May 31, 2010

Getting endurance

I am still far away from iron-butt but today I spend four hours in the saddle without major breaks, or food (except for one granola bar and water). Just letting it ride, to train myself on safe long distance riding under various road conditions and traffic. The weather was ideal, 15C and cloudy.
Going off the road in Golden Ears Provincial Park
Enjoying the scenery
Riding above Stave Lake, a redneck paradise for dual sport, quad and 4x4 enthusiasts.
Nella seems a little sceptic.
Rivers and streams

My little off-road experiment went surprisingly well, and I am a bit proud of my little dual-purpose thumper.

May 30, 2010

Forty words for rain

It drizzled when I left with hope for better weather. Only a few minutes later it started raining, and it poured for the rest of the tour, only interupted by some heavy showers. On the good side I found out that my gear is waterproof over several hours.
A pit stop at Pitt Lake
Where are all the people?
Puddles of wet stuff.

Slowly the wet stuff found its way from the helmet into the collar, and down the back of my neck. 
Time to go home, take a hot shower, and enjoy a steaming cup of tea in front of my fire place.

May 29, 2010

Locked up!

I went to the friendly neighborhood motorcycle equipment store last week, and ordered a XENA XX6 disk lock in yellow. It seemed to be a popular color, since they had every other color on the shelf but yellow. Tuesday Patrick from the shop actually dropped by in my office and delivered the lock himself. That's what I call service!
The assembly was fairly easy, and the color is almost a match. I am really growing fond of yellow.
I am getting into the shopping mood, and wonder what might be next. Suggestions?

Afterthoughts: Ok, some of your comments made me nervous, hence I added this feature to the bike. The ultimate: don't forget your lock warning device. Cost: Two bucks from the hardware store.
I will tie the cord to the lock and my left handgrip, to avoid moving the bike with the lock attached. Thanks Charlie6 for the good advice.

May 23, 2010

Rite of Passage

Today I made my entrance in the wet coast biker society. If you wanna bike all year you gotta ride in the rain.
Since I was with Bob and Jeff, one of his other riding buddies, the trip started off with a hearty breakfast at White Spot.
The sky was overcast, and soon the first drops hit the visors. Shortly after we left Stave Falls
the rain really started hitting us hard, and I got to appreciate my heated grips, because my gloves were soaked instantly (good for me I carried another pair in the Pelican).
On our next Kodak moment the roads were dry again.
We took a detour to Kilby Historic Site to acquire some Blackberry Jam.
And the floodgates of heaven opened again. We made it to Harrison Hot Springs and had some pretty good sushi for lunch. 
For entertainment we watched a cager damaging a pick-up truck while getting out of his parking spot. Bob instantly reached for this camera to document the incident, because the driver fled, or so we thought. A couple of minutes later the guy returned, with pen and paper, and proved us wrong. Honni soit qui mal y pense!
Dark clouds over Harrison Lake
Far to soon it was time to turn around. We took the fast lane back (Highway 1), but yet had time to make a quick stop over at Cultus Lake.
Besides the gloves the rest of my gear proved to be watertight. That's important to know before going on a major trip, and plans for this are already in the make!
PS: People pictures are obviously not my forte, I guess I leave this up to Bob.

May 22, 2010

After work ride

Today is the first ride with my Pelican cases. Bob told me that will increase my 'footprint'. I am happy to discover that the additional weight doesn't harm Nella's performance. As a matter of fact I even get the impression that she gained some stability. I rode out to Belcarra Regional Park and Buntzen Lake Recreation Area. Since the parks close down at 8.30PM there was almost no traffic, that's the way I like it.
At Buntzen Lake big signs warned of high water levels. Curiosity kills the cat, I thought, and drove past the barrier.
Indeed, the water level was higher than usual. The beach was completely gone.
Mother goose and her goslings couldn't care less.
 And yes, I brought my crocs along for the ride, to be a bit more 'light-footed' wandering around. They live in my right Pelican case now.

May 17, 2010

Maiden Voyage

Notable maiden voyages ended in disaster. Not mine though, since I have a riding buddy, tour guide and driving instructor at my side. Carefully Bobskoot chooses roads less traveled, in order for me to get more familiar with Nella's moves and grooves. Some roads obviously are so few traveled that they end in dead ends though ;-)

Another road with a dead end? No, just waiting for the ferry to Barnston Island, a lovely little island located in the middle of the Fraser River.

The bikes are allowed first on the ferry, and we have a bit of a scare on discovering how slippery the deck is... and it is under dry conditions. The bikes park comfortably close together.

We take the road around the island and stop at the river bank to enjoy the scenery. How considerate of Bob to bring some pops, riding makes thirsty and there are no tourist facilities on the island. Then Bob offers me to take the lead, which I reluctantly accept, and although there is only one road to follow I promptly lose him in my rear view mirror. So, I turn around and spot him stalking some Holsteiner (the black and white) cows. This is not a weird fetish or so I hope. I am sure he will explain it in his blog.
As Bob promised the road ends again at the dock, and we enter the ferry back to the mainland to ride to beautifully restored Fort Langley, the birthplace of BC., and a magnet for motorcyclists of all breeds.

We share a chicken sandwich and yam fries for lunch, and watch people and bikes passing by.
Well rested and fed we ride on westwards to Boundary Bay. Again, Bob takes the lead (he was the one with the GPS anyway), and this time he is testing me on some major roads, and challenges me with some speed maneuvers. Nella reacts well to the pull of the throttle, and keeps up easily with Bob's Wee, but I am obviously not one for speeding. My comfort zone is between 70 and 90 km/h.

Some roads involve short strips of gravel. Nella manages the change of surface pleasantly well, and so do I. The slight skidding is an interesting new feeling for me which I like to explore a bit more. Another time.

At the beach, we enjoy the warm sand and the summer breeze, time passes and soon a great day of riding is over. We part at Queensborough Landing which is halfway between Bob's and my home. Almost 200km and 9 hours later I arrive at my place, tired, a bit saddle sore and happy. Thanks to Bob who had my front, and at times, my back, too.

Finally Bob, fashion advisor and Croc ambassador talks me into this:
 I am doomed!

Hello Sunshine, come into my life!

Saturday 9 AM. After a hearty breakfast with a good friend (more later...), my fellow traveler dropped me off at the Beemer shop.
The sales guy with the Teutonic last name (I wonder if that's mandatory for working a German vehicle dealership...) had her filled up, and given the rubber a little scrubbing.
She is yours now! he said.
Head filled with instructions, heart in my throat, and stomach full of butterflies, I pushed the button... and nothing happened. Beginner's mistake, I had forgotten to put the side stand up.
And look who came for moral support (and by the way saved me tons of money on insurance):
Mr Bobskoot himself made the time to accompany me on my very first ride, became my guide through Vancouver traffic, and my riding buddy for the day. More to follow...