Sunday, May 29, 2011

What the heck did I hit?

Prior to today's pootle I was checking my tyre pressures and lookee what I found when looking at my rear!

There is another smaller gouge on the other side of the tyre too so I must have hit something! I've got no idea or any recollection of hitting anything but it looks quite nasty.

The tyre does appear to have a very slight leak although I'm not sure if it's due to this damage or one of the many other nicks (amazing how much damage a tyre picks up with no issues). Anyway, what do you reckon - keep an eye on it and keep riding or think about replacing (I've had 10,000km out of this tyre so far)?

Tag hunting again

Wow! What an absolute cracker of a day today! A bit of a chilly start (but still no frosts yet) but a beautiful bright and sunny day. To stay inside in front of the computer today would just have been a terrible waste. A nice easy tag also added another incentive to get off my couch and onto the Connie.

I'd better not go into too much detail on where I went (although the video may give away some hints) but after filling up and snaffling Bogan's tag I headed out of town for a nice little ride of oh, say around 100km.

Anyway, so far the riding this winter has been pretty damn great!

Bogan's Tag

I just had to post this!

One of our local clever-clogs has been in the process of developing his own electric bike and the other day he managed to nab the Manawatu tag on it and also post up a new one.
I reckon he's set a few records here: 1st tag on an electric bike and 1st tag on a home built special! Hat's off!

More on Bogan's bike here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spot the new farkle

10 points to the first correct answer...

...Points not redeemable for anything of actual value - enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cool or what!

Found on another blog - Steve McQueen fanging a CR250! Even a safety message in there...

Reminds me that I must watch "On any Sunday" again...

Rangitikei Reconnoitre - the video!

I had a bit of bad luck with the GoPro and only managed to record one of the gravel sections we rode on Sunday. Here are a few snippets from this section:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reconoitring the Rangitikei

A visit into Freedom Suzuki the other day ended with an invite to join the Back Road Riders on Sunday for a ride around the Rangitikei district. The promise was a good ride on some back country roads with a good bunch of guys and a fair dabbling of gravel. Sounded interesting...

On Saturday I still hadn't decided what I was doing so hit up Al to see if he was keen. I think that the magic word "gravel" hooked him big time and he started making keen noises right away. The next morning another "keen" text from Al had him telling me he'd see me in Feilding for a coffee before the ride - now I had to go! Ah well, I wanted to meet his new DR anyway...
Tanks filled and coffee downed it was time to head off and meet the BRR's. Pretty quickly it became apparent that the DR goes alright as it disappeared towards Halcombe with the DL frantically giving chase. In Marton Al wisely decided to put 1.6L of gas in his bike not knowing exactly how far it was until the next fuel stop and then we went off to meet the rest of the group.

Parking up we quickly got introduced to some of the guys (and determined that yes, they would not mind if we joined them for a pootle) and then it was time for a quick check over of some of the bikes before mounting up for the ride.

And now for the ride...well you're not going to get a blow by blow of all the twists and turns we took because while a knew a few of the sealed roads we rode, I soon got fairly lost when we took to the gravel - you'll just have to zoom in on the GPS track.
The first bit of gravel was somewhere out the back of Marton and soon confirmed what I suspected about my 14,500km old front tyre - it needs replacing! Yep, in anything that looked like clay or slippery mud things got a bit exciting! Never mind, I managed to keep everything upright and still had a big smile on my dial when we paused for a quick regroup once out of the gravel.

From here we managed to find another gravel section and a few windy sealed roads to take us to our lunch stop at the Flat Hills Cafe. As luck would have it we arrived between bus loads and were soon into a bit of tucker to keep us going in the afternoon.

After lunch we rode up the main drag to Mangaweka before turning off (Te Kapua Road) and heading into the wops again. The road quickly turned to gravel again and this section was quite long and was a bit tricky in places - at times the noob in the group (me) held things up a bit but all the guys were great and didn't give me any grief. I have some video of this so hopefully will get that uploaded at some stage.

Once again we popped back out onto SH1 and this time we turned off on Toetoe Road which took us in a round about way to Rangiwahia. I really enjoyed this section - the gravel was in great nick and it was a lot easier riding for me. I even hooked into top gear on the last big gravel straight - awesome!

After a quick stop in Rangi we carried on to Kimbolton where we stopped again for refreshments. It was here that we could either decide to head home or take up the offer of some more gravel. Somehow or other I had my arm twisted and I tagged on behind the gravel gurus...

Not long after turning off the main road we were not only into the gravel but also the rain. This made progress for me a bit difficult. I was having a lot of trouble seeing through my visor - if it was down it fogged up (even with a Pin-lock) and if it was up I risked getting my glasses wet. In the end I had to make the decision to have the visor up while on the gravel. So now I was getting quite wet and battling my way through some quite tight gravel roads. Somehow it was all still a heap of fun but I do need to say a big thank you to the TEC who was forced to pootle along quietly behind the now blind noob on a DL...

In Hiwinui we had one last stop to say goodbye before everyone split up and aimed their bikes for home. What a fantastic day out - this adventure riding rocks! Now for a new tyre...

More pics here. Video to come...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blown away

Well I've finally sorted out a decent mount for the GoPro (a RAM mount on the clutch reservoir) so it needed to be road tested.

Today was very windy but was still supposed to be offering the best weather for riding so I decided to go try out a road that I'd been down once before (on a road bike) but turned back due to it going to gravel on me. After checking it out both on Google Maps and my GPS software I discovered that rather than being a dead end, it takes you basically from Apiti across to Rangiwahia. Further investigation showed another little loop worth investigating around Rangiwahia so I ended up programming a route into the GPS to make sure that I didn't miss a turn in the middle of nowheresville.

View Orua Valley in a larger map

Geared up I rode out through Ashhurst and then turned off to ride around Pohangina Valley East Road - a favourite of mine and it was nice to be riding it in daylight again after my last ride through there in the middle of the night. I pretty much had the road to myself and it was good riding as the valley offered a reasonable amount of protection from the wind.

At the end of Pohangina Valley East Road it was time to detour from the usual route around the Apiti Loop and take in Main South Road. This was the road I was road I'd wussed out on previously. It turned out to be a pretty nice ride through to Rangiwahia as the road dropped down to the Orua river a few times and then rolled on nicely through the countryside. As you can see from the video the gravel was reasonably deep with no nicely defined ruts to ride in so I had to take things pretty carefully (still getting use to this gravel stuff) but it was good to get in some more gravel riding practice.

Once back in Rangiwahia I began searching in earnest for the road that the GPS was telling me was there. The idea was to take in another little loop (probably gravel) before heading back home via Kimbolton. The trouble was the road was not where it was supposed to be (both Google Maps and my Garmin were lying) and when I gave up and turned homewards I eventually spotted the place where I would have popped back out and noticed the no exit sign at the turn-off...Maybe the road will go all the way through to Rangiwahia one day...

Next up was a superb ride through to Kimbolton. The road was mostly dry and clean so the V-strom got a little bit of a work out and the smile got wider on my dial - a really fantastic bit of road! From Kimbolton I settled down and cruised home battling a blustery cross wind most of the way - still a cracker of a ride!

Zumo stats
Distance: 168km
Riding Time 2 hours, 2 minutes
Av Speed: 82.4km/h

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Escaping the Cave

Well we've had some pretty average weather lately, from flooding on the East Coast, a tornado in Auckland and plenty of wind and rain around here so it hasn't been the most perfect conditions for riding. Yesterday was also fairly crappy (in fact at one stage you probably could have ridden a jet-ski in the gutters outside my place) and today started off very windy.

Anyway, I had to get out on the bike or go stir crazy, so I saddled up the Connie and pointed her towards Hawkes Bay. Riding up the road, a quick check of the tyre pressures showed that the rear was down by about 5psi so before I could leave town I needed to sort that out. At the first gas station their tyre inflator would not fit on the Connie so I rode up to the next station with my gloves off hoping for better. No joy there either - their forecourt was all fenced off with some sort of work going on so on I went.

I was quickly running out of town and didn't fancy going too far without gloves and with a rear needed some air so I ended up pulling over and plugging in my little 12v compressor. In 30 seconds the tyre was sorted and I was packing up to get going again. Maybe all this hassle could have been avoided by checking the tyres before leaving home...

Finally on the road properly I had to get back into Connie mode as it's been about 3 weeks or so since I rode her and the V-Strom has been getting a bit of work. First things first was to remember that she doesn't need to be given as much gas as the DL and to keep an eye on the speedo...

My next stop was in Danniverke for some liquid gold before continuing on up SH2. The further I went the warmer it got and I begun to realise that maybe I'd put on a few too many layers. By the time I rocked up at the olds I was pretty keen to remove a layer or too and grab a drink.

After spending some time with the olds (it was Mother's Day after all) it was time to retrace my steps. This time I avoided Fernhill (some knarley road works there on the way up) by just taking the motorway to Hastings and then turning off to take SH50.

The ride home was pretty good as the roads weren't too busy and I didn't need a fuel stop so I was home in good time to do the shed shuffle (organising 2 bikes and a car in a single car garage) and organise some tea. Another nice little ride in great conditions.