This week I booked the bike in to have its 120,000Km Service on Monday, which apart from the usual oil & filter, is just a whole lot of inspections, but I did specify to do the air cleaner because that’s done about 23,000 and I also asked to have a look at the brake pads because the front set have done 77,000??? (this is only the 2nd set with the first set only managing 42,000Km) I suppose as I’ve got used to the ST and its lack of engine braking, I tend to brake a lot less and I am still more inclined to tap the rear going into a corner to scrub off a bit of speed when I find myself overcooking.
Then on Thursday, I took the bike to work and happened to have a good look at the front tyre and shock horror, I found the bloody thing was almost bald through the centre on each side. I knew I’d need a new one before the GC, and at a quick glance, it looks fine with plenty of tread along the centre strip and out on the edges, but it has only lasted for 12,000Km, which is about 2,000Km less than my worst previous tyres. I had checked with Boyles a week or so back and found the Storms would not be in until the 3rd week of October (cutting it fine for the GC) but they had a Battlax 023 in stock. Oh well, I was never impressed with the OEM 021’s so now I’ll get to check the new breed from the Bridgestone stable.
This didn’t stop me from getting the last drop from my Avon cup by going on today’s Uly ride, but it was only a short one to Gladstone...and I’d take it easy. The ride was a dual Road & gravel ride, with the dirt-trackers taking on the Admiral Range and the road riders doing something else.
The weather was predicted to be crap today so I wasn’t that optimistic that we would be riding, I cleaned the bike yesterday, and got away from home at 0900 to fill at Caltex Kaiwharawhara, surprised to find the day was clear and calm.
By 1000, there five of us, (it would have been interesting to see how many turned up at 1100 on the first day of daylight saving) and I trailed out at the rear, having decided the road riders would ride to the gravel on Hinekura Rd, then ride around to wait at the gravel on Admiral Rd.
We had a quiet ride over the hill, regrouped in Featherston, then stopped again on the way out of Featherston as it turned out, Ken had been kissed by a bee. More sedate riding and another brief stop in Martinborough, then on on around the tablelands, but instead of taking the usual turn onto Martinborough-Masterton Rd, we took Hinekura Rd for 13Km until it turned to the Dark Side. This was the first time I had ridden the road and it was OK, but being an unmarked, single lane, it’s not the sort of road I include on my ride list.
From here the two dirt-trackers continued on, whilst the three normals headed back, this time taking the Martinborough-Masterton Rd past Gladstone, then turned onto Admiral Rd and took that for 12Km to the end of the seal, where we waited and chatted for 5 or 10 minutes until the other two arrived. Once again, quite a nice road but generally too narrow to be considered. This was the 2nd time I had been up here.
We finished the day with lunch at the Gladstone Tavern, then I was last to leave because I decided to put the wets on and was chatting to a ‘Capital Cruiser’ who turned up. The ride back was a mixed bag of rain and dry, so I had to be reasonably careful with my marginal front tyre.
I ended up enjoying 268Km for the day at an average of 18.2Km/Ltr. The bike now has 119,884Km on it and is in for its 120K Service tomorrow.
After yesterday’s delightful ride, it was easy to gear up again this morning for the Uly Long ride to Apiti, except today I needed the wets as well. I was up and away by 0900 to fill at BP Mana and when I got there, I received a text from Ken to say “My girl won’t start this am. Battery I think. If I get going I’ll catch youse up.” Needless to say, he didn’t, ....and as an ex teacher of teachers, I feel he needs a visit from the BDOTGNZA’s!! Really Ken, with an ‘e’ on the end, yous will end up sounding like louse!
Anyway, I filled then pootled to the Weigh Station to wait, in hope that no one would turn up, but no sooner had a positioned the bike so I could still listen to the tunes, than Dave arrived onthe Yammy Scooter. By 10 there were 7 of us, but with the weather being a bit dismal, one pulled out there and then, leaving 6 to putter up to Shannon for a further assessment on where to go.
It had drizzled most of the way to Otaki, but just north of there, the roads dried and looked good, although there was still some dirty weather clinging to the hills and away to the north, so at Shannon we deferred our decision until Ashhurst....and at this point we lost another rider...but he was going to take his mum ouyt for lunch, so that was OK.
I led from here over a mixture of wet and dry roads, but once we got to Ashhurst, things looked good, so we didn’t even stop and carried straight on to the Pohangina Valley East Road. We maintained a steady, pleasant pace and I was surprised to find when we paused in Apiti, that none of the other riders had done this road before and they were all stoked. I asked if they wanted to carry on to Kimbolton, but we were stopped now, it was 1230, so we just made our way across the road to the tavern for lunch.
It was a pleasant surprise to get inside and find that the bikes already out the front belonged to Uly Riders from Masterton, so we had a chat with them, enjoyed a nice lunch, then continued on our way. Dazza was heading to Feilding, but the rest of us decided to return via the Wairarapa, so I led through Kimbolton and back to Ashhurst for fuel, then back to Aokautere and over the Track, round through Mangamaire, down via Eketahuna and took the deviation through Mauriceville for the second time in two days.
Another great ride was had, although wet roads on the Hill put a damper on the finish. I got home about 1700, having done 474Km for the day at 19.2Km/Ltr and Emily tells me that I had an overall average of 60kph and moving average of 80kph, now having 119,565Km on the bike. The butt was a bit tender after yesterday’s ride and more of the same after today, but things are coming along nicely towards getting ‘match fit’ for the GC at the end of October.
Forest’s Mum was right, sometimes you bite into one and it tastes like crap!
This time last week I thought I was about to get a new-beaut black beauty ST. I had requested the dealers bank account details to transfer the pingers, bought a new Shoei Qwest helmet in matching black and some scuff stuff to put straight on when I took receipt. I’d organised to get some reflective pin striping done on the bike and helmet and I was preparing for a prolonged diet of boiled rice...at least until I’d sold the Big Red anyway. One could say, I’d just bitten into a caramello!....but no!....that wasn’t goooey caramel flowing forth!
Unfortunately I was dealing with a Honda Dealer, via another Honda Dealer and early this week I follow-up and find that the prick wanted another $300 because they’d had the unit on floor-plan and it had cost them in interest. I’m sure Mr Commerce Commission would have something to say about that....but no worries, I said “Sure”, I was still saving over $6K.
Thursday I find the prick had sold it to someone else!! Talk about gutted! Rest assured, I had a few things to say about Mr Blue Wing and his arsehole dealers, but I can’t repeat it and they couldn’t give a toss anyway.
Oh well, I won’t be needing those chopsticks, so maybe I got a hokey pokey served with that other crap chockky!
Today I got served another couple of chocolates and what do you know, one was Turkish Delight and the other was one of those toffees that you just seem to chew and chew on, all the while with flavour oozing forth.
I’d been in touch with Hitcher about the promise of a conditioning ride, so he conferred with the pilot of a certain red 650 Bandit, and the day was on. I’d topped up the tyres last night and packed the gear, getting away from home by 0850 to meet the Hitchers at their place, then carry on to BP Mana to fuel and collect Dave (V-Strom) and Steve (‘Busa).
I’d filled in Masterton last Sunday so had plenty, but I topped up anyway and led out at about 0930, heading up SH1 for Sanson, carrying on to Ohakea, then taking Wilsons Rd for the Kakariki Bridge and around Pryces Line to emerge just before Waituna West and Vinegar Hill....Sweeet! We caught the odd bit of rain as we carried on up to Taihape, where we filled again, then went down the road to the Exchange for lunch.
Lunch was nice and dessert was a sumptuous feast of Gentle Annie........sweeeeet! It was like a whole box of the gooeyest, crunchiest, chewiest and sweetest choccies although due care was taken as there is a bit of loose stuff sprinkled about along the way, ...but what a lovely ride. We just pootled along, taking in the vistas and it was a pleasant change to see virtually no cattle, but lots of sheep, shearing sheds and sheep shit on the road. (I guess you can tell this was the first time I had ventured along this piece of macadam)
We took it all in, enjoyed a romp along SH50, paused for afternoon tea at Norsewood, but it was closed, so carried on to Dannevirke for fuel and a drink...well the other fuelled but the ST was only just on half and had plenty to get back to Wellington. Dave continued at this time as they were going out for dinner, but the rest of us lingered before trying out a new Woodville bypass route that brought us out at Mangatainoka. It was OK, and nice to know it’s there, but I’ll stick to Bluff Rd, and from there it was back down SH2 with a wee diversion through Mauriceville.
I did have a wee moment through here as Steve and I were a little ahead of the Hitchers and at one stage I was gazing into the rear view mirror, looking up to find I had drifted across the line as a car emerged over a hump. He obviously shit himself to find the Enterprise honing in at warp factor 4, but some light pressure on the left bar and I was back on track.....with mental note, “peer into right mirror so any drift will head left!?”
By the time we got to Masterton it was getting dark and we got split up between Greytown and Featherston as I confused car lights for those of the two Suzukis, so Steve and I took the hill on alone. As usual, it was a good fang, but I didn’t feel totally comfortable and realised I haven’t done much night riding for awhile, so perhaps we need to programme in one of those as well.
It was a good day out and blew out the cobwebs after getting the crap news during the week...and best of all, we have a club ride to Apiti tomorrow.
I got home about 1930, having done 709Km for the day at a moving average of 82kph, an overall average of 65kph and an economy of 19.5Km/Ltr. The bike now has 119090Km on it ...and isn’t getting replaced afterall!
GC Mode! I love switching into GC Mode and letting the K’s roll off the rubber.
With the Grand Challenge (1,000 miles in 24 hours) looming at the end of October and me having done very little riding, today I decided to go for my first conditioning ride in order to harden up the butt and try to get the mind and body into the endurance groove. It was a last minute decision to do this, so it was to be a solo ride and to expedite matters, I just pulled an unused 1,000Km ride plan and loaded it into the GPS. This was a good ride to start with because, even if I did the whole ride, I would never be more than 200Km from home, so if the predicted bad weather got dirty, I could bale at any time and wouldn’t be too far away.
The bike was good to go so it was just a matter of loading up the usual gear, put the wets on in anticipation, call past the office to pick up the cell phone and hit the road.
The planned ride started with the Paekak’ hill and Makara, but I skipped them and joined the route after that with a scoot out to the Wainui’ Coast. The ride started easily at around 0915 with little traffic on the road and I still had 3 bars on the fuel gauge so that would be plenty to get me to Caltex Rimutaka for a fill on the way out of town. Maintaining an easy pace (albeit a little more brisk than the 80kph speed limit), I was fueling by 1020 and back on the road to head over the hill within 10 minutes.
From here, I upped the pace a little more, taking the Western Access road around lake Wairarapa, ducked by the pub at Lake ferry then shot over to Ngawi. The roads were all pretty good up to this point but there are still a couple of short sections of gravel heading along the coast and I entered one of these with a bloody great FWD stuck right in the middle of the road and with no intention whatsoever of easing back to his own side. I did have enough room but the camber and thickish gravel were trying to encourage the Big Red to head for the ditch!
Not to worry, I was soon pausing for a natural break in Ngawi, then took a pic and headed back towards Martinborough. Just before there though, I needed to deviate again to visit the Wind Farm on the White Rock Rd. By now the expected front was looming and I had my wee moment for the day as I got close to the wind farm. I was barrelling through a left hander which was unexpectedly littered with crap and the bike decided that a two wheel drift was in order!! ....and transitioned about two feet to the right before regaining traction...fortunately with no fuss or drama! (Note that point for the return)
I stopped for a moment in the carpark to note the location on the GPS for future reference and continued on my way just as the rain started.
From here I scooted into Martinborough, then onto Greytown, taking Swamp Rd and Watersons Line to pass around Carterton, exiting on Chester Rd at Clareville, then taking Hughes and Francis Lines to sweep back through Gladstone, around the Water Towers, then out to the Coast. I still had 3 bars on the fuel gauge and figured I should be OK, so I turned for Riversdale, figuring that when I hit the last bar I would turn back for Masterton.
The rain had caused me to drop the pace quite a bit because of the proliferation of tar slicks, but I guess I must have been enjoying the freedom of riding alone because, the economy was hovering around 15.8Km/Ltr and I made it to Riversdale, then over to Tinui when the last bar ticked up and indicated an 85Km range, but thanks to early testing of this, I knew I only had about 50Km left and I was 40 from more fuel.
That put a damper on things so I eased into economy mode and pretty much had a ‘no-brakes’ ride back to Masterton.
It was now 1515 and I had managed 540Km at an overall average of 88kph, my arse was sore and I figured that would do for the day with 100Km to get home. The bike took 25.76 Ltrs (so much for having a 29Ltr tank) and I would have been lucky to get another 10Km before running out, having done 450Km on the tank (up to 16.4Km/Ltr thanks to the easier pace) and within 10minutes I was back on the road and heading for home.
I was pretty annoyed when I was still short of Carterton and my music cut out and I looked down to see a dead GPS!....bloody hell, not again! This was a warranty replacement after my first unit died and with the GC coming up, I don’t need these sort of problems. I tried switching and removing the unit from the cradle, but no luck so I just pressed on.
There was a huge amount of traffic on the road but I made good time and was home by 1630, having completed 654Km and the bike now on 118,381Km
It was good to get my first conditioning ride under the belt and it was bloody great to get out by myself and slot into the GC Mode. I certainly needed it as the bod was pretty stiff by the time I got home. I did manage to loosen up though by making room in the garage for a second ST.....but maybe more on that next week.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.