182 Days to New Zealand
All of our rides for 2013 are sold out. We, in the Hammond Family, are so grateful for this overwhelming support. Your support has allowed us to extend our humanitarian efforts further and further each year. Thank you.
Now as we look forward to 2014, we are very excited to be able to escape our northern hemisphere winter and return to New Zealand. It has been five years since we have been able to circle the South Island hosted by our special friends, Donna and Graham Beker. Your flights will go out of Los Angeles on the night of January 6th to arrive in Queenstown on January 8th. We lose one day on the calendar as we cross the International Date Line.
We are received at the airport in Queenstown by our hosts Donna and Graham, and from there, Beker Motorcycle Tours take over for ten days of riding through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, very little traffic, and no stop lights.
We will enjoy high mountain glaciers, thermal pools, huge lakes, the fiords of Milford Sound, the rugged and spectacular West Coast, and, of course, many many sheep on the rolling plains of the Southland and on every mountain side and mountain pass. Glenda and I can hardly wait to leave our snow-covered home at Sundance and head out for this adventure in the peak of the New Zealand summer.
We have space for ten couples. Seven couples have committed and paid their deposit so space is short and now is the time to just do it and contact Angel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to share this lifetime memory with you—
Roy and Glenda
Time in the Saddle
We have just completed our international ride to the Northern reaches of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. Each of our riders received their monogrammed “Iron Butt Award” for staying in the saddle for the entire 3500 miles.
Now, 3500 miles on I-5 or I-15 or I-70 or I-80 is a piece of cake if your goal is to write home or blog all your friends about the miles you put on a bike. Our riders often ask, “How many miles do we ride today?”
I have learned over the years that the measurement of miles, when on a motorcycle experience and adventure, is by no means a measure of the joy or accomplishment of the ride.
For me, the fun factor of a ride should be in the beauty of the scenery and the joy of the winding roads. It is not about the destination. It is about the journey. You can travel the miles and reach the destination in the cage of your car, or by train, or plane. The journey, for me, is in the smells in the air, the changing temperatures, the wind in the face and the 360° view.
So, bottom line is, that the real measurement of the journey is not the distance in miles, but the time in the saddle, the joy of the environment and the curves in the road. That 100 mile day may very well be 300% better than that 300 mile day you just completed. Just a thought for the road.
I have referred to our International Ride to the European Alps in previous letters. The things I learned about riding well on that trip with our friends, Donna and Graham Beker, could fill a book. As I look ahead to riding with them again in New Zealand next January, I know that several new pages will be added to that book. Our ride in Europe was 80% either uphill, or downhill. It always seems to me that the most fearful experience is in the “Downhill.” I hope to leave with you a few thoughts that I try to remember as I approach that steep-winding downhill run.
- Eyes up – our tendency is to look down while descending a hill. By keeping our eyes up we will be more stable and it slows our sense of speed.
- Weight – going downhill allows gravity to pull our weight forward and also shifts the motorcycle center of gravity forward. We need to resist this gravitational pull. You need to stay more upright and lean back into the hill. Resist leaning forward against the handlebars.
- Knees – squeeze your knees against the fuel tank and keep your lower body light. This will allow you to relax your upper body and keep a light controlled touch on the handlebars.
- Gear Down – Take advantage of engine breaking. Rather than coasting and using your breaks, select a lower gear and keep the engine revs up. This will give you much better control.
- Breaking – When you need more breaking than the engine breaking is giving, use your front brake. This is where the weight is as you go downhill and so this is by far your most effective brake.
- Downhill turns – The downhill turns should be handled just the same as any other turn. Slow down into the turn to your comfortable speed and then power out. Keep your eyes up and look all the way through the curve to where you want to go.
I won’t be following the Bekers through the Alps of Europe this year, but I will be with them in January of 2014, and I hope now and forevermore I can remember these downhill riding points to make the ride less stressful.
Ride safe and keep the rubber side down—