Monday, April 23, 2012

Wandering Our Way Round Whanganui & Whangaehu

On Sunday it was once again time to join the Back Road Riders on another day of gravel worship and site seeing.  It had been a while since I'd been out with the guys and even though the route was taking in some roads I'd done before (while checking out a few bridges) I happened to have enjoyed the roads and was very keen to revisit them.

The ride was due to start at 10am in Wanganui and a few of the Palmy riders had decided to meet up and ride over to Wanganui together so I thought that this sounded like a plan and after getting everything ready I jumped on the bike and headed off to meet them.  Too bad I had gotten the meeting time wrong by half an hour...I was early!

Rather than going home and pacing for half an hour I decided to make my way over to Wanganui the long way and first rode my normal route over to Halcombe and Marton before riding Makuhou Road (mind the surprise new seal) and then the short stretch of gravel on Turakina Valley Road.

 Turakina Valley Road
At the end of  Turakina Valley Road I turned left to ride onto Wanganui via Fordell.  At the gas station meeting point I joined a number of other guys filling up before the ride.  As it turned out the fine weather had encouraged a few more riders than usual to join us and it was about a dozen of us that mounted up for start of a great days riding.

First up was a gentle cruise out of Wanganui and onto Kauarapaoa Road.  I really, really enjoyed this road last time and this time we were going the opposite way so it was almost like doing it for the first time again.  The road was in fantastic condition although with all this great weather we've been having it was very dusty but this just meant that we had to spread out a bit.  One of my great regrets of the day here was that the GoPro did not capture any of it - I had turned it on and hit the go button but it was on the wrong setting (should have checked that one eh) so all I got was a picture of me hitting the button!  Curses!

After a fantastic ride through here (I think I prefer the direction we did in as you get to do more uphill) we reached our turn-off at Rangitatau East Road.  This road is much wider (two vehicles wide even) and it too was in great nick but dusty.

Rangitatau East Road
Rangitatau East Road
After a quick stop so we could all remove a layer or two (hot work this adv riding) we quickly carved out the rest of Rangitatau East Road before taking another back road (this time sealed) into Wanganui for our lunch stop.

After lunch we retraced the route I had taken into Wanganui earlier and rode out through Fordell and onto Kauangarou Road before turning Northwards onto Mangamahau Road.  This road starts off as great seal and takes in some great views as you wind you way up the valley.  The GoPro was even playing ball.

Eventually the road (having changed names to Whangaehu Valley Road) runs into more dusty gravel but the scenery remains fantastic.  For the most part the ride is easy but towards the end there are a few steeper, tighter and rougher sections which require a little care.

After another quick regroup at the end of Whangaehu Valley Road we turned right onto Fields Track and rode in the direction of Waiouru.  But we didn't make it Waiouru - Neil had other plans for us and we turned off again to take Oruakukuru back to State Highway 4.  This road soon turned into fast gravel which was just a blast - there's nothing like being able to let rip on a big adv bike in gravel - talk about dust though!

Oruakukuru Road did eventually tighten up and as you can see on the video a couple of DR pilots had to put me in my place by passing me effortlessly in the tight stuff and then disappearing in a cloud of dust!  There is something to be said for small light bikes after all I 'spose!

Back at SH4 we said goodbye to Neil who is based in National Park and then pointed our bikes at the Para Para's and hit the road.  I had a ball through here following a certain orange F650 along at a nice pace until Upokongaro where I took the lead to take us home via a little short cut to Fordell (again) and then SH3.

Anyway, I was back home by about quarter to five having enjoyed a fabulous 476km with the BRR Team, bike and rider covered in dust and ready for a cold drink and a breather - may there be many other rides as enjoyable as this one!

Zig-zagged all over the place
A few more pics here.

PS: videos with recorded audio or music?


  1. What a great day. It looks as thought he weather was cooperating. It is weird for me to see the trees turning colors in your videos when ours are just now leafing out.

    Don't worry bout the little light bikes passing you in the tight sections, it is when the big heavy bikes start doing it you can worry.

    Thanks for sharing the videos. It looks like a really good time. Although some of the gravel sections might have given me a pucker moment......

    1. Yeah, I didn't mention the odd pucker moment...

  2. Anonymous8:43 am

    Stuff those DR riders! They have knobblies and bikes that weigh less than your oil tanker!