What a great day for a ride, so it’s not surprising that we had 30 bikes turn up for the Uly ride to the Martinborough Wind Farm.
I’d checked the tyres yesterday and put a little in the rear, so this morning I just needed to stow my gear on the bike and leave, pootling to Rimutaka to fill-up before meeting at Brown Owl. The temp did dip to 5º so I pulled the glove liners out when I got to Brown Owl, checked the right ear plug as the sounds didn’t seem to be working too well, took a few pic’s, then Ken briefed and we were on the road. I got away early to get a good run over the hill but the traffic was pretty heavy so it wasn’t that much fun.
After a short regroup in Featherston, we headed around the western side of Lake Wairarapa and I slotted into the middle of the group. It was quite pleasant riding under clear blue skies and through the lush green pastureland, with the lake and eastern hills to complete the picture…..but who wants to stop once they’re moving!?...although being tucked in close to the Rimutakas, it was cool when we got into the shade and care was required with that road having several spots where the sun don’t shine and the accumulation of permanent wet spots can be potentially slippery.
We paused again at the Flood Gates on the East West Access Road, then I took over as lead and pootled in toward Martinborough, then out on White Rock Rd to the windfarm. Once again, care was required on parts of the road and we were treated to some great photo-op’s at the top with a top-dresser operating form the base of the towers. (I didn’t even realize there was a strip there before this).
From there I went TEC back into Martinborough for another pause for some to get gas, then around the Tablelands to the Gladstone pub and after a drink, on to lunch at the Wild Oats in Carterton. Riders had been dropping off along the way so there were only about 15-20 that had lunch and after that I headed for home solo.
I was hoping for a good fang over the hill but, once again, there was too much traffic so one would just start to get some flow when another group of cars would be caught and it was back to a crawl….Still a good ride though and I got home at 1505hrs with 299.1Km done for the day at 17.9Km/Ltr and 115,744km on the clock.
For some time now, I’ve been keen to have a go at doing a ‘Police Rodeo’, which is a slow handling event requiring balance and control to negotiate a course marked out with cones, as opposed to the Harley Style Rodeos which are more like a ‘Top-Town’ fun day on bikes.
They make it look pretty easy on You-Tube, throwing their big Electraglides around, what appears to be some sort of maze and some googling revealed rules and courses, so over the last few months, I have checked out potential venues (there aren’t that many large, sealed spaces in Wellington), downloaded potential courses, printing them off and converting the measurements to metres, collected about 20 ice cream containers and 50 half-tennis balls, brought a couple of 30 metre measuring tapes…and I was pretty much ready to give it a try.
I presented the plan to a couple of the Uly Rides Committee members, one of whom suggested a school ground as a practice area and we organized to have a go on Sunday…and me being me, I sneaked down for a lone recce on Saturday!
Well bugger me, I pootled down To J’ville school on Saturday arvo, equipped with the 50+ half-tennis balls, 20 Ice Cream containers, 2 30mtr tape measures, the base and rod from a hearth set and plans for 3 courses: Black Rum; Shield and Offset Shamrock.
I inspected Onslow College on the way then found my way onto the top end of the school to find the two sealed play areas, which I noted that each one is big enough for one course and therefore, great to practice but not big enough to run an event.
I pulled the stuff out and proceeded to set-up Black Rum, which is approx 20mtrs long, using the base & rod as an anchor and measure point for one tape and a can of tennis balls for the other, fluffing around for ages, but finally got it set up, marking out the main points with containers then filling in the lines with balls.
Looked OK, now try it!!?? Fooking ‘eck.....I’m useless!!!! Or as the Gorillaz would sing...
I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine, in a bag
I'm useless,but not for long
The future is coming on
...anyway, there is no way the ST was going to turn within these piddling dimensions and one suddenly had way more admiration for those Yank cops on the big Electraglides. (of course ....they must have shorter wheelbases than the ST and the way lower CofG must make it heaps easier).....more Tui please garcon?
We had two rides this weekend!
The first was a wee overnighter for Ann & I up to South Taranaki for the opening of the new tino flash Dining and Ablution facilities, at her marae. We departed from work before lunch on Friday, pootled over to Masterton to visit mum, then over the Track for a fill in Palmy, before idling up SH3 to Kai Iwi Marae, where we helped with food prep for Saturday morning. For me, that included peeling kumaras, cutting up fillets for raw fish, slicing up sheep livers and slicing and dicing onions, but we were only catering for 300+, so it wasn’t tooooo many!
I hit the sack at 1030 but Ann, a little worse for wear, oozed in at about 0300 which wasn’t too long before I had to get up at 0350! We loaded up all the food and gear then transported it up to Nukumaru just before 0600, when the formalities were completed but the speeches were still flowing thick and fast. We took the brand new, empty kitchen by storm, firing everything up, carting in all the plates, utensils and food and got to work, which for Peter & I, was frying up a 40Litre container of bacon on a rather large bar-b-que, while about 20 fish were baking in a big gas bar-b-oven (we were outside and out of the chaos). Needless to say, there was heaps of tucker, all were well fed and we were cleaned up by 1030, when we were able to relax, catch-up with various whanau and hit the road back around 1500.
We were both knackered, so hit the sack early….and then it was Sunday!
This weeks Uly Ride was an economy run. I had come up with a plan to do 200Km up to Woodville via backroads that would require a little riding finesse to negotiate with minimal fuel consumption, while at the same time providing little traffic, which arseholes like myself would use to their advantage. We then heard that the Woodville Caltex would be out of action for 6 weeks, so we clipped a section around the Water Towers, which meant we still had 200Km to Ashhurst.
To gain a little more advantage I was planning to fill with BP 98 Ultimate, but unfortunately the cheapskates that live in Upper Hutt won’t buy the stuff, so it’s not available and I had to settle for the usual Caltex 95!
I had to get up a bit earlier than usual to give myself time to call into the office in order to create and print notes to record the participants and their results, grab a few pens, scoot out to fill at Caltex, including an extra 5 ltrs in case anyone fell short, and get to the Brown Owl start point early.
We distributed the notes, briefed, appointed Steve at the front, Ken at the rear and myself as rover (to mark corners or take 2nd lead if the group fractured) and got away sometime after 1000. I got out of the blocks early, with my ploy being to get a smooth descent down the hill, maximizing my economy with minimal braking and just freewheeling, but I probably blew any advantage by passing all the cars I needed to going up. Oh well, I was most gentlemanly and sedate on my passing manouvres and on 17.5Km/Ltr when I got to Featherston so I wasn’t that bad!
Heading out from the regroup, there was a big split so I slotted in to lead on the 2nd group for themeander over to the square in Martinborough (where the economy had upped to 18.7Km/Ltr), left late from there, paused to mark Hinekura Rd, scooted (sedatedly) to the front to mark Lees Pakaraka Rd (although Murray had stayed there from the 1st group) then I just sat near the rear of the group to the Te Ore Ore turnoff and out to Alfredton.
All was going well at this point with my economy up to 19.5Km/Ltr and still rising, there were now two distinct groups on the road with Jim leading the 2nd group so I was content to sit back and enjoy the ride, but as we rode from Alfredton to Pahiatua, I noticed the bike start to wallow a bit and feared I might have a problem with the rear. It didn’t seem too bad though so I opted to continue to Pahiatua before checking it, where I was surprised to see how flat and damaged it was…..Bugger!!
I waited for Ken to arrive to advise my predicament and that I would retire from the ride, then went across to the BP to carry out repairs. With the bike on the centre stand I was able to determine that there were no items in the tyre and no discernible air in the tyre, so pumped it up a bit then had another look and listen. That revealed three splits, with something in them that I presumed to be glass and proceeded to plug them with ‘Dog Turds’.
This was a problem because two of the holes were less than a centimeter apart, with one of them about half a centimeter long, so it didn’t seal properly and I had just used my last plug (not that any more would have been much use to me) so I packed up, put my kit on, topped up with air and headed for Eketahuna where I stopped at the GAS for another top up. I was losing air faster than I would have liked but endeavoured to continue to limp home and would make another ‘D’ at Masterton……but I didn’t get that far.
I went past Mt Bruce and was halfway along the big straight when the rear blew out with a bang and a big shimmy, which made me thank my lucky stars I hadn’t been negotiating a corner at the time. The verge dropped away from the road along here so I had to just pull-up as far left as possible, then checked to confirm that the tyre was totally trashed. The bike wasn’t going anywhere under its own steam so there was nothing for it but to call Roadside Assist (which comes with the NAC Insurance).
I sat around for about 45 minutes before the truck got to me, (which I thought was pretty good for a Sunday as it was near on 30 minutes from Masterton) we loaded the bike and stropped it down, then he transported us to Mum’s in Masterton and I had already arranged for Ken to pick me up from there. Ken turned up on the GS about 10 minutes later and we prepared for the trip home at which time, I apologized in advance in case I turned out to be a bad pillion.
That turned out to be the case because when I looked at the big fat bags and thought about my dodgy hip, I doubted I would get a leg over, so I nearly gave Ken a hernia as he tried to support the bike with my 90+Kgs being planted on the left footpeg…then I found I still couldn’t get the other leg over so I dropped a knee on the seat to centralise the weight for him. Then I couldn’t move because I was laughing so much at my predicament, but I eventually got into position…only to find my legs spread to the limit and had to comment to Ken that his arse was fatter than the ST’s tank!! I was a bit worried up at this point that I would seize up but fortunately the GS is tall enough that I was able to drop my left leg on occasions to relieve the discomfort and I was also surprised that once we got on the hill, applying a bit of pressure as I shifted weight for the corners seemed to provide some relief as well…..an then we got home!
What a laugh! Ken pulled up as close to the curb as possible and fortunately, right beside a power pole, so I attempted to slide off, but with everything at full stretch (which isn’t very much), I found myself with on foot on the ground, one stuck on the seat and if I didn’t have my back propped up on the pole, I would have ended up in a heap on the ground. Once again my mirth at the situation I found myself in, made it even more difficult to complete the manouvre.
I did manage to get off though, so Ken could get on his way and I hobbled up to collapse on a lazyboy and crash out for an hour or so.
That’s the 2nd tyre in a row that has failed to make the distance due to sever puncturing and thank God it didn’t happen in the middle of the night in the back of beyond on a GC or TT. The last one only made it 4,000Km but at least this one was on 8,800Km, although it did seem to be wearing well, with plenty of life left in it prior to this. It has buggered me up though in terms of tyre life by the time we get to the next GC in October….but time will tell.
I still have to retrieve the bike from Masterton but I have a tyre ready to go and will probably bring it back on Wednesday.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.