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Old 07-26-2014, 02:15 AM   #1
uksteve OP
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Joined: May 2011
Location: Auckland
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Steve Rides the World

This ride was to prepare and evaluate the bike and gear for my around the world ride in September.

Day 1
19-04-14 Auckland to Waipiro bay 595km

I left from home at 7am and headed off down the North Western motorway and then on to state highway one heading south. It’s a pretty boring piece of road although it’s nice to check out the yachts in the marina as you go by.
I'd entered a custom route into the gps to cover the whole trip, I was feeling pretty happy with my self being so organized. Half way down the north western the gps was telling me to turn around and go back home, so I ignored it and kept going. A bit more fine tuning required on the mapping front. The weather was overcast and around 17 degrees c

I rode through Miranda, which has hot springs, through Paeroa where they have the annual battle of the street motorcycle race, many antique shops and world famous for its lemon flavoured fizzy drink. Then off through Waihi, Whakatane, Opotiki and around the coast to Hicks Bay.

At Waihi they were having a military vehicle meet. All sorts of vehicles ranging from armoured cars to land Rovers.

The weather had turned and it was hosing down. I stopped to put on my wet weather gear.
The East coast has some great twisting roads with good sea and hill country views. It had been raining heavily recently and there were plenty of slips with various sized rocks strewn around many of the corners. Time for caution.

This is the first time I have had the bike fully loaded and the difference is noticeable. I had the camping gear strapped to the rear seat in a weather proof roll bag and panniers laden with all the things I plan to take on the round the world trip. I think it needs a session or two at Jennie Craig’s.

I set up camp at Waipiro bay for the night. I timed this to perfection as the sun faded the tent and gear were set up. All that could be heard was the pounding of the waves on the sea shore 20 metres away.

It was time for something to eat and drink after a long day of concentration so on went the head lamp, out came the cooker and pots and hey presto a master chief delight for the eating……..well it was only ravioli out of a can but I was so hungry I could have eaten the can it came in.

Day 2
20-04-14 Waipiro
bay to Wairoa 250 km

I awoke to a nice day. The waves’ were quietly lapping on the shore and the sea was glistening like tin foil under a spotlight which reflected into my squinting eyes. I sat by the beach overlooking this calm peaceful world while supping my tea.
I was waiting for the sun to rid my tent of the morning dew so I could pack up and get the next part of the day underway. As I left Waipiro bay and rode through the village I noticed some domestic pigs plodding around in someone’s garden. This is not something you normally see in your neighbour’s garden in Auckland. I wondered if they had chickens around the back. As I rode away all I could think of was a bacon and egg breakfast.

Waipiro Bay. The view from outside my tent

My next stop was Tolaga bay.
On the way there were some very nice dry winding roads. I could feel my throttle hand twisting and before long I was in a rhythmic frenzy through the corners. The road and the miles quickly disappeared. Before I knew it I was at Tolaga bay. The beaches were strewn with drift wood. I’ve never seen so much.
From there it was time to head off to Gisborne and down to Wairoa
Tolaga Bay - Firewood any one?

Day 3
Wairoa to Napier 240km

I stayed the night at the camping ground in Wairoa. The owners were really friendly and the place was
immaculate. A big thumbs up. I pitched the tent again, I’m starting get into the routine now and it is getting quicker. As it was dark and there wasn’t much to do I went to bed at 7. In the middle of the night (I had been a sleep for a while) an air raid siren went off and I heard emergency vehicle sirens going crazy. Was this a tsunami? Not much hustle and bustle from the locals, can’t be that I thought. I was starting to feel a bit annoyed now that I was woken in the middle of the night. I checked my watch to verify my annoyance and found it was 9; 30pm, I felt like a right plonker!!!

The next morning I woke to a fine day and headed straight to the kitchen. As usual I was starving so proceeded to have a mega cook up, filled my flask with the leftovers and would have this later for lunch..

I rode to Lake Waikaremoana a great stretch of tar seal road that twisted through the undulating countryside. The last 20k’ s were gravel with many pot holes. The view of the lake was stunning.

Lake Waikaremoana

It was gusting on some of the ridges. On the way over I had to man handle the bike to stay on the road. At the lake there were big white capped waves.
I headed back to Wairoa and down state highway 2 to Napier, another great twisting undulating road with plenty of 35 km/h corners.

At Lake Tutira I stopped for lunch. A guy approached me and starting asking about the bike. He told me he had a Moto Guzzi and that had been working in a profession. He had enough one day and decided to throw it all in and moved to Clarks beach in the Coramandel, with that he proceeded to write his name and address on a piece of paper and said if I was ever in the area I was free to crash there the night. With that he gave me a beer and bid me farewell. You meet the nicest people while travelling.
Lake Tutira

From there I travelled to Bay view camp ground, Napier and pitched my tent for the night.

Day 4
Napier to Stratford 541km

I headed off down the Napier to Taihape highway, I think this is called the gentle Annie. This was the best piece of road to date. I stopped at Waouru for a bite to eat. It was cold, 10 degrees so on went the jacket layers and headed off to Ohakune, the place with the big carrot. I passed through Ohakune and then off to the National park. The heated grips were set at 75%. If my hands were chickens they would be nicely roasted. No need to worry about lunch.

From there I headed up to Wakapapa ski field and checked out the view. There was a bit of snow on the peak.

The next stop was Whangamomona. The locals classify their town as a republic and celebrate the
fact regularly. To get there you have to ride the forgotten highway. There are some steep drop offs from the road and with the corners still wet due to the shade you have to be pretty careful. This road has more 35km to 15km sign posted corners than you could poke a stick at.

A section of the road is gravel and stretches for about 20km or so. It had started to rain quiet heavily,
I felt a lot more confident riding the gravel rather than the tar seal in these conditions. The road passes through a tunnel which is carved through the side of one of the hills. Entering through the tunnel it was difficult to see as you go from daylight to darkness. I hit a 10 metre section of clay / dirt that was about 70mm high. This was enough to make the front wheel slide out instinctively I wrestled the snaking Tiger into line.
Tiger lived to fight another day.
Wakapapa ski field - There's snow in them there hills.

The Forgotten Highway

I stopped at the famous Whangamomona pub for a quick beer and a chat to another couple of bikers from Christchurch who were on a 5 day world wind tour of the North Island. After that we went our separate ways and I headed off to Stratford for the night.

View across the road from the pub

Day 5
Stratford to home 541km

The final day saw a good mix of riding, from twisting tar seal to tight twisting gravel roads with huge
drops, to flat sweeping gravel sections.

This was a long days riding. I wanted to test how the bike and I performed fully loaded on single,
steep, slippery twisting gravel roads. Most of these roads were ridden heading directly into the lowering sun making visibility very difficult. Along the way there was stunning scenery to be viewed. I was beginning to feel tired so my main focus was to make sure I made no mistakes.

This was the single lane road with many tight corners, big drops and could only be ridden in first and second gears

I pulled into Marakopa for a cup of tea and a walk on the beach. After this I felt revitalized and headed home along more gravel single lane roads, but this time in the dark. This is definitely not for the
faint hearted.

Marakopa beach

Arrived home at


Overall impression from this trip
  • The bike is well suited to this type of trip. It was smooth, comfortable and handled well.
  • Standard tyres were better than I expected on the gravel.
  • I need to lose some gear and have extra space in the panniers.
  • The bike is heavy with the luggage and gear. If I drop it I wont be able to pick it up fully loaded.
  • The heavier spring I fitted to the rear shock gave me the correct sag.
  • The rear shock needs re valving for stiffer compression damping.
  • Can’t wait to do the round the world trip.
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:03 AM   #2
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Quite a trip you have lined up there, Steve. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for updates in September.
Marty F
'13 Triumph Sprint GT; '14 BMW G 650 GS
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:24 AM   #3
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Steve, it looks like you are having nice trip ahead of you, good luck and keep us informed about your progress.
affirm it, visualize it, believe it, aim for it, and RIDE
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:41 AM   #4
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Based on this, I'm definitely looking forward to your RTW RR. Beautiful photos and excellent writing.
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:47 AM   #5
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Great Start
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:18 PM   #6
uksteve OP
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only 5 weeks to go and many visa's to secure.
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
Joined: May 2014
Location: Newcastle Australia
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When/if you get time could you post the details of the transport including prices of the Darwin to Indonesia leg if possible?
It would be greatly appreciated, cheers.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:50 AM   #8
uksteve OP
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Originally Posted by Steve1962AUS View Post
When/if you get time could you post the details of the transport including prices of the Darwin to Indonesia leg if possible?
It would be greatly appreciated, cheers.
Will do Steve. These are the things that certainly help when planning a ride. I know i trolled many, many forums for this info.
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Old 08-01-2014, 02:56 PM   #9
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Not long to go now, I'll be watching .....................
"It's all about motorcycles, always has been and always will be" Ewan McGregor.
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Old 08-02-2014, 03:22 AM   #10
uksteve OP
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Originally Posted by KiwiSteve View Post
Not long to go now, I'll be watching .....................
Great to have you along Steve
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:22 AM   #11
uksteve OP
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2nd August 2014
Not long now before departure to Australia and there's still plenty to get done.
Today I can tick another task off the list.
I dropped the Tiger off at one of the local Triumph dealers for the 12 month Service.
New oil, filter, break fluid and ECU map check were done which took about two and a half hours. They kindly gave me a loan bike to get home.

The loan BMW. Nice to borrow but pleased to get the Triumph back

When I went back to pick the Tiger up after the service I met Steve at the dealers. Steve and I have worked together for a number of years and he is a a fellow motorcycle enthusiast. He has a very nice Honda CB1000. Steve is a great guy and it was nice to catch up before I leave.

Steve checking out the Tiger
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:36 PM   #12
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Thanks for the ride report figuring out what will work and what will not for your round the world trip. I’m sure that there will be more fine tuning as you travel on your trip. Good luck and looking forward to your adventure!!!
The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 08-03-2014, 01:34 AM   #13
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Great pics!

Looking forward to reading about your RTW trip.

All the best.


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Old 08-03-2014, 03:13 AM   #14
bush pilot
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Brilliant stuff, I gotta go to Whangamomona
USA travels 09'
Anchorage to Ushuaia
RTW...part: Europe
Iron Butt #35784
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:45 AM   #15
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Good report and great pictures. You are about two/three years ahead of me on my time-line, and it will be nice to see how the trip goes for you. I have also narrowed the bike choice down to a few, two of them being the BMW and Triumph.

Nice website.

According to your Map you will be riding very close to my front door in South East British Columbia. The coffee is on, and the couch is free.

Blog - CanadianRocky
Bike - BMW 1150 GS Adventure

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