Saturday, April 27, 2019

Getting dirty

I was up early on Anzac day so I could attend the Dawn Parade.  This meant that by about 9am brekkie was a memory, the dog had been walked and I still had plenty of daylight left to get the lawns mowed and...well, why not go for a little pootle?

Ever since acquiring the littlest Yammy I'd been keen to hit North Range Road on it.  This "road" is punctuated by numerous bog holes, puddles that you can swim in and all sorts of slippery obstacles to drop into and then have to climb out.

I first started riding it around 20 years ago on a variety of machinery: DR400, XR250 and even a mountain bike. 

Different day, different power plant...
Since then some of the road has been upgraded as part of the installation of the wind farm but there is still a decent section of bogs etc.  The mighty DL went through twice and it was a mission on the big bike, I even had a wee whoopsie...

The only reason I hadn't taken the WR up sooner was the current tyres - they're pretty tame (but so far have handled gravel no worries).  I have a set of knobblies in the shed to go on but I in the end I was more interested in riding than spooning on tyres.

After filling up the bike (it took as much as the lawnmower tin had, leaving me to conclude the WR is far more economical - I get far more kms out of the WR) I headed for the track.

It's about here I should mention the weather.  It was fairly grey looking but I decided that I wasn't going to let a bit of rain hold me back, I am hard core...

After an interesting squirt up the track (I even passed a car!), I stopped at the top of the hill to turn on the camera and start flipping some stones.  There was light rain but the fog and drizzle made it hard to see so I soon had to lift the visor and suck it up.

The gravel was nice and easy with just a few greasier looking corners that the WR laughed at.  And then I hit the start of the "interesting" section.  There will be video later although unfortunately not a lot of this section as the camera was soon obscured by rain and crap.

In pretty short order I was testing the WR's wading abilities (very good) and my faith in those Shinkos.  20 years off a small trail bike meant that I'd forgotten just how good they are at going anywhere.  On some of the gnarlier bits I often stopped and hummed and harred before picking my route through.  Oh, and those shinkos were great - I was surprised at how well they gripped climbing up out of hollows on greasy looking clay.  They only really gave me any concern on really muddy or grassy bits.  Man it was fun!

The pics above were taken just after what is probably the roughest bit and the next section was fairly flat but still had a million and one "lakes" to either avoid somehow or wade on through.  About halfway through the sky cleared a bit and I stopped again for a peak at the view.

This is a very small puddle by North Range Road Standards

Bike looking clean - check out the water running off it...
Eventually I got out of the "mud" section and onto decent gravel.  It was great to be able to ride a bit quicker - I'd got reasonably warm working my way through slow stuff.

One gate later (and now on Hall Block Road - the road changes it's name halfway through) the mist cleared briefly so that I could see sunshine out towards Woodville/Pahiatua.  By the time I stopped to take photos it clagged in again...

Woodville is down there somewhere...

Google being clever with pics again...

Mighty Mouse having mighty fun

Check out those awesome Shinkos!
The last bit of Hall Block is a 5km descent (great on a mountain bike) down into Ballance and then I was back onto seal again.  Here's some video (I still hate helmet cams - must sort that out) of the trip across the ranges...

Before heading home I decided to pop down to the river for a few more pics.

And then I even took the opportunity to further test out the Shinkos abilities on grass.

Nice looking bridge
When I had stopped laughing, I carried on home via the Saddle (even passed some cars on there too!) and a quick cuppa at Mark's.

Well that was fun - you should see my riding least the WR is clean again...

GPS track: North Range Road

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Zumo returns...

So the new 595 lives on either the Tenere or the Connie, but the old 550 still goes - what to do with it?

Well, while it does get used in the car (primarily as a bluetooth speaker/mic for my phone), but I still have 3 motorcycle mounts.  And it just so happens that I have 3 bikes, one of which has no GPS - oh no!

So yep, the 550 has found its way onto the little WR.

After rummaging around in my boxes of bits and pieces I found a ram mount fitted with a u-bolt for attaching to round things.  I didn't want the GPS too in my face so rather than mount it quite close on the handlebars or cross-bar I'm trying it mounted to the bark busters.  This puts it just a little bit further forward - time will tell if it's a good spot or not.

As you can imagine, it's not that hard to fit things to the WR.  To access everything it went something like this:

  • 2 bolts to remove the seat
  • 1 bolt to remove LHS sidecover
  • 1 bolt to loosen radiator shroud so that wiring could be tucked away
  • 2 washers to stop battery connection bolts pulling through round connectors on the Zumo harness.
  • A few cable ties and some insulation tape to tidy things up.

And yes, it even works - I didn't blow anything up...

As its hot all the time, I'll need to remember to remove the GPS after every use - pretty sure my watch has a bigger battery than the WR...

Now to go and try and not get lost...

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Yep, yesterday Phil moved the tag and Owl announced that he was going to go get it today.  Well, we couldn't have that could we?

KTM's are too slow to get up in the morning...
It was actually a really nice day for a wee pootle but in the end I didn't go that far at all to pick the new tag.

It's pretty tricky spot to find and if Owl doesn't get it this afternoon then it's bound to stay ungot for positively ages......

Yeah right...


Sunday, April 07, 2019

Zig Zagging

Only a short ride of around 90km this weekend.  I'd done a little maintenance job on the WR and thought that like a little like a Gurkha's kukri, the bike couldn't be put back in the shed without a quick squirt.

After topping up with a ridiculous amount of fuel (5.5L), I puttered out of town and made for Watershed Road to hit some gravel as soon as possible.

Again it took me a little while to get used to the little bike on gravel (half the weight of the Tenere so doesn't quite have that planted feel) but I soon had a smile on my dial and had ridden all of Watershed Road and turned onto Spur Road.

After chasing a bunny up the road I had to duck as two huge hawks took off in front of me - I'm sure that if they'd wanted to they could have carried me and the little bike off - then it was onto the tar for a minute before getting into the zig-zags of Zig Zag Road.

At the top of the hill I made a navigational error which saw me heading back into Feilding a bit sooner than I'd planned.  Lunch was inhaled at my folks place before heading home.  A bit cooler out there today too...

Oh, and no map.  Google refuses to draw a route on the roads I took and no GPS device recording...

Tuesday, April 02, 2019


Oh yeah baby!

Been waiting for this!  Cheap at only a couple of grand eh?

Bring on next year!

Monday, April 01, 2019

Aussie Invasion

What again!

For a while Glitch from had been planning yet another trip over to The Land of the Long White Cloud and while I and a few others on AdvRider had been trying to put him off with our hopeless suggestions, crappy photos and general misinformation and unhelpfulness, he was still keen!

After being let into the country last weekend, by Thursday they'd made it to the bustling metropolis that is Pongaroa and done a little exploring around there.  On Saturday (that damn work thing got in the way on Friday) I decided to join the Aussies for a bit of their day's riding and roped in Colin.  Whale Rider also made similar plans.

Things didn't start too well for me.  On Friday night I strained to wheel the Tenere out of the shed as the air had decided to vacate the rear tyre - dagnabbit!

After pumping the tyre up, I explored all the little nicks on the tyre with some soapy water but didn't discover the source of the leak.  I then popped out to fill the tank and parked the bike in the shed hoping that the tyre would be ok in the morning.  The backup plan wasn't that appealing - it involved the smaller Yammie...

Up early to meet the guys by 9, I checked the tyre and discovered that it had only lost 20psi(!) so pumped it up and skedaddled - hoping for the best.

In Pahiatua, I bought another tyre pando and waited for the arrival of Colin.  He rolled in ten minutes or so later and filled up on gas and coffee.

By the time we left Pahiatua it was getting on and we were under the pump to get to Pongaroa for 9.  This meant that did need to maintain a good average and as it turned out we did arriving with 3 minutes to spare and perhaps setting some sort of record...

We also slaughtered quite a few members of the local feathered fraternity.  I got a direct hit on something small and feathery and apparently also took out yet another Pukekoe (that I was trying to avoid) and Colin reckons he scored a couple of hits too.  The local Paradise ducks had a lucky escape when I came up on a dozen or more on the road at pace.  I buttoned off but rode into them seriously expecting to clobber at least one of them but miraculously they got off the road in time - afterburners lit I presume...

It doesn't really have the face of a killer, does it?
Arriving in Pongaroa, we rode straight past the gang's digs but I did spot some textile covered arms performing some sort of gestures (friendly I think) so hit the picks and spun around to go meet the lads.

After some quick introductions the rental bikes were fired up and WR led us back the way we'd come...

The pace was a little slower this time and Colin and I had already persuaded the wildlife to stay off the road so it was an uneventful little ride back up to the top the hill where we stopped (the first time for me in this spot!) for some piccys.

Makuri thataway
Pongaroa back that way
Next up was the drop down into Makuri and then through the gorge to the Pori Road turn-off.

Pori Road starts off as a narrow, sealed road but luckily, turns into a narrow, gravel road with some fantastic views.  The video shows a bit of both and of course we also had to stop for some spots of those views.

Colin practising his Australian

Glitch complaining about the scenery...
At the end of Pori Road we hit the tar of Route 52 for a couple of km before turning off onto Castle Hill Road to start the trip through to Castle Point.  And what a ride!  The gravel was in a most agreeable condition and I particularly enjoyed one of the little "hill climbs".

After this picture stop, I rode ahead hoping to get some more pics of the guys in action.  Along the way I managed to discover some less than agreeable gravel - I had the front try to wander off twice in the same left-hander.  It was slightly exciting but once again I think that momentum was my friend...

I even managed a few more of those action shots at the next stop.

A few km up the road from here we ran out of gravel and had to put up with some mint tar to get us through to Castle Point and our lunch (brekkie for the Aussies - they're about 3 hours behind us).

After lunch and some chin-wagging it was time for Colin and I to depart as Colin needed to get home and I didn't want him to get lost...But first WR took us up the hill where we could get a decent view.

Saying goodbye to a reasonable bunch of blokes, Colin and I made our way back to Tinui where I needed another photo stop to snap a couple of pics for various AdvRider threads...

Colin can't resist a dozer...
Another decent ride through to Masterton and Mauriceville got us to Eketahuna where gas was purchased for the last little squirt through Mangamire and over the track.

I was home around 3:30 after a great ride on the most perfect autumn day and meeting yet another bunch of great like-minded bike riders.

More pictures here.