North Harbour Poker Run

Day 27, Sunday 17 September 2017

The North Harbour branch of Ulysses holds a poker run each year to raise money for itself. Each participant pays to enter, and draws a card at the start point and another at each of four stops. The people with the best poker hands then win prizes. My first two cards made a pair, so I was hopeful I might get a reasonable hand, but the remaining three cards were duds.

The ride was very well organised with the lead rider indicating as he approached each turn for the rider behind him to take a position by the side of the road so subsequent riders knew where to turn. The rider marking the corner waits until all riders except the Tail-End Charlie have passed and then becomes the second to last rider until the next corner-marker is reached. It’s a system which usually works very well and allows the ride to spread out without anyone getting lost. With 47 bikes on this run, such a system is vital.

On our first leg, some riders got stuck at a traffic light and lost sight of the rest. I’m not sure quite how it happened – perhaps the corner-marker didn’t wait until they could see the TEC – but they missed a turn and had to find their own way to the first stop, which was at Titirangi Beach.

On the second leg, one rider was slow putting his helmet and gear on, and because he was parked away from the other riders, the rest of the ride was out of sight by the time he was ready. Only the TEC waited for him. He then took off in the wrong direction. The TEC chased him but eventually lost him, and decided to rendezvous with us at our lunch stop. In this situation, the corner-marking system fails dramatically, as each marker points out the direction to following riders, then waits indefinitely for a TEC who never comes. I was one of those markers on this leg. After about 20 minutes, I gave up and headed for lunch.

On the third and fourth legs, the corner marking system worked flawlessly.

I haven’t done a Sunday ride with North Harbour for quite a long time; it was nice to catch up with these people.


Photo taken at Titirangi Beach.

Distance travelled: 182 km. Total distance so far: 3748 km

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