A short Ulysses ride was on the plan for today and I decided to turn up, even though the weather was looking like crap.
After getting up late, I was still ready and down at the bike by 0900, but then had to put the wets on and check the tyres. I nearly didn’t bother as they have just been fitted but since the bike has been sitting for over a week and the weather is rather cool, luckily I did as they were both down around 40psi.
That done I popped down to Shell Crofton Downs for air, then onto Caltex Kaiwharawa for gas and got to Brown Owl just before 0950 to find only two other bikes there. No problem, 3 constitutes a ride (A leader, a group and a TEC) and Steve normally turns up even if it’s snowing so we waited for more.
Come 1000, two more arrived, we had a very brief briefing, then hit the hill for Featherston and out to Martinborough. From there we took the middle road, pausing at Ponatahi Junction for a huge herd of cows before meandering onto Carterton and back to Trendz Café on the outskirts of Greytown…..and that was it!
I was fully kitted out for the worst of weather but we barely encountered the briefest of drizzle patches, although the road was wet all the way and due care was required to avoid the diesel spots, slick strips and cow shit. The sun even made a brief appearance whilst we were dining….but then it also pissed down but we were soaking up the warmth from the log fire, and barely noticed as I concentrated on my Lambs Fry & Bacon with Bowl Latte.
After an hour and a bit we went our separate ways, which for me was straight back over the hill to work. I clipped along at a decent pace and was back in Khandallah by 1315, having done 197Kms, mostly at 9 or 10° and now have 92,196Kms on the bike.
Today I experienced something out of the ordinary…..or perhaps more correctly…something I haven’t encountered for about 20 years.
Our normal week these days is for the Moko’, (Avania) to be dropped at the office at 0800 so she can entertain us before I have to walk her to school, which is all of a couple of hundred metres up to and around the corner. We brought her a scooter for Christmas (ensuring it could cope with 100Kg) and she scoots to school (uphill) then hands it over so the poor frail old koro can scoot back to the office….sometimes in jeans….and sometimes in a suit & tie!
On Wednesdays, Avania’s mum works late so we pick her up from school and she stays the night, which also means breakfast on Thursdays might be at the café and a brought lunch is ordered. However, last night Nanny Ann and I went out for dinner and hence couldn’t have our weekly date, so the moko’ had to stay by her cousies, but I was still scheduled to walk Avania & Jake to school from his place.
I turned up early to find my mate Jake in a bit of a tizz, as he couldn’t find his ‘Yellow Thingy’ which he needed for show-and-tell. As it came closer to the time to head out, things deteriorated to the point that Jake had decided that going to school without the yellow thingy wasn’t an option and therefore he was winding up the performance as well as mother’s temper to the point that a Time-out was called for…..Trouble was, Jake seemed to think that was a good idea and no sooner had mum got him there than the realisation hit her and she did an immediate about turn.
This of course did nothing for Jake….except raise his volume and level of handling difficulty, and I soon found myself at the gate, with Avania’s Jacket and Jake’s bag & scooter in one hand, with a very squirmy, noisy Jake in the other …as his mum’s derriere hastily disappeared up the steps and out of sight!!! Hmmmmm….I thought…..I’m a bit out of practice here!!?
I briefly tried a little reason by stating that he could enjoy a scoot to school or do it the hard way, but that fell on deaf ears and as there were time constraints, I began the long drag as my mate Jake squirmed, wriggled, tried to prize the ‘fingers-of-steel’ free and generally made life as difficult as possible, with as much noise and wailing as possible.
We were making progress though and Avania was having a great time scooting out and back as Jake persisted in trying to grab a hold of fences and shrubbery to halt the progress. I paused briefly at the first corner we came to, feeling the need to change hands, at which time Jake spotted a flaw in the nearest fence and made a grab, clinging desperately as I applied the pressure and he finally broke free. Meanwhile, with my attention diverted, Avania had started to cross the road, finding herself in the centre with an oncoming SUV tooting to clear it’s path, but we made it across safely and I thought to myself, “Boy are you lucky Jake, ‘cos 20 years ago there was little patience or tolerance and you’d have a size 9 up the ring-piece by now, with a ‘Here’s something to cry about!’ to go with it”.
But I’m now older and wiser …and that bitch Sue Bradford, as well as Aunty Helen saw to it that I couldn’t act on my impulses….so we continued on our way. Jake squawking and me, with vice-like grip, smiling to the nice people as they made way for us.
The next obstacle we encountered was a pole with a bus sign and as Jake was now on my left, he was able to wrap his arm around it as we passed, holding on for dear life and the hope that mother would come and rescue him….bloody dreamer. Once again the pressure was gradually increased to the point a release was achieved and his free hand then went in search of any possible anchored object to slow our progress and this bought to my attention how many SUVs have bar type door-handles these days. A slight acceleration or change in direction prevented any effective contact though and we continued.
As we approached the School Crossing, I realised that I would have to walk him all the way to his classroom as the slightest hint of freedom would result in Jake doing a runner back home and my dodgy hip would make it a close call on a recapture.
By this time I had warmed up to the point of getting a glow-on and I was quite thankful I’d missed my gym session that morning. We crossed into the school grounds and were approaching his classroom as the bell went. Jake was deposited at school. Avania was happy ‘cos I was too knackered to argue the point that I should take her scoot’. I stripped off my jacket and headed back to the office.
The Yellow Thingy provided some entertainment and a diversion from the day to day hum drum experiences. I got to appreciate that Jake can be a little arsehole (which is good ‘cos some people are born arseholes but I really work at it) and that means it’s continuing in the genes. Also I got to appreciate that the little bloke has a bit more tenacity, grit and desperation than I had credited him with. I had a smile all the way back to the office and enjoyed relaying the saga to Nanny Ann and his mum…..and so another family legend is born. All I need to do now is think of some embellishments!
I still don't know what the Yellow Thingy is but....?
We had a reasonable ride this week which was supposed to go up SH1, avoiding Sanson and Ohakea to get to Bulls, then head off through Santoft (a road I haven’t done for 30+ years) then cut across to Ashhurst via Halcombe (204Kms) for lunch at the Fusion café…...but the best laid plans!
The weather forecast wasn’t great for Sunday but I figured, since I haven’t done much riding lately I would see who turned up and go for a ride anyway.
I gave the bike a quick check over on Saturday and noted the tyres were getting down a bit with a most unusual wear pattern, which I can only attribute to the delights of the TT2000 on those South Island roads. The rear was down to the marker strips in the centre but the side tread was OK and the front was down to the marker strips on the sides but with plenty of tread in the centre…and both tyres have squared off a bit. ‘Not to worry’, I thought, club ride…I’ll ride conservatively and see how they are before we head sown south next month.
The day dawned with grey skies, but looked like rain would be unlikely and therefore a good day for riding. I got away from home just after 0900, with the temp at 14°, topped up at BP Paremata and proceeded to the meeting point at the Plimmerton Weigh Station.
By 1000 there were five of us, so I led out and the traffic was heavy enough to get the economy up to 20.3K/Ltr but light enough that we were able to maintain a reasonable pace until heading out of Levin and the weather to the North-West looked grim but one could see blue skies to the North-East. Entering Foxton, the grim looking weather actually made its presence felt so I pulled into the abandoned gas station for a quick consensus and after consulting the map, we had a change of plan.
Steve took over the lead and I dropped back to TEC as we diverted across to Shannon and took SH57 to Ashhurst. From there we went over the Saddle, pausing to take in the view and commenting at the strange way many of the turbines were pointing in different directions, before dropping down to Woodville for a top-up (I wasn’t even down to half a tank at this stage). Then we took Pinfold and Top Grass Roads to Dannevirke for lunch at the Black Stump café. It was most odd as we were now on 204Kms which was the exact same as our original plan for getting to lunch in Ashhurst.
After a pleasant stop, the five of us remained together for the trip home and we popped back to Oringi, where we diverted over Jackson and Bluff Roads to bring us back to SH2 between Woodville and Pahiatua. Then down through Eketahuna for another diversion through Mauriceville, where Steve paused so I assumed the lead to the Loopline and another stop at the Mobil on Ngamutawa Rd for Steve to top-up. (by this time I was down to 3 bars and estimated another 200Kms in the tank).
I led out again for the final run home and with the thickening traffic on SH2, by the time I was heading into Greytown I could no longer pick-out the others behind, so I maintained the steady pace until the Hill, but with still no sign of them I upped it a bit. The ride over the Rimutakas was pretty good, with few problems getting past the traffic even though I was still conscious of taking it easy on the tyres and by the time I was dropping into the 70kph limit at Brown Owl, the heavens opened and it really pissed down….so much so that the cage drivers forgot how to drive and the queue of traffic backed right past Akatarawa Road and onto the hill. No worries though, I just filtered on through to the motorway.
From here on in the traffic was thick and the road was swimmingly wet as it continued to bucket down. I was trying to be careful to avoid any paint and slick spots, but coming out of the lights at Gibbons St, I had crossed into the left lane and was accelerating to pass a Holden when I’m not sure if the rear twitched or I just had a premonition that it was going to twitch, so I buttoned off and settled into the flow.
There were no more hints of problems and I was soon stripping off the wet gear in my garage, when I heard an odd sizzling noise. At first I thought it was just water dripping off the bags onto the pipes, but it was too consistent so I bent down to check. I couldn’t see anything and had to get on my hands and knees to ascertain that it was coming from the floor under the rear tyre….Surely Not!.... Hmmmm….I put the bike on the main stand and got down again but had to get the torch before I could spot the bastard and sure enough, the air had been bubbling out of a hole which had nothing lodged to show the cause.
Bloody hell, it was no wonder it had punctured because the rear was looking almost as bald as a badger…..or Steve…or perhaps Ken with a little fluff around the sides and I was exceedingly grateful that it hadn’t happened on the road and I would have had to done the repair thing in that abysmal weather.
After going around and about, it was a great day, doing 440Kms at an average of 19.1K/Ltr in temps generally around 13°, but I had the liner in and the Spidi gloves on so I was pretty comfortable. The bike now has 91975Kms on it, continues to run like a dream and is checked-in to get its’ 10th rear and 7th front…hopefully with Storms to be the order of the day.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.