Monday, July 31, 2017
Perfect Winters Day
A brisk morning with the sun shining and dry roads provided ideal conditions for our end-of-month ride for July. And perhaps because of this we had 12 riders on the starting grid at Manawatu Motorcycles. A really good turn out for a winter ride.
Bikes ranged from Bruce and Ian’s Suzuki GSX-R 1100s; Bruce having the first ’86 model and Ian the last of the air/oil cooled Gixxer, to my ’74 Kawasaki 350 trail-bike (at each end of the performance scale). In between there were 2 BMWs (a boxer and a Brick), a Honda CB750, RD400, Honda NSR, T500, Yamaha XT600, Triumph triple, and a Moto Guzzi Le Mans.
We decided on the Rongomai Loop and once off the busy Pahiatua Track there wasn’t much traffic and the roads were mostly dry. It was clear there had been quite a bit of flooding out the back of Pahiatua evidenced by dry sediment across the road in places. There had also been some recent cattle movements (in more ways than one!) leaving quite a bit of the road littered requiring some defensive riding.
A quick stop was taken at Pahiatua to top up the trail-bike (to be on the safe side while fuel usage was established) before heading to Balance Cafe for a coffee and lunch. We were keen to support this establishment in light of the Gorge closure, and we weren’t the only ones as the place was packed.
After a very pleasant stop, we made our way over the Saddle Road to Ashhurst and home. Sadly the Saddle Road is being wrecked despite best efforts of the roading crews. At one point on the climb we caught a tanker crawling uphill at about 30 kph. Great to be on a bike and able to squeeze past. The last major Gorge closure was 2012, so the roading planners have had 5 years to create a workable alternate route and it appears they have failed. I think we all feel for those whose Ashhurst homes now line a state highway
Only problem suffered was a flat tyre on John’s BMW. None of us had a tyre Pando on board, so the bike was chained up and Dave gave John a lift home to collect the trailer.
The 350 Kawasaki averaged 45 mpg travelling between an indicated 60 and 70 mph, so quite some improvement on the TS400’s 19 mpg! This should give a range of 100 miles. Old trail-bikes are great fun to ride, so I hope to be using this one a lot.
Another great day on the road for the Blue Haze crew.