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My First 1,000k Cruise.

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I did not have the best of sleeps on the Friday night. The clock was reading 23:48 last time I remember looking at it, and 03:40 when I woke, knowing that was it for me. Got up and changed my mind once again about what I would wear, ignored all the advice from the pro’s and went with what I always end up wearing. I did swap the coffee for water tho’.
I arrived at the start to find one other couple there. Over the next 30 minutes the rest rolled in. I was eyeing all these late model 1,000+cc tourer's and sportster's and feeling a tad under done with my old XV250 Virago. My bike is 17 years old and the design goes back to the mid 1980’s. Lance was going to link up with me as it was his first long distance ride as well.
We left about 06:35 and headed out of Hamilton. SH1 through to south of Cambridge was endless roadworks with speed zones changing constantly from 50 to 80kph. From Karapiro on the road was good and I sat on a steady 100kph and watched the bigger toys rocketing past. I was thinking, this is going to be a ‘looong’ day. I knew the first stretch to Whakatane would seem the slowest on the 250 due to the open flat highways. Lance and I pulled up in Te puke to top up and watched all the skinflints who were too miserable to pay the $2 toll fee roll through town. I had thought that by then Lance and I would have been the TEC’s. From here, a short run out to the first photo checkpoint. A handful of riders were there so we got our photos.

Some of the riders at the Te Puke stop. From here it was a nothing section of road through to Whakatane, more roadworks on the hill to Ohope. Coming down the hill and the view over Ohope and the sea was beautiful. Unfortunately there was no time to stop for photos on this ride. The ride around the Wainui road was a pleasant one and soon into Opotiki to fill the tanks. A walk around and a sandwich then we headed off on what was now seeming like the ‘real ride’. I pulled up at one place to get a photo of the coastline looking back towards Opotiki.

The road was fantastic to ride. The surface was in good shape and the 250 was enjoying the corners while going at 250cc speed I could look out over the sea and take in the wonderful views.

At Te Kaha we took a brief break, then carried on. I swung in past the old church to catch a view of it on the GoPro. The props against the walls would suggest the zealots from Wellington had been around.

More glorious views of sea and coast ahead then at Cape Runaway we turned away from the coast and headed into the rolling hills leading across the cape to Hicks Bay. Climbing up to a small pull off overlooking the coast again at Hicks bay we had a quick stop.
I topped up the tank with the three litres from the tail bag and we enjoyed the view, the smell from the decomposing opossum carcase's, not so much.

More hills and past the turn off to Te Araroa the road seemed to deteriate somewhat.
We must have been slow, the Mayfair store was closed and no one in sight as we pulled up for the 2nd checkpoint photo.

Just as well we weren’t relying on their pumps being open, although there were pumps just down the road at the 4 square shop. Lance used one of his extra fuel cans to top up his tank, then we rolled on towards Gisborne. Any of these little settlements would be worth coming back to stay for a while. A lot of seaside camping at various places all the way around this coast.
About 15k out from Gisborne I felt the engine start to splutter so turned the fuel tap to reserve and cruised on till the BP stn on Ormond street. The tank on the virago holds 7.1l in the main compartment and a 2.6l reserve. It took 7.6l to fill and with the 3l put in at Hicks Bay, that was 10.6l used for the 336k from Opotiki. That’s a 31.6 k per litre consumption. The heaviest of the whole ride. I’m quite pleased with that. The little bike was working fairly hard on some of those hills.
From here we rode on til Ormond and located the next checkpoint. At this stage another two riders pulled up. They must have done a diversion along the way to have been behind Lance and I. There was some discussion as to whether we had the right sign or not. I’m sure one of the briefing notes had said Ormond rural pre school.

Anyway this was going to have to do, then it was off to find this Waioeka Gorge thingy. What fantastic country through here.

The late afternoon sun was low and right in front of us. This meant many corners were blacked out by the sun hitting my eyes on the approach. It also meant the GoPro got a lot of sun strike on the lens. I still came out with some lovely footage of the ride through the gorge.
On to Opotiki to top up (4.4l) and the sun was dropping quite low. I was quietly getting a bit concerned about our pace. We had only raked up a bit over 700k by then with still a long way to go. At this stage I was still feeling reasonably good and no nagging aches to speak of. I had been wearing foam ear plugs till now, and the pressure within my ears was starting to tell. I took them out for the rest of the ride and the extra wind noise was still easier to put up with.
Off towards the Rotoma’s and I felt we were back in familiar country and on the home stretch. It was twilight when we arrived at the Rotoma tree.

Onwards we rolled. At the junction of sh33 &30, I hung a right then at the junction of 33 and Hamurama rd I pulled up to change my sunnies for clear glasses. Lance caught up and I said “You thought I’d taken the wrong road eh”. He said yes. The Tauranga signs would have given him that idea. The ride around Lake Rotorua was lovely. The sun was setting below the Mamaku ranges and the orange/red sunset glow in the sky and reflecting off the lake was beautiful. It was a distraction from the niggles that were setting in. Our pace, the eta to finish, cramp in my hips and clutch fingers were beginning to be an issue. On Otorua road I noticed I was not going through corners as well as I should have been. Over ran a couple and gave myself one or two wake up calls.
Out on the Mamaku highway I hit the meanest cloud of night insects I come across for many years. At Putaruru I scrubbed 7,648 of the kamakazi buggars off my visor. I also suggested to Lance that because of the lateness and the number of turns, different roads and him not knowing the unmarked roads in the Wharepapa district as I did, we should stick to the Arapuni – Kihikihi road. On this stretch, Lance had dropped behind somewhat and I waited for a while at Kihikihi before he came in view. Lance had gotten confused with the Owairaka Valley rd turnoff and had stopped to check his gps. At this point I had almost had enough. Without Lance being with me, I might well have turned right and been home in 5 minutes. Anyway we turned left and rode the longest 25k of my 47 years riding. It took a bit of double checking that we had the right Oto checkpoint.

At this stage I decided that we would not make the 10pm finish and I could not see any logic in riding 30k past my home then riding 30k back again. Lance was confident of getting back to Hamilton from there, so we split up then. I would have the 1,000k racked up by then and if the organiser’s decided I didn’t qualify for the badge then at that point, I really wasn’t worried. It was so good to pull up at home and switch that motor off. The stillness and silence of the night was deafening.

A Summary; I am pleased that I had another rider with me. At Kihikihi, I would have most likely pulled the pin and gone home if on my own.
The Virago never missed a beat, and my average fuel consumption was 32.3k per litres from home to home. At 100 kph the engine speed is producing a massive 15hp. For much of this ride my speeds were well under that. If I could get this motor in a sit up road bike type frame it would be a winner. The suspension is the weak point on this bike. Worn out rear shocks don’t make for fast hard cornering or make for a 1,000k a day tourer, yet it went bloody well for all that.
I ate my last snack bar and drank the last of the water at Gisborne and had nothing more after that. I could have stopped somewhere, but that would be more time taken up.
I would do this ride again but on a smoother faster bike. One that can power up any hill at any speed and make up time on the open road must make for an easier 1,000k day. Still, the bike is an air cooled single carb engine designed 28 years ago, I was designed 63 years ago and 1,000k day trips weren’t planned for back then, so the bike and I did not do too badly.
That’s my report for this ride. I enjoyed it far more the day after.

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  1. insomnia01's Avatar
    good effort Arthur its generally the last 300km that seems the longest to cover on any given day, sounds like the "Little bike " did well.
  2. awa355's Avatar
    I have asked the Mods' to clean up this blog. I wrote the report in my ride reports, then clicked on 'post as a blog'. now I can't get rid of the quote framework. Also, I posted a photo twice, which I have corrected in my ride report. Am expecting my 2nd growl after doing this once before.

    Geez! I changed the photo and got rid of the quote wraps. What a clever sod (I think)
  3. The Baron's Avatar
    Thank you. I very much enjoyed your ride report. I think you and your bike put in a fantastic effort.
  4. Gremlin's Avatar
    An excellent effort on a lil 250! When you consider the lack of wind protection, ease of capacity etc, it's definitely harder on a small bike. I think I'll stick with my 1000cc+ bike

    Well done
  5. KoroJ's Avatar
    Yeah, Good Effort! I can think of friskier 250's to be attempting 1,00km on.
  6. BMWST?'s Avatar
    the props against the wall of the church are to counteract the weight of the roof from pushing the walls apart.This is not required on a building with flat ceilings or plenty of horizontal ties from wall to wall.However most churches just have the high vaulted ceilings so some other method must be used.Enter the Buttress or in this case a flying buttress.Now that you have seen this you will notice other bracing systems are often used on those big raking roofs