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Club Run to Akaroa - 21 Dec 2014.
The weather man promised that things would go well until early evening today, so we felt ok about heading off to the Bush Inn carpark with rather gray skies. By the time we got there the cloud layer was starting to break up - promises to be a great day.!
The turnout was impressive. Obviously, Akaroa is a popular destination, and this time of year is bound to see more bikes out on the road anyway. The gang forms up..
Some tasty machinery here today - the pick of the crop in BSA circles I reckon.
As usual, people form into small groups chatting about all sorts of things mostly motorcycle. Unless its the cricket. I think it was motorcycle today. This is called "clumping".
So that's nice..
At some critical time in proceedings Thomas spoke magic words which caused people to don various gladitorial gear and proceed to coax life from their ancient velocipedes. Mostly with great success.
I had heard the words "Tai Tapu", so I assumed we would go to that place whereupon something might happen. It did. We formed an orderly queue in the main street where some other motorcycles had conveniently parked up to welcome us. The Mines Corporation they were - looking resplendent in their high heels and feather boas. Oh sorry - that was the City Care lot - these guys wore pukka bike garb and looked like people not to be messed with. So we didn't. Much. Apparently I'm doing 48Kph..
After the prerequisite amount of nothing happening Jim fired up the Lightning and hit the road - causing a spontaneous ditto from all and sundry, and we joined the other Sunday traffic heading for Little River. A few corners later I was getting in the groove but the bike was weaving around more than usual. Damn - not even Xmas yet and we have both put on weight. Either that or one of my rear shock absorbers has suffered Christchurch-itis. Or the front forks. Hard to tell. Push it a bit harder and see..
An uneventful jaunt later we are approaching Little River. By now I am convinced that something is wrong, and it seems to be getting wronger. Let me think now - I'm sure I have felt this same trend in the past. What was it.? Aaaah yes. It was a puncture.
We pull up at the second cafe as others have. There are other bikes here too. We dismount and I check the rear tyre. Decidedly squishy. While I am looking at it there is suddenly an outburst of air escaping noises, and the bottom end of the tyre gets all square. Damn. I hate it when that happens.
Our new ally Mark - a triples guy normally residing in Germany but home and new owner of a mouth-watering Firebird - offers to rip down to the local gas station for a tyre pando. I have never had much luck with them, but anything is better than walking. He soon returns with the very thing - having had to hand over a Princely sum therefore. Having thoroughly checked the tyre for any foreign objects other than a Chinese inner tube, and deciding there are none, I attach the Pando and push the cautionary button. Great noises of rushing stuff emanate and all manner of unsightly goo forces its way through the valve. Oh well - didn't need that valve too much. Amazingly, the tyre becomes quite inflated and rather tight to the touch, so we pat each other on the backs and break out the Champers. Then I am informed that the label says "go to the petrol station and inflate properly". So I did. It felt rather uncomfortable for a while - until I realised that they meant the tyre. So I did that. I then rode back waving cheerfully to the rest of the gang at the first cafe that all was well - even though as far as they were concerned - it already was. I parked up with the boys again grinning vigorously in my Triumph. Or on it. Until I heard the great escaping air noises again. At which point my grinning tapered off to some extent. As in totally. Pox.
Young Thomas - he who has all things - fronted up and explained that he had previously secreted a 19" inner tube and a pair of tyre levers inside his left nostril. Might they be of help.? Having an adequate supply of nostrils already in my toolkit, I wisely chose the inner tube and tyre levers, and we all set about whacking things left right and left again.
Note to self: Tyre Pandos make a bloody mess. Do not be tempted. We also found a large staple - or part thereof - embedded in the tyre, so my ride to the gas station had probably succeeded in poking half a dozen fresh holes in the ailing inner tube. That figures.
The sun came out and the temperature inside my black leathers rose to hitherto impossible levels. However, we had a plethora of helpful bods on hand to quickly point out what a hash you were making of things. Mark - god bless him - took on the filthy job of removing a bladder full of recently splurged tyre pando innards from the inside of the tyre, while I tried to do the same with my rim.
Having both succeeded yet again, I carried the newly tubed wheel down to the air pressure thing and did the honours. This time there were no noises to indicate yet another hole - so I returned in a slightly more optimistic frame of mind. Wheel refitted we pondered what to do next. Mark had run out of time, so he headed back home. Allan was not sure whether he had time or not, as there was no cellphone reception here and he could not call Beth. We decided that if we at least rode up to the hilltop, we could gain reception there, and return or press on as conditions might dictate. Fortunately there was enough time on hand, so we would continue to Akaroa. I latched on to the rear of Ant's A10 and raced down the hill. I could hear every gearchange he made, as my engine was not running. Time for gravity to come to the party. Such is the nature of this hill that I was able to stay with him all the way down. I was also able to make some attempts at diagnosing a rather annoying tuning issue that was taking place with his bike. Definite lack of fuel to the engine when accelerating from a closed throttle. Either low float level or crud in the system I reckon. I hit the button at the bottom and lit the fire in the Trident again. A nice crisp trot around the bays until we entered Akaroa and found the gang holed up in a well fortified fish and chip shop. Bikes were parked in pride of place over the road on the foreshore. There cannot be a more photogenic spot for bikes on the planet.
Us latecomers get our orders in at the chippery and find plenty to talk about whilst we await our tasty treats. As usual - google can answer any question that we cannot.
After we dispose of lunch we retire across the road to absorb the ambience and breath in both the ozone and the Castrol GTX. What a mix!
Once again the clumps form - information is moving from mind to mind. With any luck, we may remember what it was at the end of the day. Either way, it is part of the day that is fun.
On the right day, this place is so atmospheric you remember why you were born a Kiwi, or a Cantabrian. Possibly both. Of all the things we grew up valuing - many are right here, right now.
The Kilroy Trident seems totally oblivious of the recent brouhaha and ensuing mayhem. It must have a memory as short as mine.
The ride home was suitably without drama. We turned off the Akaroa highway at Millers Road, and headed over Gebbies Pass and around the harbour to Lyttelton, after which it was a mere formality to cruise back to the eastside and home. Allan had a good ride on the green Rocket 3, has to be worth a photo..
That was my view of the day. If somebody had to get today's puncture, I am quite happy it was me. The troops rallied, and it all turned out spiffingly well. Thanks to Thomas and Mark. I need to repay both for their contributions - xmas seems to have intervened, but we shall all meet back on the road soon enough.
Cheers all, Kilroy.