Sunday, September 27, 2009

Looping the Loop

Okay, so these damn PR2's are just not wearing out and I'd like to put my new set on before the Grand Challenge so I'd better try and wear them out eh?

Last night I was chatting with Gary and he suggested that he wanted to go "around the mountain" this week and I mentioned that I was keen to "head west" so it didn't take much persuading on his part to suggest we do the loop today. We hastily posted the ride up on Kiwi Biker and the Feilding Riders Website but didn't hold out much hope for more riding buddies.

Never the less, I got up early-ish (a bit trickier due to daylight savings kicking in) and geared up to go meet Gary in Feilding. It was drizzling a bit in Palmy so the wet weather gear went on and off I went.

In Feilding I parked up to wait and in no time Nigel turned up on his wee-strom soon followed by Gary on his Kat. We got under way straight away and followed Nigel out through Halcombe and the onto Wanganui.

We kept up a pretty nice pace and even though we had a bit of drizzle here and there it was a very pleasant ride up through the 'naki. Our first pitstop was a comfort stop in Manaia before we continued on around the Coast road to New Plymouth for our first fuel stop (I even had a pie).

Next up was the fantastic Mount Messenger where the PR2's were given a bit of work. Just north of the Mount I pulled in at the Three Sisters just 'cause I never had before. We all pulled up and had a stretch but saw no sign of any sisters so remounted and hit the road again.

Back on the bikes again we soon had to contend with another sublime piece of road - the Awakino Gorge. Corner after corner of biker's paradise with great scenery all around and very little traffic. Eventually the gorge had to end and we had to put up with Highway 4 to Tamarunui - a road almost as good as the gorge! It sucks being so spoilt for choice!

After a quick top up of the tanks in Tamarunui we settled down a bit and rode through increasing traffic to National Park, Ohakune, Waiouru and Taihape. In Taihape we stopped for the last time and had the first coffee of the ride!

From Taihape we pootled down SH1 until the Vinegar Hill turn-off which simply cannot be avoided - so we didn't and had a nice play to finish up a great ride.

729km of great riding to make it 1,016 for the weekend. And the tyres? Well, they're now at 11,795km and starting to actually look like they need replacing. Very impressive - I love these tyres! Fresh ones going on soon...

A little bit of 52

I had a busy Saturday morning: mowing the lawns, tidying the section and taking the dog for a walk so I thought it only fair that I squeeze in a little ride in the afternoon.

I decided that I needed to do a bit of Route 52 so I set off on the Connie heading for Ashhurst. On the way out of town I noticed that we still had some snow down pretty low after the bad weather we'd had on Thursday/Friday so I thought I'd better go over the saddle and see it there was any snow on the ground up there.

The saddle was in good nick - just a couple of places where there'd been slips but they had pretty much been cleaned up so were not a problem. Not a lot of snow down near the roadside but I managed to get a couple of pics of it on the surrounding hills.

From Woodville I rode through to Mangatainoka before turning off into Pahiatua Pongaroa Road. I had a really nice ride through here as the road was dry and in good condition, there was only one area where loose metal was an issue - this will be something to look out for on the Coast to Coast in December.

At Pongaroa I turned southwards on Route 52, one of my favourites. On the first section to Alfredton there was plenty to look out for: slips, metal and debris on the road and I'm sure that there was more stock on the road than in the paddocks. I even chased a hare down the road at one stage - the Connie was quicker but the hare had better handling and off-road ability.

South of Alfredton the road is a little more open and it was great to be able to get up to a nice cruise and enjoy some of the delicious sweepers. Unfortunately the wind also came up a bit and it was a little chilly in places.

Soon enough I was in Masterton and from here I just turned for home taking the main road all the way to Eketahuna where I stopped for gas. In Eketahuna there was a bit of excitement going on - utes and people everywhere. Looking across the road from the gas station I saw a crowd and a whole heap of pigs hanging up. Must have been a bit of a pig-hunting competition on this weekend, it looked like they'd managed to bag quite a few - good stuff.

The rest of the ride was just a quick flick through Mangamire and over the track. A nice little ride to finish off my Saturday.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Ok, so maybe there isn't a 2010 Bandit 'S' coming. Looks like it has changed into a GSX - at least in America anyway. Looks quite sharp. Just needs luggage, a bigger tank and a shaft...

Edit: Found another article with some more info on the GSX1250. More photos of the bike with some showing it fitted with luggage. Very nice.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fields Track Revisted

For second weekend in a row I've made plans to go out and run up a few miles in an attempt to finish off my Road 2's and then changed my mind at last minute or enroute.

This time around I had planned to head to Te Kuiti for lunch and then make a decision on which way to head home based on the time or how I felt. But, also on today was the Feilding Riders assault on Fields Track which had been postponed (well for some anyway) a couple of months ago. What to do?

In the end I headed off to Wanganui by myself, taking in Mt Stewart, Halcombe and Marton on my way. A quick stop for gas in Wanganui and I was off on the road again with the Parapara's firmly in my sights.

Even though the road was still damp in places the first section of the Para's was an absolute blast - all the road works on top of the hill turning the road into a paradise of fast sweepers. Further on up the road though there was signs of slips everywhere and I came across the messy remains of three real dooseys.

In the wet conditions (road, not weather - the sun was blazing down) these bits were a bit treacherous so I decided to pull over at the Raukawa Falls and try to text the other riders about the road conditions. (Note to self: no cell phone reception at Raukawa Falls and phones need recharging occasionally).

Oh well, nothing i could do about then so I kept on going Northwards to Raetihi. As I was pootling along I looked down at the time and thought that if I shot through to Waiouru I might be able to catch the others and let them know about the slips. Great a mission for the day!

In the end I got to Waiouru well before them and treated myself to half a pie (yuck) and coffee, chatted to a Wing pilot and generally just watched the comings and goings on in Waiouru for a while. At least it was a nice day in Waiouru - not even any snow on the ground.

Presently the others turned up and fed their bikes and themselves and I let them in on the excitement awaiting them on the Paras. There was also a few new faces to meet and two interesting new bikes: Al on a stolen Buell and another chap on a brand new Thunderbird. The bikes looked great and both the thief and the new owner were very happy with the bikes and having a ball.

After a bit arm twisting I decided that I'd better go with them to make sure they got through the Para's ok and didn't have too much fun without me so I turned the Connie around and followed them on out of Waiouru and onto Fields Track. Fields Track was in good condition again and we were forced to stop at the bridge again for photos and again at the top of the hill for more photos of the fantastic scenery.

Once off the track and onto the Paras again the pace could come up a little and as the road had dried out the slips were not a problem - just dust and grit to contend with. Another great run over the hill, a brief fright from some sheep on the road and we were soon parked up in the bustling metropolis of Upokongaro for a cold drink.

From here the group split up a bit with people taking different routes home, some taking the main roads and others including me extending the ride more by taking the back roads through Fordell to Hunterville.

Another quick stop in Hunterville for a drink and some gas and all that was left was to pootle quietly down SH1 before turning off for another run through Halcombe, Feilding and home. A fantastic day weather wise and a great to be out on a bike twice in one weekend. The PR2's are still hanging in there too...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

2010 Bandit 1250

Spotted a wee article on the 2010 Bandit on

Only pics of the naked version at this stage but it looks like reasonably similar to the current model although the headlight/dash area looks like it may have been updated.

City Honda Ride

City Honda has just turned a year old and so they were celebrating by running a few different events to promote their business: shop specials, Aaron Slight & Shane King in store, A Gold Wing owners event and this morning an organised ride followed by a free barbecue.

View City Honda Ride in a larger map

I gassed up the Honda (thought I'd better take it seeing it was a Honda ride) and met up with Brian (cheating by taking his Connie) at City Honda. Prior to the ride we had a look around the shop and chatted with other riders.

Shortly after nine about 20 or bikes formed up and headed off following the leader on a Transalp. We pootled over to Mt Stewart where we turned off to Halcombe. From Halcombe we rode through to Stanway where a navigational error took us the wrong way for a bit before the lead rider realised and we turned around and aimed for Vinegar Hill.

Here we were given the opportunity to have a play before we stopped at Ohingaiti for a regroup. After the wee stop we had a great ride through to Pemberton and Kimbolton where we stopped again for a regroup. From Kimbolton we settled down and rode back to City Honda via Feilding, parked up and went in search for a pig in a blanket or two.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Tag Chasing

I had planned a different ride for today but when Sparkles posted up a new tag on Route 52 I just had to go get it. After a pretty crappy nights sleep I got up just after 6:30, had brekkie and got geared up for the ride.

It was pretty chilly as I pootled on up Highway 2 - only 2 degrees between Woodville and Danniverke - so the man grips were pressed into action. A quick fuel stop in Danniverke and I was on my way again.

I had decided to make the ride a loop for more entertainment so instead of dashing out to Wimbledon and back again I headed North but turned in at Matamau to ride on to Ormonville and Takapau. It was really nice through here with no traffic and a slight increase in temperature.

Soon enough I was on Route 52 heading towards Porangahau and enjoying the fast and flowing roads. The only issue through here was a family of turkeys out on the road and then 3 sheep crossing the road in front of me. I made very good time and by just after 9am I was at the tag: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapiki-maungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, which has the distinction of having the longest place name in the world.

From here it was more of Route 52 to Wimbledon and Weber, then Weber Road into Danniverke. I really love these roads and it was a great ride except for getting stuck behind a 5th wheel caravan for a few minutes.

All this time I was wondering where to place the tag and after considering various places I decided to place it closer to Palmy but off the beaten track a bit. So I turned in at Oringi and kept my eyes peeled for a suitable spot on my way through to Hopelands. In the end I snapped the shed below just after turning out of Jacksons Road.

New tag found I turned for home to get it posted. I was home by 11am and yes, nobody had beaten me to the tag so all was right with the world. What a great way to spend a nice sunny morning!