Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rogeys Gravel Rash Adventure.....

and no I didn't fall off!

This weekend I joined the Auckland Gravel Adventure Riders Group weekend away.  This was my first real opportunity to try my gravel skills.  Although gravel skills may be a tad generous and complimentary.  I mean I have watched a few YouTube videos and done the odd gravel road when out exploring, but I certainly could not say I had rack up any degree of experience.  But this was the reason I brought the GS. To see more, go to more places and expand my riding skills. 
So I headed off early on Saturday morning and turned up at the BP at Bombay, where I watched as over thirty bikes arrived.  I thought for a moment I was at a BMW rally. There were at least 15 GS800's there. A couple of 650s and a variety of other makes.  Majority of them designed for off road.  Although Josh on his CBR 600 had me wondering?

For the first part of the ride it was recommended that newbies to gravel just do the road part as Klondike Road can be a bit hairy.  So I did as I was told and rode with the guys that were just doing the road ride only. The pace was very sedate and it didnt take long for us to get to Te Akau.

Once at Te Akau we waited for the gravel guys to arrive and then a few of us joined them as we headed through some fantastic back roads to Raglan.  I will admit though the first ten Km's was a bit hairy as the gravel was thick and I wondered what the hell I got myself into. Seriously what the hell was I thinking?  After a while it smoothed out a bit and I enjoyed myself immensely riding on gravel.  I Started to have some real fun sliding the back wheel, and just relaxing into the ride.

Once in Raglan, time for lunch.  Fantastic cause I was bloody starving and it was now close to three O'clock.
Leaving Raglan we headed towards Bridal Falls and on, crossing over on to tarmac a couple of times before taking more back roads towards Kawhia.  "Roads" may be a bit of a generous term, as at times it was more of a track.  Saw some great scenery and at one time spent quite a while with no one in front and no one behind.  The little thumper was great, doing it's job perfectly and for someone like me without much experience on this type of riding it is perfect. 

From Kawhia we took yet more back tracks as we headed towards Waitomo, this was the most scenic of the day and don't ask me where I was cause I had no idea.  It was an awesome ride though.  I was wondering if we were ever gonna get there as this bit went on for ages.  Never came across a car, and the other bikes spread out a great deal.  Finally popped out onto Sh31 and it was a short ride though to Waitomo.

 It was well after six when I got to the motel.  The hot shower and cold vodka tasted as good as any thing I had ever drank before.  Mmmmmm   VODKA!

We covered around 350kms for the day, about 250 on gravel. 

The Waitomo Caves Motel put on a great buffet dinner and breakfast as well as a nights accommodation for $100.....pretty good value I must say.

Sunday we all met for breakfast at 7.30, a lot of guys had all ready left to return home,  and  had only done part of the first day.  There was just 13 of us left with three of them road riding, so just 10 remained to continue on some gravel roads.

I remained with the gravel guys, taking yet more unknown back roads to Kawhia.  It was here that I decided I had done my dash.  Yesterdays riding, coupled with a late night on the Friday, and a hell week at work was taking it's toll.  By this stage to I was the lone learner, and all the others riders were fairly experinced....well thats how it looked to me.   I headed home via some main highways before getting home just after two.

I procedded to spend the rest of the afternoon fast asleep on the couch....until the cat decided I would make a good pillow!

I throughly enjoyed my weekend.  Didnt scare my self to much, and left hungry for more adventures.

Here is a link to some YouTube Video. Raglan Gravel Bash.

Suzette.  The boss!

Before we started....clean..didnt last long though.

My Kind of road.

My grubby GS.

Josh and his CBr 600.


  1. Looks good fun Rog. Have you seen a film called On Any Sunday? If you haven't give it a look. You'll love it.

  2. Oh now that just looks like a great day. I was cringing a little at the speed of some of those guys on the gravel...but I'm a ninny. :)

    I'm glad you had a good day and that you didn't fall down!!!

  3. Looks like an awesome day. Don't wash your bike, at least now it should look like it is being used for real. The vid is great too, quite civilized and moderate riding from what I see. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  4. Rog:
    Awesome stuff mate! The sealed roads around where you went were my some of my old stomping grounds. Hope you're not riding the Beemer on Sunday. From what I hear, we haven't a snowball's chance in Hell of keeping up with you!!

    Great post!!

  5. MIke: You would of loved it mate, I have heard of the movie but never seen it. Will remedy that.

    Lori: I was cringingto....I did get quicker but well with in my limits.

    Sonja: Havernt washed bike, might leave it, kind of badge of honour stuff!

    Geoff: Thoses are just vicious rumours! Truely they are! Thanks for your support....may just have to bring the Gs and keep you all on your toes.

  6. Told ya it was fun! It's great spending all day going not very far but seeing new things. BTW: your bike is not dirty - keep riding.

    Gravel Rocks!


  7. Sounds like a great day. Keep the adventures coming. I agree with Andrew, your isn't dirty. Go work on it ;)

  8. Isn't getting lost so much fun? Although it is certainly assuring to have a guide so you can relax and enjoy the scenery, otherwise if I wander off alone I take the GPS and a forestry map.
    Wait until you find a mud puddle or two and really earn a badge of honour.

  9. Andrew: Yeo decided not to wash it! And yes having heaps of fun.

    Keith: I think there isa over whelming vote not to wash bike!

    Trobadour: I laughed when I read your comment, went through one mud puddle and you couldnt stop me grinning if you tried....I need a GPS!

  10. Looks like you did some awesome riding! I shake at the thought of riding on gravel, just need to get more experience.

  11. Looks like a great weekend and a fun ride. I must confess I find gravel/dirt tempting, but mostly I'm too afraid to venture far off the beaten path. My vote is don't wash the bike! :)

  12. Wow... what a great post! Thanks for the chair side rush... of adrenaline that is!

    I couldn't help but feel a little anxious during a few parts, but I've always liked the stable feel of asphalt under me.

    I dropped my Glide in a gravel filled parking lot once and earned the nickname "Gravel" for a couple weeks. Thank God it didn't stick!

    Looks like you've found a way to keep the excitement of the unknown alive in your riding. Congratulations on your first "gravely adventure."

  13. I was going to ask you if anyone aired down their tires? If you have a 12v compressor you can lower the air pressure in your tires for better handling in the gravel then air them back up on the pavement. You have to ride with a patient and understanding group though.

  14. Dar: I shook to! But it is all part of learning and getting out of the comfort zone.

    Kari: Your vote is duly countered......I think overwhelmingly i am not washing the bike.

    Lady R: Thank You. I hope you and Harley are well. Enjoying your Southern Comfort , and friday funnies by the way.

    Troubadour. I didnt see any one let down there tyres, and I never saw any on pump them up either. I do know it is done. Often though we were swapping a lot and with thirty bike probably not practical thing to do. I am off to put a knobble on my front wheel, goona leave the duel purpose on the back.

  15. What great overnight adventure. The people riding the bikes in the video sure looked like they knew what they were doing on gravel. Good job on getting out there and getting dirty.

  16. Roger:

    looks like you had a great time exploring. too bad there weren't more novices to keep you company, otherwise you could have kept riding with the group. Don't wash your bike

    Riding the Wet Coast

  17. Welcome to the darkside!

    Try the Heidenau K60's for more confidence in the rough stuff. ;)

  18. Now we talking, those are the kinds of roads I expect to be adventuring in the US. Love the bike and it's supposed to be dirty, it shows you use it and are having fun :-)
    I see you already added some protection, I clicked on the picture and this time it was bigger ;-)