Showing posts sorted by relevance for query georgian bay. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query georgian bay. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Finding My Way Back From The Dead (red)

What I miss most about STAY AT HOME pandemics:  Getting lost on unfamiliar roads...


I'm lost in the Grey Highlands on my way to Coffin Ridge Winery for a COVID-shutdown social-distancing/prohibition vibe pickup of some of their Back From The Dead Red.

I lost my internal compass on the unfamiliar, winding roads of Walter's Falls (though it could have been the meteorite buried under the town) and ended up in Bognor! It doesn't just sound like it's out of Lord of the Rings, it looks it too.  I guessed west when I should have turned east and found myself in the Bognor Marsh battling fetid, shambling swamp creatures like a later day knight aboard my trusty Tiger.

I eventually fought my way out to the shores of Georgian Bay, looking north across the never ending grey water to the end of the world (or its equivalent in French River).  Coffin Ridge Winery, perched on the north facing edge of the Niagara Escarpment, was pandemic deserted but for a lone fellow looking over the vines in the bitter, overcast April wind blowing in off the bay.

Ironically, adventure is hard to come by in a stay-home pandemic shut down, but this gave me a much needed shot of it.

Kiri at Coffin Ridge was a delight to communicate with on email and had our order sitting on the red chair ready to go (I was only 20 minutes late, battling Bognorian Shambling Mounds not withstanding).

If you're riding in Southern Ontario and looking for a bit of adventure in your antiseptic COVID bubble, a ride into the Grey Highlands might just bring you back from the dead (red).  You can reach Kiri here.


A deserted Coffin Ridge Winery, just before the COVID zombie attack, but I can't talk about that, the government is involved.

Thornbury Harbour closed - no standing on the rocks communing with Georgian Bay for me this time. The GB Kraken must be getting lonely, and hungry...
The bizarrely Victorian and completely deserted hydro generation building in Beaver Valley, where I had a lonely stretch before being beset by a pack of OHM-wolves infected by the now feral electricity leaking out of the abandoned generator and into the surrounding wilderness.  Jerry Bruckheimer couldn't have done this spectacular battle justice, that beautiful brick building is now a smouldering ruin.  The Tiger and I barely escaped with our lives!

From the #covid19 closed Thornbury Harbour inland through Beaver Valley, with a brief comfort stop at the hydro generator before heading south west through Flesherton - I eventually had to turn the camera off due to rain.
#Theta360 on a flexible tripod attached to the wing mirror of my Triumph Tiger 955i. One timed photo every five seconds. #360Photos modified in Adobe #Photoshop into #LittlePlanet format and then formatted in Premiere Pro into a stop motion video. AIVA AI generated background music.
















Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Autumn Colours Motorcycle Photography

On bike photos courtesy of a Ricoh Theta V on a flexible tripod attached to the rear view mirror of my trusty Triumph Tiger 955iThe route was from my home in Elora up through Beaver Valley to the shores of Georgian Bay before coming back through Duntroon and up the Noisy River out of Creemore before heading back down the Grand River home.  The interesting bits were tracing the Niagara Escarpment, the only vaguely interesting roads anywhere near me.

If you want a primer on how to take on-bike photos like this, you can find it here.  It has also been published on Adventure Motorcycle Rider here.









That time I got stuck behind a blockade of Polaris Slingshots on the Noisy River Road...




Google Photos Album here.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

The Potential of Emptiness: Honda Thoughts


The garage is looking pretty spacious this weekend.  The Concours sold yesterday so the Tiger is alone in the bike-cave for the first time.  I ended up selling it on if I could sell it for what I bought it for, which I did.  I owned it for five years, rescued it from retirement, doubled the mileage on it, had some great adventures riding around Georgian Bay and down to the last MotoGP event at Indianapolis in 2015.

I was ready to go in 2016 when the Concours wouldn't start.  With the Canadian motorcycling season agonizingly short I lost my patience, but then a Tiger appeared as if by magic and suddenly the Concours wasn't a necessity.  It's hard to believe I've had the Tiger for three years already; it isn't going anywhere.

With the money from the Concours set aside, I'm already considering my next project.  I'm aiming for a bike that is significantly different from the Tiger, which is a great all purpose machine, but it's heavy; a lighter specialist is the goal.  The guy I sold the Concours to already has one and half a dozen other bikes.  Having that many bikes would be a handful, I've always been about a functional garage.  Jeff, the motorcycle Jedi, has three very different bikes, that's the direction I'd like to go in.

In a perfect world I'd have the Tiger, a sports bike and a light dual sport.  A generalist, a tarmac specialist and an off-road specialist.  Time to peruse the Ontario used bike market.


There's a dual sport in need of some mechanical sympathy.  These typically go for twice what he's asking.  Parts are accessible and not particularly expensive.  There is a complete, virtually new head on ebay for about $760CAD.  If I could get the purchasing price down to $2200, I could have a virtually new Honda dualsport for three grand that would be worth twice that.

The worrying bit is this guy managed to blow a Honda engine, which are famous for being bulletproof.  If it has been abused (the dent in the tank suggests it's been dropped, though it's a dualsport that goes off road, so I shouldn't read too much into that) then the engine could have more major damage and require big end cranks and such, which could make this a money hole.

The fact that it runs is promising and it does sound like a top end issue - but I'm guessing it's a head replacement or major remachining situation.  It's an air cooled single cylinder, so after the complexity of  the water cooled, four cylinder Concours, this'd be lawn mower simple.  I'm tempted.


I've always had a soft spot for VFR Interceptors, and this lovely example is up for sale at a pretty reasonable price considering how much work has gone into it.  Hugo, the editor of BIKE Magazine recently got one of these and went on and on about how bullet proof they were, so even an older machine like this would be readily usable.

With this RC-36-2, last gen version you get a VFR at the pinnacle of its Honda evolution.  It's technically considered a sport-touring bike, so you don't get caned in Ontario's ridiculous insurance system, and it weighs less than 200 kilos, which would make it the lightest road bike (ignoring the KLX250, which wasn't really a road bike) I've ever owned.


If I could get it for $3500, I'd be able to ride it for years.  Rather than depend singularly on the now 16 year old Tiger, I could split duties between a generalist and a road specialist.  This too is tempting.

It'd be nice to have both, the XR as a project and the VFR as an immediate gratification machine; they would make for a very diverse garage.  I think I could have both on the road for just over six grand CAD.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Doubt

I did a 360km-ish kilometre ride on Saturday.  All back roads and as twisty as I can find in the farm-desert we live in.  I was gone shortly after 8am and had a coffee at Higher Ground before ripping up and down the Forks of the Credit.  I was then up past Orangeville to Hockley Valley Road, back through Mono Hills and up to River Road into Terra Nova before coming back down to Horning's Mills and north to Noisy River Road into Creemore.  All in all I crossed the escarpment half a dozen times on my way north.

By now it was well past noon and into the high thirties with humidity.  After a great lunch at The Old Mill House Pub in Creemore I was out to Cashtown Corners to fill up and then past Glen Huron and over the escarpment one more time before heading north to Thornbury Cidery and the cooler shores of Georgian Bay.

Nothing Cools you down like the shore of a great lake on a hot, summer day.

From Creemore on I was soaking wet and sweating freely, monkey butt (red and sore on my backside from wet, aggravated skin) was soon to follow.  It wasn't so bad by the lake, but inland it was sweltering.  I was standing frequently to try and get wind under me, but by this point my big ride was just uncomfortable.  The Macna vented pants did ok on my legs, but where I needed it the most they were just trapping heat and leaving me dripping.

I bombed south down Beaver Valley, stopping once at an overlook to finish the Gatorade I had and then on to Flesherton for a stop at Highland Grounds before dodging and weaving south on back roads towards Elora and air conditioned nirvana.

Before I left that morning I learned that Wolfe and Robyn, the founders of Lobo Loco long distance motorcycle rallies, had already started the monumentally difficult Bun Burner Gold, the seemingly impossible fifteen hundred miles (2400kms!!!) in twenty-four hours - yes, that's a 100km/hr average for a whole turn of the earth.  You'd need to be making time every hour so you'd have time to get gas, eat, drink and toilet; it's madness!
By the time I'd seen what these two superheroes were going to attempt that morning they had already done more miles than I was going to do all day (monkey butt and all), and they still had the better part of two thousand kilometres to go... in a day!

Part of this is making sure you've got the right gear for the job.  I'm going to address that in another post, but the other side of this is do I think I can actually pull something like that off.  I'm months away from turning fifty and I'm starting to get a sense of what getting older is going to feel like.  Doubt is what starts you thinking that you have to act your age.

The two doing that epic bun burner are fifteen plus years younger than I am and much more experienced riders.  My starting to ride late grates on my nerves.  Despite numerous opportunities, events beyond my control conspired to prevent me from finding my way back to a hereditary hobby.  Those lost years still haunt me.

No point in moping about it.  I've gotta grab the opportunities as I find them and not let doubt weaken my resolve.  If I want to get an Iron Butt done then I need to get it done.  You don't get shit done by moaning about it.  But first I've got to get my seat and kit sorted.  No point in trying to do a job without the right tools.



Monday, 9 July 2018

Escarpment Murals

A hot and sunny Sunday ride up and around the Niagara Escarpment looking for murals, though the twisty roads were the main focus...

Part 1: https://goo.gl/maps/QseRL6TWNhq
Part 2:  https://goo.gl/maps/BgC2rUvH2qQ2
293kms

The PTTR Grand Tour is going on all summer through Lobo Loco RalliesPaint the town red 2018 Grand Tour   That one is closed now, but there are many other weekend rallies going on if you're interested in exploring long distance motorcycle rallying.  

Murals Discovered:
Grand Valley 43.898875, -80.315307

Creemore 44.326060, -80.106099

Ravenna Country Market 44.469285, -80.417343

Clarksburg  44.546531, -80.461742

Some other 360 imaging from the ride.  Made using the Ricoh Theta camera on a flexible tripod attached to the bike:

The twisty bits on River Road






In Thornbury on the shore of Georgian Bay - the temperature was easily ten degrees cooler.

Beaver Valley


A busy Sunday in Creemore.

Through the wind fields outside of Shelburne



You can learn how to get shots like this HERE.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Five Years: Diversifying Motorcycle Experience and Finding Balance

After the first year on two wheels I began thinking about more challenging motorcycle projects that would diversify my experience.  Starting in year two I did my first away motorcycle ride, renting scooters and then a BMW around the southern end of Vancouver Island - that led to my first article being published in Motorcycle Mojo and gave me a lot of insight into variations in motorcycling.

In addition to pushing my riding experience in daring new directions (like riding two-up with my son on an unfamiliar bike on one of the most challenging roads in Canada), I also began looking for a bike that needed more than just regular maintenance to operate... a bike that needed me.


I discovered just such a thing toward the end of that riding season, a long dormant Kawasaki Concours that we had to cut out of the grass it was sitting in.  Something that old (twenty plus years at the time) had a lot of perished rubber on it, and when I finally got it up to temperature it also had a sizable oil leak.  The winter was spent getting a new oil cooler and lines, replacing a lot of rubber bits and otherwise getting this old warrior back on its feet again.

The Concours not only got me moving mechanically, but it also offered a real blank slate, something I've since realized is only available on well used bikes (unless you're loaded and like to pull apart new things).  I'd enjoyed the aesthetic restoration of the Ninja and was looking forward to doing the same thing on the Concours.  Getting an old bike and making it not only usable but unique looking has been one of the highlights of my motorcycling career to date, and a trend I intend to continue.  It's something that my current too-nice Tiger doesn't offer me.

The Kintsugi Concours became my go-to ride and the Ninja became my first sold bike.  It was difficult to part with something I'd developed such an emotional bond with.  I can understand why the people with the space and means hang on to every bike they buy.  Having beaten the selling a bike emotional roller coaster, I immediately went looking for another, but it took a while to finally find the right thing, and in the meantime the old Concours suddenly became less than dependable.

A KLX250 that couldn't do 100km/hr with me on it made me feel like I was overly exposed and under-powered while riding on the road, though it was a deft hand off it and gave me my first real off road experiences.  I held on to it over the winter and when there was finally a break in the never ending Canadian snow I thought this is the moment the KLX will shine, on dirty, just thawed roads - except it wouldn't start.  It was a lot easier to sell because I'd never fallen in love with it.  Getting $400 more than I bought it for didn't hurt either.

Later that summer I made my next motorcycle buying error and stumbled into an old Yamaha XS1100 sitting on the side of the road.  I ignored the three strikes against it (non-runner with no ownership being sold by a gormless kid) and purchased it anyway; I won't do that again.  I got lucky on the ownership - it was within a whisker of being a write-off and had a long and difficult history (I was the thirteenth owner!), but I was able to sell it on after sorting the ownership and just broke even.  In the process I stumbled onto a balancing act I hadn't considered before.


I love riding older bikes I wrench myself, but they aren't always ready to ride.  When the otherwise dependable Concours wasn't and my only other choice was an ancient Yamaha I'd only just freed up the brakes and carbs on, I found myself with nothing to ride as the cruelly short Canadian motorcycling season began.  I'd gambled too much on being able to keep the old bikes rolling.  With riding days so valuable in the Great White North, that wasn't a viable approach.

I still had most of the money from the Ninja sitting aside and my wise wife said to just focus on getting something newer and more dependable.  Maintaining that balance means having a riding ready bike and a project bike, and not messing up that equation.  To further complicate things, I'm a big guy so I needed a bike that fit, and my son was getting bigger every year and loved coming along, so I needed a bike that would fit us both.  Being the onerous person I am, I didn't do the obvious thing and buy a late model Japanese touring bike that runs like clockwork.

My daily rider suddenly popped up on Kijiji but it ended up being the most emotionally driven purchase yet.  Instead of a sensible five year old, low mileage Kayamonduki, I got bitten by a thirteen year old Tiger.  It was European, over budget, too old and with too many miles, but the owner was a young professional (nuclear operator!) and from the UK and we had a good, straight up chat about the bike.  I was honest about my position (the Tiger was out of my league but I loved it and wanted it), and he was straight up with his position (he was about to take it in to trade for a new Triumph at the dealership and even my lower offer was much better than he would have gotten on trade in).  I ended up feeling like I stole the bike for over a grand less than he was asking and he got more for it than he otherwise would have.  It was an emotionally driven purchase with a lot of rational oversight.

With all that good karma the Tiger has turned out to be a special thing.  I was only the third owner.  In thirteen years it had averaged less than 4000kms/year, and on two years the first owner had ridden it out to Calgary and back (seven thousand plus kilometres each time).  It had been power commandered (that had never come up in the purchasing discussions), indicating that the original owner had really fawned over this bike.  The guy I bought it off wasn't very mechanically minded and it hadn't had much in the way of regular maintenance, but then he hadn't used it much.  Within a couple of weeks I'd gotten it safetied, done all the maintenance and given it a good tuning - it has run like a top ever since.


It's an older, European bike, but fuel injection and a resurgent Triumph Motorcycles Co. using the latest manufacturing techniques means it's not a bonkers choice as a daily rider.  On the second year of ownership it fired right up after hibernating under a blanket in the garage, and it did again this year.  I've fixed some dodgy, plastic fuel connectors on the tank, changed the tires and done the fork oil and other fluids along with the chain, but other than the fuel fittings, it's all been regular maintenance.  The Tiger has been such a treat and it's such a rare thing (I've only ever seen one other) that I can't see myself letting it go.

Meanwhile the Concours became the project bike, but since I wasn't depending on it, the project took on new dimensions.  I stripped the old fairing off and ended up with a muscle bike like no other.  I've experienced some drift with this project and I think when I get it to a riding level I'll sell it with the aim to make my money back on it (shouldn't be too hard considering what I got it for).

I think the drift comes from biting off more than I can chew as far as tools I have on hand and time and a comfortable place to work.  If had welding gear handy and could do the fabrication I needed, I think I'd still be be pushing for an edgy completion to the project which has taken longer and has been more involved than I initially planned.  The heart is willing but I'm too tight money and time-wise to chase this big of a thing.  In the winter it hurts to go out in the garage and work on it and in the summer I'd rather be out riding.  Future projects might be more of a Shed and Buried/SPQR approach where I can get a bike sorted and back on its feet again, have some fun with it aesthetically and then move it on without losing any money on it.  Making enough on each one to keep me in tools and pay for the process would be the dream.


The sophomore years of motorcycling have been about pushing into more challenging riding opportunities.  From riding Arizona (another one that got published), to going to the last MotoGP race at Indianapolis to circumnavigating Great Lakes and Georgian Bay, I've gotten more and more daring and gone further afield with each season.

These years have also been about dusting off and expanding my technical skills and have seen me do everything from oil coolers to complete carburetor rebuilds.  The garage has gotten better and better in the process, though it's still bloody cold in the winter.  If I could find a solar powered heating system for the space I'd be a happy man.  If I had a heated, insulated work space about twice the size, I'd be even happier.  The other side of the coin is riding opportunities.  Living somewhere where you can't ride for 3+ months of the year isn't conducive to building saddle experience.  I'd be happier if I lived in an all year riding opportunity - or at least if I had access to such places over the winter here.


20 hours might have gotten me able to manage the basic
operations of a motorcycle - the Conestoga course was a
weekend with about 4 hours on bikes each day, then some
very tentative rides in the neighborhood got me to 20 hours.
At five years I feel like I've put a lot of time into improving my rider's craft.  I've also spent a lot of energy getting the rust off my mechanical skills.  What I most wish for the next five years is to maintain my hunger for more motorcycle experiences.  I'd like to try  a wider range of different bikes and types of riding and find a way to dig even deeper into mechanics.  This year I'm hoping to take an off-road training course.  In the future I'd love to find the money and time to take track riding, if not to pursue racing then at least to explore riding dynamics at the extreme end in a controlled environment.

If you put ten thousand hours into something you've developed a degree of expertise in it.  In each season I've tried to beat ten thousand kilometres of riding (and succeeded) before the snows fall.  Those fifty plus thousand kilometres have probably had me in the saddle for over a thousand hours and I've easily spent that again in the garage doing repairs and maintenance.  If feel like my motorcycle apprenticeship is well underway, I just need to keep finding ways to feed that expertise.




The light cover in the garage - a reminder...