I've had some great rides lately but I seem to have a lot to bitch about as well. This week it's the distributors of Avon Tyres that have pissed me off.
I upgraded my bike in January and by mid February I was averaging 1,000 km/week and had done 3,800 km when I got a puncture in the rear tyre which damaged the inner membrane, requiring it be replaced. I had used a Conti Milestone on the Intruder and found it to have good grip and wear and since the Avon Storms hadn't been released at that time, I decided to fit a Conti Road Attack.
I expected to get about 16,000 km out of the Road Attack and initially the tyre performed very well but after only 4,000 km it started to show signs of wear, indicating I would be lucky to get 10,000 km out of it. By the time I had done 8,000 km I figured I would be lucky to get another 1,000 km and made inquiries about the cost and availability of a set of Storms as I had only heard positive feedback on their performance. At that time I was advised they would be in stock in two weeks, but that wasn't a problem as I figured I wouldn't need them for about a month and over the past couple of weeks I have been checking-up that they were readily available, which was confirmed by online checks, so there was no need to pre-buy the tyres ready for fitting when required.
Well.....after last Sunday's Winter Solstice ride, I realised the time had come, so on Monday I ordered a set of Storms and booked the fitting for Thursday. “No problem, plenty of stock, they'll be in tomorrow,” was the word, but late Wednesday I was informed that there was no stock and there would be no stock in the country for six to eight weeks. !!??@#%??
It turns out that the distributors of Avon tyres don't bother to update the inventory on their site and because I had decided some time ago to use the Storms on this change, I hadn't really bothered to compare any alternatives. What a pack of Double-dye Kiwi Bastards!!
After checking the ST website I decided to order a set of Pilot Road 2's. No ride for me this weekend though....lucky the weather forecast is crap.
No sooner has Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill become law than the stupid bitch is trying to introduce a 16 year old voting age...Where's it all going to end?? Politicians piss me off, but I can't be bothered getting involved so I guess I'll just stick to bitching about it and biking.
After a week of Snow down south, heaps of rain up north and the odd thunder storm in Wellington, we had a great weekend for riding. Saturday was a bit windy and marginal in the Wairarapa and Manawatu so Nanny Ann and I had a cruisy ride around the bays followed by a coffee in town before heading home to relax before the excitement of the All Black/Springbok test and the 1st race for the America's Cup.
Today was a great day for a ride and fortunately BuckBuck had organised the Winter Solstice Ride. I left home around 1000 for Rimutex where I gassed-up and checked the tyres. While we were waiting, a Motorad salesman turned up on the new Kawasaki Concours 14 which has just been released and was delivered to them yesterday, so I checked it over. It's a bit of a beast with a ZX14 motor, a 190 tyre on the back and similar features to the ST, but as far as I am concerned, the 'jury is still out' on whether I prefer it or the ST. Each bike has its’ advantages and I am eagerly awaiting the ride reports that should start hitting the 'sites' soon.
Nine of us eventually got away just after 1100 after being warned by a rider that the wind was treacherous on the hill. It must have settled because we had no problems and after quick stops at the summit and bottom, we were soon on our way through Martinborough, along Ponatahi Road for lunch at the Wild Oats in Carterton with the 'Rapa Crew. The temperature was 14 degrees and I was getting a bit hot so I had to change down to the Kerby gloves and strip off my skivvy.
I left early to drop some DVD's in Masterton for my brother and waited for the rest to arrive at the North End Mobil. By this time the Ashhurst riders had joined in and there was now about 16 bikes for the run through Alfredton to Eketahuna. We split from the Ashhurst lot there and came back through Morrisville, the Loop Line and another coffee stop in Greytown.
I got home just before 1700 after doing about 300 kms and after a quick change, a roast dinner was ready to serve. Life doesn't get much better than this....except I do have to get a set of Avon Storms for the bike this week.
This week was cold but it flew by as they seem to these days and I experienced a couple of firsts.
Early in the week, I was looking after my mates Jake & Elane-Mei again but this time after going through the pantomime for Jake to get his lolly, I was greeted by Elane by her putting her arms up to be picked up. She was full of smiles and very friendly and we reckoned it was a greaze to get a lollipop, so we gave it a shot and sure enough.....what a drooler. She enjoyed her first sweety (much to her mother's horror) and then she was done with me...I had outlived my usefulness. Not even one year old, and she already knows how to manipulate a situation!!
After an otherwise quiet week, I was looking forward to a ride on Sunday and fortunately, according to the met office, it looked like the weather was going to clear....yeah right. I arose today to find it was still cold (9º), and still overcast and drizzly. Both KiwiBiker and the Ulysses were supposed to have rides on but who was going to go out in this......Me! I figured I'd go through Upper Hutt and continue over the hill to visit my parents in Masterton. For the first time this year I put the liners in my tecknic pants and headed off for a fill-up before swinging by Caltex Rimutaka at about 0955, sure enough no KB'ers there so I continued down to the Brown Owl shops and what do you know, three other riders, rearing to go.....silly old farts!
I hooked-up and we went on the scheduled ride round Lake Wairarapa & onto Martinborough for brunch. There was a little drizzle and some fog at the top of the hill but the road was wet so we took it easy and we only passed one other rider coming south. It must have been the first time I have ridden over the Rimutaka Summit and there were no bikes loitering there and I think it would also be the first time I have ridden over the hill and my economy was over 16.5 k/ltr. (It was 17.9 and the temp had bottomed at 6º). We pootled on around the lake and by the time we got to Martinborough the weather was clearing. We met Tony, a lone Rider on an Indian Chief, and had a relaxing coffee and pie after which the other three headed back while I continued onto Masterton.
I went via Ponatahi Rd / Carters Line emerging just South of Masterton on East Taratahi Rd (most of it in sunshine) and spent an hour with my dad before heading back. Once again, an uneventful ride only passing one rider heading north over the hill and finally arriving home around 1500, 270kms done, warm and dry but the bike showing signs it had been through some weather.
A crappy day but another enjoyable ride and on the way back, seeing as I was the only rider on the road, for the first time, I will declare myself 'King-of-the-Hill' for 17 June 2007. That should secure my status as a KB ‘Wellington Arrogant Wanker’.
After registering for this a week or so out, Nanny Ann & I were eagerly looking forward to Saturday morning when we could hit the road. Unfortunately for one reason or other, most of the other the other Welly riders had pulled out, but no worries, we were on our way and I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecasts to ensure we made the most of the ride up to Turangi. I had also made up 'official' kiwi Biker nametags for the Welly and Manawatu riders so I could remember their names.
We got away from home around 0910 and stopped briefly at Caltex Kaiwhara' in case there were any late starters. No one there so it was on to Caltex Rimutaka, our first fill-up, a couple of psi extra in the back tyre and meet up with F5 Dave. While pumping the tyre I met Pete who said he might come up later, Dave arrived and we all chatted for a bit, (no hurry), that was fortunate as next thing AJTurbo turned up with mudboy on the back and they were coming to Ashhurst, just for the ride...and lunch.
We got away about 0920, it was cloudy but dry and an uneventful ride over the 'Hill' except for getting to the top and the weather in the Wairarapa looked great, inspiring a wee diversion from Masterton to Alfredton – Tane and back out at Pahiatua. We copped the odd gust along the way and the weather turned, starting to rain just before Pahiatua so the 'Track' was out and it was on to Woodville where the clouds were covering the hill tops but there was a clear channel right over the gorge...easy decision made.
We were soon in Ashhurst meeting phantom and Robertybob and Garry H was there to say gidday. We had lunch and before we left, the cafe owner wanted to hear the Buell and the R1 running and was suitably impressed. I apologised that I would have let him hear the ST but hadn't bought my stethoscope. AJ & mudboy headed back and we were on our way again, deciding to go through Colyton and making a decision on the route as we went because the weather certainly looked grim. We were soon into drizzle so it was out to SH1 via Vinegar Hill and by the time we got to Flat Hills it was pissing down. F5 Dave stopped there to suit up and Robertybob did the same at Mangaweka, then we regrouped and it was on to Taihape for a quick fill for those that needed it and off up the Desert Road where the temp only dropped to about 7 degrees.
We arrived in Turangi around 1600, checked in, I took the ST down town for supplies (4 Doz & 2 bottles of wine...love those panniers & top Box) and we started the weekend with the 5 of us getting to know each other in the caravan that Nanny Ann & I had booked into. From there we headed over to the lounge to meet up with the rest of the KB'ers about 1830, then walked down town for a feed with Mr & Mrs Kinger and Mrs TriBoy. (TriBoy was laid up for some reason and couldn't come).
We finished off the night back at the lounge, socialising till about 0130 which was hard case because I finally met Chanceyy and 86GSXR, only to find I had met them previously as Sandra & Alistair on the Ride for Hope.
A good day had by all about 400km for me.
Sunday 03 June – Day 2
We arose about 0830, cleaned up, wiped the dew off the bike and headed down to the Shell to fill-up and pick-up some breakfast from BK. (I was disappointed that there no Hotties in bikinis serving....must've been too cold). F5 Dave advised us he needed to head back to Welly, Qkchk briefed for the days ride which was to be Taumaranui – Ohura – Bennydale – Whakamaru – Western Access (SH32) – home, and we hit the road about 1000 with 86GSXR as TEC and I decided to be nice and keep him company. (The roads were wet and I was quite happy to dawdle along).
After riding through fog over SH41, my economy was 18.9 km/lt when we arrived at the designated fuel stop in Taumaranui and it was decided to have an early morning tea to give the conditions a chance to improve. About an hour later we decided to give the Ohura loop a miss and with me as TEC, we headed up SH4 to Ongarue and from there across to Bennydale and on to Whakamaru for lunch. Phantom headed back at this time as he decided 'sneezing into his helmet' wasn't much fun.
I was a little slow leaving town and was about 500 mtrs behind when we entered the first few windies. I was sitting on 110 kph, in no hurry to catchup since earlier, the pace at the back had been so slow. Bad move, as when we came onto the straighter section there was nobody in sight and I had to pick-it-up. 120...nothing, 130.....still no one, 140 – 150 (lucky there were no moderators on the road) and I finally picked up the last rider just before the turn-off at Ongarue, where Qkkid was on intersection duty, so I gave him the nod to carry on and he waved me through. Lucky I only went 100mtrs down the road before returning to remind him that I was the TEC.
We met him again just before we reached SH30, as two riders were dispatched to ensure of no mishaps, but we were fine and it was now onto a good road through to Whakamaru for lunch and the economy was down to 17.9, ...things must have been getting better.
After lunch, the group split into two. One lot heading straight back via the Western Arm of the lake and our group heading up to Tokoroa (an awesome 10 bike train that was honking), down SH1 to Te Tauwhakatutu, across Whakamata (the Kinlock) Rd to the Western Arm and back down to Turangi......but the best laid plans.
We got separated due to traffic on SH1 and the 4th rider stopped at Ongaroto Rd (near Atiamuri) and steered us back to Whakamaru. As we crossed the dam, Nanny Ann pointed to some riders on Kahu Rd, so I did a u'e to follow as the the last one ( a yellow bike assumed to be Qkchk) rounded the corner out of sight. I thought it was strange when I caught up reasonably quickly but followed on till we reached Pohipi Rd and realised I didn't know any of the 4 riders ahead....Bugger....A quick right onto Pohipi Rd and back to '32......I was tramping, not knowing at this point, the 3 leaders were getting onto Whangamata Rd and the other 6 were gassing-up in Whakamaru.
We got back onto '32 and gave the ST heaps (which it's got plenty of....lucky still no moderators and few cars). We intended to go straight for a hot pool but thought we should check-in at camp to let everyone know we were OK. We got there to find we were the first of the 2nd group in and the others were just arriving as we were heading back to Tokaanu where we enjoyed a good soak before dinner. We decided to check out the Truck Stop, which was lucky as the rest of the crew were there so we joined them for a great feed before heading back for a quiet night in the lounge.
Another awesome day....350kms and the economy was down to 16.3.....yeah baby,...we were honking!!
Monday 04 June – Day 3
The weather forecast was for rain in Wanganui and Horewhenua/Kapiti so a decision was made to give the Paraparas and Fordell roads a miss, heading down SH1 for Mangaweka – Kimbolton – Ashhurst – Masterton – home. Robertybob was heading back to Napier direct via Taupo and SH4, leaving just us and phantom for the return.
We said our farewells, gassed up and got away around 1000. We traveled at very casual pace, enjoying the balmy 4 degrees over the Central Plateau, stopping for breakfast and a thaw in Taihape. Thanks to Aunty Helen, we were hit with a 20% surcharge for the pleasure and I came out, happy with the food but thinking $56 for breakfast for 2 was a bit steep. (I could have dinner and a wine for less).
Back on the road, the temp up to a seemingly tropical 9 degrees and we were soon turning off a Mangaweka then farewelling phantom in Ashhurst. From there it was over the Saddle and down to Masterton to call in on my parents. A cup-of-tea and chat and we were back on the road just after 1500, over the 'hill' and home to a hot bath and a wine, a chat about the weekend, a catch-up on the forum and the task of recording the events.
Another 400 km day...1160 km all up and the ST's in for its 12K service on Wednesday (That's taken 4 ½ months)
A big thanks to Qkchk & Qkkid for organising this event, we really enjoyed ourselves. Nice to meet the KB'ers that turned up and put faces and names to logons. And a big thanks to all those that thought about coming, but didn't......it meant I got to remember the names of those that did!! .....just kidding.......clear your calenders for next year.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.