Thursday, January 04, 2024

I think I like it

 ...two photo stops on a short ride from Feilding to home...





How did this make it in here?



Kick-off

Time off must be put to good use.  This means riding!

Prior to Christmas, Colin and I had been kinda planning out which rides we might want to tick off over the break and one that I'd suggested was a trip through the forgotten highway as we hadn't been through there in quite a while.  With it being the holiday break and summer we thought that the road would be busy and running with melting tar - but we went anyway.

The ride started with Colin and then John turning up at my place for a ritual coffee and then we were off around the Manawatu Scenic route for some scenic stuff.  I knew from my scouting trip through there a few weeks back that the road was in good nick nut but did warn the other chaps about the couple of bits of new seal.


Colin (radar'd up) led the way up SH1 and then through to National Park.  Coming through here I for one kinda regretted having all the vents open on my gear as the temperature dropped at Waiouru to between 14 and 15 degrees and stayed there until we stopped at Owhango for lunch.

After lunch the temperature didn't really get any better until after we stopped at Taumarunui for fuel and hit the Forgotten highway proper.  We did also pick up a few spits of rain too...

The ride through to Whanga was a lot of fun with the road actually in reasonable condition.  no melting tar, just the odd slip and a few road debris to contend with.  The gravel section is currently being worked on in preparation for seal but after getting a bit of a feel for the new bike/tyres it was sweet as.  What isn't sweet as is the Harleys that (as everybody knows) can't corner, coming around blind corners on my side of the road - it seems that only a hospital trip or wooden box cures this.  Twats!

Riding through the tunnel was an experience for the other guys.  I got through sweet as but they ended up sliding around on some of the mud at the top end of the tunnel, apparently sunglasses are not ideal when descending into a black hole.

At Whanga we stopped for the obligatory photo (got to get all the bikes outside the pub eh?) and an exorbitantly priced drink before carrying on to Stratford on roads that just seemed to get better.  Love the way the new beast handles!


The rest of the trip was a bit of a quiet cruise as we got stuck behind a cop for a bit and then when we passed him had to be on our best behaviour (cruise control helps) until we caught a helpful tanker 😉.  A quick stop at Sanson where Colin turned for home and then John carried on with me as far as Ashhurst before skedaddling for the 'rapa.

Nice little ride of just over 600km with the bike telling me it would nearly have done the whole trip on one fill (thanks to that slow cruise home).


Thursday, December 28, 2023

A dusty end

... to 2023

A couple of days after Christmas and still getting used to this holidaying lark, a ride was needed.  And there just happened to be a local World Raid T7 needing an introduction to gravel.  And Colin and I were just the guys to show Dave some of our favourite bits of the local countryside.

I thought that I had left home early, but when I hit the gravel of Tararua Road and noticed a couple of pairs of skid marks coming out of most of the corners I knew that the chaps might be a wee bit earlier than me.  I didn't muck around through there or over the hill into Pahiatua but they still managed to get there ahead of me and were dealing to pies and things when I got there.

Leaving Pahiatua we actually ran into some rain which hitched a ride with us all the way to the Pori Road turn-off and up to the usual photo stop.




Pori Road was plenty of fun and soon we were back on the seal for the short hop to Waihoki Valley Road.  Yeah, we were definitely showing Dave some of our favourites.  This time there were no deer to chase off the road and the riding was good.




After warning Dave of one of the nasty little surprises that Spur Road has to offer the unwary rider, we were back into it and had a great ride up the hill and down the other side to Coast Road.  From here we turned right and enjoyed the always fast gravel through to Akitio.  

Somewhere here I lost the guys as they stopped to look at 4 wheeled things while I carried on.  By the time I realised that they weren't there I'd crossed the bridge just out of the village and had a reasonable amount of time to get some pics.








From here, Esdaile Road got us across to Route 52 again and while Dave and I turned off onto Franklin Road to head into the pine forest, Colin carried on for a wee bit more of 52 before realising his mistake.

It turned out this his was not the only navigational error of the day as when we hit Birch Road East I turned off in the wrong direction (or read the coin toss wrong?) and we did a slightly different loop than planned.  This took us back towards Weber instead of Wimbledon.

The last time we had been out on these roads (and not even blogged the ride I think) we had experienced some really muddy conditions.  Things were a lot dryer this time around and in some places some reasonably large rocks had been laid down in what must have been some pretty muddy conditions.  The logging trucks had squished these in quite nicely but it was still a bit like riding a river bed or over some particularly nasty cobblestones.

Eventually we ran out of rocks and got back onto some decent gravel where one could be a bit more confident and perhaps hook an extra gear or two.  Until perhaps the rider got a little too confident...

Coming down a short descent and turning into a left hander, I looked in my mirrors and there were no other bikes hounding me.  This was a little bit unusual so as I came out of the corner I chanced a wee look behind my shoulder... and then, splat!

I dunno what was going on (probably just a dumb mistake) but the poor wee bike went down on its left hand side and biffed me into the dust.  I was up in 5 milliseconds and so was the bike which was no worse for wear other than the crash bars bent in a little so they touched the fairing.  The Yamaha bars are obviously not that strong.  Colin and I soon bent them back out to prevent any rubbing on the plastic.  Not the usual sort of riding style I prefer...

Tenere markings to the right of Daves bike



Back on the bikes and we soon were popping out on Route 52 and discovering that wee navigation error...

Too bad, we turned left and hammered the tar through to Wimbledon and Porangahau where we had hoped to get a nice lunch at the pub.  It turned out that unless we wanted a box of beer then we were out of luck.  Across the road the dairy was doing a roaring trade and we managed to find drinks and grub to sort us out.

After our latish lunch we started our trip home via Old Hill Road before hooking onto some sweet seal to another of our normal viewing spots.




More back roads got us to the Saddle and then back to my place for a coffee.  Another good ride to end the year on.  When's the next holiday?