Playing with the chair

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Box'a'bits, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. dazzadm

    dazzadm Long timer

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    Cool. I tramped into Stanfield hut with Heather a few years ago. Going down was alright. Coming back up the hill to Takapari Rd was hard work.

    I was running a bit late, but the ride into Takapari Road through Totora Reserve is great:
    [​IMG]Totora reserve on route to Takapari rd by DARREN MORRIS, on Flickr
    Box'a'bits and Manakau.KTM like this.
  2. wairau

    wairau get in behind!

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    good effort. did you need to let the back tyre down a bit to get out?
  3. bart-nz

    bart-nz Been here awhile

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    Well, that was hard work alright. I think I’ll take the bike and go up the Pohangina side next time.
  4. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

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    Takapari Rd 21st Apr ‘16

    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 would 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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

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    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.

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    ManakuaKTM & the view down towards Dannevegas

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

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    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..

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    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.

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    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.
    wairau, Underground and innathyzit like this.
  5. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

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    North Range Rd 22nd Apr ’16:

    A relaxed start to Friday. Mrs Box’a’bits certainly wasn’t motivated. So I hung around waiting for her to get sorted. I thought we were going to have lunch at ‘Beyond the Bridge Cafe’, & then tackle North Range Rd. If things got too much for Mrs Box’a’bits, we’d turn around.

    Mid morning, the neighbours grandkids arrived, & soon I was fully involved in providing the days excitment by ferrying kids up & down the street in the chair. Even managed to fly Grandma (Mrs Box'a'bits mum) in the chair.

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    Then Grandma & Mrs Box’a’bits decided to go out for lunch & a spot of shopping, so there went my plans for the day...No mind, I jumped on the chair, & headed out myself.

    Found a cool linking road at the bottom of the Pahiatua Track. Tararua Rd. Narrow single vehicle gravel, tight bends, limited straights, perfect for the chair.

    [​IMG]

    Coffee and fries at ‘Beyond the Bridge Cafe’. This was very busy, in part because of the school holidays, & also an influx of lycra clad cyclists. I think the cafe may have changed hands. Certainly it seems to have had a name change, to ‘The Bridge Cafe’.

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    Hall Block Road was empty. I stopped part way up for photos. Shortly after that came round the corner to a very surprised lady in a Corolla. But she managed to get back on her side of the road, which I appreciated. And a bit further up, surprised a couple of boy racers, who (from the looks of the road further on) had been out for a bit of a skid around.

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    Not the still day of Thurday, hazy, & some heavy looking clouds about, so potential for some showers during the ride.

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    The first portion of the road is wide & open, to accomodate the wind turbines when they were transported up pre final assembly. But now that they are a fixture, the roads aren’t being maintained to quite the same extent, so there are some quite large pot holes forming, especially as the road progresses.

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    Then the turbine portion of the road ceases (some big gates with big go away padlocks), & the road devolves into non maintained track.

    Initially this retains it’s gravel base. As you progress, this starts to break down.

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    Some of the potholes have become large lakes, so it pays to check how deep they are. Also the 4WD traffic is creating ruts, as they seek to avoid the worst of the potholes. On one lake, the water was washing over the right cylinder, which was a worry because the carb vent is under the carb behind the cylinder, so I was concerned we might stall if I wasn’t quick enough in getting out.

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    On the chair I needed to check for depth, camber (if the chair gets too far above the tug it’ll tip), & also ground clearance. Some of the deeper ruts would beach out the chair. I needed to keep an eye on what the chair wheel was riding over. But the advantage over a solo was that I didn’t need to worry about balance & momentum as much. Which meant that I could ride on the top of the middle of wheel tracks, in places where on Gus I would be worried about whether I could get a foot down.

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    Part way round I chanced upon a dad & his 2 kids out for a mountain bike ride. They were surprised to see me there. We chatted. They were heading the same way as me, back to their car. They nicely let me go ahead. From my perspective, this was great, as it meant that I’d have someone to help me if I got stuck.

    The portion near the forestry was wet, as usual, & we bellied out a few times on ruts. Never got completely stuck though.

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    Looks innocuous, but the camber on this was a trial

    Across the turbine road, & into the clay portion of the track (no real sign of the former road now). Shortly into this I struck a real challenging 4WD rut. Tried to sneak past this, but the wheel slipped in, & I was stuck. Fortunately the family I met earlier arrived, & the Dad helped me pulled the rig out. I approached it differently, & managed to get across this. There were several other challenging portions further on - this whole section was much more challenging than the prior former road bed. But we got through, albeit we carried a fair bit of clay out with us, & the mufflers were under water a bit. Amazing stuff (a clay / water slurry) for quietening down the normal rattles & thunks of a working boxer engine.

    [​IMG]

    Stopped & thanked my support crew, took a quick photo for posterity, then rode off. The gravel road on the Pahiatua Track side has thick rolly gravel, & not much grip. Great on the sidecar, but I didn’t enjoy it as much last time I was up there on Gus.

    [​IMG]

    Picked up Mrs Box’a’bits from Grandma’s, then off home to Wellington. Traffic was busy. I was pleased I wasn’t on the northbound SH1 parking lot though (normal peak flows & ANZAC weekend holiday traffic). Fish & chips in the twilight on the Plimmerton beach. Full dark as we arrived home.

    The cat was pretty happy to see us back.

    I haven’t washed the chair yet, & I'm expecting a bit of remedial work will need to be done:
    • I’m expecting some damage from North Range Rd in particular. I see the chair lights aren’t working. I may have lost some wiring from the bottom of the tub. I may need to reroute that thru the tub;
    • On the ride home the chair was pulling to the left at 100 kph. I suspect the alignment has moved;
    • I need to get a headlight switch wired in. I wasn't pulling many revs doing the trickier parts of North Range Rd, & so the battery wasn't charging thru there. That could be embarrassing if I lose the battery on a longer ride.
    Voltaire, bart-nz, dazzadm and 4 others like this.
  6. Oaters

    Oaters Old - not bold - moto riding addict

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    as always Steve - great RR - interested in your impressions of the difference the chair makes when attacking those gnarly 4wd ruts up there - Carpe Diem!
  7. dazzadm

    dazzadm Long timer

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    Just finished editing Heathers videos. It's a shame the definition has been reduced on Youtube. Much clearer in the original clips. Great day:
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  8. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

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    That came out much better than I thought. Thanks for that. Pity about the low resolution.
  9. Night Falcon

    Night Falcon Broke Engine Supporter

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    awesome RR lads. Might be heading back up there myself with a few of the lads very shortly on a momentous outing. Not least as it will be the first time back there since that fateful day but also to help out on a top secret mission.....more to come :evil
    dazzadm and Box'a'bits like this.
  10. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

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    Let me know when you go, & I might be able to slip out & join you.
  11. wairau

    wairau get in behind!

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    good effort! wondered how you'd go on the steep loose bits
  12. Manakau.KTM

    Manakau.KTM Been here awhile

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    Now waiting to see Steve's face on the next $5 note.
  13. Pete-NZ

    Pete-NZ Long timer

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    kool ride... sidecars offroad are quite capable...
    got mine to the top of Mt Pat & though the Porika...
  14. Padmei

    Padmei enamoured

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    fixed for ya
  15. Pete-NZ

    Pete-NZ Long timer

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    Gee thanks......
    lucky yer an't got a pic...... so it didn't happen...



    ...
  16. Manakau.KTM

    Manakau.KTM Been here awhile

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    I think the picnic basket and blanket are a nice touch

  17. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

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    Already got those. Just didn't know how you'd feel about a strap on...
  18. Night Falcon

    Night Falcon Broke Engine Supporter

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    The bloke in the video needed to speak slower so I could understand him. lucky for me I'm pretty good with most foreign languages but I have a hard time understanding fast talking Greeks.
  19. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair Supporter

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    Waiohine Gorge 28th Apr '16:
    WARNING - NOT EVEN SLIGHTLY HARDCORE WRITE-UP...

    Yesterday we decided to take advantage of the ongoing fine weather to have a bit of a picnic & an explore in parts of the Wairarapa we hadn’t seen. And of course get some Parkvale Mushrooms - and maybe some Drunken Nanny Cheese. We agreed that this would be a fully self catered affair – no coffees at cafes on the way.

    By the time we’d been to the supermarket for supplies, & done the household chores, we didn’t get out of the house until after 11.00 am. But we did have the picnic packed. Next time we may even take fold out chairs.

    The morning’s weather didn’t inspire, but improved as we made our way up the Hutt Valley.

    Unfortunately I hadn’t realigned the sidecar after the Takapari Rd & North Range Rd adventures, & it was pulling left anytime we were over 80 kph. Having to fight the steering gets tiring in the longer run. And makes the ride over the Rimutakas less enjoyable. The front guard needs a washer on the right side to straighten it – it was slightly deformed & rubbing the tyre on left handers. And the clatter is back on the left hand cylinder. Annoying. I should have attended to all of these things during the week. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    Waiohine Gorge runs back into the Tararua Ranges, between Featherston, & Greytown. But to get to it you need to ride almost to Carterton, because the access roads are blocked by the Waiohine River (no bridges aside from SH2).

    Given that we were going through Greytown, we briefly popped our noses into the Greytown Motor Camp, just for a look around. Small, sited in what feels like a bush remnant. Might come back for a stay in the summer some time.

    Once you hit the foothills, the road going into the Gorge runs to dirt & gravel. This time the road was pretty well swept. The council had obviously made an attempt to re-gravel it at some stage. Which resulted in lots of gravel on the crown of the road – and almost none elsewhere. The DoC maintained portion of the road deterioated further until it almost felt like the initial portion of Takapari Rd. Because the road is fairly narrow in places, & had more then a few blind corners, I needed to take care to allow for oncoming traffic (so no long WFO slides). There is one concrete stream ford - dry this time.

    We must have had some altitude. There’d been a heavy dew overnight, & even after mid day this was still evident. And we seem to be rushing into winter. Certainly while it was a nice fine day, the light made for the strong contrasts winter sunshine brings, that makes shadows feel deeper, & makes picture taking difficult.

    [​IMG]

    The Gorge itself looks to be is a popular start to tramping in the Tararuas, & I guess would be popular in summer for swimming & picnics. There is plenty of camping areas in the vicinity, & we made use of that for our picnic. The camp grounds are all levelled & mowed grass areas, with pockets into surrounding regenerating bush & scrub allowing for some private areas.

    At the carpark (at the end of the road) there are two tracks – one leading down steepish switchbacks to allow access to the river, & the other to the swingbridge that crosses the gorge. The swingbridge allows access to the tramping tracks the area is known for. From the signboard maps at the carparks, it looks like there are plenty of tracks through the Tararuas, with overnight DoC hut accomodation. The swingbridge is high, with a narrow open steel grid for walking on. Well made, but plenty high enough to completely freak Mrs Box’a’bits out. An internet search tells me the bridge is the longest & highest of its type in the country, at 124 metres long & 40 metres high.

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    Back on the search for mushrooms. Unfortuntely I’d mistimed that run, & made a navigation mistake to compound that error. We arrived at Parkvale after 3.00pm, to discover the farm shop only opens 9.00am to 12.00 noon.

    Near Martinborough we saw Bill Biber out on his Ural with his big dog acting as monkey. Maybe he was on a delivery run – it looked like his boot was open.

    Afternoon tea in the Martinborough Square. The Square still had ANZAC commerative wreathes at the memorial, & individual crosses with knitted poppies for the local war dead.

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    Got some consolation Parkvale mushrooms at Pain & Kershaw (much more expensive than getting them at the farm), but wasn’t able to get the cheese.

    Another trip over the Rimutakas. Passed by a car ½ way up, & then got held up in a queue of traffic led by a tourist in a campervan. Only slighty frustrated. Home by 5.30.
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  20. Underground

    Underground unbefuckingbelievable

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    ha ha, I like it, getting high while on a search for mushrooms.
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