Friday, January 8, 2016

Where to for lunch?

Sometimes this can be a very important question. Asking this question on New Years Day definitely qualifies for this. The call came through that yes, one of our favourite eateries was going to be open on this auspicious occasion so plans were hatched for a 9:30 getaway for a lunch date at  Pongaroa Tavern. A group of seven had decided that the occasion required there presence and so we then set off in an easterly direction on a variety of machines. Bruce decided his Aprilia Turano needed some road time as did Guy on his 1800cc Goldwing. It certainly defines the meaning of the word Heavy Metal weighing in at 407kgs! I thought the XJ was heavy! Sir Al brought the H2 out for another run and Kim thought the RG400 would benefit from some road time. Rich decided the T500 needed another day out as did Ian on his ever faithful GS450.
As we made our way out of town down Fitzherbert Avenue we all knew we were in for a abundance of corners that would give us and our bikes a great workout. After all we needed to 'earn' our lunch! The Pahiatua Track set the scene with its great mix of slow and moderate speed corners with  mainly great surfaces. We then branched off to Managmaire and made our way down to the Rongomai turnoff along State highway two. We then headed back up towards Pahiatua along Mangaone Road but then took a right turn at Pa Valley Road. This then brought us onto Highway 52 and after a short stop at Tiraumea we arrived at our destination with dummies rumbling!
They have a great selection of 'biker' food and beverages and after putting our orders in we settled in outside on the spacious covered deck. In the meantime a few other bikers arrived and with such a great shared interest it was easy to strike up a conversation. What came to light from one conversation with a German biker and his partner was the Blue Haze infamy had preceded us. World famous in Pongaroa and Germany!?.
After an hour or so we headed westward back to Pahiatua by the more direct route over the Puketoi Ranges and through the Makuri Gorge Scenic Reserve. Just under an hour later had us heading into Pahiatua and for some looking for a petrol station. Rich and Kim on the Suzuki two strokes needed a drink after 200 kms of riding. The RG400 is definitely a thirsty beast with Kim reckoning he had gone through a good 18+ litres of petrol since leaving Palmy. That was after using the throttle hand very judiciously. He reckons next time he won't be so hesitant to use the throttle as you might as well have a bit of fun if you going through that much gas! RG400 and economical aren't two words that sit comfortably near each other! After a bit of a natter it was back over the track and home. Another great run.
Some reflections:
I was mightily impressed with Guy and the Goldwing. It really handled the tight terrain with ease and for a recently returned biker Terry rode really well. We had a very wide spread of bikes from the early seventies through to Bruce on his 2015 Aprilia. We all had a great time by riding within the limitations of our bikes, our abilities and the conditions. As Rich pointed out
"I have just as much fun riding my bike as someone on a modern riding 20ks faster. If I want to ride faster I will buy a modern!"
Well said and very much the thoughts of a lot of us on our 'heritage' bikes!
The terrain we went through has had its fair share of 'Rock and Roll' over the last few years and was good to see the council sorting out some of the 'issues' from that. However caution is a good word to use with these roads as they are still very 'undulating' in places and some of the corners are nicely sprinkled with gravel. So as always, ride to the conditions.

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