Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ten Years!


And 1,189 Posts!  Who'd a thunk?

Back '06 I didn't even know what a blog really was and didn't have much of an idea on what I was going to do with this thing: the inaugural post.

Since then over the 1,100 odd posts I've kinda got the type of content I like to write about sorted and have been boring a small number of readers quite successfully...What has been great is the interaction with some of these innumerable dedicated Banditrider followers - it's fantastic to get the odd comment and it's also meant that I've discovered a lot of other great blogs to read (see list on Blog) and even learned a few things...

So, over the last ten years I've got even more involved in riding: competing in more endurance events, organising group rides, learning some basic maintenance and farkle installation, discovering gravel and adventure riding.  I love it all and after a bit of a head scratch and a consultation of some old spreadsheets have put about bang on 200,000km on two wheels since that first blog across the below beauties:






Not pictured is my '02 Bandit which was in turn replaced with the '06 one and between them they gave me the name for the blog.  With both Bandits now gone and the Connie now having done over twice as many miles as their combined mileage the name perhaps doesn't fit.  I have toyed with the idea of changing the name of the Blog but have no idea what's involved there or what it will do to any old links - not to mention whether it will mean the loss of all my dedicated followers...

What I do know is that I've enjoyed sharing my ramblings and I'm looking forward to having a lot more fun on two wheels and raving about it to whoever will listen read.


What next?  Watch this space...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Scrubbing in

So after all the recent maintenance (if you call tyres and oil maintenance?) on the Connie it was time to let her off the leash and go for a decent run.

The weather in Palmy was quite nice but I didn't really have a plan in mind.  I was even considering going a decent distance and spending the night somewhere - but where?  I quick check of KB and I spotted Al's tag so thought that I could at least grab it and then find another new one somewhere along the way...


On the way across I remembered spotted an interesting looking feature that would make a good tag.  Without giving too much away (at least not yet - read on), it's nowhere near Al's tag so now all I had to do was think about finding a decent sort of a route to go get it...

First part of mission accomplished...
Having found the tag out near Halcombe, I carried on to SH1 and turned towards Taihape.  I stuck to a very sedate cruise but only saw one cop - I did manage to pass a Prius though and that's always worth a snigger.

In Taihape I stopped to flick on the cameras (turn the wireless on so the remote could drive them) and headed up Spooners Hill towards the Napier-Taihape road.  Initially the road was an absolute joy and it was also in very good condition.  Time to sort those new tyres out...

One of the things I wanted to do was film the drop down one of the hills into the valley below.  I love this bit of the ride as not only is the riding good but the views across the valley are outstanding.  Climbing back up the other side I decided to just let the camera run as I was having a ball.  But once out on the top I ended up riding flying into a ground hugging cloud which slowed me up a little.

There's a road there somewhere...
On the next descent I shook off the friendly cloud and could once again enjoy the twisties - at least until I crossed over into the Hawkes Bay.  From Kuripapango the roads were damp and then I ran into some really sticky, yucky drizzle which once again put the brakes on things a little.  Eventually it started raining properly and my visibility improved.  The weather in the Bay was definitely not as flash as back home so grips were on and I was contemplating breaking out my new, warmer gloves...


The video below has some of the highlights (including the fog and rain) of the ride across:


The route in my head had me crossing over to the East of Hastings and riding down to Elsthorpe and Patangata before ending with a Route 52 Romp home.  Arriving in Omahu it was just before 12 and I decided that I couldn't be bothered with the traffic around Hastings/Havelock North so I turned South onto SH50.

SH50 turn-off
By now my fuel gauge was telling me off for all the fun on the Napier-Taihape so I attempted to settle into a slower cruise.  My fuel warning came on at about 290km (early) so yes, the Connie had been a little greedy...At Onga I crossed over to Waipawa where it was time for a bite to eat and then find a drink for the bike.  The little KTM I parked next to was ridden by a girl who was loaded for bear - in addition to the top-box she had a ginormous pack on her back...


With a full tank it was off down 52 and I pretty much had the road to myself.  There was a bit of a mess on the road over the hill at Porangahau and naturally plenty of sheep and wreckage on the road to avoid as I cruised down to Pongaroa.

Ain't she purty?


At Pongaroa I turn-off to make my way back towards Pahiatua.  Time for some more fun as I dropped down into Makuri.


From Makuri it was just a short ride through to Pahiatua and then over the track to home.  A nice little ride of around 525km - so that means that the tyres are about 4-5% worn out now...




Oh, and just in case I haven't put up enough hints about the new tag, here's the picture and a wee map...



Friday, September 23, 2016

Happy Birthday

Well, a slightly belated one.  First tyres now the good stuff...



And now for some action...

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Job done

Yep, the job is finally done.  not only has the Connie finally got two nice new PR4's on but she even flew through her WOF check so is good for another year.  Not bad for an old girl...


The rear tyre actually went on fairly easily so I'm not sure whether I'm getting used to the job or if I was just lucky.  I can however say that the road tyres are easier to get on than Adv ones.


The other day Geoff asked me how many k's I got out of the old set of 4's and it's ended up being just over 10,600km for this set.  Not too bad, especially when considering just how good they grip - particularly in the wet.  I possibly could have run them a little longer (although the front was starting to feel like it was done) but would not have passed the WOF.

It's really hard to show in a photo the wear and difference between old rubber and new - the below shots are about the best I could do of the 2 rears.



I haven't really had a chance to break them in (although maybe later) but I did ride over to Feilding and back yesterday morning and they were fine in the rain...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Half way...

...through another major wrestle...


Yeah, finally getting around to fitting the next set of rubber to the Connie.


This time around I got the tyre off fairly easily and then was really surprised at how easy the new one slipped over the rim.  But then it was time to set the bead...

This proved pretty tricky for some reason and in the end I resorted to pulling the valve out of the stem, letting my compressor work a full head of steam (well, air) and then blow the tyre up.  The bigger volume of air did the trick and I got that satisfying pop as the tyre seated itself properly.  Removing the pump fitting nearly had the wheel and tyre doing a deflating balloon trick - guess there could have been as much as 20 odd litres of air in the tyre...

Valve back in and tyre up to pressure it was time to refit the wheel.

Axle going in
And hey presto, one nice new PR4 on the front!



Oh, and you know what needs to happen next eh...