After missing last year’s MDA ride due to a bike issue, I nearly missed it again this year, but in the end, things panned out and I ended joining 17 others (15 bikes, two with pillions and two more in the support sled) for an 0900 departure from Brown Owl on Friday. I first attended a Muscular Dystrophy Ride in 2005 and it continues to be a highlight of my year with the combo of a great ride and a good cause.
We actually did the local Wellington children last Sunday and where we normally buy presents for 25-30 children, this year there were a few away and another change over the last couple of years is for the new Plymouth families to join us at the marae for dinner, which has made the Sunday morning section of the ride a bit easier. It is also good as bringing the families together helps them connect and form networks.
I had planned 3 route options for Friday, 2 for Saturday and 1 for Sunday, so after a late notification that a couple of the children weren’t up to the Friday evening get-together, we embarked on option 4.
I left a minute or two early to set up and take photos of the other riders on the Rimutakas, then had to play catch-up, however, there was 5 or 6 of ‘those’ cars tripping back and forth over the hill and they appeared to be training new recruits in the vagaries of pursuit driving. Well, I caught one of these cars at the summit, then witnessed some of the worst and most inconsiderate driving I have experienced on the Hill. One could easily identify the instructor in the passenger seat, waving his arms about as he tried to explain the finer points of driving and the poor young trainee was obviously trying to blend the IAM principals with maintaining pace …which just wasn’t working at all (at least, not in my humble opinion!!) He was all over the place, erratic and not really very quick …hard to tell if he didn’t see my lights filling his mirrors, was so focused on making progress that he didn’t see the passing bays …or he was just a prick! …*sigh*
We had soon made our first stop at a school in Carterton, then diverted via Mauriceville, Alfredton, Tane, Mangatainoka, along the eastern side of the Manawatu River, onto Hopelands Rd and back out to SH2 at Oringi, then had a lunch and fuel stop at BP Dannevirke (we had a cruiser and a sprotty that were only designed for trips to the local dairy). From there we were met by the next family’s Biker-Dad, who led us to their place just north of Dannevirke, then our programmed trip from Waipawa up the eastern side of the Tuktuki River was changed to a scoot up Middle Rd, School Rd, onto the Napier Expressway to couple of visits in town before coming back to the Matahiwi Marae in Clive.
After being joined by the families and some Hawkes Bay Ulyssians, we were welcomed on, went through our Santa formalities and enjoyed a great feed, then later relaxed over a few drinks.
Saturday was another nice day and after enjoying a cooked breakfast at 0730, we were away a bit after 0800 to head to Bayview for fuel before attacking the Napier-Taupo Road, which I haven’t done for a few years. However, when one of the chaps tried to put air in his tyre, the machine sucked it out and because it was already quite hot, Steve led the team out while I stayed to help as he went over to the Mobil to get the air he now desperately needed.
We had a fairly relaxed romp over to Z Tauhara, but were a little behind schedule when we got there, so flipped from the Option 2 route (via Marokopa) back to the direct option 1 via SH30, many enjoyed a coffee break and we had to go up the Expressway to take Spa Rd into town because it was all closed off for a big Ironman Event. I wanted to go through town because I haven’t done Poihipi Rd for a few years and it was nice to re-acquaint. We then paused at Bennydale for lunch before taking the turn at Kopaki to cut across to SH4, on to Eight Mile Junction, down to another fuel stop at PioPio, then a jolly good fang through the Awakino Gorge (I couldn’t help myself) …then another relaxed refreshment stop at the Awakino Pub.
Down to the last leg for the day, we stopped to get supplies at Urunui and got to the marae at Sentry Hill at 1630 again for a repeat on Friday …ie Santa doing his thing, having another great feed, then relaxing later before hitting the pit.
Sunday’s weather was flagged as being the pits and during the night, a couple of guys had awoken and mentioned seeing quite a few lightening flashes (no thunder) and Ann sent a text first thing saying how bad the weather was in Wgtn ….and that we shouldn’t be riding. We reviewed the weather reports, then decided that it might be better to return via SH2 through the Wairarapa …then heard that SH2 was closed ….then decided to make a decision when we got to our lunch fuel stop in Whanganui.
After another cooked breakfast we got away at 0900, fueled, did our two visits, headed for Whanganui, (with next to no rain) decided to return via SH1, only struck heavy rain as we approached Wellington and I got home at 1415, relieved, a little weary, but quite satisfied that we’d done our bit to help a few children afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy. (Amd on that point, many thanks to all the riders that support the 1KC rides which raise the funds to buy the presents for this event, plus the VTNZ who provide sponsorship to help bring the families together).
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.