Tuesday, May 25, 2021

An old favourite

 After missing out on a ride the previous weekend, we really needed to get a decent fix in this past Saturday.  During the week Colin announced that we were riding Turakina Road and then some more of our favourite gravel from the Napier-Taihape road through Pukeokahu, back out to SH1 just North of Utiku.  We've done this one so often that I can just reuse an old map 😉

So, with Colin doing all of the extensive planning (including the invites to others), all I had to do was get through a week at work and check the tyres on the Tenere.  Perhaps I shouldn't have looked too closely at the rear...

Dust on tyre actually makes it look like it had tread...

Yeah, a slick really - the WR's Motoz makes it look pretty sad...

Saturday eventually arrived and come 8:30 I was ambling my way over to Sanson where Colin was already waiting - I know he had a coffee, but cannot confirm whether or not there was a pie involved.  Shortly we were joined by Steve on his GSA.  I hadn't ridden with Steve since the old BRR days so it was great he could come along.  Last to arrive was John, on a KTM just about ready for its first service.

We eventually got away and headed off into what was shaping up to be a pretty nice day.  Heated grips were still required but as you can see from the first picture from Turakina Valley Road, the sun was out and making a pretty decent attempt at warming things up.

Turning up the valley for the first sealed section, it was great to get off the main road and onto an outstanding back road.  But just around the corner (well, not the first corner) there was a surprise in store for us.

Now, I know you can see two bikes stopped in the road in the second photo but can you see the feathers in the first one?

Well, they belong to the bloke you see below:

Yep, a peacock decided to take on a Colin and was headbutted into submission...it will not be doing that again.

These jokers are pretty heavy (Wikipedia says 4-6kg for the males) and he hit Colin's bike on the top of his clip on wind-deflector (smashing it) before hitting Colin directly in the face.  The damn bird wasn't going that slow either.

Some science (momentum): p = mv ==> 6kg x 100km/h = 166.7kg m/s  ==> big whack to the noggin...

Luckily Colin managed to keep the bike upright as he hauled up to see what had just given him the headache from hell.  He was fairly lucky...

We had a little break for a while to make sure Colin was ok and to clean (well, he did that, we watched) all the goop off his helmet and after he had scoffed a few panadol, we set off again.

A wee bit further up the road we came to an inviting sign:

Yep, well and truly into the good stuff now.

Following Steve

All the way up the valley the road was in pretty fast condition, the only downer was some pretty heavy corrugations out of some of the slower corners.  Nobody really liked these but I have to say, with a dodgy rear tyre they were definitely not as much fun as they might have been - very hard to get decent drive out of the corners.  You might be able to spot some of these corners in the video later and note how I'm pretty slow out of the corners but the new camera is pretty good and dampening out the vibration that runs through the whole bike...

Anyway, the corrugations were not enough to make me want to turn tail and make for home because the rest of the ride up the valley was magic and the scenery stunning.

Along the way, in the middle of a right-hander there was a most interesting item:

Pic stolen from off the web

Yes, there really was a fork in the road and I wasn't the only one who saw it - a chocolate fish to anyone who can spot it on the video.  I chose to go right at the fork...

Back to the scenery:

Reaching the end of the road we stopped for a quick photo before cruising into Waiouru for lunch at our normal place.

Note damaged wind deflector on the 1090

Steve's souvenir hanging in there

And here's the video of the ride up the valley:

The after lunch ride involved a sweet tarmac fang across to the summit of the Napier-Taupo with my rear tyre just hanging in there and then we were back onto more fantastic gravel.

We didn't even stop for a breather until we came to Pukeokahu where everyone had pretty much the same thing to say about the ride - awesome!

One last section of tighter yet still delicious gravel got us through to Torere Road for a little sealed sprint back out to SH1.

On SH1 we were amazed to be passed by a Harley, but then we were, of course, behaving ourselves.  I wonder if he was enjoying SH1 as much as we enjoyed our magic gravel back roads?  For the record, SH1 sucks!

One last squirt got us over Vinegar Hill and in Colyton we waved John off, in Bunnythorpe it was Steve who left us.  Colin followed me home before making his way home and I was probably sitting in front of the fire before he got home...

Another damn good day out and there is a tyre on its way...


  1. My new secret super power is head butting large birds out of the sky.

    1. Not so secret, you can lead the rides for the near future...

  2. That was lucky escape for Colin...not so much for the woodpecker. Motorcycle riding has become a little fraught with danger of late LOL

  3. I had a fly over by a peacock on Friday up the Waitotora Valley road as well, but no where near as close as that...
    We also noticed the Halo around the sun as in your 2nd to last photo at Pukeokahu. It was very impressive. Unfortunately we were in a car :(

    1. Seems to be a few peacocks around these parts whereas in Central/Lower HB it's turkeys for Africa...