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!