Monday, July 31, 2017

Perfect Winters Day

A brisk morning with the sun shining and dry roads provided ideal conditions for our end-of-month ride for July. And perhaps because of this we had 12 riders on the starting grid at Manawatu Motorcycles. A really good turn out for a winter ride.

Bikes ranged from Bruce and Ian’s Suzuki GSX-R 1100s; Bruce having the first ’86 model and Ian the last of the air/oil cooled Gixxer, to my ’74 Kawasaki 350 trail-bike (at each end of the performance scale). In between there were 2 BMWs (a boxer and a Brick), a Honda CB750, RD400, Honda NSR, T500, Yamaha XT600,  Triumph triple, and a Moto Guzzi Le Mans.

We decided on the Rongomai Loop and once off the busy Pahiatua Track there wasn’t much traffic and the roads were mostly dry. It was clear there had been quite a bit of flooding out the back of Pahiatua evidenced by dry sediment across the road in places. There had also been some recent cattle movements (in more ways than one!) leaving quite a bit of the road littered requiring some defensive riding. 

A quick stop was taken at Pahiatua to top up the trail-bike (to be on the safe side while fuel usage was established) before heading to Balance Cafe for a coffee and lunch. We were keen to support this establishment in light of the Gorge closure, and we weren’t the only ones as the place was packed.

After a very pleasant stop, we made our way over the Saddle Road to Ashhurst and home. Sadly the Saddle Road is being wrecked despite best efforts of the roading crews. At one point on the climb we caught a tanker crawling uphill at about 30 kph. Great to be on a bike and able to squeeze past. The last major Gorge closure was 2012, so the roading planners have had 5 years to create a workable alternate route and it appears they have failed. I think we all feel for those whose Ashhurst homes now line a state highway

Only problem suffered was a flat tyre on John’s BMW. None of us had a tyre Pando on board, so the bike was chained up and Dave gave John a lift home to collect the trailer. 

The 350 Kawasaki averaged 45 mpg travelling between an indicated 60 and 70 mph, so quite some improvement on the TS400’s 19 mpg! This should give a range of 100 miles. Old trail-bikes are great fun to ride, so I hope to be using this one a lot.

Another great day on the road for the Blue Haze crew.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

June End of Month Ride

Winter rides are always fraught with the possibility of a combination of cold, rain wind or occasionally even snow. Our June end of month weather forecast the previous day indicated  a suitable mixture of the above, so expectations for a large turnout for our end of month run were low. The following mornings early rain did not bode well so the rain suit came out just in time to greet the sun as the weather cleared. Heading down to Manawatu Motorcycles on the XJ certainly confirmed the change in weather fortunes and the sight of six and soon to be seven other bikes was an affirming message about the weather for the next few hours. The only big decision to make was where to should any of the promised weather eventuate.
Warren suggested we head out around some of our 'less travelled' roads to the west and see which way the dark clouds were heading. The bikes were fired up and a nice cacophony of four stroke and two stroke sounds echoed around Andrew Young Street as we left. Warren on his 'spannied' Suzuki GT380 leading the way, closely followed by Sir Al on his Honda VFR800, Ian on his Suzuki VX800,  then Dion on his NS400R, Bruce on his Honda VFR750, Kim on his Honda NSR 250 and Rich on his trusty Suzuki T500. We were soon making our way out through the western burbs of Palmerston North. It wasn't long before we were zig zagging our way through the countryside to eventually zag our way to the first stop just before the rise into Bulls.
Warren soon had us on the move again and heading through Bulls with a right turn at the State Highway One and Three crossroads. This had us heading off down Parewanui Road and then on to Raumai Road, Santoft Road and back to the State Highway and finally up to Marton. This was a great little run and one I hadn't been on for a decade or two. Not a lot was happening in Marton so we were able to park up outside the local bakery.  We had a good feed of the usual pastries washed down with tea and coffee.  Whilst we were munching on our food the locals were coming in for their Sunday lunch roast dinners. They looked and smelt very tasty, especially on a cool winters day! Next time. After certain members of the group began reminiscing about Linda Lovelace we decided it was time to refocus on more important seventies and eighties cultural phenomenons; our motorcycles! We then headed back towards Palmerston North over more familiar roads via Halcombe and our final stop at Mount Biggs School. As the troops dribbled off back home those of us who got to hear Warren give the 380 a fistful of gas still have the sweet sound of three expansion chambers disappearing off into the distance ringing in our ears. Ah the memories. That is what this is all about. Rekindling old memories and creating new ones with like minded people. It was certainly worth the time and effort to come out on such a winters day to share that something special you only get from riding heritage motorcycles!      

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mike Peros Classic Japanese Motorcycle Museum

Here is something a little different for the blog with a recommended youtube clip about Mike Peros new Museum in Christchurch. It sounds like it has been very successful and certainly a sign of the times with the growing interest in Japanese Classic Motorcycles. This is a great interview and it certainly conveys Mikes passion for the bikes. I am sure he has more tales to tell of his time racing back in the day. A must see next time one is down in Christchurch.