Today, I've done a 350 km round trip to and from Auckland to meet with Philip McDaid, Chief Examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorcycling NZ. No, not another riding test; just helping with some admin. Philip suggested that we meet at Deus Ex Machina cafe, which is where the monthly IAM Sunday rides depart from. Apart from vaguely knowing the cafe had something to do with motorcycles, I had no idea of what to expect. That (under)statement is a bit like saying that Mike Hailwood was a mildly talented motorcycle racer....... crikey - what a place!! More on that in a moment.
I set off from Coromandel early on a stunning winter's morning - brilliant sunny skies, virtually no wind. Life was so perfect that I decided to take a partial back-road route to Auckland. Bad move - ran into fog along the twistiest, narrowest part of the route which lasted until reaching the Auckland Southern Motorway. One of those horrible, soaking fogs and the temperature dropped to not far above freezing. No big deal in the scheme of things apart from a lot of stupid cagers travelling at a fair lick without lights on. The run up the motorway was in sunny, warm conditions and the moderately heavy traffic was perfect practice for a country boy like me where 2 cars in a row constitutes a traffic jam. Felt quite comfortable in traffic riding assertively with no stupid behaviour by either yours truly or the rest of the motoring public.
Deus Ex Machina is in a converted warehouse complex and an easy walk from the centre of Auckland, although there's ample parking right outside. I met Philip outside as we'd arrived at the same time. Walking through the unremarkable industrial sliding doors, I must have looked just like one of Dr Who's assistants on seeing the inside of the Tardis for the first time - stopped dead in my tracks with jaw wide open which amused Philip no end!!! The place is seriously BIG with the cafe at the front, clothing and motorcycle merchandise in the middle and at the back through a glass wall, the large workshop where the most wonderful custom motorcycles are created. Hard to describe them (patience.....you'll see some in a minute) but if pressed, they look like someone who is heavily into Steam Punk might have had a hand in their design. If you don't know what Steam Punk is, look it up on Google Images. Being a blinkered old rural fart, I'd never heard of the term until our adult daughter went to a Steam Punk party a few weeks ago. Perhaps their specials have a bit of Mad Max thrown in too. But wait, that's not all! There aren't conventional tables in the cafe area, there are raised areas with stools round them and classic motorcycles in the middle - sure beats a vase of flowers hands-down, doesn't it?
Thank you for your patience - you will now be rewarded with some pictures. Hope you think they were worth waiting for (click to enlarge)!
The first two "common" bits of machinery inside the door! Sigh.....
Racks of seats and polished alloy bits - bike porn par excellence
The next few photos show part of the dining area with the bike centrepieces......
Harley single cylinder centrepiece
50cc (yes, 50cc!) MV replica, my helmet
Stunning Norton Commandos
A couple of Deus Ex Machina customer bikes outside
To show all the photos I took would take pages but you get the drift with respect to what an amazing place it is. NZ has a population of around 4 million. Where on earth do all these bikes come from as there are collections a bit like this of rare machinery dotted all round the country and quite often, they're just sitting in people's sheds - utterly mind-blowing.
Having concluded the business with Philip, who should walk in and introduce himself but Ross Mackay, esteemed Editor of Kiwi Rider Magazine. He was out testing the new Victory bike shown below. Another Kiwi with a boring working life! Heck of a nice guy too with a brilliant sense of humour.
Ross' boring life!
Arse end of Ross' boring life!
Well, that was one heck of a winter outing and one that I won't forget for a long, long time. Special thanks to Philip and Ross for helping to make it so memorable. The trip home was also wonderful in warm, sunny conditions and getting home at 4pm with a huge grin and still fizzing a few hours later!
Wilson Bay, Coromandel on the way home - solitary fisherman
That's my last post for a while as we'll be away celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary at the end of the week. As I've mentioned previously, Jennie and I take turns organising a secret destination - normally only revealed at the airport check-in counter or similar. It can cause some complications, I'll tell you, but great fun! It's Jennie's turn to be Secret Squirrel this time. See ya!