Thursday, December 28, 2023

A dusty end

... to 2023

A couple of days after Christmas and still getting used to this holidaying lark, a ride was needed.  And there just happened to be a local World Raid T7 needing an introduction to gravel.  And Colin and I were just the guys to show Dave some of our favourite bits of the local countryside.

I thought that I had left home early, but when I hit the gravel of Tararua Road and noticed a couple of pairs of skid marks coming out of most of the corners I knew that the chaps might be a wee bit earlier than me.  I didn't muck around through there or over the hill into Pahiatua but they still managed to get there ahead of me and were dealing to pies and things when I got there.

Leaving Pahiatua we actually ran into some rain which hitched a ride with us all the way to the Pori Road turn-off and up to the usual photo stop.

Pori Road was plenty of fun and soon we were back on the seal for the short hop to Waihoki Valley Road.  Yeah, we were definitely showing Dave some of our favourites.  This time there were no deer to chase off the road and the riding was good.

After warning Dave of one of the nasty little surprises that Spur Road has to offer the unwary rider, we were back into it and had a great ride up the hill and down the other side to Coast Road.  From here we turned right and enjoyed the always fast gravel through to Akitio.  

Somewhere here I lost the guys as they stopped to look at 4 wheeled things while I carried on.  By the time I realised that they weren't there I'd crossed the bridge just out of the village and had a reasonable amount of time to get some pics.

From here, Esdaile Road got us across to Route 52 again and while Dave and I turned off onto Franklin Road to head into the pine forest, Colin carried on for a wee bit more of 52 before realising his mistake.

It turned out this his was not the only navigational error of the day as when we hit Birch Road East I turned off in the wrong direction (or read the coin toss wrong?) and we did a slightly different loop than planned.  This took us back towards Weber instead of Wimbledon.

The last time we had been out on these roads (and not even blogged the ride I think) we had experienced some really muddy conditions.  Things were a lot dryer this time around and in some places some reasonably large rocks had been laid down in what must have been some pretty muddy conditions.  The logging trucks had squished these in quite nicely but it was still a bit like riding a river bed or over some particularly nasty cobblestones.

Eventually we ran out of rocks and got back onto some decent gravel where one could be a bit more confident and perhaps hook an extra gear or two.  Until perhaps the rider got a little too confident...

Coming down a short descent and turning into a left hander, I looked in my mirrors and there were no other bikes hounding me.  This was a little bit unusual so as I came out of the corner I chanced a wee look behind my shoulder... and then, splat!

I dunno what was going on (probably just a dumb mistake) but the poor wee bike went down on its left hand side and biffed me into the dust.  I was up in 5 milliseconds and so was the bike which was no worse for wear other than the crash bars bent in a little so they touched the fairing.  The Yamaha bars are obviously not that strong.  Colin and I soon bent them back out to prevent any rubbing on the plastic.  Not the usual sort of riding style I prefer...

Tenere markings to the right of Daves bike

Back on the bikes and we soon were popping out on Route 52 and discovering that wee navigation error...

Too bad, we turned left and hammered the tar through to Wimbledon and Porangahau where we had hoped to get a nice lunch at the pub.  It turned out that unless we wanted a box of beer then we were out of luck.  Across the road the dairy was doing a roaring trade and we managed to find drinks and grub to sort us out.

After our latish lunch we started our trip home via Old Hill Road before hooking onto some sweet seal to another of our normal viewing spots.

More back roads got us to the Saddle and then back to my place for a coffee.  Another good ride to end the year on.  When's the next holiday?

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Xmas Trail Ride

 Yesterday was the Bush Riders Xmas Trail ride.  Today I am sore...

Totally worth it!

The ride was just 40mins ute drive from my place and by the time I got there, there were plenty of vehicles parked up and bikes being unloaded.  I parked between two very flash utes towing even flasher trailers, one of them had led lighting and a fridge was keeping the drinks cool.  I had ice in my camel-bak...

After the rider briefing (where we were warned of wet slippery grass), we were led out on the opening 15km+ lap and I can confirm that the grass was slippery - for those that don't know, a 450 goes sideways on this stuff when you think of touching the throttle or changing gear.  Yes, it is still fun.

After a pretty quiet first lap, I didn't stop back at the pits but carried on into my second lap with the grass just the a little bit less slippery - a couple of hundred bikes had kinda fixed that.  As I made my way around I kept an eye out for a decent spot to take some photos, have a breather and kill some gorse.

BTW: the chap in the first two pics below must have been in his sixties and he's riding a TS185 that was probably over 40 years old too!

Ending lap two, I pulled into the pits for a more decent breather.  It was definitely hot work out there and I needed to get my breath back a bit.  This stop turned into an early lunch where I was more interested in getting water in than the tucker.

Back out onto lap three and I was riding a lot better and was pretty quick on the quick bits and not making too many mistakes elsewhere but I was already starting to feel it a bit.  There was one really bumpy hill climb that you really felt through the arms and of course my legs were tiring too.  But I was still having fun.

After that lap I had a quick stop again in the pits, using fuel as an excuse.  I only put about 4L in the bike so it was a pretty flimsy excuse as the bike carries just under 10L with it's upgraded tank.

Anyway, I made it a quick stop as I found that the longer you stayed stopped, the more things start hurting.  Lap 4 was a cracker with some good pace but by the time I had dealt with that hill climb and some of steep descents I figured that was enough for me.  Probably just under two hours riding all up.

Back at the ute, I quickly loaded up so I could then get out of my hot, sweaty gear and start rehydrating in earnest.  It was hot.  And it was a hot drive home to a hot house and an afternoon consisting of not much...

Still, awesome fun.  Love these trail rides and getting out on the yella terra!

Monday, December 18, 2023

Sunday Saunter

So, yesterday it was raining in Colin's neck of the woods but it wasn't here and I didn't care anyway so decided to zip up to Taihape to catch up with Glen.

After a nice little warm up around the Manawatu Scenic Route (including a couple of lovely sections of un-signposted new seal) I hit the cruise control for the short bit of SH1 and rolled on into catch up with Glen - who wasn't there ☹️.  Oh well, never mind, I grabbed a quick lunch at the Scottish restaurant and worked out a new plan.

After opening all the vents on my gear I carried on North in a reasonable breeze to Waiouru and then turned off towards Ohakune.  Rather than take in the delights of 'kune, I decided to turn down Fields Track and make for the Paras.

Fields Track was a hoot on the Tiger, its great handling did a great job of all the narrow, bumpy and windy roads.  As it was a fairy (ahem) leisurely cruise I made time for a few photo stops.

Popping out onto the Paras, it was time to start making my way homeward.  The Paras were their usual fun (except for the 3 sets of traffic lights still in place) but one bee/wasp spoiled my day a little when he decided to enter my helmet and give my nose a seeing to.  With nowhere to easily pull over I had to put up with him for a while before finally pulling over outside the Kakatahi School.  My crappy eyes couldn't find a sting so I just ignored my nose and carried on.

Just South of Upo I turned off for the normal Okoia shortcut through to Fordell and another quick photo stop to take more pics of the pretty new bike.

From there it was onto Turakina Valley Road to make my way to Marton.  Along the way there was time for some more pics of a crouching Tiger by a bridge.

Just out of Marton the fuel warning came on and the bike informed me that there was about 62km left in the tank.  This would have just got me home but as our servo is currently in pieces, that could of been a problem.  Putting 26L or so in at Marton fixed that little problem and a quiet cruise home via Halcombe and Colyton got me home just after 3pm.  Nice little ride of around 350km with the bike now having about 1,500 km on it and no chicken strips...