Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Ride...

...of the year!

It's been very hot here over the last week and I've been very lazy too.  Not too keen to gear up and enjoy a sauna inside my gear I've spent time thinking about riding rather than riding.  But with today being my last chance to ride in 2014 I decided that I had better get off my backside and get out there.  It helped that it wasn't quite so hot and that there was a bit of a breeze.

And so I geared up - opening all the vents on my gear and filling up my camel-bak - and pointed the Connie towards Feilding and a date at the petrol station.  Gassed up, I carried on out to Cheltenham and Kimbolton and then through to Rangiwahia.  I didn't see a single other vehicle between Kimbolton and Rangiwahia and really enjoyed the peaceful cruise through the countryside.

Rather than pop out onto SH1 at Mangaweka, I turned off and took some neat back roads before finally popping out on SH1 just South of Utiku.  More great riding and even time for a quick photo stop.

The next leg was just a quiet cruise up SH1 (plenty of cops out for blood) to Waiouru where I stopped for a quick bite.

After my lunch I started to make my way across to Ohakune.  It actually got a bit chilly and windy through here and I even felt a few spits near Tangiwai so had to zip up my vents.  Half an hour or so later I arrived on Neil's doorstop and scrounged a cup of coffee off him while he regaled me tales of his and Ted's adventure riding yesterday.

Without even the slightest hint from me, Neil decided that he would have to join me for a bit of my ride home.  He rode with me down the Para's as far as Fields Track where he peeled off and completed the loop back to his place.

I carried on and really enjoyed the Para's - it got pretty warm in places and those vents were pretty quickly opened again and the level on the camel-bak got lowered a few times.

North of Wanganui I took my usual route through Okoia but rather than then come back home through Turakina and Marton (my usual route) I opted to ride through to Hunterville where I finally stopped to refuel the Connie - after 370 odd km it was probably a wise decision.

From Hunterville I turned North again on SH1 but was soon turning off it again to enjoy a last squirt over Vinegar Hill, then back into Feilding and home again.

A very nice little 450km ride to finish off the year - looking forward to kicking off 2015's rides with our first BRRBT ride of the year on Sunday...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's that time of year

Merry Christmas all and here's to more great riding in 2015 - I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

BRR Rode of Paper

Sunday was our monthly adventure ride and Neil picked a few tricky routes (Takapari Road & North Range Road) along with some other tasty loops.  I decided to pass on the tough stuff (maybe if it had been drier) but was really keen to visit the Shannon dams again - last time I went up there it was raining and foggy...

And so I met up with Neil and Ted at a gas station in town and then we rode down to Shannon to meet up with the other guys.  While waiting at the cafe the rain hit us but it still didn't put off about 21 adventurous souls who were obviously looking forward to the last BRR rider of the year.

The ride up to the dams was a real cracker, the track is a really neat one with some some cool climbs and a pretty good (if rocky and a little muddy in places) surface.  There's a few tight corners as you climb up and down some of the hills and on the last leg to the final dam there's a couple of faster sections where allow you the bikes to stretch their legs a little.

As mentioned earlier, last time it was raining and foggy when we visited the dams, but on this occasion...well, not quite so rainy and foggy (most of the fog was on our way up to the dams).

Having run out road we were forced to turn around and retrace our steps back down to the power station.

It was here that I hatched a plan with a couple of others to take to some easier gravel roads and meet up with the others after they had splashed their way across North Range Road.  But as we were getting ready to go I noticed a small oil leak (probably the same one I  had a while ago - one of the seals that live under the sprocket cover) on the V-Strom so I decided to get her home and abandoned the team.  Not part of the plan at all but we got home safe and sound and the oil level on the bike didn't appear to have moved since leaving home so nothing too serious.

From all accounts the rest of the ride had it's moments with plenty of rain on North Range Road and the odd incident.  Oh, and someone decided to check out my puddle on North Range Road...

Looking forward to the start of the '15 BRR Adv rides...

Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Coast to Coast

Saturday was the date for this year's Coast to Coast ride which raises funds for the local rescue helicopter and so I joined approximately 350 other riders on my fifteenth Coast to Coast.

Mark Cruised around to my place just after 8 and we headed out to Himatangi for the start of the ride at about 8:30.  Once out there we registered for the ride and waited for the kick-off.  We were soon joined by Dad and a few others that we often ride with.

While we were waiting the very small Himatangi Beach Xmas Parade pottered past.  I missed out on the lolly scramble...

Some time after 10 there was the riders briefing and we then started gearing up for the ride.  Unfortunately for Mark his Bandit decided not to play ball and it took us a while to get it running.  He wisely decided to skip the ride and dropped the bike in at the bike shop for some TLC on his way home.

This left Dad, Meanie, Monie (pillioning at the mo) and I at the back of the pack for the first leg to Woodville.

Dad pootling along behind me
On the ride over we encountered some absolutely idiotic young riders who were riding really dangerously - nearly taking out Meanie at one stage.  The less said about them the better but both Meanie & I gave them a bollocking and then some cops did as well in Woodville after we filled them in and showed them some pictures that Monie took from the back of Meanie's Connie.

Bikes everywhere in Woodville:

The two stars of the show

After lunch, as per usual, our group departed before the main bunch so that we could keep ahead of the squids and the congestion created by so many bikes on narrow, dodgy back roads.

The run through to Pongaroa was pretty good although we did run into some cloud moisture which made the road a tad more slippery than we really would have liked.

The roads were a bit drier headed out to Akitio and we arrived there quite a wee bit earlier than the main bunch so got to see all the bikes roll up to the ride finish.

Brandy might like this one...

Once all the bikes were in we saddled up again (skipping the prize giving) and retraced our steps through to Pongaroa and then through to Pahiatua because some of the bikes were thirsty.  We got rain again through Makuri but otherwise it was a cracker of a ride.  We finished off with a squirt over the track which also was a bit damp in places.

So, aside from dodging a few idiots we had a great ride and helped out the rescue helicopter a little.  Where to next weekend?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Wanganui River Road

5 gig of video shrunk down to just under 17 minutes...Might come in handy if you're having trouble getting to sleep...

Monday, December 08, 2014

December BRRBT

Yesterday was our monthly Back Road Riders Black Top ride and yes, it was not a bad day out on the bike!

The plan was to ride up the Parapara's to lunch in Raetihi before returning home via the Wanganui River Road.  We had to change this after the cafe let me know that they were not going to have power, so no lunch for us - I can just hear Neil through the intercom...

So instead we switched it around by doing the River Road first, lunching in Ohakune and then returning via Fields Track and the Paras.  As it turned out this was a perfectly acceptable alternative.

After filling up on some cheap fuel in Palmy ($1.88/L) I made my way over to Feilding where I parked up and grabbed a coffee while I waited for the rest of the team.  Fielding is obviously getting a bit of reputation as a happening place as while I waited one of the 2015 Harley's idled past - they sound a lot sweeter nowadays...

Four wheels to stop those pesky footboards from scraping
Even capable of pulling a trailer now!
The rest of the guys started showing up (including some of my new bike riding workmates which was pretty cool) and after our usual dithering around we eventually decided that we'd better go for a ride.

We made our way out through Halcombe and then across to Fordell and then through the neat little Okoia "bypass"and onto SH4 where we stopped for a quick regroup at Upokongaro.  From Upo it was just a few km up the road to the turn off onto the River Road.  The night before I'd been told there was a few road works at the start of the road and my source was correct:

At the top of the hill it was time for another quick stop to admire the scenery:

And perhaps to update Facebook...

Ok, so now it was time to get serious and follow the river up the valley.  The road was in pretty good nick but with it being a Sunday there was a bit of traffic to deal with.  One thing that was everywhere was the great views and fantastic curves.  We even ran into a farmer moving some stock who apparently took umbrage at us pushing through his flock.  Neil's video will be slightly different to this one:

After sneaking carefully past the woolly critters we still had plenty more great riding to take in but we did make another stop to regroup.  Here we had a very nice surprise (and it shut Neil up for 5 minutes) when Ngaire conjured up some muffins from the tank bag on the Guzzi.  A nice place for a muffin break!

Russell and Ngaire delivering the muffins

Richard performing TEC duties again
After the muffins did their disappearing act it was time to carry on up to Pipiriki.  This next section had plenty of loose metal on it - just like last time Neil and I went through - but by now everyone was pretty used to it and just got on with enjoying themselves.  Just out of Pipiriki a Speedy came past the other way and did a quick U-turn to join up with us - it was Neville on his way home to Wellington and keen to be led astray.

Hear's Nev pootling along behind Neil:

Eventually the River Road dumped us in Raetihi and sure enough the cafe was closed so off we went to Ohakune.  A few service vehicles parked outside the substation at Ohakune had me a bit worried about the power status in Ohakune but we were lucky, and so was the cafe with 15 or so hungry riders crashing through their doors and demanding food - with lashing of cream!

I'll pause here - not just for lunch but to let you know the battery on my camera died...

After lunch the bikes were topped up and we carried on towards Waiouru before turning off to take Fields Track.  This bit of road is a bit like the River Road in that it is pretty narrow, rough and dirty in places but it also does offer some great views - especially as you drop back down towards the river.  I tried to take in the serenity of it all but by now I had both Neil and Nev in my ears putting the world to right - the Sena works pretty good though...

Next up was the Paras and yes, they were magnificent!  We had a great run down to Upo again and I'd be very surprised if anyone still had chicken strips by the end of it.  It is a particularly good bit of road for strip removal...

I pulled over just before Okoia to make sure people weren't having too much fun and we also split up a bit with those heading further South than Palmy opting take the main road back while the rest of us took in a short loop around Marton before cruising back into Feilding via Halcombe.

And then to top the day off Colin, Neil and Dad joined me to take in a particularly decent film:

Now that's one way to have a most excellent Sunday!

Oh, BTW: I videoed all of the River Road but won't put you through it all - maybe some highlights tomorrow...

And some more pics here.