Saturday, October 29, 2011

It was the best of was the worse...

Last weekend here in NZ was a long weekend.  Sunday was also the final of the Rugby World Cup.  A cup the All Blacks (NB this is the name of the national team) had not won since the inaugural world cup in 1987.  Even though they are generally considered the best team in the world year after year, when it cam to the WC, we will inevitable  play a shocker, or luck was against us and home ward bound we would come with no cup in hand.....sigh........and I mean big sigh.  We are a rugby mad nation.  

On Saturday, the day  before the final I went for a big long ride on the GS, exploring some back roads up north and visiting some of the Western beaches.  It was a great day, and in the end I had done 400kms.  The ride included some gravel, almost took it on the beach, but the entrance over the sand dunes was soft and until I get some nobbles fitted I was happy just to handle the easy gravel.

So Sunday arrives,  the tension through out the country was, well, audible. We were in the final, but the opposition was , bugger it, the FRENCH!  The french had twice before beaten us in world cups and sent us packing. They always seem to play there best against us. They had performed poorly in this world cup, but some how they had made it to the final.  The All Blacks had beaten them in pool play convincingly, yet this was the final, anything could and would happen.  I spent the day ...and cooking...marinate steak, baked a sponge cake,(two actually first one ended in the bin) chocolate fudge, scollop potatoes......I had to do some to ease my fragile nerves! 

You probably all know that we did win, by an agonising score of 8-7........I swear I lost ten years off my life that night.  The country erupted, celebrations not seen in this country ever, and I mean ever. It was awesome and it has lifted the spirits of this land for sure.  During the game not one single emergency call was made, there was no traffic any where to be seen .  The country quite literally stopped.

It was after the game when I turned on the computer that I read of Marco Simoncelli's death.  It felt strangle weird to be celebrating one minute and feeling awful the next.   These moto GP riders are an amazing bread of people. The skill and entertainment they display often leaves me speechless.  I liked watching Marco, he had a great personality and a real spirit about him.  I was deeply saddened by his death.  


I have it on very good authority that a particular blogger....known to most of us has purchased a new 1200GS..........

Of course I am not one to gossip........

I am sure we will get all the details soon!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

and so it goes.......

So the conversation went some thing like this......

Terry:  What's that?

Me:  A box

T: What's in it?

Me: Nothing..

T: It can't be nothing.

Me:  Umm....just ummm...some....ummm...bits for the bike.

T: What bits?

Me: Little bits.

T: It is a big bloody box for little bits!

Me: They are well wrapped.

T: Where is it from?

Me: Umm.....Germany I think.

T: You think?.....or is there some thing you not telling me?

Me: okay is a big box from Germany with some bits, some of which may be big, for the bike.

T: How much?

Me: Cheap.

T: That is not the answer I was looking for.

Me: Cheaper than BMW New Zealand......

T: Still not the answer I was looking for!

Me: I think I will take you shopping for a new pair of shoes...

T: How many pairs?

Me: One.

T: Think again...

Me: Two...

T: and lunch......

Me: OK.

T: Don't make any plans for Saturday....

Me: Well I was going to fit the new........

T: Think again,

Me:  Sure Saturday is good by me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

1000miles...and a night at the Hilton.

OK perhaps the title is a tad misleading, I dint exactly do a thousand miles in one day, but in my attempt to cover four days of biking on two bikes it was the best I could come up with.

Thursday I ignored the weather forecast and took the GS to work.  I can see why Keith rides to work every day, it is a great way to start the day.   After work I headed north and took a very very long way home, up SH16, a slight detour down to Port Albert (Gravel road yippee) and then through to Warkworth where I caught up with my folks for dinner.  Eventually getting home after 8.

Friday, feeling inspired and the fact my motorbike gear was strewn all over the bedroom I took the gs again, this time after work I headed South down the motor way, a few back roads to Kiaua.  It was a great evening for riding.  Over the course of the two days riding to and from work I had managed to put 600 Ks on the bike...almost due for its first service, after all I have owned it for 10 days and that is to be expected.

Finally the weekend arrived, I had decided earlier in the week to go away for the weekend with Terry.  We haven't been away for a over nighter for ages, and with spring here it was time to a road trip in.  I decided that Taupo would be a s good a place as any. It is a decent size town with lots to do .  It also gives me many options on the roads to ride to get there.   I eventually settled on going through Taumarnui and National park. These are two of my favourite roads and they did not disappoint again .  It was a great ride, even though it was a bit chilly with the temperature struggling to get above 12 degrees all day.

We got to Taupo just after four where I had a surprise in stall for terry.....I had booked us into THE HILTON for a night.   (It was on special).   A hot shower  and lounging around in the"Hilton" robes that are supplied, and a wee drink (or two) made for a relaxing late afternoon. (I wasnt allowed to take the robe home, but apparantly you are allowed the slippers and the soaps...which I did take).   A bit later we headed out to a bar and enjoyed some food and watching the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup.....never mind Ireland....never mind England......time to go home.

We left Sunday, the weather was gorgeous and some great riding was had as we headed through Bennydale and further north.     We stopped at a cafe where a nice old gentleman turned up on his, UN restored, or should I say original 1951 BSA.

850ks on the sprint, 600 on the GS the two days before, doesnt quite make a 1000 miles.....but I sure had a 1000 smiles.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Pink Ribbon Ride.

Mark "Fat Max" Hill

I will always remember my Auntie rose.  Always smiling, always fun, always seemed happy, and some how managed to spoil us.  She had a little red min with a hole in the floor.....kind of drafty, and now a days certainly wouldn't be legal to be on the roads.     I don't remember when I first knew she was sick, I cannot even remember how old she was when the cancer finally took her life.  But I do remember her....her death at a young age, with two young daughters.

Sunday was the The Pink Ribbon Ride, a fund raiser for the Breast Cancer society.  Phillip McDaid sent out a request to all members and trainees from IAM to help in the marshaling of this event.  By NZ standards it normally ends up a very larger gathering of bikes, incorporating a small guided ride through Auckland waterfront, city, and ending at Western Springs just out side of Auckland central.  Some people go to all sorts of extremes to decorate there bike which all adds to the event. 

I had my kids this weekend but with a bit of help from my partner I was able to take Taylor on Saturday to the briefing and trial ride, and on Sunday, Nathan came with me to attend the official ride. Bloody good to have them apart of such a great event.

I attended this last ride last year, it is a great event, with a real spirit of camaraderie with bikers all coming together for a common cause.  It was a great honour to be a part in helping with it, even in a small degree.  The New Zealand Police provide just wonderful support ensuring roads are closed and shut off to let easy flow through of the bikes.  They are a friendly bunch and keen to talk bikes and chat, just brilliant.  There is a great deal of support from the many on lookers that lined the route also.

It was enthusiastic group of volunteers that met on Saturday with the organises.  Full credit to those that put time and effort in.  Geoff made the trip all the way from the Coromandel, and was the furthest to come.  I knew it took a fair bit of juggling on Geoff's behalf to be able to attend....good on ya mate. I took Taylor with me on the Saturday, she seemed to enjoy being a part of it, as long as there is Cafe food at the end of it!

Andy's Bike....I think he stopped at a cemetery, and "borrowed" some stuff to get this look!

Andy, Geoff,Richard, Me, and my son Nathan.

Another view of Andy's Fairy bike.

I told you some people take this seriously...or not as the case may be!

The car park starting to fill.

Getting together with the other IAM riders ensured a fair bit of light hearted banter ensured, actual I quite enjoyed asking Sergeant Chung...(in front of everyone) what the top speed of his GSXr 600 was on the open road.....he tactfully declined to answer, it was funny though.

Getting there nice and early Sunday in case we were needed for any help with the marshaling bikes into the meeting area.  In the end this particular bit was not really necessary but it was good to be there and see all the bikes rolling in.  I must admit though I didn't half need that early morning coffee....

The ride left on time and went with out a hitch, I peeled off at my designated point and assisted in keeping any traffic from joining into the middle of the ride.  The ride took us along Quay street which has been temporally closed during the world cup, but which was opened especially for us. There was plenty of crowd support to be had from the on lookers, and It was a great feeling to be a part of.  Nathan was loving being apart of a group ride, some thing he has not been apart of so a new experience.  Once the progression of bikes had passed we rejoined and tagged on in at the back

Once at the meeting point we spent some time promoting IAM and generally chatting to everyone we knew.  We had been very lucky all weekend with the weather.  It was for cast for rain both days, some of it heavy, and even though it threatened, it never started raining until later on Sunday afternoon. Thankfully by  then the festivities were over.

Many thanks to Geoff for providing some photos.