Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Icecream in Porangahau

 Late last week we knew we were going riding, the question was just where?  Turakina Valley was suggested initially, but then Colin mentioned heading out East again to do that great loop out Waihoki Valley.  But I'd actually had some other Eastern roads tumbling around inside my head...

Saturday was chosen based on the weather forecast and this turned out to be the right call as it ended up being a nice sunny day whereas Sunday became very windy with some rain later in the afternoon.

So, over a coffee before we left, I proposed my cunning plan and surprisingly the KTM rider seemed keen, so off we went.

Naturally the ride began with a sedate skid over the track before taking the usual "gravel entre" of Tararua Road before a short pause in Pahiatua to get gassed up for the day's excursion.

Riding off towards Pongaroa I checked the clock on the bike it seemed that we were a bit early for a lunch stop in Pongaroa so at the summit above Makuri I turned off to lead Colin through Rimu Road.  Well, it wasn't quite as windy as the day Steve got blown off the road, but it was close.  We fair wobbled our way down the hill (getting pushed all over the road) until we were out of the wind and back onto the seal just South of Pongaroa.  Five minutes later we were safely inside the pub ordering burgers.

After lunch we began the next section of our ride with the sublime Coast Road.  Don't tell the roading guys, but this bit of gravel is always in good condition and allows for a nice wee clip.  A few more cars on it than usual this time...





Turning back inland from Akitio we made our way back towards Route 52 (Pongaroa-Weber section), but turned off onto Esdaile Road which offers a gravel shortcut to the Weber-Wimbledon section of Route 52.  It's a neat ride too and I spotted another gravel road heading off it that didn't have a no exit sign on it so this may need investigating at a later date...


Just a bit further up the road was our next turn-off.  Franklin Road is a road that heads off into some pine forest and recently they're been hauling a fair bit of wood out of there.  There were definitely less trees than last and the trucks had created some fairly decent ruts in the softer bits of the road.  We were a little lucky that there hadn't been any rain in the last couple of days.




Franklin Road eventually runs out where it crashes into Birch Road East.  A left here will take you back almost to Weber but the right takes you East and back to Route 52 between Wimbledon and Porangahau.  On this trip the road was a bit more churned up than I've seen it with some reasonable pot holes, puddles and the odd slippery bit.  Gently goes it on the big girl...


We were still up reasonably high and there's some good views to be had if you can be bothered looking...





Arriving in Porangahau, an orange bike rapidly passed me and then laid on the anchors outside the local dairy.  Apparently we needed icecream - and it was good...

Just up the hill (an Old Hill) we had a quick er, photo stop before the great gravel of Old Hill Road got us back onto the seal of Porangahau Road.







I think it was at lunch, or maybe at icecream, I dunno, but, I'd suggested to Colin that after Porangahau why don't we just take the next no exit gravel road and see if it got us home or hopelessly lost.  The next road turned out to be Wallingford Road and I've definitely ridden it before but not for some time.  At least I wasn't lost yet.


Wallingford Road eventually got us onto Ugly Hill Road.


And when we hit Ngahape Road I recognised the school so no, I was definitely not lost!


Eventually we got onto a lot more familiar roads and ended up in Dannevirke after a short bit of Weber Road.  A quick flick down SH2 and then we were off the main drag again through Hopelands and back onto SH2 into Mangatainoka.

In Mangatainoka, I initially missed the turn I wanted but eventually got us onto Ruawhata and then Ridge Road for our last bit of gravel.  After finding some quite deep and slippery stuff we got back out onto the seal for that last squirt back over the track and home.

Great little ride and nice to finally see a bit more spring weather...


Monday, October 18, 2021

More rubber wrangling

 It seems like I'm doing tyres every other weekend - and there's a set waiting to go onto the Connie...

But, with a few decent rides coming up the old E-07 (standard version) was starting to look a little sad.

Maybe another 1,000km or so in it but...

So, after a trip to secure a Dakar front from my not quite so local tyre supplier (Glen), I was in a bit of a rush to get the new hoop on before the weekend.  So into it then...

I almost hate to say it, but I might actually be starting to get the hang of it.  I managed to get the old tyre off (even multi-tasking by yapping on the phone at the same time) and new one on pretty quickly.  The only trouble I had was getting the new tyre back onto the bead.

After trying a few times with a tank full of air and the compressor working overtime, I ended up putting straight detergent around the bead and giving it another shot.  All the slipperyness finally did the trick and we were back in business.

The new tyre definitely looks a bit better than the old one...


Oh, and if you're interested in what the difference is between the standard E-07 and the Dakar version is:

If only the idiot importer would bring in the Dakar version of the rear...

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Riversdale Loop

 Ok, so this has been a while coming due to laziness...and a wee bit of riding...

About three weeks ago Colin and I joined a led ride down in the wilds of Wairarapa.  Far too early in the morning, I set off over the Track and down through Mangamire towards the ride (well, for me anyway) start at Carterton.

Tooling into Eketahuna, I realised I was around an hour early so took a we detour up Mangaoranga Road before turning left onto Mangamahoe Central Road.  These mint bits of gravel eventually got me back onto seal just North of Mauriceville.

Missing the turn-off to bypass Masterton, I had to find another way to get around the township before the final haul to Carterton.

In Carterton, I gassed up and parked next to a guy on a BMW to ask if he was on the same ride as me.  He initially said yes but then worked out that no, he was on a different ride with some of Geoff's IAM mates.  I didn't want to go riding with that sort of dodgy crowd so pottered on up the road to find the proper meeting point.

It seems like the Manawatu riders get up a bit earlier as there were two other bikes (I'd passed them earlier at the bottom of the track) from around here already parked up.  I had plenty of time to take a layer off as the sun had also managed to get out of bed for once.  Some time later a familiar bloke rocked up on an unfamiliar bike.

Still orange

Shiny new 890

Yeah, a 890 had followed Colin home earlier in the week...

And look at all the other motorbicycles!  Chevvy is even in there somewhere on his DR too.



Getting underway, we made our way East out through Gladstone and towards the coast.  Our first bit of gravel was on Kaiwhata Road.  Through here I tucked in behind Colin and we had a bit of fun on some of the deeper gravel before dropping down through the pines and onto the fast Homewood Road into Riversdale.


Just before arriving at Riversdale, Colin had to do cornerman duty, so I beat him there and managed to beat the masses to the pies 😁




After lunch we were led back away from the coast and then off into some forestry tracks which apparently had only just been reopened for public access.  

These were a real hoot but pine needles plus what was probably a clay surface underneath make for some interesting riding at times.  That 80/20 Shinko broke loose quite a few times when on the gas scrambling up the odd wee rise - I really should have had a camera pointed out the back.





At the end of the gravel, Colin and I said cheerio to the other guys and turned North towards Eketahuna.  Of course, I had to show Colin those roads I'd done in the morning...


In Eketahuna, it was time for afternoon tea so the local cafe got invaded again and some caffeine liberated.

Not quite having had enough of a gravel fix, we needed to take in our favourite route to Managamire and the track.  The gravel was indeed good and we fair flew up there with just the odd gust of wind making things a little exciting.

A quick squirt over the track got us back to Palmy where the orange bike turned South and the blue one pottered home for a wee rest.  A nice day out and a warm hello to spring finally...


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Monday, September 13, 2021

Busting out

Well, sort of...

Unlike Geoff and his Jaffa mates, most of the country has been let of jail and can now do more important things like ride motorbicycles.  So how to celebrate this?  A decent hoon on the Connie, covering as much as the free North Island as possible?  Flipping stones far and wide on the Tenere.  Or, rarking it up on a trail ride on the 450?

Yeah, there's one option missing there - puttering around the valley on the mightiest of mouses.

I dunno why, but on Sunday I wasn't really hankering for a big ride and really missed the little bike, so after a quick visit to the olds and a top up with some ridiculously expensive fuel (you should not be able to fit $27 worth of fuel in a 250!), I went for a little meander out behind Colyton.


After nearly heading up Finnis Road, I did a quick U-turn to go and explore the top end of Taonui Road and then onto Pollock Road.  Pollock Road was nice and fast (well, I was on the WR) gravel which ran up a valley before climbing out of the valley and ending up on Ridge Road.

Turning right, I followed Ridge Road until it actually became Finnis Road and rode a wee bit of Finnis until it became Zig Zag Road.  And then I needed a rest.  Warning mega WR250 porn below:








After a short section of seal on Valley Road the next gravel was Midlands Road.  The fast climb up the small rise was a lot of fun before dropping down a little into some more windier stuff on Watershed Road.  And then it was all over...probably just under 100km for the whole ride...

About 75km of very expensive fuel missing from the tank.

So, an itch was scratched but that itch ain't going away...