Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Night Ride

Another working week done and it was time to do my first Friday night ride in a quite a wee while so 6pm found me gassing up at Ashhurst and looking forward to winding the week down with a nice wee blast. It was also great to see 86 out for a ride (as pillion) following his nasty prang a few weeks ago - very keen considering the broken bones and other damage he is still sporting.

Leaving Ashhurst we pootled through the gorge, turning right through to Balance (left fork Al) and then on through to Mangamire before finally stopping at Eketahuna for some cake (cheers Dogs). Here we split up with some heading further down the road to Masterton, some returning up the main road and the rest (me included) taking the back roads back to Pahiatua. This was a magic ride with just the odd bit of loose metal to keep you on your toes.

Had a pit stop in Pahiatua and while getting a drink & snack ran into Mr & Mrs Hitcher who were also out for a Friday night ride - they'd come a bit further than us (Wellington) and were just finishing their tea before continuing on their outing.

Thirst quenched it was just a quiet ride home via Woodville and the gorge after a great ride and a great wind-down.

Naughty Connie rider

Not me!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Pootle

After a pretty average Saturday weather wise it was nice to be able to get out on the bike today.

I met up with Yod and Leonie at Ashhurst before heading through to Danniverke where Sarge was just finishing filling his black beast. While we were filling up our bikes Owl pulled up and fed his horse too.

After a wee coffee break we hit the Weber road and Yod and I had a nice run through to Weber where we had a quick stop before heading on to Wimbledon.

Pressing on we finally stopped for lunch at Porangahau where we weren't the only bikes parked up and still more arrived while we were having our lunch. Leaving Porangahau we took a road that I hadn't been on before (Blackhead Road) which was a great little ride that ended up back on Route 52 into Waipukarau.

After a stop to work out if anyone needed fuel (nope) we pressed on South down the main road before turning off again to take the back roads through Takapau and Ormondville and into Danniverke for a drink & more fuel before the final wee squirt home.

More pics here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tubeless Tyre repair kits

As mentioned in my blog on last weekend's ride I managed to puncture the Connie's rear tyre in Hicks Bay. Once again the tyre pressure monitoring system on the Connie was fantastic in alerting me to the issue straight away and I pulled over before all of the air had leaked out.

The main cause of this was riding on a gravel road on a pretty well stuffed tyre. When I left home I knew that the tyre was on it's way out but I thought that it would last the 1,600km ok. I probably didn't allow for the very hot conditions and the crappy condition of most of the North Island's roads but luckily the story has a happy ending.

Following a puncture the day before on Cowboyz ZX-9 the team were pretty practised at using the repair kits so plenty of help was on hand to advise me on the repair job. The hole was discovered pretty quickly and the rasp in the repair kit was used to hone the hole out a little before I poked the plug in. We didn't use any of the gas canisters to inflate the tyre as the house I stopped outside of had a compressor that we borrowed.

Riding off I was quite cautious and kept a close eye on the tyre pressure readout all the way home but had absolutely no issues at all and in the picture below you can see what the repair looked like after another 500km of riding. Cowboyz also had no issue with his repair and he was traveling two-up for the most part.

All in all the repair kit has more than paid for itself by getting me home safely after an incident miles from a friendly bike shop. The only issue I think there is with the kits is the gas canisters. Firstly they are expensive and you'd need a few to get decent pressure in the tyre. The second issue is that I doubt that you'd get the full required pressure as once there is some pressure in the tyre it gets to the point where it equalises with the pressure in the canister.

On Cowboyz's bike we only used one canister (still had plenty of air in his tyre as it hadn't actually gone down) and when it was removed there was still air in it but because of the pressure balancing out the air was wasted. We could have put on another canister but you'd end up getting less and less of the air from the canister into the tyre as the tyre's pressure increased. I am seriously thinking of getting a cheap 12 volt compressor to plug into the Connie's accessory socket as you can't pick where the next puncture will happen...

Used Strada:

A Weekend Away

Being Valentines weekend and all I decided Shelley would like to go away for a couple of nights and maybe have a meal out somewhere. However there was a cost..... it needed to involve bike riding. So a plan was hatched........

On Friday Shelley packed up Connor and all the necessary gear and drove up to my folks in Napier. I then rode up, in the rain, after work.

On Saturday we left Connor with his Grand Parents and headed off. A quick stop for gas at Bay View then we were off towards Wairoa. It was a cool but dry morning so conditions were good. We stopped at the Mohaka Bridge for a few minutes to stretch the legs and for Shelley to rest her bum. After that we pushed on through Wairoa and out to Mahia stopping at the lookout above the bay.

Shelley had never been there before so we had a little tour around the highlights before stopping at the pub for lunch.

We knew the Welch's were camping up there so after lunch we called in on them for a cuppa before heading back.

We only stopped for petrol at Wairoa and were back in Napier by 16:00. We spent another night at the folks before returning home on Sunday.

700k's for the weekend, not a bad effort, and the family were satisfied also.

Waitangi Weekend Slideshow

Slideshow of my piccys from last weekends epic ride:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Waitangi Weekend

Where to start - what an awesome weekend! With an extra day tacked on a plan had been hatched the Ashhurst mob involving the Coromandel Loop and East Cape and after umming and arring for a bit I got my act together and decided to tag along for the ride.

Friday - Heading North

On Thursday night I got the bike loaded and pointing head first out the garage so that in the morning all I had to do was get my gear on and take off. I headed out to Ashhurst just before 7:30 and rolled up just in time for my 2nd breakfast of the day (limited myself to a bacon sammie) and to get the necessary pre-ride snaps.

By 8:30 everyone had been feed and watered and were raring to go so we mounted up and headed out. We had a nice run over Vinegar Hill and set a good pace all the way through to Waiouru. We had a quick stop there so I could gas up and others could have a stretch etc before heading off through to Ohakune and National Park before another quick stop so everyone else could top off their tanks at Tamarunui.

Leaving Tamarunui we had a great run through 8 mile although had to avoid the usual rough spots and road works. We also failed to find a road that Cowboyz had programmed into our GPS routes - it turned out to have gone missing and so we just followed the road into Te Kuiti. Te Kuiti was our scheduled lunch stop so we parked up with a lot of other bikes and had a bite while recapping the ride so far - mint was the general opinion coming from everyone.

From Te Kuiti we headed up through Otorohanga to Ngarawahia for another gas stop before Cowboyz took us over some of his old stomping ground to Ngatea. Along the way we came across a heap of cruisers stopped on a corner, a badly damaged M109 and a huge hole in the fence. Looks like someone went straight ahead where they should have gone left. Luckily it appeared that the rider was not to badly hurt as we were waved on.

In Ngatea we stopped for night with friends of Meanie and they sure made us feel at home by pitching tents and feeding us up with a great BBQ. We had a great night gas bagging with them and finally hit the hay sometime around 11. Day one gone and the trip looking like a goodee already.

Saturday - The Coro Loop

5am and the first noises started coming from various tents so I dragged my butt out to say morning and share a coffee with the early risers. After waking just about everyone else up with our coffee preparations the rest of the crew were up not long after and we had a great cooked brekkie before loading the bikes for the day. Our host Chris also dragged his 250 out to join us on the Loop and his daughter Kate stuck out her thumb and got a lift from a friendly Tiger so it was 8 bikes that headed off for the Coromandel.

In Thames we gassed up and met up with 2 other Kiwi bikers (Barbender & Puddy - nice guys and also GC veterans) who joined us for the Loop ride. Leaving Thames we battled damp and winding roads to Coromandel where we stopped for a coffee and a natter before hitting the really fun bit of the ride. Leaving Coromandel we wound our way up a great bit of road and pulled over at the top for some pictures before continuing.

From our photo stop the roads only got better although slow traffic in places did take some of the gloss off of the ride. The next stop was in Whitianga where we said goodbye to Barbender & Puddy before a quick tiki tour around the township. By now the temperature was going from merely hot to stiffling and when we stopped again in Hikuai to say goodbye to Chris & Kate everyone was ripping into the cold drinks & iceblocks - and we still had a long way to go to get to our accomadation in Hicks Bay.

More great riding brought us into Waihi where the bikes were topped up again and we had a decent break to take on more fluids and escape the 37 degree heat. Eventually we had to leave the air conditioning and we departed for Tauranga in quite busy traffic and yes, plenty of sunshine! We kept at it and made our next stop Opotiki where we gassed up and had a great meal at a pub before hitting the East Coast road proper.

To say that this was a great ride is an understatement. The roads where deserted and the it was simply magic hugging the coastline, checking out the views and soaking up the great roads and riding. Just before sunset we pulled up for another breather and it turned out to be a fantastic spot for some photos with the sun setting and a great location. It was however the spot for the first of a couple of little tyre "issues".

Looking down at his bike Cowboys noticed a big screw sticking out of it. Seconds later there were about 4 puncture repair kits out and operation plug the hole was under way. Fixing the puncture turned out to be child's play and as the tyre had not completely deflated in the process we only need one air bottle and were soon on the road again with Mrs Cowboyz riding pillion on Meanie's bike just to be on the safe side.

The rest of the ride to Hicks Bays was in the dark but was still very enjoyable and soon we were at our little batch kicking the owner out (forgot we were coming - doh!) and reliving the day's riding prior to sack hitting.

Sunday - Going home

After a fantastic breakfast of bacon, eggs and fresh fish we loaded up, snapped a few last pics and hit the road. And I got about 500m before the Connie started warning me of...yes, you guessed it a puncture! The rear was pretty tired by now and it appears that a sharp little stone on the gravel road had poked itself through the carcass. Puncture repair veterans that we are we soon had the hole plugged and a friendly local loaned me a compressor to pump the tyre back up - the 2nd time for me to have a puncture on the Cape and be helped by a Hicks Bay local (not all Hicks eh?)

Finally on the road at 9:20 we started South and took to the fantastic roads with gusto. The road is currently in pretty good condition (it is prone to a lot of damage and crappy repairs) and is motorcycling heaven - short windy sections followed by more open straights and sweeping corners and then repeating...magic! At Te Puia Springs some stopped for gas while Meanie, Monie and I continued on before stopping at Tolaga Bay for our gas and a coffee break where we caught up with the other guys again.

Leaving Tolaga Bay the pace was respectable but after a while I let the others go ahead and settled into cruise mode. Arriving at Gisborne Monie and I didn't stop and Meanie followed us out the bypass and through to Wairoa. Here we stopped here again for a drink and to check in with the others. It turns out that they had stopped for lunch in Gisborne and were quite a ways behind us so we decided to continue onto Napier and wait for them there.

Cruise mode was still the order of the day and it was a very nice though awfully hot ride through to Bay View where we gassed up and howed into more cold drinks. We waited around for quite a while and checked in with the others again before finally deciding to head off on our own again. We got about 200m before I noticed the olds' bus on the side of the road so I hauled up and had a quick chat before we kept going.

The temperature down highway 50 was still very hot and the wind did not help much but we stuck to it and battled our way down to Danniverke. Here we had another stop for coffee and to check in with the crew again. They were still a ways behind us so we decided to finish off the last 50 odd km on our lonesome again. At Ashhurst I waved the others off and headed for home and a cold shower.

Home after 1,642km and one heck of a good time it was good to take off the sweaty bike gear and have a breather while contemplating a magnificent weekend chock full of great times with great people and one awesome silver bike! Magnificent!

More pics here.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


It looks like seemingly overnight my Long Distance riding Knol has started getting a bit of traffic - about 4,000 hits (dunno how many people wade through it all though). It's also leading them to my website too which is cool.

One of the readers also seems to like the long distance stuff too (must be something wrong with eh?) and has a write-up on his Iron Butt ride here:

Great to see that someone's reading my stuff - best try and finish it off sometime...