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First Adventure Ride on the TTR250

I’ve only ever been adventuring riding as a pillion until the weekend. In fact, aside from sporadic dirt riding down at the Waimakariri riverbed I’ve had very little to do with any off-road riding for ages. The delay in getting out there on my own bike was partly due to time, bike and gear, but I’d finally picked up some decent boots, jacket and pants to go with my deafening, but much loved, LS2 adventure helmet. Saturday was a big day for me then; it was to be my first adventure out on the TTR. Brent was coming along on his 990 so I wouldn’t get lost or kidnapped and turned into a skinsuit by “friendly locals”.  

I showed Brent the suggested route, which was mainly grade 1 and 2, with an optional section of grade 3. Will the TTR have enough fuel, I enquired, as I was doubtful. He looked thoughtful and appeared to be doing the math. “Yeah, easy as!” he said, enthusiastically – too enthusiastically.

Having gone for a few suburban practice rides the previous week, I’d decided I didn’t like the feel of the knobblies on the road. Every minute change of direction felt exaggerated. I needed an intermediary tyre that would alleviate this, so we swapped for slightly more road-oriented ones which also seemed to lower the gearing. This was awesome for me, as I was used to my low-geared Duke. We’d also removed the bar risers for now which were not necessary for me.

Classic Kiwi country. The closer to the mountains - the better!

We fuelled up and headed out of Rolleston, me somewhat tentatively at first, as I refamiliarised myself with the bike. We made a brief stop to watch a hot air balloon and make sure I was happy. I was already happy with how the new tyres changed the handling. I had Brent help me adjust the gear lever, however, as I couldn’t comfortably hook my toe under. It’s amazing how much little adjustments to the bike can change one’s enjoyment of the ride.

The morning was cool and refreshing. But by Hororata I had to stop and add some layers, my fingers were numb. When we reached Terrace Downs I had a hot chocolate and began to feel normal again. Brent also felt better after doing some wheelies in the driveway. Top bloke.

Our first stop at Lake Coleridge, near Glenthorne Station. Greetings, Sandflies!
Our bikes blessing the landscape. And yes, I'll be replacing those indicators. Also, Sandflies.
Last photo here before the sandflies - avid fans of KTMs and Yamahas - overwhelmed us and we were forced to leave.

We made it to our first stop near Glenthorne Station, Lake Coleridge but couldn't remain here long because of the sandflies. They loved me and my blood. I swapped to my summer gloves and we escaped, heading onward to our second Lake Coleridge viewpoint near the head.

A happy Jess.

We were riding through freshly graded gravel throughout, which was actaully pretty fun. But it took away my ability to enjoy the view as I had to concentrate so much more. Brent had the experience and weight advantage here. I thought the technique was to power out of deep gravel but lifting the front wheel up didn’t do me any favours and I had a few hairy moments while I tried a bunch of different techniques.

I settled on a position that kept me slightly forward and elevated with a light grip on the bars. This seemed to do the trick for pretty much every precarious gravel moment thereafter, though I had to keep my hand off the front brake in case I accidently started to use the front brake like I was racing. Instead, I kept an index finger on the base of the brake lever which helped keep my throttle hand light.

Author of this article: Casper