Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Takapari Road Part One

Late last year the Back Road Riders had a trip up Takapari Road to finish the year off.  After a small group of riders completed the ride it was decided to run it again last night as it had been in good condition and we hadn't had a lot of rain.  I was a little nervous as I had ridden it a few times before (years ago) on dirt bikes and knew kind of what conditions to expect: a steep and rocky track.  Anyway Graeme was keen to take his GS Beemer  up there so I kinda had to uphold Suzuki's honour and take the biggest DL up there...

Three Beemers, Two DL's and a handful of DR's met up at around 6:30ish at Colyton for the assault.  Prior to tackling the Hill Graeme led us off on some more back roads to Pohangina.  On the Map below you cannot see our complete route as Google Maps seems to refuse to accept that you can ride Pollock Road (C) through to Ridge Road and then Finnis Road, although if you zoom in you can see the route sort of penciled in.  The maps also refuses to believe that you can ride up Takapari Road too (F) but you can at least try...

Pollock Road was pretty dusty (although we did get some rain near Pohangina) so we all spread out a bit but eventually made our way through to Pohangina and then out Pohangina Valley East Road to the bottom of Takapari Road.  This is where the GoPro was turned on...

Starting the climb
The first few km of Takapari Road is just narrow gravel road and while not fast the ride is not too demanding.  In a piece of great organising Graeme sent off a trio of DR pilots to open the three gates for everyone.

Gate One?
Gate Three - hi Al!
After the last gate things start to get a bit more serious, the climb gets steeper and the road begins to get rockier and narrow with sections of wet clay in places.  The photos do not really show how steep it is in some places and I've really just picked a handful to show here.

Climbing now but surface still ok
So on we went bravely climbing upwards when the weather decided to throw a small spanner in the works.  Just as we started to get into the more rocky sections the clouds came down for a visit and also started piddling on us.

It got a fair bit worse than this...
Pretty soon I was fighting my old enemy - fogging visor and wet glasses.  After stopping once to clean my glasses I decided to try taking them off - my eye balls have never fogged up on me...

There was just one problem with this - I'm fairly blind and things were pretty blurry.  By things I mean rocks, boulders, puddles, corners etc.  I stuck with trying to point the beast uphill and taking things quietly.  I had one decent moment when I hit a rock and the front wheel bounced across the track with the bike ending up pointing out into the wilderness.  Luckily I wasn't going fast, pulled the clutch in and stopped easily.  I then got my act together pointed the bike up the hill and powered on.  Myles following along behind mentioned later that he thought I was pretty lucky to get away with it...

Not long after this though we came across a really unfortunate oops.  On a very knarley climb (which I will now christen Graeme's Hill) I spotted a number of guys struggling with a bike that was basically lying across the track.  Poor old Graeme had obviously had a similar incident to me except he hadn't been so lucky.

We got the Beemer back up on the vertical and turned around but unfortunately it had taken a big whack on the right hand side and the rocker cover had had a hole punched in it.  After helping Graeme down his hill he very quickly headed back coasting where possible and keeping a sharp eye on his oil light.  Another GS pilot tagged along behind to keep a close eye on him.

Well, right there the rest of us (with the exception of those DR cowboys that were well ahead) decided that the conditions were really against us and the best idea was to turn around and head for home.  But first we had to deal to Graeme's Hill and find a place to turn around.

One less rock to get in my way (Myles watching me)
Unfortunately we had another oops as we were getting underway again when a DR decided it had had enough of bouncing off rocks and it too had a lie down for a moment.  Luckily the bike and rider were fine and were soon off up the track firing stones out the back.  When my turn came I took it very slowly and attacked the hill in short hops, pausing to have a look at what sort of nightmare lay ahead and then carefully easing up the hill.
DL conquering Graeme's Hill
Summit breasted Myles and I rode a little way further up the track before finding a nice place to turn around and head back down.  First up Graeme's Hill...

And I think that'll do it for Part One eh?


  1. Ha lets hope your eye balls never fog over.

  2. Funny how bikes like to nap now and again..... damn lazy buggers.

    Eyeballs are better when glazed over not fogged over, lol

  3. Looks pretty challenging ANdrew, Not sure I would be keen, matbe on a we 250xt or some thing similar. Although you no doubt had a sense of satisfaction afterwards.

    1. I'm sure the Beemer would have been fine Roger.

  4. Re fogging glasses....couple of things have worked for me and you hopefully know I sometimes ride in conditions highly conducive to fogging of visors and eyeglasses.

    1. Cold Avenger cold weather breathing does require enough room between your chin bar and you to fit it, a bit of a PITA to put on but works well.

    2. DOT certified snow helmet, with double-walled visor and breath mask with vents to the side. A bit confining till you get used to it, but once its fitted right, keeps visor clear in full closed position and glasses remain clear.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

    1. Yeah Dom I have read your blogs about your helmet and gear. You have to deal with far colder conditions than me though.

      It was very hot work up there on Tuesday night but still very foggy.

      I think I may have to visit the optometrist and maybe talk contacts...

  5. Sounds pretty exciting and very adventuresome. I prefer more sedate riding situations, can't picture my shadow attacking a muddy hill. I do however think I should find a dual sport or dirt bike & give it a try sometime.

  6. Quite the adventure. Glad that nothing serious happened.

  7. Stay tuned for Part Two...