August 25, 2009

Broadening my horizon

Again I chose the scooter, because this route would include some mileage riding on HWY No. 1, and I am not prepared to go past 100kmh on the Hawk yet. I took the scenic route a.k.a. HWY No. 1A via Cochrane, past Ghost Lake to Bow River Valley. Since it was in the midst of the day, there was almost no traffic, and it turned out to be a smooth ride of approx. 200km. My longest distance so far.

Although it had been smokin' hot, I followed the rule of ATGATT. All the gear all the time. I had removed the liner from my Kilimanjaro jacket, and opened those nice vent pockets for air circulation. Not bad, that jacket, a tad bit heavy, but not bad at all, considering the features and the price.

August 21, 2009

A good day for a ride

Since my fellow traveller had other fish to fry I took the SWing out for a 120 km round-trip to Elbow Falls in the Kananaskis Provincial Park.

Why I didn't take the Hawk, I don't know. It just felt right to do this on the scooter. Maybe it was the comfort of the windshield and the fairings, the upright seating position, or the safety of the automatic gear shift, and the ABS.

August 20, 2009

Testing the Ladyhawk

After playing around with the Swing for a while I finally took the Ladyhawk out for a test ride.
There are things, one will never forget, even if one hasn't done it for a long, long time, that is hand/foot coordination for braking and shifting gears, and gentle acceleration. The Hawk is a tad aggressive on the throttle, but otherwise this two wheeler is the perfect beginner bike with perfect ergonomic fit for me. I have just the right size to feel comfortable with the height and the position of the foot pegs.

August 19, 2009

Getting a little PLP

I have a motorcycle driving license, alas, my driving skills lack practice. The last time I actually rode a motorized two wheeler was in 1998 (a demo ride for a potential buyer of my Beemer). During surfing the net for suitable beginner bikes I got in contact with Mike. His Suzuki V-Strom was on sale, and I wanted to check it out, because I was thinking of 'touring' already. When Mike saw my tiptoeing, he plainly refused to sell the bike to me. Instead he handed me a very helpful DVD with the promising title 'Ride like a Pro' for riding instructions, and became a resourceful friend.

After watching the training video several times, I felt ready for a little riding practice. So, we took the SWing for a spin. I found a construction site nearby, set up a training course with makeshift traffic cones and repeated the exercises, until I found myself prepared enough to hit real roads.

August 15, 2009


And yet another bike, well, it's a Scooter. Since my fellow traveller (a.k.a. husband) indicated interest in riding, too, I got him a two wheeler, which he would be able to handle easily, even with little to no practice, because this vehicle comes with an automatic gearshift and a shaft drive. So it would be like bicycle riding (without the pedals, and with a curb weight of approx. 250kg). We purchased a well maintained 2005 Honda SilverWing with low mileage in Cochrane from a retired entrepreneur who was selling it out of his two million Dollar RV at a very reasonable price. For me, decision was a piece of cake. I saw it, I rode it, and I had to have it (for the purpose to get my fellow traveller into riding, of course).

August 08, 2009

Gearing up

When I left my home country I sold my old gear, since I strongly believed I would never be using it again. Oh, I had forgotten how much fun it is to browse for motorcycle equipment. After shopping around I found that Helmet City offered the best pricing for the gear that I was looking for, plus they do ship to Canada. Other gear I purchased at a local dealer GW Cycle World, a family owned business, which would become my favorite place to check out bikes and equipment.

Here's my ultimate motorcycle gear list:

Firstgear Kilimanjaro Jacket with removable protectors and liner
Frank Thomas Jasmine leather pants
Odlo Thermo-Undies
Hein Gericke Kidney Belt
Mother-in-law's hand-knit woolen socks
Waterproof Alpinestar Ridge Boots
Several gloves: Scorpion Kats, my old warm Therm-Boy's, and a pair of Thor motocross-gloves
Shoei RF-1000 Helmet
Scarf and face mask

And yes, it will take up to ten minutes to get dressed. And yes, chances are I will very much resemble the Michelin Woman or the Dough Girl, but do not intend to prematurely end up as an organ donor, if I can help it.

August 07, 2009

Homecoming Queen

That's my Ladyhawk, a 1989 Honda NT650 Hawk GT. She has the right looks, is clean, street-fit and yet affordable. Since I am not comfortable with riding yet, the previous owner was kind enough to deliver, and now she's mine.

It took me five minutes on the phone to get insurance, I printed off the email confirmation, and had the bike registered in no time. Gotta love Service Canada, in my home country I would have spent half the day at the registry (at minimum).

August 01, 2009

You can't always get what you want

I am a big fan of classic naked bikes of the 60's and 70's, and also fancy cafe racers. Some nice pics of this adorable motorcycle species can be found here.

If I only had the budget I would probably go for a Moto Guzzi V7 or a Triumph Thruxton.
The Guzzi comes in a 70's look, is well balanced and has a shaft drive, while the Thrux offers more of a classic 60's cafe racer look.