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!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Shannon Car Show

Heritage vehicles are an interest for many if Shannons car show Sunday a week ago is anything to go by. What started out as an interesting destination for a cuppa turned into a vehicle heritage feast that was a pleasure to dine on! This is certainly going to be entered into the calendar for next year.
A group of us gathered at the usual departure point on Sunday morning with no idea as to destination that morning. The suggestion to head  to the Shannon show was well received so we made our departure to the south via our usual route via Lockwood Road, Main Drain, Himatangi Block Road and finally Foxton Shannon Road. Race replicas made up half the group with Dion on his Aprilia RS250, Kim on the sparkling Rothmans NC18 Honda  and Bruce S on his GSXR 400. Making up the rest of the group was Ian on his VX800, Sir Al on his VFR800 and yours truly on the XJ750. The run down wasn't to hectic with our arrival in town being as per usual with a steady stream of traffic heading north and south. Coming around the corner past the Honda shop was a wonderful surprise. The rumble of V8s could be easily heard and the sight of static cars and people streaming around the usual placid domain was a sight to behold. We very quickly got into the nostalgia zone as we walked passed a whole variety of vehicles from our youth and childhood. Cortina, Kingswood, Monaro, Pacer, were words being bandied around amongst the crew and crowd as we made our way through the lines of vehicles. It was certainly a great way for the various car clubs to share their interests but also the exposure would be good for recruitment. The number of younger people in attendance was pleasing to see as many in the heritage area know that the average age in there clubs/groups is rising.
After spending way more time than intended we decided to head downtown to one of the cafes for food and refreshments. It was a short run back to town but a satisfying one with next years date already on the calendar!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Cheaper Way to Hunterville?

One of the interesting things about designing your rides around loops is that we end up looping in the same direction. One of our favourite loops is the Apiti loop where we always seem to go up the Pohangina Valley and return usually through Kimbolton. Last Sunday saw seven of us lining up at Manawatu Motorcycles with a consensus around a ride to Hunterville as the return destination. If you look through this blog Hunterville has been a popular destination with us for years. Yesterday was different though. We decided to reverse our usual rotation! This itinerary had us heading out of town via Rangitikei Line towards our first turnoff at Mount Stewart. After taking some video on the departure I had to do some catching up and it wasn't difficult to find the route the crew took out of town as the little telltale cloud of smoke was only just beginning to dissipate at the town boundary.  It was Paul d on his H2, Rich on his T500 and Sir Al on his Bighorn who were supplying the haze. Nice to see Paul out on the H2 and Sir Al on the H2s younger sibling Bighorn. Rounding out the two strokers was Kim on his very well sorted 3XV. How sorted? Try over 60mpg from its last run to Pongaroa! Bruce had his GSXR400 out for another spin and with the suspension work done on it a few twisty were certainly in order. Ian's trusty VX800 was certainly up for a few twisties as well.
Mount Stewart to Halcombe has a nice mixture of corners and straights, then onto the main drag to our back road loops that had us once again enjoying yet again a nice mixture of corners and more open sections that let the two strokes have a bit of a blowout. All to soon we arrived in Hunterville for refreshments outside in the lovely sunny weather. The consensus was it was like riding on a whole new road with a tinge of familiarity. Well worth the effort and a 'must do again ride'.
It was very noticeable the large number of motorcycles making their way down the main drag (State Highway One). The majority were of a 'mature' age and on some relatively expensive machinery. With the high number of motorcycle fatalities this summer it would seem that one of the reasons could be the number of motorcyclists now on the road and the distances they have covered. Our group certainly has a very cautious approach to our riding with the only reason anyone not making it home being a breakdown. Some of the stories we hear about other groups and individuals riding habits certainly leaves a lot to be desired. We all know your chances of having an accident and injury are considerably greater on a motorcycle so the the basic message is don't be a 'dick' on your bike!
After that little rant I am pleased to report that the return route via Vinegar Hill was covered safely with our only stop being at Stormy Point for a photo op. It has a great vista looking up towards the mountains across the Rangitikei countryside. The earthquake and volcanicly tortured landscape certainly makes for some great motorcycling roads! We then continued on our reverse route through Makino Road and then to Colyton and Taonui.
All to soon Bunnythorpe arrived and from there we made our separate ways home. A little later on Sir Al sent a text that he made it home on the one tank of petrol with Richard also finding the same. After checking their tanks at Hunterville none of the strokers felt the need to top up. I am sure the finger crossing began on the outskirts of Feilding as certain people looked for the tell tale splutter and dash to Feilding Northend BP? Maybe the savings in petrol could buy an extra custard square? Not good for the power to weight ratio though which might negate the savings!
All in all another great ride on our 'mature and maturing' sicles. We are very lucky to have the variety of excellent motorcycle roads at our disposal around here and with the wonderful weather we have had lately maybe we should go and do some more reverse loops!
Role on next weekend.