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Ocean Beach, South Wairarapa (by sidecar) 1st May '16

Home Forums Sidecars Sidecar Rides & Events Ocean Beach, South Wairarapa (by sidecar) 1st May '16

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  • #12606
    • Town/City: Wellington
    • Bike: BMW R80 G/S, R100GS & M72 Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Friday Andy Mac sent me a text to find out if I would be interested in riding during the weekend. Given I had just done the Waiohine Gorge ride the day before, I wondered how well this would go down with Mrs Box’a’bits. But replied yes, of course.

    Saturday was supposed to be used getting Gus ready for the ride, but life got in the way, so Sunday it was the sidecar I was preparing. Andy suggested we ride Ocean Beach. I wasn’t sure how the chair would go in the sandy portions, but given I’m currently testing to find the limits of the rig, thought it’d be good to try that. I figured I’d whack on the spare rim & Mitas C02 Stone King rear tyre – if that couldn’t get it thru there, nothing could.

    While a quick visual inspection had shown it could just fit, I could hear it rubbing when I went to ride it. So back to the garage to quickly change back to the Heidenau K60. This made me a little late, so no packed lunch & thermos. I’ll attack the Stoneking with a knobby knife sometime soonish.

    Had a quick few spots of rain near Upper Hutt, & the sidecar was feeling a few wind gusts. It was looking dark on the hills. I hadn’t checked the weather forecast since Friday, but knew that Sunday might have a chance of rain. I wondered what I’d let myself in for.

    Met Andy (KTM 625) & Ash (R1200GS) at Rimutex.

    Ash appeared a little apprehensive about the Ocean Beach destination. He was clearly concerned that Andy had talked him into some sort of trail ride. He hadn’t ridden Ocean Beach before, & was dubious about grip (he was running a worn TKC70 front & new rear) & the weight of the bike. Maybe the sidecar showing up was a good thing. But I knew he’d has done a lot of dirt riding on smaller bikes, & had 33,000 kms on this one, so was confident he’d get through. I made sure he was aware he could stop or turn around at any point, & gave him a quick run down on what to expect.

    Andy had briefed Ash on riding behind me, to enjoy the show going through the Rimutakas. The sidecar flies itself out of left handers…honest, officer. In my mirror Ash’s bike looked like a low flying UFO. Highly visible, but not really immediately identifiable as a bike because of the triangle of led lights (spots & headlight).

    We really started getting hit by wind gusts after Featherston. Although the sidecar is more stable than solo bikes, it still gets pushed around. But other than a few spots, no rain.

    At the first stop at Ocean Beach, I got the guys to go ahead of me. The chair tends to kick up more dust than solos, especially if I’m using rear wheel steering.

    There was a little traffic on the road, including a car that had decided discretion was the better part of valour at Camp Corner, & was looking to reverse & turn around, as they found the track become rougher. We later passed the occupants walking the track on our return trip, & met them again after lunch Lake Ferry Pub.

    Lots of potholes at the start of the track, but not quite as many large puddles this time round. On Gus I can ride around the sides of the bigger holes. There is less options with the chair, so I just trundled through some, others I put the chair wheel through. All with a good firm base, so no issues.

    No issues on the climbs. But I did note that the track runs along the right side of the hills, & the camber wouldn’t be as cooperative on the way back.

    The wind was pretty strong by Windy point, even though we were being sheltered from the worst of it by the hills. Out to sea, the wind was tearing up the water, making white caps, rainbows, & small waterspouts.

    The slip was okay going through, but clearly there had been recent activity, & I was very concerned at how I would get back. The angle was more than the chair would allow without tipping, & I figured I’d need assistance on that.

    The sandy stretch to the gate was okay as long as I powered on. But Ash struggled with it.

    Round to the stream crossing. Not a lot of water, but confined into a couple of smaller channels with steeper approaches. The chair didn’t nose in, & we didn’t belly on any larger rocks, so I was pretty happy with how that went. The rubber footpeg did twist upside down though, using water as a lubricant.

    Where possible, I rode the grass by the track on the open meadow portion. The start of the official track was a little rough, and it was easier to ride beside it. And it rougher as we got to the scrubby twists.

    The old 4WD hole is pretty dried up / drained now. EddieB wanted me to put Gus thru there a few years ago, for the video entertainment of the masses. Way too deep to ride through at that stage. But the logical track choice today. And when the track turned to sand again, I rode some of the stoney sections to get better grip.

    At the final stream, we went upstream to the higher crossing point, & then across & up the hill. We walked to the bush that marks the end of the track, rather than risk the looser downhill. Andy had a play on one of the steeper tracks, & found his less aggressive tyres didn’t really accomodate that.

    The return journey was a little more fraught. I got stuck on the sandy section just after the final stream – the camber of the track pushed me down into the softer stuff that’d caught Ash. And then again into the twisty scrubby section. I’d followed Ash too closely, & lost momentum. Good to have pushers on hand.

    Beached. Notice the sidecar wheel is off the ground. There was a rock stuck under the sidecar frame

    For the slip section I got Andy to balance off the outside of the chair. And walked it when the camber got too much. There is video of that to come.

    Crashed just before Camp Corner. I think I must have throttled off cresting a rise, the sidecar kept momentum, & we speared off into the shrubbery. I needed help to pull the chair out of that. Reverse would be nice.

    After a discussion with the boys, we headed for Lake Ferry, & I had a very welcome pint to rehydrate (thanks Ash). And a very nice pulled pork burger & flies for lunch.

    It looks like the exit to Lake Enoka is blocked – the sand bar has shifted. I wonder if that clears itself, or if a digger will be needed.

    A more sedate ride home over the Rimutakas, given the heavier ‘end of school holidays’ traffic, & the fact we got caught in a line.

    Home sometime after 4.00.

    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    Now that’s somewhere I would have liked to take it.

    • Town/City: Wellington
    • Bike: BMW R80 G/S, R100GS & M72 Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Next time you are down, bring some gear & we’ll go for a ride somewhere.

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