I’m back from a three week business trip to Christchurch New Zealand. I had told myself that if I ever had the opportunity to travel there, I would rent a motorcycle and do some touring, so prior to leaving on the trip, I did some research online to find motorcycle rentals on the South Island.
I wound up renting a Honda ST1300 sport tourer from Te Waipounamu Motorcycle Tours Ltd. John Rains was extremely helpful on the phone when I made my reservations and had everything ready for me when I swung by the shop late Friday afternoon after my first week in Christchurch. My biggest concern was gas. I knew that I would be riding through some remote areas and I wasn’t sure what kind of gas mileage (kilometerage?) I would get on the ST1300 so John marked on my map about where I would need to stop for gas along my intended route to Queenstown.
I had brought all of my gear with me in an extra suitcase. Olympia jacket and pants (with liners), boots, winter gloves, helmet, and a couple of long sleeve t-shirts. It was early Spring there (early Fall for those of us in the northern hemisphere) and I was blessed with unseasonably mild weather (i.e., it wasn’t snowing in the mountains). The temperatures ranged between 50-60 degrees fahrenheit so it was perfect riding weather. Living in Florida, heated grips have never been high on my list of necessary accessories, but I used them on the Honda and loved them! Hmmm…maybe those heated seats on Goldwings aren’t so silly after all.
I left my rental car at Te Waipounamu and rode the Honda back to my hotel. Riding on the left hand side of the road wasn’t a problem as I had been driving back and forth between the hotel and work all week. Actually, it was more of an adjustment getting used to the sport tourer. Footpegs instead of foot boards, no heel shifter, higher seat, and no monster torque at the low end. I did like the instrumentation. Especially the thermometer! Traffic was light in the city and I used to short trip back to my hotel to familiarize myself with the Honda.