Sunday, May 14, 2017

Back on the Road!

Its been a while since I have penned a blog post. Having knee replacement surgery made things like riding a motorcycle a little difficult for a while. Mind you I was able to get on a scooter fairly early in the piece, but whilst easy to get off and on, the staggering power of a 50cc two stroke wears a bit thin after a while and limits ones excursions to the city limits. At least the scooter was called a Katana so I was able to rightly drop the word into motorcycle conversations that indicated I was back on two wheels without revealing its true category! However those who had an interest in old jappas would inevitably ask which model; at which point I would have to confess. So it is nice to finally be back on the mighty XJ and riding beyond the city limits once more.
Last Sunday at around 9:30 saw the gradual gathering of nine motorcycles outside Manawatu Motorcycles on Andrew Young Street. Ian appeared on his newly 're-tyred' GSXR1100 and keen to check them out. Sir Al on his VFR was an early arrival along with Graham on his new 1200cc Bonny, with Dave on his 'owned from new Honda K2 750. Kims chosen bike for the ride was his 89 NSR 250, with Bruce appearing on his ever faithful Yamaha RZ350 and Richard rumbled up on the mighty
T. Rich informed us about a wonderful RD400 he came across on his way to the rendezvous and sure enough that very distinctive RD400 sound was heard coming around the corner. On board was Craig and his daughter Katie who were out for a Sunday morning coffee. Quite a huddle developed around the bike that was in pristine order and recently featured in Olde Bike. You could certainly see why. Craig was keen to come out with us for the first 20 kays or so. The destination for the ride was to be Apiti where great stories were told about the new owners of the tavern and the wonderful menu!
The departure from town was punctuated with Craig adding a few more pounds of air into his tyres at the Caltex station on our way out and we quickly got into the Pohangina Valley 'rhythm' as we headed north into the hills. The temperature had certainly dropped since I was last up this way, but the familiarity with the road certainly helped my cautious confidence return as we made our way through some parts that had some moss come back with the departure of summer. However, the road was in very good condition with very few sections of loose gravel in the corners as is often the case. Our first stop at Totara Park arrived very quickly and it was here that Craig and Katie said goodbye. It was neat to see two generations of a family enjoying motorcycling with Craig telling us Katie has her own 125 dirt bike at home. Cool!  The sound of the RD heading south down the valley was music to our ears. It was also here Sir Al managed to lecture one of the locals on road safety matters. The cat was mildly interested! Soon we were back on the bikes and heading towards our destination half expecting to see a some snow in the great vistas one sees of the Ruahine Ranges as we climbed towards Apiti.
Our arrival at Apiti found the doors at the tavern locked. The custodian soon arrived to open up the premises long after the posted opening time. It appears as though the opening of the duck shooting season was celebrated in style the evening before. The status of the catering was in doubt for a while, but the chef appeared and fired up the kitchen and we he managed to maintain the great food standard from the previous visit. After some great conversations around all manner of topics it was decided to retrace our steps for the ride home. Whilst the road through to Kimbolton includes some great windy parts, the remaining road through to Palmy is not! Our departure was a little distracted by a Victory motorcycle. An amazing piece of 'iron' and with the recent demise of the company the motorcycle world is all the poorer for it.
Doing the reverse rather than the loop has a lot of pluses including knowing the current road conditions and upping the corner count. Not a bad thing!  Our last stop was at the Totara Reserve turnoff where all agreed that it had been a great ride and that the liners and thermals were going to be dug out from the back of the wardrobes. It was great to be out and about again on the XJ in the company of fellow motorcyclists sharing the wonderful world of heritage motorcycling. I certainly missed it.
See you out there!

Friday, April 21, 2017

2 April 2017 Ride to Hunterville

A grey but dry Sunday so a perfect reason to go for a ride :-)

The roll call was Rich (T500), Bruce.A (VFR), Bruce.S (Ninja), Alan (H2), Kim (NSR) and myself (GSXR). We chose to head to Hunterville as we love the corners the road provides. 

Dave (CB750) turned up for lunch who was returning from a weekend rally so joined us for the ride home. 

We decided to go back the same way via Vinegar Hill to enjoy the corners from the other side of road.

Below the photos is a short overview video I have created from the footage I filmed on our ride. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

EOM Ride March 2017 (plus another ride)

A grey start to our 'End of month' ride but five still keen to hit the Manawatu roads. Was meant to be six, but Kim slept in :-)

Me on my trusty VX800, so enjoyable to ride, Dion on his Honda smoking advertisement with new pipes for that extra bit of bling, John on his Honda CB500 and Warren on his GT380 providing some 70s sound, and 'blow me down' what turns up is Bruce on a first generation lovely GSX-R1000 that several of us had been watching on TradeMe :-)

Just a short ride in order over the Track and to Balance Bridge Cafe for a coffee and scone or so. And right on time Dave turns up on his CB750 to boost our numbers and with no wet stuff we were able to sit outside.

Deciding on a trip over the Saddle and down to Ashhurst, we set off with a few enjoying the loose gravel. Dave got a text from the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club guys who had been away for the weekend that they were going to stop for lunch at Apiti. So Dave and I said goodbye to the rest who were heading home, filled our bikes in Ashhurst and headed back out for some more great corners to Apiti.

Perfect timing had us arrive at Apiti with the MCMCC guys just climbing off their bikes so in we all went for a beer and some lunch. Below are their bikes. 

We returned home the way we had come in via Pohangina for many more corners of fun rather than face the straight roads after Kimbolton.  

Another great day on our bikes with good company. What a way to end the weekend :-)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Winners Circle

Three Blue Haze members took away the silverware (figuratively speaking) at the recent Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club National Rally, held March 17 – 19 at Pukeora Estate, Waipukurau.

A group of ten headed up to the central Hawke's Bay late afternoon Friday. Leaving from Manawatu Motorcycles were Rich (T500), Kim (Honda NSR), JB (RE5 Suzuki), Ian (1100 Slingshot), PC (Suzuki GT550), Paul (GT750), Barry (Z1), and myself (VFR800). We collected Terry (Honda SilverWing) and Ken (RD350) at Woodville. Alan arrived from New Plymouth on Saturday on his RD350.

Keeping off the main road we followed Pinfold & Topgrass Roads to Dannevirke, and then turned off at Matamau going through Ormondville and Takapau, and back onto SH2 and up to Pukeora hill. This is a great piece of twisted tarmac, and I’m sure we’ll include it in some future rides. 

Pukeora (Hill of Health) Estate is a vineyard, winery, and convention centre which was once the Pukeora Sanatorium It is a maze of old buildings with dozens of small hospital style rooms connected by a warren of passageways. In its day Pukeora has been home to thousands of people.

Close to 40 members attended the rally, and Pukeora estate suited us well. The hosts did a good job feeding us, there was plenty of space, and as usual Judy had everything well organised.

After bike judging on Saturday morning we made our way to Te Awanga, out from Clive, to visit the British Car Museum  - a walk down memory lane for most of us. 

We then made our way to Havelock North and took Middle Road down to Patangata Pub for lunch. Another excellent bike road. Then it was back to Pukeora for a few snorts before dinner.

After a very nice meal we had prize giving. Blue Haze did very well with Ian taking Best Suzuki with the GSX-R1100, Alan Best Yamaha for his RD350, and the People’s Choice award going to John for his beautifully prepared Suzuki RE5 rotary. Kim and Paul scored 2nd & 3rd respectively in the raffle with Kim getting a VR jacket and Paul a bottle of Tullamore Dew – which was dully sampled to ensure its provenance. An enjoyable night.

Sunday morning dawned another pleasant Hawke's Bay day and after a leisurely brekkie the gathered brethren began departing. John had some problems with the rotary leaking water from the header tank on the Saturday (temporarily fixed with Bars), and it performed the same trick on Sunday morning. This time Motor Machinists radiator repair product worked sufficiently to enable John to ride home down the main road, accompanied by Rich as backup. 

The rest of us took the long way home following Hatuma Road through Mangahei Road, coming out on Weber Road and then in to Dannevirke. What a great ride on a sunny day. Saw more turkeys than tin-tops, and apart from a few tractors the road was all ours. Heading south from Dannevirke we turned left at Oringi and went through Hopelands to Pahiatua. Lunch in the sun was enjoyed at Tui Central, then over the track and home.

If we link up the route we took to Waipukurau with the ride home, we have another excellent day ride on less traveled roads. If we add in Patangata to Havelock North on Middle Rd, and then back via Kahuranaki Rd to Elsthorpe and Patangata, we have a good over-nighter with enough corners to wear out a set of tyres. Need to put that on the list.