At times we all look for any excuse to go for a ride. Especially if we haven't had one for a while and or the weather is looking suitably fine. A couple of weekends ago the call went out to make the most of some fine weather so a small band of us gathered together one Sunday morning at Manawatu Motorcycles looking for a destination. It was good to see Kim finally out on his Radio Station (Yamaha 250 3XV), Ian on his One and Only (Suzuki VX800), Sir Al on his Bighorn (Kawasaki F9) and yours truly on the Secca (Yamaha XJ750 E11). The consensus was to point our bikes in an easterly direction and around one of our favourite rides, the Rongomai loop. With the Pahiatua Track now a major link to the east we were expecting a lot of traffic, but it wasn't to be. With the closure more attention is being paid to its upkeep and it certainly allows for a more spirited riding style! Kims Radio Station certainly whistled past me at a rate of knots with Sir Al and Ian also enjoying the light traffic and good surface. All too soon we were at the Mangamaire turnoff and heading towards State Highway Two through some windy road. Caution is a good idea along this stretch of road as it has some deceptive corners and it is a relatively narrow but busy road. Our first stop at Managmaire attests to this with a resident having set up a fence with motorcycle helmets hanging off it. A not so subtle reminder!
After a quick chat we were on our way again and making our way down SH 2 towards turnoff to Rongomai. Once back on our B road we started enjoying the lovely sinuous road as it made its way to Mangaone Valley Road. This is a more open road where you can sit back a little and enjoy the countryside experience with its sights, sounds and smells. As we reached the end of the valley the curves tighten up which are accompanied by some superb cambers. A lot of fun that soon ends as we crest the hill at the back of Pahiatua. We headed into town with the Black Stump cafe as our preferred destination. You have to take your chances on it being open and luckily for us it was. A mixture of light beers,tea coffee, muffins and Caesar salads arrived at our table and were very quickly consumed. After a good discussion on important things like the renaissance of the two stroke our next decision was a big one. We either go back over the Track or battle the masses over the Saddle Road. The decision was made to not fight the masses, but to retrace our steps over the less travelled track.
Returning to our bikes and going through the start up routine Kims usual sad humour was particularly good. (Well relatively good!) He observed Sir Al starting up the mighty Bighorn directly outside the open front door of the local Fish and Chip shop and commented on the fact that the locals would be getting smoked fish on the menu that day! The run back over the Track saw a definite increase in traffic compared to earlier in the day but we still managed to give the bikes a final workout before we got back into town.
It was a great ride and it was pleasing to see how well all the bikes performed. Ians VX certainly has a good turn of speed and the vee twin engine and shaft drive certainly make for quick trouble free riding. Nice to see that Kim has finally got the gremlins sorted out in the 3XV. No easy task. For a two stroke it is a rather complicated piece of machinery but worth the trouble with some claiming it as the ultimate sports two stroke. Sir Al on the Bighorn is now showing confidence in the bike after his initial time sorting it out. He is now punting it through the corners more like a sports bike than a forty plus year old trail bike. Maybe it is the Klemm Vintage Racing web site? These guys have been road racing Bighorns very successfully from the year dot and know every trick in the book. He is certainly getting a lot more pleasure out of it than the TS400 he has recently passed on!