speed came up a little but I was always wary of entering a corner and discovering a muddy exit or some other unexpected excitement.

Dropping down Finnis Road was a lot of fun.  I had thought that it might be quite boggy (a lot of pines shading the road in places) but the surface was pretty hard with little gravel or mud to deal with so it was a nice way to say goodbye to the gravel.

After a few spits of rain around Pohangina it fined up again as I rode into Ashhurst where I stopped for a quick bite before tackling the Saddle - somewhere along the way I'd remembered where the tag was so I had to get over the other side of the hill somehow...

The Saddle was in pretty good nick - some of the improvements they've been making are nearly all done and the road is a lot wider in places and even has a few slow vehicle lanes.  An unexpected section  of gravel through a section of roadworks was an added bonus and once again I had no traffic to contend with.

When I hit the bottom I also ran into the weather and it got quite damp for a while as I made my way along Pinfold and Topgrass roads to keep me well away from SH2.  Eventually I had to cross SH2 to pick up the tag at Oringi.

From here I made my way via a top secret route (you're not getting it easy this time Al) which had me sticking to back roads all the way back to Palmy.  No gravel this time though, although there could have been if I'd tried a little harder.

New Tag


Eventually my top secret route of oh, about 240km saw me back home where the coffee is and I was a happy chappie.

Partial (minus the top secret bit) map below: