The Wairau Moment

wines

Wines for lunch

Every bike has a Wairau moment. It’s just recognizing its past is what matters
We have had Valerie the VFR for a few weeks now. Had the few final wrinkles settled in getting to know her, last few parts arrived to finish her off and now she’s truly a part of the family. All bikes have a break in period, even second hand ones.

With my ST4S Kelly noted the moment, the very moment that I clicked into ‘in tune’ with the bike.

It was near Wairau in the South Island, hence the reason I call it the Wairau Moment, she felt that very second I clicked with my new bike…. she noticed literally the very corner I suddenly dropped into far more confidently, relaxing my position a little, leaning off the bike more. At our next stop she said ‘you just got used to this bike just back there I felt it happen’.

 

 

factory pipe

out on our first weekend away still had factory pipe then, yuck

carbon sexy

The new pipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Had a quick hop over the hill to see a mate in Martinborough yesterday, seeing as I had the time between commitments. That moment for the VFR 1200 F arrived. As I went up the hill I realised I had done every corner without brakes and in 2nd or 3rd gear smooth and correct line taken without even consciously focussing on the lines. It was then I thought to myself ‘the Wairau moment has passed for this bike’.
Riding home I had the hill run all to myself, having passed the truck holding up all the traffic just the start of the climb up the Featherston side. For the first time with the VFR I had the twisty road all to myself, no passenger, no top box just me and the bike. Wheeeee!

I have done a few suspension tweaks to tune it to my riding style, softened the front rebound 2 clicks, now know where the single rider vs 2 up ratios on the rear hydraulic pre-load sits, got the tyre pressure sorted for how I like the bike to feel and now am used to the ABS brakes as well as the bikes engine braking traits.

What a glorious short ride this was. Only 40 minutes each way (well….80 minutes both ways but one direction was significantly shorter) but so good for the soul. Valerie and I are now fully in sync having had our Wairau Moment.

2 for me

Both of em

I will never be ‘fast’ by the measures of many of my riding friends with motor sport and track day experience. Nor will I ever be the guy who’s holding up the group on the bends. But yesterday’s run home was such a smooth precise and surprisingly quick ride, I can safely say Valerie is here to stay…for a very long time.

I have owned 3 bikes at once at times. It can be a bit of a bitch getting too used to one bike and losing sync with your others.

Took the SV to work a week ago while the shop fitted the VFR’s carbon pipe… nope sorry it’s on the market so anyone wanting a nicely setup street SV in NZ holler, we’ll do a deal.

Wairau Moment achieved.

 

dirty girl

She’s dirty yet still sexy

You meet the NICEST people on Honda’s

 

I have for years and years bagged my friends with Honda’s. No real reason.  Just an urban myth here in New Zealand born of the web forum Kiwibiker.
Well….we have one now.

Bought a VFR1200F 2010 model – 75k’s on the clock and a big top box.

Lovely to ride, custom seat, fast, smooth (shaft drive) and handles like a dream. Always said I would never have an ABS fitted bike either… oops standard factory option on this one (and boy those brakes are GOOD!)

So Kelly has named her Valerie Felicity Rhonda…the Honda.
VFR. Must be my 8th or 9th bike from TSS Red Baron.

Off for the weekend on a ride to get familiar with our new girl

VFR

Will make  a post next week about our adventures with Valerie
Stay shiny side up out there.

StoneY

A wild ride

The last few months have been testing for me.

My girls been a rock, man I wouldn’t know where I would be without her.

Got the itch to change direction, paid for a training course, bet my future on a roll of the dice…and 3 weeks in went ‘bah not me’

Bad..bad StoneY

Anyway, got the word today on a new job in IT. As long as I pass the Justice Dept check, and my referee’s stand up, I have a permanent job offer. Big step for me, been contracting for years.

The thing with contracting, self management (taxes, GST etc) sucks arse big time and I fucked mine up bad. Realized a few months back, need that salaried role. So when I thought of changing gigs to become a Real Estate guy, I answered an add for ‘real estate apprentices’… met with the advertiser and they paid a 60k salary WHILE YOU STUDIED for the license!!!! 2 years at that rate, no commission, while you learned the trade and qualified. Sign me up I said, threw in my tools in IT and walked away to my ‘new career’

Goalposts moved…… ‘ oh…we don’t do that program anymore, now we want you to qualify, do the course, and then we will start you at point ‘x’ of the old ‘plan A’ now we have ‘plan B’.

Call me a cynic but I hate moving goal posts…

Decided IT ain’t that bad, spent 10 years building my reputation and skillset…. going back but only for a permanent role. And it was hard finding one, ended up heading back down the ladder a few rungs (but its a good thing) to where I excel, not just ‘keep up’.

Today I got the formal offer. Pending my passing the ‘not an axe killer’ MOJ check and my referee’s lying convincingly for me (beer bribes work, WORD!) I am again gainfully employed and for once…not the contractor. Not the guy who just got to know everyone. The suckiest part of contracting… just get to know your crew, the mission, the tools on offer…and you move again. New guy all over, every few months. It sucks. I had come to truly hate it.

Anyway this is a shout out to my babe, my girl, my gorgeous Fiance who stood by me through this indecision, lack of income, lack of motorcycle (another story as I sold the 1400) and a drought of income creating activity from her man…. she put up with it, made sure I knew she was in my corner and I love her for it.

I so needed to re-boot…recharge…get back in focus. I realized its years since I had a holiday and subconsciously I sort of think I took one by osmosis…(smashed Witcher 3 and all DLC at least!)

Anyway back on the horse next week. Maybe a black SV650 pony…we will see. Depends on how the test ride goes….

sv650

StoneY

 

A boring post like so many before

This post is just like many of my other posts, same ride, same route, just a different day and a funny set of challenges to get on the road. But I hope you will enjoy sharing my day with me, it was brisk, even outright cold at times, but mostly decent weather and great riding conditions

We all have those days when you have decided ‘bugger it I am off for a ride’ and you make that call and you get ya gear on and ya walk out to the bike…to discover its dead! NOOOOOOOO!!!!

Hooked up charger, battery expired light lit up instantly. Shit! First real cold morning of the year and the bikes battery has winged its way to battery heaven, to soak in hot acid pools for eternity…. or wherever good batteries go when they die.

Initiate plan; Charger Pack Run, jump in the cage and hit Supercheap for a jumper pack. Cunning plan… get it started and not stop till bike shop…. easy…right?

Home with the pre charged ready to go jumper pack, I get the bike running, sweet as, let it warm right up. Idles for ten minutes while I pack up tools, fit seat, crawl back into full winter kit, helmet, lock up…. Hop on bike, engage first she dies. NOOOOOO… (stand down fool!!!!!) the stand cut-off  ‘saved my life’ but pissed me off no end. Is there enough charge stored to start her yet..???? That most dreaded sound…. “Clickk..clickeddy click click…tttttkkkkkkkkk’ … nope! No guts.

20160603_082529

Instant start technology.

Back inside, unlock shed, get charger pack…tools… take seat off, start bike. Reverse order of process, get on bike, kick stand UP…. Now… yay I am off.

To TSS Red Baron, grab a battery. Day not going to plan….. sigh.

Installing battery in car park, total stranger asks me ‘that’s not for sale is it?’ …my GSX he meant.

Now….. I am studying at the moment, between roles and looking at a new career but funds are very tight. I named a price he could get me interested… and we had a decent chat about the GSX, other bikes, real estate and IT.  It’s a funny old world and non-surprising to anyone that frequents motorcycle shops and showrooms I would guess.

So at last, I am on my way and rolling toward the ‘Rapa’ to blow some webs out. Yay! Had to remind myself to behave, saw lots of five-oh about as well to keep me in line… (almost anyway)

Hit Featherston after a boring hill run with loads of heavy traffic  obstacles, and stop for a break at one of my favourite spots with a  facebook a shot of the bike in the sun.  Stretch, scratch, adjust, and continue!

Peace Garden

Memorial Peace Garden

 

Stopping later for another photo op get a call from a good mate saying he’s  in Featherston  but I am now north of Masterton so give him directions and wait.

Mountains

Waiting

KTM Arrives

Yay a friend….

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rest of the day was boss, lunch at Tui HQ, a fun run through the Pahiatua Track with a madman in a 4×4 Ute on our tails the whole way, towing a trailer at speeds I will not admit to publicly but man he was a determined driver…..
Stopped for comfort break at the usual spot, mine and Kely’s old church and discussed our homeward route, agreeing to part ways after the Paekak Hill Road.

Bio Break

Bio break

I will say this about yesterday, I found out I truly LOVE my heated grips (oh yeah they were not working after the battery swap, investigation at rest stop one resolved the issue, missed connection at terminals)

Sorry for such a boring entry. But… I had a great day. How was yours?

StoneY

Onwards…who said upwards?

Oh well the Ducati’s gone. Off to a Ducati parts salvaging shop down south. I feel like I have been here before, but the course to reach the outcome was oh so different.

So…as a result I am putting up my first ever all picture blog (bar this intro text)
Not in chronological order in any way at all. this is my tribute to my ST4s.

 

south

South Island

can_i_leep_it

Honey look what followed me home…can I keep it?

20150502_105747

 

 

Wheelies wooohooo

Ready to rumble into Parliament

Parrot

Squawk, Pollys a pretty boy

Off camping

Brokeback

 

Lake Ferry Hotel

Ferry

 

It stays om tour

On the Brokeb

Paekak Hill

Views

so sad

part

sad

The end

bits

Boxes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brotherhood run

Hill top… sigh

 

 

My girls first out of town camping ride!

Loaded and ready to roll. We have a convoy!

Paradise.

Kitchen to the left.

Moronic Myths and Representation

Rego

I want to clear something up.

There is STILL this ridiculous misconception some people have that BRONZ sold them out in regards the ACC Levy Hikes of 2009 – 2010 and the creation of the MSAC and its 30 dollar levy.

Let me start with a disclaimer.  While I was President of BRONZ Wellington and Spokesperson for the Federation 2009 – 2012 and a committee member until 2013, I am in no way a representative or anyone who can speak on BRONZ’s behalf anymore.  I am merely a card carrying member, no S000001.

In 2008 the National Government took power off the ‘nanny state’ Labour govt.  In early 2009 they announced changes to ACC, they claimed Labour had run the country broke (20b overseas debt the lowest in decades and 3 surplus budgets in a row – Tui anyone?) and that ACC was BROKE, in DESPERATE FINANCIAL CRISIS.  That was utter horseshit.  ACC was in fine shape with 5 billion in operational funds but an overnight change from pay as you go to pre-funded meant with clever bookwork they manufactured a 3 million dollar shortfall.

When Nick Smith announced across the board levy hikes Bikers were singled out as the cause of all the financial distress in regards Motoring Account ‘shortfalls’.  Again this was manufactured and based on pre-funding with 15 years to achieve the operational balance to get to the ‘required target’ and those dirty leather clad Bikers were the ones who had to pay up.

Nick and the ACC chair at the time had a public press conference claiming each and every motorcyclist was being subsidized by Car owners, to the tune of 800$ per year for each biker.  Mike Noon of AA chimed in claiming the real figure was 1500$ per motorcyclist and that was unfair on AA’s members (never mind 30% of AA members also had Motorcycles the prick).  On an economy of scale, with 4 million cars and 200,000 or so registered bikes, it is true we the bikers were cross subsidized, but not by just car owners, but vans, trucks, all road vehicles included.  This is no issue in a no fault no blame assurance scheme, it was true but the actual figure was not clear, no matter what way you calculated it.  Noon and Smith and the ACC chair were throwing Bikers under a bus to get public opinion onside to rape us financially.

The initial press releases by Smith and Noon were used for Smith to try get the public onside with them and make Smith out to be ‘fair and reasonable’ by Smith claiming ‘oh we won’t make them pay all of that, but a hike of around 800$ per registered bike is expected’.  ACC levy’s on bikes had risen by 110$ only 15 months prior to this under the previous government, and they were now going to put 800$ more on the bill! And no discount if you had any other vehicles contributing, nor any consideration you can only ride ONE bike at a time!  This would have made bike registration about 1100$ per bike.

The outrage was immediate, and not just from bikers.  My best mate Byron (now BRONZ Wellington President) texted me ‘you arrange the protest, I will be there’.  Kiwibiker website forum lit up, and immediately the general biker public, almost none of them financial members of BRONZ (as I wasn’t at the time either) demanding action, wanting to know what BRONZ was going to do about it.

Les Mason, the President of BRONZ Auckland and nominally at the time, National President by proxy of this fact, was quick to start the wheels rolling.  The recent HIKOI over foreshore issues inspired the name BIKOI for a National Protest Ride was born.  To where … it had to be to Parliament.

I put my hand up to help in Wellington, and regional coordinators volunteered and convoy locations were arranged.  I requested access to parliament after a Kiwibiker Poll chose my 40th birthday as the date, and this all took months of planning.  Road action plans were made with the Police, parking plans and street actions with the Council, meetings with Parliament Security, arranging access and parking for thousands of bikes at Westpac Stadium (approx. 6000 rode in and out of Wellington that day).  I ended up being the main organiser, with press interviews, arranging speakers, setting schedules, getting toilets for the parking area, sponsorship from bike shops etc.  All the other coordinators, and BRONZ Auckland (the main organising body at the wider public’s request) asked me to MC the event as I had done so much work on it.  I was humbled, and on the day managed to step up and not fall over the mic cord thank god!

Les Mason led a coalition of 12 representatives from all the main bike clubs and groups like WIMA, Ulysses, HOG, admins from Kiwibiker who were well respected no shit Sherlock’s with knowledge of Motorcycle Safety and such,  and even a professional bike trainer and a representative from the Retail industry! THAT is who negotiated with the Minister of ACC folks, NOT JUST BRONZ.  12 carefully, evenly, openly selected representatives of your Biker Community, led by BRONZ only in name.

Les was the primary spokesperson to the crowd from the 12 disciples, backed by every single main group out there with large public memberships.  This was led by BRONZ but it was not totally a BRONZ event, it was 8 organisations, a public Biker Forum, and about 9000 attendees with approximately 6000 rolling bikes.  It was epic, and best of all we got in, and out, with no crashes, no events and no fatalities.  One poor bugger got wiped out near Wanganui hours after leaving Wellington, but that was not in the convoy event, I hope he recovered ok.

Ulysses National Secretary represented them but their National President of the time pissed off to Singapore, he had publicly stated ‘do not count on the BIKOI, we have to negotiate and work with the Government on this’ and he was adamant our National Ride was going to be a disaster with bikers down all over the place, he actually said there would be deaths, and it was a ‘stupid idea’ publicly to many people.  He was WRONG!  Didn’t stop him getting off the plane, bee-lining to parliament and claiming credit for ‘bringing 5000 bikes to Parliament, they better listen’ with a TV1 news crew, the hypocrite.  He had NOTHING to do with it he left it to other members like Ken Wilson and Howard the National Secretary…. Meantime he negotiated the 30$ ring-fenced fee in the background, one of the MOST unpopular additions to the ACC model there is to date, and he is now Deputy Chair of said council with a nice salary to attend half a dozen meetings per year.  BRONZ was present in the formation of that council and its initial members, in the form of me but I was soon kicked out for refusing to tow the party line and actually informing Bikers what was going on, refusing to be gagged but that’s a different story.

So now that is the history.  Here’s the point of my blog today.

BRONZ DID NOT SELL YOU OUT.

BRONZ initiated the protest action that resulted in the levy being raised by 178$, to reach what it is now. 527$ for 12 months Registration and ACC levy combined, which includes the very controversial 30$ ‘ring-fenced’ Safety Levy that feeds the pigs drinking at its trough for the last 5 years…delivering nothing of value.

BRONZ could actually claim to have saved you all over 500$ per year!  But instead of hollering from the rooftops has kept diligently working in the background with OIA’s, I was removed from the council (MSAC) by Gareth Morgan because I refused to be gagged (yet they allowed the AA rep to continue posting in public, my inclusion was merely to try GAG BRONZ, it failed, I refused to be gagged)

Today, a friend I hold very highly as an IT professional in the industry I work in, stated on Facebook that ‘BRONZ sold us down the river’…. I want to know HOW?

BRONZ had no say in what the levy got set to. In fact had they not initiated, led, and organised a National Protest ride it would have gone uncontested to well over 1000$ per bike, FACT!

Want to research that yourself? Search it out on Google, go back and read Nick Smiths press releases pre BIKOI.  Check the links on Kiwibiker to the TV One playbacks. For once I am not going to link the evidence and the TV soundbites, but you can find then all linked via Kiwibiker Forum.  You can find speeches on Youtube, you can see the crowd on the day sing me Happy Birthday proving what high spirits the 9000+ crowd were in on November 17 2009.

At the Backbencher pub 30 minutes after the event BRONZ asked myself, Byron Cummins, and Paul Ellen to re- open a branch in Wellington and keep pressure on Parliament, which we did.  I was nominated Branch President, and as a result got invited by Nick Smith to be on the MSAC Steering Committee and the Council (in hindsight a bad move it fed the BRONZ sold us out myth)

BRONZ sweated, bled, shed tears, and its leadership sacrificed at great lengths for the NZ Biker Public on this cause.  The levy’s were set by the Government, NOT BRONZ.  BRONZ’s actions resulted in a huge reduction of what was proposed.

I repeat, I am no longer in the organisation as any sort of representative, but will take my pride in that achievement to my grave knowing damn well we did all we could, we did it selflessly, at great personal expense, (in my case a marriage, and my career in public service for several years) and without having done what we did you, my fellow riders who keep bashing BRONZ as sellouts, would have sold your bike in disgust, which is what the gubbermint wanted to happen.

Now don’t start me on free parking in Wellington City…THAT campaign led to me stepping down as President after a reporter fucked us over but that’s a different story altogether, suffice to say we ended up with a guarantee of 500 free bike spaces…for now…and BRONZ meets the council every 6 months to ensure it stays that way…no one else does it.

So stop bashing the hard working BRONZ executive they give up time, energy, money and major portions of their private lives to represent you lot…and you whinging bastards abuse them, blame them, and claim they sold you out.  How about paying the 20$ per annum fee, joining up, and working WITH BRONZ to help them achieve more?  Think you can do better?  Think YOU can change the world in the face of a hostile anti biker government?

Go ahead.  MAG are trying as well, and doing a great job with what they are doing to.

Instead of abusing those who had the BALLS to stand up and do the work, how about fuckin supporting them?

Rant over.
StoneY

The Aging Gamer

Hadn’t blogged on gaming in a while so thought I would share a middle aged Bogan’s gaming reflections post just for kicks and giggles.

Old Bogans

At a recent 50th, Bogan theme.

So as we age the argument over PC vs Console becomes less relevant.  By age 3(X) we have settled on our platform and unless a major world changing technology breaks through, there we stay.  I am a PC gamer, as has become my darling beloved other half.   Yes, Kelly got the bug, figured it was better to join me than stay annoyed at time spent ‘elsewhere’.  Having said I am a PC gamer, assassins creed is so much better on XBOX360… dual thumb swivels are just better for some game styles….but not shooters, or MMORPGs (which is where I hang out with my girl)

 

MMORPG – Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplayig Game (a freaking mouthful, even the acronyms huge!)

GW2 has awesome scenery graphics

Aint love grand

 

 

Mass groups to fight  World Bosses - Zerg!

Me n ma pooch gettin on the Zerg

Zergin for our lives!!!!

Battle Stations its a WORLD BOSS!

 

Dog got wounded so Porky came out for the end game

Chest of Loot

I have had GW2 far longer than my dearest has, but she has racked up 3,500 more world points and left me waaaaay behind!  I still enjoy GW1 as a side distraction, especially when carnivals are on.  But GW2, playing it in party mode with my girl, really is the dogs bollocks of MMORPG gaming.  The world is huge, with mega content and ongoing world story development.  Free to play once you have purchased, and loads of options to take in regards storyline, or world vs world, player vs player.
GW2 took a long time to grow on me, in many ways it has less to offer than GW1 and in many others it has so much more.  The fact more than 8 people can cooperate in ‘Zergs’ now is grand, in GW1 it was max of 8 humans in an area.  I have been in thousand player zergs and the games still smooth enough to play so that’s a massive improvement.  Screenhots here are of a world event Boss being taken out, the Megadestroyer.  About a 80 man/woman Zerg, any less it would have been a long fight!

GW2 revison 3 = score of 8 out of 10.
GW1 will always have a 10 out of 10 for me, merely out of fond memeories and lasting real world friendships I made.
Shooters!!!!

Flanked!

Opening a can of whipass. Say bye bye boys… its gonna light up round here any second.

 

 

Driving and grenade launching

Blowing up the bad guys

Shame to kill this guy but....he's gotta go

Gorgeous landscapes

 

Man have I been playing some Far Cry recently.  Played 3 and now 4, I have played the Far Cry franchise from the start way back when FC1 was unbeatable even on easy mode, the last boss was just so damn hard!  Ammo was always short, and the mercs or monsters heard you rustle a bush from 40 meters away and flanked you in seconds.  The AI in 2,3 &4 is quite predictable, making one fight seem like the last on a different spot.  Still, FC3 full points for the most immerse and ingenious story line ever given to a shooter (FPS – First Person Shooter to you non gamers).  FC4 added some neat toys, but was rather disjointed in its campaign story, with underwhelming outcomes or rewards for achievements.

FC2 I give a 6 out of 10, FC3 a 9 out of 10 & FC4 I have to say….7.

Also played some BF3, BF4, Hardline BETA (FUN!) and Call of Juares a western FPS.  All fun but the Western one stood out for fun factor, and the one on one duels, what a wicked test of reflexes!  Of the BETA of Hardline…bring on the release….but I wont buy till it has dropped in price…as always heheheh.

Till then I think the games I have will keep me and the missus busy for now.
StoneY