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 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

Life in the Lane Split Chapter 4

Just read a brilliant article on lanesplitting and why its safer, better for all, and some of the legality issues from a US POV.

Splittin all the way

Are we hooligans or heros?

In the spirit of sharing this great article for my fellow motorcyclists, I have simply linked it here for you to enjoy.

Great Article here, enjoy!

Don't be an ass let us pass

Doing it

Special shout to Oliver who brought this to my attention. Stay shiny side up fellah!

StoneY

Dear cyclists. Lets have a discussion.

I have a question to ask Cyclists.  Bit of a delicate one at this point of time.  Please read the full article and respond to my question close to the end.

Wellington City Council met yesterday to discuss delaying the introduction of a dedicated cycle road through Wellington City.  It is understood the budget is in deficit, and this may be cut from the years engineering activities, or that’s how I understand it.

Here

Let me start by saying, I approve of the whole concept.  Daily I see two types of cyclists.  The ones who stay left, who stop for stop lights/signs/pedestrian crossings.  Sadly they are so inconspicuous  as to be literally invisible.  So the ‘peloton’ forms somewhere along SH2…two bikes…3…4 and now you can see them.  But, one or more of them are now in the 100kmh lane space, rather than the huge breakdown lane available for them to safely ride in.  “Oh but that’s full of rubbish and we get punctures” I have been told.  As is the existing dedicated cycle path alongside the train tracks.  So get ya club/lobbying group/councillor to have it swept once a month …???   The shared footpath/cycle lane by Belmont along SH2 is almost universally ignored by the lycra clad terminators who think the ultra-narrow road there can fit cycles, trucks and cars…arrogant twats.  There is a signs making it compulsory for cycles to use that path, but no maybe one in 5 does.

 

BY LAW USE THE PATH

The sign on the traffic light is a compulsory order to share the footpath on this section of highway.

For Big Rod

And the triangle is still there despite the compulsory use sign

 

Share with Care, says the ‘compulsory’ signage at the start of the section. White with Red border = MUST be followed.
This same sign repeats where the next road into western hills meets SH2 yet is blatantly ignored by many cyclists forcing motorists to take evasive action at 100kmh daily.

Still want to argue signage Big Rod?

 

 

 

On a recent club ride we came across a cycle group on the Rimutaka hill Road, downhill side, Featherston bound…holding up hundreds of cars and other motorists as the lead rider held centre lane at 30kmh all the way down the hill, an 80k speed limit.   She absolutely refused to pull into slow car lay byes and stopping bays to let traffic pass.   I can provide witnesses to this, it happened.  The smell of overheated brakes and cooking engines was foul in the air.  The pungent smell of cooking brake pads, boiling brake fluid and hot engines was a miasma of motorist hell.  The cyclist had no idea brakes were boiling off to the point they failed to work (my back brake faded at Bridge no. 6 and didn’t come back till Featherston when the fluid finally cooled)… had  cars brakes failed to that point right behind her she would have been dead of her own arrogant refusal to move over to the left where possible.

Ok the point of the story.

Cyclists have many clubs, lobbying groups, and some of these have huge coffers.
Cyclists pay ACC on their PAYE and Car/Van/Ute if they own a motor vehicle.  And then the odd one has a Motorcycle as well (YAY!)

I am a Motorcyclist.  I campaigned HARD and LONG over the last 5 and a half years to get reductions in the proposed ACC rates applied to our lifestyle and transportation choice.  We have to pay more because we cost more they say.
I have over 4 grand in safety gear.  I also have over 25 year’s accident free on two wheels.
I have never ever claimed a cent from ACC for an MC related issue (but got tens of thousands in support and treatment for a blown AC joint after a drunken mountain bike crash.  Yes they paid, yes they knew I was munted when it happened, off work for 9 months and loads of income support)
I get no rebate on my ACC for the gear or the lack of claims made.
I have never, claimed a cent for motorcycling.  Yes I deliberately repeated that (Alzheimer’s aint quite fully set in yet)

Now we also have a system where 30$ from every bike rego is applied to a fund that’s now into tens of millions, and not one dedicated motorcycle lane/road/throughway is available to us.  In fact the council running the management of that fund is invisible, silent and ineffective, yet we still have to pay and get NOTHING back. NOTHING. See my earlier blog on this topic if you have the time.

ACC Activity

At this point I simply want to remind all that this is about cyclists and a dedicated cycle lane/road/bridges/subways to keep them safe….like they already have the green paved area at the lights to pull into in FRONT of the cars at lights…what moron though of that?  See this link, there is a safer way that also applied to cycles, the green spaces should be created between the front ranks not IN FRONT of the cars.

Stay between, its safer

So … the cycling lobbyists had the funding to get the road layouts changed, yet motorcyclists who have paid millions for the last 5 years still get denada.  Ok that’s fine.  Sounds like envy but no, honestly a mere observation, trust me.

I ride a bicycle occasionally but would never dream of riding on a 100kmh roadway… motorway, highway or even a country road with open road speed limit…. I would rather ride a Harley!  If I can’t keep up with the 2 ton guided missiles I want no part of being in their flight path …. that’s a safety decision I make for myself, even based on 40 years of road use (I got my first bike at age 6 I am now 45)  Just because I legally can place myself in the riskiest situation possible, I choose not to.  It’s bad enough on my motorized two wheeled transport while wrapped in armoured leather and Kevlar.

So here at last, is the question:

Why can’t Cyclists proactively offer, seek, or devise some way to directly contribute to the damned cycleway?

In closing:

You are less than 1% of the commute fleet morning and night, yet your impact on traffic flow added to your vulnerability, it’s insane to think the rest of NZ should pay the full bill on your PRIVATE ROAD??????
Please, justify to me why 1% get a huge chunk of the public rates to have a dedicated road, when you have made NO direct contribution outside your rates.   Again I come from the point I am paying levy’s on my income, car, and both our motorcycles, as well as the ‘dedicated safety fee’ applied to me as a motorcyclist. In fact we pay that contribution twice, bylaw, it’s enforced by the Blue Coat Tax Collectors (sorry Lance had to slip that in).  And the cyclists groups want a chunk of my regional rates to build a dedicated cycleway.

Gaining support for your cause is easy:
OFFER TO PAY.  Something … just a contribution.

Let me provide a few idea’s, some may fly others may be anchors but let’s have a discussion.

  • Set up a Snapper swipe at the start and end of the cycleway and pay it back as a toll (Jaffa’s paid for their harbour bridge with tolls in the 60’s/70’s).
  • Add a levy to every bike sold, every piece of kit sold, not much, say 1$ for gear and 10$ on the bikes. 30$ per motorcycle soon created 10’s of millions…… capiche?
  • Corporate donations…health incentive tax break for employers with cycling staff that use and therefore contribute to the system.
  • Lobbying and club groups funding (existing) come on you guys you have massive amounts for road management and closures at your events, put a dribble into this scheme, kill the concept you want everything handed to you for free.
  • Start raising a public fund on Crowdsourcing websites etc. Crowdsource to get a chunk of ‘good faith’ money together. I will put in 10$!

Honestly I do support the idea, but I do not support it being paid for by the public.
It’s happening already in Upper Hutt where I live, our Mayor has gotten a dedicated cycleway along the train corridor approved and funded.  Some funding was sought outside the rates according to the local rag, so I can live with that as its not 100% ratepayer funded as I understand it, and its also a lot cheaper than building one through a CBD.

Here’s a really, really good idea!!!!
Ask John Key to pay for it…. He is only 7 years late delivering the bloody cycleway he promised.  He has the coin in a sludge fund for his Hawaii lawn mowing crew. Ask him for a donation.

No one else gets it for free in a user pays society, why should you?

Cheers

StoneY

The Visitor

How many of you love surprises?
I love to surprise Kelly but almost never pull it off. She’s just too intuitive and reads me like a book.

I started planning 7 months ago to get Natalie, her best mate from Oz over here for her birthday.
Picked Natalie up from the airport at midnight, got her back here and who is wide awake at 12:30am and waiting for us? Yep, her who cannot be fooled!
Laughter and hugs galore ensued.
So for the last two days we have been having a blast going totally Kiwi on Nat, feeding her up, dragging her round to friends places and organized a group ride so she can experience Kiwi Biker Lifestyle first hand.

Zip me up!

Borrowed and redistributed piles of gear, we only ride armoured, we only ever ride ATGATT

Despite all the other family related fun,it’s the ride I want to write about…surprise!

Cafe stop

Waiting for the ‘gang’ to arrive

 

Those who have read my older posts will recall we went to the South Island last year and met up with Nat to have an excuse to ride the Ducati down there.
This time I brought Nat to us in the North Island to share Kellys birthday weekend.

 

 

Lets GO

The gathering, ready to depart

 

I arranged a group of Ducatis, Triumphs, a Harley and a Spada (GO THE SPADE!) to ride with our lovely Natalie to a few choice popular biker stops in the countryside. A short ride, about 200kms all up.
.
This region, south Wairarapa is one of the most gorgeous motorcycle playgrounds in the world, easily.

We stopped at the top of the Rimutaka Hill to show Natalie the sights. Got some good pix of our small group and metup with the infamous Carla aka Ducati chick extraordinaire, one of our dearest biker friends on her Yellow Monster.

Woot the Hill yay

Rimutaka Hill Summit.
The crew assembles.

We just conquered that

We just conquered that

From there we stopped for a coffee in Martinborough but saved our food cravings for the next stop.
Martinborough is a cool town, bikers love it, has a great square, loads of high end cafes, a classic kiwi Pub and loads of wineries around to take something home from. The city is laid out in a Union Jack shape, and each streets named after a place the city founder visited, like New York street etc.

Lined up and ready to rumble....off through town and out to the lake that is.

Lined up and ready to rumble….off through town and out to the lake that is.

36 kilometers on toward the coast we reach Lake Ferry hotel, which has the most amazing fish n chips in the world. And right next to us is the lake that pours into the Southern Ocean, fed by the mighty Ruamahanga River, and when conditions are right its amazing to watch for hours and hours, as the giant white curler sits in the channel where lake meets ocean.

You guys are funny

At Lake Ferry Hotel in the garden bar. Kelly and Natalie.

 

The next destination was the Gladstone Inn, about 65 kilometers back inland, passing back through Martinborough again. Sucks to double back on a road but the normal route to Lake Ferry we take, the eastern lakes road, was a bit too wet and slimy with rain still hugging the mountain range. We took advantage of the finer weather out in the valley and it was a gorgeous day. We had the best of all worlds, the weather, the bikes, the clean empty roads and a group of great friends.

Gladstone is a famous biker friendly pub, also great food, and awesome service.
A few years back while riding the ‘loop and track’ with my stepson Jordan, we sat there for an hour watching a hawk hunt in the fields opposite the pub.

The famous and infamous Rimutaka Hill road is in our route both directions, so Nat can boast to her Okker mates that ride, she has been over the most amazing piece of mountain highway in the lower North Island.

Spot the non SHOEI

Safety first, about 5k in helmets here, and more if you count accessories like bluetooth.

All our good friends and club mates rallied around to kit Natalie out in the best safety gear, even provided her a biker chick leather patched vest to blend in, classic! (On the  day she chose to not wear the toughie vest, shame!)

 

Safely back at home on the Diavle with absolutely smooth and safe riding from our good mate Dave, the day wound down and all went home. The Mighty Spada (GO THE SPADE!) was quick off the last set of lights, having made its run up from the base of the Rimutaka’s to ping us all on the home stretch. Embarassing,pipped by a Spada!

The finest in Engineering, the Mighty El Diavel!

The finest in Engineering, the Mighty El Diavel!

 

 

Finishing the day with the carvery at the local cosmopolitan club for Kellys birthday dinner and Nats farewell back to Melbourne, I have to admit. It has been a amazing weekend of funny stories, food, wine, beer, more food, laughter and making memories.

 

El Diavel, Mr Jackman himself safely carried our girl.

El Diavel, Mr Jackman himself safely carried our girl.

Winter, time to ride.

Mid-Winter North Island New Zealand is an interesting place to ride. In the last 2 months I have had a ball riding the Ducati here there and everywhere.
3 weeks ago today I rode the Forgotten World Highway.
ImageI was going to overnight in Whangamomona but I arrived there so early in the day it was stupid. Suppose leaving at 530am more than just gets the worm on a ride day. The pub there is warm, hospitable and the family who run it just real nice people. Even when I cancelled my nights’ accommodation they were still happy, and I had an incredibly nice lunch, a pot luck hotpot thing with fresh hot baked rolls.
I had 2 beers and carried on riding.
Image

The road was incredible!
166 km’s of pure twisties, 4 mountain pass saddles, one tunnel and a grin the size of the San Andreas Fault on my face.

Got to Stratford at sunset, catching an awesome picture of Mount Taranaki silhouetted by the Ducati in the foreground…love it.
Image

 

After getting home at 10.45 at night having ridden from Taranaki in the dark and stopping at every coffee op I saw (and toilet as well…goes in…comes out!) I was exhausted and had done 981km’s in the course of the 18 hour day I put in.
I made lots of stops sightseeing and picture taking as well as drink and food breaks. The sheepskin seat cover adds a lot to the bikes endurance factor to.

The following weekend I went for a hoon to the Wairarapa with Kelly and my mate Bruce (he was on my old RF900, great that it’s still in the whanau). A short burst but what an awesome ride, perfect weather, Bruce following me as I knew the hill better, and wow a great ride.

Next day we went over the hill again with Andrew and his boy (MANBOYGIANT) Ben, who did the magic beanstalk thing the last 3 years and is a towering 6 foot man! (Blink) We took a longer ride that day but the weather was less than warm.

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So the bottom line is even in winter, with storms all over the country we were lucky enough to get some great riding days. The Forgotten World Highway is an essential bucket list road for anyone, including the 8-9 kms of gravel in the middle saddle is a dream road to ride.
To quote a beautiful and highly intelligent lady who spends lots of time on my pillion seat, it’s riding through a picture postcard.
Nonstop twisties over four mountain saddles, traversing 166 kilometers of mountain road, with almost no other vehicles around.

I love living in New Zealand, even with our limited size as a geographical entity and the fact its split by two major mountain ranges in each island, there is so much riding heaven to be had here, so many glorious adventures.
The Forgotten World Highway is one of them. Bucket list ride, fact, make sure you do it.

StoneY

One fine day in summer…literally!

Welcome to 2014, and the shittiest Summer I have known in years.

In New Zealand the official summer months are December – February.
Frequently we end up with the reality being late January through March.

Image

Last year we had epic record stretch of sunny dry days (in fact we had our first official drought since the 40’s for the Wellington region) and it was awesome. Not so this year, it’s been…WET!

In fact, I want to know where our summer is, someone stole it and I want it back.

We had the most stunning weather on Saturday, spent the day wandering along to a mates holiday bach on the beach in Waikanae, with awesome views of Kapiti Island and a BBQ in the sun.  Riding there via a stop at the Tram Museum and a nice pub for lunch, we arrived to coastal paradise!

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A night of drinking and games, crashed in the tent and back home Sunday morning.
Kelly rode her bike along, and we carried all our camping gear and luggage on the Ducati. We had a great day Saturday! She was buzzing from riding so far, and we spent the evening with awesome people (thanks to our hosts and friends present!)

SO……. after such an awesome Saturday came the Sunday. A different day indeed.

Sunday morning as we got ready to head home, a light overcast was in but still warm, bright and calm. However by the time we had ridden halfway home the wind was up big time and the odd spot of water fell here and there from the very high, light looking overcast.

After getting Kelly and her bike home, I took off out again solo for a ‘boys ride’ with the intention of crossing the Tararua Ranges at least 3x in one day. Alas, as I rode further afield the weather got progressively worse, but I still managed to cross the ranges 3x!
It went downhill from Woodville on though.

Riding into light rain at Palmerston North on the homeward leg, I stopped and put on my wet weathers leggings and my high viz vest as an extra windbreak layer. Holy crap, was that a good decision because within minutes it was bucketing down with visibility down to a football field on the open highway…and I had my tinted visor on the helmet (sigh.. bad planning).

Adding to my woes, as I navigated south just north of Otaki township I ran into a massive ‘end of holidays’ traffic jam, and one thing the Ducati hates is crawling at low speed. The traffic was stand still, in fact so bad I wondered when I would come across the crash that caused it…there was no crash (thankfully) just a shitload of folk wanting to use the same road on the same day, damn them all!

Creeping down the side of the lane in the breakdown strip I rode into Otaki and stopped for a coffee at the servo, and passed time chatting with Phil, a KTM RC8 rider.
I used to have a KTM Super Duke so we had a few minutes talking shit about KTMs and the fun they provide.
The rain and traffic were getting visibly worse so he offered me a stop at his place just south of town to wait out the worst.

A mate of mine (another Phil) and his lovely wife happened to turn up as well and they had just travelled from the south, confirming this abysmal traffic queue went for miles… all the way south along the Kapiti Coast.
This cemented my decision to stop and wait it out at my new friend Phil’s place.
Bikers, total strangers yet brothers in arm regardless. Thanks Phil, (and Phil)!

As soon as we got to his house the sky opened right up in a massive deluge. I have never seen rain so heavy in my entire life, and I  sure was glad to be out of it.
Phil sat a bucket under the runoff from his roof, and filled 3x 10 litre buckets in 3 minutes… 30 litres hit his roof within 3 minutes…wow!

So finding myself still 100km’s from home, a non moving traffic jam in my path, shit weather and soggy leathers… even my boots were starting to leak by now, so it was decision time. Stay here and crash the night on Phil’s couch, or ride on….

I rode on. I needed to be home, work the next day and a worried woman at home incentive enough to brave the conditions. And to quote a wise man I know, we are all waterproof under our leathers so suck it up get wet and keep going.

Sneaking down the left most edge of the highway on the slim track of tarmac, I felt the envious looks of the cagers trapped in their humid metal shells, burning fuel and going nowhere. Mind you at 20-30 KMH it’s not like I was flying past by any means. At least the deluging water was running down the inside of the fairing and helping keep the radiator of the Ducati cooler, evidenced by the solid wall of hissing steam rising in front of my face whenever I slowed below 10kmh.

Choosing to take the Akatarawa Hill Road to get round the SH1 traffic I knew it was a bit of a risk. While 60km’s shorter a route, it’s not a very motorcycle friendly road.
It’s a goat track, not really a great ride on a dry day, and 996cc of Desmodromico power plant was never designed for prolonged periods in first and second gear as I was forced to do, especially in these conditions, it was frequently first gear, in some places for hundreds of meters of tight twisties covered in wet leaves.
On the plus side, I would probably maintain a higher average speed without the two lanes of standstill on the main highway, as well as chop 60 kilometres off the longer yet normally faster highway route, and considering I could only get 30kmh up on the highway breakdown strip…this detour was a choice I had to take.

While the plan eventually worked out (I got home by 7pm at least, 1.5 hours after leaving Phil)) it was a hairy, sphincter puckering exercise all right!
Smoky visor, darkening dusk conditions in a heavy rain….. 90% of the ride was visor up, squinting into the piercing cold rain, watching for the tell-tale glimpse of any other vehicles coming round the sightless bends on the one lane goat track that was once a bullock logging track (and still as wide!)
The wind was up, branches and wet leaves all over the one lane road, parts of it had washed away from the deluge and in one place it was almost totally blocked by a fallen tree (but the bike squeezed past).

I must say when Akatarawa Cemetery finally slid into view, and I knew I was only 6kms from home, my heart certainly lifted a little.
I was frozen, soaked, stiff, tired, sore, and pissed off with myself for not running the route I took in the opposite direction (would have been no traffic jam had I gone clockwise on the map, grrrr).

Arriving home about 7pm I was shattered, cold, soaked right through (even the best waterproof gear has limits and mine was far from the best kit)

Main lesson I learned, if you’re leaving later in the day, and KNOW a weather change could be coming in, make sure you take better wet weather gear, and a clear non tinted visor for the helmet.

I was a victim of my own zealousness to ride, lack of planning, and lack of consideration of well known factors (holiday traffic/Sunday queue, shit wet weathers, dark visor…doh)!
Note, no photo’s of Sundays ride, didn’t want to expose the ‘droid to the water….

But back to the point of the post….where the hell is our summer?

StoneY