What a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Not only did we get out and about on another fine spring morning, but I also got to sample two very special two stroke motorcycles!
The gathereing of the gang at Manawatu Motorcycles at 10am saw us debating the merits of heading to the east and around the back country between Ekatahuna and Pahiatua or heading in a norwesterly direction to Hunterville return. The later got the thumbs up as some of us needed to get back to town a little earlier than normal to take care of other matters of grave importance such as lawn mowing! The role call for the ride was:
Paul De Lautour - Suzuki GT750
Richard Kerr - Suzuki T500
Bruce Sagger - Yamaha RZ350R
Kim De Lautour - Yamaha RZ250
Alan Clark - Kawasaki H2750
Gary Whiting - Yamaha XJ750
We headed out of town exiting the town boundry along Railway Road. I always love being at the back at about this time as the two strokes clear their urban lungs with a puff of smoke. Its definitely a non 'pc' sight that does nothing for the environment but my thinking is it does a lot for our heritage! Anyway I am sure our annual emissions aren't any more than a few puffs from a J class steam engine. We followed the railway line out to Bunythorpe, past Taonui Aerodrome, left at Colyton and then made our way to our first stop at the top of the Cheltnham hill via Makino road. Surveyinig the rural scene one certainly could see the change of season with the green pastures and blossoming fruit trees reflecting the noticably warmer air temperature. After a brief stop we headed off towards Vinegar Hill with a very brief stop at (not so) Stormy Point to check out our resident distant volcanoes, Mounts Ruapehu and Tongarriro. It wasn't long until we came out at the top of Vinegar Hill and took a left on to State Highway 1 and made our way down to Hunterville. This is always a great place to stop and watch the world go by. The conclusion of the Cold Kiwi provided a procession of bikes and people to watch. It must have been a good one as the rally goers we came across in the cafe were very subdued. Mikes Trading is always an interesting view as you never know what he has in his car lot and he is always keen to have a chat about bikes from the 70s. Another interesting group who stopped off for a coffee were a group on scooters. They parked up in the cafe diagonally opposte us and I think they are the Palmy Scooter Club. Shades of the Mods and the Rockers! Might be fun to go on a ride together?
After being refreshed and replenished we decided on our back road route to Rata where we folllow the Rangitikei River. A lovely bit of country side with a good mixture of sweepers and tighter sections. It was on this stretch of road I got to resample Sir Als Kawasaki H2. I had forgotten how torquey and easy it was to ride in the lower rev range. You could just about say it was a good touring motor! However once you upped the revs it took off like a scalded cat and the induction and exhaust noise was wonderful. At our next stop Bruce offered me a ride on his recently modified Yamaha RZ350R. Loved the sound of the expansion chambers, especially when they hit the power band. What surprised me the most was how well it behaved down low and the suspension modifications had it tracking around corners with ease. Bruce and the lads at Levin Motorcycle Centre have done a magnificent job on it. After spending so much time recently on the XJ its light weight was a pleasure. Our last stop at Mount Stewart had us heading back into town at 1:30 satisfied that we had definetly made the most of warm and sunny Sunday morning. Roll on next weekend!