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Friday, 3 September 2010

Celebrating the first day of Spring

The weather forecast for the first day of Spring looked promising so arrangements were tentatively made for fellow 1000 miler entrant Richard and I to have a mid-week ride to keep up our ride fitness training schedule and enjoy the sun after the last group ride in torrential rain.  The 200 km Coromandel Loop looked a good prospect for misbehaving as traffic and Highway Patrol presence is relatively light on weekdays.

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.

Whangapoua Harbour

 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!



video

16 comments:

  1. Well done Geoff,

    Looks like an incredible way to spend not only the first day of spring, but ANY day!!

    Loved the video too Geoff, looks like you were getting some impressive lean angles on those bends...and the sound of the triple coming out of the corners is awesome.

    Oh well, better get back to it...I guess this desk full of work won't get done on its own..

    cheers

    Anthony

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  2. Cheers Anthony,

    You're right - any day on 2 wheels is a good day!

    Thanks, the Striple is just like a racebike in its handling. Combine that with a road I know intimately and it's a wonderful combination!

    Hope your Friday wasn't too tedious!

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  3. Geoff:

    can't wait to go home and turn up the speakers. Your Striple looks like it has a fridge strapped to the back, unlike the streamlined GS. It didn't seem like that long ago you were lamenting the onslaught of winter, and now your good weather is starting, while our summer is nearing its end. Woe is Us.

    bob
    Wet Coast Scootin

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  4. Bob: Woe is you in the Northern Hemisphere too as we've already started our weekend Down Under :-)

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  5. Noted - especially the 70K sign. Currently doing calculations on average speed. The ticket will be in the mail, Mr James. We have done the mathematical "triangulations" and know where you live.

    Officer Mac - Coromandel Road Patrol

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  6. Mac you bas*ard :-). You'll never take me alive!

    Off to the Awhitu Peninsula on Sunday with the Usual Suspects to cause mayhem!!!

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  7. I'm envious of the good spring weather that you seem to be having. It's been our wettest winter in 6 years and our coldest in 10 years so very little riding joy for me over these past months.

    Sorry to hear of the earthquake around Christchurch and the aviation tragedy down south as well. It's been a difficult and sad 24hrs in NZ's history.

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  8. Great video Geoff! I am going to buy a lottery ticket right now and if i win i am going to come down to N.Z. and spend a month riding your fantastic roads. Oh well we can dream. Hope that guy Mac was joking too!

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  9. Thanks SB! Always a comfortable bed and great food if you come down. We've hosted several 'bird owners from the UK over the last 5 years!

    Yeah, Mac and I worked together before I retired - he never lets up, haha. I'm off for a 500 km day ride with the lads in a few minutes, practicing for the 1000 miler.

    Safe riding!

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  10. Cheers Jules,

    We've had a shockingly wet winter too. Just lucky that it's come right on the days we wished to ride.

    Some riders I know in Christchurch have had bikes written off with stuff falling on them.

    Yes, very sad about the skydive plane. Our thoughts are with all the relatives of the deceased.

    May you have an excellent Spring!

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  11. Great stuff Geoff, I enjoyed the video and that's your backyard?! I well remember that road, I travelled in a car as a passenger with a serious hangover after my host (Peter Bull) and I demolished a bottle of whisky the night before, I was not a happy man! I would love to do it on a bike though.

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  12. Thanks Andrew - I've felt a bit off colour on that road too for the same reason!!

    It is indeed a small world - Peter Bull is a friend of one of my neighbours. I don't know him personally but I know who he is - lives at Te Kouma on the other side of the harbour.

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  13. Geoff:

    I notice that I am not the only one waiting for the lottery numbers to come in . If we win, watch out, we are taking over your home for a month or so.

    . . . and , first one up gets the Striple. Try and catch me if you can

    bob
    Wet Coast Scootin

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  14. Bob my old mate!

    That makes three of us then! Our son sent me 2 lottery tickets for Father's Day and they get drawn tonight. If we get lucky, see you next weekend in Vancouver. Please make sure that the 'vette is nice and clean, with a full tank.

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  15. Geoff:

    Well, did you win ? then we could buy a Striple and ride over to Cowichan Bay.

    bob
    Wet Coast Scootin

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  16. Failed dismally I'm afraid Bob. Our son was also disappointed as he entertained the hope that I'd share any winnings with him! However, I did win $3 with the "scratchie" he sent too, but I'm not about to share that with him as the full sum will just about buy a small bar of dark chocolate!

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