Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day Races

Just back from the Boxing Day Races at the Wanganui Cemetery Circuit. Had a great day walking the track and snapping some photos. Didn't stay for the completion of the races and was disappointed when the final Superbike race was canned after two red flag incidents.

There was some fantastic racing in all classes and I have to say I enjoyed every race I saw. But the picture below celebrates the most hard case racing you will see - the classic sidecars. They're all over the place as they struggle to stay on the track - great fun to watch!

If you haven't been to the cemetery circuit before then you really are missing out - just do it!

More pictures here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pets & Bikes

Roger & Geoff have both gone off topic on their blogs lately and introduced the furrier members of their families. Unfortunately they not only have poor taste in bikes (three cylinder thingees) but also pets (cats) so I thought that I'd better introduce a proper pet in the form my vicious guard dog Bart.

Bart is a refugee from the SPCA and has been my hairy mate for about 8 years. He is 28kg of lab/staffy cross and just the coolest dog you could find. Afraid to say that he is not too keen on bikes (esp noisy V-twins) because when they come out of the shed it usually means that it's time for him to be tied up and left on his lonesome. He does however guard them with his life and can recognise the sounds of a Bandit 1200 or a Firestorm coming up the road - the Connie can sometimes sneak up on him if he is having a nap in his house...

Merry Christmas all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A few farkles for the VTR?


I've a growing problem with an accumulation of ride badges - I'm not about to stop riding and buying badges but need a way to store/display them. I have an idea of what I want to do but would be keen to hear other people's suggestions...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wanganui Ulysses Toy Run

Today was the last Toy Run of the year for me and after meeting up with Brian and Chris in Bulls we cruised over to Wanganui to meet up with the rest of the riders taking part in the run.

Prior to the ride we dropped off our toys, got our badges and bought a sausage or two off the Sallies. (Side-note: cut back on the sossies, it seems every ride involves the eating of sausages lately).

In a bit of change this year, the ride took us North of Wanganui and out a few back roads that none of our bunch had been on before. This was actually a nice surprise and some of the roads were really nice and had some great scenery. It's just a shame that they were a bit short and we ended up popping back out on the main road pretty regularly.

The ride stopped in Waitotara for cold drinks and socialising but us unsocial Palmerston North lot carried on back through to Wanganui where we lost Chris and carried on home without our usual detours.

View 2010 Wanganui Ulyssees Toy Run in a larger map

2010 Coast to Coast

Yesterday was the 18th running of the Woodville Lions Coast to Coast which is a local charity ride which benefits our Rescue Helicopter. The rides starts in Himatangi on the West Coast and ends in Akitio on the East - not actually a very long ride distance wise but it does take in some great roads (particularly on the Eastern side).

Saturday morning started out pretty grey and drizzly didn't really improve a whole lot. I started off by filling the Connie and riding out to meet Brian at Himatangi. Out at the beach we signed on for the ride and hung out in the drizzle watching the rest of the bikes arrive.

Eventually there were around 300 of us and after a quick briefing we were off on a quite ride up SH1 to Sanson before cruising to Feilding and then making our way over the Saddle to Woodville. In Woodville sausages were consumed and then we were off again heading East.

On the road to Pongaroa things got a fair bit wetter and did a good job of keeping speeds down and holding the idiots in check. It's funny though, I really started enjoying the wet and tagged in behind Meanie for the rest of the ride to Akitio - two Connies splashing around and having fun.

But by the time we turned off Route 52 the weather began to improve and it was actually very warm out at the beach. At the beach we had a drink and hung around for the prize giving where I managed to snaffle myself a hat before Brian, Meanie, Monie and I remounted for the return home.

We left the sunshine behind and were soon back into the rain again but it was another great wee ride through to Weber (fantastic roads) and then onto Danniverke. From there it was just a quiet pootle to Woodville where we stopped for gas and discovered that one of us had suffered a bit of bad luck somewhere along the way - Monie's bike was less one Givi V46 topbox! Not good and only a couple of weeks after I had the same issue - the only trouble this time around was the nobody saw it come off and we had absolutely no idea where it came off! Very sucky and not a good way for the run to end for Monie.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Three Toy Runs in Two days

Yep, it's that time of the year again where it seems that every town has it's Toy Run to benefit those kids not so fortunate. This weekend it was time for the New Plymouth, Palmerston North and Wellington runs. Normally I'd probably miss a couple but when we found out that there was two on on one day (New Plymouth & Palmy) we thought that this might add a bit of a challenge and started planning...

The New Plymouth run called for a 9am sign on and a 10am departure and the Palmy run kicked off at 1pm - could we make it? In the end we decided to give it a go by getting up early and heading up to New Plymouth, dropping our toy off and flagging the run so that we had time to get back to Palmy. Yes we'd miss the actual run but a couple of extra toys made to the New Plymouth charity, we got a badge and got in a good ride anyway.

So after a later night due to our work Xmas function Brian and I got up early and were on the road by 05:30. As always it was a very pleasant time of the day to be riding and we got to see the skies brighten on a very fine day.

We had a great old ride up to Hawera and then followed the Surf Highway through to Opunake where I started looking for fuel (my fuel alert had just come up) and a feed. It turns out that at 7:30 in the morning everyone is still in bed in Opunake...and Rahotu...and Okato! We finally found an open gas station in Oakura with 388km from the tank showing on my trip meter. 22L into the tank and then we were off for the short squirt to New Plymouth where we found a cafe and had a nice breakfast before struggling to find the ride start.

Toys gifted and badges purchased we remounted and after a bit of discussion decided to return the same way we'd come as we'd really enjoyed the run up. It was another great ride back until just before Turakina...

We were in a line of traffic drop
ping down a slight rise when a Suzuki Swift decided that he really, really had to turn right, right now! He'd been waiting patiently in the turning lane and after the car in front of me passed decided that he'd had enough of the waiting and nailed it. Well this is where it got exciting for a bit: I hit the brakes hard, real hard for probably less than a second before throwing the Connie to the right and executing the big weave to avoid the cage. Things happened real quickly but I still
remember looking into the car directly at the passengers and I even had time to give them a real good blast of the Stebel! Brian saw the whole thing and was amazed firstly that the car had turned in front of me (actually it puzzled me too) and secondly that I somehow came out of it intact! It was seriously freaky and I curse that car driver to hades - he needs to be off the road for good!

Anyway it was all over in seconds and we managed to make it to Feilding well before the start of the next Toy Run so refueled the bikes and met up with Mark to fill him in on all the action.

The Toy Run itself took us over to Halcombe and then some more back roads to Cheltenham, Colyton and Bunnythorpe before ending in Palmy with the gift giving and a BBQ.


On Sunday it was time to swap bikes and ride down to Mana for the Wellington Hog Toy Run. This time around I took the Honda while Brian had Linda on the back of his Connie and loaned his Honda to Linda's daughter and her partner.

We left Palmy in some very light drizzle which soon cleared - although it did remain quite cool for the entire ride down. In Mana we also decided to just drop our toys, by a badge and ride home after watching the bikes head off on their run. Obviously Wellington can draw quite a few out and it was good to see that there was plenty of Xmas spirit with bikes of all makes joining the Hog guys on their run.

Once the masses had departed we carried on home after stopping in Otaki for fuel and a lunch. Mission accomplished - three Toy Runs in Two days - not bad going and just one more Toy Run to go...

More pics here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Makuhou Road Video

The full video of the ride through Makuhou Road.

Interesting ride

Ok, if you read my previous post from this morning you'll be aware that I've been out on the bike today and that I spent a bit of time dodging stock out the back of Marton, so now here's the full story...

During the week I started getting a real hankering for a decent ride - the Connie had new tyres and they needed scrubbing in so I had a decent excuse to get out (not to mention fabulous weather). By Friday I had decided that Fields Track was to be my destination and by bed time last night I'd even thought that if I hit the road early enough I could even take in the Forgotten Highway making it a fairly decent ride indeed.

Well, I didn't get up too early but managed to be on the road by 8:30 with Fielding set as my first stop to fill up an empty tank. Curiously I got 22.5L into my not empty 22L tank which did cause a bit of head scratching (who was right: Kawasaki or the oil company?). From Fielding I carried on through Halcombe and then Marton.

Out of Marton and onto Makuhou Road I had my run-ins with the four legged locals (but enjoyed most of that fabulous road) before popping back out onto the main road. From here I planned to turn off again for Fordell and make my way towards the Para Para's but cruising up one of the passing lanes I heard a funny noise from behind me and looked in my mirrors to see my topbox lifting off and then sliding across the road.

Amazingly it didn't even bounce and just slid clear across the road until it hit the gutter on the other side. Luckily there was no traffic either behind me or coming the other way and it made it's way across safely - also, if it wasn't for the gutter it would probably have got airborne and destroyed itself.

I pulled over and wandered back to retrieve it and was surprised at how little damage it had received. It even snapped right back onto the rack - damn, what happened? I decided not to chance my luck anymore so turned around and headed for home. In Turakina I stopped at the garage and bought two bungees to hold the topbox down (wasn't going to chance my luck a second time) and spent the rest of ride wondering if they'd ping off and clobber me in my back...
The trip home took in Wanganui Road to Marton and then a bit of diversion from the normal taking in another back road through to Sanson. It was a fantastic day and I was really disappointed to be back home parking the bike at only 10:30 in the morning. Now to sort out that top box...

Dodging Stock

Went for a little pootle this morning (littler than I had planned anyway) and here's a few moving obstacles I had to avoid in the Turakina Valley...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chris Pfeiffer playing

Can't get enough of these videos:

Open in YouTube to easily find more...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday night ride

My first Friday night ride in a wee while. Just a quick squirt over Vinegar Hill and then back again followed by a feed and plenty of yarning at the Ashhurst Inn.

Really nice night out although the bugs were out in force. A little chilly riding home without liners in my gear.

Another working week done...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wee-strom 650

Dropping the Connie off to get new shoes today I had a couple of options offered up as a way to get to work: a FXR150 and a 650 V-strom. Obviously I thought long and hard, weighed up the pros and cons and eventually settled on the V-strom.

Actually it was a bit more simple than that - I'd wanted to ride a V-strom for a while as I've heard great things about them and pottering around on back roads, paved or unpaved really appeals to me - my lucky day.

The guys had the bike warming up for me so all I had to do was throw a leg over and get rocking. The seating position felt very familiar as it is not far off what I've experienced on Bandits and the Connie - a nice upright riding position with plenty of leg room. The handle bars are also in a nice comfortable position with all the usual controls easy to get at. The bars could perhaps be rolled a bit further forward to put them in an even more natural position - probably something very easy to do.

Pulling away I noticed that I wasn't on a 1400 anymore but the little twin was very impressive in it's performance and the clutch action was very light (especially compared to the VTR). Commuting to work was great fun: that nice high riding position giving a good view, the engine quite happy to sit on 3,000 rpm in fourth to bring up around 50-60km/h and the nimble handling making it a breeze to flick around corners. Around town 4,500 to 5,000 rpm was plenty between gears to get the bike accelerating at a reasonable rate and the brakes while not startling were well up to their job and backed up by ABS.

Suzuki claim a curb weight of 220kg and while this may sound quite heavy it certainly didn't feel that way when under way (and even when manoeuvring in and out of parks etc). The handling did feel like a trail bike in that you could just throw the bike into a corner but the front end felt far more planted than a trailee - probably that 220kg and less aggressive adventure tyres on the bike.

A ride of about 6km is hardly a test so I managed to sneak out of work a bit earlier and take the bike for a quick squirt out on the open road but unfortunately not enough time to go in search of some corners or maybe a gravel road. Out on the open road I gave her the odd squirt up to around 7,000 rpm and this gave plenty of acceleration and also a nice little growl out of the two into one exhaust.

At 100 km/h the motor is pulling around 4,500 rpm and another 500 rpm adds another 10 km/h and puts the motor in quite a sweet spot. The engine is very smooth here but you do still know you're on a V-twin - quite nice actually. Getting stuck behind a car at about 90 km/h the DL surprised me by accelerating very cleanly without the need for a downchange - no bogging down at all. It really is a sweet little mill that perhaps does punch above it's weight - certainly the 600 Hornet I rode a while go would prefer to be ridden harder to give similar performance.

As mentioned previously I did not get the chance to ride through some more challenging corners but the handling on the open road was absolutely fine. It's hard to say how great the screen is as it was a very warm day and any cooling from the wind was welcome. There was a bit of noise from the screen but I did not notice any nasty buffeting that I have heard talk of although once again it was a very nice day with no wind.

Overall, the littlest DL was a lovely little bike and I'm going to try to get another decent ride on it at some stage - and perhaps sample a 1,000 as well. Currently giving the idea of an adventure bike a bit of thought so who knows what might happen in the future...

Wee-strom info

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pirelli Angel ST's

A while ago I put Pirelli Angel ST's on the Connie after hearing some good things about them. Tomorrow they come off to replaced by Michelin Pilot Road 2CT's.

The Pirelli's initially felt great on the bike. The bike felt very nimble and the tyres performed well wet or dry. In fact throughout the time they've been on the bike the front has not given me any cause for concern.

Before leaving on the Grand Challenge and Four Points the tyres looked great with what looked like plenty of life left in them. But on the first day of the Four Points I felt that the rear tyre was misbehaving itself and wandering around a bit on the road - this was mainly on the East Cape road where bumpy corners are the rule not the exception but also evident further on in the ride when the tyres were getting pushed a bit.

Then in Rawene we got a big surprise. Looking at Brian's rear Angel there were cords poking through the rubber and his tyre had also looked good when he left home. We then looked at mine and were amazed at the wear that had occurred in roughly 1,500km. While on the ferry we managed to locate a tyre in Kaitaia for Brian's Connie and I spent the rest of the trip observing the rapid wear on my tyre.

When I got back home the tyre was still in reasonable shape and I estimated about another 2,000km left in it. 500km into the Capital 1k Cruise I was wondering if I'd make it home...

I made it home and now the bike is booked to get new PR2's tomorrow so I'll be a lot happier knowing that I should be good for another 12,000km. The Angels have just under 7,000km on them and the rear is toast with the front not far behind.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Daylights savings rocks!

Yep, been out for a little ride after tea to pick up the tag. Very warm and calm night - I need to take the liners out of my gear!

Oh, and the Connie still needs tyres...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

CDMTC 800km in a day

Summer must be here as there seems to be plenty of rides on at the moment. Last weekend it was the C1KC and this weekend the Central Districts Motorcycle Touring Club had another running of their 800km in a day ride. I'd only done one of these before so thought that I'd better have another crack at it - trouble was the Connie was out due to a bald rear tyre - so what to do. Answer: break out the super-touring VTR for the day...

Another surprise was the old man coming down from Napier on Friday night to join Mark and myself on the ride. So it was two twins and a Bandit meeting up at 7:15 for the start - that is, until we were joined by Graeme from Napier on another Bandit.

After signing on we were given the route and basically told that we could take off whenever we wanted. The route was to take us to Wanganui, Raetihi, Tokoroa, Taupo and Napier before returning back to Palmy. We weren't told what route to take but had our odometer readings taken and also had to get receipts at four different stops along the way.

View 2010 CDMTC 800km in Day in a larger map

Leaving Palmy we took a bit of a detour to avoid the uninteresting ride over to Wanganui by riding through to Halcombe and then taking Makirikiri Road across to Turakina. Then there was just a short squirt on SH3 before we turned off the main road again to go to Fordell and then Okoia allowing us to bypass Wanganui and get to the Paraparas sooner.

The ride over the Para's was fantastic (as usual) and it was neat to be riding the Honda through here for the first time. By the time we got to Raetihi (the first checkpoint) things had warmed up quite a bit and I was glad to have the chance to remove my sweatshirt and grab a cold drink.

The next leg of the trip took us across to National Park and then over SH47 to Tokaanu (where Dad departed for home) before climbing up over the delicious Kuratau Saddle. Going up the saddle we did get stuck behind a bit of traffic for a while but once past the cars we had a great run all the way to the turn-off to Whakamaru.

At the turn-off a number of the other riders were parked up having a chat but we continued on behind the lake and thought that we were making pretty good time until the others came whistling past us. Just before Whakamaru we were stopped by some road works for a while and I used the opportunity to put on my sunglasses as the sun was well and truly up and blazing down on all the motorcyclists in their hot riding gear.

From Whakamaru it was just a short 30km pootle up the road to Tokoroa and the next checkpoint. All the other riders were there already and the garage was doing a roaring trade in petrol and pies. We just filled up and set off for Checkpoint three in Taupo.

This short hop is a pretty boring ride down SH1 where we kept the pace down as it's a bit of a happy hunting ground for the boys in blue. In Taupo we didn't need petrol so stopped in at the local Subway for a bite before hitting the Napier-Taupo road.

After pootling across the Taupo plains we eventually got into the hilly, bendy bits which make the Napier-Taupo a great ride and had a blast gobbling up the kms to Napier.

Napier was our last stop for petrol and here Mark and I also swapped bikes for the trip home so he too could also experience the astounding touring capability of the might red Honda. As for myself, well I had to get used to riding a Bandit again and it took me a while to get comfortable - ducking in behind Mark as he took to "the hill" on SH50 helped and I was soon enjoying the charms of a Bandit once again.

We had a great ride over SH50 and then took it pretty quietly on SH2 as we headed for home. After a day of fantastic weather we finally ran into some average weather just before Woodville - not rain but very blustery conditions which continued through the gorge and into Palmy. Back at Breakers we had our odo's checked and then joined the other riders for a quick drink and a chat before making our way home after a great day out in the sunshine. Rumour has it that the CDMTC is going to plan another 800km ride in the new year...

More pics here.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

2010 C1KC

Yesterday was the fourth running of the Capital 1000K Cruise and so to maintain a perfect attendance record I had to drag myself out of bed at 4am make my way to the Hutt for the kick-off.

In drizzly conditions I rode into town to fill the Connie and meet up with Mark, Meanie & Monie. Also joining us was Matt, heading down to Christchurch on his little 250 - I didn't envy him riding that far with a huge pack on his back. Shortly after 5am we were on the road South, all hoping that the rain would do the decent thing and leave us alone.

In fact, not long out of town the rain did stop although we had wet roads all the way to Paraparam where the rain came back with a vengeance and brought along it's friend, the wind! It was actually very cold and nasty (heated grips definitely pressed into action) and I decided to flag Paecock Hill concerned that it might be really windy up on top of the hill - as it turned out nobody else was worried about that little decision.

We arrived at C1KC GHQ just before 7am and very quickly organised our entries etc and were back on the road again. The weather was still showery but the Rimutakas were in good condition and there were no nervous moments at all as we made our way over the hill and into Featherston.

Our next stop was in Masterton where the four bikes were fueled prior to disappearing into the wilds of Route 52. I love Route 52 - it is just a great ride with great scenery and
all sorts of riding conditions. In fact, the very first section was quite interesting, there were branches down all over the place and we had to take things very carefully as we picked our way around them.

The roads were still very wet, as was the odd shower but we made Pongaroa by about 9am and stopped along with a few others for our first "evidence" photo. From Pongaroa we made our way out to Wimbledon where we stopped again for a photo that wasn't required - I'm blaming Mark for this as I hadn't stuck it in the GPS as a stop but he convinced me it was...

North of Wimbledon the weather started to improve and by
Porangahau we pretty much had dry roads. In Waipuk we passed a number of riders who were gassing up and then in Waipawa we turned off the main road to make our way through to Patangata.

In Patangata we took our photo but as we were getting ready to leave again we struck trouble. Monie discovered that her key would not turn in the ignition of her Viffer. We all had a wee bash at it, even holding our tongues in different positions but to no avail. Damn, one dead bike! Meanie sent Mark & I on our way and got onto the phone to the bike shop.

Unfortunately, they were not able to help so the two of them rode back to Palmy to grab the spare key and the ute. The new key didn't do the job either so the poor wee Viffer had to be loaded onto the ute for an unceremonious lift back home - Meanie and Monie's ride all over.

Meanwhile Mark I had pressed on and had a great ride up Middle Road and then onto Napier. Somewhere between Hastings and Napier the Connie rolled over 60k but KoroJ stole my thunder at Bay View by commenting that his ST had just hit 100k on the forecourt! While filling the bikes and having a drink I had a quick look at the state of my rear tyre and discovered that it was getting pretty sad (more on this later) and I started getting doubts as to whether it would get me home - not good when you've still got 500km to ride and all the bike shops in vicinity
would be well shut by now...

We pressed on anyway and were soon enjoying the delights of the Napier-Wairoa road at a good pace - although perhaps not quite good enough for a certain centenarian ST1300 as it whipped past at White Pine Bush...

In Wairoa Mark and I stopped for some lunch and I had another check of my tyre - more curses to it's makers and more doubts entering my mind. In fact I started making plans to pinch my old man's SV in Napier or to swap to the VTR when back in Palmy depending on how long the tyre lasted me.

Turning back towards Napier I let Mark take the lead and I attempted to ride the Connie at a more sedate pace to conserve the tyre - a very hard thing to do on this road! In Hastings we stopped for fuel again and the tyre was still hanging in there so it was back out onto SH50 fro the trip South. Not far out of town I had a really good scare when the car coming towards me veered across the centreline in a big swerve but the driver managed to put down the
phone/CD/newspaper etc and get it back under control before they killed a motorcyclist. Unfortunately I was not packing a grenade launcher so I had to make do with a blast on the Stebel and a big head-shake at the idiot behind the wheel.

Mark and I had another quick stop in Woodville to check the tyre and decided that it was still hanging in there so continued onto Ashhurst and Colyton - home country. Passing through Colyton we picked up another four bikes and they dropped in behind us for the ride through to Pemberton for the next evidence photo.

Next up was a quick squirt through to Ohingaiti for the last photo and pretty much the end of the ride for us. While there we caught up with a few of the Wellington riders before climbing back onto the horses for the last leg back home to Palmy.

Another great ride although a reasonably long one - it took us about 13 and a half hours whereas we usually can cut out 1,000km in around an hour or so less than this. The extra time required this time around is more than likely down to the wet conditions (on a road that demands respect - Route 52) earlier on in the day. Never mind, all home safe and sound after a great Cruise!

Zumo stats: 1,038km; moving average 88.8km/h.

More pics here.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Prize giving

Saturday night was the prize giving for the Four Points Compass Rally and so I went along with Mark and a few of the Ashhurst mob to try my luck. Unfortunately my luck was all bad and no prize for me. Yod was far more lucky winning two prizes with his joker and three jacks - lucky sod!

Oh, and Geoff - I am working on my write-ups!

Quick squirt

I had a quick squirt over the track on Friday. I also went through to Balance and had planned to come back via the Saddle only to be turned around due to the Targa Rally using my piece of road. So I was forced to turn around and come home via the Gorge.

I also tried out (again) my mini-DV camera mounted to the left-hand side mirror on the Honda. Still not ideal as camera was on an angle and still pics up vibes and possibly also some electrical noise. On the source video file you could also hear the mighty twin doing it's thing but after uploading it went to crap so had to replace with some music. More work required...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blasts from the Past

We had a bit of a family gathering last weekend and the old man brought down some old photos of bikes and stuff from my childhood. So here to reek my revenge is a few of him back in his rebel with no particular cause days...

Ok, better not be too cruel, here's me on my first bike:


I've been slowly working on my write-ups for the GC and Four Points and as part of them I've made up some Google Maps of the various routes which will be included in the write-ups. Below is the map for the Grand Challenge:

View 2010 Grand Challenge in a larger map

I've made four separate maps for the Four Points and rather than putting them all here, you can find them with this link.

On the bike again

Woohoo! Went for a little pootle on the Honda just before to go and get the tag. What a great little bike. Fantastic day to be out on the bike too.

Do you think they'll be able to find the new tag?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fun in the snow

Quite a neat little clip of some guys on bikes "racing" some skiers.

Now let's see it again in the reverse direction...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Geoff's write-up

Geoff James from Confessions of an Ageing Motorcyclist completed his fifth GC this year and his great write-up can be found here.

It was nice to meet Geoff on Friday night before the ride and I even managed to steal a snap (he's 2nd from the left) of him just before the ride started:

Congratulations Geoff!

Home again

Yep, all my riding has been done for the week - about 3,393km according to the Connie's odo. Things did not go quite as planned on the Grand Challenge and I ended up pulling out early (more on this when I do my write-up) but the Four Points went well with the only bad weather being on the last two days (yesterday was not too bad but today - man alive!).

As I said above, I'll have to do a couple of write-ups on the ride but in the meantime I've uploaded my pics:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Final preparations

Yes, a few more things crossed off the list:
  • oil & filter change
  • final drive oil change
  • bike wash & polish
All I've got to do now is pack, check the tyre pressures, get through 4 days of work and I'm off! The weather is currently going to custard, but that's ok, it can do what it wants this weekend as long as it improves for next weekend and the following week...

Friday night ride

Another good turnout for this week's Friday night ride. This time we rode through to Feilding, Halcombe, Hunterville and then back to Ashhurst via Vinegar Hill.

The weather managed to play ball and roads were great. The riding was pretty enthusiastic in places but everyone got back to Ashhurst with big smiles on their faces and tales to tell.

Skipping next week's ride and in it's place I'll have a Friday afternoon ride to Turangi as a small warm up for the GC on Saturday!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A little bit of prep

Today I've been pottering around in the shed trying to sort out a little issue with my Boostaroo amplifier on the Connie. The problem I'd been having was interference from the engine which was annoying enough to warrant me disconnecting the amplifier during the TT2000.

The fix was to insert a noise filter in between the amplifier and the power source. With my pathetic electrical skills this took me a wee while but it's all together now and on a quick test ride the problem appears to have been fixed - bonus!

While fluffing around I also noticed that my right headlight bulb had blown (less than 1,000km after the left one) so I think I can confirm that Phillips Xtreme power +80's last around 20,000km. Luckily I had a spare so that has gone into the bike and I've ordered a set of the new Xtreme Vision +100's from Power Bulbs which should get here in time for GC so I'll be able to take spares with me.

Now all I've got to do is to give the bike a decent clean and she's ready to rock for the GC and Four Points!

Ponch & Jon get Connies

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Another cracker

10:30 in the morning and I'm hanging out the washing when I hear a V-twin accelerating up from the corner and then backing off as it nears my house - that'll be Brian then...five seconds later I'm convinced that if I don't saddle up then I'll regret it for the rest of my life...

Five minutes later there's two V-twins heading out of town aiming for Bunnythorpe, Colyton, Cheltenham, Kimbolton, Rangiwahia....

The ride through to Rangiwahia was it's usual fantastic self and the road in pretty good nick given our recent weather. From Rangi to Mangaweka there was a lot more slip damage (normal for this area) so we had to take it easy as we picked our way through the dust and rubble.

In Hunterville we gassed up and had a bite to eat before remounting and heading for Vinegar Hill. Vinegar Hill had also taken a hammering in places and we even had to stop for a moment where a roading crew were attacking a slip. It was still a great ride and after another quick stop in Feilding we pootled home to give the bikes a rest.

Summer is coming and there's riding to be done!

Return of the Friday night ride

Yes, daylights savings has started and therefore the Friday night rides - woohoo!

Yesterday the weather had started off not too great but started get better in the early afternoon so both Brian and I were keen to get out of work and get on the bikes.

In Ashhurst we met up with the others and by the time we left for the Saddle there was probably 10 of us all raring to go. With the Manawatu Gorge closed due to slips there was a lot of traffic on the Saddle but unusually the car drivers were pretty polite and pulled over whenever they could to let the bikes through so we still had a pretty good run. We took it pretty easily though and it was great to tuck in behind a line of bikes and watch them running through the corners as I followed, the VTR making some lovely noises as the revs rose and fell as I alternately accelerated and braked depending on which way the road snaked. Pure magic.

While most of the traffic carried on towards the Bay we snuck around the road block to head back into the Gorge as far as the turn-off to Balance. Another great ride through here and then it was onto the track which was just sublime. From the bottom of the track we continued on back to Ashhurst for a cold drink and some socialising before finally heading home.

An absolutely great start to the FNR season!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Go the Vespa!

The Big 6

More info on Motor Cyclist about the new BMW 6's. To models coming offering different standards of plushness. The motor appeals but probably a bit too much of a whale for me (yes, I know I ride a Concours) and I imagine the price will be in Gold-Wing territory...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Curing Cabin Fever

With this September being the wettest on record there hasn't been nearly enough riding going on, so when the weather improved this afternoon and I'd managed to attack the jungle that was my back lawn it was time to ride.

The little red Honda was obviously keen too as it seemed to roar into life as soon as my thumb got in the general vicinity of the starter button. Within two seconds of climbing aboard I was rearing to go and had to be careful riding across town least I attract the attention of the was good to back on the bike.

Turning onto the track I glanced at the car giving way to me and noticed a set of low profile lights sitting atop the dash of the commodore so I silently cursed as I pottered on up the road keeping a close eye on my speed and mirrors. I thought that my chances for a bit of fun were looking a bit grim - luckily just before the start of the fun bits the car turned off and I was able push that little worry to one side.

Very quickly things started to come together and I was having a ball working my way up and down the box and listening to the music from the Honda's titanium silencers (ahem). The road was in pretty good condition considering the truly foul weather that we've been having so it was good to finally get to try out the new front tyre on a dry road and I'm happy to report that the Pilot Power felt great and I think may have even improved the turn-in over the old tyre. The rear Pilot Road however did protest on one occasion when some idiot changed down to 1st entering a very tight corner, kicking out for a second before gluing itself back to the road and behaving itself for the rest of the ride.

Instead of carrying on to Pahiatua I turned off to come back through Ballance and have another go at the track before pootling home. The track was just as much fun in that direction as it was coming over it ten minutes earlier.

Just a short ride but man it was good to blow the cobwebs out! I wonder what the weather's going to do tomorrow?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Finally starting to see a few articles on the VFR1200T - the touring version of the VFR1200F. Still not a lot of details but it looks pretty nice (although it seems to have a bit of a sour look on it's face).

A few articles:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More video

Here's the last of the video from last weekend's ride. First two more clips of Ongarue-Waimiha Road:

The next clip is a delicious piece of SH41 from Kuratau Junction to Turangi:

And the last clip is back in the snow on the Desert Road:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

More video from Saturday

This first video is some snippets of the ride through the snow from Raetihi to National Park. Really spectacular scenery and an interesting ride in places. A lot of bikes on the road too - most heading for the Cold Kiwi Rally.

This video is the first few snippets of Ongarue-Waimiha Road - practically no traffic and plenty of corners for the motorcyclists...

Monday, September 06, 2010

A little loop

I've been wanting to go for a decent ride for a while so I wasn't surprised when on Thursday night (while I was failing to fall asleep) a route idea popped into my head and I decided that it just had to be ridden asap. The only issue was the weather. On Friday the North Island got clobbered again with wind, rain and snow so things were not looking to good.

Checking the weather forecast on Friday night revealed that Saturday was looking better than Sunday so I decided I'd get semi-organised and see what the morning brought. By semi-organised I mean putting the route into the GPS and getting to bed reasonably early...

In the morning I got up to a nice clear day and got cracking. I did the normal Saturday morning chores and took the dog for a quick run (he did the running, I rode my pushie) before getting the Connie out and gearing up.

On wet roads I made my over to Halcombe and Marton but skipped Wanganui by turning off just after Fordell and popping back out onto SH4 at Upokongaro. Just North of Upokongaro I caught up to a 600 sports-bike being ridden fairly sedately - no doubt the huge back on the back of the rider had something to do with that! He was obviously heading up for the Cold Kiwi Rally and still had a fair old way to go with that pack on his back.

The weather was truly magnificent - very sunny and with no wind whatsoever. A great day for the video camera:

As you may be able to tell from the video, the Para's were a bit wet in places but I still had a great ride. Towards the end of the Para's a came across more and more Cold Kiwi riders and got
passed by a few on the way into Raetihi. The surroundings got more interesting too and with plenty of white stuff on the ground the landscape looked completely different from what I was used to. The normally boring ride up through National Park was much more interesting with all the snow around and obviously a bit of care had to be taken in places. I have more video of the ride through here so I'll upload some at some stage...

At National Park I decided that I just had to stop to get some photos of the snow and was also pleasantly surprised when a road maintenance vehicle pulled over to see if I was ok - when they saw the camera they put two and two together and carried on with a friendly wave.

North of National Park the snow vanished and a little breeze came up which actually made it cooler than when riding through all the snow. Soon enough I was in Taumarunui and here I stopped for fuel and a very quick bite to eat. I'd been planning on keeping stops to a minimum so I could get in a little GC practice (dunno what the photo stop was about) so was on my way after about 20 minutes.

One of the reasons I'd programmed the GPS was so I could ride Ongarue-Waimiha Road which crosses from SH4 to SH30 coming out just West of Bennydale. This turned out to be a cracker of a road - a real neat back road with plenty of curves and next to no traffic. More video shot through here...

From Bennydale it was a pretty quick ride through to Whakamaru and then onto Turangi (more video going over the hill to Turangi) before the dreaded Desert Road to Waiouru. Truth be told the Desert road was pretty cool too because once again there was snow everywhere and plenty to gawk at.

In Taihape the Connie rolled over her 56,000th km as I pulled into the gas station for the last fill of the day. Tank full again I scooted on down to Mangaweka where I finally turned of SH1 to head home via Rangiwahia, Kimbolton and Cheltenham. This was a fantastic way to end the day as the road was in great nick and it's always a good ride.

By ten past four I was parking the bike up in the garage after a fantastic ride of around 670km and just a few little aches to remind me it's been too get out again soon, gotta a ride to do in October...

More pics here. And there is more video to come...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Got the replacement "bolt" for the topbox today along with a couple of replacement springs. You can see from the pic below that the old bolt was definitely worn!

So, after the outrageous outlay of $14.50 and 2 minutes work I now have a topbox that will lock onto the bike once again.

One thing I would definitely advise all Givi owners to do is keep an eye on any movement of the topbox on the mount. The rubbers on the mount can wear and even fall out and any vibration is just going to put wear on the bolt. Replacement rubbers are not expensive either.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Topbox issues

As mentioned in my last ride report my Givi V46 topbox has ceased to latch to it's mounting
plate - a bit of a problem. After an email to Givi I've discovered that you can get replacement parts and from the parts diagram they sent me I saw that it was pretty easy to pull the latch (I was imagining me diving in and all these little springs firing out all over the place to be lost and...)

So, this morning I torn into it and pulled the latch. As you can see from the picture there is a lot of wear on the latch and there's simply not enough latch left to bite down on the plate.

As a bit of a "Heath Robinson" fix I tried to pack out the return springs but they have their own molded sockets within the topbox so it was going to be pretty fiddly to try to get anything in there to do the job.

So, it looks like I'm going to need to order some bits - I really hope the importer has stocks as I have experienced some big delays in getting stuff from them before - fingers crossed...

More pics here.
Givi parts diagram here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Return to Middle Road

Another not so bad day yesterday and an invite by Owl & Sarge to join them in a ride up to the Bay couldn't be passed up so I hurriedly got myself sorted and fired up the Connie.

I met up with Owl on the way out of town and we left Palmy in some light drizzle hoping for better weather further up the road. Luckily we were soon out of the rain and into the gorge where the road was pretty dry and little traffic...

In Danniverke we met up with Sarge and followed him on up through Makotuku, Ormonville, Takapau and Waipuk. In Waipawa we turned off and had a great run through to Patangata where Robertydog and his delicious R1 was waiting for us.

While waiting for our lunch (great burgers) we were joined by another Hawkes Bay couple who ridden down on their sweet black VTR. Burgers scoffed we were once again back on the road and Middle Road was superb!

In Havelock North I said good-bye to the others and shot across to Napier to catch up with the olds.

The old man decided to join me for part of my ride home but while we were getting ready to leave I noticed that my top box was not latching down onto it's mount. We tried plenty of CRC and a lot of poking and prodding but could not get the latch to pop out far enough to catch on it's lug - bummer! We managed to lash it down pretty securely to the bike and the old man followed me up the road to make sure that it wasn't going to go flying off (I noticed he did sit a fair way back behind me at times - didn't trust his own bungies eh?)

Just out of Fern Hill a light rain started falling on us and by the time we were just South of Hastings it was bucketing down. Luckily the rain did not last and the sun even had another go at burning through the clouds - the roads however, remained wet for all the fun parts of SH50...

At Onga the old man turned off to turn his little ride into a loop while I continued on my way home via SH2 and a quick fuel stop in Danniverke. Another nice little ride done and it seems that the weather is slowly on the improve so hopefully I'll get a few longer rides in before the GC - it's less than 2 months away now...Oh, and I have to get that top box sorted too :(

View Middle Road/SH 50 Loop in a larger map

More pics here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

TT2000 stuff

The TT2000 organisers have added some photos etc from this years ride to their website and have also included links to my write-up, photos and videos.

Check it out here.


Well after two weeks of making excuses (flu, bad weather) I managed to get out on the Honda today. The weather was fine at home although there was quite a cool wind blowing and initially I steered clear of the ranges and went to visit with friends in Linton.

After a natter and deciding that no, it won't be raining on the Pahiatua track, I remounted and headed for Aokautere and the track. By now the new Pilot Power 2CT on the front of the Honda had done a grand total of about 30km - all of it pottering around town - so I was dead keen to give it a bit of a scrub on the track.

Things started off pretty good, taking in some of the easy sweepers at the start of the track but before long I was riding in drizzle and eventually a quite wet road. After the first little squiggle through the bike I settled down to wet weather mode and took it pretty easy over the hill and down the other side.

Cruising through Ballance the weather improved and I even had some dry road at times so instead of wimping out and riding home via the gorge I decided to tackle the Saddle. The Saddle was in pretty good nick with just a few damp places to be wary on so I enjoyed the ride past the windmills and down into Ashhurst.

By the time I hit Ashhurst my fuel light was blinking insistently at me so turned for home stopping only to top the tank back up for the next ride...

Roll on summer...

View Directions to Palmerston North in a larger map

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hard Miles 2

I was lucky enough to have the flu over the weekend so didn't have to pretend to be hard and go riding in some average winter weather. I did however have plenty of time on my hands so got to watch "Hard Miles 2", the DVD of last year's Iron Butt Rally.

Last year I followed the IBA via their website as I was interested to see how Australian Davo Jones went on his Connie. Davo Jones was an extremely experienced long distance rider with a lot of hugely impressive rides under his belt but tragically he sustained a terrible head injury after hitting a deer (with his Iron Butt all but finished) and passed away. Like a lot of people around the world it was shocking news to hear and it certainly highlighted the dangers of these sorts of events. What I've taken from the accident is that the risks are real and that a badge is not worth dying for, if I have any doubts about my ability to finish the GC or similar rides safely I will pull out and park the bike.

Back to the movie/documentary: it starts off showing some of scrutineering preparation prior to the event and introduces a few of the riders. It gives some idea into the amount of planning that the riders have to do when they pick their routes and decide on bonuses to attempt - the aim of the game is to get as many points as possible in the simplest way. The viewer gets to see the riders making their decisions and basically committing to a route and to how much rest they're going to be able to get.

Eventually we're on the road and the video captures small pieces of the ride: riders arriving at a bonus, bike issues, sleep issues etc. At the end of each leg of the ride (3 legs) we find out who is winning and get to see the riders planning the next leg of the journey. Certain riders are also interviewed about their ride so far. Towards the end of leg 3 they touch on Davo's accident and also how it affected other rally participants ride. Ride over we find out the winner and there's a few comments from the riders on finishing the event.

All in all, it was an interesting watch. It was good to get an idea on how tough the planning is -how easy is it to do route planning when you've been riding for three days straight? What I would have loved to have seen is more of the roads and therefore get some idea of how hard the riding was - I did see them on gravel for a 2nd but I would imagine a lot of Interstate & highway riding occurs. It would be great to know how this all compares to the GC or TT2000 for example. I think on the GC we get sent down some tough roads and we also have to put up with lower speed limits - but, we only do it for 20 hours or so. My hat is off to all Iron Butt riders!

In the DVD extras there is a quick introduction to all the riders and an interesting little documentary on the first Iron Butt Rally - the first of the hard men.

Overall, the DVD was pretty good, it was well made and interesting. I'd certainly recommend it if you're interested in distance riding and certainly if you were considering an Iron Butt ride.