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Slartidbartfast does the South Island (New Zealand)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slartidbartfast, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    13,186
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    I have seen countless photos and video clips of people (easily) riding their fully-loaded huge adventure bikes across rivers a hundred times wider than this and four times deeper and probably with the bottom strewn with head-sized slippery cobbles. I've also ridden my offroad bike with offroad tyres over slimy tree-roots a foot high in the pouring rain in the woods.

    Then again, I've seen plenty photos of bikes laying on their side in a river, with the riders struggling to pick them up while water soaks into their equipment, pours into the engine and drowns the ignition and other electrical equipment I've also felt a bike slipping out from under me with that inevitability that can only result in a bike laying down and things bent and broken.

    It's taken me ten times as long to write this as it took to happen. Dammit there was only a few meters of shallow water between me and an easy ride to Hamner Springs. I did it once so I can do it again.

    Fire the bike up, stand on the pegs and away we go....

    How easy was that? Straight through the ford, with no significant drama and apart from shooting water up my trouser legs, nothing untoward to show for it. I paused again and after kicking myself for not taking more photos (or even setting up a camera to record the effort) resumed my route, easily skirting a third branch of the stream that was now just a big puddle. Within 400m I met the main (sealed) road and my concerns were over.
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    I'm still not sure if I was just being over-anxious (and now being over-dramatic) about an easy water-crossing or whether I got lucky! Vowing to do more dirt-riding when I get home I zoomed off toward Hamner Springs.
  2. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    13,186
    Location:
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    The Inland Road (now that I was actually on it) was a real treat. It is narrow, quiet, bendy, and winds through some beautiful hills, working its way across several valleys along the way. The surface is considerably less than stellar and in one place there was so much bare tar with free oil sweating out of it that someone had spread sand on a steep downhill turn to try and improve things. :yikes I rode with a careful eye on the surface and only had the tires step out a little on two or three occasions (and was a lot more comfortable with this than crossing a little pebbly ford :D )
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    I was almost disappointed when the Inland Road joined up with the main Lewis Pass road for a few miles. After all, I had ridden this bit before. However, the sky was clear, the evening sun warm and the views stunning. The road to Hamner is short but crosses a spectacular high bridge. I had not made a reservation at the Hamner YHA for the night, as most days I had been 'winging it' and been lucky so far. My luck held and not only did I get a bed but got a twin room for a dorm price :thumb
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    The weestrom found a parking spot next to a couple of sport-bikes - an SV1000 and a Hyabusa, both sporting luggage racks, similar to the one I had seen on a ZX1400 a few days ago. I'm pretty sure I've never seen a rack on any of those models in the US.
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    After checking in and shedding my hot riding gear, a short walk to a convenience store netted a cheap but acceptable bottle of red wine, which might also have been a contributing factor to why I didn't get this written and posted last night :lol3
  3. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
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  4. PaulGir

    PaulGir Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    97
  5. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Well I said I'd mention sheep... :evil

    Coming along the Inland road yesterday, I came round a tight bend to find a flock of sheep coming up the road and turning into a gate in front of me. I cut the engine and chatted with the shepherd for a bit while I waited (I don't think they're actually shepherds here but drovers.) This was a very big flock of sheep, numbering in the many hundreds at least and when the last few animals finally came running along, and the stragglers were gathered up, I noticed that there were five dogs working the sheep. I have never seen so many animals working together on a flock at one time.
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    Anyhow, an old school-friend of mine who now lives in Melbourne (and is probably going to read this) gave me some advice a couple of weeks ago to do with New Zealanders and sheep. Well it is my duty to report that nobody in New Zealand has mentioned sheep to me at all other than once in passing conversation of a strictly agricultural nature. I also hold that my own mention of sheep, while the first official mention in this thread has more to do with road conditions and local agricultural practices than any cultural fascination with the wooly-coated creatures.

    So, SC from Melbourne (You know who you are,) YOU were the only one to bring up the subject. I therefore present the following as a possible means to temporarily sustain your ovine fixation:
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    Unless, of course you prefer the objects of your obsession to be a little less hirsute:
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    Finally, I came across the following URL reference. I assme you are already familiar with it but if not, well here it is:
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  6. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    The lads on the sportbikes were packing to leave at the same time as me this morning. We chatted for a bit and I was glad to see them using their bikes for touring rather than just posing around town. They were off to hire some mountain bikes for the day. I would have loved to join them but, alas, the weestrom was due back today and I must leave in the morning.
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    It was a gorgeous morning and I stopped a few times to take photos and relish the surroundings. I almost managed to catch some decent photos of the handsome New Zealand magpies. They didn't quite elude the camera altogether but got far enough away to make a good shot near-impossible (more on that later.)

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    Approaching the coast, I encountered that overcast sky and chilly breeze again. There were a lot of bikes heading the other way and I envied them, knowing they would soon be carving corners under an azure sky.
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  7. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
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    All too soon, I had made my way back through Christchurch, filled the tank and was back at the rental place, Te Waiponamu. They asked about my trip and gave me a beer while I unloaded the bike, removed the GPS power outlet and repacked my bags. I covered 2570 miles, according to the Weestrom's odometer - although today's ride was the shortest of the entire trip at only around 135km or 85 miles.
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    I chatted with the mechanics for a bit and let them know that the bike's steering bearings were badly notched and needed to be replaced - I had finally figured out the cause of weird low speed handling, a nasty wobble hands-off at 30-50kph and an occasional knock over bumps were all related to the same thing. They had the weekend to get the bike cleaned up, serviced, presumably do the steering, and replace the tyres, ready for a tour beginning on Monday. Several other bikes were there getting similar attention. They claimed that the Veestrom 650 is the overall most reliable, lowest cost-per-mile bike that they operate - and they should know as they have dozens of them.

    One of the fellas was heading into town and dropped me at the YHA from where I will be departing for the airport in the morning.
  8. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    As suggested, I made sure I had the time to have a look at another famous Kiwi motorbike. It's just around the corner from the YHA right next to the Cathedral so easy to find.
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    Touch it! Heck they let me sit on it :thumb Let's just say I was rather careful swinging my leg over so as not to damage a half-million dollar bit of motorcycling history.
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    In fact there are three complete race-bikes and a lot of other memorabilia in the small, free museum at the offices of Britten's former real-estate business.
  9. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,024
    Location:
    Fly over zone
    This has been a great RR.. Thanks for taking the time to post it.
    I hope to be over in NZ in a few years.
    Hey, I'm glad you had the stream crossing adventure.. Get's the blood pumping right? :eek1

    Glad you had a safe trip.

    Jeff
  10. mcguyver

    mcguyver Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,178
    Location:
    STRALIA
    Thanks a lot
    I leave for NZ in 3 weeks time and now feel as though I have seen all I need to see. May as well stay at home and save the money..............NOT :clap :clap:D
  11. Mileater

    Mileater Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Thanks for a great RR Slarti :clap:clap It was good fun to see some piccies of familliar places with comments from another's point of view. I think you managed it very well and I enjoyed it all.

    Re the racks on Spotsbikes - well, it is almost traditional in NZ as most have the luxury of only one bike and it has to do whatever duty is required of it. It is not uncommon to see, for instance, an R1, two up with a packrack loaded to the gunwales (tent, sleeping bags etc.) as they head off for a "trip." I can't say that it would be comfortable for the pillion, perched on a 6x4 board up there in the airflow, but they manage and I applaud them for making the effort to enjoy the two-wheel experiences that can be had here.

    Take care and thanks, again, for taking the time to put this RR together for us.

    Cheers :freaky
    Allan
  12. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    DEFINITELY NOT! I ran out of suitable adjectives to describe the awesomeness of the place on the morning of the second day riding, and photos can not do it justice either. You'll have a great time (but you already knew that.)
  13. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    I was probably just being a complete pansy over the whole stream crossing. It was a great little bit of added adventure - just a tad unexpected. My main worry was what dumping the bike might cost me when I returned it with lots of added dents and scrapes. If I'd been on my DR, I would have plowed on through without much concern (then probably turned around and done it again just for good measure.) In fact, I'd love to come back on a dirt bike and ride some of the great trails Warewolf told me about. His KTM is the perfect do-it-all bike for NZ IMO.
  14. Howiezowie

    Howiezowie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.
    Slarti . . .
    A pity we didn't get to meet . As it happened I was in Queenstown when you were and would have offered you accom for the night.
    Another top ride report and pictures - where to next.
    Cheers
    H
  15. Lili Von Shtupp

    Lili Von Shtupp 102° Rx = + /_\

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Hi Slarti

    I've been looking forward to your updates every day, I'm a little sad its over now :cry

    I'm glad you have a great time and thanks for ensuring that NZ gets over run with bike tourists for the next billion years! Have a safe trip home and thanks again for an awesome Ride Report. :freaky
  16. Aah5

    Aah5 russ

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
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    Location:
    Brisbane,Australia
    Thanks for the great RR. That brought back too many great memories of my 6 month trip I took on in 1980, managed to do 20,000 klms on my SR500 touring around both islands,caving, climbing, whitewater rafting and tramping. It really is a top spot for bikes and caters for all adventure activitys. Well done and thanks.
  17. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
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    Not half as sad as I am. It didn't half go by fast.

    Sorry I wasn't organized enough to arrange a second meeting at the Twisted Hop :beer Next time eh?
  18. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    I have a number of ideas for future trip destinations but a return to NZ is definitely on the cards at some point. I think I missed a small island to the North :lol3
  19. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Took these from the plane and they do a fair job of showing parts of Christchurch and the landscape up the East coast, North of there, including the Marlborough Sounds. I would have liked to be on the shaded side of the plane, facing the Central Alps and the West Coast but this worked out. It's funny to think I was riding along here just two days ago.
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  20. machinebuilder

    machinebuilder Long timer

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    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Great look at a part ofthe world most of us will never see :clap:clap


    You're a hoopy frood.........but where's your towel?