Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vinegar Hill

Another cracker of a day and though I was supposed to be thinking about heading into town for some Christmas shopping, Sarge had posted a suggestion for a ride in the afternoon and it was just too hard to pass up.

I met up with Sarge and the others at Ashhurst and after a bit of chin wagging we headed off over towards Colyton, Cheltenham and finally Vinegar Hill.  The road was in good nick with just the odd bit of hot tar to look out for.

Once we got back to SH1 we stopped for a bit of a natter before turning around and doing it all again but in the opposite direction.  This time though we stopped in at Cheltenham for a cold drink and some more yarning before finally heading for home.

On the way back Sarge & I swapped bikes (he'd been hassling AFC for a demo ride and hadn't managed to swing it) so I got to sample the FZ-1 on the way into town.  And what an angry little beast it is!  A very willing and snarling engine in a very tight package.  Very easy to ride with it's great riding position and wide bars.  Even the little screen was surprisingly effective at deflecting the wind.  Great fun!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Summer's here

Yep, another absolute cracker of a day out there - should be out on my bike, wait a minute, I just got back from an awesome ride.

I wasn't actually planning on riding today as I've got stuff to do around home but Brian rang me at about 20 to 11 and said he & Chris were heading down to Masterton at about 11 and would I be keen? Well, I sorted myself out and headed off around to Brian's. I got there just after 11 and saw that the house was all shut off - damn, I've missed them.

So I took off, got some gas and headed off over the track and then around to Mangamire - taking the route that Brian had mentioned on the phone. Never saw or caught them up so I kept on going quietly down to Masterton. When I got there I did about 3 laps of the town looking out for them before I had to stop for a cold drink (hot work today) and some lunch.

After my break I headed on out onto Route 52 through to Alfredton, Pahiatua and them home. To say that this was a great ride through here is a massive understatement! The weather was fantastic, great scenery, the roads in good condition and absolute joy to ride. It was just one of those great rides! So good that I never got around to stopping for any pictures so you'll have to make do with some of a bug-splattered bike & helmet (helmet clean before I left). Yep, summer's here alright!

Oh, and BTW: when I got home there was a message on my phone. Turns out Brian was still getting ready to go when I turned up at his place...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Motorcycles Unleashed

Finally got into Te Manawa to check out the "Motorcycles Unleashed" exhibit. Had some fantastic bikes in there - it's always great to see a Britten in the flesh, shame it was stationary. A couple of the guys tried the racing simulator which was actually quite good though it proved to be trickier than it looked when it came to actually riding the thing.

Car Crashers & Beaches

Friday was the last official day of my baby leave so I took the opportunity to make use of the good weather and head out for a ride. It was Daves day off as well and he was keen for a bit of riding.

Dave had worked night shift the night before so we had the gentlemenly start time of 11am. Leaving Ashurst we headed throught the gorge and south to Pahiatua. Here we took to the back roads continuing south towards Masterton. About 15mins out of Masterton we came accross a young girl that had just crashed her car. On a straight bit of road she had managed to hit the bank on the wrong side and the car ended up on it's side in the ditch. She was a bit dazed and had a couple of minor cuts. We checked her out and waited for help to arrive before continuing on to Castlepoint.

We made it to the coast just after 1pm where we had a late lunch before attacking the great bit of road that would take us back to Masterton again.

We stopped for a quick fuel up the back to Ashurst via Mangamire and the Pahaitua track, arriving just before 4pm.

Other that having to deal with the car accident it was a good day out with warm fine weather and some good roads to ride on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Night Ride 21-11-08

Absolutely awesome day in the Manawatu today so not only did I ride the Connie to work (an magnificently thrilling 8km ride reaching speeds of up to 50km/h) but could also not pass up the Friday night ride. Even managed to twist Brian's arm...

Tonight's route was a quick squirt over the saddle, through Balance, and onto Mangamire before heading back over the track into Ashhurst for drinkees & snacks. As mentioned before the weather was perfect although the low sun was a bit of a pain at times. The bugs were out in force too.

All in all it was a great ride with about a dozen or so bikes and a great way to wind up the working week.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Here I am

After some pressure from Andrew I have finally got the folks to take a decent photo of me so thought I had better introduce myself to the world properly.

Connor Matthew 3.28kg, born 09:05 Wednesday 5/11/08

Friday, November 14, 2008

Anti-Harley stand-up

Mini's Return Slideshow

Connor's 1st Blog

Geez, the old man writes up a blog about his first ride after my birth but can't even be bothered posting a picture of me for the world to see.

Well, I'll just have to do it myself. That's me, the one all bundled up checking out Andrew's leather jacket. (I decided to post this pic seeing as I'm still upset at Dad and cause Andrew let me do this blog).

Anyway, I can't wait til Dad can take me for a ride on his big, noisy Bandit...

Birthday Ride

It was a week since Connor had been born and the little dude was telling me that I needed to go for a ride to celebrate his one week birthday. Since the sun was out and all was good on the home front I took up the challenge.

I headed out of Palmy over the Pahiatua Track, through some very sorft tar going down the other side then out through Mangamaire. Once I was back on Highway 2 I truned towards Masterton but a couple of k's down the road I turned left and out onto the back roads that would eventually take me back to Pahiatua. Then I followed the main roads back through the gorge and home.

Only a short run but I got some fresh air and blew out a few cobwebs.

On another note I purchased some Oxford heated handlebar grips on Trademe and they turned up in the mail. Shouldn't need them for the summer but they will be on before the Southern Cross next year. I must be getting soft!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Headlights On

Saw an item on TV and then the below on the web about LTNZ thinking of making lights-on compulsory in New Zealand to help other motorists see bikes better and avoid hitting them. I'm not really for or against the idea (and both my bikes give me no option - the lights are already hard-wired on) - but generally prefer people to be free to make up there own mind on things like this.

On other bikes where I had a headlight switch I did tend to run with the lights on but then again I've been hit 4 times by car drivers and each time my light has been on. Having a light on will not stop a car driver from choosing to "not see" or ignore a bike...

No amount of rules & regulations will stop stupid people from doing stupid things - be the master of your own destiny and do not trust anyone else on the road!

Motorcycles Unleashed

Our local museum is currently showing an exhibit featuring a huge range of racing motorcycles. Top of the list to see are the Kiwi-built bikes: the mighty Britten, the Buckley 500GP bikes, McIntosh Suzuki's etc. It's on for quite a while and the displays are going to change every now and again so it could well be worth more than one visit.

Current bike line-up:

Britten Aero-D-0
Britten Pre-Cursor V1000
BEARS Britten V1000
‘World’s Fastest Indian’ Movie Replica
Len Perry’s 1929 Velocette
Hugh Anderson’s 1961 Manx Norton
Dr Rodger Freeth’s 1985 McIntosh Suzuki
Robert Holden’s 1995 Ducati Supermono
1988 BMS Ducati Special (Fast n’
1983 ‘Plastic Fantastic’
1982 Aluminium Monocoque
Buckley Systems GP500 Racers
Thomas Norton Desmodromic ‘Mini-Manx’
BSA MC1 ‘Look-alike’
1974 Ducati ‘Green Frame’
1904 ‘Wall of Death’
Indian Single
1952 Vincent1000 Speedway Sidecar
Ice Speedway Racers
Longtrack Speedway Racer
Flat-track Dirt Racer
Ben Townley’s 2004
1958 JAWA MX
1965 CZ MX

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Idiot wrecking a Connie

Skip to about the 4:50 mark to. Can't understand what was going on...

Concours Review

This one's a little different - from a woman's perspective:

A bike for everyone!

"A big bike that looks this good is something worth smiling about, too. It was rare that I arrived at any destination without admiring looks and conversation. Kawasaki says that only around 1 percent of Concours 14 buyers are women, but I don’t see any reason why an experienced sport-bike rider wouldn’t consider upgrading to the Concours with its precision handling, high styling, and
long-distance comfort."

VTR Status Report

Got the good news today that the VTR is going to be fixed - I didn't really want to see her written off as she hasn't got a lot of k's on the clocks and is in good nick. The repair quote came to $6,800 but the shop valued the bike at $9-9,500 so I just snuck in.

I promptly rang the bike shop and asked if I could pick it up on Friday...

...and got laughed at - damn, I was serious! Basically it's just going to depend on parts availability - anything ex Japan will be 2 weeks. I'm hoping that Honda NZ has good stocks of VTR bits...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New 650 Bandit

Looks like the little Bandit is in for some changes next year. Haven't heard anything about changes to the 1250 - yet. Looks like a few changes to the front of the fairing (wish there was a bigger piccy), quite nice.

CDMTC Interclub Ride

Strangely enough the weekend yielded two fine days in a row and just as I was contemplating firing up the mower, Brian rang to tell me we were going on the CDMTC Interclub ride.

I had all of about quarter of an hour to wolf down some lunch and get my act together before he turned up and we headed off to meet up with the rest of the group. Once at the launching point we ran into a few people we knew including the guy that used to own my VTR (Brian knew him) and Robin, another Connie rider from Levin.

The ride itself was a fairly simple potter around the back of Halcombe & Fielding before heading over through Colyton to Ashhurst for coffee. It was however very hot work (shoulda taken the liners out of my gear) and Brian and I headed home from Colyton where I finally got to the lawns...

A quick, short little ride that brought the weekend's tally up to just over 1,100km.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

2008 Capital 1000K Cruise

I set the alarm on Friday night for 4am but in the end did the usual pre-ride trick of waking up before it went off. So I was up at 3:50 making a coffee and organising things. By 4:30 I was out the door and around at Brian's making sure he was up and at 'em then it was a short ride to Shell Pioneer to pick up Michelle & Al. We only just beat them there and as soon as Al had swallowed a pie we were off into a rather cold morning - grips on 75% and screen up.

Had quite a nice little blast down to Shannon where we picked up Colin (without even stopping) and continued on south. A quick stop for piccys at the look out on the Paekakariki road and then on to the Hutt on damp and slippery roads.

Gassed up, purchased me badge, yarned with a few others and soon it was time for John's wee briefing before we finally hit the road. Brian even won a hat in the prize draw. Also good to see Steve in his leathers all set for the ride.

At about 7:15 the hordes departed and headed up the Rimatakas. Most people were very well behaved and were taking it quietly so Brian & I made our way through the pack until we caught up with some mates of Dad. We followed them through cold rain through to Masterton and then onto Mauriceville. I'd never been through here and it was quite a nice ride through pretty country - especially as the weather was now playing ball and the day was starting to turn into a right ripper.

I passed Dad's mates heading through to Mangamire as I knew they were concerned about some of the turns in the Pohangina Valley so thought I'd lead them through it. Somewhere through here Al turned up as well and it was quite a procession heading over the track and onto Ashhurst. Turning off at Ashhurst to head up into the valley we lost Dad's mates and Al - stopping for gas I 'spose. So it was just Brian and I until Hitcher tucked in behind. We had a great ride through the valley, onto Rangiwahia and then the main drag to Waiouru. Had a close one north of Mangaweka when a cop came around the corner and we were doing a reasonable pace - phew! Hitcher pulled off at Taihape for a feed and we kept on trucking to Waiouru.

At Waiouru I opened my topbox to a disaster - my water bottle had exploded and all my gear was soaked in about 800mls of water. Wet weather gear, puncture repair kit, camera bag (note water on lens in piccy) and...the route instructions. I tipped the water out and put my jersey in the bottom to soak up the remainder. The camera still worked and went into my jacket pocket for the rest of the trip. Fuel and a feed and we were just getting ready to leave when Hitcher turned up, so it was 3 bikes again heading off towards Ohakune keeping our eyes peeled for the Fields Track turn-off.

Fields track was in pretty good condition (it can be quite shocking) and we only saw 5 other vehicles for it's entire length. Popping out onto highway 4 and on the first bridge we came across I had to get out of the way of a van coming the other way on my side of the road - tosser! Keeping a close eye out for more vans we pottered up the highway and made our only major navigational error. At National Park we were supposed to turn-off onto 47 to Tokaanu before taking 41 back to Tamarunui. Brian & I both knew that Tamarunui was on the route but had forgotten the little detour - and no route instructions, doh! I wondered why Hitcher had turned off...

No stopping at Tamarunui, we hit the Forgotten Highway and were soon into it's delicious corners and dodgy surfaces. Had a nice run through to Whangamomona where we stopped for a cold drink - all those corners and the wee bit of gravel made for thirsty work. We weren't the only one's there - bikers from all over had the same idea as us. After our drink we headed off into Stratford and stopped again in Eltham for our last fill up.

Leaving Eltham we followed some notes I'd made the night before (the only one's as I had thought that I knew everywhere else we had to go - double-doh!) as we were to take in some back roads to bypass Hawera (good idea that). In the end we only had to do one quick U-turn and it was quite a nice ride through this new to us roads.

By now we'd done over 800km for the day and were starting to feel it so we took it pretty easy through Wanganui, Marton & Halcombe before finally making it home at about 5:45pm. A pretty long day but a great ride all the same.

And now for the news that really put a downer on the ride: sadly one of the riders had an off on the Forgotten Highway and passed away. I only heard of this this afternoon and it definitely wasn't nice to hear it - I had spoken to the rider earlier in the day and he had been fizzing in anticipation of a great ride. A terrible incident to marr a great day and my condolences to his partner & family.
More pictures here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Southern Cross Slideshow

Cowboyz's Four Points video inspired me to upload one of mine from the '07 Southern Cross. Actually made the slide show soon after the ride but never thought of uploading it...had to modify it a bit for YouTube but here it is:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Grease Monkey

Well, not really, but a keen amateur. The slide show below shows Mark giving his Bandit a bit of TLC (oil & filter change) before next weekend's Capital 1000K Cruise.

PS: he didn't do too bad a job - no oil spilt on the garage floor (carpeted if you please). Must have been the quality of the assistance & instruction he received...