Sunday April 20th dawned overcast in the Manawatu and a group of 7 optimistic riders headed north to Taihape via Kimbolton and Rangiwahia. The roads were wet and we were getting peppered with occasional showers. The plan was to ride over to Hawkes Bay via the Gentle Annie road. After a stop at Taihape for petrol and a hot coffee, we headed off toward Moawhanga and up onto the Central Plateau. As we climbed the sky cleared and the road dried and a we enjoyed a great ride over one of the best motorcycling roads in our region. After the descent to the Kaweka forest (the part of the road originally known as The Gentle Annie) the temperature started to rise and a stop at Omahu was required to remove extra clothing layers. From there a short run into Hastings for petrol and then (eventually, after a short tour of Flaxmere) onto SH50 and down to Tikokino for lunch at the Tikokino Country Hotel. The food was good and the service quick, and we sat outside enjoying the warmth of a Southern Hawkes Bay autumn day. After lunch it was down to Dannivirke, where those of us with wet weather gear should have put it back on! As we headed toward Woodville it became obvious we weren't going to get home dry. The temperature dropped, the wind howled and then about 15km out the hail hit. Then it poured down. By Woodville it was too late to get the rain gear out and we headed into the Manawatu Gorge in very poor visibility. Surprisingly, we emerged from the George into patches of blue, and made it home on dry roads about 4.30.
Between us we had a mixture of bikes from the 70s, 80's, 90s, and modern era. All the bikes went well.
This is definitely a ride we should be organising more often. Well worth making the effort.
Riders & bikes; Ian GSX600F, Paul Moto Guzzi Le Mans, PC Honda Bros, Kim & myself on Kawasaki H2s, Evan KTM Duke 690, and Bruce BMW GS650.
Report from Sir Al