I wasn't planning on a ride today but I ran into Woody yesterday, when I was putting some air in the tyres at BP J'ville and next thing you know, we had a plan. There was a Uly ride today but because it was programmed for the Akatarawa Rd (which I think is a waste of time ride) and because I'm in more need of more kms, we decided to scoot up SH1, nip over the Fordell-Hunterville road and Vinegar Hill, have a spot of lunch in Ashhurst and make our way home.
Since we were embarking up SH1, we opted for an early'ish start at 0900 and ended up departing BP at 0910. I thought we would beat the traffic but the motorway and highway was pretty thick with traffic all the way to Levin and from there it was steady, consequently our average to Waikanae was barely 75kph, but it rose from there to be 80kph by Foxton and 83 by the time we turned off onto Campion Rd, to go around Ohakea and a more respectable 85kph by the time we rejoined SH1 at the Bulls Bridge.
More easy riding saw us up to Warrengate Rd and over to Fordell for the fun parts. It's been awhile since I've been on this road and it always requires the utmost respect and should be ridden with an expectation for smatterings of loose crap on every corner. On this occasion it was quite good, but there was a big stretch of hard pack road works around the Kauangaroa area, then a stretch that must have been resealed 6 months to a year ago that still had bits of grit about.
We arrived in Hunterville at about 1200, Woody fueled and we were on our way again at 1207, scooting up to Vinegar Hill, across to Cheltenham and through Colyton to Fusion Cafe in Ashhurst for lunch.....although I was forced to have a very late breakfast....and very nice it was too.
Just over an hour later, we were back on the road for the Track, and I must say that that is in pretty good condition as well. The only cause for concern through there was the odd gust in places, but even the wind calmed as we came off the hill and through Nikau.
I'd started the day with 50-60 km out of the tank and I find this bike significantly less economic than the old Red, in that I was sitting on 17 km/ltr where, for the pace we were on, I would have expected the Red to be between 18-18.5. Consequently I figured I probably wouldn't make it home on the tank, or I'd have to drop back to 80kph or start drafting, so I decided to pull unto GAS Eketahuna, but as we were about to pull in, a car and three Harleys beat us to the two pumps.....so we continued to the Mobil on the bypass in Masterton. Before that though, we needed to sample one of the best bits of the road the 'rapa has to offer, the Opaki-Kaiparoro Rd!
It only adds 5-10 minutes to a scoot up or down SH2 and it's pretty much always in very good condition....bloody marvelous....and after that we just had the hill.....but there was a reasonable amount of traffic on that so nothing flash there.
It was a pretty good day of smooth flowing riding at a moderate pace and I finished the 491 km feeling pretty fresh and didn't have to stand or squirm around at all to alleviate the butt, although we did have a few stops, so the conditioning for the big rides is coming along well. One thing though is the tyres.
When topping up the air in the tyres yesterday, I found the front is further along that I thought (maybe 2-3,000 km on it) so I'll need to order one straight away, but I've been struggling at times with my cornering and often find myself reluctant to push on...or rather, swing in. I've been finding myself cranking in too early and coming out wide, or if I hold off, finding myself not comfortable to crank into the apex...and coming out wide! Today the rear twitched on dry paint, (not that I should have been near the paint) but it made me realise the Pilot Road 4 on the rear has me feeling the same way I did when I was running Pilot Road 2's....which I never, ever liked. I've generally found it good, and can certainly get the bike well over on it, but with it now about a third the way through its life, I've decided that I don't really trust it! Nothing solid, just a feeling, but that feeling and confidence is what it's all about, so my jury is out. I'm thinking I'll go back to the Z8's!
So, good ride today in 8° - 15°, with the signs that conditioning is going well and I've made a decision on the next set of tyres. Stats are that we did 491km at an moving average of 85kph and the bike now has 47,819 km on it. I'll be ordering tyre tomorrow and booking in for the next service.
In a past life (my 2nd of the current one – or chapter 2 perhaps), I was an Aircraft Electrician in the RNZAF, and eventually they told me I was an Avionic Technician. Big deal, I worked on batteries, power generation, distribution and regulation, all sorts of motors used for all sorts of purposes and lighting systems. I changed bulbs on teeny weeny lights that lit up gauges and instrument panels, on small lights that lit up other bits and bobs in cockpits, on still and flashy flashing Nav Lights, on big mother landing lights and oscillating or spinny-winny anti-collision lights. I even changed anti-coll lights on the tails of DC3's and Andovers, but fortunately, since I'm just a tad shakey when it comes to heights, I never had to scramble up the tail of a Herc or Orion to change their ones!!
Anyway, one can read that I've changed a bulb or two in my time!
Well, it was recently brought to my notice that the left mainbeam headlamp bulb had blown on my ST1300. Normally I would just get the nice man at Boyles to change it on a service, but the lack of riding had me over 2,000km from a service and although there was no haste as no night riding in the immediate future, and there’s a spare fitted and operating right next to it, but I have got the big NI16 all-night ride coming up in October, plus a practice night ride before that, so I attempted to attend to the problem. How hard could this be....it's just a bulb.
So, I rang Mr Boyle, had a chat and mentioned that I needed a bulb. That perhaps I should change to Night Breakers or some other flash thingy might be worth considering, but hell, the lights on the ST are pretty damn good and it all got too hard so I just turned up one Saturday and bought an H4 off the shelf.
It was just a bulb, so when I got home that evening, I tried to fit it! It looked interesting, a ring at the base with three locating tabs, funny little dish under the main filament to direct the light output up to the top reflector.....or perhaps that was blocking the light from getting down to the bottom hi-beam reflector...should be easy enough to change!
First off, I put the bike on the centre stand, pushed the bars one way and then the other to see how easy it would be to get a hand in there and on the item in question, then I headed upstairs to pull up the workshop manual on my notebook and see what it had to say about changing a main-beam bulb....and what a load of toss that was!
I went back down to the garage, had a fiddle but nothing worked or made sense....so I went back up stairs and rang Ken because he used to have an ST and did his own servicing. Sure enough, he's changed a bulb but couldn't really remember...”go on YouTube” he says!
I tried YouTube...nothing ….so I tried the ST-Owners site, found some guff went down to try it....didn't work....so I went back to look some more and sure enough there was some more guff that was much clearer....so back down and voila!! There is a knack to remove the connector and once one has that knack, it just pops off.
I worked out how to remove the spring clip that holds the bulb in place, the old shot bulb pops out and I'm ready to drop the new one in. Yeah right!!
Being careful not to touch the glass, I get it in place and try to line it up. I spend a bit of time on this and by now, Ann is home so I call her down to assist (I can't see into the front of the headlight while working to get the bulb in from the rear.)
Ann guides me, “twist it this way, twist it that way, point it left, right, up, down”....it won't. I ask her to fetch a mirror so I can see for myself.....that doesn't work either! I find that by turning the wheel to the right, there's less room to get my hand in, but I can fiddle at the back and see in the front.....big deal, still won't work. I then give up, pulled the bulb and put the old one back in. It just slots straight in! I grab the new one,...still won't go, so I pull it and study them both.
Well I'll be damned. A close inspection/comparison reveals that the tabs on the new one are slightly smaller and where the old ones are spaced at about 135°, the new ones are about 130°!! …or vice versa…FFS!!
I eventually go back to the shop...... “Oh shit”, he says “You need the Honda one. That'll cost!!!”
I contact them again a few days later. I had already returned the $24.50 H4 and he reassures me that he’s ordered the Honda jobby and it’s only going to be $60-something!!!! “Holy Shit”, I blurted, perhaps I need to cut the tabs off the ordinary H4?....or perhaps I better re-visit changing/upgrading to some flashy bulb? I’ll probably get a pair for less than that!!” In the end I can’t be bothered and say, “Oh bugger it! Just get the bloody thing.”
*Sigh*…..I was just changing a bulb. It's something we do all the time and take it for granted. I don't consider I wasted an hour or two pissing around,….(although I might have been able to earn some coin to go towards buying the bulb in that time). I learnt (re-learnt) one of life’s lessons....or was that one of Murphies Laws? Thank God our Air Force never had any planes designed and built by the Japanese!! At least I now know I can change the main bulbs on the ST in 5-10 minutes and if I carried a spare, I could do it on the side of the road.....in the dark! FFS...it's just a bulb!!!
Umm….and I won’t be carrying a spare! I better do some homework to see what else is out there….FFS….it’s just a bulb!!!
After getting a bit tingly 150km into last week's ride, I had a meeting and decided I needed to Harden The Butt Up and conditioning rides were needed for the upcoming Nth Is 1600 and C1KC.
With the weather forecast for today looking pretty good, I figured a 500-800km ride was on the cards, but nothing north of Hunterville due to all the snow induced road closures this week and a plan formed that included a squirt into the Pohangina Valley, followed by a scoot into the Hawkes Bay. A quick call to Steve confirmed I would have a buddy, who also need to Harden the Butt Up and we were on for an 0830 meet at BP Mana.
The day dawned dry, but overcast and I got away from home at 0810, had just started to fill at BP when Steve arrived and we got on the road at just after 0830 with the GPS telling me we had an ETA (at home) of 1701. That should be a nice wee ride ….or would be if it were a bit warmer than 5°!!....so I flicked the heated grips on.
As is usual when Steve and I get together for this sort of ride, we pretty much slot straight into GC mode, although since we were going up SH1, it was a sedate but steady pace and we were soon turning off before Levin, scooting through Shannon, around through Linton, on to Ashhurst and straight through to a point about 25km up the Pohangina Valley. We were in our element and after the slow start up the Kapiti Coast, we now had our moving average up to 89kph, and the ETA was down to 1650, but the low temps meant that with only 170km done, I was making a beeline for the bushes! Damn.....Go away bladder!!
After a quick look around and a chat, the ETA was back to 1705, we headed back to Ashhurst and over the Saddle, (which I must say is in rather poor condition at this time), then we bypassed Woodville and took Top Grass Rd to Dannevirke, up SH's 2 & 50 to top up fuel in Taradale, then headed back to the chocolate factory cafe on Links Rd. (Last time we stopped there was on the way to the start of the Southern Cross in 2009).
We were half way into the ride at about 360km and by this time the ETA was back down to 1644 and the moving average up to 95kph, but over an hour for lunch put paid to that and by the time we were ready to hit the road again, our ETA was out to 1610. Damn! That didn't leave a lot of scope for variations or explorations!
By now the temp was hovering around 12° as we nipped across to Clive and a new road for me...and that would be Kahuranaki Rd.
I've decided that Kahurunaki Rd is quite nice. There are few off camber corners, but generally it just flows along and does wonders for ones ETA because by the time we got to Patangata, that was back to 1750. All good though, and with that road checked out, we settled back into our groove and from Waipawa, Steve led the quite-brisk scoot for home. That in itself was quite the mixed bag as early on, it looked quite gloomy and the temp bottomed out at 7°, then as we got close to home, we were treated to some sun and more 11-12°. The ride over the hill was quite brisk going up, but relaxed and just sitting in the flow going down, then Steve pulled off at Brown Owl and I hunkered down for the last 30km.
As far as taking a cement pill and Hardening The Butt Up goes, the day was very good. The 1st 350km was a breeze and doing a solid 340km for home saw me starting to drop a leg about half-way along and I didn't start to get too uncomfortable until about 250km. Nothing a bit of jiggling about and standing on the pegs couldn't sort, but I was pretty glad to get off the back when I pulled into the garage at 1741.
Bloody great day though. A real pleasure to just get on the bike and get the job done with no pissing around or waiting for others, and to be riding with a long time buddy, or kindrid spirit that likes nothing better than a curly road and lots of it.
Stats for the day: bike says I did 739.3km but the GPS says I only did 729km?? Moving time was 7:52 for an average pace of 92kph. The temp varied between 5 & 14° and the economy was around 17.2 Km/Ltr.....and the bike now has 47,178Km on it. One or two more of these and I think I'll be good to go for the thousand miler!
I decided this week, that weather permitting, I would be hitting the road today....and the weather certainly permitted.
I had no real plan and early in the week the forecast was looking marginal, but when it all cleared up yesterday I gave Ken a call to see if he was up for a ride. I really needed to start conditioning for the long rides coming up in October (NI1600) and November (C1KC), but as it's early days and mid-winter, I figured a short foray into the southern Wai'rapa would suffice, so Ngawi and the Water Towers it was.
I packed the bike and checked the tyre pressures last night and both tyres needed a couple of psi, but I couldn't be bothered doing them then, so left it for Z Crofton this morning. I called/checked in and confirmed with Ken at 0900 for a 1000 meet at BP Hutt Rd and things looked sweet...except perhaps for the fresh 6°...and his reports of sheets of ice in Karori?
I was a bit late, had a quick fill and we hit the road at 1017, not a cloud in the sky but as the temp dipped to 4° through Silverstream, it was a good reminder to take care. Traffic on the hill was easy and remnants of icey-snow on the sides of the road near the summit was more evidence that we were in the grips of a really crappy winter, but dropping into the Wai'rapa saw more blue skies and a rising temp that edged back past 8° and onto 10°.
It was a change not to have to bother with any regroups etc and we flitted straight through Featherston out to Kahutara Rd, right towards Lake Ferry and although it was 10° by now, I did resort to turning on the heated grips.....after all, I did have my Summer Darbi gloves on!!?? It was sweet riding though as we clipped along at a steady relaxed pace and interesting through here, that across towards the east coast there were some hills that still had a dusting of snow. I say interesting because there is very little evidence of snow on the Tararuas and as a school kid in the 60's, there was always a liberal dose of snow on them from May to September/October.
It seems to have been awhile since I recall going out to Ngawi and today was a wee gem. There were a few patches that hadn't seen any sun, a wee touch of gravel and a couple of spots where the stock was grazing in paddocks open to the road, but at least they were calm cattle and we made good time....and being gentleman that are exiting from our prime middle age, we both headed for the dunnies as soon as we arrived, then had a chat, took a couple of pix and got back on with it.
I had forgotten to fit the GoPro at the garage, so I took the opportunity to fit it in Ngawi and filmed the ride out, which was slightly more spirited and it was truly magnificent to be slipping along the coast and through the countryside, into a high sun. We scooted into Martinborough, then out on Middle (Ponatahi) Road as I didn't fancy picking my way through what would be a potentially slippery road through the Tablelands. It was quite noticable through here that the area must have had a lot of rain as there were fields with ground water on them, a couple of places where the stock were in mud and some stock yards near the road that were pretty messy.
After a brief pause at the Gladston Tavern for coffee and fries, we finished the day with a scoot around the Water Towers to Wainuioru, into Masterton and home. More mint riding and a jolly good fang over the hill this time, but we got separated and although I slowed down all the way to Melling, that was the last I saw of Ken. Mind you, it's hard once one gets into the lights and I seemed to get a clean run all the way through.
Bloody great day though. I ended up doing 375km at an average consumtion of 17.1Km/Ltr (the ST seems to operate much more efficiently in hot weather) and moving average of 83kph. The temp did make it up to 14° and the bike now has 46,377Km on it.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.