Saturday, May 31, 2014

BRR Waikaremoana/Motu Assault Day One

Just a quick blog from the road - more when I get home.

525km of great riding today. The day started early with a chilly ride up to Napier to meet up with 9 other gravel riding adventurers.

From Napier we tookna very slippery gravel (no, not gravel - mud is a better word for it) road over to Tutira. We than rode in light rain to Raupaunga before taking some more muddy but fun roads across to SH38 and the run into Waikaremoana to check out the lake and have a quick bite.

Then we were off again towards Murapara. We had a few stops along the way for pictures and then one slightly longer one as we had a puncture to fix on one of the bikes. This put us a little late into Murapara but luckily the gas station was still open. Our last leg took us in the dark to Whakatane for the night.

More great gravel on the cards tomorrow...

Coincidentally this was the May picture from my Calendar at work

Monday, May 26, 2014

A different way to get dirty

On Saturday I rode over to the old's place to finish up a job on the V-Strom that we started a while ago.

Prior to tackling the 42nd traverse Dad helped me to change the front sprocket (embarrassingly worn out).  We fitted a smaller one to lower the gearing for the expected "slower" riding on the ride.  As you can see it was a pretty mucky experience.

While we were under there we discovered that the dust seal on the clutch slave cylinder was broken so I ordered one of these along with a new chain and rear sprocket the following week and Saturday was the day to fit these and finish the job off.

After lunch I rode over to Feilding only to find nobody home so after sending a fruitless text I got on the bike and went for a wee pootle around Feilding and then took a short ride around the outskirts of the town to burn up some time.

On the way back towards Feilding I tried to find a spot on the road where I could see the old's house and maybe get a picture of it.  I failed miserably but checked out a new subdivision and got the below pic showing Feilding in the upper left hand side of the picture and Palmy off in the distance to the right.  Also, some weather on it's way...

While parked I got a text to say that Ma and Pa were home so I made my way back to their place and rode straight into the shed so we could get to work.

We got the chain on (a bit trickier than it should have been - no clip, we had to press it on) and fitted the new dust seal but the bike shop had given me the wrong rear sprocket (wrong pitch and number of teeth!) so that didn't end up getting done.  Luckily the rear sprocket is still in pretty good shape so it'll have to hang in there for a bit longer.

While we were doing these jobs that weather caught up with us and we had a good thunder & lightning show along with some very generous lashings of rain - it wasn't looking very nice for my wee trip home.  Luckily there was a bit of a lull in the storm just as we finished up so I skedaddled while the skedaddling was good and raced home on wet roads.  Later on the storm hit pretty full force with some serious cloud moisture coming down and the wind trying to blow away anything not nailed down.  Never mind the fire was soon on and it was cosier inside.

Hoping for some decent weather this weekend...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BRR Why, why, why, Wairarapa

(Neil does come up with some good names for our rides occasionally).

Yes, Sunday was our monthly Back Road Riders ride and boy did we pick a good day for it!  I left home just after 8am and it was a little nippy with the good old hot-grips getting a bit of use as I headed up the Pahiatua track.  I was too early as usual so I had time to stop for a couple of pics at the top.

Yes, I'm heading into that stuff

These guys were keeping a good eye on me
As you might be able to tell from the pics, the weather was gorgeous over the Palmy side of the hill but as soon as I dropped down the other side and started to make my way towards Mangamire I disappeared into the fog.  At first it wasn't too bad but after a while my visor had fog on the inside of the visor so I had to stop and clean it just before Mangamire.  At the rail crossing I had to hold my breath as I crossed the lines - there was no way I was gonna see a train coming until it was on top of me - well, I'm still kicking...

I was about the second bike (we'll ignore the guys getting gas at the servo) to roll up at our meeting point in Eketahuna with just Neville (new to our merry band) on a brand spanking Tiger.  Pretty soon the rest of the guys started rolling in - including Colin who had gone missing last weekend, he must have found his way back from Castlepoint...

After our usual mucking around it was time to hit the road for a short 100km to Martinborough by way of some decent gravel roads.  The first bit of Mangaoranga Road was how I remembered it - fast and open and a lot of fun.

Further on, I think it was on Wairiri Road the gravel got a bit more unfriendly being reasonable fresh and covered in marbles.  This slowed us all down a bit and we stopped at the top of a nice hill for a regroup where myself and a few others all "aired-down" for a bit more grip.

Dropping down the hill the road got a bit better and faster and we all had a bit of fun on the last bit of gravel before taking sealed roads through to Martinborough where we parked up for an early lunch.

After lunch things were only to get even better.  After a squirt on seal out to Hinakura we turned off onto some gravel which eventually got us onto the spectacular Wainuiru Road.  This took us on a nice climb up a hill that offered up some truly beautiful views.  If you watch only one of the videos, make it this one!

Next up was some more seal out to Te Wharau where we turned off onto Kaiwhata Road which was to take us through almost to Riversdale.  We've been through here before and the first bit is some reasonably tight stuff through a forestry block but once you drop back down the hill and onto Homewood road things really open up onto some of the fastest gravel I've ridden.  It's a real hoot and great to look in the mirrors and see the dust cloud the bike is kicking up - yes, the Vee was in it's element!

We then took seal through to Tinui before hitting our last bit of gravel through to Alfredton.  This was a little bit of a mission as there was the odd marble through there and the low sun shining through a dusty visor didn't help a lot.

At Alfredton we all headed off in different directions to make for home.  I led a few of us through to Pahiatua and then back over the track.  We had a bit of a play and it was a pretty good way to finish off our day.  our next ride is only a couple of weeks away and it's something special so I can't wait...

More pics here.

On any Sunday

If this is half as good as the original then it will be worth watching:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Harnessing some ergs

Before we get too far into this, know one thing: I'm a pretty hopeless amateur when it comes to electrickery and wiring stuff up...

For I while I've tossed around the idea of being able to charge certain gadgets while on the bike and my thoughts were to electrify my tank bag so all the gadgets could sit in there while they're charging.

Of course, I could have splurged on the special setup that SW-motech sell for this bag but I think the components must be made of gold.  Instead I decided to install a dual 12v socket setup in the bag and use cheap USB adapters to charge the gadgets.

At the moment the wires exit the bag through the base and end at a 12 plug that goes into my existing accessory socket in the fairing of the bike.  Eventually I'll replace this with a separate wire from my fuse block to some waterproof connectors.

I had my wee dramas wiring things up and with no ergs coming through into the bag I was doubting my electrical skills more and more until I discovered a blow fuse in the 12v plug (I had cut this plug off something else and it hadn't been used forever).  With that fixed you'll never guess what happened...

So now I can charge 4 USB gadgets at once (handy because my GoPro needs 3 and the phone 1) or unplug as adapter and use the 12V socket (one of my cameras has a 12v charger).  I'm sure I'll use this setup at least once a year...a very necessary farkle eh?

Now I just need a similar setup for the Connie (more likely to use it on the Connie too) but I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to use the tank bag as the Connie's little glove box thingee in the middle of the tank is causing me some clearance issues - I'll have to put my thinking cap on.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Lake Ferry Loop

After some detailed planning at work - something like: shall we go for a ride to Lake Ferry - it was decided that Lake Ferry was going to be our destination this Sunday.  Roscoe, Dan, Brian and Mark from work were all keen as mustard and I cast the net out a bit further and nabbed Neil, Colin W and Yod while Roscoe also roped in one of his mates and Brian collared Chris and his hoggly doggly.

Most of us met up in Palmy but unfortunately Yod was running a bit late and we were too impatient and got away before he rocked up.  We made our way up over a damp Pahiatua Track and into Pahiatua where we stopped for a brief regroup before heading out towards Route 52.  Here we decided to give the corner-man system a go so we didn't lose anybody...

It worked fabulously well as we rode over to Route 52 and down to Masterton.  We made a number of turns and never lost anyone!

Route 52 was up to it's usual level of awesomeness and while some of autumn's colours have now gone it was still a pretty ride which all the riders seemed to enjoy.  The Connie seemed to enjoy it too...

In Masterton we stopped briefly for some to get fuel and also to pick up Lloyd and his VTR - he had been down in the area for the night and was keen to join us for the ride.

Leaving Masterton was where things started to get a bit out of control.  Firstly, Mark's Bandit started to play up on him, cutting out occasionally and taking some persuading to keep running perfectly.  As I was out front leading the run I didn't know what was going on but he decided that it was best to head home via the main roads rather than break down in the middle of nowhere - bummer.

At about the same time we picked up a Yod who had caught up with us but then lost a Colin.  Somehow or other - even though we'd all left together from Masterton, and with the corner-man system hopefully still in operation - he missed the turn-off onto Masterton-Stronvar Road and carried on towards Castle Point.  I'm not sure if he got to Castle Point but hopefully will find out when I next see him - if he's talking to me...

But I was still unaware of all this and carried on towards Martinborough.  I eventually stopped at the end of Westmere road and got some of the story before we carried on.

Roscoe looking good and keeping it upright...
More great roads eventually got us into Martinborough but we sidestepped the town a bit and made for the coast.  There were a few other bikes out on the road with the same idea as us and some even gave us a friendly flash of their lights to warn us of the mobile hazard we were coming up behind - nice one.

Eventually we found ourselves at our destination and settled in to enjoy a late lunch of fish and chips and plenty of yarning about bikes and riding.  We also discovered that Mark had made it home ok but could not contact poor old Colin.

Dan with his new to him Shadow (looks like he is lusting over a GSX1400 though)

After lunch we retraced our steps back to Martinborough and refuelled for the last leg home.  This time we took a slightly more direct route to Masterton but then turned off SH2 to take in the road through Mauriceville.  It was really nice through here but at times the low sun was a bit of a pain.

Then it was a little more of SH2 through Eketahuna until the Mangamire turn-off which eventually got us back onto the Pahiatua Track once again for one last little squirt into Palmy.  Neil and I got to my place around 4:30 and managed to contact Colin who had made his way home and between them they decided that it was all my fault that we lost Colin.  Should I mention how Neil lost some guys on a BRR ride - even with the corner-man system in play?

Nevermind, everyone was home safe and sound after a great day out on some excellent roads - just over 400km for me -sweet!

A few more pics here.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Laying Tracks

The other day I was chatting to Neil and mentioned that I'd been trying to save all of my GPS tracks from my Adventure rides.  I'm not sure I've managed to get them all but here they are:

As you can see I really need to get out and see a bit more of the country ;)

A zoom in on the Manawatu/Wanganui/Wairarapa/Hawkes Bay regions definitely shows where I've been doing most of my riding.  One of the things I've said to a lot of people is how much more of the country you can see if you get off the beaten track.  I've also said that for a long time after getting the V-Strom I never went further than about 200km from home but was constantly discovering new roads to ride and sights to see.  It's been fun.

I also used to have a similar file for road rides but can't seem to find it.  That file covered a lot more of the country but obviously only dates back about 4 years or so to when I bought my Zumo so only covers a fraction of my riding.  I must create a new file as I do have a lot of tracks stored separately and just need to combine them.

Looking forward to putting more lines on the map...