Today was a combined road and gravel Ulysses Ride and as seems to be the norm lately, the weather forecast was crappy right up until the day before, then it looked like it would hold off until this evening.
I checked the tyres and left home at 0905, going via J’ville to fill-up the fuel and tyres. It was after 0930 by the time I got away from there and headed down the gorge for Brown Owl with the weather a cool 9° and overcast. The roads were dry but it was looking a bit grim on the hill so I decided to put the ‘wets’ on at Brown Owl.s.
We ended up with 9 road riders and only 1 on his dirt bike so he decided to head off and do his own thing while the rest of us embarked on a free ride over the hill and into the gloom. I was TEC and was quite happy to putter along at the rear in these conditions, which combined with lots of diesel spots on the road, meant the Rimutakas were potentially quite treacherous, but we were soon regrouping in Featherston with no incidents, then off around the Western side of Lake Ferry.
That road is in better condition than I expected with very little green on the hump although much of the Western Lake, East West Access and Martinborough Pirinoa Roads have all had stock on them and one had to be wary of the crap and dirt that had been deposited. We still made good time though, enjoying a spirited pace and when we got to Martinborough Awhea Rd, I swapped with Steve as he hadn’t been out to the wind farm before. It’s only about 10-15Km out to the windfarm but a nice piece of macadam on which to experience the delights of motorcycling and it’s just a pity that the condition and width of the road doesn’t continue all the way to Tuturumuri, where it becomes gravel, or better still, all the way to the coast, but I guess then the adventure riders would miss out.
From there I resumed my TEC position as we had a ‘free ride’ back to Martinborough, where we regrouped, some refueled, then we continued onto the Wild Oats in Carterton via Ponatahi Rd. A coffee, pie and chat and we headed back, but by now the weather had closed in so I donned the ‘wets’ once more.
Having been TEC for most of the outward trip, I decided to get near the front of the group for the return and maintained a reasonable pace for the conditions back over the hill, still passing cars reasonably freely and once we were back in the Hutt, the weather was clear again.
Even though the temp didn’t drop below 8°, it felt like quite a cold day but it was great to get out and clear the cobwebs and with little wind and dry roads, we enjoyed the day, doing 286Km at an economy of 17.9Kms/Ltr. I now have 71,962 Kms on the bike and the way the weeks are flying by, I’m starting to think about the endurance ride options that will soon be upon u
I dropped the bike into Boyles on Monday afternoon to get the forkseal fixed on Tuesday and requested they keep it an extra day and do the 72K service and put a new rear on, if they could get a Storm……two days and just under $1,000 later……!! (I guess what I expected but tried not to think about.)
Today was day two of our mentor programme so eleven of us were present and ready at Whitireia by 0900 again. This morning was spent in the classroom going over our general knowledge of the basics and some good references to keep handy, then a bit about commentary riding/driving to improve ones awareness and skill level, after which we watched some vid’s covering following and assessing a rider.
After lunch we had a brief discussion about mentoring then went out on the road for some practical. Initially we paired up as mentors & mentorees to ride over Grays Rd to Pauatahanui where we debriefed before swapping positions and riding up the Paekak’ Hill using no brakes (if possible). Steve & I were first away and had no problems with this.
The next leg back to Pauatahanui was a free ride but still using no brakes, then we changed partners to go over to Wainui’. From there we split into two groups to take turns following the lead rider along the coast road. I went into the ‘spirited’ group and it was an interesting ride as, once again, we attempted to ride off the brakes, (although I did manage to tap them a couple of times) I actually find it difficult following someone else’s lines and felt a lot more comfortable going slightly quicker on the return ‘free’ ride.
We finished the course with a coffee at the Wild Bean in Wainui’ before heading for home as Johnny Mentor.
It was another good day, doing 157Kms at 17.3K/Ltr. I got home at 1700 with 71,585Kms on the bike.
Today was a Ulysses ride to Owlcatraz in Shannon. I didn’t really want to go as I discovered yesterday that my right front fork is bleeding, but as it wasn’t serious and I was the only one from the rides committee around, so I thought I should go.
Watching the weather forecast during the week, it didn’t look like the ride would go ahead but it turned out OK on the day so I got ready and departed about 0910 to fill at Plimmerton and get to the weigh station by 0940. By 1000 there were 7 bikes and 1 car so we had a quick brief before Mike & Sandy led out with me on TEC duty.
As usual on the SH1 rides, it was pretty uneventful and a good opportunity to work on riding economically, so by Otaki I was sitting on 21.4K/Ltr and back to 20.2K/Ltr when we arrived at Shannon. We went into Owlcatraz and had a look around the shop but when it came time to go on a tour, only one couple went through. For the rest of us, two went to visit family in Foxton, one couple stopped for a coffee in Shannon and five of us departed for a return via the Wairarapa over the Pahiatua Track. (we had been joined by a late comer at Owlcatraz).
It was quite a pleasant pootle on predominantly dry roads and after passing through Eketahuna, four of us diverted through Mauriceville, went into Masterton to fill-up (except me as I still had 5/8 of a tank left) then went for a coffee and pie in Kuripuni. When the others left for Wellington, I popped down to visit mum, spending about an hour and a half there before coming home. There was quite a bit of traffic on this last leg but I made quite good time, getting home at 1600, having done 334Kms for the day at 19.8K/Ltr and now have 71,384Kms on the bike.
I’ve booked it to get the fork seal sorted on Tuesday and will need to get the 72K service and a new rear tyre next week.
At 0845 yesterday, 11 of us met up at J’ville before heading out to Porirua for Mentor Training with Andrew & Lynn Templeton of Ridesafe.
This was the first of a two day programme which is being conducted using the facilities at Whitireia, ie a classroom and a carpark, and fortunately we had another reasonably nice day for it, albeit rather chilly which wasn’t too much of a problem as most of the day was spent in the classroom. The first day focusing more on improving our individual riding and the second day will be more about mentoring techniques.
The ride out was rather sedate with Andrew leading (setting a good example) and we were soon in the classroom discussing idiot riding behaviour that we may encounter and have to comment on in the course of being a mentor. I was right at the front of the class and had to shrink into my chair a bit because it seemed that much of what was being said was aimed right at me, so I didn’t have much to say at that point. We then covered things like gear, bike preparation and identifying potential hazards on video clips, counter-steering and good riding practices before going out a bit of slow bike handling (no throttle stuff) and riding through a series of cones focusing on keeping the head up and not using the front brake, before stopping for lunch.
After lunch it was back in the classroom for some excercises on awareness and why one needs to keep their head up, some braking theory and out for some braking demos before trying it ourselves, focusing on ‘throttle-squeeze-clutch-heave’ and using rear, front then both. All good when you have ABS and linked brakes, but I think that has probably made me a bit blazé and lacking in finesse because I can grab handfuls without much in the way of dire consequences.
We finished the day with a bit on Serious Crash analysis and trying to identify errors that have led to some crash examples. It was a great day and quite a good reality check to highlight things that we know but don’t think about and I look forward to the next session, but behaving myself……I don’t know, that might be a bit harder, …….and as for advising riders to do things I myself don’t generally adhere to …………..Hmmmm …….I guess it’s Do as I Say, Not as I Do!
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.