The Coro Loop - 200 km of heaven!
Sure enough, the day dawned fine and I rode down to Kopu just south of Thames to meet Richard, who was riding up from near Hamilton. Impeccable timing as he'd just pulled into the gas station to fill up as I got there. Richard is a sport bike rider at heart but bought a 1200GS BMW two or three years ago to explore the backroads. Well..... this is what he says, but popular opinion is that getting away from sport bikes has allowed him to keep his licence for a little longer!
Richard and the GS - they have serious range!
Leaving Kopu, we head east. The road is a little damp in the shadows from rain the previous evening, but it isn't a big problem. Traffic is light as predicted but isn't it typical of bikers everywhere that if you catch up to a slow car or two on a twisty section of road, it becomes incredibly irritating! Fortunately, most cage drivers on the Peninsula realise that bikers are there to have fun and normally move over as soon as they're able. Always good to acknowledge the courtesy with a wave.
As we reach the east coast, the roads dry out completely and it's a fast run up to Tairua, near Pauanui. Time for coffee and a chocolate brownie, smothered with fresh cream! The cafe owner told us that the calories dropped to zero if heated and served with cream, so that was good news! Whilst sitting in the sun enjoying the break, a local customer who was calling in to pick up a coffee turns out to be a rider too and seethes at us being out for a mid-week ride! It seems that he retired about 12 months ago, was persuaded to return to work on a "temporary" basis to fill in and is still there. Would we rub it in? Simple answer is YES - no mercy shown whatever!
About to leave Tairua
Conditions are warm and we head north to the small coastal settlement of Whangapoua where Steve, another entrant for October's 1000-miler owns the general store at the beach. Richard hasn't met Steve before so a few minutes are spent shooting the breeze before heading on to Coromandel Town.
The journey from Whangapoua to home is less than half an hour, but what a journey - one which most people would kill for!! The last 12 km or so is over the Coromandel Range, one bend after another and a magnificent, grippy road surface too. All traffic excepting bikes should be banned from it in daylight hours. Not much to say except that this part of the trip was rather quick, leaving Richard to slyly remark, "So this is your personal playground, then". Mind you, those GS Beemers really fly too and they handle exceptionally well in the twisties, especially with an ace like Richard on board. See below for a video of this wonderful bit of road.
Lunch at home consists of fresh smoked fish, home made bread and home made fruit loaf to finish with - a superb end to a fantastic ride in great company. Richard still has 170 km to cover to get home and takes his leave - a very respectable day ride for him.
Finally, here's a video (my first and probably last!) taken the previous day (the last day of winter). Simply fixed my Canon Ixus 105 camera to a mirror stalk and set it up in video mode. The video is of me riding over the Coromandel Range, only 10 minutes from home. The quality isn't high but just wanted to show what an awesome, highly technical road it is with no straights at all other than the one I took off from in the foothills. I could have set it to music to get rid of the wind noise but decided to leave it "as is" because you can pick up the howl of the triple as it drives out of corners. Stayed in 3rd gear all the way once I got to the hills and let the torque of the Triple do all the work. Fantastic to have such a great playground only minutes from home!