July 19th 2010.
I used to watch the old fella’s in cloth caps and waxed cotton jackets pottering around on their trials bikes when I was a nipper, every month we knew there was a trial coming because overnight loads of multicoloured cardboard triangles just appeared apparently at random on trees all over the small forest we used to play in.
It wasn’t a big forest but it had housed an anti aircraft gun battery in the war and there were a fair few large sized craters dotted around where the Huns had tried to knock it out, these had all grown over and often filled with water by the time we were playing in them but the trials guys loved riding in and out of them and we used to watch them in awe, I would have been about 9 when I first saw a trial and along with a handful of good mates I was determined to do the things they did on their trials bikes, on my bicycle..
It is always a surprise to me what you can actually achieve if you put your mind to it and looking back now at some of the things we did as kids I am quietly grateful we got away with it but it was fun at the time and we certainly turned a few heads!
We figured that the biggest difference between a motorbike and our bicycles was the brakes and suspension, one day we found a burned out stolen Honda 90 in the bottom of one of the craters and dragged it out, between the 3 of us we managed to drag/carry/lift the wreck to a mates house and got his dad to lend us the tools to pull it to bits, all we wanted was the front forks and wheel and it wasn’t long before we had the whole front end off and had a spare bicycle stripped down as well, we wanted to fit the Honda front forks onto the bicycle frame and then we would have awesome brakes and front suspension as well!
It took a little while and with a bit if Dad’s help we got it fixed up and it was soon ready for a test ride, jamming the brake on hard actually lifted the front wheel up at first then locked the front wheel and lifted up the back wheel (like a stoppie!) the only problem was the extra weight meant we couldn’t pull wheelies any more...
With all the enthusiasm of youth we set off back to the woods, determined to have a go at the steepest of the descents that only the bravest of the trials guys used to go down, we called it the Wall of Death and it involved going around the side of a crater, down into the middle through a narrow gap between a couple of logs, through some thick mud and back up the other side.. we were all young and bulletproof and kept goading each other on, Justin got to have the first go as his dad had helped us fix it and he went flying down the side of the crater, hit the brakes hard as he got to the logs and promptly went straight over the handlebars! We fell about laughing and he ended up soaking wet and covered in mud!! My turn next and I got down ok and navigated through the logs but I had lost a lot of speed and trying to power through the mud I got stuck and fell off face first into the mud.. Tony had watched our efforts and figured a way through, he was quite slow down the first part of the slope and then gave it everything as he approached the logs and managed to get through and most of the way up the other side before the bottom frame tube broke and the front wheel started to run away from the rest of the bike, Tony ended up on a bike that was about 10 feet long and almost broken in half with the handlebars almost touching the ground.. We fell about laughing! Although it was not the most successful of trials it was only the first of many fun experiments we made as we dreamed of having our own bikes and even one day joining in with the old fella’s in their cloth caps..
Well it took a while, but I did get to join those old fella’s!( Not that they seem that old anymore)although the cloth caps have been replaced with helmets and the waxed cotton jackets are now special fabrics and armour..
30 years later I took part in my first trial with the Pioneer Club here in Canterbury, an absolutely stunning day in the Kaituna Valley on the way to Akaroa . I had a new GAS GAS 250 Trials bike in the back of the van and a huge sense of optimism..
When you see really good people do something it always looks easy.. I have to admit that I thought that riding a trials bike would be easier than it is... I asked questions of the very patient Pioneer guys (and Gals!) and watched what they did carefully, I got a bit confused by all the little flags they use to show the different routes (technologies answer to the cardboard triangles from the seventies!) but I had the best day on the bike, I didn’t fall off too badly, I didn’t disgrace myself and I completed all the Muppet type sections...in short I had a ball!
The Pioneer Club have regular trials every month all around the place and this Sunday they are holding a trial near Little River in the splendid Western Valley, if you would like to go and see for yourself what all the fuss is about, you need to send me an email and I will send you the directions etc,
However!!!! If you fancy having a go on a Trials bike in a proper trial then you can, I am offering up to 3 people the chance to ride my Gas Gas 250 in this weekend’s trial, there is no charge for using the bike other than a flat fee of $10 for gas, if you fall off however you will have to pay for any damages, these rarely amount to much as these bikes are almost bombproof..
You will need:
ü Transport to the trial for you and the bike on its trailer
ü Open face helmet and high leg leather boots..
ü Entry fee of about $20
ü Lunch and drinks
If this idea appeals to you send me an email by close of play on Wednesday and I will give you some more information, there is some gear that is available to borrow depending on your size, you will also be expected to clean the bike afterwards!
For more info on the club go to www.pioneertrials.co.nz
News From the showroom
The clearance pricing on our stock is definitely working with all sorts of bikes leaving, the ABS Sprint and Street Triple have gone, almost all the Daelim 250’s and several used bikes are all in their new homes.. You should call in and see the crazy prices we have on not just the bikes but the riding gear as well, helmets reduced from $499 to just $299 and ladies jackets from only $244....
Workshop tip of the week
Make sure you check you brake pads regularly, we had a bike in the workshop this week that was just about to leave on a long trip and the rear pads were down to the metal, the pads are reasonably cheap at around $50 for a pair but the discs are not, the list price for a Triumph Sprint Disc is $745, if the pads had not been changed the owner would probably have damaged the disc before getting to his next service.. on most bikes you can shine a torch down the side of the disc and see the pad material, if you can see more than about 3-4mm either side of the disc then you should be fine, less than that and you should take the caliper off to have a look.
If you do replace them yourself remember to check the fluid level in the reservoir, as you compress the pistons to fit the new pads you fill up the reservoir, make sure you have room for the excess or it will flow over onto your paint.. And then take it off!
Rides and Events coming up
If you are not sure ask one of the workshop team for advice.. 03 366 2201
27th July - Want to take part in a film shoot? South Pacific Motorcycle Tours need some volunteers to take part in a promotional shoot they are commissioning to show the rest of the world how amazing it is riding a bike in the south island. You will need a late model bike and time to spare next Tuesday, there are some company bikes available as well. For more information speak to Simon Jamieson the Operations Manager for South Pacific on 03 312 0066
25th July – Pioneer Trials Club –Sporting trial in Western Valley (signposted from Little River) starting at 10.30am open to all, New riders and spectators welcome, some riding gear available, take your warm weather gear as it is still cold in the hills! On wet or dry.
24th July – Ruapuna – Golightly training day, entries for this day are now full, if you have not entered and would like to go on a waiting list send me an email and I will do what I can to help.. Start time at the track is 8.30am.
That’s about all for now from the dream factory, keep it black side down and don’t let the cold beat ya!
Best Regards from the team at Street and Sport
"They mis-underestimated me." -George W. Bush (president)"I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded: dead."
— Woody Allen.Shrimp with assroted vegetables." — Typo on a Chinese restaurant menu.
Street and Sport Motorcycles Ltd
Triumph Dealers for Canterbury and Westland
63 Manchester St
03 366 2201