Wednesday, February 29, 2012

29 of 29

Wow, the last day of the 29 in 29 challenge!  I guess I've been pretty lucky during this challenge as it's been summer (sort of) here and I've had plenty of riding (especially in the last week or so) to blog about whereas a lot of my fellow bloggers have been having to deal with wintry conditions and little riding - bummer.

Anyway, for this last post I've put together another little slideshow from some GoPro pictures I took heading back out from Mount Cook on Day Two of the TT2000.  It's a shame that the camera was not on when we rode in as that would have given even better views of the lake and the mountains but we were on a mission so no stopping to put cameras on - I had to wait until we stopped for a decent reason, like a check point.

The camera was actually left on until the battery ran out so I got a lot of piccys of other places too but unfortunately it had fogged up and the pictures are very average...

Anyway, over the next wee while (or not so wee) I'll try and do a decent write-up of the whole holiday but in the meantime here's the rest of my pics.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bye-bye South Island

Yes, as I type this we have just boarded the ferry for trip back home across the straights. We have had a leisurely ride up SH1 this morning stopping just twice: once for fuel and again in Kaikoura for a nice cooked brekkie.

So in just 3-4 hours we'll be back in the North Island and a great biking holiday will be over. I've had a great time and am already looking forward to my next trip South - probably next year for the Southern Cross unless I can somehow wangle another one in before then...

More posts on a great trip to come...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monkeying around

Today Brian and I spent the day in Christchurch by first visiting the Antarctic Centre and then Orana Park Zoo (I hadn't been there since I was at primary school).

So not a lot of riding today but we got to see a bit more of Christchurch and have a bit of a rest before the ride home.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

TT Day Two

Well I guess since I'm writing this then the TT is done and dusted - yep, 2,153km later she's all over!

We left Westport at around 5:30 this morning and quickly rode out to Cape Foulwind for the required photo and then rode on wet roads through to Greymouth.

After Greymouth we had an absolutely fantastic ride through to Arthur's Pass where we stopped for nice cooked brekkie. (Photo is of the bikes parked opposite the cafe we ate it and outside the closed one we didn't).

From Arthur's Pass we rode down to Sprinfield for fuel before picking up our second photo at Waimak gorge. Leaving here it was a long haul on a lot of very straight roads to Tekapo for fuel before riding out to Mount Cook for our second to last photo.

At Mount Cook we had a short break for drinks and a nibble before riding through to Omarama and steering for our last photo stop at Pikes Point. By now we'd done about 320km since our last fuel stop and a certain Harley was getting thirsty so we diverted into Waimate to sort that before the long haul up SH1 to Christchurch.

We arrived back at Hampton Honda at around 6:20pm and handed over our photos (digitally of course) and paperwork so hopefully the organisers will be happy with it and we'll see a badge at some stage.

We've had a fantastic couple of days riding with the weather being good to us and have tomorrow to muck around in Christchurch again before heading home.

I love my motorcycle!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day one

Thirteen hours on the bike and we've pretty much crossed the island twice.

We left Christchurch at around 6am and had wet roads all the way up SH1 and onto the Lewis Pass. Picked up our first photo at the Engineers Camp and the off into some light drizzle on our way to Springs Junction.

After gassing up at Murchison we had a navigational error that meant we missed the Mangles Valley checkpoint and did an extra 70km. Luckily we were going back through Murch again later so could get it then.

Riding through to St Arnard we picked up the Rainbow Station photo and carried on up the Wairau Valley to also get the Waihope pic. (You'll probably understand all this a lot better when I get back and can post a map and all the pics).

Then we were off again as far as Havelock where we had some lunch and fueled the bikes again. After crossing the Whangamoa Saddle again we picked up the Pipen Island photo and got filmed by a news crew - more on that later too.

Next stop was a Pupu Springs after tackling the mighty Takaka Hill. Photo taken we did the Hill again before stopping in Motueka for fuel and a drink (see pic). We then got to do the magnificent Motueka Valley highway before finally getting that Mangles Valley pic.

Our day ended by riding the brilliant (if wet) Buller Gorge before calling it a day in Westport. A pretty good day except for the slight navigational error...

More tomorro!

Friday, February 24, 2012


It's been a nice day in Christchurch today. Earlier in the morning Brian got his new tyre fitted and we saw Chris's next bike (pic above - a big step up from his Harley but he should be ok).

Then we bussed into town and had a wander around before taking a bus tour of the city to see all the earthquake damage and all the work going on. I have a lot of pictures but these will have to wait until I get to a decent computer.

Shortly we're heading to Hampton Honda to meet with some of the other TT riders before grabbing some tea and a decent rest before our early start.

Tomorrow's post from another part of the Island...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Further South

This morning I rode across the wet Whangamoa and Rai saddles through to Havelock and finally Blenheim to meet Brian off his ferry.
From Blenheim we carried on South in very hot and windy conditions to Kaikoura where we stopped for lunch. Then were back amongst it (it being pretty heavy traffic) battling our way over the Hunderlies to Cheviot where we stopped for gas.
Our last hop was once again in very hot and windy and we eventually got into Christchurch around 4:30. Now we've caught up with Chris and his missus and are looking forward to popping out somewhere for tea.
And that's about as much as I can bothered typing on this little keyboard again...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunny Nelson

Yeah right!  It's been raining most of the day here in sunny Nelson but I've been able to have a cruisy day dropping nieces off at school, sorting out computers (and hopefully mobile blog posting - issues yesterday) and mucking around with the nieces again after school.

I did however get to recreate a photo from the last TT:

2010 (nieces arranged differently)
The weather still isn't looking that flash for tomorrow but I'm off in the morning to meet Brian in Blenheim for the haul down to Christchurch to our digs there.  Hoping that the weather is on the improve (it is according to the forecast) for the weekend...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day One

After dropping my little black dog off at the kennels I went home and loaded the bike for the trip South. Then I sat down to twiddle my thumbs for a while until it was time to leave - waking up at 4am gives you plenty of time to get used to waiting...

The ride down to Wellington was pretty uneventful although it was nice that the roading guys had thought to turn their workings into a mud soup just before I rocked up. So much for a nice clean bike - it now looks like it's just finished the Paris-Dakar.

The trip across was nice and smooth. I spent my time on board having lunch and watching a movie I'd already seen. Once in the Sounds the scenery gets a lot better so I just sat outside enjoying the fresh air and vistas.

The ride to Nelson was great and although it was hot and supposed to rain I scraped through without getting wet at all.

Damn this keyboard is small! Oh well, I'll leave you with hopefully a couple of not too crappy phone pics. Next post tomorrow from Nelson where the interweb will easier to access...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Getting ready

So only one more sleep until the Connie and I head South for the TT2000.  The bike is ready and I'm just about all packed.  Tomorrow I just have to drop the dog off at his lodgings and then I'm gone.

Got enough stuff?
I'm going to have a couple of nights in Nelson with my sister and my family before carrying on down to meet up with Brian (will ride down from Blenheim to Christchurch with him) and then Chris in Christchurch.  Brian and I also have a day either side of the TT to explore Christchurch and check out the earthquake damage etc before coming home.

As for the TT, well after considering going for extra flyers (and possible trophies) we are just going to do the basic 2,000km in 48 hours.  But we have thrown out the organisers map and picked our own route just because we can...Basically we have to visit the ten checkpoints you see on the map below and get a photo there with our bikes and TT shirts.  I won't give up our routes yet...

Click to biggerise
I'm not sure how I'm going to get on posting while away.  I'm probably going to take the laptop but an internet connection may be hard to come by at times.  I may have to make do with a quick post from my phone.  I'll give it a good crack though...

Anyway, as usual before a trip, tomorrow won't come soon enough...

Here's a linky to my write-up of my first TT if you need something to help get you off to sleep...

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Ok, so post 19 unfortunately contains no motorcycles but I did actually do something interesting today.  Brian, Linda and I popped down to Wellington to check out the Weta Cave where the Weta special effects team show off some of their work.

Look who's guarding the door
Still looking for something...
The place is really just a display piece for all the movie memorabilia you can but off them.  All the stuff on display is fantastically made and you can spend several thousand dollars on some pieces.  They also show a little DVD on the history of Weta and all the movies that they have been involved in which is pretty cool - it looks like everyone who works for Weta has their dream job which must be pretty cool.

Anyway I couldn't really go away empty handed so picked up a little something:

Copper weta
Bike related post tomorrow...

A couple more pics here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Getting Ready

Heading South for the TT2000 next week so before I go the poor old Connie needed some loving...

First up was a job I hadn't done myself before - an air filter change.  Luckily Brian had done his one the previous week (I wonder why) so he popped in to give me a bit of advice.  First up a few clothes needed to come off so we could find the filter:

All sorts of interesting stuff under the clothes
The filters hidey-hole
Then it was time to whip the old filter out:

Yep, it's been working
Spot the difference
New filter in it was time to see if I remembered who it all went back together.  Well, actually the whole job was a lot easier than I thought it would be - no worries!

Following the air filter change it was time to drop the oil out of both ends and change the oil filter too:

Nice clean oil for the donk
New oil for the final drive too
Then it was time for a lunch break before getting the hose and soapy water out and into action.  She may even get a polish before I go...

And one last touch:
Ready for her 2nd TT!

Friday, February 17, 2012

That Farkle

Ok, so I was teasing the other day - time to reveal...

When I traded my K6 Bandit on the Connie (Aug '07) I hung onto the V46 topbox in the hope of being able to use it on the Connie.  For a while I didn't have an easy way to use the box but eventually in 2008 Givi came out with the SR410 kit which allowed the mounting of their boxes to a Connie and I fitted it halfway through the Mini's Return.

Givi SR410
Givi SR410 - a plate above a plate
While the kit was very strong it was not that attractive and I had some issues where it got loose and the added vibration probably contributed to the wearing out of the pyramid clamp on the rack and the lock bolt inside the topbox.  Losing a top box was not a good experience...

So after a lot of humming and harring I ended up deciding to replace the SR410 with a custom built aluminium plate out of the States.  Probably not the cheapest way to go (probably could have got something similar laser cut in town but would have had to work with someone to design it) but the rack comes complete with the doodads that allow a Givi box to attach to it and looks damn smart!

So without further ado I give you Phil's rack:

The swapping of racks took me a wee while as the Givi kit is made up of a lot of hardware, some of which is hidden from view under the sidecovers.  Then came the hard part - finding 4 bolts and locating spacers that I'd taken off 4 years ago.  I ended up finding 3 of each (a minor miracle) but luckily had another similar bolt that is working fine.  The topbox also needed a couple of strips of rubber (supplied) to help with clamping the box down firmly on the plate.

Here's the final fitted product:

Spot the odd bolt...
Horrible blurry pic!
Sexy aluminium!
Now to put it to some use...

More pics of the install here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The bad influence

So here's a few scans of some ancient negatives featuring a certain someone who is responsible for me getting into bikes:

He is still a hooligan although currently bikeless but always mentions that he has a shed available to store the Connie for me...He was also admiring the new pipes on the Vee the other day and also said that he wouldn't mind taking it off my hands when I'm finished with it...

I think he needs a new bike!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

14/29 Rain day

Yeah, great summer we're having...

No riding today so I've delved into the archives (might just be a couple of related posts I think).  Here's a bit of my early riding history for ya.  The first pic is me sitting by the old man's old Kwaka two-stroke - believe it or not I actually was run to kindy sitting on the petrol tank a few times...

Gimme a ride Dad!
Next up is a few years later playing around at the river on Dad's Suzy A50.  Note the fantastic safety equipment...

Yes, I am cool!
And lastly, here I am on the first bike I owned - a mighty TS185ER.  I bought this (with seized engine) for $120 and Dad got it going in no time.  No kick starter (broken, not enough pocket money) so first up - learn to crash-start.

Helmet on this time!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Flogging a dead horse?

Yeah, another post relating to the Takapari adventure ride last week - and I think it's finally the last...

I finally got around to turning all those GoPro pics into a slideshow/video.  I actually like this one more than any of the others I've done as the terrain changes all the time and you get a pretty good idea of the ride and the conditions we were in.  Even the ride home in the dark looks pretty cool I reckon.

I'll try and find new material for tomorrow night...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New 'nakite

I had an important mission today - to go and meet my newest niece, Rosanna Marlene who was born on Tuesday last week.  Both Mum and Bub were home so off I went.

To make a change I took the V-Strom (actually I'm trying to save the Connie's tyres for the TT2000) and set off at about 9am.  It was a pretty nice day and sunglasses were the order of the day as pretty much main-roaded it until just South of Hawera where I took in a couple of back roads that take you East of Hawera through Tahwhiti before popping back out at Normanby.

Birch Park (North of Wanganui)
From Normanby it's just 30km or so until the turn-off up to Ratapiko and the farm.  I arrived just before lunch and had a quick look at the sleeping baby before catching up with her older brothers and the rest of the family. Later on Rosanna made an appearance and here she is with her Dad and oldest brother Billy (younger bro's turn for some shut-eye).

Billy has grown up a bit from when this photo was taken:

Anyway, nice to meet the newest niece and see everyone else but I eventually had turn the bike around and head home.  Another quiet pootle home boringly following exactly the same route and that was my day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


So today was the day to give the V-Strom a bit of a birthday so I could then check her out for damage following her little lie down the other night.  Here's a few pics of her pre-clean:

After looking at the above photo and then a bit closer, lookee what I found:

A piece of Takapari Road!
And so it was time for action!

And the result:

After the was I got some polish onto those scratches on the LHS and now they look a bit better:

Don't look too close at that reflection
Other damage included a bent bar-end weight bolt (straitened it out no worries)  and a broken plastic fairing push-pin (will have to pick one up).  The hand guard also has some scratches (who cares) and my home-made GoPro mount on the fairing bracket got bent - I want to make a more solid one anyway...

So pretty lucky really - hope that's her last lie down for a while!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Takapari Road Part Three

Part Three?  Well, Tuesday night's adventure has certainly given me some fodder for the 29in29 Blog Challenge!

Here's a couple more pics:

Bottom of the track trying to fix a headlight
And below Al's pic from the A-frame Hut - where we would have stopped and turned back if we had pressed on from Graeme's Hill.  It gives a bit of an idea on what the conditions were like up there - although I reckon it must have cleared up a bit when this pic was taken...

A-frame Hut
It's a real shame the weather didn't play ball.  I'm sure that we may have had less incidents and the views from the top are spectacular!