Hot summer

2017 Summary

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It’s been a great summer here in NZ with a temperature reaching 30 degrees and expecting to get higher. I’m already noticing a lot of bikes on the road, and the ride to the beach is a must. Of course, when it’s hot and sunny the last thing that comes to your mind is gearing up for a ride, and believe me the sweat gets to you. I know having safety gears is a must but when you think about riding it’s not just going from A to B nor it’s what you ride that matters! It’s how the ride makes you feel and believe me nothing feels better than having the wind go thru your body on a hot sunny day. Not wearing your gear on! makes the riding experience totally different. The feeling of the breeze going through your head is on another level, of course, I’ll settle just having my short and shirt on for now as it’s illegal to ride without your helmet.

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Summer Rides

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Relaxing at the Pine Beach

It’s been more than a year since I started this journey and I’m really happy that I took this experience from admiring the victory to having my first run into the bush, to meeting great people on the way.

My highlight of 2017 and a milestone was going on my first group ride and staying over for one night while putting 1000km on the bike!! Seeing the remarkable landscape through fantastic routes had me enjoy every minute of it. short rides organised by like-minded people is also a big plus that I would like to never stop having from time to time. :).

The year 2017 for me was all about riding from port hills to coastlines to twisty roads! learning new tricks and installing heat grips and researching new ideas. having a motorcycle is a good hobby. I say hobby as it will never replace the luxury of having a car. the comfort, the safety and the lack of preparation needed when driving you just hop in and go.  Yes, cars are transportation vehicles while motorbikes are recreational vehicles you can have lots of fun on a bike and use it as a commute but you always need to have a mindset ready and prepared that whenever being on a bike it comes with its downfalls? one of them not able to take any unplanned extra packages, not able to just go anywhere at any time (Weather related), and not able to just park and forget (choose safe areas).  It’s been almost three months now on my bike every day so it’s been a blast but soon the summer season will be over and I’ll be dusting off my car unfortunate but until then I’ll enjoy whats left and just ride and ride where the sun sets/rise :D…

 

Test rides 2017 models

As my Suzuki GN125 is up for it’s 6K service. Yes within a year I’ve managed to put under my belt 4.5K. so while waiting I had to spend my time test riding the BMW G310r, G310GS and the Suzuki GSX 250.

Test riding the adventure bike

It turns out the handling of the beemer is easy and the bike feels perfectly balanced and safe with the ABS brakes.

I couldn’t feel a single pump on the road it was like I was floating on thin air!

Test riding the little beemer

The only issue I noticed in both beemers is the clunky sound it makes when you are on 2nd gear! It seems to hate going slow on that gear and you might stall the bike once or twice if you don’t rev it up.! The throttle is a bit lagging and loose but manageable. The breaking is hard to tell but the bike slows down magnificently before you really need to use them.

The difference between the two beemers is the height and how big the GS looks compared to the G310R. Of course the fun bike is the G310R no question. I couldn’t do a clutch-less shift on the GS! The dealer thinks the bike are quite new and needs at least 1K run before the gear box smooth in?

At the dealer

While testing the Suzuki GSX250 the gearing was smooth the throttle was snappy and responsive and the bike accelerates just fine. The only issue was the handling it felt like it resisted counter steering and doing a U-turn was like walking a bike around !!

Test riding

Once I got my lovely GN back yup I still love it why shouldn’t I ? It sounds better than the beemers and handling is better than the GSX and is economly the best of all three. The only downfall is high speed and acceleration which for city commute is just fine. 😍🤩😍

Sleeping beauty

Defensive Riding!!

I’ve been riding my bike commuting to work every day. And it has a nice and good feeling to it.  It’s been a month since I’ve started! and the experience was pleasant and still is! Of course, there were times I felt having all my gear can be troublesome.  Especially when shopping at the mall carrying all that gear can be daunting and a hassle. That’s why it’s best to always meet someone or be with someone and put your gear in the trunk of a car. If you’re expecting a good hot weather then just wearing a helmet plus gloves will be just fine :).

When you’re riding in the city your maximum speed is 50 km/hr so the risk of being seriously injured from a fall doesn’t exceed the same risk as being on a scooter or bicycle.  Yes, I’m all for gear all the time every time, but only if you have a big bike or going fast enough and you’re planning to go on a motorway! Anything else will be left to your best judgment? The risk of being hit or hitting an object is the same with or without a gear and believe me once that happens being fully geared or not won’t make a huge difference on a slow road.

What I’m trying to say what matters is your attitude when riding! what you do in town is the deciding factor in making it or breaking it!. That said, I’ll throw three examples I’ve noticed during my commuting ride here in Nz and what makes having a defensive attitude worth it?

Example 1:

You’re coming up a traffic light and as you’re going to slow down you notice you can lane split up to the front with the intention that before you get down in gear and fully stop the light will turn green and you can easily dash thru. The horrible mistake in assuming this? is that you aren’t giving yourself the time to see what is exactly happening at that intersection?

a- Are cars still passing the yellow light on the other side?

b- Pedestrians (especially mothers with baby strollers)  are still crossing the street?

c- The first car might be daydreaming and suddenly remembers to turn instead of going straight?

Example 2:

Tempting to speed instead of slowing down when overtaking or thinking to overtake and doing it on the driver side. This is like asking for it?! once you do that you will give the driver a straddle! As he is not expecting anything to pass him from his side of the seat and second you more likely to be facing incoming traffic from the opposite lane. You can always use the left side of the road or the cycle lane if needed to just make sure not to make it a habit as it is illegal to use the cycle lane. in this case, just slow down and once the traffic gets to a halt pass with care.

Example 3:

Think of the unexpected. like if you are following a vehicle what happens when something surprises you on the road from underneath the vehicle? will you have time to react? sudden braking or falling off items are things to consider. Hell, even the bugs and birds (like that Seagal in the horizon eyeballing for a nice dump on that shining gear of your’s) not to mention those little jack russell barking their teeth out at every chance a biker pass by. sometimes a dog might get too excited and managed to run away from his owner and cross the road and causes cars to suddenly brake or shift look always ahead of at least 3 cars. (that’s why having a higher seat position is important)

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Cornerstone Ride / Part-2

the-letter-that night, I’ve met two young men from Brasil who loved vlogging on Youtube. The channel was called “Gordo NZ“. You guessed it! it’s about motorbikes trips in New Zealand. the audience was intended for Brasilian at most. I had a good chat with him where he showed me his channel and some videos. I couldn’t see their bikes as it turns out they left them in order to get drunk and return with the shuttle but unfortunately for them the bar only excepts cash. The nearest ATM machine was about 32 minutes walk which is not ideal on a rainy day.

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Later that night I heard they got picked up by the bikers who found them walking in the night to the nearest petrol station speaking of dedication to get drunk! not sure if they returned or not but I’ve certainly gone in early to check on my tent.

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Then I met a nice lady who turns out to be singing that night within a local new band called “COLDROSIE” from hells road to summer 69 and guns&roses all night till midnight.

Coldroassie band

Anyway back to my sleepless night, I was very happy to wake up the other day and spot a rainbow at the horizon of the ocean.

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The sunlight just started to break through the mountains as the fog clears out. a nice view indeed to start my return ride back home collected my stuff put my tent back on the bike and said my fare well to my south african friend and off I went thru the ghost town up the hills no breakfast nothing enjoying the sunny weather on the west coast with stunning scenery!

Stop and took some pictures that were worth stopping for! I mean what the meaning of carrying a camera if you do not use it and being on a motorbike you have the convenience to do just that. to ride on your own terms and pace. I do recommend resisting any temptation to attack the corners because the last thing you want is to be in the middle of nowhere with a puncture tyre and no cell phone coverage to call for help.

Return home route

I really enjoyed my breakfast halfway thru at Arthur’s pass, had a nice chunky date scone with a cappa that warmed up my senses for the day.

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Chunky Date Scone

At this place, two Italian stopped me before I hopped on my bike. Admiring the little Suzuki and its shiny chrome. of course being Italians, fans of the Ducati they really appreciate the trip undertaken on the little bike and admire how it managed to take on the ascending steep of Otari road. I’m proud of the little Suzuki as it’s reliability and lightness made this trip more enjoyable. powered by the tailwind on the way back it was a breeze to pass through the beautiful NZ landscape enjoying the music from my phone with still 85% to go on battery the Vimoto Bluetooth system had enough juice to listen to music on high volume all day long.

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Cornerstone Ride/Part-1

Last weekend was one of the enjoyable rides and longest I’ve ever made. My first ride with 150 riders, riding the cornerstone ride.

Cornerstone patch

The trip starts from Sumner in the far East ending to Greymouth in the far West at the west coast (wet Coast we like to say).

Cornerston trip route

The idea came to “Allan Townsend” while having a drink with his mate who asked him about his T-shirt? he was wearing a suicide awareness T-shirt. This led to the story of how his mother one day woke up and hang her self as this is an increasing issue in Nz. His mate then suggested doing a group charity ride to help the cause and from that moment the cornerstone ride was born and 6 months later on a sunny Saturday morning of the 14th of October, riders from all over the place joined in.

The bikes

With a morning BBQ breakfast and a short briefing for some safety tips, we were off before you can say banana split. well, everyone except me as I had my camera out and parked a bit further by the time I got ready no one was left in the street! 😀 except a few.

The plan was to meet other riders riding from the west coast halfway thru at Arthur’s pass to ride into the town of Greymouth. We were expecting rain as this is the norm in the west coast. luckily I took my workmate advise Ian and bought a storm suit for the occasion.

The bikes we had ranged from scooters to big old Harley’s with some sweet victory. I had my gear ready on my bike (tent, sleeping bag, storm suit, camp towel, torch, power bank, hair wax, a 12yr old Sony CyberShot, wet shoes, and some clothes to change for the night)

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All packed and ready

We were escorted by a police motorcycle in the city. The ambulance tagged along while the ride was looked after by our favourite three musketeers (the instructors of motorcycle training Dan, Pete and Hank).

Neighbours lookout
As we start our engines to rally up

Some riders rode all the way from the West coast the day before! just to come back the next day! and believe me, they were twice my age! Old champs! that’s how much support we got.

Hank stayed back, checking on us from time to time. At first, I’ve almost lost the group but it is easy to find other and you just go with the flow.

we stopped at springfield station to rest and refill our gas tanks before hitting Arthur’s pass into the mountains. Three young uni-fellas approach me admiring my little bike and wanted to ride alone. Of course no objection from my end so we left the petrol station on two bikes with one pillion. At first, the person with the BMW bike had to stop aside to check his bike? so I stopped and waited for them! it was hard to tell? under the helmet, if he was having mechanical issues or not. But as soon we hit the 100-speed motorway they were nowhere to be seen! which made me re-think the term of riding together. Youngsters can’t hold the temptation of speed I guess! the importance of a long group trip is not sticking together but being prepared and riding at your own pace.

This definitely showed when I arrived at Arthur pass served a hot soup and a nice king size pattie meat. I only had 30 mints before the group takes off again. Yes, my Suzuki 125H is not what you call a fast bike maximum speed is 90 Km/hr in a headwind which was getting stronger and stronger the closer we get to the mountains.

The rain started at Arthurs pass as expected all afternoon. So I unzipped my bag and put on the yellow Minion suit. Unlike my fellow Uni-students who were soaking wet and shivering cold at the time. I reach my destination dry as a cat. 😀

To be honest, I did had a couple of Oh’ sh.. moments going down the Otira Highway but the view was breathtaking even under the pouring rain and with good breaking and slow turns it was manageable for me.

Otira G

You definitely do not want a puncture or a breakdown in a place where your cell phone won’t work and it will be hard for other vehicles to see you on their way down in a place like this! heck not even in any place during this trip. leave attacking the corners for other days and just enjoy the view. 🛵

As we stop our final stop at the entrance of the city gathering up. Allan reserved a spot for me right behind him at this time I was very proud making it this far and the best part is, everyone did. As we entered Greymouth and rode through the town waving to the people like kings we passed by some residence houses and made a big circle turn around and back to town. later I learned from Allan we blindly follow him to his mom’s house which on a personal level he made this turnaround a tribute to her. The mayor greeted the whole group in Greymouth High School Hall and wish us a safe ride back home tomorrow after we rest.

To my surprise is turned out me and one person were prepared to tent camp that night! The rest of the 150 bikers either head back or slept in holidays lounge.

The place for the tent was also not ideal when you end up on the rugby field of blaketown rugby club. I’ve managed to put my small tent near the club entrance protected from the pouring rain and the wind of the ocean. You can see the wave breakers getting a good beating.

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Learning Curve

Since I started riding and building my confidence back from my long hibernation. I’ve developed two things which I think every rider needs for improvement. First, anchor ⚓ yourself to the bike. the more you’re familiar with your bike the better decision you can make at a crucial moment. (what speed to corner and what angle to lean)

Secondly, adapt quickly to changes. This played a major role when one day I rushed out on my way home from work fully geared and noticed the grip felt lighter than usual and the clutch was so quick to release! it took me a moment to figured that I’ve left my gloves on the desk and I was riding bare-handed on the bike. ✋🏻

As my clutch handle was just tightened and no gloves the whole experience of slowing the bike down put me off balance. usually before stopping I’ll be in 2nd gear and slightly on the rear brakes but in this case, the bike just didn’t change smoothly and jerked. I had to keep it in 3rd gear which caused a funny incident of me scooter pushing with one leg the bike to give it the momentum speed from almost stop situation.

having my long trip seems have also raised the RPM above 2000 in an idle situation it should be just below. all this was managed and fixed once I got my glove back and tuned the throttle after adjusting the clutch handle tension.

Of course, if I’m going to add another it will be the Smith system of No – Accident check the video out.