Sunday, September 23, 2007

Old Boys and their Old Bikes

Actually when I look at it there is a bit of motorcycling in my family blood. I have an uncle who raced dirt track years ago before he has a life changing crash. My cousin has a road style BMW. Both my brothers used to race motorcross when they were young. Both of them sustaining various injuries from their racing and motorcycling adventures. It runs in the family!

My eldest brother has a couple of bikes, one being the big brother bike to my little 650. Another of his bikes is this Yamaha, 1980 something, motorcross bike. He has rebuilt it over the years from a pile of junk that he picked up cheap.

So today off to the Vintage Motorcross race meeting at Waitotara, South Taranaki. Quite funny really lots of older 40+ year old guys and their old 20+ or 30+ year old bikes.

Making the most of the late coming Southerly change I rode the two or so hours to the meeting.

Ready to go.

And they are off!

Started out pretty good and kept up with the field, well maybe the mid to tail end of the field for the first half of the first lap. Then apparently it all turned to custard due to the old Yamaha quiting in mid race. Pushed back to the car and the boys having a look to see what is causing the engine failure. Its back to the workshop to sort out the problem. Look forward to next race meeting.

A couple of random bikes racing that caught my eye.
This old 1970 BSA was definitely my pick of the bunch today. It has the coolest shape, nicest paint job and sounded the best with a big masculine roar. But to top it off, it smelt the best too!

Ngawihi and Cape Palliser

Deciding to take the bike to work on Friday I was to discover that I was long overdue for a bike fix. Would have been so easy to just ride on by my place of work and continue up over the Rimutaka road. Alas that was not to be on Friday.
However come Saturday and that is just what was on the agenda!
Perfect spring morning, no wind, lots of sun and so very mild. Up and out early to ensure a nice clear run over the Rimutaka hill. Awesome fun, and have regained confidence with my tyres holding, after the slip in the wet afew weeks ago.
Bypassed the coffee crowd at Martinborough and headed for Ngawihi. Been here once before and yet was just as taken by the brilliant blue sea, rugged coast and quaint cottages. Again the thought of bringing camping gear and making a weekend of it out here crossed my mind.
Sealed road becomes gravel and a strange pungent smell wafts in to the helmet, strangely familiar but unidentified until I see them............fat bodies, laying like early summer sunbathers, soaking up the warmth ......seals! A seal colony lives on the rocks out toward Cape Palliser.
So once out at the Cape had to climb the 250 steps up to the lighthouse and enjoy the views.

Looking back toward Ngawihi and the gravel road in to Cape Palliser
Looking South to the car park and farm track further around the Cape. Apparently there is a Maori historic site further around there. Do not know any details
Gus the BMW in front of the 250 steps leading to the lighthouse.
Seal colony sunning them selves in the warm spring grass. Ahhh aren't they cute!
Just after the ford with quite fast flowing water. Awesome sculptured rock formations along this coast.
Ngawihi has a substantial collection of bulldozers, to tow the boat trailers loading and unloading boats. A large range of bulldozers from the very little to the enormous. However the following really took my fancy. Babe, Twinky Winky and Kermit, delightful!

A very dramatic coastline.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

New Helmet and Old Adventure

So I have bought one of these HJC adventure helmets. A hybrid between a street helmet and off road helmet.

I ride a hybrid bike so might as well have a hybrid helmet!

Actually motivation is thinking of the hot sun in OZ and thought the wee peak may provide some shade. Took it out today for a test ride. Must remember not to look up into the sky as cruising along.

But seems good so far. Great riding into the sun, peak provide excellent shade from direct sun strike.

I went for the less flamboyant style and choose the plain silver option. Goes nice with my jacket!

Now old adventure. I only put these on here as I have been nagged by some friends to do so. These are a taste of my ride in the South Island last summer.

Gus, the little red Beema, and the Clutha river near Clyde. Here I was hoping to ride over the Nevis pass, but as it turned out was put off by some fears I had of dropping dear old Gus in the fords and getting into trouble. That's the reality of adventure riding alone. If something does go wrong one must be able to solve the problem. Well maybe next time.

Here with friend who along with other friends I caught up with in Queenstown rode down Skippers Canyon. Not for the faint hearted that is for sure. But what an adventure....and what amazing scenery!

Gus parked with Aoraki, Mt Cook as backdrop. New Zealands highest mountain and one of my favourite places on earth, to be near this mountain.

And this is where meeting people on the way can make the most fun memories. Needing some maintenance work done to Gus on the way, I stopped at a very small, very un tourist little town in the Mackenzie area. Got chatting to the grey messy haired old character doing the work on my bike. Next thing I learn about his collection of old cars and motorcycles and have arranged a ride for the next morning!

So who is sitting pretty on the old Tiger Triumph! Had a great old ride up around Lake Benmore and to the lookout at the damn which I was told has some fantastic statistics that I am unable to recall. Something about the huge size of it. I was more captured by this great old machine I was privileged to be riding. It rumbled along feeling close to the ground and very long. Really loved its character and personality, and has sparked in me a desire to one day own an old beast like the Tiger. Amazing how quickly I became familiar with it, even with the opposite gear change. Back on Gus seems strange for the first wee while.

The ride over Arthurs pass always an amazing experience as the scenery changes very quickly. And unbelievably after this photo as I headed East and down onto the Canterbury plains, I was suddenly and most unhappily submerged in cold dense fog. Visibility down to a few metres. Should have turned tail and back to the sun!

Confronting a fear of Hakataramea Pass and what I had heard about it. Some reports favourable, others not. I headed out over the gravel road and farmland to see for myself. Actually a most fabulous ride over some beautiful high country. Such an awesomely huge place.

Happened to meet some other riders at the top of the pass travelling the same direction as myself. So they kindly photographed me going through one of the many fords on the Mackenzie side of the pass. Note the foot out.... sure sign of still not too confident in the water! By the end of the day however I felt much satisfaction at achieving something I really wanted to do and much passion for the beauty of this area of the world. Such a wonderful place.

Spring hiking

Such a beautiful time of year. Hiking through the bush I spy these wonderful tree fronds, the inspiration for the Koru in Maori and New Zealand art.

Up the Tararua Ranges and through some very damp dense forest. Still very cold with patches of snow on the ground. Such a wonderful place for soothing the mind and breathing the love of life.
After quite a climb through the bush, I emerge onto the ridge that leads up to Alpha Hut. No longer sheltered by the cover of the forest, the cold westerly rips at my hair and pushes me, testing my balance as I make my way along the ridge top. The view down to the Wairarapa to the West is fantastic. I can almost see those gravel roads I motorcycling on from here.
Looking ahead the ridge disappeared in thick cloud which I suspect is concealing snow showers.

It may be Spring but still feeling very wintry up on the Tararua ridges.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Bush walking adventure

Changed the oil on the BMW yesterday and gave it a good clean. So not wanting to get it covered in dirt today decided to work on my fitness and also sooth my soul with some quality time in nature.
Maps out and day pack ready headed for Rimutaka Forest Park.
Started out along the Orongorongo trail then took the more challenging trail straight up to the ridge top. Really nice climb, got a bit of a sweat up and got the old heart pumping. At the top of the ridge was fascinated by a very strange humming, whirring sound. Thought maybe the aliens had landed but turned out to be some type of wind turbine. Did not get a good look at it due to the trees obscuring it.
Followed Cattle Ridge track down to meet back at the Orongorongo river and bridge. Very beautiful place and looking on the map some huts close by. Have to check them out another time.
Then a gentle walk back along the main trail.
All in all, a very nice pretty easy 5 hour walk.
Body exercised, mind calm and heart happy being close to nature and sharing in some of the fantastic secrets mother earth has to offer. Some nice photographic inspirations along the way.

Beautiful beech forest on the descent back to the main track.
Ferns and kidney leaf ferns seem to glow green in the warm sunshine

Some interesting type of wood moss or lichen growing on certain trees. They are actually the size of a finger nail or smaller. So wonderfully patterned and coloured.

Kereru with such beautiful coloured feathers. So fat and lazy he was happy to sit and pose for me while I photographed him.
I really love the way the feathers all overlap and fit together so well. So perfectly designed with such a appealing patterning and each individual feather a perfectly beautiful shape. Stunning creatures.