Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Freedom ride

Man this was a long time coming...

Being denied access to simply the best stress release engineered by man for nigh on two months is simply cruelty to dumb animals.  But, when it started to become apparent that we'd finally have the shackles removed soon, we started planning...

Initial plans had us tearing up Eastern gravel, then perhaps one of our favourite trips up the middle and then back to the Eastern route again.  In the end and at the last minute, the weather threw in it's two cents which brought Turakina Valley to the top of the list again.

Initially we had five keen musketeers but on the day we lost two and gained one.  Chevvy and Glen couldn't make it but Colin kidnapped Ross and I rode over to Sanson to our usual meeting spot where they just happened to have coffee and pastry products on hand to keep motorbicyclists happy.

We got away pretty smartly at around 9am and unbeknownst to me leaving John to scramble to catch up to us somehow.  I hope he didn't speed.

Just up the road at the turn-off to the Turakina Valley we made a quick stop to get a photo of Colin next to an Antiques sign as he was feeling old for some reason...

The first section of sealed Turakina Valley Road was a delight.  It was great getting reunited with the Tenere and being shown yet again what an easy and comfortable beast she is to ride on back country roads.  The small section of seal that I don't believe has ever been swept since the relatively new tar was laid added to the excitement...

Soon we were onto our first bit of gravel and I had to get my head around that.  I had the TC off (as I always do on gravel) and found that I was a little ham-fisted on the throttle causing the bike to get a little tail happy until I sorted myself out.  Then there was a ute who after having a crack at Colin, was still on the wrong side of road when he went past me - twanger!

The ride up the valley was fantastic.  The gravel was fairly friendly so we could get along pretty nicely.  A few short stops for photos, catch-ups and tie Ross's top-box down meant that we finally hit Waiouru just before lunch.

In Waiouru, we were shocked to find our favourite cafe shut and were forced to cross the road to Subway.  Here I got my next shock when Colin refused cucumber on his sub!  I think that everyone else in the shop couldn't believe it either and there was quite some discussion about how much cucumbers were underrated and that Subway should do more with them - perhaps a foot-long cucumber sub special.  Sounds like a winner to me...

As we were tucking into our lunch (my cucumber containing wrap was very nice), John pulled up.  He had done very well catching up to us but did complain about not being able to stop for a pie in Sanson...

After lunch Ross departed for what must have been a fun-filled trip home on SH1 while the rest of us fuelled up and made for the Napier Taihape Road.

While Colin took a short-cut to our gravel turn-off (must have cos he beat us there), John and I had a nice cruise, enjoying the scenery and really nice weather.  Once again I really enjoyed the ride on the Tenere and appreciated its great handling when I needed to quickly avoid the worlds largest hawk after disturbing him having his lunch...

The gravel was well behaved and we had a great ride across to Pukeokahu.  I intentionally (ahem) lagged behind so Colin could play with his phone:

A few of the gravel highlights:

We decided to drop down and visit the River Valley Lodge to see if they knew how to make coffee but were forced to cancel this when we came across a sign saying that they were closed.

A bit more gravel got us to the seal new Taoroa Junction where we stopped briefly to put the world to right.  One topic of discussion was around just how important riding is to us and that while we're riding we're only focusing on that - everything else is unimportant - relaxing while still giving our brains a workout.  Jeez we are deep.

We then had to suffer our own short stretch of SH1 before one final dash over Vinegar Hill - I felt a little sorry for my tyres...Then it was back to my place where we finally got that coffee.

Damn it's good to be free again!


  1. Nice run! It really is good for the soul, isn't it? Never much traffic over the routes you normally take anyway but I went to Auckland on the bike yesterday. A mix of back roads, main roads and motorway and I was surprised how light the traffic was on the motorway.

    1. Damn good for you alright!

      Not much traffic out the back of Taihape and even SH1 wasn't crazy. I like a little traffic to hide in on the main road...