The past week has been quiet and relaxing with no rides but I did manage to finally get some paint on half of the roof. This year has gone pretty quick and has had a some significant moments for me.
In January, I registered on KB and Ann and I went to Auckland on the 1400 Intruder to watch some tennis and Cirqe du Soliel,.... and returned on a 2007 ST1300.
In February we participated in the Road Ride (Poker Run) at the Masters Games in Wanganui and came away with a Gold Medal.
In March, after having problems and a bit of discomfort from my left hip, I discovered the problem is arthritic and won't be going away until I'll have to get a replacement sometime.
In April, I was planning to participate in my first Southern Cross but had to attend a wedding on Hamilton Island instead. (in hindsight, I would have rather done the SC...now I have to wait 'til 2009).
In May I decided to start a blog. I have never been one to keep a diary or record events, but a couple of years ago, while overseas, I was emailing our exploits home, including to myself and six months later I was amazed when I reread the emails to find how much I had forgotten. Since returning to biking 20 months earlier, I had written a couple of ride reports and at this time, thought it would be good to keep a regular record of my rides and in the end, registered on the recently formed blog facility on KB rather than Blogspot.
In June we attended the KB North Island Gathering at Turangi, meeting some great new friends, although I was a little disappointed at the lack of support this event received.
My dad died in August. He was 81 and had a good innings so this wasn't a traumatic loss for me, but he was as sharp as a tack, we got on very well discussing all sorts of topics, and I miss him.
October would have to have provided me with my best highlight of the year in being only one of four to complete the Grand Challenge and extension. (2100Kms in 24hours). This was made even better with Lee Rusty telling me that he never expected any 'newbies' to achieve this, it being only my 2nd GC and the weather being reported as the worst ever for the event.
In November, Steve and I organised the Capital 1000K Cruise, which was well received by those that attended and most have indicated they would be keen for a repeat, so it looks like we will make this an annual event and then there was the annual Muscular Dystrophy Ride which is both a great ride and most satisfying to do bring some pleasure to these unfortunate children.
From a general perspective, I was disappointed when my daughter moved to Rotorua and as a result, I have seen very little of my Mokopuna this year, but fortunately, my sister's grandchildren live just round the corner from my office so I get to interact with my mates Jake & Eleni-Mei frequently. Business has been going OK and life is pretty good.
I have done over 30,000 Kms on the bike this year, so between the cost of buying the new bike and doing so many Kms, I've blown the budget and may have to ease up on the riding a bit in 2008.......... but that's not a resolution.
At last I’ve reached the end of the Christmas Wind-up. It’s supposed to be a cooling-off, ease into Christmas time, but invariably it’s a frantic sprint to tidy-up the loose ends and put away any last minute business.
I rang Grub on Friday to see if he wanted a comfy ride up to Napier to pick-up a new bike for SweetP, but when I looked at my speedo and saw I was within 1100Kms of the 30,000Km service, I thought better of it, (not wanting to need a service between Christmas and New Year). So Saturday was a fairly cruisy day where I finally got back on the roof and waterblasted it, after waterblasting and spot-priming in October 2006.
Just so I didn’t feel guilty about riding on Sunday, I got on the roof at 0800 to spot prime with enamel primer (that meant I had to leave it 24 hours to dry), then I was cleaned up and ready to hit the road for the KB Christmas Eve & BBQ Ride by 1000, but first I had a couple of deliveries to do to Steve and Ron, so I finally got to Rimutex just on 1100, put a couple of PSI in the rear and hung around for departure to Lake Ferry.
10 or 12 of us got away about 1120, it was 24˚ and a nice jaunt over the hill to regroup at Featherston and a couple headed back while the rest of us took to the Western side of Lake Wairarapa. A crisp pace was set through here, especially when following AJ, who I’m sure must have been doing about 180+ and may even have briefly flicked through 200. It was down to 22˚ when we arrived at the Tavern for lunch and was most pleasant sitting chatting in the sun before heading back via Martinborough.
The trip back was another pleasant ride, arriving home at about 1600, 23˚, and 241Kms done for the day. I swapped the bike for the Maxima grabbed a few bits and pieces and headed around to the Kendogs, where we had a pleasant evening and I left about 2200.
Ready for Christmas and the last week of the year….Bah Humbug.
Talk about knackered!!
Nanny Ann and I rode up to Manfield with Bazza57 today for a training day with Brian Bernard.
We got away from home at 0645 to meet Barry at BP J'ville and left there about 0700, travelling up SH1. It was only 14° when we left but the temp soon got up to 20° and the trip up was, as usual, pretty uneventful with us topping-up at the Mobil station by the track at around 0845 before going in to meet the others who were participating. The event was organised by the Wanganui Ulysses but was attended by a range of 30 riders, from relatively new riders to some very experienced ones with machines including cruisers, adventure, sprotties a few tourers and a couple that aren't used on the road.
The training commenced with a briefing then walk out on to the track to get a look at the surface and discuss riding lines and protocols etc. Next was half a dozen warm-up / familiarisation laps, then a debrief and discussion on cornering with focus on looking through the corner before heading back-out on to the track to work on that aspect.
After another debrief the Sprotties went out for a few quick laps then the rest of us followed before enjoying a lunch break. By this time the temp was up to 24° and I was sucking in heaps of water to keep fresh.
After lunch we focused on emergency braking and went out to the back straight, which had been set-up with some cones, we lined up in pairs and on signal, took the bikes up to at least 100kph, then hit the anchors at arrival to the first cone and stop as quick as possible. We had four attempts at this, the first using both brakes, the second and forth just front and the third just rear. I was buddied-up with Baz and both the ST & FJR certainly displayed how efficient the linked brakes with ABS are, but it was a little disconcerting to take one run up over 120 and note the extra 15 – 20 metres it took to stop.
With that done we had our last session where we were to focus on not using any brakes. For me, that was the most unnerving but beneficial session. I baled a couple of times with a tap on the brakes and had to tap them a couple of other times as I came up on other riders going into a corner, but there were several occasions where I thought I was over cooked but held my nerve and whistled through the corner easily....whew!!
We finished off by observing one of the instructors give it heaps. He was going through Dunlop at around 160 where I had been really brave taking it at 100 – 120 and it was quite awesome to watch from inside the middle of that corner where we could closely observe him going through there and the hairpin.
With that done we packed-up and headed for home and thought about heading back via the 'Track' and 'Hill' but I was had-it with my athritic hip playing-up, so back down SH1 it was, arriving home having done 461 Kms for the day, 145 on the track. I had only done 307 Km since filling and was down to 2bars on the gauge so I would expect to only get 400Km out of the tank....worst ever economy, bottoming at 11.5 k/ltr during the day.
The day, for me, achieved what it was supposed to by highlighting a few shortfalls with my riding and also how much grunt the ST has, as it was the first time I've really given it heaps, getting it a bit over 160 on the middle and back straights and a tad over 180 on the home straight. I found my cornering to be a bit inconsistent and over cautious and the effect of riding a lot of sub-standard roads has left me picking my way through corners rather than looking well ahead and flowing through them...and I am loathe to push the 300Kg ST to anywhere near it's limits. No worries....I am enjoying my riding and keen to stay safe. Maybe one day I'll push it....or not!! One thing's for sure, I think this day took more out of me than a grand challenge.
It was Nanny Ann's birthday this week so we took Wednesday off, cooked breakfast for some mates, caught a shuttle in to watch Beowulf (3D), then a Limo home for a bar-b-que. Cool day, good movie (amazing graphics), great mates.
Saturday I was booked in to paint the roof, but the weather forecast was poor so I decided to go on the Coast to Coast ride instead, arranging to ride up with DennisR. I left home at 0745 and called into work to grab a couple of things, met Dennis at the J'ville Train station, put a bit of air in the tyres and hit the road by 0802 with plans to have a fuel stop in Foxton. We had an uneventful dry pootle up, meeting Sels and his brother in Foxton but decided to put our PVC trou on there as the weather was starting to close in, especially over the hills where we would be heading.
We were at Himatangi by around 0950 and there were already masses of bikes there with queues of riders registering and receiving their Hi Vis vests compliments of ACC. After chatting with several of the Palmy KB'ers and a few Ulyssians, then getting briefed, we were on our way just after 1030, along the back way to Foxton, across to Shannon, then over the 'Track' and up the Balance road to Woodville for a ride through town then to the park for lunch and more chewing the fat.
We were back on the road after 1300, heading down SH2 to Pahiatua and heading out to the East Coast via Pongaroa. Shortly after we turned towards the coast it started to drizzle and by the time we got to Pongaroa, we were riding in steady rain and it was time to stop for the Rain-Off gloves and PVC Jacket before continuing onto Akitio with the Bandit Riders, getting there at about 1430. By now the weather was pretty crappy and we mucked around, having a coffee before heading round to the boat club for more chatting and the prize giving. Dennis and I both received minor prizes and hit the road out to Dannevirke soon after.
It was still drizzling at this stage but the roads were still wet until just before Dannevirke and the weather cleared. We pulled into the BP for gas and a feed, then headed home via the gorge, Shannon, SH1, and Paekak' Hill, 602 Km for the day and over 28,000Km since January.
I have never done this ride before, after hearing of dismal and dangerous behaviour by some riders, but the ride was well attended and orderly, although one hoon came off on a tight corner on the Balance Road. It seemed that the riders around him didn't have much sympathy as he had just been shuffling through the bunch, which on a ride of this size is a bit of a waste of time and effort. A big 'Well Done' to the Woodville Lions and all the riders.
Sunday was another 'paint-the-roof' day but alas we had the Ulysses Toy Run and the poor unfortunate children come first so I left home just before 1000 and it was already 22° as I made my way up to Maidstone Park. We ended up with 43 riders and got away at 1130 to the Horticultural Hall in Lower Hutt where the Firemen put on a sausage sizzle. From there it was over Hayward's, out through Paremata then down SH1 to the Sallvation Army HQ in Johnsonville. Magnificent weather (26° and far too hot for painting) and great to catch-up with people I haven't seen for awhile. Another great weekend.....I will get the roof painted.....sometime!!.....You can't rush these things!!
By Monday this week, I had had enough of the bike so I used the cage all this week, except Wednesday when I had decided to go on the TCWNR as it was the anniversary ride for Uncle B and his seat had just been installed by the carpark at the Avalon park.
I arrived shortly after 1800 and there were already 10-15 bikes there and by the time Hitcher briefed us for departure, there must have been 20+ on the ride. We went over the hill to the Royal Pub in Featherston, which apparently was one of Uncle B's favorite watering holes, riding through new seal just past Te Marua and pausing at the top of the hill on the way. The large unexpected crowd was a concern for the publican who thought we were all there to eat but there were no problems in the end and I road back with DennisR at about 2030. The temp was about 12-13° and although the new Pilot Road tyres felt great on the weekend, I wasn't totally comfortable to push it at these slightly lower temps as I perceived they were slightly squirmy and as usual, opted to err on the side of caution.
Saturday, we attended a friends wedding at Wilton House and today was the Harley Toy Run but as the Ulysses were supposed to have the short MDA run this week and their Toy Run next week, I hadn't included that ride on my schedule. As the MDA run wasn't required due to the reduced numbers of children to visit this year, a substitute run was organised to the coast out from Wainuiomata, then back to the Harley Tours cafe on Blue Mountains Road. As usual, it was a pleasant wee blast out to the coast and back and the stop at the cafe was great. I hadn't been aware of this place until last week, he has a collection of old bikes to view and the coffee and scone went down a treat.
I visited friends on the way home and had a well deserved nana-nap once I got home to cap off a cruisy week.....Perfec', just perfec'!! Life’s Bloody Marvelous.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.