Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Rinse and repeat

Saturday was an absolutely magnificent winter's day: still, sunny and reasonably warm.  What a fantastic day to muck around at home and ignore the bikes...Even better - listening to the pouring rain as I nodded off in bed that night!

Naturally it was still raining in the morning.  But as the morning progressed we started to get the odd break in the weather and I managed to walk the dog without getting wet.  Come lunchtime there was still the odd wee shower but I was starting to climb the walls and needed to get out.  By oneish I decided that the weather wasn't going to stop me so wheeled out the T7 and clambered into my Klim gear.

A few spits  of rain followed me up the road to the servo but as I headed out the valley things continued to improve and eventually I was riding under blue skies again.  Given all the rain I decided that I'd take in exactly the same ride as the previous weekend just because I really enjoyed it and wanted to sample it on a different horse.

Watershed and Midland Roads were the muddiest due to the same lack of metal on the road that I'd experienced the weekend before and I was certainly a bit more cautious on the heavier bike - it did tend to move around a bit more on the soft stuff.

For some reason I really enjoyed the drop down Finnis Road into Pohangina - perhaps it was the better engine braking and brakes on the T7, I dunno.  Anyway, this meant that the delicious bit of gravel just out of Pohangina came next.

Yeah, that was fun.  Same thing with the next bit of gravel that took me to the end of Pohangina Road and onto Makoura Road.  More gravel in great nick - have I mentioned that winter gravel is the best?

Just up the road, I decided that I should probably pause for some pics.  I'd noticed that nice looking farm house across the valley the weekend before - shame that phones aren't really cameras and I couldn't zoom in a tad. 


The trip back along Ridge Road was another good wee blast and as I was following last weekends route so was Midland and Watershed Road,  This time around I decided to capture those two crackers on video.

I'd left my ride on the ride a fair bit later than the last one but was home by around 4 just as the skies were turning a wee bit less friendly - nice timing.

Another great ride, but perhaps I should go somewhere different next weekend...

Monday, June 17, 2024

A Magic Mousecapade

The weather was supposed to be a bit dodgy over the weekend, it being winter I 'spose, but after walkies on Sunday the sun was actually out and while it was a bit chilly, the rain appeared to be holding off.  Right, better get a skid in then...

A few weekends ago the Mighty WR had a bit of a birthday and I'd kinda been hanging out to find an excuse to give it some exercise.  A bit of rain during the week also promised nicely settled gravel and even perhaps the prospect of some mud!  A trip up the valley beckoned.

After getting some fuel, I made my way to the closest bit of gravel.  This involved following another loaded up Adv bike (no idea who he was but he wasn't fast enough to outrun the WR) out of Ashhust and then up Ulysses Road which has tragically had the top gravel section sealed recently.

At the top, he went left while I turned right onto the gravel section of Watershed Road.  And was it good?  Yes, it was!  There was actually very little gravel and in some places there was dirt showing through, occasionally this was deliciously slippery to keep me on my toes.

I was grinning almost straight away and starting to remember what a great little bike I was on.  It is so easy to ride and very forgiving as you can manhandle it all over the place, catch slides easily and in places where the big bikes are a handful or slow. the little bike is just easy.  The Motoz Desert H/T rubber is perfect on the bike too.

Eventually I dropped off the ridge and down into Pohangina do I could go up one side of the valley and then return down the other side.  It also meant I could take in one of my favourites:

Somewhere after I hit the short seal section I got a fairly decent scare when a pheasant flew across my bows.  It was that close that I got hit in the face (visor up) my small stones and dust that were coming out of its feathers - it must have been having a dust bath when I disturbed it.

Next up was the short bit of Makoura Road to take me across towards Apiti.  More good gravel with a quick photo stop at the bridge.

By now it was about 12pm and I was kinda keen to head back for some lunch, but naturally, I'd not had enough gravel so it was time for Ridge Road.

There was a bit more gravel on the road but it was still awesome fun on the little bike.  Cue video number two:

Following the Ridge, I eventually got back onto Finnis Road and reversed my earlier ride through to the Ulysses Road turn-off and then home for lunch.

A great little ride of somewhere just over 130km and a fantastic average speed of (including stops) of about 53km/h.  Go the little WR!

Monday, June 10, 2024

The Project

Ok, so I hinted that I was undertaking a project.  Don't worry, it's not too strenuous and won't stop me riding all over the countryside.  In fact it might very well encourage me to carry on riding all over the countryside...

On the Adventure Rider forum there is a Photos subforum where there are all sorts of threads featuring "your bike somewhere or other" or "your bike next to a" and things like that.  I post in a few of them from time to time but decided to start my own.

Dairy pays for my riding (and the pies) and with about a billion old dairy factories around NZ - I know, I've ridden past a bunch, now I just have to find them all again...

So, I've created the thread (and so far nobody else has shown a lot of interest 🤣) and posted up about four local ones and created a GoogleMap that will hopefully capture a few more old factories over time.

Here's my pics so far (more info in the Adv Rider thread):

Anyway, on yer bike and join in...

Sunday, June 09, 2024

Saturday sojurn

Saturday was a cracker and with the weather supposed to be turning bad I decided that I needed to get a ride in.

On last week's ride, we'd finished up really early and as we were coming back from Dannevirke I couldn't help but being drawn to the sight of Wharite sticking out from the ranges.  I was very tempted to lead the crew up there but it may have made Andy late and there was also a chance of a dousing as there were plenty of clouds hanging out up there.  Oh well, another day...

So, yep, Wharite was my target.  I pictured a quick trip to the top and then a pie in Woodville and home.  A quick little blast in the late morning sunshine...

I was also in the mood for playing with different GoPro mounting options.  (Reviewing the footage later, I got a bit moody about the missing sound in some of the videos).

The ride up the hill was pretty nice except for the sun hiding a lot of the corners.  This knocks the pace back (funny that) a bit as does the skinny road that often has a bit of traffic on it.

But still, I made it up to the views...

Then it was time for the descent and a different camera position.

Back on the flat, it was not quite lunchtime so I decided that I'd go for a bit more of a wander, work on a little project of mine (more in another post) and then get that pie in Pahiatua.

The cow may be a giveaway...

After crossing SH2, I made my way through Hopelands and towards Millers Road where I'd take in that neat bit of gravel before heading into Pahiatua.  Along the way though, I noticed another wee road disappearing off to the left.  

I'd ridden past it a few times before and wondered where it went (with at least some inling) and as you can see from the map, I did ride past it again before doing a 180 and checking it out.  Pahaheke Road soon went to gravel and after hooking onto a few more roads (again following my nose a bit), I hit Makairo Track and confirmed my "inkling".

Being alone and not in the mood for dropping a T7 off the side of Makairo Track, I decided to skip what would have been a fairly adventurous ride and popped out at another old building.

There's that cow again...

Now it was time for that lovely Millers Road:

Well, that was fun, now to find a pie...

And that turned out to be a bit of a disappointment - my pepper steak was only just warm.  At least it didn't kill me overnight...

Time to head home on the most excellent Tararua Road:

That was even funner!  And after a quick squirt over the track, that was the ride.  Cracker of a day and some neat roads.  We now have a cooler route to Makairo track Colin...

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Hooray for winter!

 ...and the delicious gravel it produces!

We had a long weekend this last time around so with three days off were always going to go for a skid somewhere.  Sunday was the day.

I kept the route fairly secret, Colin only knew that we were making our way down towards Eketahuna for our fuel stop and then from there he knew nothing and apparently, didn't care...

Andy was also coming with us but had something important on the go later in the day so we decided on an early start to get in as much riding as possible.  So, I was forced to get up early on a Sunday morning - but at least it was for a ride and noting silly like work or something...

I met the guys at the bottom of the track just before 8 and Colin and I made pretty good progress over the hill on wet roads.  Apparently we got away on Andy a bit and he didn't see me waiting at the bottom of the hill where I waited until I thought he would have seen me before charging after Colin.  Oops!

Never mind, he worked it out and caught up to me when I stopped at the next turn before we both took after the other KTM rider.

At the next turn, Colin actually let me past and I lead us onto our first gravel.  Our first taste of gravel was in some reasonably deep stuff but as there'd been rain, it had settled down quite nicely and it wasn't too long before the confidence levels came up and stones were being flung about a tad.  One tractor driver probably barely had time to lift his hand of the wheel to wave before the three of us had stormed past him.  And the gravel only got better after that...

In Eketahuna we stopped for some juice (just under 18L for me for the just over 400km the bike had done on that tank) and to express our heart-felt displeasure at the road conditions...

From Eke, we turned off SH2 to pick up some of our favourite fast gravel on Mangaoranga Road but at the next turn we went right instead of the normal left at Mangamahoe Central Road to take us back toward Mauriceville.

Rather than run through Mauriceville we took Dreyers Rock Road (which is all seal but a great ride great ride) over to Route 52 to carry on South.  I think it was somewhere on 52 where we disturbed a hawk having the meal of his life - a turkey that must have had an argument with a car.  We also nearly took out some lycra clad turkeys who owned the road somewhere along the way too - the hawks would have had a field day if we'd clipped one of them...

Our next turn took us off towards Bideford and eventually got us out onto some more magnificent gravel that got us to our first and only proper photo op.

Dropping down the hill, we were back on 52 for about 1km before snagging Bartons Line so we could get more gravel in before we hit Alfredton.

Pori Road was next on the list and doing it in the South to North direction means that you get a really good hill climb.  This was great fun too with the only excitement being the need to dodge a kid (4 legged type) who was terribly surprised by the rapid arrival of a T7 with an 890 sniffing at its heels.  Both Colin and I somehow managed to avoid it.  I reckon if it had been a sheep we would have got it (and some ouchies), goats seem to have a lot more sense than those dopey woolly suckers.

With the need to get Andy back in time for his hot date, Pori Road had been the point where I planned for us to head back to Pahiatua for lunch and then maybe a blast over Tararua Road to finish off the ride but we'd made such great progress that I had to come up an extension to my plan.

Instead of turning left at the Makuri Gorge, we went right and then leapt onto some more magnificent gravel on Coonoor Road.  This bit was an absolute blast - the rain during the week really had settled all of the gravel down nicely and there was plenty of front end grip for some decent power slides in places.  I was fizzing - and even considered Makairo Track for a minute but we perhaps need to check it out on the WR's as it can be a bit challenging...

The last bit of gravel on Waitahora Road was actually the "boniest" with some decent sized stuff that just wasn't as settled as the rest - at least it slowed us down for the coming sealed sections 😜.

Back on the seal, we cruised on into Dannevirke where we found some premium parking before having an average lunch (but nice coffee eh Col).

After our early(!) lunch it was time to head homewards via the usual sealed back roads.  I gave Whariti a good look as we neared the turn-off and was pretty keen to head up there but apparently Andy's life wouldn't be worth living if he was late home...

Absolutely mint ride and man the little T7 was an absolute blast on that perfect gravel!

Look at that smile!