January 6, 2022

First ride of 2022

First ride of 2022

Seems when it comes to New Years, you fall into 1 of 2 camps.
The all night revelers, who party right through to the clock striking 12, then carry on to see the sun come up.
Or, you cant be bothered seeing in the new year, and fall asleep as soon as you head hits the pillow, only to wake up early the next morning and wonder what you're going to do to fill in your day.

I generally fall in to the second category, but waking up early is not by choice, as I have an almost 3 year old son. So when my mate Todd asked if I wanted to go shake down the bikes on the first day of the year... I thought "may as well start as you mean to continue!"

Meeting at Todd's inner city garage around 10am, we made a plan to head out to Wellington's south coast, and see how the Tenere 700 and the newly modified DR650 went on the soft sand and loose river rocks of the trail out to Red Rocks.
So out to Owhero bay, ABS turned off on the T7 and we started our expedition.

Previously I had struggled out here especially in the deep soft stuff, but since then I had done some research into new techniques and body positioning, leaning as far back to bring my mass over the rear wheel, and less weight on the front to let the front wheel skip over the loose stuff. We also took all the preload out of my rear shock to let the rear sag a little and make the bike be less "nosey". I was keen to see how this would play out.

I didn't have to wait long, there's a nasty patch of soft sand not far from the first gate. I have come unstuck here on many bikes, including the T7.
Instantly I noticed a difference. Where I was previously timid and nervous, feeling the bike squirm, and track through the sand where ever it wanted to, now I felt the confidence of a king, able to drive the bike on, and even click up the gears.

We carried on, and soon came up on the one major obstacle which scares off most people who venture out this far. Devils Gate. From the mostly flat gravel track along the coast line, you come out to a rocky point. The track inclines half way up the rocks, to a point where the rocks have been blasted through. An imposing rock step greets you, and you climb over the lip and straight into a declining gravel track to carry on around the point. This requires a little skill, but mostly just commitment to the cause. I lined up, and apart from hitting the rock step a little hard, I was up and over no problem.

From here, the task is to carry on around the coast as far as you dare. We came up on a bit of a beach, where the track although higher, was very soft. so we decided to ride further down near the water where the sand was much harder. I had just been saying to Todd over the intercom "the trick to this is to just not stop" and what did I do? Yep, I stopped. Todd laughed and rode rings around me, being in soft sand I couldn't exactly put the side stand down, so taking advantage of my inability to move until help arrived, he took out his phone and started filming. We eventually turned the bike around, and enjoyed a leisurely and uneventful ride back to Wellington.

All and all, a pretty good way to kick off the year. Fingers crossed for plenty more opportunities to ride with good mates and have epic adventures.

Check out the video below.