Monday, April 25, 2011

Another Loop

Prior to leaving to get the NZ tag yesterday Brian gave me a ring and said that he and Chris were off for a ride and did I want to join them. I mentioned that I was just about to tear off and grab the tag so he said he'd leave a note for me so I could chase after them if I wanted.

As it happened when I rolled up at his place they hadn't even left so I've got no idea what was on the note but a fair idea of where they went...

We started by cruising down to Otaki for some fuel and a coffee. From Otaki we kept riding South until turning off to head over Paikok Hill. The roads were wet but it was still a fun ride up to the lookout where we stopped for a minute to take in the view.
On the road again we carried on over the Haywoods and then turned for the Rimutakas. With plenty of cops on the road this weekend (and a 4 km/h tolerance) it was prudent to take things easy, but I still enjoyed the ride up the takas - that is, until I caught a lot of traffic at the road works near the summit.

At the summit there was also a member of the constabulary keeping an eye on things but there was no way we presented any sort of target for him as we puttered on down the other side of the hill.

The next bit of the ride was in slow traffic to Masterton where we stopped for a late lunch. Subway on board it was time to finally get off the main road and take in a bit of Route 52. I really love this bit of road and at this time of the year it is really pretty with the leaves changing colour and all that sort of poetic stuff happening - I can't write it but I still enjoy riding in these conditions...

So, Route 52 was great and after a quick stop in Alfredton to let a certain Harley catch-up we turned off 52 and carried on on more fantastic country roads into Pahiatua. From Pahiatua it was just a brisk ride over the track (hmmm, the DL enjoyed that) and home. Another great little ride and no real sign of the bad weather that had been predicted - mint!

More piccys here.

(PS: Map shows my small loop to get the NZ tag as well as this little jaunt).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

NZ Tagorama

Recently the NZ Tagorama Tag came within range and I decided that over the long weekend I'd have a go for it. Initially it was sitting at the Chateau Tongariro so this would have been a good ride and given me a lot of options for the new tag. Unfortunately this tag was nabbed yesterday but the good news was that the new tag was in Ohakea - very near me.


So after checking this morning that it hadn't gone I quickly saddled up and went in search of the Ohakea Memorial Hall (great tag given that tomorrow is Anzac day). Google and my Zumo helped a lot here and by ten o'clock I'd picked up the tag and was on the lookout for a new one.

I had decided that I'd try and stick to the theme and find another war memorial. Firstly I rode through Rongotea but decided that this was a bit close to the old tag and continued on to Glen Orua. In Glen Orua I couldn't find a memorial (didn't look that hard though) so I carried on to Rangiotu and discovered their memorial hall. A quick snap and I was off home as quickly as possible to see if I was first to get the tag.


As it turns out I made it but my tag has already been claimed by some very keen taggers who had gone for the Ohakea tag but then on being informed it had gone, quickly went for and picked up my one. And as I write their tag has gone already...

Pottering in the shed

Over the last few weeks little packages have been arriving from all over the place (the US, Japan and NZ) but I've had to wait for them all to arrive before diving in and sticking them on the DL.

First up was a stebel - I love the one on the Connie and the standard horn on the DL was pathetic. I got the horn locally from Fast Bike Gear but it also meant that I needed a mount from Twisted Throttle and a plug and play harness from Eastern Beaver (the single horn relay kit). After removing a fair bit of plastic I got the mount and the horn on and then had to find the
stock horn so I could pull the wires and plug into the harness.

This proved to be a bit tricky - where was the damn thing? I tooted the horn and listened from both sides but could still not pick it's position. There was nothing for it but to fire up the laptop and check Stromtrooper.com for some assistance. Well, it turns out that the horn is tucked in behind the radiator and it was a bit of a mission to get at and then plug the wires into the harness but we got there in the end. Finishing the job simply required me to hook the harness to both the stebel and the battery, finding a place to stash the relay and that was it - turn the key on and a quick toot confirmed all was good.

Next up was something pretty daunting for me as I'm not an electrical expert at all - it was to install a fuse box from Eastern Beaver so that I could run all my other doo-dads of it. This fuse box would give me 7 fused circuits to use: two hot all the time and 5 that only work once the key is on. Installing the fuse box was actually quite easy with the only difficult thing being finding the brake light connector (under the tank) which plugs into the special harness that came with the fuse box and provides the switched power to the fuse box.

Once the fuse box was set up I plugged in the wires for my electrical doo-dads and then tidied up the wires and velcroed the fuse box to the bike.

The next job was to fit some Oxford heated grips and as this was my second time around for this job, this went pretty well. The only difficult part is trying to run the wiring and keep it tidy. The grips were wired into one of the switched circuits of the fuse box and then I was able to check that I had actually installed the fuse box properly. Warm grips equalled success!

Righto, now we're getting somewhere, time for the next task - a GPS mount from Twisted throttle so that I could also use my Zumo on the DL. Also attached to this mount was a Garmin cradle to hold the GPS and provide power to the GPS.

The mount is a nice piece of kit and is also designed to reduce vibration from the bike and mounts very neatly underneath the windscreen using it's mounting holes. I was also able to route the power cable and a stereo cable (to plug my helmet speakers into the GPS) back through a couple of gaps so that things were kept tidy.

The GPS was then wired into the fuse box via one of the always hot circuits. I want it like this so that it can be left on during stops so it continues to record data and doesn't take time to start up each time.

Finally it was time for one last job before putting everything back
together -
wire up an accessory
socket. The bike came with an accessory socket mounted in the left hand side fairing but the previous owner had never bothered to wire it up. This was as easy as running some wires from the socket to the fuse box - once again using a switched circuit.

Job done, I tested the socket with my little 12v compressor (success again) and then finished my day's farkling by tiding up all the wiring and putting the bike back together.

I ended up putting quite a few hours into all this but I'm very happy that everything went well and all the farkles work! I also enjoyed myself and probably learned a few things about how the bike is nailed together and how things work...

Now to place a few more orders...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Slithering around

As mentioned in my previous post, I've just bought a GoPro HD video camera and today I decided it was time to give it a whirl. The weather was not the best but I decided to head out towards Ashhurst to see what it was like there and then I could decide whether to head up the Pohangina Valley or attempt the climb up to the Whariti radio/TV transmitter station.

Arriving in Ashhurst the weather wasn't looking too bad so I decided to press on and try for Whariti. I had an extremely boring ride through the gorge sitting behind a 4WD towing a caravan who did not know how to pull over to let other traffic past but at least he didn't decide to turn off and follow me up to Whariti.

Just before Woodlands road becomes Whariti road I pulled over to sort the camera out and then I was off with a vengeance to tackle some gravel. Things started off great with some nice gravel with reasonably fast open corners but as you'll see from the video things tighten up pretty quickly and the road does get a fair bit rougher.

I was still enjoying myself and enjoying practicing my gravel riding but as I got up a bit higher the wind made it's presence felt. In the more open sections it was blowing hard enough to blow me off line and into parts of the road where the gravel was thicker and where I didn't really want to be. Adding to the excitement was some sections where there was no gravel, just really slippery clay which my tyres didn't exactly like.



All this excitement was a bit too much so I slowed down quite a bit and took it very easy as the road began to tighten even more and the corners became even more cut up and rutted. Knowing that the road still had a long way to go and a lot of elevation to gain I decided to stop about half way up and call it a day - I didn't really want to face more of that nasty wind further up the hill.

Google Maps refuses to believe I was actually on a road but the little bike on the map shows approximately how far up I got.


View Whariti 17-04-11 in a larger map

After a few snaps I turned the DL around and started making my way back down. It was quite cool just idling down the hill and checking out the skid marks coming out of corners where the DL had been breaking loose on the way up the hill (practically every rough corner) until I got back out in the open and on that wet clay again...

Back on the tar-seal again I decided to have a quick squirt over the Saddle to get some more video and had a great ride even if the road was very wet and I'm still not sure about those adventure tyres in the wet...



All in all, a good little ride and I'm reasonably happy with the new camera - although I will need to find a better place to mount it. More pictures here.

GoPro Hero HD

Thanks to a post on Kiwi Biker pointing me in the right direction I am now the owner of a GoPro HD video camera. This should be a lot better solution for taking video while riding as not only does it take higher quality video than my current camera, it also comes with a waterproof housing and all sorts of mounting options.

I am a little skeptical of the adhesive mounts that came with it so will probably end up using some sort of Ram mount for a bit more piece of mind. This should also make it a lot easier when swapping from bike to bike.

For my initial test I used the suction cup mount and attached the camera to the tank of the V-strom before going for a pootle. The suction cup is very strong and I think as long as you are careful when sticking it down then it will not let go. I did find that some of the adjusters on the mounts do loosen off a little and the camera ended up nodding a little - maybe I just didn't tighten them up enough.

I will post up some video later with my ride report but in the meantime I'd have to say that the video quality is good and surprising the sound wasn't too bad either. (Although the sound seems to go bad once I've edited and then uploaded the video to YouTube so I've ended up having to add music again).

Looking forward to taking more video from off the beaten track...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Went for a little ride...

A while ago I got an email from Lee at the Rusty Nuts HQ letting me know that I was able to re-run last year's ride as I'd pulled out after being present at a nasty accident. This was good news as it also means that when I do this year's run I will be able to celebrate my tenth GC on the 25th running of the event.

I won't go into a huge amount of detail here (I'll save it for a website update) but Friday brought a good weather forecast and I was off!

As I was running the ride alone I was able to start and finish the route wherever I wanted to and to then stick to route as much as possible. As it turned out due to Ashhurst being a check point on the ride it was very easy for me to start and finish there and run the entire course in it's entirety - mint!

I was very lucky with the weather with the only real rain being riding from Palmy to Ashhurst! The forecasted wind on the East coast was nowhere near as bad as on the night of the actual GC and so the weather turned out to be one less thing to worry about.

The ride itself turned out to be pretty easy as far as GC's go - I felt pretty good for the entire ride, ate fairly well and didn't get as tired as I sometimes do. Perhaps I'm still fairly ride fit after the Southern Cross?

Highlights for me were:
  • Tiniroto Road - I hadn't been through there in years. A lot less critters on the road than I remember and I think the road was in better condition too.
  • Waioeka Gorge - enough said!
  • The Paras in the dark - 7 cars between Wanganui & Raetihi
  • National Park to Turangi - 49km, no cars and rapid progress...
  • Desert road - just me and the trucks!
  • Rangiwahia/Apiti - a real challenge in the dark and three deer on the road!
  • Av fuel consumption of 17.1km/l.
Lowlights (scratching to find any):
  • Blowing low beam in left hand headlight just after dark...
  • Twat in a hot car (with bright head lights) tail gating me all the way through the Awakino gorge and over Mount Messenger to Waitara. The idiot would not pass me and sat right on my butt even in the slow twisty stuff (I could here his engine sometimes he was that close). After 1,000km I did not need some clown trying to run me off the road!
Anyway that's enough for now - I've sent Lee copies of my fuel dockets and links to my photos for evidence so hopefully he'll be sending me a badge & a patch...

Pictures (mainly of gas stations) here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Impressive

Wonder if I can beat this: http://www.stromtrooper.com/dl-1000-specific/62650-dl1000-k3-200-000-mile-writeup.html

And if I do, how many k's will the Connie have on it by then?

Will there still be petrol?

Will I still have hair?

Apiti Scamper

Saturday was the second running of the Apiti Scamper - a charity ride with the Ronald McDonald house as it's beneficiary. The ride was organised by Flynn and his wife and I was able to help out with some product from work and a bit of assistance here and there.

This time around the ride started and finished at the Ashhurst Inn (which turned out to be a pretty good place for all the after ride events) but pretty much stuck to last year's successful format. Rider registration started reasonably early with the pub even offering up cheap brekkie for the riders and the ride itself got under way at 10am.

The route was again the Apiti Loop that is so popular with Manawatu riders and this time around the road was dry and there were only a couple of small sections of road works to keep the riders on their toes. Two quick stops to regroup were added so that all the riders arrived back in Ashhurst at the same time.


By the time the bikes got back the Lions had the Barbies fired up and in very short order a horde of hungry bikers where ripping into some fantastic steak burgers and settling in for the rest of the entertainment.

First up there was a quite a few spot prizes to be handed out and then it was time for the auction. There was a lot of donated stuff up for grabs and the riders were really keen to snap up a good deal with all the proceeds going to the charity. After the auction the crowd thinned a bit and after a bit of a tidy up it was time to get home and stack some firewood...

The ride ended up being even more successful than last year's with around $9,000 raised for Ronald McDonald house - a fantastic effort! I wonder if we can beat that next year?