Writing & Photographs by Viktor Radics
Just a quick note, this is the second post in a three part blog post, if you haven't had the chance to check out the first post, our visit / ride in Cape Town, South Africa, you can check it out here!
In May 2017 at the season opener of The Moto Social in Toronto, Harley Davidson Canada introduced us to a handsome cat named Jay Reeve visiting from New Zealand. He was on a ride from Toronto to Quebec City with H-D, filming for their “Common Ground” series (you can watch the episode here). Their ride started at The Moto Social in Toronto on May 3, 2020, connecting with locals and getting a feel for the Toronto moto scene. After his trip Jay returned home to Auckland, New Zealand and reached out to us a few months later wanting to kick off The Moto Social for his community in Auckland.
The Moto Social - Auckland - 2018. Left to Right: Courtney, Glenn & Jay - Team Auckland - 2018
Similarly to Cape Town, we chatted about it over a handful of FaceTime calls. We got to know each other some more and eventually decided to team up and start hosting The Moto Social events together in Auckland. Jay suggested some of his local friends and community members, Glenn Manchester and Courtney Schwartz to join the team and help with making the event magic happen. With all 3 of the beauties on board we prepared to launch The Moto Social in Auckland on January 30th, 2018.
Sam and I reached out to Harley Davidson Canada for a bit of support to help us get down there for the launch, and they were so incredibly helpful. They offered to set Sam and I up with our own local bikes while we were in town. Sam was riding a new 2018 Fat Bob and I was riding a new 2018 Street Glide Special. Days before flying from Toronto to Auckland, Jay invited Sam and I to join him after The Moto Social event on a 2000km ride across the the entire country from Auckland to Invercargill. Geographically, Auckland is at the north end of the north island and Invercargill is at the southern tip of the south island. Epic right!? The trip plans were mega loose, almost no plans were made at all, but we wrangled some camping gear and went with the flow, following Jay south. Thanks to Harley-Davidson again, even Glenn from Team Auckland could join the party last minute and help shoot some video content around the trip for H-D.
Totally winging a last minute trip across the entirety of New Zealand from top to bottom was definitely the most spontaneous moto-trip we’d ever been on. We definitely had to practice and adapt a “Go with the flow” or “Up for anything, down for whatever” mindset. We crashed at Jay’s friends places along the way, sometimes calling people on the day, last minute to see if we could stay with them. A real example of just “Pinnin’ it & Wingin’ it” as I say. We camped here and there along the way and to avoid the occasional rain storm we zig zagged over the mountains for cover.
Click here for the ROUTE MAP of our New Zeland Ride
The experience of relinquishing control and trusting Jays spontaneous flow over the 7 day trip may have been what jolted us into feeling real freedom and adventure. Let’s face it, we’re all human and we like / need to be in control hahaha. Giving it up made room for an epic ride and for anything to happen. We had a blast.
3 takeaways from our trip across New Zealand.
1. I love baggers.
2. New Zealand is Heaven - the people, the climate, the landscape.
3. New Zealand has an incredible motorcycle community.
5 Points of Interest we hit worth checking out:
1. Desert Road / Tongariro National Park / The Land of Mordor in Lord of the Rings.
2. Wellington, NZ: checking out the local nightlife.
3. Kaikoura, NZ: Camping on the beach.
4. Mount Cook & Lake Pukaki: Absolutely beautiful landscape and open road to riiiiip!
5. The town of Wanaka, NZ: A special place filled with rad people and mind bending landscapes to ride.
Below is some of the riding gear seen in this blog post, click the images to view them online: