Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Long Way Down

Just finished watching the Long Way Down series the other day so I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Firstly, what lucky sods for being able to afford (and actually make money) to do trips like this. I'd give me eye teeth to be able to take off for months at a time and ride through the sorts of country side they have. Must check my lotto ticket...

One of the comments a lot of people have made about this and the Long Way Around is the amount of whinging that Ewen & Charlie do. Well, I don't like it either but I think to a certain extent everyone would have their bad days on a big ride like this - they were doing pretty reasonable distances over some pretty bad roads at times and this could wear thin I'd say.

Another comment people make is about how much gear they take and what sort of assistance the car crews gave them. Well, if I ever do it I doubt I'll have any support but then I won't be making a documentary or have the sort of sponsorship that they had - please Mr BMW, can I have a bike?

But back to the film itself. They went through some amazing places and saw some great sites. Ethiopia in particular stands out for me as looking very green & beautiful with some great dirt roads to boot. In fact, a lot of the roads looked like fantastic fun for adventure bikes and apart from some of the sandy bits didn't seem as tough as the roads featured in the Long Way Around.

It would have been nice to see more of the riding and even the bike preparation/maintenance rather than visits to killing fields and Unicef facilities but then it was their ride and they were supporting the charities. It would have been great to be there and see some of the wildlife and wild scenery.

Overall I enjoyed the DVD just like the previous one except that they should not really be allowed to make them as it just makes me want to get out there and do it and unfortunately I'm not in a position to do it...c'mon lotto!

2007 Done & Dusted

Well it's the 30th of December and with no riding planned for today and work tomorrow that means the year is pretty much over in terms of bike riding. So, I thought it might be a good idea to wrap up the year with a summary of the year's high lights, disappointments and my biking plans for 2008. So here goes:

High Lights
  • 2007 Rusty Nuts Southern Cross - the Southern Cross is always great fun.
  • Buying the Concours - sad to say goodbye the the Bandit but always great to get a new toy.
  • 2007 Rusty Nuts Grand Challenge. The worst weather on record only made the sense of achievement greater.
  • Meeting some of the local Kiwi Bikers and enjoying some great rides with them.

Low Lights

  • Twanger in the van backing into the Bandit.
  • Concours falling over on the Coast to Coast.
  • Far too many RIP/Biker down threads on Kiwi Biker.
  • Not being able to afford more bikes/riding...

Plans for 2008

  • Chateau to Plateau - Jan
  • Mini's Return - March
  • Grand Challenge - October
  • As much riding as I can squeeze in...

Well that's about it I think, so Happy New Year to all who read this and if you're riding in 2008, have fun but be careful!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ashhurst to Akitio

After a pretty forgettable Coast to Coast (shocking weather, a certain bike falling over), Cowboyz suggested that a ride out to Akitio in better conditions was in order.

Well, today was the day and the weather gods decided to play ball and came up with a pretty stunning day so there was really no excuse not to get on the bike and head off to meet the rest of the guys & gals at Ashhurst.

After gassing up the bikes at Ashhurst it was a pretty decent sized group that headed off into the gorge - including 4 L-platers all keen as mustard to be out on there bikes.

The ride took us through the gorge, then Balance and over into Pahiatua where we stopped to regroup and give some of the L-platers a bit of a head start on the road to Pongaroa. I had a really great ride through to Pongaroa, sitting in behind Cowboyz and enjoying the great roads - nice to do them in the dry for a change.

Arriving in Pongaroa we parked up and I went to grab a cool drink. When I got back to my bike we got some bad news - there'd been an off just out of Pongaroa. Most of us quickly headed back out of town to check it out.

About 200m out of town Hornet250Boy had left the road, locked it up in the grass before finally parting company with his bike. The bike went through a fence, smashed a concrete post support, crossed a bit of a ditch, bounced into the air before clipping a cabbage tree and crashing to the ground. Hornet250Boy was a bit more lucky - he missed the fence and skidded about 14 metres down the grass verge.

Luckily, Hornet250Boy was not hurt very badly - a few cuts and scrapes as well as a bit of shock etc and the girls soon had him patched up and recuperating on the side of the road. His poor little GSX was not so lucky - it had ricocheted off all sorts of obstacles and had done a great job of tearing itself to pieces. With plenty of us at hand we soon had it up the bank and back over the fence where we could have a decent look at it and try and work out what we were going to do with it and it's banged up rider.

As a result of an unfortunate off on his new bike NZSarge hadn't been able to make the ride but had offered any assistance to us if need be on the day. Obviously we hadn't planned on needing him but never the less he was phoned and offered to drive all the way out to pick up the bike - really awesome of him.

While we waited for the trailer we parked back up at the Pongaroa store where cold drinks & icecreams were the order of the day.

Once Sarge arrived we quickly loaded the GSX remains onto the trailer and were soon off on the road again to Akitio. Had a pretty quiet but enjoyable ride out to the coast before parking up and taking a breather at the beach.

After a bit of R & R we finally mounted our bikes and headed back towards civilisation. The only bit of excitement was Gary loosing his cell phone. A number of us had seen something on the road and wondered what it was. Luckily for him, when he finally found it it was still all ok.

The road from Weber to Danniverke is a real cracker and I had a real blast on it and got away a bit from the rest of the mob. But when I pulled into the garage at Danniverke they weren't far behind me and some of the bikes gassed up, and coffees were had before the final leg home.

I took it pretty quietly on the way home following one of the L-platers on his Hyosung, the only downer being stuck behind a very slow car in the gorge.

All in all a pretty good day out except for the one mishap which thankfully did not result in any serious injuries - a good reminder to take it easy on those back roads...

More pics here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Baby Gixxers

Found this article about the possibility of 125 & 250 GSX-R's being released:

We've had 18,000rpm 250 4's before but what's the 125 gonna be?

Cop Charged

The cop who's U-turn took out the 2 bikers in the Buller Gorge has been charged with dangerous driving. About time really...

Both riders looking forward to Xmas in hospital...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Kawasaki Acceleration Enhancer kit

And yet another steal from KB:

Not necessary on the Connie!


Also discovered via a thread on Kiwibiker. The NZ mint is issuing a collection of coins featuring great bikes of the 1930's.

Bike Crash types

Shamelessly stolen from GarryH's Kiwibiker thread...

Accident waiting to happen - Getting wiped out while sitting stationary.
Adventure Tourist - One who leaves the road and ends up deep in the bush.
Agricultural incident - When a Harley is involved.
Arsewipe - The guy that falls off in jeans or other inapproriate clothes and looses large amounts of skin off his arse.
Crotch Sniffer- Biker who follows too closely then finally runs into the back of someone.
Double Act - Rider and Pillion crashing.
Kamakazi - Bike tries to take a car out.
Out for a Duck- Crash on first ride on a new bike.
Sliced Cheese - (enough said)
Taking a U-Turn - (enough said)
Smashing Pumpkin - Not be wearing a helmet.
Tree-hugger - wrapped around a tree

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seat Skin

After it's rough treatment last weekend I thought that it was time to spoil the bike a bit and went down to Otaki with Brian so we could both get sheepskin seat covers made up. Brian had called earlier in the week to organise and the guy at Sheepskin Sales was only to happy to knock us up a couple. As usual he made an awesome job and I look forward to my bum spending a fair bit of time testing the sheepskin out.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Another hot & sunny day in Palmy and another Toy Run to attend - this time the Central Districts Motorcycle Touring Club's one.

A quick count of my badges seems to point to this being my sixth one and the route is usually very similar - the ride starts in Feilding and takes in some back roads through Halcombe & Feilding before ending up back in Palmy for a sausage sizzle at the Awapuni Hotel.

After a bit of a foul up in meeting times & places with Brian (my fault), I ended up heading over to Feilding by myself and parked up to wait for him to arrive and badges to go on sale etc. While waiting I caught up with a couple of Kiwi Bikers and generally stood around getting hot.

Brian eventually turned up and we got our badges before the ride finally got under way. The ride itself is just a gentle cruise and basically took in the route mentioned above.

Once back in Palmy toys were donated, sausages scoffed and yarns started. Neither of us hung around long having things to do but it was a reasonable way to spend a couple of hours of a hot Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Toko Lions Chateau to Plateau

Another decent ride on the cards in January is the Toko Lions Chateau - Plateau ride which takes in the Forgotten Highway before ending with a prize giving in Stratford. All proceeds to the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter. More details at the links below:

Monday, December 10, 2007

ACC Levies

Scary, scary, found this article about ACC levies:

Looks like they're thinking of stinging bikers even more for ACC levies due to their fuel efficiency (less ACC from petrol taxes).

Also interesting is the "The average cost of motorcycle injuries per year is $1500 per registered motorcycle." Let me guess this calculation was cost of all motorcycling injuries divided by the number of registered bikes. What about all the unregistered trailees & farm bikes/quads? What about all the other sports / hobbies where no ACC levies are paid? It goes on about other road users (forgetting cyclists & pedestrians) subsidising bike injuries - but doesn't everyone that pays ACC levies somewhere or other pay for all those non-levied activities? Don't cars sometimes hit bikes?

Too hard - just sting the bikers...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Wanganui Ulysses Toy Run

I managed to get all of my gear dryed out overnight and with the weather looking better when I got up, I couldn't really think of a reason not to head over to Wanganui to do their local toy run.

After meeting at Brian's place we headed over to Sanson via Rongotea and stopped for fuel and a drink before heading off to Wangavegas. Noticed quite a few of the Coast to Coast riders heading past on their way home as we were gassing/parked up.

Got into Wanganui at about 11:30 and were some of the first few here so we parked up, had a chat with a few bods before donating our toys and munching on some pigs in blankets.

The ride finally got underway at about 1pm and after a few stops to regroup (not fun in the heat) we turned off the main road and headed up the Turakina Valley. Had a real blast out here as the roads were in good nick and there were a few who wanted to play. Finally ended up in Marton where we all stopped for a cold drink before heading home.

Had a bit more fun today...

Woodville Lions Coast to Coast

I got up early on Saturday morning keen to walk the dog and do a few things around the house before heading out to Himatangi for the start of the Coast to Coast. Trouble was the weather was not being very friendly - we'd had some overnight rain and there was a bit of light drizzle falling.

I gave Brian a quick ring to see if he was coming and he said that he was flagging it due to the weather and him still getting the hang of his new 14.

Mark was next on the list for a call and I knew he was coming - he'd taken the day off work especially for the ride. So after a brief discussion on meeting times etc I hung up, geared up and headed out to meet him at his place. By the time I got out there the roads were dry and the weather was looking ok - maybe we'd get a dry ride.

Pulling up early at Himatangi we went and signed in and then caught up with quite a few familiar faces while waiting for the kick off. Oh, and Brian & Linda turned up too...

After the briefing we hit the road and headed on into Foxton and then through to Shannon. We both quickly grabbed some fuel here as we knew that there'd be a mad rush for it at Woodville and that we'd be able to easily get back to Danniverke afterwards.

Leaving Shannon we easily merged with riders still coming in from Foxton and made our way up through Linton, out Old West Road and finally to the Pahiatua track. Had a wee play on the track but with wet patches and a lot of slower bikes it wasn't really worth going silly.

Heading through Balance we came across a couple of guys who must have have left their brains at home as they'd gone off on a pretty easy bend. A quiet potter on into Woodville where we parked up and went to check out the new 'Busa and B-King before grabbing our lunch and waiting to head off again.

Then disaster! Heading back to the bike after taking a pitstop a came across a group of people waiting around my bike. The story goes (and I'm still not 100% certain it's true) that the bike rolled backwards on it's stand, then fell over to it's right and onto Mark's bike and then his onto the next one. It looks like mine was the only one to completely fall over and it's been nicely hucked up by the asphalt. To say I was annoyed is a bit of an understatement!

Luckily all the damage is just cosmetic - nothing broken but I'm still annoyed and will be for some time...Mark was a lot luckier - you can't even see where my bike hit his and there are no marks on his bike except for the handle bar weight which has a scratch and the bolt is bent.

Anyway after fuming and venting for a while we were finally back on the road and on the way to Pongaroa. Not far on up the road the weather decided that it was it's turn to spoil things by raining on all the nice bikers out doing their bit for charity. We made a quick stop at Pongaroa to stick our wet weather gear on over our wet riding gear and then kept on plowing our way out to the beach.

Once at the beach we had a quick coffee with KoroJ and chatted to some others before bailing on the prize giving (knowing my luck I probably had my name drawn...) and heading home. We turned off route 52 at Weber and headed on into Danniverke so we could gas up if required. Before we got into Danniverke the rain finally stopped and we could enjoy the roads.

In the end neither of us needed gas so we just cruised it back home to Palmy, relived a bit of a pretty crappy day at my place before Mark headed home and I put my poor horse to bad.

Another Coast to Coast to forget...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Subaru Bike

Well, well, the things you see on the net:

Dunno about a single - won't sound like a 'baru. If BMW can stick a boxer in a bike why not subaru - say the 3L 6 from my car or a turbo 4...

More here from the Kneeslider:

Woodville Lions Coast to Coast

Bit more info on the Coast to Coast ride this weekend:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Twins

Christmas has come early this year with Brian treating himself to a Concours - and why shouldn't he? He picked it up yesterday so naturally it needed a bit of a run today.

The old man had rung last night to see if I'd be keen to meet hi somewhere so I kept my mouth shut about Brian's new bike and got the ride sorted out. Ma & Pa decided to ride over the Napier-Taihape and meet me in Taihape for lunch so that sounded like a nice quiet ride for Brian & Linda to get used to their new horse.

We left Palmy at about quarter to ten and had an easy ride over through Fielding and Halcombe and on up Highway 1. Arriving in Taihape I gassed my bike and we parked up at the cafe in the photo to wait for the olds.

About 20 minutes later they showed up and were surprised to see the twins parked up outside the cafe. After lunch we headed back towards Palmy and I gave Ma a ride on the back of the Concours before handing it over to the old man.

He managed to sit quietly behind me until we got onto Vinegar hill and then he was off to sample the 14's grunt & handling. He pulled over briefly at Rewa but I kept on going knowing he was going to have some fun coming up the hill. I must say I had a bit of fun trying to get my head around his tractor, (oops, I mean beamer) but still had some fun climbing the hill.

Brian & I both pulled in at the lookout but this time it was Dad who blew by and I was starting to wonder if I'd ever see my bike again...

We all stopped at Cheltenham and I was finally reunited with my bike. Here we all split up with Ma & Pa heading for Ashhurst & home and the two 14's heading back to Palmy & home.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Forgotten Highway - at last!

Well after months of careful planning - oops, hang on, I mean a couple of weeks waffling on about it on Kiwi Biker the great day dawned and it was finally time to hit the Forgotten Highway.

After getting stuff all sleep I finally got up at just before 6am and after arcing up the 'puter discovered that a few others were up early and chaffing at the bit too. Looking out the window the days was perfect - not a breath of wind and blue skies - yeeha!

After brekkie and a fair bit of fluffing around at home, Mark finally turned up and it was time to head off and meet up with the rest of the Palmy (and Ashhurst) crew. We got down to the garage at about 07:30 and were not the only ones early tanking up bikes and bellies (bunch of pie eaters!) By the time we were ready to go there were eleven of us (only two Concours's/Concourses/Concoursi) and we got away a little after 8.

I ended up leading us off as Cowboyz bike has become a bit of a cop magnet lately and he was not keen to have to talk to another cop so early in the ride - I did notice however that he was quite happy to hide from the radar by tucking in behind me. Anyway, we had a quiet little early morning ride over to Wanganui (only one cop in the end) where we pulled up to meet Hornet250Boy on his new bike (not a Hornet). From there it was about another hour's ride to Stratford and our first fuel/drink stop.

In Stratford we meet up with another 9 bikes all rearing to go and hit the highway. Being locals they led the way and we were soon into some fantastic fast but windy roads. Our first stop on the Highway was at the top of the first saddle (forgotten it's name) where everyone quickly had their cameras out taking pictures of the great scenery and all the fine machinery out enjoying the day.

After the photo op we all re-mounted and headed off on roads that were just fun with a capital F! It was about now that the temperature was really getting hot and by the time we stopped at Whangamomona for our lunch break there were a few tongues hanging out. The only unfortunate incident was Bonez having a wee off on his mighty GB. Luckily he didn't knock himself around too much and he soon had his steed knocked into shape for the rest of the ride.

At Whangamomona a couple of 'naki riders had been good enough to come through in their car (poor them) and set up a barbecue lunch for us. They more than looked after us and everyone really appreciated the effort they put in to feed the tribe. While we had our lengthy lunch break quite a few other bikes went through so we weren't the only ones out enjoying the road and great conditions.

Eventually we had to don our hot riding gear and mount up for the next bit of the highway. Not far from Whanga we came to the Moki Tunnel and were plunged into darkness briefly before exiting into bright sunlight again. Time for another quick photo op:
It was here also that we discovered a another nasty - Sarah's old Honda had lost it's rear brake. Something pretty disastrous had happened and there was brake fluid leaking out all over the place. No bike shops on the FH so she was going to have to battle on without the rear brake.

On the road again and we finally hit the unsealed section of the road. Luckily it was in very good if dusty condition and wasn't really an issue at all. Soon we were off this and back onto good old tar seal - or did I speak too soon?

By now it was around 1:30 or so and the sun was really working overtime - the roads were getting really hot and the tar really slippery. After a couple of slithers I backed off a bit and settled into a cruise keeping by eyes (and nose) peeled for the shiny stuff.

When we eventually came to the end of the FH and into Tamarunui we pulled up outside a bike shop and I discovered that Mark wasn't with us. He had been at the front when we left the tunnel so I figured he had gone onto Turangi which was our next pitstop. I took off after him and had a real blast heading over the hill on Highway 41 to Turangi. Just had to watch the hot tar in places again.

By the time I got into Turangi Mark was filling up his bike and wondering where everyone had got to. I gassed up, grabbed a drink and we parked up and waited for the rest of the crew.

They had taken there time and headed up to a look-out which gives good views of Turangi and the lake (been there, done that). They'd also said their goodbyes to the 'naki boys who had headed home from Tamarunui.

After everyone had gassed and watered we headed off down Highway 1 and onto the desert road. There was quite a bit of traffic on the road (Sunday arvo - everyone heading home after a weekend away) and we were unfortuante enough to get stuck behind a HP car just north of Waiouru.

Another quick stop in Taihape before the final leg home over the Vinegar Hill. A bit of steam let off there before saying seeya to the guys and running for home.

A great day's ride in near perfect conditions and another pin in the map - great to find a road you haven't ridden before and then cross it off as done! Will not be the last time I visit Whangamomona and the Forgotten Highway!

More piccys here.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bandit 1250GT

Well, what was I on about the other day? This is getting a lot closer to what's been missing from Suzy's line-up:

Some more (limited) info here.

Wonder if it'll come to NZ?

The Forgotten Highway Plan

Below is the rough plan I've laid out for tomorrow's ride thru the Forgotten Highway:

I've had a play with the map & worked out some rough distances so as to plan fuel stops etc. Have assumed everyone can manage 200kms on a tank.


  • Awake early to a nice sunny day!
  • Palmy crew meet at BP Rangatiki @ 07:50 for 08:00 start.
  • Quick stop other side of Wanganui to pick up Hornet250Boy. No time for pies or coffee - you've only been on the bike an hour...
  • Arrive Stratford somewhere around 10:30 (maybe a tad earlier).
  • Gas & coffee, plus meet up with any naki & Waikato riders
  • Hit the highway
  • Lunch in Whanga
  • Head on to Tamarunui then Turangi for gas.
  • Quick stop at Flat Hills or Mangaweka for a coffee.
  • Vinegar Hill & home.
Important stuff:

  • Have fun but take it easy - don't want any mishaps!
  • Careful on the gravel - no roosting!
  • If you want to stop for photos anywhere on the Forgotten Highway go for it - you won't be the only one.
That's enough of that waffle, see you there!

Sign up to join us here.

Discuss the ride here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Too nice a day

Yep, the weather over last weekend was far too nice to leave the bike locked away in the shed. Mark & Shelley were in Napier visiting Mark's parents and Mark had mentioned to me that he'd give me a ring before he left Napier so I could come up and meet them somewhere for a bit of a ride.

The trouble was waiting around for the phone call. By 11am I had done most of the things I wanted to do around home and ended up deciding not to waste any more of the nice day. I gave Mark a quick ring and said that I was on my way, geared up and hit the road.

I took my time heading up highway 2 and stopped in Waipuk for some gas and a quick bite. I managed to squeeze 21 litres into the tank but for that amount of fuel I had travelled 368km - the furthest I've pushed the Concours yet.

I turned off Highway 2 at Waipawa and headed through to Patangata and then onto Middle Road into Havelock. A great bit of road this and I was not the only bike out having a play in the sunshine - there was a whole group of riders stopped at Patangata for lunch and a few more went past me going the other way.

After a quick stop in Haumoana to pick up Mark & Shelley we headed out through Hastings and then off down Highway 50 for home. Once again we were not the only bikes out and about and we saw quite a few heading North.

Back on Highway 2 and we cruised back to Palmy with good weather all the way. Nice to see a bit of sunshine - hope it holds for the ride this weekend and the Forgotten Highway ride.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

2007 Coast to Coast

The Woodville Lions Coast to Coast is on again. Proceeds go to the local rescue helicopter. Usually brings out a few riders - some idiots as wells so watch out for them.

Date is the 8th of December with kick off is at 10:30am from Himatangi Beach. Seeya there.

Kiwi Biker link:

Suzuki GSX650F

Check out the below link for a very quick look at the new GSX650F. Probably quite a nice little bike (both Mark & I had 750's) but the very first comment to the article raises a question that I've always had: why don't Suzuki build a GSX1250F or GSX1400F?

They've got some great motors etc but aren't putting them in anything that is truly designed for touring. Don't get me wrong - I toured big time on 2 Bandits and they did the job but what about better weather protection, standard luggage, a shaft and some other touring goodies. All the other Japanese manufacturers can do it and Suzuki did it in the past so what's the excuse?

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Changed the front tyre on the Concours today. The standard Battleax only lasted 6,500kms - not too good really. As the rear is still looking pretty good I fitted an old Metzler that had come off the Bandit and I'm hoping it will at least last me until the rear is ready to be changed - that way I can by a matched pair.

I've also ordered the Givi top plate & mounting brackets so that I can use my V46 on the bike. 10-12 weeks delivery! Really hope it comes in before the Mini's Return. Will be good to have the extra versatility of the top box.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hard Ride 4 - A bit damp...

After all the great rides I've been on lately I thought that it was time to share another hard ride.

This one was a couple of years ago and the hard part occurred when coming home from a toy run in Wanganui. 

I'd arrived early in Wanganui in fine weather but before we were due to head off it started raining.  So before the ride left I put on my wet weather gear and stashed my camera in it's little bag (not waterproof) then inside the bum bag (waterproof?) my wet weather comes in and finally in my back pack.

The ride headed off in damp conditions and wound it's way via back roads to Marton where it stopped so riders could take a break and have a drink etc.  Looking at the weather I decided to carry on home to Palmy so I didn't get drowned.  Yeah right.

Just coming out of Marton the rain a started.  Turning onto SH1 it got up a bit more momentum (bucketing down) and then it hit redline with the wind kicking in for good measure.  I have never ever ridden in conditions like this - I've ridden 3 hours in "West Coast" rain and not seen so much water.  It was like a helicopter dumping a bottomless monsoon bucket over me - rotor wash and all.  No, it was actually worse than that...

It got so bad that I had to pull over because I could not see and thought I was going to get blown/washed off the road.  Cars & trucks also started pulling over - no visibility, just rain.  I still don't know how I stayed on the bike - when I pulled up my front wheel ran into some quite deep metal but somehow I stayed on.  It was that windy that I could not take my left foot off the ground to put the bike in neutral - I just flicked the kill switch.  It was a struggle just staying vertical - the bike was being blown around even with both my feet on the ground and me hanging on for dear life.

By now and in the space of a couple of minutes the water had got completely through my wet weather gear and riding jacket and pants.  It had even got through my visor (slightly cracked open to stop fogging up) and got my glasses wet.

After a while the rain seemed to ease up so I hit the starter and attempted to roll on down the road (with glasses in pocket).  I got about 10m and had to pull over again - still too wild.  I tried again in a few minutes but still the same - at least I was able to pull over into a larger area where the trucks couldn't get me.

Eventually the rain slowed up to a gentle downpour so I pottered on up the road.  Just standing in the weather and holding the Bandit up had been an effort so I decided to pull in at Bulls and see if the rain was going to ease up any more.  I spotted a nice looking veranda sticking out from a pub so I turned into the driveway.  What I didn't see was the foot of water running along the gutter (no glasses - blurry visor).  I hit the water at about 10-20km/h and this caused a tidal wave to wash over the entire bike and poor old me.  Talk about wet Trev...

Some people in the pub had been watching the weather and had seen me surf on up onto the footpath and came out to see if I was ok and wanted to come in out of the weather.  I looked down at the water pouring off my gear and said that maybe I'd be better off waiting outside...

After a while the rain stopped completely and the sun actually came out and as I was starting to feel a bit cool I decided to break for home.  Turning the corner into the main street of Bulls it was amazing to see how much water was on the ground.  The only place where there was no standing water was the centre of the road but this was no place to be if you wanted to avoid being splattered by a truck so I ended up weaving in and out of the water until finally out of the flooding.  I was also not the only idiot on a bike out in it - I saw another guy on a Blackbird doing exactly what I was doing.

After all the drama the ride home was pretty boring - no rain, just wet road and sunshine.  Shoulda had a coffee in Marton...

And what makes things worse - I never even got a badge for the ride, they'd sold out before I could get one!

BTW: the water got through my pack, the bum bag and the camera bag was starting to absorb water prior to transferring it to the camera!  The camera looked ok but I chucked it in the hot water cupboard anyway and it still lives!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cheesecutter Protest Ride

As a result of a horrific accident in Auckland where a young biker was killed after crashing and hitting a Wire rope barrier the NZ biker community (particularly on the Kiwi Biker website) has been pretty vocal in their condemning of the wire "cheesecutter" barriers and a number of protest rides have been organised.

Today was Wellington's turn and so I had to be there. Mark & Shelly were keen and I managed to talk Brian into stealing his brother's bike and bringing Linda down for the ride too.

I left home pretty early and went around to pick up Brian & Linda and we then headed off down to meet up with Mark & Shelly on the Opiki road. on the way down we saw quite a few bikes heading out and about but unfortunately not in the same direction - to the protest.

After a quick gas up & drink in Otaki we continued on down towards Plimmerton where one of the two groups of riders was to depart from. We caught a few spits and eventually some fairly decent rain before finally pulling up outside the Sandbar.

Here we signed the petition, put on some red armbands and chatted with a few of the assembled bikers (hi Chancey/NZSarge)while we waited for the rest of the riders to arrive and the rain to stop.

Just before 11 we were given our briefing and we mounted up to head into town. The lead riders took us slowly on up the highway and we got another drenching but all the riders behaved themselves and formed up behind the leaders well. It looked quite impressive in the mirrors!

When we got into Wellington we hooked up with the other group of riders and made our way to park up outside the parliament buildings before heading into the parliament grounds for the speeches.
First up was "Colapop" who had done a lot of the organising for the ride and he spoke very well about why we were there and what we were hoping to achieve - a top guy. Secondly we had Marian Hobbs explaining how our petition might help us get a voice at any select committee looking into road safety etc. Lastly, another Kiwi Biker who's name escapes me read quite a long speech but was once again very well spoken and made some very good points.

All up the organisers think that around 200 bikers turned up with some coming from the Hawkes Bay and Wanganui.
After the speeches etc we tootled into town for some lunch before heading home into weather that just kept getting better.

More of my pics here.

Other Kiwi Bikers' pictures here.

Ride discussion thread here.

And the Cheesecutter website here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cheese Cutter Protest Ride

Been a bit lax in not posting this sooner. A protest ride is being run on Sunday 11th November to protest the use of "Cheese cutter" safety barriers. The ride has a couple of starting points in the Wellington area and ends at parliament. The Kiwi Biker thread for this ride is:

See you there...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Capital 1000K Cruise

The alarm going off at 4:25am on a Saturday morning is not normally a cause for any sort of celebration but when it means the chance for a decent ride on great roads then I guess I can put up with it every once and a while.

The Ride in question was the Capital 1000K Cruise being organised by KoroJ a fellow GC riding nutter and was looking like a real beauty - lots of great roads, all of which I'd ridden previously so no worries about getting lost.

After the early wake-up I quickly scoffed by weeties and jumped on the bike to meet up with Mark on the Opiki road. Off into the cool darkness went the mighty kwaka and soon I arrived at the meeting point where Mark was just pulling up - pretty good timing.

I buttoned off for just a sec to let Mark catch up and we then enjoyed a nice ride on empty roads all they way down past Shannon & Levin and then onto the main road. Traffic was still pretty light and it's always nice riding at this time of the morning - watching the sun slowly start to rise and reveal what sort of day lies ahead.

We turned off the main road and headed over the Haywards into the Hutt. Took a bit of scenic ride through Upper Hutt to find the Caltex station when we could have actually ridden up the motorway - doh, we'll know for next time. We pulled into the station at about 6:30 and topped up our tanks before parking up and catching with KoroJ and some of the other riders.

After a quick briefing we were cut loose and everyone headed for their bike and out onto the road. First up, a quick ride over the Rimutakas where a few cars and one Harley rider were dispatched before heading on up the road to Masterton. By the time we got to Masterton the Harley rider and a few others had formed up behind us and I thought there was going to be a bit of a convoy up through Highway 52. But it wasn't to be, they all stopped for gas as Mark and I turned off.

KoroJ must be learning a thing or to about organising rides off the Rusty Nuts crew as he sent us out onto highway 52 all the way through to Waipuk which is a pretty quiet back country road that requires a lot of care and really drops that average speed. Never the less it is a good ride with some quite good scenery. But you need to keep an eye on the road: the road is in bad condition in a lot of places and you need to treat any corner with a bit of respect - you never know what the surface may be like or if there will be stock on the road.

I thought that we'd be cleaned up by some of the faster guys through here but in the end only 2 guys got past: a Honda Transalp and a Duke 1098, both passing where their bikes shine, the Transalp on some dodgy surfaces and the Duke where the road had opened up to some faster, smoother corners. Another older guy on an ST1300 formed up behind and sat behind us for a while before finally dropping back for some reason.

About 10ks or so before Waipuk we hit some road works with some quite deep gravel. Nothing too bad but a car couldn't work out which way to go to get around a grade so we ground to a halt. When taking off again the poor old bike couldn't get grip and wheelspun on up the road (at 1,500rpm!). Mark reckoned it left about a 3 metre furrow in the gravel. At least I didn't roost him I 'spose...

We were both quite keen to hit the gas station at Waipawa where both bikes and riders needed a pit stop. The day was turning really warm so a few layers were removed before heading on up Highway 2. We made really good time through here and all the way to Taupo. The Taupo road was it's usual fun ride, I just hope the guy in the Blue mitsi van didn't get my photo!

We hit Taupo at about half past lunch time so we gassed the bikes and then stopped at the subway for a bite. The 1098 was there and just leaving as we stopped - a quick chat and he was off. While having lunch a few other guys went through and we never saw them again. As we were leaving the Harley guy turned up - seems all the riders were giving the subway some business.

The plan now was to head out of Taupo and over Poihipi road which then links up with the Western Access and then up over 41 to Tamarunui before heading south to National Park and our next stop for gas at Raetahi. We had a great ride (as usual) around the back of the lake and over 41 before hitting the slightly boring road to National Park. At Raetihi we abandoned our plans to gas up as both bikes had been sipping (read cruising at nearly legal speeds) and waved to the 1098 rider who was taking a bit of a breather before heading for the Paraparas.

The Paraparas weren't in too bad nick and with mostly dry roads (the odd damp patch but only spits on the visor) we had an enjoyable ride into Wanganui. As we now did need gas we abandoned Koro's route (will have to try it one day though as it cut's out Wanganui quite nicely) and headed for the nearest gas station. As we were getting ready to leave a few more guys turned up along with the guy on the ST. He was a bit unsure of the turn-off to take him to Fordell so we gave him some quick directions before leaving.

As it turned out we weren't too far past Fordell before he caught us up and followed us all the way through to Hunterville. Now it was time for some real fun as we headed for Vinegar Hill. A quick squirt over the hill and a gentle cruise into Ashhurst where we decided to stop and watch for some of the other guys - as we'd ridden down from Palmy in the morning Koro had let us off riding back down to Wellington and we decided not to argue...

We sat around - actually stood around, we'd had enough sitting down for a while - and eventually the ST turned up (see piccy above) and we waved him off. Cowboyz had spotted us parked up and came for a quick chat while we waited. We saw another couple of bikes go through but didn't recognise them and in the end we headed off home.

All in all a great day's ride with 1,051km covered over some great rides in good weather. There's talk that this could become a regular event so it probably won't be the last one I do - these big rides get quite addictive...

Friday, November 02, 2007

2009 Southern Cross

Yep, only just back from the 2007 Grand Challenge and with the Mini's Return and another GC to do but the Rusty's have let slip about the 2009 Southern Cross.

It sounds a doosey! Being the tenth one, they're planning a wee extension after visiting the the 4 points. No details as yet but the plan is for a total of 10,000km in 10 days is promised. Now there's a target! Better book me leave...

On Any Sunday

Yep, made it into Two Wheels again! Piccy taken at the lookout half way up Coronet Peak, Queenstown on the way home from the 2007 Southern Cross.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Highway 52 Recce

I wasn't really intending on going for a ride today but with the weather damn near perfect I couldn't really come up with a decent reason not to. So I decided that I would head off to Danniverke and then Weber before coming down Highway 52 and giving it a bit of a once over before the Capital 1000K Cruise next weekend.

So off I went and took it pretty quietly through to Danniverke where I stopped for gas. When I pulled into the gas station there were a number of bikes gassing up including another Concours with a KTM Adventure for company. No idea who they were or where they were going as they took off before I could even say gidday.

Back out on the road to Weber I got a little reminder to take it carefully when I saw a couple of fat lambs grazing on the side of the road. There were also 2 sets of road works to navigate before Weber. I wasn't the only one out as a group of Beemers with a little kwaka in tow went past going the other way.

Leaving Weber and turning off onto 52 I started to get a few spits of rain - just enough to remind me that I should have cleaned my visor before leaving home. The road through to Pongaroa wasn't in too bad a condition but where it was wet it was also quite slippery. Leaving Pongaroa and still heading south on 52 I had to pass a huge tractor with dual wheels on who was taking up 95% of the road. The road through here isn't too bad although there is still a lot of repair work needing to be finished off. There is also places where the crappy repairs are getting broken up by the traffic.

I stopped once briefly about 10km south of Pongaroa to take a quick piccy of the road condition before continuing on avoiding at least 3 more sheep and one large hare.

I finally turned off 52 onto Pa Valley Road to take me back into Pahiatua. Once in Pahiatua I stopped and had a quick bite to eat and say gidday to some riders that had come through from Hawkes Bay. A quick gouge over the track and then home.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Castle Point

After a week of absolutely rubbish weather it was nice to wake up to nice sunny Sunday morning. Even better was NZSarge had organised a ride out to Castle Point with riders meeting up in Pahiatua before heading out to the coast.

As there were a few riders leaving from Palmy and Shannon the idea was to meet up at the bottom of the Pahiatua Track before meeting the larger group in Pahiatua itself. A couple of learner riders were also coming on the ride and the plan was to take them quietly over the track so that they could get used to riding in a group of bikes.

I was given the job of leading over the track and despite my best behaviour (80-90km/h top speed) broke away from some of the group. Although I was pleased to see one of the learners on her CBF250 sitting behind me so I didn't completely fail in my little job.

Pretty soon we pottered on into Pahiatua where we met up with some of the Ashhurst crowd and a few up from Wellington. After wandering around and doing a bit of gas-bagging with still no sign of NZSarge it was decided to press on and hope that he wasn't too far away.

The next stop to allow the group to reform was in Alfredton and a great place to get a picture of the two GTR's together. The roads through here are your typical back country roads that can't be travelled at light speed but do take you through some pretty nice country. The two GTR's kept each other company through here and before long we were in Masterton where most people took the opportunity to top up there tanks before heading out to Castle Point.

While waiting around at the gas station KoroJ turned up from Wellington. He was supposed to be visiting his mother but when he found she wasn't at home had no option but come on out to the beach for a ride. Good to catch up with him again and relive a bit of the GC. Oh, and NZSarge caught up with us here too...

On the way out of town it was good to see the local cop booking a car as it meant that it was unlikely that we would see another one on the road. This was the first time I'd ridden this road and it's a cracker. I had a great time following a few others at a quicker pace through some really great roads. Once out at Castle Point it was time for a bite to eat and a bit of relaxing in the sun.

The ride back took us again into Masterton where the little bikes topped up and we said seeya to some of the riders heading off in different directions. Once out on the main road we started to get a bit blown around as the wind had come up a bit. The pace was kept low to avoid tickets and to stay with the L-platers.

We eventually turned off the main road to head through Mangamire and then onto the track. Very windy conditions coming over the track but the learners coped really well and when we stopped at the bottom of the track they were very happy at completing a reasonably long ride in the company of other riders. Good to see how keen they were and will hopefully catch up with them again on another ride.

All in all, a great way to fill in a Sunday!

A few more pics here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mark's Website

Well the GC is over for another year. The weather was crap.

I've finally got my website up and running so you can checkout the write up there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


So I've got this big fat tourer fitted with radial brakes and ABS but is ABS all it's cracked up to be?

A lot of people have said things like "a good rider doesn't need ABS - their reactions are better and they can brake harder without ABS." Well I always doubted this and still believe that ABS is worth whatever premium the manufacturer charges for the option. But I've now had the ABS come on three times while riding the Concours and have good and bad experiences.

Firstly the bad. Twice now I have come up to a corner and had the ABS come on when it shouldn't have and so increased my stopping/slowing distance. On both occasions this was on road surfaces that were very bumpy: the first time the road had lots of little bumps and the second time was on the Napier-Taupo road on a corner where there are actual judder bars in the braking zone (who's dumb idea was that?).

What I believe happens is that the bumps may be enough to take a bit of weight off the front wheel and so allow the brake to slow it to a speed which is less than that of the rear wheel. The ABS computer thinks "heck the wheels locked, off with the anchors." Hence the increase in braking distance. Repeated bumps only make matters worse with repeated activation/deactivation of the brakes. On the "judder bars" my braking only really happened once I was clear of the bumps and darn nearly into the corner. Not exactly "safe."

But now for the good. On the Grand Challenge I had to hit the picks pretty hard on a wet road. The ABS kicked in but was very smooth in it's operation and braking performance was more than enough to slow me up for the corner. Excellent - I think that I may have been in trouble if the bike had the same monster brakes but no ABS to back them up.

So, on the whole I think that ABS is definitely worth having especially on a heavy bike with awesome brakes - I don't think I'd like a bike with such powerful brakes and no ABS, it could be a recipe for disaster in the wet or if the rider is not paying attention. I think that they only way to get around the problem on bumpy roads is to aware of the problem and to be observant of the road conditions (as you should be anyway). On bumpy roads brake earlier and smoothly and be ready just in case the ABS kicks in.

This is all just my opinion but I hope it at least informs you to some extent on the merits of ABS.

Grand Challenge Write-up

You can tell I've had the day off and the weather is rubbish - have had time to do this write-up of the ride.

Monday, October 15, 2007

2007 Grand Challenge

Well, she's all over for another year. That's six in the bag for me now and this one must go down as one of the hardest and all because of the weather!

Prior to leaving all the weather forecasts were saying that the North Island (particularly the West Coast) was going to be hit with rain and wind. And for once it was right - damn!

After making really good time to the first checkpoint in Paeroa and heading into Auckland the weather changed for the worst. We got soaked on the motorway and pulled in to a gas station to put on wet weather gear where we a lot of guys were doing the same thing. We also ran into 1 of 3 riders who chucked it in due to the weather.

Splish, splash up on up to checkpoint 2 in Dargaville and it was more of the same - wet riders gassing up. Most sill had a mile on their faces as they rode off into the now dark and wet. It was quite a mission riding on up to Kaitaia in the dark and wet and I took it very quietly. Just south of Opononi we came across a downed rider. He was okay and his mates waved us on - apparently he broke his collarbone but was able to be hitch a lift home on the back of someone else's bike.

Pulling into the gas station at Kaitaia and there were a couple of cops checking out all the bikes - pretty friendly and I don't think they called their mates down the road to look out for us. Checkpoint 3 signed off and back into it.

Our next stop was at Wellsford for gas where we wasted 10-15 mins waiting for the lady to try to turn the pumps on! Gave up as someone told us the one up the road was also open - doh! Finally gassed up and it was off through the winding roads to Helensville. It was here that I really started to feel a bit crook and had to stop a couple of times to take my helmet of and have a breather.

On the motor way into Auckland and I was still feeling off so we stopped in at Drury for a decent break - my only coffee of the ride, a bit of grub and some panadol. Then it was just up the hill to Checkpoint 4 before heading out the back of Pukekohe on the way to Ngaruwahia for more gas.

Back into it and now the wind had really come up to keep the rain company - the rain was now horizontal in places. At 8 mile junction we took Highway 4 and then turned off this onto Ohura Road. This was a real goat track and in the wet conditions - painfully slow. Never mind we hadn't come this far to make a mistake so we took it really carefully and eventually got into Ohura for the final checkpoint.

From Ohura it was just a short ride back into Tamarunui and then over the hill to Turangi - but not before the weather could really chuck some rain at us. I'd look back in my mirrors and see Mark's Bandit throwing water out in all directions and he later said that it looked like I was hitting every puddle I saw when in reality the puddles were the road!

Back in Turangi at exactly 1pm - 22 hours and the longest time it's taken me to do the run. But we made it in one place and had 2 hours to spare. A good Rusty feed and then back to the motel for a wee nap...

I intend to write up something a bit more detailed for my website but in the meantime here's a pic of some dirty bikes and checkout a map of the ride here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

GC Update

Just a day to go until the start of the Grand Challenge. I've got today off and just have to organise a few things around home and wait for Mark to knock off work (1ish he thinks) before we're off to Turangi.

Trolling the Kiwi Biker and it seems that quite a few people have taken today off and are making their way quietly to Turangi. The weather is not the best and forecast isn't that spectacular for the weekend either so wet weather gear will probably get some use - be nice if the forecast is wrong...

Still looking forward to the ride anyway as it's been a year since the last one. Will be back home at some stage on Monday and will probably do a quick little post before doing a proper write-up for the website.

Wish us luck...and clear skies!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Radguard Install

Radguard turned up yesterday so tonight was installation night. Wasn't too much hassle installing - only issue was lining up the bolt on the bottom mount but we got there in the end. Feel a bit happier having the Radiator protected from flying stones.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Grand Challenge Preparations

All preparation is now complete for this years Grand Challenge. New tyres have been purchased, and the bike has had it's 24 000km service.

Bike has been washed and accomodation booked, all that remains is to pack some gear and head out and do it!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Next Ride

Well, not quite the next ride but the next major after the Grand Challenge. Some of the Wellington KBers are organising a 1000km ride on November the 3rd. More than likely gonna head down and give it a bash. More at the link below:

Monday, October 01, 2007

1000 Miler Preparations

Well, we usually have one of these blogs before we head off. As Mark has mentioned, he's bought tyres and is getting his Bandit serviced this week.

The Concours is pretty much ready to go although I've just ordered a Radguard from Aussie - hopefully it'll be here in time. After fitting that all I've got to do is clean & polish the bike, put some more protective tape on a few places (panniers etc) and then just load up & go!

There's a couple of threads on the the KiwiRider about the GC so here's some links:

8 more days at work to go...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Boys From Work

Got out for a ride with the boys from work last week. We had been talking about it for awhile and had a day planned that suited us all. But the weather was doing it's best to interfere. A few are we goin or not phone calls early in the morning and it was decided to hell with the weather we're off.

We had arranged to meet at the Cheltenham shop at 9am. I left home just after 8 and got gas at Feilding on the way thinking I was going to be a bit early. But when I got there the other two were waiting for me. A greeting and we were off over vinegar hill. Had to be a bit careful here as the road was wet in places, as it would turn out to be for the rest of the day.

We stopped for a smoko break at Flat Hills Cafe then pushed on to Taupo for lunch. The weather mostly behaved but we did go through a pretty good down pour on our way across the Desert Road. Pulled it Taupo for a nice pub lunch at about 11:30.

After lunch we gased up again and headed for Napier. It stayed nice and sunny across the plains but once we got into the hills things got wet again. Had another smoko break on the water front at Napier.

Then headed off down Highway 50 and had a quick fuel stop at Onga Onga. After leaveing the weather really started to set in. With good steady rain until after we were through Dannevirke. We pulled to Daves at 4:30pm for another cuppa then it was off home.

A good day out with just over 600k's under the wheels. Now all that is needed is a service and we are ready for the Grand Chellenge in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The 'Naki and back

With a brand new nephew to go and visit a trip up to the Taranaki & back was definitely on the to-do list.  So after waking up pretty damn early for a Sunday I was up and on the road by ten past seven.

Conditions were perfect leaving Palmy - nice and warm, no wind and not a cloud in the sky.  There's something about early morning rides: the still conditions and lack of traffic make for a nice quiet ride.  There was a few bugs out and about though and they were as keen as ever to commit suicide on my visor.

I stopped off at Wanganui for some petrol at about 8 and continued on up the road in good conditions.  It was even sunny in Hawera - but not for long.  Leaving Normanby a few spits soon turned into proper rain and the roads were pretty wet for the rest of the way.  Another quick stop in Stratford to raid the bakery and close the vents in my helmet and I was off again.

I arrived at Christine & Stu's for a much needed coffee and was soon introduced to little Billy.  After lunch and a coffee with both sets of Billy's grandparents it was time to turn the bike around and head back.

I left in fine but grey weather but soon had to stop to put my sunglasses on.  Very warm & mild.  Just south of Stratford there was quite a major detour in force and had to take a real back country loop before getting back on the main road. 

Started seeing a few bikes heading north and decided that some of them may be heading home from the racing at Manfield so it was time to keep a good eye out for cops.  Sure enough between Wanganui & Bulls I saw 2 on the road and there was a 3rd one ticketing a 4wd in Bulls itself.

Another quick top off in Bulls (327km from that tank) before heading home.  Nice little Sunday ride of about 420k's.

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Tyres

Got new tyres on Friday. So thought it was best to get them scrubbed in as soon as possible. So Andrew and I arranged to head off somewhere on Saturday.

We left home just before 11am with the weather looking a bit damp. But by the time we were accorss the track things had started to improve.

We gassed up at Pahiatua and headed out the back roads to Alfredton. After a short strategy meeting we decided to carry on to Pongaroa. By now the sun was blazing and things were getting quite warm. We stopped for a few minutes in Pongaroa to stretch the legs then headed off to Dannevirke.

By now time was dragging on and we were both hungry and thristy so a pit stop was required. After refreshments we headed off home. Did about 300k's on a nice sunny day and got the new tyres scrubbed.

Just need to get a service in a couple of weeks and I'll be ready for the Grand Challenge.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Concours Accessories

Should have blogged this a while ago: a thread on Kiwi Biker about Concours accessories. Some info and genuine and aftermarket items and ramblings of a couple of Concours owners.

If you're a Concours owner and have any more info on accessories etc please leave a comment here.

More related links:

Time for a Bath

Well, with nearly 1,900 km on the clock and a lot of the riding done on wet, dirty roads it was finally time to give the Concours a quick wash. Just a tad different to cleaning the Bandit:
  • Acres of plastic - easier to wash than all the nooks and crannies of a naked bike. Fairing will have to come off one day as stones and crap are bound to end up inside it.
  • Big screen - took some cleaning to get all the bugs off especially those on the inside. Used a sponge to avoid scratching it.
  • Tetra-lever - lots of nooks and crannies hard to get at.
  • Wheels - a bit finicky but most importantly: no chain so no crap all over the rear wheel. Front worst to clean - huge discs, big guard, brake dust & wheel design.

Overall it cleaned up pretty quickly and easily and is ready to get dirty again.

Suzuki Stratosphere

Thanks to the Kiwi Biker I found out some interesting scuttlebutt: the Suzuki Stratosphere is supposedly going to be released in 2009! Yeah baby! 1100 six!

Out in the Wops

During the week Mark had suggested that I was to take him on a bit of ride on Saturday. 800km was the distance talked about. Sounded ok in principle and it gave me something to look forward to. Oh, how things can change in a few days.

Saturday morning I was up and about reasonably early ready for the phone call to say that we were off. Come nine and still no call so I grabbed the phone and rang Mark. Answering from his bed he was still keen but nowhere near ready to go. He suggested that I head into town and get some new gloves (I'd been looking at some the night before) and then pop out and pick him up.

Gloves bought, I was soon heading out to Mark's and looking at all the dirty clouds hanging around wondering where we should head. I had a pretty good idea where I wanted to go but didn't necessarily want to get drowned while doing it.

Heading off from Mark's I took the Opiki road to get us over by the ranges without having to go back through town. In and out of showers and I was really wondering about my route - and how Mark's brand new tyres were doing on the wet roads.

We seemed to come out of the weather just south of Palmy so I thought my plan was still a goer and we turned off Old West Road and then off over the Track. Stopped of in Pahiatua for some gas before heading out into the wops behind Pahiatua. This was only the second time I'd been out here and I made one wrong turn before finally finding our way into Alfredton.

The weather over this side of the ranges was getting warmer with every k we ticked over so the screen came down on the Concours and the visor on my helmet came up. Heading up route 52 to Pongaroa was awesome. Great back country roads with some awesome corners. A little care required in a few places where the road is still quite badly storm damaged.

A quick stop off in Pongaroa to take some gear off - glad I took my panniers and then it was on to Weber then Danniverke. Great road from Weber to Danniverke that the Concours & Bandit just ate up.

We had a late lunch in Danniverke before heading home via the main road. Not quite the 800k's planned - actually just under 300 - but a great ride all the same. Looks like the weather has finally changed for the better so there'll be plenty more good riding to be done.