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Takapari Rd (a track running over the Ruahine Ranges) on a sidecar

Home Forums Sidecars Sidecar Rides & Events Takapari Rd (a track running over the Ruahine Ranges) on a sidecar

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  • #12523
    • Town/City: Wellington
    • Bike: BMW R80 G/S, R100GS & M72 Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200

    Topics Created: 33
    Replies posted: 186

    Rank: 1200cc Rider

    DazzaDM had bought a top box in Kapiti thru’ Trademe. He was looking for someone to pick it up. Around this time Mrs Box’a’bits was agitating to go up to PNth to see her mum. Normally I wouldn’t have been real enthused, but she was suggesting taking the sidecar, & I thought, well, if we overnight then I can get in two days of riding. And I wouldn’t need to spend excessive time with the mother-in-law. DazzaDM can get his top box. Wins all round…

    The last week has been perfect riding weather, but the weekend forecast looked like things were going to deteriorate. So Thursday looked to be the last day of predictable weather

    In part of the discussions with DazzaDM I intimated I was keen to try Takapari Rd on the chair, & he seemed keen on that. So he’d meet me there. ManakauKTM popped his head up when I mentioned that in this thread, & suddenly there were three of us.

    In the ride briefing Mrs Box’a’bits demanded on a coffee on the way up. So we picked up ManakauKTM from his place, & settled in for coffee at the Horseman at Shannon. And because we sat on roadside seats, were spotted by Tina & her tribe, so she got a quick catch up with a friend, while I talked to ManakauKTM.

    Unfortunately that meant we were running slightly behind schedule, so dumped Mrs Box’a’bits & the panniers at her mum’s place, & fled the scene.

    Looking at the hills, there was a lot of cloud at the peak, & a finger of cloud lower down that’d looked like it’d crept in from the lower ranges to the east. I wondered if we woud get a clear day up there.

    Heading towards Totara Reserve, ManakauKTM discovered that sidecars corner at different speeds to real bikes (particularly left handers when the chair has no ballast), he so decided to forge ahead. He’d shot up Takapari Rd by the time I made it, so I interpreted from this that DazzaDM must already be there, but running to a tight timeline, so nipped up the road as well. Sidecars do gravel really well, so fast was good…

    But no, it transpired that he was just checking the 1st gate, so after a 6 point turn on the narrow road, I got the rig pointing back downhill, & back to the start we went.

    DazzaDM turned up with his daughter Heather on the back. After a bit of chatter with everyone, I managed to convince her that the sidecar would be really comfortable. She would ride it to at least the Forest Park gate. Cool. Got some ballast.

    The section to the end of gravel was good, we took that with some sliding action going on. The farm section has a few off camber sections so progress slowed a little. The final section to the Forest Park was starting to get more challenging because of the bigger rocks on the track.

    At the gate to the Ruahine Forest Park the guys were concerned that we’d struggle with the steep uphills,. We agreed that they’d wait part way up, so that they could check on progress. As it happens, it wasn’t an issue, apart from a slip on some clay in a shady corner. The chair is fairly geared down, & the extra wheel gives stability, so we just powered on up.

    The first sections transitioning from Forest Park to the Leatherwood sub-alpine portion were more noteable for the need to dodge potholes.

    In the later rockier portions the chair behaved surprising well. There were a couple of uphills (Mauricio’s hill for instance) where the going was a little looser, & I thought we’d have issues. But there were no problems except for the odd clang when we bellied out on a rock upcropping. I was fairly relaxed about that, given the bashplate on the engine & centre stand.

    DazzaDM, Heather, & ManakauKTM. View into the South Rangitikei

    Heather was doing some Go-Proing on a selfie stick. I don’t know how she will have gotten on. I would think that the video will be fairly blurred with all of the chair movement. But given that, I handed her my camera, & got her to act as official chair photographer from about the ½ way point.

    ManakuaKTM & the view down towards Dannevegas

    There is a longer loose downhill heading to the hut that I’ve always been wary of. There is a lot of loose rock, & bigger rock ledges on the way down. We took that quite slowly, so that I could pick lines to make sure the sidecar wouldn’t belly out too hard.

    Reaching the hut was a bit of an anti climax.

    The ride back was not without it’s challenges. We had to have two goes at the downhill (now uphill) that we’d picked our way down. The 1st time I managed to get the chair across the hill, & into a bank. I’d been trying the pick a better line, right to left, but the back wheel slipped, & the inertia of the chair flicked the back around. We had to back up, go back down again, & then try again with a bit more momentum.

    On a second difficult uphill I stalled just towards the top. The bike had been chugging along in 2nd, but the speed bled off to such an extent that I didn’t want to change down to 1st as we’d have stopped. We just didn’t have enough ergs to get to the top. Re-started easily enough, & rode on..

    The rest of the trip down was fairly uneventful. What is it about the return leg of a track that makes it always faster (aside from the obvious fact we were going downhill). I managed to keep Heather as ballast until the bottom of Takapari Rd, so it can’t have been too bad in the chair.

    DazzaDM at speed.

    Waved ManakauKTM off at the Massey turn off. Back to Mrs Box’a’bits mums for a birthday dinner with the whole out-law clan.

    Subsequent to the ride, Heather & DazzaDM have sent me the low resolution footage of the ride from the chair. Not quite so vibration plagued as I thought it might be.

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