I'm a fair weather rider which means that I take the weather conditions into account before riding. I don't mind weather changing but if there are 2 or 3 of the elements of rain, wind or icy chill likely then it's likely I won't set out to ride unplanned on a spontaneous ride. If I've not ridden for a while I may brave going out but I do look forward to the warmer days where suiting up to keep warm isn't a drag that somehow detracts from the spontaneity of grabbing a quick opportunity.
I rode 2 Saturdays back in howling Auckland wind accompanied by the odd light rain patch and although I look back at the ride as exhilarating, it was still only enjoyable as a group experience and I only ventured out because I'd arranged a group of us to ride down to an event at Hampton Downs and to back out would look girlie. I value the experience of riding in all conditions but wouldn't set out by choice next time in similar conditions.
So this last Saturday I was really excited to see Sunshine and my good wife and I decided to take a quick run out through the pretty waitakere forest range to Paihia and then for breakfast at Titirangi township. Auckland weather is a bit bipolar and changes fast but we got a clean ride all the way in stunning conditions on dry roads.
Then I had the day off work on Monday and, on checking the skies, made a snap decision to zip out to the Coromandel peninsula. I left early enough to have to navigate morning traffic but it was light and flowing and I enjoyed that part knowing I was heading to a freedom ride while others were headed to their daily grind. Looking out at the peninsula I saw cloud and wondered if I'd made a mistake but as I approached along the beautiful road turning in off the freeway that for some crazy reason has been designated a high crash road so has a 10km lower speed limit, I realised I was committed and so pushed on.
I decided to travel through Thames and onward towards the point along a gently winding road that runs right along the sea with emerald green bays at every turn and all I can say is that the view is breathtakingly beautiful. The sea was as calm as a lake as I looked back on East Auckland I really had to allow my senses to grasp the experience. Not only is the Hayabusa a perfect bike for this type of trip but I can honestly say that I felt truly spoilt and, based on my endless youtube searches for great bike rides, felt that I envied very few in comparison to what I was enjoying.
What added to my sense of overwhelming satisfaction was that I was riding on my Hayabusa. Forget what you read about it just being a fast bike in a straight line. It is intuitive around the bend, forgiving in corners and has the most amazing front suspension over rough bumps. All this makes for the perfect blend of power and comfort and when the serious twisties present themselves it is not as difficult to lean as some blogs make out.
At the end of the peninsula the road turns inward from the sea line and runs through carpets of forest that stretch out in every direction to the sea shores on every side. Here there are more serious corners that can be taken slowly and carefully or quicker and more daringly. I was cruising until an adventure bike zipped past me and the rider obviously knew the road as he cornered with the most clinical lines. This was a great challenge to me and I put my bike through its paces keeping up while carefully watching and learning from him. I don't know if he enjoyed me on his tail but I enjoyed having a marker all the way into the quaint Coromandel Town.
All I kept wishing was that my wife and riding buddies were with me but I figured that I would simply use this as a good recce of the route and I have already begun to plan the day trip with them. I can't wait to enjoy this ride with friends and, while the average speed will be somewhat slower as a group than my solo run, the fun of riding together and seeing others share this great ride is what biking is all about.
I am still surprised by the bikers I meet who've not yet done the coromandel loop and I can't fathom why. I recently watched Henry Cole's World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides on the Discovery Channel and he was travelling along desert roads in the Australian outback for hours. Well, here I was wondering why Australian bikers are not queuing up to experience what I just have. It certainly must rival any ride in the world.