Yep, I was glad I removed my "waterproof" liner from my jacket yesterday - and I should have done the same with my trou too...
Yesterday was a public holiday and I'm sure the idea there is to give you more time for getting a ride in, so that's what we did.
Colin and Adi (on his new-to-him Wee) turned up just before 9am and we set our sights on the Napier-Taihape Road.
Two things you can be sure of on the last day of a long weekend is oodles of traffic and radar buddies. For these reasons (mainly reason #1) we decided to take as many back roads as possible and get the little bit of SH1 done in the morning so headed for Taihape first.
Crossing over to Cheltenham we straight away encountered a fair bit of traffic making their way over Vinegar Hill so I led us off to Kimbolton, and through Rangiwahia, finally joining SH1 at Mangaweka. This was a great little warm-up as the road was nice and dry and very clean of it's usual loose metal, fallen branches and live stock. It was only the last section "past the bluffs" that had rocks, dust and dirt on the road - it is never not like that. No ice to worry about either Adi...
The short stretch of SH1 got us into Taihape where the petrol station was doing a roaring trade in gas and coffees. Plenty of bikes and some harleys there too.
Leaving Taihape, Colin took the led and I tucked in behind Adi for the cruise over Spooners Hill and onto the Napier-Taihape Road.
After the first descent to the old bridge I somehow sneaked past the Wee and set off after the GS. Some of the best tarmac in the North Island got us to the usual stop - although there was a lot less snow around than last time.
|We weren't the only guys with the right idea...|
Rest over, we got back into it only to discover that the rest of the road was just as delicious. I really enjoyed the tighter sections and it was a much better experience than what we (well, me anyway) had on the NI800 when we were heading into the setting sun.
|Well, yes it is.|
After another wee stop we hit the last section of the the Napier-Taihape. I am pleased to inform the readers that it was just as glorious as the rest. I did manage to scare some of the wildlife though...
Dropping down into Fernhill we made our way across through Bridge Pa to a very warm Havelock North where we parked up at one of the pubs for lunch. I may have demolished a Kangaroo burger...
After losing the guys while I grabbed some fuel, we regrouped and headed South on Kahuranaki Road to Elsthorpe and Patangata before hooking a left on SH2 at Waipawa. A short stretch of SH2 got us to the start of the Takapau Plains before we turned off again to take the backroads through to Takapau and onwards South to our new hillside photo stop.
Yep, Colin and I had just been here a couple of weeks ago...
Another stop in Dannevirke got the Beemer & Wee some gas and the riders a coffee to get them home. We then got really boring again and followed the same route through to Pahiatua and over the track again - but at least we kept off the main drag!
Great day for a ride and I was really glad to have opened all my vents at lunchtime - those liners are coming out of my trou ASAP. The Napier-Taihape Road is definitely one of the best riding experiences in the North Island - full stop.