Friday, May 27, 2011

A different angle.

I very rarely take some thing from another site, but I came across this, and I thought it was excellent

Have a look here.

It puts a different perspective on road safty.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beautiful Weekend in Paradise.

Twin Bridges.

 It was a stunning weekend in godzon, and we had planned a weekend away with our friends Tim & Sandra on there 98 Thunderbird.  Just as we were about to leave an emergency call from my sis to say she had a flat tyre meant a small diversion took place so I could change it for her.  With that complete, we headed off, a little late but on our way.

We took the boring route up SHY 1 and had our first coffee break at Wellsford.  Our eventual destination was to be Bland Bay, (nothing bland about it though!) where Tim and Sandra's neighbour had a place and had kindly offered us some accommodation for the night. 

We continued further north turning west and headed for Dargiville, a pleasant and meandering ride along the Kaipara coast and another quick stop in Dargiville for some lunch and a refuel for the Thunderbird.

 We then turned east going through the forest and stopping at twin bridges for a photo shoot.

Tim & Sandra and the Thunderbird.

From there I  was supposed to take us via Pahia to Opua where we would catch the short ferry ride over to Russell, Unfortunately I didn't read the map properly and we ended up going through Kawakawa, no big deal, and perhaps a bit quicker than my original plans.  Once in Opua we had a short wait for the ferry. 

Opua is a lovely marina, and the ferry links you up to Russell which was once New Zealands first capital.  If you are sailing into NZ, you will stop at Opua before heading south.  You know you are in the beautiful Bay of Islands as the scenery is stunning and there are lots of yachts about. 

Taking the old Russell road, and using the IPhone for directions we took a unplanned diversion down a dirt road through a old Kauri forest.  It was quite the adventure and a bit challenging on a sports tourer.  We were to discover later that if we had stayed on the road we were originally on we would still have got to Bland bay eventually.  Never mind it was all fun.

Waiting for the ferry.

Bay of Islands
 Arriving in Bland bay, our host was just pulling up on his tractor towing his boat with a dozen freshly caught snapper, so that was dinner taken care of.  So a great days riding, great company and a delicious doesn't get much better than this.

Bland bay, permanent population of 30.  An idyllic spot on the north of Whangruru. A long golden sand  safe swimming beach with  crystal clear water.  I went for a wander first thing in the morning and was the only person on the beach. One solitary boat anchored in the bay. 

Bland Bay at Sunrise

Often Dolphins and Orcas come to visit in this bay.

We left the bay on Sunday morning and continued our journey south along the Russell road, Passing Okura and Helena Bay.  We stopped at the the top of the hill at the cafe and art gallery there.  We were greeted with stunning views, fantastic coffee and some beautiful art.  Some of it very expensive.  This cafe is located about 5kms south of Helena bay and is well worth the stop.

We had a terrific weekend.  Or final stop was in Warkworth to visit my folks, where we were dished up some toasted sammies and coffee before riding the last part home on SH1. 

The Bay of Islands is just one of those great places that you must see when visiting NZ.  It is beautiful sparsely populated and as always full of friendly people.

The puppy at the gallery

There were some beautiful art peices.

The view from the cafe.

View Larger Map

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Classic Auckland Destination!

Where is the sauce dad?

It was a great day for a ride, not to hot not to cold, sun was out, weather forecast fine, time for a classic ride to one of Auckland's classic biking destinations.........Kaiaua for fish and chips.

With Nathan on the back, a sedate pace ensured.  I find this suits me a lot, as I can concentrate on nice smooth lines, smooth breaking and enjoying the ride.

We headed out from home via Whitford and the beautiful coast.  A scenic ride, but as always this time of year a lot of attention is required to the road conditions.  Many of the corners never get dry, and can be covered with wet leaves, branches and moss.

With Kaiaua only 85kms from home it is a pleasant  hour ride, and is perfect for Nathan and I to enjoy some father and son time.

After a great feed of fish and chips we headed home.  A three hour break from the week, and I arrived home feeling refreshed and alive.  You gotta love this biking thing.

Early this morning while out side I spotted this bird in our garden, it is a native Tui.  Notice the feather on it's chest.  I love seeing native birds so close to home.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Police Riders Handbook to Better Motorcycling-book review.

Setting out on some advanced riding instruction, one of the first things the instructor recommended was to get a copy of this book.  This book has already established itself as a leading manual on motorcycling, and is a must for any biker who is interested in improving there skills and becoming a safer and better rider.  Hand in hand with some advanced rider training it re enforces what you will learn, and the diagrams are easy to understand.    

For a complete beginner I think this book would be hard going, and perhaps a little to understand, it helps to have a basic understanding of the motorbike and it's dynamics. Although saying that, everyone should  have one of these books close by.  The more you ride, the more you read, the more this book will become a part of your riding and that can only be a good thing.

The first chapter is dedicated to the mental aspect of riding a bike, before moving on to motorcycle control,observation, acceleration, cornering, signals, positioning and overtaking.  Each topic is comprehensively covered.

This is not a book you will read in one sitting.  It is a book which you will be consistently referring back to, and when some thing is not clicking it is a great resource to sit down and analyse your own riding.    It's style or writing is very forth right and too the point.  It is very technical.  And at times short paragraphs can carry a lot of info.   Hence I think it is important to read in small bits.  

Hand in and with David L Houghs book Guide to proficient motorcycling, both books compliment each other.  Although Davids book is easier to read from a technical and aspect, as well as  having good life based examples.  You can read a review of this book here  Proficient Motorcycling Book Review-Geoff James.  

The Police Riders handbook, is a handy small A5 size, perfect for carrying with you on the bike if going away.  And what a great time to analyse your own riding when you get a few days of uninterrupted miles.  There are many good biking books on the market, but I strongly recommend both these books as must reads.

The book is readily available from Amazon, or  Fishpond here in New Zealand.  Prices vary from place to place , so it pays to shop around for a copy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Growing Older

It was with great anticipation I picked up the latest Kiwi biker magazine from the super market today.

This is one of the few printed publications that I enjoy reading, and I was excited to see Geoff's article on older riders printed on page 47.    It is apparent that Geoff has touched on a topic that many off us are interested in, or like me just had never thought about.  Yet it still remains relevant.

There is also a mention on David Houghs books, one of which I am reading at the moment.  This is an excellent book.

I personally think, that the fact that Geoff has pursued this, and is giving back some thing to the biking community has to be applauded.  If we all made a conscious effort to encourage safer riding and have healthy discussion on topics like this, I am sure the deathly biking road toll in New Zealand would come down.  Admittedly Geoff probably has more time than most of us, but this time is put to good use when a topic he is passionate about gets national attention.

Geoff by his own passion has  brought very relevant issues to the fore front and that is was printed in NZ's biggest biking publication is an excellent result.

Well done Geoff.   Now where is my laminated, gold foil, embossed, framed and signed, copy!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kauri Musuem and Mothers day.

We headed off to my Mums on Saturday night the weather was no where bad as forecast, Sunday was be mothers day in NZ.   Mum and Dad only live in Warkworth which is  less than  an hour north of Auckland.  Mum fed us lasagna and salad, which was divine...what is is about your own mothers cooking always taste so good!    We had a few too many wines and a great night was had.   It seems that the older I get the better I get along with my folks.  They have become great friends.  

Happy mothers day mum!

Sunday morning dawned fine and sunny, so we had decided to head north and pay a visit to The Kauri Museum another hour or so north of Warkworth.  Half the trip was done on SH 1, before turning west just before the Brenderwyn hills.  It was a very pleasant Sunday morning ride.  Once we got to the museum we had a coffee before we started the walk around.

Nestled in the picturesque west coast village of Matakohe, Northland, The Kauri Museum is one of New Zealand’s most amazing theme museums. Approximately 90,000 people visit our internationally acclaimed Northland heritage museum every year. Open 9.00am to 5.00pm daily (closed Christmas Day). 

As one of the best  places to visit in Northland, The Kauri Museum is the perfect insight into Northland’s pioneer past. Visit our heritage museum en route to the ancient kauri trees in the Waipoua Forest. 

The award winning The Kauri Museum, Matakohe tells the fascinating story of the pioneering days through the use of kauri timber and kauri gum. Explore the many exceptional displays and galleries inside the museum, from our magnificent collection of antique kauri furniture and the largest collection of kauri gum in the world, to restored machinery, including NZ’s earliest tractor, a 1929 Cat 60, and a turning steam sawmill. As one of Northland’s best attractions, you will be able to view a two storey life-sized replica Boarding House, a Pioneer School and the historic Matakohe Post Office with a fantastic collection of telephones. 

The Kauri museum captures the history of the far north, the beautiful kauri forests that covered this part of the country , the logging, and the gum industry that sprung up around it.  The museum is excellent and well worth a visit.  You need to allow a good couple of hours to see it, but if you want to read all of the notes on the exhibits and see all the pictures you could easily lose 4-5 hours.    I have ridden past it many time, so it was great to see it.

There are wonderful examples of huge kauri tress, products, furniture, tools of the trade, rebuilt buildings, boats, miniature boats..endless stuff to look at.  I highly recommend a visit.

Some of the beautiful antique furniture

Gum.....or Amber as it is called.

Sailing boats made fro Kauri

An equiste table

Model boats

We left the museum and headed south, we got hold of our friends and took HW 16 from Wellsford, where we caught up with our friends in Helinsville.  We meandered home after that.  It was a great and enjoyable day on the bike, the weather behaved and the roads were good.