Monday, January 25, 2010

Off to the movies

Yep, went to the flicks today to see Avatar in 3D. The problem is - no 3D theater in Palmy so I had to go to Wellington to see it - damn!

Luckily the awful weather we've had over the weekend had decided to move on and I could take the bike down. So I geared up and stuck the luggage on (empty so I could stash my gear in it) and hit the road.

A pretty boring ride down until I hit the Paekok hill and then things got a lot better! What a great little piece of road - it makes all the pootling down SH1 worth it. Near enough to no traffic on the road and only a few damp patches to be wary of so I really sweet ride.

The movie was pretty damn fantastic too - the 3D and other visual effects were stunning and a pretty good story to boot. A new Star Wars...

After the movie I had a bit of a look at going home via the Rimutakas and Masterton but it looked a bit black over that way so I just had to do Paekok hill again - it's a tough life...

So another nice ride home in good weather - I could have just kept on riding...

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Over the past week or so I've been playing around with the idea of taking music with me on my rides and today was the first decent ride I've been on to test my setup.

Prior until now I've been worried about having to have music at a high volume to overcome wind noise or just plain having too much noise in the helmet - I hate wind noise and also didn't want to increase wind noise by removing ear-plugs and adding speakers of ear phones.

In the end what I've done is hack up a helmet speaker system that I got with a walkie-talkie years ago (in a hopeless attempt to have bike to bike comms) and mount the speakers in my helmet. This then plugs into the Zumo for the music source. The way that the speakers have been placed also allows me to still wear my custom ear plugs too.

So does it work ok? Well, yes - good enough for me anyway. With ear plugs in and the Zumo volume on 100% I can hear the music just fine (at pretty much any speed) and it is not too loud. Naturally with the ear plugs in the wind noise is kept at bay too. Trying the system the other day without ear plugs had me running the volume at 60% but the wind noise was interfering with my listening pleasure. Another thing that I'm happy with is the speaker placement - I was concerned that they might rub or annoy my ears but even with the ear plugs in they do not touch anyway and the helmet remains comfortable.

Distracting? Well, I don't think so. The system is not loud and although I did find myself singing occasionally (had to shut up as I rode through Marton), I was able to navigate the bike through some wet and windy back roads without ending up in a fence. The good thing about having the music coming from the Zumo rather than an ipod in my pocket is that I can easily control the volume of turn the music off if necessary.

Now, to get a bigger SD card for the Zumo...

Splashing around

Mark and I had great plans for a decent ride today: Wanganui, Para Para's, Field's track, Taihape, Napier and home. But, unfortunately the weather has turned wet just in time for the long weekend and put a bit of a damper on our enthusiasm.

Too bad, I got on the bike anyway and went around to kick Mark out of bed. After much dithering he was finally organised and we hit the road heading in the direction of our planned ride but with the final complete route undecided and dependent on the weather.

It wasn't pouring down but the rain was pretty steady all the way over to Feilding and it didn't let up riding through to Halcombe and Marton. From Marton we decided to take one of the many possible back roads through to Wanganui - Makuhou Road and then Turakina Valley Road. When we got to the intersection of these two roads we decided to investigate the right hand fork of Turakina Valley Road as it eventually gets you to Wanganui whereas the left fork takes you back to the main road and a boring ride into Wanganui.

This road was a great ride until we hit gravel and decided to wimp out. I also recognised the spot where we stopped as I had actually been through here (even on the gravel) a number of years ago. In fact when I had last come through it was only a month or so after some major floods (which caused a lot of damage in our region) and the bridge in the picture still had branches and what not tangled up in it's higher metalwork.

So we wussed out today and ignored the gravel by turning around and retracing our steps. Just before Turakina Valley Road took us back to the main road we stopped on the side of the road and discussed our options. For the entire ride it had been raining steadily and never looked like letting up so we abandoned our plans of a nice little 600km ride and found another back road (Waimutu Road) to take us back to Marton - gotta keep off those main roads eh?

From Marton it was just a short ride back through Halcombe and Feilding and then home for a coffee. A real shame about our plans but a bit of fun anyway out riding 150km or so in soggy conditions.

View 23-01-10 Marton Loop in a larger map

More pics here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


About time I posted about my next planned excursion. It's to the TT2000 in March this year. The TT2000 is another endurance ride where riders must ride a minimum of 1,000km, two days in a row.

The route is planned and riders must obtain evidence that they have ridden the route by obtaining EFT-POS receipts or photographs at specific locations. In addition to this there are a number of "flyer's" which can be attempted to gain extra points and so be in the running for bronze, silver or gold trophies.
With the route already available, I've been able to reproduce them in Mapsource and also work out whether or not I'll attempt any of the flyer's. Rather than be silly I've planned a number of routes for each day whereby I can either go for one or two flyers or none at all. This way I can decide on the day whether or not to attempt them or not. Obviously weather and tiredness are going to assist in this decision. Also, the combination of flyer's I've picked mean that I only have to do 3 over the 2 days to get a bronze - that's plenty for the first time around.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned the best part: the TT2000 is in the South Island - yeehah! This means more riding of the fantastic roads down there and an excuse to go for a bit more of a tour after the TT. Current plans include checking out Akaroa & Lyttelton prior to the TT and then a trip down to Milford afterwards - mint!

I can't wait!

Friday night ride

Nice to see the weather forecaster's still can't get it right - the weather was supposed to be shocking on Friday night but by 6pm the rain still hadn't come so the ride was on.

Brian and I pootled out to Ashhurst and met up with 4 others for a quick squirt through Vinegar Hill. There was a few spits of rain as we left Ashhurst and once on the hill we discovered plenty of damp corners but otherwise the riding was great.

After the fun of the Hill we pottered down SH1 until turning off for Halcombe. Another nice ride through here except for a short period where we got stuck behind an idiot in a 4WD who thought he could drive - he couldn't, so it was good to get past him and leave him to his bouncing all over the road style.

In Feilding we stopped for a drink, snack and a chin wag before all finding our own way's home.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Friday night ride

We had an absolutely fantastic Friday night ride last night. With the wind having dropped a bit and it neither too hot or too cold the weather was ideal. Ten riders met up at the Ashhurst pub and after a bit of the usual gossip we decided on our route and mounted our steeds.

The first good squirt was over the saddle which is in great nick at the moment and the little red bike really enjoyed it. After a very quick regroup we rode through to Ballance and then onto Mangamire. From Mangamire we headed South on SH2 for a few minutes before turning off Hamua to take in some absolutely fantastic back roads to Pahiatua.

Arriving in Pahiatua, our usual stopping point was closed so we carried onto Mangatainoka where we finally got our cold drink and snack. After our break the group split up with most going home via the main road and the gorge. Road King and myself decided otherwise and had an absolute pearler of a ride over a traffic free Pahiatua Track - fantastic!

One more great Friday night ride in the bag...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Keeping ya wits about ya

I took the Honda out for a little ride this afternoon and on my return trip through town witnessed an accident directly in front of me. In fact, but for sheer luck (2 seconds in it) I could have been tangled up in it.

A stupid car driver pulled out of a parking area directly across one lane of traffic and into the car in front of me in the second lane. I managed to stop in plenty of time but it could easily have been me or if I hadn't been paying a bit of attention I could have ridden into it.

The truth of it is that I was only paying attention to what was going on directly in front of me and maybe what was in my mirrors. I wasn't checking out the parking area that carefully - and it was full of other cars and people wandering around. There were a lot of hazards that I wasn't even bothering about and the accident came as a surprise.

Usually I'm pretty good at checking out each side road I pass whether on my left or right and here I was ignoring another source of danger - stupid. The good news as that both car
drivers are ok (although their corollas are a bit 2nd had) and I got a cheap wake-up call.

So keep ya wits about ya eh?

New Years Day ride - the video

A couple of videos from the New Years Day ride:

Leaving Ashhurst

Following Meanie to Ashhurst

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years Day ride

It seemed like I hadn't ridden the Connie all year so when Cowboyz put up a plan for a New Year's Day ride followed by dinner it could not be ignored so by 12:30 I was geared up and off up the road towards Ashhurst. Riding through town I caught up with Meanie, Monie and Cowboyz who were fueling their bikes (still no gas in Ashhurst) and followed them out to Ashhurst to wait for the others.

It wasn't long before we were joined by the others and when we departed Ashhurst there was fourteen bikes in all pootling towards Feilding. Today I had also mounted my video camera so I managed to shoot my first bit of video as we crossed over Colyton Road. I'll post up some of the video later when I get around to editing it.

From Feilding we all had a ball on the Halcombe road before stopping briefly at the main road to tell each other about how great the ride was. Next was a short ride up SH1 to Hunterville where we turned off to tackle Vinegar Hill.

Vinegar Hill was a lot of fun as usual although a fair bit of traffic on it spoiled it a little. Arriving in Cheltenham it was time for another regroup before continuing on to Kimbolton.

I had a great ride from Kimbolton through to Apiti following Meanie closely with the video running the whole way - mint!

From Apiti I followed Martin on his 'Busa around the Pohangina valley and back to Ashhurst. Parking up after our great ride we settled down with cold drinks followed by dinner at the Apiti pub. A great way to finish off a good day out on the bikes.