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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:41 am 
Yeah Man, the Interstate

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:27 am
Posts: 526
Location: New Zealand
I'm becoming a bit braver with the Savage and have been venturing further from the city streets. Last weekend 5 of us took our old Jappa trail bikes away for the weekend and had an awesome time riding out in the country. We trailered the bikes 1.5. hours north west from Christchurch to ride through a couple of large farms that are open to the public for riding on the roads that go through them. On the Saturday we headed off road for a 5 hour ride up through the Molesworth Station (NZ's largest farm) and up to Blenheim. The farm roads were reached via some decently gnarly uphill dirt and shingle 4WD tracks that headed out of Hanmer. It was an excellent baptism into bouncy and slippery stuff. Although the weather was great and the track/road was dry as, it presented some challenges with potholes, slippery bits and big clouds of dust from the bike ahead.

The Molesworth has a well formed dirt/gravel road that winds its way through the entire farm alongside rivers, up steep hills and down again to flat open plains. There's not much cover or shade, so on a hot day we were getting a bit hot and sweaty inside our bike gear. The speed range went from a sedate 15 MPH up to an exciting 50 MPH on the open stretches. Although the road is well formed, it is covered in loose dirt and shingle which can see the back wheel sliding and the front one digging in, when least expected.The scenery is pretty darn cool with open spaces, rocky terrain and and lots of ... nothing. Apart from the shifting ground cover, the major hazard was from farm stock wandering around. Mostly, this was in the form of cattle and you were never quite sure if they were going to stand there and stare (or should that be steer?) at you or bolt for it. As you can imagine, they all stood taller than you average 70's trail bike and certainly were made of more solid stuff :lol:

We all took a can of gas and three of us had to use them to refill the bikes en route - all Suzukis! The two Yamahas seemed to be more frugal. Along the way, we encountered a range of other bikes out for the same adventure and these included groups of modern, large Adventure-type machines and also a group of quads. As you might expect, our old girls raised a bit of interest in the older age bikers from the other groups. We had no mishaps on day one and apart from being covered in dirt and grime, the bikes acquitted themselves well. The most miserly on fuel was a DT1 Yamaha.

Day two involved an early morning run down the highway for an hour and a half. Luckily the traffic was light and we didn't cause too much trouble beetling along at our sedate pace of around 50 MPH. After coffee and food, we headed along the access road to a ski field and made our way towards the start of the Rainbow Station. The access road was paved and real fun to ride on - it was winding and ran through a small forest of beech trees. Before we encountered the beginning of the Rainbow Station proper, we had to get across several creeks. Our bikes did well as the water wasn't terribly deep but it was still enough of a challenge for those of us used to riding on roads. Behind us a big BMW Adventure bike came to grief just after we got through, and the rider slowly laid her down in the water. He later said that he "hit a boulder" :oops: Hmmm ... stones and rocks we did see but boulders???

The Rainbow Road was nothing short of spectacular. Prior to getting out in the open, we had to pay a toll of $20 that is used to keep the road semi-passable through the year. We also had to sign a waiver form that essentially said that whatever we did to ourselves and our machines was our fault and nothing to do with the the folk who run the farm :wth: The road/track was such fun, it shifted between a goat track in places to wide open expanses where you could go as fast as you felt safe. We encountered a range of 4WD vehicles on this road, including a lovely, restored old Landrover doing what it was born to do. Again the bikes all ran well and none missed a beat. Some of us were challenged in sections where there had been recent washouts but that just added to the fun. One hairy moment for yours truly involved a creek crossing immediately followed by a uphill section that abruptly turned to the right at the top - straight ahead was blue sky and not much else. I love going uphill most of all and twisted the Savage's throttle a bit only to find a sharp turn in front of me and ... the sudden recollection that drum brakes don't work terribly well after being put through water 8) :ssh: That of course is the way to wake yourself up - a big dollop of adrenaline surging through the nervous system tends clear away any complacency.

We arrived back at the trailers after a good 3.5 hours of fun through this road, where we encountered amazing scenery, tested ourselves a bit and happily saw 5 old girls manage the terrain they were originally built to encounter. The bikes and ourselves were covered in dust but it was well and truly worth the effort.

I'll put some pics up tomorrow.


Burt Munro + John Britten + Kim Newcombe + Ivan Mauger = Kiwi Street Cred

72 GT750J
71 TS250R
71 H1A

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:58 am 
Novice racer
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:01 pm
Posts: 946
Location: North of Albany, NY
Country: USA
Bikes owned: T500R (now), T500M (40 yrs ago)
Thanks for sharing, Mike. Look forward to the pictures. Especially now, as I watched 11" of snow fall in my yard just the other day. My snow blower is parked right next to my motorcycle, and I know which one I'd rather be using.

MikeH1A wrote:
As you might expect, our old girls raised a bit of interest in the older age bikers from the other groups.

Funny how this works. If I leave my home for over 30 minutes on my T500, I am guaranteed to have at least one person come up to me, and share their history of an old motorcycle they used to own. These old girls are time machines.

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