Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November BRR Ride

Or the title could be: three Colins, a Myles and an Andrew splash there way over some great gravel to Danniverke to be met by a Wayne as the number of Colins slowly dwindles to one as the day wears on...

On Saturday night/Sunday morning I was woken a number of times by pouring rain, thunderstorms and a dog that is not too keen on thunder.  As I lay in bed early in the morning the temptation was certainly there to just roll over and have a bit of a sleep-in.  In the end though I got up and half-heartedly went about getting ready for the day still unsure whether or not I was game for the monthly Back Road Riders Ride.

In the end I decided (rather optimistically for one with so little sleep) that I could actually see patches of blue sky that possibly were trying to nudge their way Northwards to hang around over our planned route, and that perhaps I should take a concrete pill and hit the road...

At the gas station rendezvous I filled the mighty Vee and went to pay for the fuel.  Waiting there and fuelling up on coffee were three Colins (perhaps for a bit of clarity we should name them African Twin Colin, DR Colin and Wee-Strom Colin) and as we were getting ready to make tracks we were joined by Myles on his Wee.  Sweet, the V-Stroms were outnumbering the DR's today...

African Twin Colin was our ride leader and he led us out of town and over a wet Pahiatua Track to our first little taste of gravel for the day on Tararua Road.  This is just a short little stretch but as a grader had been through reasonably recently there was plenty of gravel on the road and it took me a little while to get used to the Vee floating around beneath me again.

From Pahiatua we made our way along Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road where some non-blue clouds started emptying themselves out on us with a respectable amount of vigour.  This made the first (thankfully seal) section of Pori Road a bit of a mission as both my visor and glasses decided that I didn't really need to see things like banks, fences, ditches, corners, or sheep and fogged up to the max despite  all the anti-fog stuff I'd applied to them...

Luckily just as we hit the gravel the rain decided to hold off for a bit and this meant that I could actually see where I was pointing the bike.  The gravel here was also a bit on the deep side in places but I managed to surf my way to our usual photo stop.

Can you see any blue?
Wee-Strom Colin
From this point the road drops down the hill and after chasing a stupid lamb for a while the GoPro managed to snap me my favourite photo of the day.
Not the brightest critter on the block
Good enough to post again
At Route 52 we turned left to take us North East.  The tarmac was a bit damp but we hustled along quite nicely until DR Colin suddenly pulled over.  No, the DR had not broken, Colin had somehow spotted a group of 4WD's clambering around down in the valley and had even recognised a Landrover that he used to own!

DR Colin's Landrover is down there somewhere (and that's a little piece of his DR too).  Not bad pointing of the GoPro either I reckon...
After this little pause we took off after ATC and Myles and caught them at the turn-off to Waihoki Valley Road.  This road, Huia Road, Spur Road and Marainanga Road after it are truly fantastic rides.  The scenery is great and the riding is a ball of fun.  It was especially good to be doing these roads on good rubber as last time around I was on a bald rear tyre and the muddy bits (not this time) were a bit of a battle.  Check out the videos for more of the action.

Huia Road turn-off
When you finally run out of Marainanga Road you hit Coast road.  Last time around we turned right to carry on to Akito but this time around we turned left where the road takes you into Pongaroa.  At Pongaroa we turned right onto Route 52 again for just a minute or two before taking a right onto Manuhara Road.

This was a first for me and it was more great gravel that eventually took us to the familiar Wahi Valley Road and the climb up Towai Road.  At the end of Towai Road we turned right onto Waitahora Road (remember that name) to start our cruise into Danniverke for lunch.

In Danniverke we caught up with Wayne (we'd call him KTM Wayne if the Wayne's were as heavy on the ground as the Colins) who had not been able to make our ride start-time but was obviously keen for a gravel fix.  But before he could get his fix there were 5 riders who were in need of their tucker - it can't have been a pretty sight to see...

After lunch was demolished it was time for the afternoon section.  Unfortunately it was also time to drop a Colin (DR) and a Myles, both who had some sort of excuse or perhaps had just had a bit too much fun and needed to head home for an afternoon nap?

Our afternoon's ride started with us retracing our steps out the Weber Road before turning Northerly on Ngapaeruru Road.  This road started out with some great twisty tar through some nice bush before finally turning into a mintastic gravel road that led onto Mangahei and Te Uri Roads.

Pausing for the rain to catch up with us
After a brief stop we continued on Eastwards in some drizzly rain eventually ending up back on the tar of Porangahau Road.  Rather than pop into Porangahau for a coffee we turned South on (you guessed it) Route 52 to slowly start our way back home.  Naturally we had to stop at Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu for a picture.

A mouthful

Just North of "the place with a relatively famous name" (well that's a shorter version)  we turned West on Birch Road.  This is one road that I've been wanting to ride again ever since I first did it with the BRR Team.  Last time around it was pretty dusty but whatever the conditions this is a superb gravel run.

Unfortunately the rain had returned and unhelpfully my fogging issue returned with it.  This combined with some pretty slippery conditions (love my K60's!) made for some pretty slow progress but I enjoyed it all the same.  Just before we turned onto Tahuokaretu Road (to take us onto Route 52 again - of course) we had a brief pause and it was hear we said goodbye to Wee-Strom Colin (down to one Colin now so we can drop the ATC) who decided to make a dash for home.  I also was in two minds about bailing too as I was getting a bit sick and tired of my fogging problems but I could not let Team V-Strom down - one of us had to ride the entire route!

Our Route home had us first turning back onto Waitahora Road (well actually Waitahora Valley Road which then led onto Waitahora Road - confusing?).  This road was just as good in the afternoon as it was in the morning and by the time we got onto Coonoor Road I was glad that I'd hung in there - the gravel was superb and the three of us were having a ball!

A Colin-less Africa Twin pauses by Suzuki's finest (KTM cowering in the background)
Eventually the gravel had to run out and we were back onto Pahiatua-Pongaroa Road.  So what did we do?  We carried on retracing our steps and even took in the gravel of Tararua Road for a second time.

In the end I got home at around 7pm, a bit damp after plenty of riding in watery conditions and about 460km added to the Vee's odo.  Another great day out but man that hot shower was good!

A few more pics here and plenty of video in the playlist below (no, you do not have to watch all of it).  The first video is a slideshow and then the rest are gravel bashing video.


  1. It may have been damp and cold, but it looks like a great ride. I really do need to get a dual sport.

  2. Fogging visor and glasses has got to be one of the worst complaints of riding in that kind of weather. The kind we are seeing right now too. Nothing seems to work at all that I have found with my Scorpion helmet.

    You show great fortitude by getting out of bed and going for a ride on a drizzly day such as that. I think I might have been inclined to stay home where it was warm and dry and there was a coffee pot readily available.

    Thanks for sharing the pics and videos.

    1. Dunno about fortitude - I needed a ride!

      Fogging sucks! Need air-con in my helmet!

  3. I think I saw a ray of sun somewhere in the middle of your ride, maybe I just imagined it. Well done you ... getting up after no sleep with no chance of clear sky for a ride with the Colins etal.

    1. We actually had a reasonable amount of clear skies and were never cold but it's easy to moan about the rain...

  4. Hey, shouldn't you have summer this time of the year? Where is the sun and the blue sky?

    Nice pictures of the outing notwithstanding.

    1. Summer, yeah, what's that - it seems to be a long time comming...