Sunday, August 28, 2011

TT3D : Closer To The Edge

Ok, so went to the flicks last night and don't want to spoil it for ya but, you've gotta see this film!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2012 TT2000

More details up on the TT2000 Website about next years run.  It looks really interesting with two options: the basic one involves pretty much following a route that will get you just the minimum 2,000km.  The second "Flyer" option is more like the Iron Butt where various destinations offer up different points and the more points you get will determine whether you simply get a finisher's badge or a bronze, silver, gold or diamond Flyer award.

Leave is booked and the "Flyer" option looks appealing...


Today I had a little play with a different mounting option on the Connie for the GoPro.  I was keen to try to setup the camera on one of the panniers to be able to shoot film capturing the bike as well as the road I'm riding on.  After looking at the stick on mounts I eventually decided just to have a go with the suction cup and so rigged it on top of the pannier with a bit of a tether in case the suction cup let go.

The suction cup is pretty damn strong and on my little jaunt over the Track and then home via the Saddle it managed to stay put and the video turned out pretty good.

I think I still got a bit much of the bike in the shot and it would probably be even better if the camera was mounted lower...thoughts?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BRR Brown Sugar Shuffle

My riding plans for Sunday started out as being a little pootle on the Connie with Brian. The trouble with this was that I would miss the Back Road Riders latest ride - the Brown Sugar Shuffle. Ah well, can't do them all eh? Well as it turned out Brian's plans changed and he couldn't make it on Sunday so after he let me know I quickly got the DL out of the shed and sorted what needed sorting before taking off to meet the rest of the guys.

In Feilding I pulled into the BP to fill up the bike only to find Al there already and getting stuck into one last coffee before the ride. His DR was also sporting a very sensible farkle in the form of a new 18.5L tank which not only gives him a far better range (he rode past several garages without stopping on the ride) but also is see-thru so he can check out the juice situation easily.

From Feilding we took the short and boring (10km and 1 corner) ride to Cheltenham to meet the rest of the riders. After waiting about 15 mins we only ended up with the five of us: 2 V-Stroms (one of each), a DR, a Transalp and of course Graeme on his Beemer.

Right about here I'd like to put in a decent map showing our route but after turning off on Haynes Road and then Beaconsfield Valley Road, Google Maps starts to get a bit lost and refuses to accept that there are roads where we went. The map below is from Google Earth after importing my GPS tracks and unfortunately I cannot get enough detail displayed on the screen to show all the fabulous back roads (mind the moos on the road) we took. This obviously means that we had a ball navigating our way on some great gravel until popping back out onto SH54 (Vinegar Hill).
Squiggly blue line
After crossing SH1 we once again managed to find some more gravel (after some reasonably quick tarmac) to take us through Watershed, Tiriraukawa, Rongoiti and Mataroa. All of these roads were in good nick and the only real hazards were stock on the roads (Mama goat was proudly showing us her two beautiful kids - who had no idea what to do when 5 noisy bikes came past) and fine chip on the tar. This section brought us back out on SH1 just North of Taihape so we turned right and rode into Taihape for lunch.
We shuffled on in here for lunch
After such a great ride in the morning I was really keen to see what the after was going to offer and I have to say it really topped the morning ride. No sooner than we had got back off SH1 we started climbing up Pukenaua Road and started noticing some white stuff on the side of the road.
Onwards and Upwards
After a brief stop for photos and a frantic attempt to get the GoPro recording (failed) we continued on up and turned into Ridge Road which took us up even higher and into more and more snow.
Interesting parking
Yep, still winter
After another quick photo stop we really got into some interesting stuff. There were big snow drifts crossing the entire road with the only path through being the wheel tracks of 4WD's. This meant that the snow we were riding on was packed very hard and actually ice. Another issue was that the tyre tracks were only a tyre width wide (funny that) and this meant that anything low on the bike and wider than the track was dragging in the drift. We had to really ride quietly through here and I think that Graeme and I on the big bikes possibly had a slightly harder job here. In a couple of places I had the rear wheel spinning in search of traction and then was trying hard to slow down on the ice without a rear brake (the lever was buried in the snow somewhere and my legs were "paddling" in the drift) and without wanting to touch the front brake.

Now I don't want you to think I'm complaining about this - I was having an absolute ball (sweating in the cold too) and it was some really fun, exciting riding. I only wish the damn camera had been going...

Once out of the snow we were back on good gravel and apparently snow continued to fall of my bike for about the next 10km as we took in Koeke Road. I think it was somewhere in here where I must have given the guys following an interesting show when we rode through some very slippery mud on top of clay. First the rear wheel went out on my (I think it may have locked up under engine braking) and then the front got in on the act. It was a bit of a scary moment as the bike got pretty out of shape but I managed to gently persuade the bike towards some gravel at the side of the road and then all was good again and I tried to ride off like nothing had happened while the old heart also came back to normal.

With my undies still in good condition we then took in Pohonui Road before turning off the gravel and onto Turakina Valley Road and another quick photo stop by a waterfall.

Water a tumbling
Turakina Valley road took us safely back into Hunterville where it was time for another drink before the ride home. Here we lost one of our number as he was required elsewhere and we tackled a circuitous route (all tarmac) back home. Even got the camera going again...

I finally got home just before 5pm with an empty fuel tank and some great pictures after one really great adventure! An outstanding day out on the mighty DL!
More pics here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I've been looking at cars lately...

A perfect little run-about to get me to work...

Sounds great!  If you hunt on YouTube you'll find a few 'busa powered Smarts too - probably even a better idea.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Next Farkle?

Still chilly

And it's not over yet...This is what it looked like this morning (nice and sunny but only 1 degree C when I left for work).

A bit chilly in the dog house!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Probably not riding weather...

Snow in Palmerston North!  The first time in the 20 years I've been here.

Shall I get the DL out for a play?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Just a taste

Yeah, not much of a ride this weekend.  Just a quick trip down to Waikanae and back to organise some new custom plugs - I lost one of my "Plugs for lugz" a couple of weekends ago and have had to make do with disposable foam plugs since.

The ride both ways was pretty boring - just a very light drizzle as I left home and then mostly dry roads from Shannon onwards.  I did have one little bit of excitement in Waikanae when a little old lady decided not to give way to me - luckily I had read her mind and managed to keep out of her way.

At Kiwi Plugs I had some molds take of my particular ear design and was forced to try to pick from all the colours on offer before David made me up a set of "temporary" plugs which apparently will last around 6 months before the material shrinks and they no longer fit properly.  I have ordered a set of plugs to be made with ear buds built in and with this option also get a free set of standard plugs.  These will take a few days to be made and cure before they're sent up to me.

I will do a bit of a review when I get to try the new plugs out but after using the temporary plugs on the way home I have to say that I am impressed with their comfort and the noise reduction.  I would say that so far they are superior to my old "Plugs for lugz" (the new ones seem to be a lot softer and more comfortable) and I believe that the other plugs on their way should be at least as good as some demo ones David had "felt" pretty soft in my hands.  I guess I will find out soon enough...

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Today's little pootle came about by Supersonic posting up a tag that was just too easy to not nab.  Guess where it was...
Any ideas?
Before leaving home I did a bit of head scratching as to where to go to place the tag.  The weather wasn't the nicest with a decent wind blowing and the sky looking pretty threatening so I decided not to go too far and rediscover Scott's Road.  Years ago, back in our dirt-biking days, Mark and I used to hammer our trail bikes up and down Scott's road and it had been over ten years since I'd been up there.

New tag - gone already!
Scott's road quickly turns to gravel and takes you on a pretty rough route up a bit of hill from where you can get a pretty good view out across the plains.

The top of Scott's Road
From this viewpoint you can continue on across the tops until you eventually run out of road, although there are tracks that you can walk (or once upon a time ride) down to the Kahuterawa Valley and then make your way back into town.

The End
I didn't like my chances of being able to get the DL down the little walking track (I know there are at least 3 creek crossings) so I was forced to turn around and follow my skid marks back to the main road.  (Video actually of the trip in).

Not satisfied with just 20km of gravel I decided to visit yet another old haunt, Green's Road.  This takes you from  Kahuterawa Road through to Turitea.  The last time I went through here was on a mountain bike and I was a little concerned about my memories of a big mud hole...

I needn't have worried though as the road seems to be in a bit better nick nowadays but as you can see in the video below it does peeter out into not much more of a walking track.  It was really nice through here though although I did manage to scare the bejesus out of a little puppy and had to stop while the owner chased after it.  The poor little guy really took a disliking to the DL and although the owner got him back on the leash he was scared out of his wits when I pottered past - good thing I don't have rowdy pipes!

Eventually I got out of the bush and back onto the road for the quiet ride home.  Not a big ride by any means but nice to rediscover some old haunts.

More pics here.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Not me honest!

Audioswap Issues

Frustrated with the crappy sound on my last video?  Well I was...

I seem to have issues with the sound on my videos after I upload them to YouTube.  I generally strip all the audio off before uploading and then use Audioswap to add some music.  This takes a little while to "process" but lately it has been taking days and in the meantime the audio is just static and annoying.

Anyway the "Vanquish Vikings" video has finally finished processing and is a little easier to watch with a bit of music (another issue is the lack of choice of music for long videos - meh).  So here it is again...

Monday, August 01, 2011

By the cringe!

Holy crap batman!

BRR Vanquish Vikings

After a bit of a frosty Saturday night, Sunday dawned cool but clear and it was time for another dirty ride with the Back Road Riders.  The plan for the day was to investigate some great back roads East of Danniverke.

Saddle Road
The meeting point for the start of the ride was in Woodville and I left home far too early so was forced to avoid the gorge and take in the Saddle Road.  It was a little damp in places but there was no sign of frosty bits as I headed up the Ashhurst side.  Looking at the clock on the DL I saw that I was still far too early so I had plenty of time to stop for a few pics with the wind turbines in the background.

In Woodville I topped up the bike and parked up next to another early arrival, Neil and his orange Beemer F650.  Shortly thereafter more riders began to pull in and by the time we left Woodville there was about 11 or 12 of us.

First up Graeme led us on a very zig-zaggy course to Danniverke.  These were all sealed roads and reasonably familiar to me but just as a last little detour we were taken on a short gravel loop to the North-East of town before  returning to Danniverke for a very quick petrol stop for the bikes that needed it.

Leaving Danniverke we took the Weber road but after a while turned off to complete another short gravel loop.  The road surface on this loop was really good and this was to be the first of a number of superb gravel roads we would ride.  Popping back out onto Weber Road, we carried on further until just past the Pongaroa turn-off where we turned onto Tahuokaretu Road and were immediately onto some more brilliant if dusty gravel.

Tahuokaretu Road soon became Birch Road East and then Birch Road before popping out onto Route 52 North of Wimbledon.  The ride through here was simply magic, the gravel was in good nick and the scenery was fantastic.  There was even a few muddy bits when riding through some more sheltered spots and the DL wore a bit of mud but seemed to lap it up and come back for more.

The ride up to Porangahau was fun with a number of dual-sport bikes being thrown around on the great winding roads.  In Porangahau we stopped at the pub for a late lunch - quite late actually as they were very busy and the kitchen was slow but worth the wait.

After lunch we rode off towards Waipuk and after a slight navigational error finally ended up on some more gravel taking us back towards Danniverke.  Once again the surface was fantastic with just the odd soft spot in some of the shady areas again.  I had fantastic fun sitting in behind Graeme as he set a cracking pace on the big beemer.

Beemer chasing
Once off the gravel Graeme got away from me a bit and I started having the odd issue with sun-strike from the low sun and this where I got into some bother.  As I was climbing up a small rise I entered a reasonably slow left-hander which unbeknownst (sp?) to me was strewn with reasonably large stones.  Before I knew what was happening the DL and I were on the ground and lying in the dust.

Cursing myself (and road workers everywhere) I picked myself up pretty easily but had to wait for some willing helpers (thanks guys) to help heave the bike upright - 220kg of bike is pretty hard to lift back up when you're standing on marbles.  The bike fired up straight away and I pottered up to the top of the hill so I could stop and have a look at the damage.

Well it seems that DL's crash pretty well (something I know now so do not need to repeat),  the only breakage was the tip off the gear lever - the crash bars and handle-bar guards had done their job and protected the bike well.  The only other superficial damage appears to be a bent bolt holding the bar weight on and a few small scratches on the fairing - very lucky, the Connie would have been a mess!

With the help of a couple of large spanners we managed to bend the gear lever enough so I had something to change gear with and we were off again.  After a brief stop in Danniverke for petrol again we all parted company to make our way home.  Despite the wee off I actually really enjoyed the ride and fully intend on taking in all of those roads again someday - it truly was a great ride!

Squiggly lines
More pics here.