Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A gap in the weather

Over the weekend we'de had quite a bit of rain and while there was a fine spell on Sunday morning while I walked the dog, the rain reappeared just after I got back home.  So it wasn't looking too good for a ride - until I sat down for lunch.  The clouds had cleared a little and if I really tried hard I thought that I could see some blueish tinges - ok, I convinced myself, a ride was on!  The Vee was quickly wheeled out and I was off.

With all the rain we've had I was expecting the gravel to be in good nick and I didn't think that dust would be much of an issue so I dreamt up a ride that would take in quite a few good gravel roads over the other side of the Tararuas.

Before I hit the gravel I had to cruise over the Pahiatua Track looking out for the slippery bits (and the road works at the bottom of the hill) before turning off towards Mangamire.  Before Mangamire I turned off again to take in my first bit of gravel on Kopikopiko Road.  It had been a few weeks since my last gravel ride so it took me a wee while to get into it.

At the Mangahao River Kopikopiko Road heads off to the right to eventually peter out near the ranges while going straight ahead and over the river takes you onto Pukehoi Road (yes, that's another video - I took a few and decided not to clutter up the blog with all of them).

By now I was getting into the swing of things and the gravel was in great condition so the DL got to stretch her gravel legs a bit which is always Fun (note the capital F)!

Unfortunately Pukehoi Road eventually becomes tarmac.  But turning right onto takes you West on Kakariki Road which is more tarmac but leads you quickly to Mangaraupiu Road which is pretty fast gravel.  Turning right onto Mangaroa Road then starts the trip back towards SH2 via some more good gravel and the odd bit of tar.  Two more short sections of gravel on Quarry and Cliff Roads finally spit you back onto the main road to Eketahuna.

As I'd been cruising along I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go next - further South for some more loops East of Eketahuna or head back towards home? In the end I decided to make my way home but to sample as much gravel as I could.  The first gravel road I took was Central Mangaone Road which took me further Eastward.

At the end of Central Mangaone Road I turned left which would then take me up Mangaone Valley Road.  Following this sealed road would eventually take me all the way through to Pahiatua, but it would be tar seal all the way - can't be having that now can we?  Cruising along I spotted a likely looking road to my right - Tawataia Road.  I think I may have done a section of this in the past but it was definitely worth another go!

Tawataia Road ends at Alfredton Road which funnily enough takes you into Alfredton and onto Route 52.

Pa Valley Road
From here I'd take Pa Valley Road back to Mangaone Valley Road and into Pahiatua.  Great roads with nice scenery but tar all the way.

In Pahiatua I turned to head for home but not before taking in one last little bit of gravel on Tararua Road.  This was a great little squirt to finish off the ride - I enjoyed it even more than the trip back over the track.

I finally rolled up my drive at about 3:30 (just in time for Moto GP on TV) after a great little 170km (and about two and half hour) ride.  It didn't even rain on me!

More GoPro pics here.

Sunday, May 05, 2013


A few weeks ago the DL needed a warrant and I was down at the testing station first thing in the morning to beat the rush.  The bike passed everything until I went to hit the horn.  Instead of deafening everyone in the building I got nothing and all the lights and gauges died on the bike...

Not good!  And so started the investigation.  The WOF guy was not much use to me and after pressing the horn button himself a few times (and probably damaging it - see further down) left me to it.

As everything was dead I naturally assumed it was a fuse - but which one, and where was it hiding?  I figured it must be the main fuse as I had no ignition but the first fuse box I looked in just had accessory type fuses in it.  Where was the main?  Time for some googling on my phone...

Thar she blows!
As you can see from the pic above it was right in front of me.  I quickly had the cover off and discovered the spare fuse was also located in there too.

New fuse in, I flicked on the key and was back in action again.  That is, until I hit the horn - oops there goes another fuse.  With no spares left I wandered across the road to a garage and bought another one (actually a packet of them but only one 30 amp).

As I replaced the fuse I decided I would not touch the horn again, just ride home, sort out whatever was going wrong and then come back to finish off the warrant.  This time when I turned the key on the horn instantly came on!  I quickly turned the key off, got my warrant so I was legal again, disconnected the horn (back to illegal again I guess) and got myself home for further diagnosis.

The first thing I noticed when I got home was that the horn button looked like it was pushed in - it was almost flush with the switch block.

Well, that gave me a starting point...

Not really sure if I want to be pulling this apart...

Sure enough the spring under the horn button had been crushed so the horn was button was not returning after being pushed.

I managed to fix up the spring (I will need a new one at some stage) and then get everything back together properly.  I then hooked the horn back up to the battery again and turned the key on.

No blaring horn so that was a good start, now to press the horn button - click, click...Not good.  So there was something else wrong somewhere - the relay seemed to be clicking....hmmmm.  I know let's just ignore it for a few weeks....

Fast forward to today and I started pulling things apart so I could check wiring and plugs etc.  When I pulled the little front, lower cowling off the front of the bike so I could get at the Stebel a whole lot of little stones fell out but the wires to the horn looked good.

All the other connections and wiring looked ok - what now?  I know, let's try the horn - Baaarrrrrrrrppppppp!  Great, the horn works, but why?

So now I have a working horn but do I still have some mysterious gremlin lurking in the wiring, waiting for me to be way out the back of beyond so that it can ruin my day?  Who knows - I hope not, watch this space...

Saturday, May 04, 2013

A pleasant interruption

This morning I'd been doing a bit of maintenance on the V-Strom (oil & filter change, electrical gremlin chasing) when I got an urgent call.  Apparently I was required ASAP to join Brian and Chris for another outing on the bikes...

Leaving the V-Strom up on her main-stand and partially naked (the bike that is), I scrubbed up and wheeled the Connie out.

Our ride started by making our way out to Colyton and Cheltenham and then onto some great back roads that took us out to Stanway and then eventually back out onto the Halcombe Road.  Here's a wee taste (yes, that is a Harley in front of a Connie):

I knew we were heading up to Flat Hills for lunch and wasn't really looking forward to the ride up SH1 but I was in for a pleasant surprise.  Not long after we had got going up the main road we turned off again onto a new to me road.  Here's Onepuhi and Porewa Roads:

After this nice little diversion we of course did end up back on SH1 for a while but our goal was a nice lunch at Flat Hills and then some sort of decision on the route back home.  In the end no real decision was made so Chris and I just let Brian lead the way and tagged on behind him.  He made a good decision:

The road through from Ohingaiti to Pemberton was in really good nick and somehow Brian and I got away a bit on Chris and had to stop to wait for him.  Then just as we were about to be off again I was taken with an urge:

Well, I didn't actually nick the Trumpy but was given the thumbs up to take her for a wee spin.  It was a lot of fun getting onto something fairly different to the Connie and I particularly enjoyed sampling the sound of Brian's new muffler.

As you can see from the above, we stopped to enjoy the views from the lookout near Kimbolton and for some other reason that escapes me just now...

From Kimbolton it was pretty much game over with just a quiet cruise back into Palmy.  Another great little ride on a perfect Autumn day.  Now to finish playing with the Vee...

A few more pics here.