Me & My Bike: Out in the elements and loving it
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Tell us about your bike?
It’s a 2016 Honda 1000 Africa Twin, registered in late January this year. It is red with black wheels and gold forks and has numerous modifications ... ContiTrailAttack 2 tyres, crash bars, Fenda Extenda, heated grips, tall screen and visor to name a few.
What do you like about it?
I like the power for swift overtaking and getting over the back roads I like to ride. The wide band of torque that eliminates a lot of gear changing. The height above the road … the comfort the seat and suspension provides for long days on the road. It’s easy to ride at slow speeds with my feet on the pegs.
How does it suit your personality?
It’s an adventure bike and I like adventures and exploring. It takes courage to get the best from it, and that suits me.
Is this a commuter bike or a leisure bike?
It’s both as I use it to commute to meetings when convenient as it cuts down Auckland travel time. A trip to a meeting that may take 45 minutes by car, is 15 minutes on the bike.
If there’s space in my schedule, I will ride down into the King Country or up north with a couple of overnight stops during the week with a few mates.
Nearly every weekend I am out on the roads to the west and north of Auckland with other members of the Sunday Coffee Riders gang.
Who else rides your Honda?
Any of my motorcycling mates can ride it. They are all better riders than me and they let me ride their bikes. Having someone else ride my bike occasionally means another pair of eyes, fingers, feet and backside may detect a problem that’s sneaking up without my noticing.
What other bikes have you had?
A Honda CB350F, Suzuki 125, Suzuki 650 VStrom and a BMW F700 GS.
Is this your dream ride?
Two bikes I’d like to own some day are a BMW S1000 XR for trips on sealed roads and a Triumph Street Triple RS for track days.
2016 Honda 1000 Africa twin. Photo / Ted Baghurst
Do ride in all weathers?
I do, as I like to be exposed to the elements and there is the challenge of handling in bad weather. There’s the satisfaction of exploiting the high levels of grip that modern tyres provide.
What do you always carry when you are riding?
Tubes and puncture repair kit as my bike has spoked wheels with tubed tyres. I also carry phone, tools, tying wire, duct tape, latex gloves, screen cleaner, first aid kit, cleaning cloths, etc.
Any bike courses?
My bike licence came with my driver’s licence but I have completed some riding courses — Ride Forever run by ProRider and a day at the Taupo Motorsport Park under the leadership of Aaron Slight.
I have gained a lot more knowledge of what the bike I’m riding is capable of and what I need to improve on in making use of the bike’s capability.
For example, I have found out how quickly the bike will stop when braking hard enough to activate the ABS.
Any special riding gear?
I always wear full-face helmet, protective jacket and trousers (my jeans are Kevlar and carbonfibre reinforced), boots and gloves, hi-vis vest or rain jacket.
Downsides of riding?
The neglect of councils in failing to ensure that all loose chip is completely swept off resealed roads. It’s astonishing that they create and leave such serious hazards on the roads we ride.
If you could go on a road trip anywhere with any rider?
The Bolivian and Colombian “Death Roads” with Marc Marquez to see how the best Moto GP rider in the world would deal with those conditions. I’d go on my Honda Africa Twin – I’m sure it’s equal to the task.