Bike rally journal


The beginnings

Frosty looked like crap, and I told her so. She hadn’t fully recovered from a recent bout of  influenza, and the effects were pretty damn obvious.

‘Stay home, rest up and get better.’ I suggested on several occasions, each time attracting one of those ‘Don’t piss me off looks.’

Eventually, I gave it away, and got on with the business of loading my bike in preparation for the nine days riding that lay ahead.

Planned departure time was 10:30am from Donna’s home in North Canterbury. Frosty and I arrived first, and while we were enjoying hot coffee, Richard pulled in on his Softail Nostalgia. By 11:am Porry still hadn’t fronted. A quick phone call to his home told us he’d left, and shouldn’t be far away. A short while later we heard the exhaust sound from Porry’s Anniversary Dyna Lowrider as he turned into the neighbourhood. Porry was of the understanding we weren’t leaving ‘til mid-day, just a regular touch of minor confusion that can go hand in hand with the best laid plans.

(Below) From left: Brian, Richard, Frosty, Porry and Donna. The little dude with the pointy ears is Gem.

This run was going to be low key and laid back. No big miles, no great rush to get anywhere. Only the previous week, Donna had taken delivery of her Harley trike. She was still growing used to handling the beast, and would be in no hurry to cover the ground that lay ahead of her. Frosty, considering her condition, shouldn’t be in a hurry, but probably would be anyway. Porry reckoned his days of hard riding were over. Richard, who works as a guide for a motorcycle tour company had just come off the road after two back to back twenty day tours. He was content to relax and enjoy the countryside. And I was mostly interested in gathering a fair selection of memories by way of photographs and not a lot else. Guess we sound like a bunch of motorcycling geriatrics huh!



Two more people planned to join our small group at various stages along the way. Richard’s wife Adrienne, and our friend Dean, who due to work commitments, wasn’t able to ‘escape’ until later in the week.

By 11:30am we were heading west via HWY-72 to a late lunch in the South Canterbury town of Geraldine. The weather forecast threatened rain, but despite an overcast sky that looked like it could have opened up and dumped on us at any moment, we didn’t see any. Over lunch, Donna explained one of the most noticeable issues with her trike was the fuel consumption. It had increased considerably from the days when her machine was a two wheeler. She’d had prior warning of what to expect considering the extra weight etc; and simply accepted the situation as par for the course.

Donna heads south on HWY-72.

The road from Geraldine to Fairly twists and turns and rises and falls in every conceivable direction. It was while travelling this particular piece of  highway I noticed Donna appeared to be unaware her left hand rear wheel came perilously close to dropping off the edge of the road on several occasions while cornering. Recent heavy rains had scoured a deep storm water ditch out of the soft clay at roadside in many parts, and the thought of her wheel dropping into the ditch produced visions of an upside down trike. Not a good look for sure.

When we pulled into High Country Motorcycles just west of Fairly town-ship, I explained to Donna what I’d observed. She put it down to one of the hazards of switching from a two wheeler to a trike and declared to be more aware in future. Frosty was experiencing problems of her own. Due to her physical condition she was having difficulty concentrating and had almost come to grief three times since leaving home.

Three times! Didn’t I say she should’ve stayed home?

Fortunately, we didn’t have much farther to travel. In fact Tekapo was our first overnighter and was only about 45 minutes easy riding away. Frosty looked pale and drawn. Little did I know that within 24 hours I would be looking pretty much the same.