Monday, December 28, 2015

The Long Way to Kimbolton

Rich trying the CBR for size

Caption please!

Great to see Pauls H1 out and about again.

The new owner of Gasoline Alley (on the left)
Ian thrashes this little beauty, and it comes back for more!

Terrys Honda Interstate

Bruces latest purchase a Honda CBR600. Its a keeper!

And I thought the KH was bad on gas

Sir Als nice shiny and fast Kawasaki A7 A little ripper!


The ever faithful Yamaha XJ750. Underrated, but not by those in the know!

Richies mighty Titan

Imagine if there had been another generation of two strokes!

Our 2015 pre Christmas run saw a goodturnout at Manawatu Motorcycles. We had Sir Al checking out the new chain and sprockets on his Kawasaki A7, Paul De Lautour giving his H1 a long overdue run, Bruce brought along his latest purchase, a lovely CBR600, Rich on his ever faithful T500, Ian on his GS450S, Kim on his H2a, Dion on "The Syndicates" RGV250, yours truly on the ever faithful XJ750 and finally a new member, Terry on his Honda Interstate. We also had Alan pop along on his beautifully cafed BMW R100. Also good to see Paul Brigam swing by to say hello. It was an easy choice to do the Apiti loop as we hadn't been around it for a while. One of the 'highlights' of these runs with a healthy contingent of two strokes is when we depart the city limits. As first timer Terry said "I now know why you call yourselves the Blue Haze". The run up to our first stop at the Totara Park turnoff saw some of the bikes get a good workout over the road that was in very good condition with very little debris in the usual spots. The rest of us enjoyed a more leisurely pace that allowed one to reflect on how lucky we are to be so close to such roads and scenery. Palmy isn't such a bad place after all Mr Cleese!
After a bit of a natter it was back on the bikes with Apiti our next stop. I decided to fit he Gopro on and follow some of the old strokers. Sir Al was the first to be framed as we headed off. This was certainly different from his VFR and H2 as the mighty little Kawasaki A7 kept up a very healthy pace as Al kept it on the boil by dancing on the gear lever. Not bad for a bike built in 1971 and the owner even earlier than that! Also in our bunch was Kim on his H2 having very little trouble dealing with the pace. His smooth riding style made it all look so easy. A memorable moment was Sir Al chinning his tank down one of the straights 'cleaning his pipes' with the XJ not far behind and a rather large three figure number was displayed. I am sure he now has some of the cleanest pipes in the Manawatu! We were soon in Apiti with Dion, Ian and Bruce already parked up outside our usual stop at Gasoline Ally. (I am sure hey have clean pipes too!). After we had stopped for a while the door behind the gas pumps opened and out stepped a gentleman who told us he had just purchased the premises.
He was looking at opening up the pumps again as well as the workshop. For those of us with two stroke triples this was great news. My little petrol cooled KH 250 barely makes it around the loop on a tank of gas. Dion would have appreciated it on the day as realised his exuberant riding style had nearly drained his RGV. Much mirth was being anticipated if he ran out of petrol. (yet again!). It was a very subdued Dion who made his way out of Apiti doing what RGVs are not designed to do; an economy run! I decided to stretch the legs of the XJ a little and enjoyed some of the great bends between Apiti and Kimbolton. The Kimbolton hotel appeared in no time at all and we parked up our bikes and we were greeted with a sign that advertised the famous biker burger.  This was our kind of place!

Great being able to support these rural businesses 

Great rural pub ambiance
"I love these old bikes and its so neat to see them being used and looked after"
The publican at the Kimbolten Hotel was expressing a view shared by many of us in the Blue Haze/VJMC Club. We had just finished chomping our way through a wonderful array of burgers, chips and fish bites washed down with an assortment of refreshments. The Biker Burger was popular and it was wonderful being in an establishment that appreciated some of the things we value in our lives.  The publican continued the conversation with:
"I used to have a GT550 back in the day. I loved it. I had to sell it as I went everywhere at full throttle and the speeding tickets were getting expensive. I probably would have killed myself if I had kept it any longer"
Many of us can probably relate to these words. We look back at our youth and sometimes wonder why we are still here! Whilst we often talk about the machinery and our exploits it is the people who were a part of our lives at the time that were just as important.  Its the same today. Sitting in the Kimbolten Hotel with a like minded bunch of people was just as rewarding as all those years ago doing the same sort of thing. The conversations were of a similar nature but tinged with thirty years of wisdom from life experiences. (We would like to think it is wisdom!) It is this camaraderie that we nurture and value through our love of what are essentially old pieces of plastic and metal. Man has always been a curious and social creature. So this keen interest in motorcycles is all quite natural and whilst the publican had given up on motorcycles he and his wife drew our attention to the photos on the walls. They showed that this interest in metal and plastics was a hard one to break as we were surrounded by photos of he and his sons racing success in stock cars!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

November End of Month Ride

What a great way to finish November! Out and about with a group of like minded souls who happen to enjoy motorcycles. And soulful it was with brilliant weather putting everyone in the right frame of mind to soak up some great riding roads through some wonderful Rangitikei countryside. Along for the somewhat spiritual experience were the usual congregation on their mobile pews with a couple of new parishioners. It was great to see Alvin and Tricia Falkner turn up on Alvins Triumph 600 with Alvins reputation as a keen road racer in the eighties preceding him. Tricia promised to turn up next time on her ZZR 400, so we will be looking forward to seeing that. Also along for the ride was Brian on his TT600, Paul on the mighty Guzzi 850, Kenny on the BMW, Michael on the FZR, Bruce on the RZ350, Paul  with the Waterbus, Dion on the RG400, Kim giving the RGV250 its first outing, Rich on the ever reliable T500, Ian with his GS450, Bruce with his VFR 750, Sir Al on his Viffer 800 and yours truly on the XJ750.
The destination for the morning ride (pilgrimage?) was to Hunterville via a few backroads and up to Vinegar Hill and back home via even more backroads that run next to State Highway One and back through Halcombe, Mt Stewart and then home. Our first stop was at Cheltenham Cross Rd where the pipes from Paul Ds GT750 were putting out the last wafts of smoke after a good blow out on the run up to the top of the hill. The GT750 pipes have often been described as laser gun pipes. They actually looked more like a Magnum forty four after firing off a full round! For those of us who haven't quite got around to fixing our old strokers languishing in our garages, riding through the trail of smoke was almost a religious experience. The congregation then made its way up towards the 'mount', ie Vinegar Hill and a left turn at the top on to State highway one for the run into Hunterville.  We parked up outside our usual haunt where we 'broke bread' which was washed down with a range beverages.
After being spiritually and gastronomically revived we made our way out of town in a westerly direction where we very quickly turned south to follow back roads that ran parallel to State Highway One and we were soon down to the turn off to Halcombe. After waving goodbye to Alvin and Tricia we were greeted by one of our countries esteemed Traffic Safety Officers who luckily for some seemed more interested in an SUV with a trailer on it. The run through to Halcombe then Mount Biggs saw us stopping for the last time. As the congregation began to disperse as we got closer to town one began to reflect on what was a great Sunday morning. For some of us these rides feed our hearts and souls. Its not just the wonderful communion you experience as you ride through the countryside, but the comrady that comes with being a part of a very special congregation.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gary + The Blue Haze Crew

Friday, November 27, 2015

Rongomai Loop with the Classics

I thought I might throw up this video and some photos from a few weeks ago when some of us popped out for another run with the Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club. This was the weekend after the very successful rally and whilst the Rally ride was trouble free, this ride was far from that. It all started well with much cheer from the club meeting with reports about the success of the rally. The departure from the Vintage Car Club rooms went without a hitch, but unfortunately a couple of bikes didn't manage to make it to the bottom of the Pahiatua Track. Pauls Guzzi decided to spit the dummy with lots of loud bangs and a few puffs of smoke. A Trident didn't like the look of the track and made it clear to its owner that it wanted to go home. The run to Rongomai went without a hitch as did the run into Pahiatua. It was then the turn of a couple of BMWs to play up with a flat tyre and the other with a dodgy kill switch. The rest of the crew finally made it to the Ashhurst Inn for lunch, whilst a couple of others finally got to the Inn just in time to wave goodbye to everyone as they left for home!
It was a great run (well for most of us anyway), but if you are going to have problems this is definetly the sort of people you would want to be with!
See you out there!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Manawatu Classic Motorcycle Club Rally 2015

What a brilliant day! It was literally a brilliant day weather wise, but also program wise. Four of the lads (Mike, G, Ian and Sir Al) from the Blue Haze meet at Ashhurst petrol station at around 8:15 this morning. After topping up we made or way up the Pohangina Valley to Camp Rangi Woods. The camp is a part of the Totara regional park and is an ideal venue for such an event. We arrived to find the troops readying the display area so the bike judging could get underway. For this year the classes were broken into decades with some wonderful machines on display. Sir Al had the mighty Avenger in he 70s section whilst the rest of us were in the eighties. As the judging came to an end Dave Robinson took to the podium and filled everyone in on the program for the rest of the day. This involved a wander back down the 'valley', over the Saddle Road and out to Boydens farm, followed by lunch at the Woodville tavern. the after lunch program involved a trip to Gleesons Truck Museum followed by a run over the Pahiatua Track and back to the Camp. One hundred and forty kays all up.
The rumble of bikes soon echoed around the hills as fifty plus motorcycles made there way out of the camp and pointed south.
First stop was at the windmill farm to regroup and enjoy its sights and sounds. They are making good progress with the upgraded Saddle Road and once completed it will be a blast on a motorcycle! Our next stop was Boydens Motorcycle Museum where we were treated to a wonderful selection of New Zealands motorcycle heritage. The collection is renowned for its focus on farm bikes and it didn't disappoint with everything from the the ubiquitous Gnat to Mudbugs! A quick ride into Woodville had us lining up for refreshments and food at the New Central Hotel. The locals must have been briefly concerned that the this was a Wild Ones style takeover, but the sedate exit from the saddles and removal of the helmets would have been very reassuring! After an hour of 'scaring' the locals we mounted our steeds and headed out south to Mangatainoka for our last stop. Gleesons Truck Museum was real treat. Once again another person who has spent a lifetime preserving some of our wonderful transport heritage. There were trucks from 1914 until the sixties and we also found out where the old 'Harvard, from the playground in Pahiatua ended up! He also had a nice collection of bikes hidden away in the 'office' next to the workshop.
We got a bit of a hurry along for the final part of wander as the Targa Rally was due in the district and the Pahiatua Track was going to be closed. Interesting to see people along the route out on their decks seated with a beer in hand awaiting its arrival. Our trip over the Track saw us hang a right at the bottom and head back towards Ashhurst and back up the valley to Camp Rangi Woods.
It was a great wander around countryside with 140 kms covered and no breakdowns! After a cuppa and conversation I made my way back into town and left the troops to it. By all accounts a great evening was had by all and the rally dinner was outstanding.
A big congratulations to the team that organised this and I, like many others will be looking forward to the next one in two years time!