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