Wheel alignment

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Back to the Future

Let's face it, 2020 has been a year that most of us would prefer to forget.  After more than 100 days of being C-19 free, it's reappeared in NZ again.  At the time of writing this, it's small and confined to the Auckland area but who knows what's going to happen next.  The one good thing is that the authorities are onto it with appropriate measures - no dicking about, locking down our biggest city and other measures within 24 hours of discovery.   At present, we're not locked down in our region so apart from reintroduction of social distancing measures and some other sensible precautions, we're pretty much unaffected.

Following the first lockdown in March, I was quietly concerned that my motorcycling days were coming to a close.  The lockdown itself was easy to deal with as there was always plenty to do.  However, when it ended, I wasn't jumping out of my skin to go for a ride which was a bit disconcerting.  I don't really know why this was unless the winter weather influenced my indifference.  I guess you can't predict psychological effects, even though I consider myself calm in unusual or difficult situations. However, I've recently had two cracking rides in brilliant weather which have thrown off any doubts about continuing riding - yippee for that!. 

The first outing was a trip to south Auckland to check out some new routes for putting IAM riders through their Police Roadcraft Advanced Tests.  That's well and truly stuffed now with the Auckland travel restrictions but it was a glorious day out with the discovery of some new, challenging routes.

A quick stop by the Waikato River

Great views over the countryside

One of my mates who lives in that area suggested that I check out a particular highly technical road on the way home which I duly did.  To my horror, there were extensive road works with wet clay, cement dust and lime over substantial stretches of the road and I had a recently-cleaned pristine bike, the bastard!  He claimed no knowledge so I might have been uncharitable with my initial thoughts.  It's the sort of thing which good mates would do to each other!  Guess how I spent a few hours the next day.

The second decent outing was at our monthly regional IAM ride last weekend.  The meeting point is at a cafe some 160 km away from home which means I leave home before dawn in single digit (C) temperatures.  As with the last early start, heated gloves were a godsend, with an ordinary pair being carried to use later on.  I must say that the Michelin Road 5's stick like glue in all conditions and I'm glad I returned to using them after all the punctures I had on the GSX-S 1000.

At the meeting point, we also had a potential new member turn up for an initial assessment.  An IA gives the rider a no cost, no obligation opportunity to see if they enjoy the process, as well as allowing the IAM mentor to check the general standard of riding as a start point for a personalised development plan.  On this occasion it was Libby on her Harley Davidson who thoroughly enjoyed her day and was itching to join at the end of it.

Libby with some of the IAM team

Libby's beautifully prepared Harley Davidson

Having Libby join has been great for several reasons.  Firstly, she's the first female IAM member in our region, even though we've existed for 4 years.  I hope we get lots more now as female riders I've helped to mentor in other regions have been a delight with their positive attitude to learning.  In Libby's case, she had already taken the government-sponsored Ride Forever courses (details HERE ) and wanted to keep upskilling.  Secondly, she's only the second H-D rider in our region and one of the few nationwide.  Good for you Libby!

Fellow IAM members Bruce and Neil with their adventure bikes - they dwarf my KTM!

Jennie has dibs on our single basement garage for her car and my 4x4 sits under the decking on the upper storey of our house.  The bike sits in a covered area just outside my workshop.  The only disadvantage is that to keep it hooked to a battery tender during periods of non-use, I have to run a power lead from inside the workshop.  Not a big hassle in the scheme of things but recently, part of an old solar-powered external sensor light failed, leaving me with a spare solar panel.  I already have an externally accessible battery connector on the bike for my heated gloves which tucks away neatly when not in use.  All I needed was a compatible connector for the solar panel and we were in business!  I've successfully used the same system for our boat for several years and it's worked a treat.  Marine batteries ain't cheap to replace!

Solar panels on shed roof

Solar panel connection to bike

The next challenge is C-19 permitting, having a cataract removed later in the month.  Everyone tells me that it's simple and fast these days but the thought of a scalpel hovering above my eyeball isn't exactly a comforting thought.  At least it shouldn't disrupt riding for more than a day or two.

Stay safe everyone!


  1. Hi Geoff - Good to see your enthusiasm for biking has been reinstated. I know what you mean as after a few breaks from biking in the past I've felt a little apprehensive getting back in the saddle. I feel the same about making a return to Vintage MX action to be honest but I'm sure that once I get there the doubts will disappear.

    1. Thanks Lee, I'm certainly not lacking any enthusiasm now - just hope that we can continue to ride free of restrictions. Good luck with the vintage MX, looking forward to hearing more about it.

  2. Good luck with the eye op Geoff. My mother had it done years ago. It made a real difference for her.

    1. Thanks Ian. At present, it's more annoying than really troublesome but want to get it sorted in a timely manner. It's apparently a consequence of the vitrectomy which I had at the end of 2019.


  3. SonjaM has left a new comment on your post "Back to the Future":

    Single digit (C) temperatures...? Exaggerating much? ;-)

    Lots of riders in Germany have voluntarily given up riding during lock-down. Even now roads are still less frequented than usual this time of the year (also lacking lots of tourist riders from abroad).

    1. Hi Sonja, haha - well we are still technically in winter so those pre-dawn starts on 2 wheels are a mite chilly 😁.

      There are quite a few bikes about in NZ but like Germany, the lack of overseas tourists have left the roads fairly traffic-free. It's nice to have a reduction in camper vans in our area! Be safe....