Monday, June 25, 2012

BRR - A Longish Ride on a Shortish Day

Yesterday was the June Back Road Riders ride and with new tyres on the DL I was dead keen to get out there and give the K60's a bit of a workout.  Waking early to a semi-reasonable winter's day after a night of some serious rainfall was a positive start to the day and by 8:20 I was on the road heading for the ride jump-off point in Marton.

I was well early so after arriving first set to twiddling my thumbs while I awaited the rest of the crew.  Next to arrive was Colin and we had plenty of time to talk tyres (and possibly some nonsense) and get a picture of Team DL.

Missing 1 x 2012 650...
With the arrival of a couple of rattly old DR's, a solitary Beemer and John on his nice new 650 Wee the gang was pretty much all there but for our leader...It turns out that Neil must have been wobbling all over the road when he left home in National Park as he was pulled over and breathalysed 3 times!

Anyway a little later than planned we had our quick briefing and then made our way out of Marton.  First up was some twisty tar taking us to Turakina Valley Road for our first little taste of gravel.  Then we had another sealed section through to Hunterville on the great Mangahoe and Ongo Roads which actually had it's fair share of gravel on it in the form of roadworks and new seal.

After a quick pootle up SH1 we turned off onto some more winding tar before tackling the spectacular Watershed Road.  Watershed Road was just the first of some really good gravel roads that we'd ride and also took us up fairly high into the hills and gave us some great views - none of which I got on film as the GoPro was packing a sad and not giving me video or pics!

Hills = fun!
Ridge Road North was another cracker of a gravel road as we got to first charge up the hill (no snow on the tops this time) before buttoning off a bit as we dropped back down into Taihape on Pukenaua Road.  In Taihape it was time for some Soul Food before continuing on with the afternoon's adventures.

After lunch we headed North for a wee bit before turning West on a delicious but too short gravel road and a big loop that eventually took us back onto SH1.  Just South of Utiku we turned off again onto Manui Road for another big loop - this time West of SH1.  Turning off Manui Road we hit what I think was my favourite road of the day - Te Kapua Road.  This short stretch was in fantastic condition and charging up the hill you had good visibility of the coming corners so could really attack the road.  The big DL really loved being given a few berries and giving 2nd gear a rest so that 4th could have a turn!

Te Kapua Road deposited us back on SH1 where we carried on South in our only rainy spell before turning off onto Otara Road and leaving the rain behind us. This road can take you right through to Rangawahia Road (tar seal all the way) but naturally we turned off to take Mangamako Road which eventually goes to gravel on Waipuru, Mangapapa and Lower Pakihikura Roads - all fantastic gravel roads in good condition.

Lower Pakihikura Road eventually ends on Vinegar Hill and that was the end of the gravel for the day.  All that was left for us was to pop into Hunterville for a quick cuppa before parting company and making our way(s) home after another fantastic Back Road Ride!

To see the full map of the ride click on the link - you need to page through the map in sections as it was created from GPS data and seems to be a bit much for Google Maps to handle...

View A Longish Ride on a Shortish Day in a larger map

Oh, and apparently the K60's kick up a little mud and the odd stone on occasion...


  1. Hi Andrew, I am shocked NO GO PRO I have grown accustomed to a good view from you??? Shame on you GO PRO. Your Soul Food cafe looks the ticket also. I love your DELICIOUS Gravel Road statement, now that MUST be good.

    Great read Andrew and thanks

    1. Delicious gravel is the best kind!

  2. Oooh fun stuff. I am glad the weather cooperated and you only got rained on the one time.

    The up and down hills and change in elevation always makes for a good time.

    And did Neil really get pulled over 3 times? Wow. Must have just been his turn.

    1. He sure did. But then he is a dodgy BMW rider ;)

  3. You live in a great area to explore Andrew, I am jealous. Great write up.

    1. Neil is taking us into the King Country next month...