Milky Bar ride 1 Jan

New Years Day Ride 01-01-2021. We had a stunning day today for the first ride of the year with an impressive number of bikes, 46, rolling up to Mcdonalds Quay Street, despite the earlier than usual start time of 9.00am. 2 years ago we had 43 bikes, today was 46, a good indication of the ongoing popularity of the New Years day ride. I pulled into the Mobil petrol station next to McD's around 8:00am expecting to be the first one there, wrong. Craig Moodiewas already climbing back on his bike after refuelling.

Karen Moller went into McDonalds to order our breakfast, a bacon and egg McMuffin and a coffee, (not the healthiest of breakfasts but it sure went down well) while I filled the bike. It wasn't too long before we were joined by lots more clubmates, anticipating a great ride to match the great day. I am sure, all of you who attended will agree, that is exactly what we got. Auckland turned on a beautiful calm sunny day and a full tide which meant some stunning vistas.

We pulled out of the carpark dead on 9am and headed back up to the southern motorway eager to leave the already building traffic in our dust. We followed the motorway to Highbrook where we got off and travelled along highbook Drive unitl we crossed over Chapel Road, where we turned right onto Point View Drive. The views across SouthEast Auckland were impressive. I was pretty happy to hear that this was a new road for many in our group. We turned right at the roundabout onto Whiford Road. Through the gorge, and down the hill into Whitford where we went straight over the next roundabout. Now we were heading for a potty stop in Maraetai, with a detour off to the left on to Jack Lachlan Drive which takes you down to Pine Harbour Marina. From here you get stunning views across the channel to Cockle Bay and Howick. We got more than a few admiring glances at our bikes from the boaties.

From there we headed to Omana Beach, where we skirted the coast for a wee while. The views of the beach goers were as impressive as the scenery. Time was marching on, and one of our rdiers let me know he was nearly out of fuel, so I elected not to stop at the toilets and carried on through to Clevedon for a fuel stop. From there we turned left onto Monument Road, which runs into Sky High Road, bound for Hunua Falls. I was impressed with the sterling efforts of the corner markers, the ride kept together really well. At the Hunua Carpark, we may have pissed off a few tin-tops as we filled up most of the available empty carparks, plus overflowed on the paddock behind, where someone had kindly provided us with a picnic table in the shade. Many of the group trekked over to the toilets and the on-site coffee van, which was an added bonus. I have not seen one there before.

After spending a pleasant 45 minutes, the worms were getting restless, more than a few asked where and when we were having lunch. We got back on our bikes heading to Mercer, via Ararimu, over the motorway at Ramarama and along the Great South Road. I was intending to come into Mercer from the Tuakau side, but was pretty conscious of the rumbling tummies behind me, so decided to take the direct route and hit the motorway. You won't find me doing that too often!! The Mercer Service Centre was where we were heading, and we all made it in quick time. The parking was ample and the bacon butties divine, washed down with a cuppa. No, I'm not English, what makes you ask?

From there everyone left for home at their own pace in dribs and drabs. Most of us heading northwards, but a few hardy souls heading south for Matamata, Hilton Toung, Waihi, Wayne Larsen and Ngatea, Trevor Birchall

Thanks to everyone for coming along to make it another successful ride, including a good number from North Habour Branch. I had a blast as I hope you all did. Happy New year guys, keep the shiny side up.

Writeup and photos by Chris Moller.