Friday, April 6, 2018

Reminiscing: March End of Month Ride

Vivs Kitchen in Sanson has become a favoured destination for the crew over the last few months. They have just done a refurbishment inside that has it looking more in theme for the fifties, sixties and probably seventies. The food definitely follows the theme as well and it looks as though many others are enjoying this bit of of nostalgia as the car park has always had plenty of vehicles in it when we visit. When one goes inside and scans for a place to sit, the clientele are definitely of a certain demographic that looks somewhat like the Blue Haze, so we are certainly lucky to have such a fitting destination available. It was an easy choice for us to make for our March EoMR
The gathering at Manawatu Motorcycles saw between four and five on the run. Dion proved to be a 'flexible' participant in the ride, depending on his temperament and his bikes. His original intention was to see us off and then go home and paint a picket fence! That plan lasted for all of five seconds as we followed him home in his car to pick up his bike. After pinching some lawnmower petrol he got his RS 250 Aprilia moving only to be stumped by the Rangitikei St rail overbridge. (all of 500m from home!). We left him pushing his bike back home and the rest of us carried on our way. Out front was Ian on his VX800, with Rich on the 50K still on standard pistons T500M, Kim on his NC21 and yours truly on the XJ750. Thank goodness Kim and especially Rich were with us to provide our signature departure of 'haze' from the town boundary as we took the long way to Vivs Kitchen.
 We followed our usual route out through Bunnythorpe, Colyton and skirted the Feilding town boundary. Makino road took us out towards the Rangitikei river, Stanway and the turnoff at Kakariki. From there it was a short ride through a lovely mixture of a few twisties and some open stretches that had us arriving at Ohakeha in no time at all. Vivs Kitchen was then a short run down the road. By this stage Dion had arrived after sorting out his RS and giving it a good blast!
After a good feed and soaking up of some nostalgia we visited one more place in Sanson. The second hand bookstore. A very dangerous place that saw my backpack choker with motorcycle magazines and the shopkeeper smiling through Kims comments on the 'special' book selection behind the counter! It was a great morning out and about on our classic bikes and having some classic food. To top it off we went to a place that is also gaining classic status; a book shop! I have certainly been enjoying my magazines with a bit of reminiscing and looking forward to some time in the garage and our next ride.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Backwards and Forwards.

Backwards seems to be a bit of theme these days. In fact the theme could be backwards to move forwards. Last weekend Dion invited us to come around for a bit of a shed raid to see his latest purchase, a Yamaha TZR 3MA. For those of you who think these bikes are titled around radio station names that all sound the same, the 3MA is very special. It's a backwards motorcycle. Its carbs are in the front and its exhaust pipes are at the back. More on this later but our next order of business was to decide on our route to get to Dions place. The direct route would take three minutes and this was quickly rejected for a more scenic route via Hunterville. It became apparent very quickly we were not going to go our 'usual way' via Vinegar Hill and down to Hunterville, but in reverse. Again. We were going to go 'backwards'! The backwards was becoming the new forward. Such changes can be very unsettling for some who find safety in routine and the familiar.
Our departure to the northwest of the city had us making our way to Mount Stewart and the turnoff to Halcombe. These are more interesting roads to take than the state highways but with Halcombe behind us we had brief stop at the truck stop for a bike swap. Bruce A had an initial brief run on Sir Als Bighorn before stalling it. Watching him start it (not!) makes one appreciate the invention of decompressors and electric starts! Sir Als return and 'Lumberjack' leg muscles soon had it rumbling again. We soon made our way across the Rangitikei river to meet State Highway One. Thankfully this was brief as we took to the backroads on the western side of the main highway and meandered our way northwards towards Hunterville. They are a nice mix of open and windy roads that do require some attention as the road maintenance is a little lacking in places as Dion and Ian found out as they rubbed off the last of there chicken strips! All to soon we arrived in Hunterville from the western entrance and found our way to our favourite cafe.
Once again we were able to watch a parade of motorcycles go past as the pies, coffee and corn fritters disappeared. There are definitely more on the road these days. All to soon we decided to join them on the road and continue northwards to our turnoff at Vinegar Hill.  Someone then suggested we head out of town via the western road and retrace our steps back to town. How radical was this! We weren't doing a loop! The thinking being that it was like a new but familiar road. It was a lot of fun and by now the day had warmed up and we were travelling through some lovely Rangitikei countryside as we followed the river south with brief moments on the SH1. The turnoff to Halcombe had us heading eastwards towards Palmy and our shed raid. Bruce S on his thundering yellow Ducati peeled off and headed home to Levin with the rest of us parking up outside Dions place in no time at all. It was great seeing Dion out on his NS400R and both he and the bike enjoyed the run. You can't let these two strokes sit in garage not being used for to long. Eh Dion!
Dion was very excited about his latest purchase and seeing it 'undressed' certainly made you appreciate how unusual they are. Because the underside of the seat is crowded with exhaust pipes, the toolkit sits under the motor!  Despite the 3MAs fragile reputation Dion had always wanted one so we are looking forward to seeing how this new relationship develops. Will it be a keeper? The other interesting aspect to Dions garage is that it was designed for Dion. Some of the taller members of the group were certainly having issues with stool legs and motorcycle paraphernalia sconing them at times.No harm done, but it's always interesting to see how garages reflect there owners
Leaving Dions place had us reflecting on our ride with Ian happy his CL350 completed the run on a tank, as did Rich on the mighty T500 and Sir Al on the Big Horn. Bruce A is looking forward to having his RT360 back on the road as am I with the T500. The XJ is a wonderful, easy bike to ride, but making the same journey on the T will make it a very different sort of ride. Its older technology requires a different sort of attention to your bike and surroundings where a relatively unhurried pace still delivers a quintessential motorcycling experience. Maybe there is something to this backwards and forwards!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Wild Ones?

The Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club decided on having their monthly meeting at the Apiti Tavern last weekend. The day dawned fine with a warm autumnal temperature setting the scene for a very pleasant ride alongside the Ruahine Ranges. After meeting at Memorial Park the usual route to Apiti was followed up Pohangina Valley with a quick stop at the Totara Reserve turnoff. Sir Al and the mighty Bighorn led the way onto the Apiti Tavern. It was quite a mixture of modern and classic bikes following in his path as we wound our way towards the tavern with a quick stop at the Makoura turnoff to rebunch the lengthening line of bikes. The arrival of this number of bikes into the sleepy settlement of Apiti must have looked like a scene from the The Wild One. With Sir Al as Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando) on his Kawasaki Bighorn and the rest of us his 'gang'. Although this number of bikes arriving enmasse, the noise and look of us was probably not convincing enough for the locals to call in the community constable from Feilding. (Especially after we took our helmets off!)  As for those of us who were 'patched' in our Manawatu Classic Motor Cycle tee shirts we obviously didn't present ourselves in ominous manner either as the local custodian welcomed us into his tavern! A lack of 'ominosity' was further reinforced when the local tavern rat showed no fear of us and wandered past us on its way for lunch in the kitchen. (After seeing this many of us were hesitant about ordering chicken for lunch!)
With the arrival of the overnighters who stayed at Phils farm house up the Kawhatau Valley it filled up both sides of 'main street' Apiti certainly and looked impressive. However, this still failed to rouse the locals fear factor. In fact the locals were so 'terrified' of us one of them invited us into his shed to have a look at his wonderful collection of heritage vehicles! After enjoying the hospitality of the Apiti Tavern we wandered through town to Georges wonderful shed and enjoyed him sharing his collection of vehicles. On the motorcycle front he had what looked like a Kawasaki VN750 and next to it an unmistakable Honda GL1200. Many of the lads were taken with his racing Anglia and MG that was next to an interesting Rover V8 powered sports car. Apparently a racing Hillman Imp was also spotted on a trailer in the shed.
At the conclusion of our time we wandered back to our bikes in dribs and drabs. Our departure certainly didn't attract the same attention as our arrival and we left well watered, fed and happy with having had a great time sharing our interest and passion for heritage vehicles. The ride down to Kimbolton had us enjoying a few more twisty sections of road and then onto more open roads taking us back to town. It was a great day out and always a little more special when larger numbers are involved. It certainly bodes well for the continued success of the club.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Ghost Riders

Our February end of month ride has been and gone. Warren probably summed it up best as the the Ghost Riders ride. Being a spiritual sort of day and Warren a spiritual kind of guy, he reckoned he could feel a whole lot of others with us who were unable to be there in person. The three of us + 'others' had a great little wander around the back of Feilding with a stop at Stanway and then on to Vivs Kitchen in Sanson. They have now sold over 86 thousand cream horns which is apparently a good thing. Think of all that extra cholestrol in the community. It was great chugging along behind the burble of the T500 and the cackle of the 380 chambers. Some very pleasant Sunday sounds and two stroke smells. Looking forward to my T500 being able to contribute to this symphony. Rather than a duet it will be a trio shortly! Hopefully it will be even larger ensemble for next months EoMR and fewer Ghost Riders?

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sir Als New Big Horn Engine Starting Technique

It is pleasing to to see how enterprising and inventive heritage motorcyclists can be. Sir Al has been having some worrying starting issues with his Bighorn and he has recently developed his best solution so far. It is called the MPSS which has proved very effective. The scene where this technique was observed was the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Clubs annual summer BBQ in January that left for the ride to Mikes place for the BBQ from the Ashhurst Inn. MPSS stands for Mates Push Start System with the added bonus that your mates get a minor gymn workout at the same time! I am pleased to report the Bighorn caused no more problems after this technique was applied. The ride and BBQ were excellent with the only incident being a minor BBQ fire that had the potential to not only burn our sausages and steak, but issue an urgent invite to the Feilding Fire Brigade. Luckily Mike was on to it and he snuffed out the flames before the bangers and steak went from the singed to the burnt stage. Thanks for a great BBQ!