Into the Unknown


Taking the '82 KZ440 off road on Wellington shores.Taking the '82 KZ440 off road on Wellington shores.

‘My eyes couldn’t help but wonder as I rode through this beautifully god-gifted country.’

All this blogging got me practising what I preach. Buying motorcycles. I plucked up the minerals to buy a bike, a 1982 KZ440 brat tracker to be precise. My biggest thought was 440cc wasn’t going to be enough. Who was I kidding? With 100 km/h (64mph) being the speed limit here, and cameras only inspector Clouseau would find, I hardly require a thumping 1200cc demon.
A little step into the unknown, a two-hour ride north to Palmerston North. The locals told me it wasn’t the most scenic trip but I was still excited by the prospect. If this trip wasn’t scenic I don’t know what is. Crocodile shaped islands, roads that stretched for miles on end, and sheep, loads of bloody sheep, just like being back at home in Wales. It ticked the boxes. My eyes couldn’t help but wonder as I rode through this beautifully god-gifted country.

Pictured with crocodile island in the far distance.Pictured with crocodile island in the far distance.

So, the bike. It was one of those moments where I saw the bike and the relief fell straight off my shoulders. The last thing I wanted was to be going back home empty-handed with a sore head from the excessive amounts of sangria that was consumed the night before, yes, you read that correctly, sangria in New Zealand. What stood out to me about this bike? It’s been customised to the bone. There are three switches for the battery, a key relocate that sits under the seat and a whole catalogue of custom parts. The way it rides hardly resembles the beach boys classic ‘good vibrations’ but I s’pose the 'Shakin' Stevens' chassis can add to the character of this thirty-five-year-old. A feel and sensation you definitely won’t get with a bike off the 2018 production line. I’m still stuck between classic restorations to that of a brand spanking new, technological and mechanical masterpiece. I’d love to know your thoughts too... (drop a comment below)
The amount of time we spend glued to a satnav, hanging on to every instruction made me think how amazing navigation is on two wheels. There are these signs that you have to read, and if done successfully, you get to your destination. If not, you find yourself caught up in the journey. A wise owl once told me, maybe it’s about the journey, not the destination. He happened to play test cricket for South Africa and now enjoys his Sundays riding a BMW R1200GS through the African wilderness. The wine is stronger in the African continent.

Jacques pictured far right on his excursion around Northern Cape, 2017.Jacques pictured far right on his excursion around Northern Cape, 2017.

Although I was in convoy with local good egg Zac who spends half his year in Wales, I couldn’t help but think the ride would’ve been better with another rider. I believe it makes the journey special. Maybe, I just needed someone to laugh at when I lost feeling in my buttocks. Whatever the reasoning, it makes me certain to plan some rides for next season to bring some local riders together. Because life's too short to ride alone.

Eastbourne, NZ (Bell Custom 500 with Bubble Shield).Eastbourne, NZ (Bell Custom 500 with Bubble Shield).

I’m not entirely sure where my next adventure ride is going to be and that is exciting. There’s a rather large Lake Taupo which could be next on the list. Either way, I'll share my ride.

Andrew Salter

Baffle Culture.