Todays ride was a Clayton’s Ride up SH2 to Mangatainoka …that’s the ride you have up SH2 when you’re not riding up SH2, or in other words, taking as many side roads along the way, to minimize the actual time spent on SH2.
We had eight bikes leave Brown Owl, I had a pretty clean ride over the hill, catching cars at opportune times to make good progress and we were joined by John Medlin in Featherston.
From there we stayed on SH2 to Tauherenikau, taking Moroa Rd (Gravel …although hard-pack with distinct, clean wheel tracks …so even the ST maintained 80kph across it) & Bidwells Cutting Rd, coming back to SH2 at the Southern end of Greytown. We puttered through Greytown and once across the Waiohine River, we took Matarawa Rd to Watersons Line; Thomas Rd; Brookly Rd; Mannings Rd; Belvedere Rd, Cobden Rd; Haringa Rd; Magatarere Valley Rd; Chester Rd and Norfolk Rd to run along the Western Side of Carterton and emerge back on SH2 just before the Waingawa River and Masterton.
Having crossed the river, we were straight back off SH2 on Ngamutawa Rd to get to the Loopline, another Km on SH2 and then onto the delightful Mauriceville Rd to Kaiparoro and rather than taking Falkners Rd, we kept left on Opaki-Kaiparoro Rd in order to get back to SH2 and cross straight over to South Rd No2.
South Rd is quite pleasant riding but it tends to be a ‘road less travelled’ and it’s been some years since I’ve been along these roads so it was quite nice to get back on them. Mangaroa Rd turns to gravel though, which continues for 5-6km along Mangaraupiu Rd and I have known this to be relatively clean and quick, or freshly laid thick stuff and today was somewhere in between.
I found the road to be a bit like riding along a hump, with no clean wheel ruts, but the gravel appeared to be thinner along the centre, where the inside wheels from cars going both ways had tended to sit. The problem was that as soon as the big radials on the ST drifted of that apex, they felt like they wanted to drift down through the thicker stuff and who knows where to. I hate that feeling!! I ended up shuffling as far forward and onto the tank as I could to get more weight on the front and just hammered it!! ….averaging 55kph through here. ….Bloody pussy! ….did I say how I don’t enjoy gravel on the ST …and guess who planned this ride!
It was all over in a few minutes though and we were soon scooting along Kakariki, Doughertys, Pukewai & Mangamaire Rds to Bridge St, the Scarborough Rd took us to the Track road and into Pahiatua, where we crossed SH2 to finish the ride on the Eastern side of SH2, getting to the Tui Brewery before 1230.
We went in, only to find there was a 45 minute wait for food! I don’t know what’s wrong with that place because it wasn’t exactly bursting at the seams and this is the second time I’ve experienced big waits here. I suppose 45 minutes isn’t that long but when one has been in Ulysses for a few years, they get a sense of entitlement and a somewhat curmudgeonly demeanor …and as old farts we haven’t got 45 minutes to waste ….so we continued on to Woodville for lunch.
In keeping with the ride, we took Troup Rd once we’d crossed the Manawatu River and slipped into Woodville from the Hawkes Bay side, then had problems finding a decent place to eat because I hadn’t stopped there for so long.
We got away from Woodville at around 1400, most of the group still together and I was home just after 1600 (177Km) and 397Km for the day. I had the thermal liner back in the jacket so it was a cosy ride and quite pleasant.
We had a Uly meeting this week and it was mentioned that Charlie, our Rides man, was in hospital, so I figured I needed to come up with a ride and stand-in as Ride Lead. Steve and myself have done quite a lot of this so I figured it wouldn’t be hard, I pulled my list of local rides and ended up coming up with a short ride (that wasn’t on the list), sent it to Jim to fire out on the branch kumara vine, and that was my Sunday sorted. I guess I wouldn’t be working for a change.
Tyres checked, various battery driven devices and power packs charged, kitted up with the old ride-crew hi-vis with large big-nose patch on the back, I left work a bit after 0900, scooted to Caltex Rimutaka for a fill and got to Brown Owl at about 0940. By the time I did the briefing at 1000, there were twelve bikes, although two were pulling at Masterton to carry on through to Palmy and we hit the road.
I was surprised at the volume of traffic on the hill, although it turned out it was compounded by a group of 5 or 6 camper vans. Most traffic these days are really good at sliding across and making room …that is ….until they’re in a convoy and then they can’t dare to spend time on a glance in their mirrors, or use a slow bay in case other cars pass them as well …..*sigh*!!
The worst for this today was when a camper pulled into the slow lane near the top of the hill for the Maxima in front of me to pass, which she did so …but screw the bikes queued behind her! That elicited a burst from the Nautilus Air Horn as I ventured …..almost ventured onto the yellow!
We regrouped in Featherston then scooted across to Martinborough, took Ponatahi Rd and Carters Line to emerge just before Masterton, flicked onto South Belt and Manaia Rd past the airport, slipped off on Lees Pakaraka rd to get to Stronvar Rd and took that to the Deep Gorge Bridges at Ngaumu.
This has an ancient old disused wooden bridge next to a 1984 vintage new bridge over a 100 ft plus gorge with some slow moving water at the bottom. It’s not too special but several of the riders hadn’t been there before, we loitered about for a bit and had a photo-op on the old bridge then continued via the Water Towers road to the Gladstone Pub for Lunch, arriving at 1223.
That was quite good, there weren’t too many people, we were fed, chatted and left at 1352.
Nobody seemed to want to take the lead, so I did, and came directly home, bypassing Carterton, then once again, making quite good progress over the hill and got home at 1503 having done 277Km for the day.
I think I’ll be doing a few more of these this year.
Bring on 2019, the man said …yeah right! What a sad Sack, 2½ months in, some pretty damn good riding weather and I’ve only had two short rides ….and I haven’t even made time to blog about it.
In late January our friend Fliss dropped by. She had stayed with us for a couple of weeks when she moved to Wellington and advised she was heading back to Auckland (go figure!!) so I made an offer to take her for a ride to see a bit of the local area and on the 27th, that happened.
She wanted to go to Castlepoint, but the weather in Wellington wasn’t that great so we started off by going through Karori and over to Makara, had a brief stop at the beach, continued on to Johnsonville then out to Whitby, around the Pauatahanui Inlet and up the Paekak’ Hill for a Photo Op’. It’s a great view from the lookout, along the coastline and with Kapiti Island in the background ….*sigh* …at least it would have been if we weren’t in the clouds!
“Oh well”, I said, “lets go to the Wairarapa.” So we went back down the hill and over to Haywards, where the skies were crystal clear.
When we embarked on the Rimutaka Hill it was 18°, by the time we got to the summit, it was 24°, as we entered Featherston at the bottom it was 29° and another 13km down the road, before Greytown the temp peaked at 33°!
I always consider 20 - 25° to be optimal riding conditions and at 33 I was opening all my jacket vents and picking lines that ensured I wouldn’t be slip-sliding about on the melting tar slicks and when we arrived in Masterton we decided to pause for a cool drink. 20 minutes later we were back on the road, 40 minutes after that we were at Castlepoint, after another 30 minutes paused we were back on our way and 2 hours later (including a fuel stop) we were home, having done 400km for the day.
It was just a pity we didn’t go straight to the Wairarapa and do a bit more exploring, but Fliss seemed to enjoy the outing.
The other ride was a Ulysses Club ride on the 03 March. It was a short ride to Lake Ferry, which was convenient, the weather was OK and the day before I had worn myself out mowing lawns and trimming trees, so a wee outing was welcome.
After doing the usual tyre checks etc, I had to swing by the office and got away from there at 0920, refueled at the BP on the Self-Serve Hutt Rd, as I was a bit behind time and that would be quicker. I got to Brown Owl at 0950, then we departed at 1005 and I had an uninhibited ride getting away first, so I had quite a good fang over the hill, considering there was a bit of traffic on the way down to Featherston.
After regrouping, I took a position in the middle of the group of 9 bikes as we scooted down the western lake and down through Pirinoa for a pause at the Lake Ferry Pub. We were supposed to go back to Pirinoa for lunch, but because there seemed to be quite a lot of people there, we decided to lunch at the Pub, after which some planned to take an extended ride home, while others just headed straight back.
I was one of those as I needed to go to Harvey Normans to shop for a new washer and dryer because the washing machine had shit itself the day before and the dryer was still functioning OK, but has been on the blink for a while.
Once again I made very good progress through the traffic on the hill and didn’t see any sign of the couple of other riders I was with once we were out of Featherston.
It was another good blowout and now that I have been joined by two new partners at the office, hopefully I’ll see more road time this year.
Things have been very quiet on the biking front and very busy on the work side, so since this weeks Uly Ride was short and sweet and the weather was forecast to be very good, I figured ‘bugger it’ and went for a ride.
I put a bit of air in the tyres on Saturday, got my kit ready, charged up the Sena, camera & phone and left home about 0925, complete with skivvy over T-shirt and liner in jacket to deal with the 10°. I was only down one bar, so didn’t need fuel and went straight to Brown Owl where there were already about 10 bikes waiting and by 1000 the 15 bikes (one pillioning) departed.
We paused briefly at the top of the Hill for a photo, then regrouped at Featherston before heading around the Western Lake and straight down to Lake Ferry for another brief photstop.
Woody and I were last away for the 8Km scoot back to Pirinoa and although I’ve stopped at the store there once or twice over the years, I’ve never stopped at the café, which looks more like a tin shed and isn’t a lot bigger. We squeezed in though and the food was quite nice …and that was it.
Woody asked if I was in need of more Km, but we were going out and I had a few things to do, so just went back via Martinborough, checked a few roads I haven’t been on for some time, got a bit warm with the liners in and winter gloves on when the temp hit 18°, enjoyed a bit of a fang over the hill and was home before 1445.
That was nice!
I seem to have had a bit of a theme going on through the blogs over recent times which has resulted in a scarcity of said blogs, seeing as how they are generally about my riding and I haven’t been doing much!
Well now it is nearly two months since the last blog and although I did go for a Uly ride nearly four weeks ago, once again I’ve been too busy to blog about it and in term of my current bike, that ride was reasonably significant.
The ride itself wasn’t anything special, just a scoot up to Hunterville, although we did divert at Sanson to go via Halcombe, then extended up to Fordell to cut back across a road I wouldn’t normally do in June. …and sure enough there was a lot of tarmac that hadn’t seen any sun for a bit and much care was taken, resulting in some odd hairy lines on the damp and potentially treacherous surface, but we all made it to Hunterville OK.
Hunterville was the planned lunchstop, but I wanted to visit mum, so I kept going and crossed Vinegar Hill to get to the Wai’rapa and that’s where it happened….
For the second time I rode an ST through 100,000 Km.
The rest of the ride was generally spirited and uneventful.
Then last week I went for another ride because I had to attend a business forum in Palmerston Nth, …another bland ride. This time, it was 5° when I left home, 8° when I got to the coast, dropped to 3° by Levin, then hit 0° just before Shannon and again by Opiki, then crawled back to 8° before Palmy, so the heated grips got a good workout.
This week I rode ..but only to the Ulysses monthly meeting and that was rather interesting because we had a presentation from a couple of the NZTA Traffic Safety Engineers.
They talked about the studies and initiatives that had been trialed over the past few years on the Coro’ Loop, like the added guard rails under the Armco, road markings to encourage riders to take better lines, improved surfaces, back sealing driveways to prevent migration of grit onto the road, signage etc. Then mentioned how the measures had made a difference to the way other road users drove and it was all quite positive …..but then they finished with a mention about diminishing budgets!!! *Sigh*….so I won’t hold my breath waiting to see any improvements to road surfaces, quality and longevity in the work that is done and realignment of some of the road signs (particularly around Northland) so they don’t blind you as you approach corners.
It was bloody interesting but!
So, a couple of uneventful rides have occurred and I’d dearly love to be doing more but damn we’re busy and I can’t see much riding over the next couple of months …but of course, then it will be warm-up time for the next Nth Island 1600 and I am looking forward to that.
I had a bit of a ride today, but what a crap year! We changed our Insurance Software platform at the end of January and having decided not to migrate any data and that left me up to my eyeballs. Then after the clients and policies had been loaded, the ongoing transfer of policy data has left us under pressure.
I did have a short ride over to the Ulysses AGM last month and tacked onto that was a scoot to the Mangatainoka Brewery, which went via Mauriceville. There must have been 50 plus riders and it was quite pleasant, but what a bloody shambles at the brewery.
They only had one cash register to take all the food and drink orders and even though I was in the first dozen to get in there, it still took forever and I figured to pay by cash to shorten my time in the queue.
I didn’t want food and asked the bar tender which of the 10-15 tap brews were low alcohol …but she didn’t know!!! Fortunately at the same time I spotted there was some Citrus in the cooler so I ordered one of those plus a ginger beer and asked how much they would cost, only to find that she didn’t know that either and rather than take my money, she parked herself in the queue at the till to check the price. (Facepalm and thinks FFS!!)
Lady returns, advises price and I gave a twenty ….then I get the change which was a $5 note and eight 50c pieces!
*Sigh* ….joined the other Wellington chaps at a table, had my drinks, then decided to leave a bit early to visit mum in Masterton and at that point I noticed how few bikes had stayed. …Oh yes, and to make matters worse, some bastard must have kidnapped all the ‘Gorgeous Babes’ …because I didn’t see any!
Coming back I caught a few riders out of Pahiatua and passed them, probably only stretched to about a 30 second lead heading south out of Eketahuna and decided that I should divert back through Mauriceville again, but switched up to (shall we say) a ‘very spirited’ pace and ended up emerging back onto SH2 at the Opaki end about 30 seconds behind the other riders!
I had a nice visit with mum then enjoyed another fang over the hill.
Today was a Ulysses Mentor Ride so I went along. It was OK at home but I encountered a bit of drizzle on the way to Pauatahanui and because I was was also a bit late getting there, we were soon on the road. There were just three of us and I started in the front, being observed while the second chap was also being observed from behind for a ride around the Pauatahanui Inlet to the nearby the Police College. After that I shifted to No2 for the ride around the Whitby side of the Inlet, then over Haywards for another pause before going around Whiteman’s Valley, where I brought up the rear.
It got pretty dismal with rain bad enough to warrant putting the wets on, I had the liners in, the heated grips got switched to full, especially after the gloves got a bit wet, ....and when I got home it was quite nice!!??
So I did finally manage another ride and the bike is within a few hundred Km of hitting the 100,000 mark.
A bit over a month ago I went for a ride but didn’t bother to blog about it …but I went to the Ulysses monthly meeting last night and now I have a trophy, so I guess I should!
The event was a Ulysses Wgtn club ride, but with a slight difference in that it was labelled an Economy Run.
I imagine that those that know me well would probably say that I don’t have any hint of a competitive bone in my body …. and that back when I was in Std 3 (that would be year 5 in today’s school lingo) Br Ernest drummed into us that ‘it’s not winning that counts, but how you play the game!’ Well let me tell you, I learned very well from Ernie that if you didn’t play good, you weren’t gonna win …so maybe I have been known to resort to a little bit of ‘Gamesmanship’ in the past, to gain small advantages. Say, like threading a loose piece of string onto a squash racquet to make it look like it had a broken string? …or perhaps studying a game and playing ‘to the rules’ rather than ‘by the rules’?
Well naturally if I have to ride an economy run, of course I’m going to look for any advantage that might be gained in getting to where we had to go, so the day rolls up, I geared up went down to the bike and checked the tyres, maybe leaving them on the high side of 42psi rather than the low draggy side, and I had about half a tank of 98 octane juice and although there’s not much advantage in that, already I’m thinking, “where’s the closest BP Ultimate to Brown Owl” as I get on the road.
Then it’s “Damn”, as I get through the Ngauranga interchange and find Woody on my tail. I can’t let him know I’m trying to gain advantage, so I just pootle along to Caltex Rimutaka and settle for a top up of 95 octane. On the ST you fill until the fuel reaches the lip …but sometimes you can squeeze a little more in!?
I paid for the gas and eased off the forecourt, giving just a little squirt to get in front of the long queue of traffic …so I wouldn’t have to waste any fuel waiting, then I puttered along the road and around to brown Owl, switching off on the roll and coasting to my park.
We got briefed and I heard, ‘SH2 and Track to Ashhurst pumps, then on to the pub.’ Then we hit the road with me at back, just in front of the TEC. We eased through Kaitoke and onto ‘the hill’ where I found myself behind three cars and two bikes. Being a bit of a strategic thinker, I visualized lots of braking, so we get to a passing lane and I take the lot then settle to an easy, 80kph no-brakes pootle and fortunately for me there was little traffic and the two cars I caught let me through. I continued with more of the same until about ½ to ¾ the way down when I caught Woody and his mate and their braking and dithering caused me to waste some fuel …so after I switched off and coasted the last 100mtrs to a halt at the regroup in Featherston, I lodged a complaint about the inconsiderate pricks!
Once we got back on the road, I guess you could say, ‘I tucked in behind Woody’, who I had coms with, and when we caught up to an MX5, I commented to Woody that he wouldn’t get much draft off that, so he passed it and I took advantage of what little draft there was ….and soon enough we had lost the MX5, were on the Masterton bypass, then turning into a very stiff headwind on SH2.
This wouldn’t do and I was beside myself because the ST is a big heavy brute and even at its most economical 80’ish kph, I’d be lucky to squeeze 15 km/ltr in these conditions ….and then I spotted an SUV in my mirrors, hauling me in …so I slowed down ….and pulled really, really well over to the left, …because I’m a really, really considerate motorist …and next thing you know I found myself behind a nice big Hyundai Sante Fe …and my economy was hovering between 19.5 and 21 km/ltr …and the poor driver of the Sante Fe had to slow down because there were some ignorant, arrogant, Wellington Wanker motorcyclists in front of him …and they seemed to be riding like they were on an economy run or something??!! …and that made me even more economical!
We passed through Eketahuna, waving to Nils and his mates at the GAS and down the road a bit, my Sante Fe buddy saw an opportunity, so he passed a few of the bikes and I waved at them as we passed, because I seemed to be attached and therefore passed them as well. I also checked my gains by dropping back and out to the side and sure enough, the gauge dropped to between 12-14 km/ltr!! …so I tucked back in as we found ourselves on the tail of a convoy and that’s when things got confusing.
There was cars to the front of us and cars and bikes behind us, there was probably guns to the left of us (but we couldn’t see them as they would have been camouflaged in the tree-lines) and as we approached the Mangatainoka turnoff, (which is the natural turn-off for a Track crossing) I observed that there was no one marking the corner, so indicated left and pulled over at the corner to check with the others …but they just scooted around the corner after my Sante Fe buddy …and I couldn’t have that so I thought, “Bugger it”, took off, passed them back and eased back behind my buddy!
He decided he didn’t want a bar of us, so slowed and pulled to the left, leaving Woody and I to fend for ourselves and thus we found ourselves pootling along at that ever so economical 80kph on an even more economical no brakes run and still managed to stay ahead of the rest of the group. We passed a couple more un-manned corners and when we got to Aokoutere, I stopped and switched off to wait for the TEC.
More 90-100kph riding and we caught the group as they were approaching the servo, wondered why Ross & Co weren’t there (until Woody had talked to him on the phone), filled to the lip, photographed the pump and the odo, then went down to the pub to wait.
It turns out that we were supposed to ride to Pahiatua then across the Track from there (who does that?) so Ross & Co were waiting in Pahiatua until they saw an ambulance heading south, so they got worried and followed it until they got back to Eketahuna …then decided it might be a good idea to ring someone! Sheesh!
I thought it was marginal because Bernie (who won the event) on his 650 missed the start and joined us in Featherston. Who knows, he could well have got there early, filled then slipped around the block to come in behind us? …or filled up at the top of the hill, or somewhere!? And Ross & Co who did quite well …well they had a big downwind leg from Pahiatua to Eketahuna, so their results would have to be enhanced as well, but me (who ended up getting 2nd) well I rode magnificently, overcoming all sorts of obstacles to push the big lumbering ST well past its boundaries to achieve an economy of 23+ km/ltr in the most adverse of conditions.
Woody and I returned through the Wai’rapa, taking a wee diversion through Mauriceville and I gave the ST a jolly good spanking over the hill to get home with an economy of 17.5 km/ltr ….and that was much betterer!
This blog is pretty much just about motorcycling ...but every now and then I might rant or dribble on about other things.