I had the 114,000km service done this week, which meant that I finally got the heated grips fixed. I also advised them that the front pads had done 60,000km and was surprised to hear that they still had plenty of meat on them. The last set lasted 54,000km, so these were looking to well surpass that, but what really confuses me is that the brakes are linked but the rears only last about half the distance??
As far as rides go, I had no plan this week as there was a Uly ride on and I figured I would see where they were going, probably join in, then tack something else on, however nothing was promulgated so I went anyway, arriving just after 0940, waited until 1000, then I left on the Ulysses ride as a gaggle-of-one!
Although I had no plan, I had considered that for today I would like to do a bit more technical riding on some curly roads and by the time I got to Kaitoke I was on a ‘Claytons and Average’ ride.
For those that weren’t around in the 1970’s, Claytons was a non-alcoholic beverage that was touted as, “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink.” I don’t think Claytons ever really did that well in the binge drinking culture of New Zealand, but the name certainly caught on and was commonly used to represent anything that wasn’t happening or wasn’t as it seemed.
In this case I was riding up to Woodville on SH2, except I wasn’t, …or at least, I would be trying to avoid SH2 as much as possible. The other part of the plan was to try to find a blend between riding economically while making as good a progress as possible, or getting the best average between economy, moving average and overall average.
One must ride the Rimutaka Hill to get to the Wai’rapa, so that was fine, but once I got to Featherston, I would head for Martinborough. I could have taken Wards Line or Bidwells Cutting Rd, but they would just get me to Greytown and I suppose I could have crossed SH2 to ride up the Western side, but those roads were a bit straighter, so I opted to go all the way to Martinborough and hop onto middle road (Ponatahi), as that is quite nice, and I could get all the way to the Waingawa River. That certainly was nice.
I left Brown Owl with a full tank of gas, an overall average of 33kph and a moving average of 80kph. The 33 was due to the fact I had the GPS on the read the tyre pressures while I pumped them, so I guess I should have reset it and the 80 dropped to 78 due to traffic on the hill, but by the time I got to Masterton, they were back up to 50 and 80.
I took the bypass, turned onto the Loop Line, did another short hop on SH2 then was scooting through Mauriceville, then took Dreyers Rock Rd. I can’t recall the last time I went on that road but it was OK, albeit with a couple of patches that hadn’t seen much sun, but it is good riding I was soon on Route 52 to get to Alfredton, then taking Pa Valley Rd to get to Pahiatua. I’d been on these roads a few weeks ago and I must say, I was feeling a lot more comfortable this time around.
In Pahiatua I crossed SH2 again, then got on the road to the Track, but turned onto Balance Rd and took that through to the Gorge. That’s another road I haven’t been on for some time but it is in good condition with little grit or crap.
Once I got back to SH 2/3 I headed toward Woodville then took Woodlands Rd to get on the Saddle. I’d been trying to keep the indicated speed at 110kph (which is about 102-103 true) but the economy had only managed to get to 17 km/Ltr, which seemed low considering last week it got to 18.5 following Steve, so I guess it must have been the wind and the 95 Octane?? but going up the Saddle Rd, with the turbines pumping energy, I dropped to 16.8, then couldn’t take advantage of the descent being trapped behind traffic that was constantly braking.
I was soon through Ashhurst and heading back toward the Track, over that and out via Mangamaire, and now that my glass of Claytons was finished, I scooted back through Eketahuna and couldn’t resist one more squirt back through Mauriceville.
From Masterton I was in traffic for the first time during the day, had an OK ride back over the Hill to finish and got home at 1445 having done 410km for the day at an economy of 17km/Ltr, with an overall average of 73kph and moving average of 84kph.
I must say that today felt more comfortable in many ways! …with the heated grips working in the 7-11° temperatures, …with the arse on the seat for the duration of almost a full tank, and especially in the brain cells which weren’t feeling quite so ‘insane in the membrane’!!
I had to plan another ride for this week, so I took the easy option, I looked at the weather forecast to identify that Sunday might be the slightly better day ….then I rang Steve and let him choose.
The plan that eventuated was a 9’ish start from his place and to ride up Route 52 to Waipuk’ and back. That was a good plan because I haven’t been up that road for a year or two, it would result in a 500+km ride and that would put me close to the next service, so I rang Boyles to book in for the 114,000km service on Tuesday, which would include a fix-up on the heated grips, which haven’t been working for a month or two, but I haven’t had time to look at them.
Sasturday I went looking to get replacement batteries for the tyre pressure sensors, but couldn’t find any anywhere! I guess I’ll need to do a bit of research there.
Sunday dawned clear, albeit a bit crisp and it was 7° when I left home but it plummeted to 4° as I passed Silverstream and that had me squirming and thinking about another skivvy, as well as regretting I hadn’t attended to the heated grips already.
I gassed at Caltex Rimutaka, went to Steve’s, got on the road from there at 0925 and had a relaxed ride over the Hill with the temp rising back to 10° ….and by the time we got to Featherston I had to stop thanks to the cold squeeze! That would have to be a record.
We puttered on to Masterton then got into the ride proper. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and one would think the conditions were ideal, but bright sunlight also means there will be shade and the transition from one to the other can be a little tricky, especially at this time of year because one can never be quite sure if the shade also means damp road ….perhaps with a pretty smattering of green if the section hasn’t seen any sun for some time …so care was required.
Steve’s riding was nice and smooth with next to no braking and good steady progress. Mine was a bit more eratic.
It was a nice though and we were soon rolling into Pongaroa and Steve asked if I felt like a stop. I replied that I needed another ‘natural break’, so we paused at the pub for a coffee for Steve and hot chocolate for myself (in an effort not to aggravate my bladder). We chatted with a couple of bikers from Masterton and were gobsmacked to hear that this was their first time on Route 52, then after 20 minutes we continued.
I must say that the condition of the road was pretty good (for Route 52) and the ride through to Weber was more of the same, but cutting across from there to Wimbledon now has a sign to advise that the road is uneven. …more Kiwi understatement at its best! There are a couple of beaut slumps through there.
Approaching and after Porangahau is great though and this was opportune to get the moving average up and we were soon in Waipukurau, where I thought we would be stopping for a snack and turning for home, but not so. Steve bypassed the township and turned right for Waipawa, where we assessed our fuel situation, then scooted across to 50 and down to Dannevirke for a snack and fuel.
While there, Bryan, from Wellington Ulysses turned up and left with us, but he was going over the Saddle then back over the Track, so we led him via the back roads to Oxford St, while we continued on Pinfold to bypass Woodville and come out on SH2 and continue via Pahiatua and Eketahuna. By the time we reached Falkners Rd, my economy since the refuel was up to 18.5Km/Ltr and as is usual for Steve, he needed more corners, so we were soon scooting through Mauriceville, where I tried to keep the economy at the same level and manage to emerge on SH2 again at 18.4.
I thought that was it but when Steve missed the turnoff for the loopline I figured something must be up and sure enough, next thing you know we were tuning left at the Masterton Nth End Mobil, then onto Colombo Rd and soon heading through Gladstone, then cutting across to Ponatahi Rd and on to Martinboprough ….and then we were done. We were heading back to Featherston and over the Hill to Wellington.
More easy riding and the economy was back to 18.5km/Ltr when we embarked on the Hill and 18.4 as we dropped to Brown Owl …so a rather sedate trip over the Hill.
I got home just after 1735 having done 636km for the day, my butt knew it had been for a ride and that’s another step towards our Nth Is 1600. I certainly need more rides to get a bit more fluid and smooth but I have struggled with these sort of conditions since writing off the first black.
Damn this rotten wet weather! The problem is, will it peter-out, or like last year, will it continue and reach a crescendo on Oct 6, just as a special treat for the NZ Distance Riders Nth Island 1600?
Once again, the prediction for this weekend looked a bit crappy but Saturday less so in the west, so the plan that formulated was to do the ride I was supposed to do last week, which was up over Vinegar Hill, but the change being that I would scoot up via the Kapiti Coast and Shannon to get to Ashhurst. This would probably be a better ride at this stage of the conditioning because it would push it over 400km and there’s nothing like straight roads to initiate a good dose of numb-bum and test how the big km butt-conditioning was progressing.
Saturday morning turned out to be rather dismal, so after my visit to the gym, I returned home and figured, “Oh well, good opportunity to test the wets!”
I pumped the tyres and gave some thought to the problem of fogging incurred on last year’s NI1600, so I tried a few drops of anti-fog stuff on the specs & inside of the visor, pulled out the wets and geared up, finally getting away at 1045….
…and by 1045 + 30 seconds I had to crack the visor open to dissipate the fog!! FFS!!! Bloody marvelous, but being ever the optimist, I thought, “once I get down on Khandallah Rd and up to 50kph it’ll be right” ….and that was a waste of time too, ….but at highway speed the problem did go away. *Sigh* …I suppose I’ll have to start playing with and testing the pin-lock, but I’ve taken the last couple out because I’ve had problems with them.
By the time I got to the Tawa area, the motorway was dry and I was obviously going to incur very little precipitation on my travels, so I wasn’t going to get any further testing done on the visor ….or the wets!
Once again I’d left on half a tank, so I settled into a steady, albeit brisk pace that was in, or around the tolerated limits and I incurred many more motorcycle friendly motorists who opted to drive well enough to the left of the lane to allow a big ST through, …so they all got a wave …on the basis that they were making room!
Riding up past Linton, close to the foothills, there was a bit overspray reaching SH57, but barely enough to notice, and around that time I noticed that the fuel gauge dropped to 2 bars and thought, “damn, I’ll probably get to Hunterville, but I should possibly fill in Ashhurst”, then realized it wasn’t far out of my way to go to the BP in Feilding to get the AA card discount ….and the ride across through Colyton was sort of brisk.
Filling in Feilding resulted in two downers! The bike only took 21 ltrs so I probably had enough to go over Vinegar Hill and get all the way back to Bulls (if I was going via Bulls) …and 21 Ltrs cost about $50! Sheesh, lucky it wasn’t 98!
More straight roads up to Cheltenham and through to Waituna West and then I had some fun. I one could say I enjoyed a spirited pace over Vinegar Hill, but yeah-Nah ….it was a bloody good fang, albeit with a modicum of restraint as the road had wet patches and in some places it was difficult to gauge if there was loose stuff there as well? As it was I did incur a wee twitch at one point, but I think I probably clipped the paint on a quick right-hand sweeper.
…and then it was back to SH1 and I felt it would be a good idea to try and get the economy back up from 14.7km/Ltr!!
I was soon turning off onto Kakariki Rd to return via Halcombe, which is a peach of a road with its rolling sweepers, but I was also mindful of the time and wanted to get back to Welly by 1530, so peeled off at Halcombe to emerge at Sanson and back down SH1 from there.
The traffic wasn’t too bad and in the end I got back just before 1530, but the Moving Avg had dropped from 94kph to 92 through that last section south of Paraparaumu, having done about 420km. That wasn’t too bad considering it was barely over 80kph by the time I reached Paraparumu on the way north.
I must say that the three rides over the last few weeks appear to have done the trick because the butt was feeling pretty good and I guess I will start pushing the distance up a bit now….
….and at some stage I’ll get to test the wets!?
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.