Friday, 30 December 2016

Labour Weekend East Cape Ride Report

Day One – Fri 21 Oct: Masterton - Gisborne (411 Km)

Greg kindly organized a 4 day trip over Labour weekend for  those interested. The plan being to do the East Cape with an  overnighter halfway round. This trip would have been the stuff of nightmares for Rex,  had he been there. There were far too many BMWs in the  pack.

Everyone, bar the Wilsons and Nik met up for departure  from Farriers car park at 9 am. Today was going to be a rea-  sonable one in the saddle, with us covering over 400 Kms. Heading off the weather was not looking great but Ulyssians  don’t melt in the rain so we got under way with a leisurely  cruise up to Dannevirke with a quick stop for a fuel top up. Next leg of the trip took us to our old favourite, the Puketapu  Hotel for lunch. On arrival, Nik sent a text that he was about  100 Kms away and would catch up. Because we know he  travels sooooo slowly, we picked he would be there before we finished lunch. He didn’t disappoint and arrived before we all finished eating.

We chilled out while Nik got fed and watered and then we were off again, heading  north to Wairoa.
The weather, which to this point had been reasonable, decided to open up on us.  The pace slowed down a bit into the hills and twisties. Wayne, who had stolen Serena’s  new BMW R1200 GS for the trip, was the pussy of the pack in the rain, limping along like  he was on a mobility scooter, bleating about not being used to the bike, new tyres and his  visor fogging up and not being able to see.

From Wairoa, we followed the coastal route and arrived safely at Gisborne, where we made our  way to the Top 10 motor camp for our overnight lodgings. Once everyone was suitable rested and cleaned up, we all headed off to the Cossie club just a  short walk up the road for dinner and a few ales. The meal was pretty good with plenty of it and a reasonable price.

When we left the club to head back home, the heavens had opened and the rain was torrential.  After some discussion Mike, Nik and a couple of others decided to make a dash back to the motor camp. A very unwise decision as they got saturated. Those of us with wiser heads waited  until the courtesy van arrived back and rode back to our digs in comfort and stayed dry.

Day Two – Sat 22 Oct: Gisborne - Waihau Bay via the gorge (245 Km)

Saturday morning saw us up at sparrows and getting prepped for the day ahead. Breakfast for  most was the all day breakfast at the café just over from the motor camp.The rain gods decided that we hadn’t yet been sufficiently doused and preceded to wash our  bikes and gear.

Our route today was west to Opotiki via the gorge. This was a brilliant ride. The rain stopped  about quarter of the way through and the roads dried out and we were soon having fun zipping  through the twisties. We stopped midway through the gorge for a break before heading through  to Opotiki for a refuel.

Labour weekend on the coast is obviously the annual get together for unveilings on the coast, as  all the marae we passed were jam packed with people gathering to pay their respects.

Our route today was west to Opotiki via the gorge. This was a brilliant ride. The rain stopped about quarter of the way through and the roads dried out and we were soon having fun zipping  through the twisties. We stopped midway through the gorge for a break before heading through  to Opotiki for a refuel.

Labour weekend on the coast is obviously the annual get together for unveilings on the coast, as  all the marae we passed were jam packed with people gathering to pay their respects.

The weather was brilliant, all sign of rain well and truly gone. No wind and not too hot; perfect riding weather. The views were great.  Nice view out to White Island from a lay-by up from Hawai. Riding up the coast was a  great experience and very enjoyable. We had  planned to stop at the Pacific Coast Macadamia orchard and café in Whanarua Bay but it  wasn’t open when we arrived. We decided to continue on to Waihau Bay. Along the way, Bill Hammond decided to air his  clothes with his topbox getting indigestion and deciding to spew forth its contents.

We arrived at Waihau Bay, our stop for the night. Accommodation here was in units to the rear  of the hotel. View from the balcony looked out over the bay and the sunrise next morning was  pretty spectacular.

Another group of riders from Tauranga turned up later in the afternoon. They were a pretty good bunch and we ended up having a few beers with them during and after the All Blacks  rugby game. Mike was the only one able to hack the pace with us all hitting the sack while he continued on into the night, spinning yarns and flying the flag for the rest of us pikers. An excellent night; good company, a few bevvies and a 37-10 All Black win over our bretheren across the ditch.

Meals here were pretty average but still reasonable. Don’t think they planned on so many people being in for the weekend.

Day Three – Sun 24 Oct: Waihau Bay - Gisborne (230 Km)

Day three saw us up early.... well some of us at least were up to see the sunrise. After a cooked breakfast at the pub, it was time to mount up and head back toward Gisborne. It was here that Bill and Vicki departed company with us and headed off to visit friends/family up Tauranga way.

Once we’d strapped Bill Hammond’s top box down, we were off, cutting our way inland from  the cape and off to Hicks Bay. It was yet another brilliant day for riding. The route to Hicks  Bay wound up and over the ranges. Pace through here was pretty good and we had a rest break at the Hicks Bay lookout. Once again the views were great.

Dropping down and around Hicks Bay, we headed through to Ruatoria, where we stopped for a  coffee break. A few of us stayed out in the sun just coozing by the side of the road. Some of the  local kids joined us, asking a million and one questions; where we were from, where we were  going, who owned which bike, and after Greg said kia ora to them, how come a white Aussie bloke knew Maori words. In short order they were sitting on our bikes with big grins and waving out to all the ‘aunties’ cruising past. They were quite hard case kids.

After our rest we were off again heading to Tokomaru Bay for lunch at the pub. Toasted sammies and fish & chips were the order of the day and were pretty good. 

A bunch of us headed up to the old wharf. It is in a state of disrepair, with most of the piles  needing replacement and the concrete breaking down. There is a project under way to restore it,  similar to the restoration that was undertaken for the Tologa Bay wharf. One of the locals gave  us a bit of a run down on the restoration. Apparently it will cost couple of million to complete and there are also plans to restore the shipping office and old freezing works buildings. The  wharf and buildings were paid for and built by local farmers around 1911. The facility used to  service about 400 ships a year, taking frozen carcasses overseas. The works closed in the 1950s  and as with a lot of smaller towns throughout NZ, Tokomaru became a bit of a ghost town.  There certainly doesn’t seem to be much happening there.

Moving on, we took a detour and made our way to Anaura Bay to take a look around. Nice  beach and looks like a nice place to chill out over summer. Camp ground right on the beach.  When we arrived here, Bill Hammond’s fuel gauge was telling him he might be walking. With  the next fuel stop still half an hour away, he managed to coax his bike along and coasted into the service station at Tologa Bay with a sigh of relief. 

Some locals pointed us in the direction of the Tologa Bay wharf and we headed off there once  Bill was gassed up. 
This restored wharf is 660m long and is the longest wharf in NZ. It was completed in the late  1920’s and allowed large coastal ships to load and unload. Around the same time as it was commissioned, there was already work underway to establish a road through to Gisborne. Most of  the shipping coming in over the next few decades was off-loading road building equipment and  materials. Once the road was through, it was spelt the end for the coastal shipping and yet another town lost its main source of employment and income. 

Having spent a bit of time here roaming the wharf, we mounted up and made the last push  through to Gisborne and the Top 10 motor camp again for our final overnight stay. Andy and  Karen were there on our arrival, having ridden up from Napier. 

With a boutique brewery just a stone throw from our accommodation, it would have been rude  not to stop in and sample their wares. After much sampling, purchases were made and we ambled back to consume said bevvies in the comfort of the motel rooms. 

Dinner that night was a bit of a route march. We had planned to have a meal at an Irish bar but  they were full. So armed with Bill’s local truck stop knowledge, we set off across the river to try other establishments. Everything was full, not open, not for non-members or not suitable.  Heading back to town, we ended up breaking into groups and tracking down eating establishments of our own choosing. Burger Wisconsin, on Gladstone Rd had great burgers.

Day Four – Mon 25 Oct: Gisborne - Masterton (411 Km)

For most of us, breakfast was once again at the café across the road. Everyone was up and  about gassing up and getting ready for the trip home.

Our chosen route for the trip back to Wairoa was the inland route. This was a brilliant ride.  Nice and hilly with lots of twists and turns. The view as we descended into the valleys was  spectacular. Nature decided to test us by depositing various distractions along the route. We encountered turkeys, goats, sheep, land slips and Bernard.

Bernard had an interesting day. Cutting through a corner with a police car coming the other  way, over-taking up hill to a blind crest, stopping at a two lane bridge causing Mike and Serena  to throw out all anchors to avoid him. And that was all before our first stop at Bayview in Napier for lunch and refuel.

The weather throughout the day was OK, with just a couple of drizzly patches. We had a  straight run through from Napier with a fuel stop at Dannevirke and then on home. Everyone would have been happy to slump into familiar chairs and rest. It was an excellent weekend,  with good company and great rides. If you haven’t ridden the East Cape, keep an ear to the  ground for future club rides up this way. It is well worth the trip. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Super Thou

A couple of brave souls decided to ride the Super Thou challenge held by the NZ Distance Riders  The 1000km course was on some very wiggly back roads and we completed it in just under 12 hours.

The route  Click For Map

East Cape Trip

Some photos from the East Cape trip.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

NZ Distance Riders 1600KM

The New Zealand distance riders hold an annual North Island 1600KM in 24hrs challenge and three of us decided we would take up the challenge.

Tony, Ken and I rode up to Turangi on Friday afternoon and stayed in the Top Ten Holiday camp overnight. That evening the 1600KM course was revealed to just over 50 riders that were taking part in the event. Cape Reinga and back ! Well we were pretty familiar with that chal- lenge and knew it was a long old slog up through Northland. The course took in some pretty twisty back roads along with some state highway action. After planning our stops and program- ming the checkpoints into Tony’s GPS we headed for an early night.

Next morning was a leisurely breakfast and lunch before it was time to set out at 1pm. It was staggered starts to keep the bikes split up but the first few hundred KM’s were pretty busy with bikes. I witnessed a guy fall off on a bend but he managed to get back on and carry on. The bikes soon split up and we ended with our own space just regularly passing the same few bikes as we stopped for fuel-ups and re-passed each other. The plan was to get as far as possible with only short stops while the light was good. By the time we got to Whangarei it was dark, we were supposed to stop for tea there but managed to miss the only fast food joint and had to carry on to Kawakawa for fish and chips.

Riding through the very dark night we realised quickly why so many of the seasoned riders had adorned their bikes with huge floodlights, it was hard concentrating in poor light for so many hours. I was on a BMW roadster with an upright riding position but no fairing. We made the cape at 12:30 am and it was pitch black just like the last time we were there. The wind pressure at elevated speeds was getting very tiring and by 5:30am I had to stop for a break so I took a 30 min nap on a park bench at Warkworth. Later it pissed down with rain and that actually woke me up for the rest of the ride. We made it back to Turangi just before noon, about two thirds of the way through the pack which wasn’t bad considering it was our first time. Then it was time for a hot meal and an hours rest before we hopped back on the bikes and rode the 300 kms home.

It was hard work and very tiring but the feeling of accomplishment at the end was pretty bloody good and I’m glad I decided to take part. I would probably recommend doing it on a bike with some wind protection and extra lights as it would make it much easier. If anyone wants to give it a go but needs some practice first they also run an 800KM ride on the same day which doesn’t go on through the night. There is the 1000KM cruise that takes place on the 5th November this year. 

Cheers Nik

Monday, 16 May 2016

Ride Report

POT LUCK – 1 MAY 2016

With the Indian summer weather still evident, 12 two wheelers and the three wheeled Orange Roughy turned up for a Pot luck ride.

After minimal debate it was decided that the ride would be to Pongaroa. Castlepoint was ruled out because of the expectation that it would be inundated with people, being the last weekend of the school holidays.

Rolly had turned up on his bike but decided a ride to Pongaroa was a bit too far for him in his current condition.

Riders were briefed on the route to Ponagaroa: SH2 to Pahiatua then a right turn into Pahiatua – Pongaroa Road. After which the team departed Masterton via SH2 just after 10.05 (it was nice to get on the road early instead of talking about it) with Greg in the lead on his yet another new bike.

Greg set a relaxed pace as we headed north. Riding at the back it was easy to see all the riders holding a staggered formation until we turned off SH2 after which the group got strung out a bit. At this time the wind came up a bit and it was hard not to make the odd excursion onto the other side of the road in the odd place.  None the less we all made it to the Pub ok.

As usual the bar lunches were well worth the trip and the group socialized for an hour before it was back on the bikes for the trip home via Route 52.

At this stage the Orange Roughy left the group and headed back the way we had come. One of the limitations of the Can-Am is that it doesn’t like rough roads due to its low ground clearance.

The 12 bikes then headed home down Route 52. We regrouped at Alfreton where it was decided a trip into Eketahuna was in order, as Guys cruiser was unlikely to make it to Masterton without a top up.

At Eketahuna the group split up because some of the riders had other things to do. (I ask you what could possibly take priority over a ride on Sunday afternoon.)

And then there were five. Rex suggested a ride to Mauriceville via Mangoarunga road but wasn’t sure if it had any gravel on it.

About 400 meters down the road there was the dreaded yellow and black sign “Gravel”. Everyone except our 82 year old veteran (Laurie) hesitated. He was off into the dust. With my butt cheeks clenched I followed suit. They got even tighter when I hit a section of the road that had been recently graded.  
I could see another rider following in my rear mirrors but it wasn’t until I got back on the tarmac I discovered it was Greg. He and I stopped at Mauriceville for a quick chat and along came Rex who had also taken to the gravel road. Karen and Andy had taken the sensible option of turning around and going home via SH2.

From Mauriceville it was a straight run home. On the way we found Laurie waiting on the side of the road for us.

All in all I enjoyed the ride, but must admit riding the gravel road on a road bike isn’t the most relaxing experience for a leisurely Sunday ride.

Roll on next Sunday when we hit the road again.


Sunday, 10 April 2016


We had a quick trip up to Norsewood today, weather was wet further North but it was warm so a pleasant trip overall.

Thursday, 28 January 2016


Happy New Year to all Ulyssians and their families. May 2016 be a great one.

Although I personally haven’t been on many rides up until mid January, the branch rides have been well attended. You will have read Doc’s report (in a previous post) about the three day ride to Napier and beyond which sounds like it was a fabulous trip. Andy & I missed this ride as we were in the UK. When we first decided to go I contacted Steve the Secretary of the Great Britain Ulysses Club, who lives fairly close to where we were staying. Andy and I had joined the Great Britain club when it first started up, (Andy being an ex-POM) and on the Great Britain Club website they have a forum page which members create discussions, so Steve posted a comment that we were heading over to see if anyone was interested in a catch up. So on the 3rd January we all met up for coffee at Yondermann Cafe, Warlow Mires in the Peak District of Derbyshire. As the weather was a bit miserable we all travelled by tin tops. Two of the members even travelled 3 hours from Liverpool to meet up, which was amazing. One of the members was a New Zealander who is going to try and plan a visit to New Zealand in 2017 and incorporate the National Rally in the Wairarapa. Great Britain Ulysses is still in its early stages and members do not have membership numbers and there are no branches as yet, but with membership building rapidly I am sure there will be several branches before too long. Was great to see how other clubs are run and the Great Britain one is very well organised and has some interesting souvenirs.

Wellington Anniversary weekend was a busy time for our branch, with the New Zealand Classic
International Cycle racing in the Wairarapa from Wednesday through to Sunday which is a major fundraiser for our branch. Thanks to Rex Bateman and his crew of road marshals for making this event the success it is.

We had a pot-luck ride for those not needed for the cycle race on Sunday which ended up going to
Norsewood for a coffee. Then as Monday was a holiday we had a gymkhana at Brian & Jo Bosch’s property which was attended by 16 club members and locals alike. Featuring slalom courses, obstacles and slow riding courses then a dash up the hill to finish. Brian supplied a BBQ for lunches to be cooked on and a great day was had by all along with a few sunburnt faces. Thanks Brian & Jo.

Coming up I am looking forward to attending the National Rally/AGM in Westport. We have a contingent of 23 plus the Wairarapa Rally Gnome that will be attending, which is magnificent for a club of 50 odd. A group of 17 is doing a bit of a tour before hand and will attend the GUSS Rally in Nelson before taking a leisurely ride over the next week, meeting up with the rest of our group in Blackball for a night at the Hilton before travelling up to Westport, for a weekend of fun and frivolity at the National Rally.

Karen Wilson #7787

Andy and I with our National Rally 2017 Gnome with members of the Great Britain Ulysses Club. 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Journey to Jerusalem

Ten hearty souls assembled on time at Farriers; pleasantries exchanged and Greg then explained that it was not his way to detail such a trip and then reached into his jacket pocket and produced three sheets of paper with maps and details of the roads to be traversed on the first day.
Off we went on the least direct route to Napier on a bunch of windy roads that saw us around the back of Waipukurau and somehow through Clive then Napier.
The only interruption to progress was Yvonnes’ Guzzi which in true Italian style would not start without a push, something about a “bodge job” on the heated grips electrics’ blowing the starter fuse.
Laurie got the nod for directing us over the road from our camp-ground (yeah, right it was a waterfront motel-“roughin’ it”) to the R.S.A. for tea.
Day two began in a leisurely fashion and another perfect riding day across the Gentle Annie to Taihape where Glen met up with us.
Greg and Nik lead the way through the windies whilst I provided entertainment with “Black Betty”(Indian Chief) grinding her way around the tight bits complete with showers of sparks from the muffers as they touched down, much more “communicative” than foot peg feelers on those diminutive perambulators the less manly choose to be conveyed upon..... ??!!
The scenery on this road rivals any in our country with majestic panoramas and many places to pull-over to take it all in.
Final stop was Ohakune with a great view of Ruapehu, and with plenty of daylight we rode up to the ski lifts to take in the panorama. Thence dinner and bed.
Raetihi to Pipiriki and down the tortuous but divinely scenic road to Jerusalem (‘scuse the pun) on our third perfect riding day.
We ended up at Whanganui for a late lunch and began the chase home.
The perfect way to round-out the “festive season” and get ready for our various years’ beginnings, If you haven’t ridden these roads then put them high on your “must do” list .
Happy trails, Doc.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Ngawi Trip (Part 2)

The recent ride to the small coastal settlement of Ngawi proved to be a bit of a hit for our members!
14 riders took the opportunity to get another ride in before the annual Christmas activity of operating the BBQ and entertaining the grand kids began.:-)
We decided to take the back road to Martinborough where we were joined by Steve Miller on his Triumph.
With everyone fuelled up we headed straight down along the coast to Ngawi.
The road along the coast was OK but not fabulous and had areas of loose stone on bitumen (not a good mix for a bike) and some wash away areas to negotiate.
The weather at Ngawi was excellent and combined with a couple of well stocked food trucks we were all well fed and watered before heading for home.
Yvonne's Guzzi unfortunately decided to blow a fork seal on the way down and Tony's CBX 1000 Honda wasn't charging well at low speed which required him to keep the rev's up, but apart from those minor irritations we all had a great ride.
The group split into two on the way home with each deciding on a different route.
Again a great day, a great location, a great ride and all with great people!

Trip attended by:-
Brian Coley - Spider
John Boland - Aprilia
Rex Bateman - Honda
Tony Allen - Honda
Nik Player - Ducati
Yvonne Evans - Moto Guzzi
Greg Evans - BMW
Joe Quaedvlieg - Honda
Ian Carrick - Suzuki
Glen Morgan - BMW
Laurie Petterson - Suzuki
Keith Jones - Honda
Paul Dodge _ BMW
Steve Miller - Triumph