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3 Day Big Easy

3 Day Big Easy

Last weekend saw 40 or so Manawatu riders take part in another one of Garry Buys’s 3 day Big Easy rides.  The old hands were there, as well as a few new riders.

Saturday morning saw us all arriving to the Bike Barn car park discussing the ominous black clouds on the horizon and the building head wind.  We were divided in to 3 groups, and were lucky enough to have 2 support vehicles thus year, Neil and Jayne Vertogen drove the Bike Barn van supporting groups 1 & 2, while Brian Harper-Smith drove the ‘business class’ support van for group 3.

The weather was definitely challenging on day 1, but we all arrived in Taihape in good spirits, with groups 1 and 2 riding up through Kimbolton and Rangiwahia, and group 3 riding via Kakariki and then up state highway 1.  We headed off to Cafe Telephonique for a lovely evening meal and a few headed off to the Gretna hotel to watch the Japan  World Cup match, where rumour has it, John Van Lienen let the moths out of his wallet and shouted a round for the bar.

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On day 2 we awoke to a much better day, ready to tackle the not so Gentle Annie across to Havelock North.  This stretch of road sees you climbing over 2500 metres, and some spectacular views and long descents – one member of group 1 reached a top speed of 93kph.  We were treated to sunshine, blue skies and at times, a welcome tailwind. We were also treated to an oasis in the dessert – the wonderful Jenny Bull and the Bull’s campervan at the DoC campsite after the Gentle Annie climb and descent.  Jenny had hot coffee, lollies along with cookies and cake supplied by Rosebowl Bakery and Cafe.  All 3 groups were able to have a quick catch up here before carrying on until our final destination – Havelock North.  Once all the groups had arrived, we went across the road to enjoy a lovely meal at Maina.

Monday had us riding from Havelock North back to Palmerston North – group 3 rode straight down state highway 2, while groups 1 & 2 rode State highway 59 through Tikikino.  We all stopped and had a quick catch up at the truck stop at Matamau.  Before we all departed for home.  I can’t speak for all groups, but for group 1 we arrived dry at the truck stop, had some rain for the next 10kms until Dannevirke, then dry until the top of the Pahiatua Track when we were greeted with heavy rain and hail as a welcome home.

All groups rode in to the Coachman for a debrief, some hot chips and a drink or two.

Garry’s 3 day Big Easy’s are always popular, and if you get the opportunity to come along, you definitely should – every ability is catered for.  The experiences you’ll have and the comradery is second to none. 

There are 3 long distance rides planned that you can be a part of:

Pongaroa – 1 day ride, 200kms on Saturday October 12, please pre-register here

Mountain to Sea to Windmills – 2 day ride, 22/23 February 2020, details here

And register your interest here

And Garry is planning another 3 day ride in early May 2020, this one will be heading to Ohakune on day 1, day 2 will be riding down to the Bruce road and up whakapapa, then back to Ohakune and up to Turoa ski field.  Previous 3 day Big Easy entrants will all receive an invite, but if you are keen to join this ride, please contact Garry at Bike Barn so you don’t miss out