April 27, 2016 at 4:40 pm #12524
Rank: 1200cc Rider
- Bike: BMW Supertanker, R100GS & Velorex 562 Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200
A relaxed start to Friday (the day after my Takapari Rd adventure). Mrs Box’a’bits certainly wasn’t motivated. So I hung around waiting for her to get sorted. I thought we were going to have lunch at ‘Beyond the Bridge Cafe’, & then tackle North Range Rd. If things got too much for Mrs Box’a’bits, we’d turn around.
Mid morning, the neighbours grandkids arrived, & soon I was fully involved in providing the days excitment by ferrying kids up & down the street in the chair. Even managed to fly Grandma (Mrs Box’a’bits mum) in the chair.
Then Grandma & Mrs Box’a’bits decided to go out for lunch & a spot of shopping, so there went my plans for the day…No mind, I jumped on the chair, & headed out myself.
Found a cool linking road at the bottom of the Pahiatua Track. Tararua Rd. Narrow single vehicle gravel, tight bends, limited straights, perfect for the chair.
Coffee and fries at ‘Beyond the Bridge Cafe’. This was very busy, in part because of the school holidays, & also an influx of lycra clad cyclists. I think the cafe may have changed hands. Certainly it seems to have had a name change, to ‘The Bridge Cafe’.
Hall Block Road was empty. I stopped part way up for photos. Shortly after that came round the corner to a very surprised lady in a Corolla. But she managed to get back on her side of the road, which I appreciated. And a bit further up, surprised a couple of boy racers, who (from the looks of the road further on) had been out for a bit of a skid around.
Not the still day of Thurday, hazy, & some heavy looking clouds about, so potential for some showers during the ride.
The first portion of the road is wide & open, to accomodate the wind turbines when they were transported up pre final assembly. But now that they are a fixture, the roads aren’t being maintained to quite the same extent, so there are some quite large pot holes forming, especially as the road progresses.
Then the turbine portion of the road ceases (some big gates with big go away padlocks), & the road devolves into non maintained track.
Initially this retains it’s gravel base. As you progress, this starts to break down.
Some of the potholes have become large lakes, so it pays to check how deep they are. Also the 4WD traffic is creating ruts, as they seek to avoid the worst of the potholes. On one lake, the water was washing over the right cylinder, which was a worry because the carb vent is under the carb behind the cylinder, so I was concerned we might stall if I wasn’t quick enough in getting out.
On the chair I needed to check for depth, camber (if the chair gets too far above the tug it’ll tip), & also ground clearance. Some of the deeper ruts would beach out the chair. I needed to keep an eye on what the chair wheel was riding over. But the advantage over a solo was that I didn’t need to worry about balance & momentum as much. Which meant that I could ride on the top of the middle of wheel tracks, in places where on Gus I would be worried about whether I could get a foot down.
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Part way round I chanced upon a dad & his 2 kids out for a mountain bike ride. They were surprised to see me there. We chatted. They were heading the same way as me, back to their car. They nicely let me go ahead. From my perspective, this was great, as it meant that I’d have someone to help me if I got stuck.
The portion near the forestry was wet, as usual, & we bellied out a few times on ruts. Never got completely stuck though.
Looks innocuous, but the camber on this was a trial
Across the turbine road, & into the clay portion of the track (no real sign of the former road now). Shortly into this I struck a real challenging 4WD rut. Tried to sneak past this, but the wheel slipped in, & I was stuck. Fortunately the family I met earlier arrived, & the Dad helped me pulled the rig out. I approached it differently, & managed to get across this. There were several other challenging portions further on – this whole section was much more challenging than the prior former road bed. But we got through, albeit we carried a fair bit of clay out with us, & the mufflers were under water a bit. Amazing stuff (a clay / water slurry) for quietening down the normal rattles & thunks of a working boxer engine.
Stopped & thanked my support crew, took a quick photo for posterity, then rode off. The gravel road on the Pahiatua Track side has thick rolly gravel, & not much grip. Great on the sidecar, but I didn’t enjoy it as much last time I was up there on Gus.
Picked up Mrs Box’a’bits from Grandma’s, then off home to Wellington. Traffic was busy. I was pleased I wasn’t on the northbound SH1 parking lot though (normal peak flows & ANZAC weekend holiday traffic). Fish & chips in the twilight on the Plimmerton beach. Full dark as we arrived home.
The cat was pretty happy to see us back.
I haven’t washed the chair yet, & I’m expecting a bit of remedial work will need to be done:
I’m expecting some damage from North Range Rd in particular. I see the chair lights aren’t working. I may have lost some wiring from the bottom of the tub. I may need to reroute that thru the tub;
On the ride home the chair was pulling to the left at 100 kph. I suspect the alignment has moved;
I need to get a headlight switch wired in. I wasn’t pulling many revs doing the trickier parts of North Range Rd, & so the battery wasn’t charging thru there. That could be embarrassing if I lose the battery on a longer ride.
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