Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tyre scrubbing

On Saturday Colin took delivery of his new GSA and naturally it had to get to it's first service as soon as possible.  He had got to know it a little on Saturday but that only whet his appetite so we had to see if it would still start on Sunday, get that new rubber scrubbed in and the bike ready to be dropped in for the service on Monday...it's a tough job but someone has to keep him company and make sure he doesn't get into any trouble...

Colin obviously was pretty keen alright as I got a phone call from him while out on an early Sunday morning dog walk.  He was already at my place and ready to go...

Ten minutes later I was back, he was inhaling a coffee and I was pottering around getting the Connie ready and making sure the vents were open on my riding gear - the day was already warming up.

Our first little leg was across to Marton where we both topped up our tanks in preparation for some magnificent tarmac surfing.

No idea why Col is looking so happy

I still love the old girl

From Marton I led us onto Makuhou Road where I'd taken the FRDC MC a month or so ago.  I'm pleased to report that the road was still in fabulous condition and just as fun.  One interesting obstacle along the way was a peacock who'd had an argument with something bigger and faster than him.  They're quite big...

Next up was the short section of sealed Turakina Valley Road to Mangatipona Road where we turned left towards Fordell.  Along the way we got slowed up by some cyclists and a 4WD and two other bikes caught us.  Once we got past the car the other bikes tagged in behind us for a while but we somehow got away on them as we climbed up through some twisties towards Fordell.

The next bit of excitement involved another peacock.  And this time it had it in for me.  It was close, and I probably didn't want it any closer...As is usual with animals, they are determined to cross (and it wasn't even a chook) the entire road rather than turning for the nearer side for an easy escape.  He obviously saw me and did a pretty good road runner impersonation before concluding that I was still lining him up (I was on the picks and heading left) and lighting his JATO bottles to hurl himself into the air.  Well, it worked and there are no feathers on the Connie or skid marks in me jacks...

Turning just past Fordell to bypass Whanganui we zipped through Okoia and then onto SH4 to line up a trip through the Paraparas.  Many delicious corners and zero run-ins with the local wildlife got us up to the Fields Track turn-off and the sprint up the hill to the usual photo stop.

Back on the bikes we carried on riding the Track and generally having a ball.  Geoff, that 55 section rear really has sharpened up the old girl's turn-in - now that I've got my head around it, she's effortless to turn into those slower, tight corners.  Not sure what's happened to the chicken strips...

Out on 49, we turned left and pottered through to Ohakune before turning for Raetihi and lunch at the busy cafe.

Next up was that moment of Zen I mentioned in my last post.  That bit of seal from Raetihi to Pipiriki was absolutely magnificent.  Endless beautiful corners on a mainly clean track, and only one attempted head-butt from a feathered fiend with a death wish.

Continuing South, the road was still mostly perfect, just the odd bit of loose stuff in places and plenty more superb corners to save the middle section of that rear tyre.

And then we had a really unexpected encounter.  At was probably somewhere between 1:30 and 2pm we came up on a beautiful young stag on the road.  Most unusual to see one on what can be a pretty popular weekend route (bikes, campervans and tourists) and I'm pretty sure he was surprised to see us.  

He took one look at the big silver thing bearing down on him, trotted up the road a bit and then tore off into the scrub.  That's two interesting animal encounters that I didn't get on video due to the camera deciding to miss this ride.

At lunch Colin had suggested we stop at the little cafe at Matahiwi.  "What cafe?",  I replied.  I've ridden the River Road heaps of times and never seen a cafe...Turns out there is one and sometimes it's open for business.  I started keeping an eye out for it at Jerusalem but Colin new where he was going and took over, perhaps needing a coffee and leading by his nose?

When we got there, there were two bikes outside and it turned out that between us we knew both of the riders.  Drinks acquired, we sat outside under an umbrella and shot the breeze with Robin and Steve before we all mounted up for the last stretch of the River Road.

Hidden delight

Old river boat

We got a bit held up by some people trying to wrangle some wayward horses (bikes are far more manageable generally) but soon were making decent progress and ensuring that the GSA's new rubber was well and truly scrubbed in.  Another quick photo stop confirmed that everyone had enjoyed the little squirt and we left the other two to it and snaked back down the hill towards SH4 again.

Another trip through Okoia got us to Fordell where the low fuel warning light came up on the Connie after only a miserable 280km - not sure what the issue was there...

This meant that we had to skip repeating the morning's ride (Colin's preference) and so we main-roaded it into Bulls where we found some fuel, de-constructed the ride and managed to agree that we had indeed failed to have a miserable time.  Apparently the new bike is ok too.

Bring on many more days like this!


  1. That's the ticket Andrew! Glad you've discovered the joys of a 55 section. I have yet to experience River Road and other back roads in that area.

    1. Let me know when you're coming around and we'll show you plenty of good tar...or gravel...

  2. Never saw the cafe on that road, you must have been riding too fast me thinks, hmmmm?
    What is it with stupid animals and bikes, there like magnets.
    So hows Col liking the new bike?

    1. Cafe is a little hard to spot or I'm a little blind.

      Pretty sure Colin is liking the bike - it's his about eleventy-third GS...