Diary Entries

13:28 06/08/2003

A couple of thought-provoking articles on road behaviour generally and group riding on bikes in particular. I'm not much of a fan of people who come up with silly capitalised names for things (in this case, “The Pace“), but the articles themselves are work a look.

Oh, and scooter riders don't appear to interact with bike riders, with the whole waving a greeting bit. Or do so much less, anyway. Sad.

13:35 11/08/2003

I do not, on the whole, like spiders. I no longer suffer from an irresistable urge to kill 'em when I see them, but I prefer them to be a long way away. I don't mind sharing my house with little hunting spiders, but I draw the line at the Avondale. I especially draw the line at it hiding on bathroom towels until I go to dry my face with them.

These guys, on the other hand, are pretty damn cool.

10:25 18/08/2003

A very pleasant ride yesterday; I decided to get a decent spin somewhere I haven't taken the bike before, and went out to Makara Beach via Karori, then back into town via Johnsonville.

The road to Makara is one of those notional two-lane jobs; yes, there's a centre stripe painted over much of it, but it's just enough room for a bike, and not really to be taken seriously in a car. Perhaps a Fiat Bambina, but nothing larger. I got stuck behind other vehicale for much of the trip, which was a good thing, forcing me to travel at a pace I could handle comfortably, rather than giving me the opportunity to get carried away. The Karori - Makara road is not only narrow and twisty, it's littered with blind corners that often turn out to be sharper than you'd guess going into them, and has the odd scattering of gravel from haphazard maintenance, or scatterings of dirt from the cliffs and hills the road is cut through.

Being behind a car is also a win when there's oncoming traffic. They're a little less likely to try barge through an old Rover 3500 S than a bike.

I did have the alarming sensation of what I thought was a flat tyre at one stage; the back end started behaving very oddly indeed; it turned out to be gravel sticking to the rubber, courtesy of warm tar. Brushing it off solved the problem, but I had visions of being stranded at the arse end of nowhere and needing to be taken home with a trailer.

But it's a very pleasant ride; the area is several degrees warmer than the coastal parts of Wellington, and I enjoyed the ride down to the beach, although I didn't stay long to enjoy the beach itself - I should round up a group for a picnic at some stage.

Heading back into town through Johnsonville was the same, only more so. The road abandons all pretence of being a two lane journey in places, with one lane bridges and strips along it, and the quality of the road is much lower, with plenty of spots of in-progress (or abandoned!) roadworks providing plenty of chances for the incatious rider to spill. I ran a bit faster than the Karori - Makara road, though, since there are more straights and corners with decent visibility; there were plenty of cyclists along this bit, out for a Sunday ride.

From Johnsonville back to town was largely uneventful, apart from one item of note: a couple of insane cyclists hammering down the Ngauranga Gorge at 70 - 80 klicks. I say insane becuase at that speed, I'm wrapped up in a full face helmet, leather gloves, boots, and an armoured jacket; they were wearning the typical aerodynamic skull-cap cyclist's helmet and lycra. There's a whole world of pain if you take a spill; of course, they wouldn't even be able to rebuild your face with skin grafts from your arse, because the skin there would be missing, too.

I met up with Maire and Amy at the Bach on the southern coast for lunch; when I got there, a couple of guys on Harleys and one on a Triumph cruiser were just heading in. They were friendly, restoring my faith that not all Harley riders refuse to acknowledge people riding other bikes! While I waited for the others, I was treated to an amusing spectacle: a group of people ambled along the car park, gave the two Harleys and the Triumph a cursory glance, and then spent a solid 5 minutes peering and poking at my bike - a scene repeated when the cruiser riders themselves ambled out to take a look. Very amusing.

10:43 31/08/2003

Some jottings from our trip to New Caledonia; only the first day is up thus far. And some pics of the Bandit. I've now had another couple of people ask me if it's really a 250, which has to be a testament to the designers at Suzuki.