I managed to rack up a few Km’s (about 1500Km) this week with a scoot up to Patea and back on Tuesday, then again on Friday, but returning Saturday and today was a coming together of 8 Ulysses Branches at Cheltenham.
Tuesday’s ride was to take Ann up to Whanganui to see her folks who had both been in hospital. It was a fleeting visit and we had to battle a gusty westerly crosswind, which was hard work as we’d get buffeted from both sides and on the return, the oncoming trucks were a bit of a worry so I resorted to cranking the speed up as we approached them to reduce the effects of getting slapped around.
Friday and Saturday’s ride wasn’t much better but at least the wind was steadier and not nearly as much effort was required to keep the bike on track.
Today was an early start, getting away from home at 0815 for a short stop at the office to grab a couple of things before heading to Caltex Rimutaka for a fill, getting to Brown Owl at 0850. There were already quite a few bikes there, we chatted briefly then I headed out at 0904 when Ken started the briefing. My plan was to get on the hill to photograph the others as they came up, which I managed to do with mixed success, managing to capture the side of the odd SUV rather than bikes cranking into a corner. I then caught the group in traffic on the hill and tacked on to the rear as TEC from Featherston to Masterton.
There were 14 bikes from Wellington and over 20 waiting for us in Masterton, the temperature was starting to climb out of the low teens, so I was glad I’d removed the jacket liner before departing in the morning. With such a large group, the pace would be quite sedate, so Steve and I decided a wee diversion through Mauriceville would be in order and we peeled off at the Loopline, enjoying a spirited ride. We were soon flitting through Eketahuna, on to the Track and recaught the tail end of the ride by the time we got to the first one way bridge just past Mangamaire.
The rest of the ride to Cheltenham was easy going and we arrived just after 1140Hrs by which time the temp was into the low 20’s and it was rather pleasant, meeting and chatting with Uly members from all over the lower North Island. The publicans had organised a Bar-b-Que lunch, the Masterton Branch, who were instrumental in organising the day, ran a raffle raising $155 for Muscular Dystrophy and all in all, it was well worth the effort with over 80 bikes turning up.
After finally deciding to leave, I went out to the bike to find Steve already getting underway, with a few others following shortly after but Woody waited for me to gear up and we hit the road at 1340, returning to Ashhurst and over the Saddle to Woodville for Woody to fill up. The Saddle and Track are never roads that one can push the boundaries on as they are always prone to having loose stuff and a marginal surface, but with the Gorge being closed for some months, both these roads are feeling the effects of large volumes of traffic. Even the detour on the Woodville side of the Saddle could do with a detour to avoid it.
Once filled, we headed south on SH2, taking the Pongaroa turnoff, then cut across to the Pahiatua-Alfredton road and took Route 52 through to Te Ore Ore. This is another road that needs to be treated with respect, but it’s in wonderful condition at the moment and we enjoyed an pleasant ride at a relaxed pace….although it was getting rather warm as the temp soared to 27°, so I lowered the screen for a bit more cooling.
Once we were back in Masterton, we went back to trudging down SH2 and over the hill. There’s always got to be one dipstick on the road and on this occasion I managed to find myself behind a pillock with no mirror in his wing. (My favoured tactic is to get just off the corner of a car with the ST lights in the wing mirror to encourage them to slide over and let me through). On this occasion, I figured that perhaps his sitting on the line and blocking tactics on the passing lanes had enraged some biker to ping the mirror, but in my case, I just took him and the next car (didn’t want him on my tail) over the yellows and left him to his little games. Woody is a good boy and awaited a more appropriate moment to pass, but that manoeuvre put me in my usual groove and with cars sliding across for me….well, I couldn’t leave them in the lurch so I just kept filtering past until I found myself in the lead.
Once I got to the top of the hill, I just slotted behind the next group and waited for Woody, then waited some more by the Caltex, to finish our ride along the motorway, getting home just before 1645, with the temp back to a more comfortable 21°.
These blogs were posted on the KiwiBiker forum but I decided it was time for a change.