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.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/adAkBwnN1H26xOn52

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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.

 

The small things

The Vimoto V6 Bluetooth intercom system came from China.

I’ve tried it out and it’s not bad.

Unboxing the device I noticed the speakers were strong and good built, it came with different accessories for mounting on your helmet. two microphones, one for the open helmet and the other for the closed head helmet.

On Monday I’ve tested the device while commuting to work. The feel of the ride was different than what I’m accustomed to!
Especially with earplugs in your ears (this was used to prevent my ears from being damaged of sudden high pitch volume from the system) as it turns out you can decrease the volume of your music, your calls but not the system. Ex: (call ended, turning on, turning off, etc…) this can be surprising on a motorcycle which luckily for me, doesn’t happen too often. Having your hearing senses muffled changes the way you ride. This really showed when I took off at a turning green traffic light! I couldn’t hear the Rev of the bike and ended up doing an unintentional wheelie for a burst fraction of a second.  I thought this wasn’t possible on this bike 😅. Surprised yes, but it was a rush 🏍️.

Another issue is after awhile using the earplugs with the plastic stud does annoy you as it hits the speaker and your ear. until I buy one with no wire or plastic in them I’ve ended up just using small pieces of tissues instead. 🙉

Another thing my colleague help me figure was the clutch handle being loose after my long trip to Springfield station (will be discussed later in this blog). good thing it was a simple fix by tightening up the screw.

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Gratitude ♥️

I’m one of the few lucky guys who was fortunate to have the support of my significant other (best friend) and the mother of my children to do my motor riding. We had our 8th anniversary back in August. It’s been 20 years since we first met in Al-Ain city located in the United Arab Emirates (the country that owns Emirates airlines) back then Dubai was just starting to market its city as one of the must see destination.

With skyscraper competing for the sky and the economy booming at the time. My time with Shaymaa was effortless and we just clicked as conversation flow between us seamlessly. After meeting for a short time we stayed in touch by becoming pen-pals (it use to be a thing of the E-mail age). We became good friends that we almost knew what the other might be thinking before even saying it. Of long distance relationship is not as simple as you may think! The time difference the delay in response and the neglecting of face to face talks can be a big challenge. With lots of patience and understanding, this soon became something special that after all these years I won’t be surprised when I said to her Hun I’m going to buy a bike and she immediately replied why not. If I didn’t know her better I’ll say she would claim my life insurance sooner than later 🤔.

Hibernation is over

This spring was off at a bad start as I dust off my bike and reconnect the battery to jump start into a warmer winter. After a long three months of hibernation, I’m back on the road preparing my self for the great tour of cornerstone riding to west coast, organise by a bunch of volunteers on bikes looking to raise awareness about depression. Depression can be pretty bad in this great country especially during winter time.

Riding my bike felt like my new learned skills had rusted and I needed to polish my skills again.

After xleaning my visor and using DIY shaving cream as a protective coating to prevent any fogging. I’ve took the little Suzuki for a ride to rangiora and back to Kaiapoi. At 17:00 Sunday afternoon I’ve did some figures 8 and practice in a closed round Street in front of Placemaker hardware store. This place was perfect as the street was wide and away from any traffic. After doing some U_turns and low speed balance to get a feel of my bike. A BMW X5 SUV came out from nowhere and passed me it’s unusual as the placemaker is closed and cars intend to use the parrallel road to this. The beemer made a U-turn and came back to stop right across me. This was no coincidence the man didn’t do any eye contact while I looked at him. He waited and waited so I ride and the street turned and I turned again to face the SUV still no eye contact but I can see both of his hands on the steering wheel and he is not making any calls so I did a U-turn and went behind the beemer and then I said to my self it’s getting dark I should go anyway and passed him. As soon as I left, the BMW X5 pull out and took off. Guess I wasn’t welcome for some reason!!

So the visor works perfectly the bike transmit gears smoothly guess I’m all set to start commuting to work and maybe just maybe get an upgrade by next year. 😏🤔

Got my restricted license

Motorcycle license

Last month I’ve done my restricted test and passed. 

So here is the bumblebee selfie pics celebrating the occasion.

Bumblebee

So guess it’s goodbye for the Learner’s plate and a new chapter starts with new adventure to come. I do have some clips but no time to edit them. Plus the weather here in New Zealand changes dramatically we should be in Autumn but it had been raining continuously for 4 days with floods up in the North Island making some headlines. Yes I’m in the South Island where it’s colder and dryer. Specifically in Christchurch where we had a major earthquake back in 2010 destroying some parts of the city but since then lots of natural disaster events happened. The latest was the Port Hills fire that spread out for couple of days. That place was nice to cruise with twisty roads and the recently new adventure Park that got burned​. It will take some time to fix everything but we will manage to get things back if not better than before.

I’ll see if I can manage to upload some videos once I get the chance.

During the bad weather, I’m back driving my car and believe me nothing beats a warm car seat, windshield wipers going back and forth, warm Cappa drink and a radio. No need to worry about gearing up, slippery roads and wiping the visor. The convenience of relaxing in a wet day is amazing when driving a car not that I’ve tried riding in the rain on a motorcycle but I can imagine how uncomfortable and such a hassle it will be.

This made me install some heat grips on my bike just incase I do need them as the weather gets colder. It was a DIY which I enjoyed while listening to the Klein wireless speakers attached to my bike with it’s strong magnet.

Tip: slice the old grip along it’s length and keep it. This will be handy to use as a cable cover under your bike tank if you need to.

Track Day or not

Unplanned Sunday cruise ended up at the track. Different types of motorcycles were on the track from professionals to casuals working through the corners at top speed.

Another thing I found interesting is this guy from London or maybe Jordan who knows but is famous as RJ he has some nice good videos that I would love to share check his channel and spread the fun.