September 25, 2012

Uncharted Territory, almost

Imagine seven weeks of paid(!) vacation.
Imagine an employer that actually lets you go and takes you back after.
Imagine an old but trusty thumper that has a reputation for endurance and longevity.
Imagine rocks, mud, river crossings, old railroad tracks and dirt trails, everything but pavement.
Imagine a 5,000 mile off road journey on the Trans-America-Trail.
Stephan, your not so average German with serious traveler blood in his veins and a knack for mechanics didn’t stop at imagining. He took his 1988 Yamaha XT500 and just did it.

Last Sunday I came across Stephan's adventure blog by accident. Out of curiosity I SPOTted his location. He had just crossed the Canadian border, so I sent him a virtual wave by email to wish him safe continued travels.

But as it turned out he was on the very last leg of his journey (for this year), and adding to randomness he planned to put his motorcycle in a storage facility not even a mile away from my house. What are the odds? It was inevitable. We had to meet!

Hence, we picked him up and went for Eastern Indian food. As it turned out Stephan is a connoisseur of the cuisine as well as of the country as he had traveled India many times.

It would take too long to repeat all his stories, so just go check out his other blogs.

We had a great time, and who knows, maybe I’ll met him again next year when he picks up the bike to continue his trip to wherever his dreams might take him. Alaska? New Zealand? Time will tell.
A rugged looking Stephan and Yours truly.

September 24, 2012

The Don't-Worry-Be-Happy Loop

We didn't think epic today, we just wanted to put in a little Vespa ride for a change. Bella, the spouse's lately somewhat neglected red scooter was excited to play outside.
So we chugged along to Buntzen Lake and Belcarra enjoying a mild gossamer afternoon.
Today's loop was just the right mix of small roads, abutter traffic only, combined with being close to nature (we spotted deer today) and water to turn any brooding mind into having happy thoughts.
There was an unsettling moment for both me and Paolo, when we purposefully abandoned the scooter in the parking lot. Roland wanted to gain some experience riding two up. One never knows when it might come in handy.
And he did a great job, and Bella didn't complain, but the scooter shocks were certainly put to their limit with this little experiment.
Autumn is becoming visible in the trees. I love this time of the year, when the leaves change their colours.
Although season ending is inevitably coming closer we might still get lucky to squeeze in a few quick rides on our 'Happy Loop' before putting the bikes into hibernation.

September 22, 2012

Sex Sells!

For those who are sick of bikini babes: MotoCorsa's tonque-in-cheek promotion of the Ducati Panigale 1199 ---> here's more.

September 17, 2012

Salmon Run - Motorcycle Rally

There are many rallies out there in the Lower Mainland, and I have been to a few. Usually I am not particularly fond of huge gatherings but this one I had to do.
It might sound weird but we Germans have a very strange connection with the North American aboriginal culture. We played cowboys and Indians when we were little and contrary to common belief our heroes were the 'redskins' thanks to famous German novelist Karl May (over 100 million copies sold worldwide) who created the righteous character of Winnetou, a chief of the Apaches, who promoted a peaceful co-existence of nature and people, and between people of different races. Not that it worked out in the real world, it was only fiction after all.
Coming to the point of my story, the motto of the first annual SALMON RUN is to celebrate the freedom of two-wheeling and the Aboriginal heritage of Canada with a group ride along the Sea-to-Sky Highway.
We got up early to watch the arrival of the crowds at Trev Deeley, the neighbourhood Harley Davidson dealer. The ride was open to all brands but there was no doubt about which marque was the most prevalent in the parking lot. Roland's scooter certainly was the smallest bike by cc's but for his reassurance his wasn't the only scooter around. We fed on dealer-sponsored Timmy's bagels and donuts, had a cuppa hot beverage, and spotted some familiar faces in the crowds to chat with.
 with Karen
 with Alyson
Vivian and Cory
Cory's Velocette

The Git Hayetsk Dancers, a native dance formation led by director and artist Mike Dangeli (who also designed above logo) performed spiritual dances and songs for a chipper audience.
First Nations songs and stories always give me the goosebumps, they are so powerful.
of the Nisga’a, Tlingit, and Tsimshian Nations. His traditional name “Goothl Ts’imilx” meaning: “The Heart of the Beaver Lodge”. He belongs to the Beaver / Eagle Clan with
of the German and Canadian Nations. Her traditional name is a Russian derivative of the Greek name Sophia meaning: "Wisdom". She belongs to the Clan of the Free Wheelin'.
Then we were sent on our way up Sea-to-Sky Highway. The sounds of hundreds of bikes made the Earth move.
Police had blocked off the intersections and closed down Hwy 1 to allow riding in one huge group. It was both, awesome and terrifying, with so much responsibility for all parties involved, that we couldn't really thoroughly enjoy the ride.
A barbeque buffet (with vegetarian options) as well as live music welcomed us at our destination, the Chances Casino in Squamish.
No accidents or incidents were reported. Everybody got here safe and sound.
After welcome speeches by Chief Ian Campbell and Mayor Rob Kirkham and another dance by the Welh Tima Kexwusem Group we lined up for the buffet.

The sun burned down, stomachs were growling and the smells coming from the buffet were mouthwatering. Sorry, no food porn. I was so hungry that I had wolved down the roasted potatoes, a corn cob, and a Thai noodle salad in a blink of an eye.
The Overcomers provided some Nashville atmosphere.
We were getting tired from the food, the sun and the impressions of the day, so we walked it off by watching bikes.
We said our good-byes and headed home around 2PM. It was a great event that hopefully will continue to foster the relationship between the First Nations who called this beautiful country their home long before us, and the people who started to call this home somewhat 200 years ago.

The salmon is a powerful animal in the spiritual world, and a worthy representative for this motorcycle rally. I hope we can make it to the next Salmon Run in September 2013.

Some faces in the crowd. Guess what they are riding...
Chief Clarence Louie

Yes, you guessed right, they are riding Hucking Farleys.
\ q.e.d.

September 11, 2012

Evolution of a Seat, a Documentary

Janice let me have a look behind the curtain, and shared her production photos with me.

The uncovered seat, with re-design sketched out on the foam.
A lot of this would have to go.
I wondered to what extent the seat could be transformed.
Let the work begin!
Lots of foam already cut off.
Now the seat pan. Before...
... and after surgery.
With the new seat pan shape further foam shaving ensued.
Just a little more...
Getting closer to the end result.
I wanted the typical 70's scrambler style rib stitches with burnt orange thread.
Another custom request that Janice could easily comply with.
Almost there...
The leather got stapled to the seat pan.
A close up...
... and the finished seat.
An amazing job done to full customer satisfaction.  

Copyright to all pictures belong to Janice at Slim's Signature Seats.