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

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Around The Bay: Part 3, highway riding

Espanola to Waubaushene, the long way around Georgian
Bay is just over 300kms of highway focus.
Circumnavigating Georgian Bay for the first time made me aware that I've never done this kind of mileage before.  I was wondering how I'd hold up on such a long ride.

Up on the Bruce Peninsula I faced strong headwinds that constantly knocked me about, and throughout the ride I faced temperatures from under ten to over thirty degrees Celsius.  None of that stressed me as much as the highway stint I did out of Espanola around Georgian Bay to Waubaushene.
Parked by French River, I prepare for the second leg of the long
highway ride south.

Just over three hundred kilometres of highway got started at about 9:30am.  Being on divided multi-lane highway on this bike for the first time was a novelty that wore off by Sudbury.  What faced me then was a long ride south with more traffic than I usually go looking for.

When I drive on the highway I strive for lane discipline.  I keep right except to pass and chastise myself if I fail to indicate a lane change, which almost never happens.  I'd consider myself a disciplined car driver and I prefer to make time and leave most of the confused/distracted types behind me.

In my first year of riding I had a moment when I was following a beige mini-van and realized I'm on a machine that could pass much more safely than I can in a heavier/slower/less manoeuvrable car (short of extremely exotic cars, any motorcycle is better at braking, accelerating and turning, and exotic motorcycles are better at that than exotic cars).  I passed the mini-van and put myself in empty road where I wasn't depending on the attention of button mashing smartphone zombies in cages.  The extremely defensive mindset of a competent motorbike rider who exploits the abilities of their vehicle to emphasize their own safety really appeals to me.  I've ridden that way since.

Out on the highway I was moving at speed, dealing with blustery winds and sore muscles from hundreds of miles travelled.  The gyroscopic nature of a bike's wheels means you don't have to worry about tipping over, but a bike still changes directions in a heartbeat.  At one point I stretched my neck by looking down at the tank and when I looked up I'd changed lanes, that'll get the adrenaline flowing.  Riding at highway speeds on a motorcycle demands constant vigilance.  You need to be looking far down the road and taking your eyes off the pavement for even a moment can produce some nasty surprises.  You're covering more than ninety feet per second at highway speeds.

It's taxing to be that focused for hours at a time on a machine that longs to change
direction.  When I pulled off the 400 in Waubaushene I was relieved to be off the highway but immediately got rewarded  by seeing my first Ninja H2 on the road at the intersection.  It's amazing how good something like highway riding feels when you stop doing it, but the moment you stop you immediately begin recharging your battery for the next time you're out there.  Doing difficult things well is one of the key rewards in riding, and getting myself from Espanola down to Midland by lunch time meant I could spend an easy afternoon tootling about along the white sand shores of Georgian Bay.

An added bonus from my highway stint?  The Concours typically gets about 38-40mpg in commuting/start stop riding, but that highway stint (which wasn't slow) got me my best ever mileage, 43mpg!  At that rate a fill-up gets you north of 230 miles if you're in top gear making progress.  And I don't think I've ever heard the big one litre four cylinder purr like it did as I punched a bug shaped hole through the air around Georgian Bay.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Stealing One From The Icy Teeth of Winter

The days are getting darker, damper and distinctly not rider friendly.  One day this week was into the double digits Celsius, so we jumped at the chance to do a big Max & Dad ride, maybe our last one of 2017.

That night it was going to bucket down with a cold, pre-winter rain storm, but the day promised sun and clouds and a chance to ride, so we took it.  We waited until the numbers got well above zero and then got the Tiger out of the garage and put on leathers and layers of fleece; this was going to be a cold one.

There is nothing more ragged and beautiful than a pre-winter sky over Georgian Bay.  We pushed north across the barren farm tundra that we live in.  Miles upon miles of mechanically tilled and industrially fertilized fields rolled by as we headed toward a first warm-up stop at Highland Grounds in Flesherton on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.

We staggered into the coffee shop just past eleven.  The weather wasn't anywhere near where the Weather Network promised it would be.  Our low teens, sunny morning had turned into a six degree, overcast slog north along your typical, boring, straight Southern Ontario roads.  Fortunately, nothing cheers us up more than warming up in an independent coffee shop and then heading onto Escarpment twisties.  Highland Grounds was as good as I remembered and we left with warm grins after a vanilla milkshake, a cookie the size of a pizza and a big, piping hot coffee in a ceramic mug.  It was a lot of calories, but we'd shivered those off on the way up.

North past Lake Eugenia where I spend a lot of summers at a friend's cottage, we wound our way into Beaver Valley and the twisties and views we'd been looking for - so much so that we stopped at the scenic look out on our way into the valley.


    


Of course, as soon as we stopped an elderly couple pulled in behind us and the driver immediately wandered up to find out who made our Triumph.

"Triumph?" I replied, somewhat confused by his question.
"Where are they made then?" he asked.  He has (of course) owned old Meriden Triumphs from the pre-80's collapse of the Motor Company and had assumed they were long gone.  He had no idea John Bloor had saved the brand in the early 90s and it was now one of the biggest European motorcycle manufacturers.  He'd assumed it was an Asian built Triumph branded thing.  When I told him it was built in the UK at a state of the art factory in Hinckley he was gobsmacked.  I always enjoy telling the story of Triumph's phoenix like rise from the ashes.  We left him thinking about dropping by the factory next time he's back in the old country.

We hopped back on the trusty Tiger and headed on through Beaver Valley and out to the choppy shores of Georgian Bay where the sky looked torn and the waves smashed against the rocks, splashing us with spray.







We hung out on the lonely shore for a little while, watching the hyperthermic fisherman standing in the mouth of the Beaver River amidst the surf, casting into the grey water over and over.  Georgian Bay skies always look like they are about to shatter, even in the summer, but with a Canadian winter imminent they looked positively daunting.  Time for another warm up.

We rode back up the hill onto the main street of Thornbury and got ourselves another warm drink.  The goal was to strike south east across the Escarpment toward Creemore for lunch.  The sporadic sun had managed to get it up to about ten degrees, but it was only better compared to the frozen morning.  We headed south behind Blue Mountain and through the glacial remains of Singhampton before turning onto the positively serpentine Glen Huron road for a ride down the hill into Creemore.  Shaggy highland cattle watched us ride by, much to my passenger's delight.


A hot lunch of philly steak and poutine refueled us at The Old Mill House Pub in Creemore.  When we came back out mid afternoon the temperature was as good as it was going to get, eleven degrees.  With warm stomachs we saddled up for the ride home through the wind fields of Dufferin County, but not before walking down the street to the ever popular Creemore brewery for a photo op and some brown ale.

When it comes to the end of October in Ontario, Canada, you take what you can get, and I'm glad we did.  Soon enough the snow will fall, the roads will salt up and the Tiger will have to hibernate, dreaming of the far off spring.


All on bike photos courtesy of the very easy to operate Ricoh Theta 360 camera - with simple physical controls and an ergonomic shape that is easy to grip, it's my go-to 360 camera.  No worries about framing a shot or focusing, it takes a photo of everything!

Georgian Bay 2017 end of season ride #triumph #roofhelmet #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


Our last big ride of the year?  Perhaps - it was hot baths and fireplaces when we got home.

Leather, fleece and armoured trousers, and it was still a cold one.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Around Georgian Bay

Everyone's busy this weekend so, and to quote Freddie Mercury, I'm going to take a long ride on my motorbike.  Time for my first circumnavigation of a Great Lake, I'll start small with Georgian Bay.  From Elora I'll strike north to Tobermory.  There is a 1:30 ferry to Manitoulin Island, that's the only must get to (gotta get there an hour before departure, so 12:30pm in Tobermory).

I'm aiming for Little Current to overnight.  We stopped there last summer and it seems a lovely spot to spend the night, and The Hawberry Motel looks the part.   That'll put me 340kms and a two hour ferry ride into an 873km circumnavigation.

Sunday morning I'm on the winding road up to Espanola and then over to Sudbury before the long ride south.  It might seem like a stretch but the ride south includes some time on the 400, so I'll get to see how the Concours manages highway riding while making some time down the other side of the bay.  Once I get back south of the Bay I'll cut over to the coast and follow it around before heading south out of Wasaga Beach for the final push home.

This ride is the longest I've yet done, and it also includes a ferry ride.  I'm pretty revved up about it!  Friday night will be the pre-flight checks then on the road Saturday morning.  My buddy Jeff has said he'll do the first leg with me up to Tobermory, so I'll also get to do some miles in formation.  Another box checked.

Here are the posts from the trip:
Part 1: To the North
Part 2: An informed ride
Part 3: Highway Miles
Part 4: The Kit
Part 5: Media from the Trip


The Concours is sorted and doing regular duty commuting me to work, time to stretch her legs...

LINKS

The Ferry

The Hawberry Motel

The Map

The Trip Itself

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.
















Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Launching an Odyssey & Circumnavigating Huron

Jeff, the motorcycle Jedi, is crossing Canada with his lovely wife on a Honda Goldwing.  They leave shortly and we get to tag along on the first day!  We'll accompany them to Massey, Ontario and over to The Sault the next morning.  They then continue up over Superior on their pan-Canadian odyssey while we cut south over the border into Northern Michigan and hug the shore of Lake Huron before popping back into Southern Ontario in Sarnia.



While Jeff and MA are heading west for days on end, we'll be wandering through Hemmingway's Michigan before arriving back home.  This'll give me my second great lake circumnavigation (or maybe my first real great lake because Georgian Bay is a bay).


https://goo.gl/maps/UTLra6j7ZEL2

Daily Schedule:
day 1- The Mohawk Inn, Massey ON
day 2- The Breakers Resort, St Ignace, MI
day 3- Bay Valley Resort & Conf Ctr, Bay City
day 4- Home

Mileages:
Elora to Massey, ON:       496kms
Massey to St Ignace, MI:   296kms
St Ignace to Bay City, MI: 381kms
Bay City to Elora, ON:     395kms

http://explorersedge.ca/

Riding the twisty roads of Northern Ontario

The quiet shores of Huron in Northern Michigan...



Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Around The Bay: Part 2, an Informed ride

Putting on the miles and building muscle memory.
A couple of recent articles informed my circumnavigation of Georgian Bay.

Bike magazine's resident lawyer had a great piece on the dangers of the over educated novice rider.  He made the poignant observation that people who haven't had a lot of seat time but have over-thought riding to the nth degree often have much nastier crashes than less trained but more experienced riders.  Sometimes the best thing to do is instinctively grab as much brake as you can instead of overthinking an impending disaster.  Perhaps riding is more of an art than a science, informed by experience, not training.


As a teacher I found this critical assessment of instruction over experience to be both interesting and probably accurate.  There is a lot of anxiety over motorcycle riding from the general public  I was determined to get some saddle time and learn the hard way rather than in theory.  The over-focus on training and gear tries to mitigate this fear, and it helps to a degree, but if fear is what drives you, I'd suggest that motorcycling isn't what you should be doing.

The second piece was Neil Graham's editorial in this month's Cycle Canada.  Neil is getting back to form after an agonizing winter back injury.  After everyone else had moved on Neil stayed out on track until it became kind of boring and he relaxed into the ride.  In his case it was track riding on the edge, but it still spoke to the teaching of muscle memory, something that became evident in the previous Bike piece as well.

On my way out of Southern Ontario I was intentionally trying to untense muscles, especially the ones I subconsciously tense when I'm riding.  Yoga probably helps with this, but I was able to sense and untense muscles in my legs and backside while riding.  Being loose and heavy on the bike allowed me to ride further without fatigue.  It also allowed me to respond to issues quickly and lightly.  Being able to free your mind from the demands of your body and put yourself into a state of relaxation also opens up a state of heightened awareness.

Riding into my driveway on Sunday afternoon I was exhausted but elated and felt like I was coming out of some deep meditation.  My mind was full of the 900 kms I'd seen, smelled and felt, and the soreness became something that I'd worked through; the second wind was a real endorphin rush.  After the three hundred plus kilometre stretch down the backside of Georgian Bay I suddenly found myself operating beyond the soreness of the long ride.  Coming off the very demanding highway ride to quiet back roads probably helped too.

If you're able to find a state of intense focus while performing a strenuous mental and physical activity like riding a motorcycle, you tend to be able to find that state much more easily when you're not on the bike and things are easier.  Being able to focus and perform while under duress makes entering that state of intense awareness in other circumstances that much easier.

I guess I found that moment beyond the thinking and training where I relaxed into the saddle and became the ride.  If long distance riding can do that, I suspect I'm eventually going to want to do the deed and get my iron butt.


Links

People who think they are invincible, then suddenly realize they aren't and quit
Is the person who ignores danger with delusions of invincibility brave, or stupid?
The kind of intelligent insight you expect from Quora
An insightful examination of what motorcycling is.
An idiotic infographic that focuses on the people who choose to ride more than riding
See the top link - deluded thrill seekers are a part of the motorcycle community, the stupid part.
Another idiotic infographic that focuses on obvious truth (doing dangerous things is dangerous!), but so is obesity, smoking and getting older
The safest thing to do is exercise in a rubber box, never take any risks in anything and kill yourself before you get old (getting old is going to kill you!)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Niagara Escarpment

I've been chased off the road by lousy weather, so the dream trips begin again (it's a form of therapy).

The Niagara Escarpment
Since moving to Southern Ontario when I was nine, I've had a fascination with the Niagara Escarpment.  There are a couple of parks (Rockwood & Rattlesnake Point) that featured prominently with my younger years; I learned to rock climb at Rattlesnake Point.

When I got my driver's license and couldn't handle the tedium of arrow straight Ontario roads any more I'd drive up to Belfountain (where I got married years later) and drive the Forks of the Credit.  When I got my motorcycle license, one of the first long trips I ever took was to a conference in Ancaster where I was introduced to Sulphur Springs Road, one of the first times I got that feeling of flying while riding.


Southern Ontario is surrounded by interesting geology, but the only
thing that breaks up the monotony around here is the Escarpment
Last year I took a ride out to Horning's Mills, one of the prettiest places I've ever wanted to live and road River Road down through Mono Hills (somewhere else I've looked at houses).  All of these places happen to trace the spine of the escarpment.  

Geological scars have always fascinated me, I think the energy coming out of the ground in these places is palpable; the Escarpment is one of those places.

I usually design trips that go long or take me to exotic place, but this one is a close to home and very doable trip.  The Escarpment enters Ontario just below Niagara Falls at the Queenston Heights (where I attended my wife's cousin's wedding).  Starting there, I'd trace the Escarpment through Niagara wine country and past my wife's alma mater (Brock University).  A logical first stop would be on the turn around Hamilton in Ancaster.  Day One would be only about 100kms, with lots of stops and turns up and down the Escarpment.  Passing through the rows of grapes, we may end up testing the carrying capacity of our rides.
Day 2 would mark the swing north, starting with Sulphur Springs road and winding through Rattlesnake Point and The Forks of the Credit before parking it up for the night at The Millcroft Inn in Alton.  This one's about 120kms as the crow flies, but includes a lot of switchbacks again.  Pulling in early at the Millcroft spa is never a bad idea anyway.


After a restful night at The Millcroft we head north past my wife's childhood home in Mono Hills and up to Horning's Mills before tracing River Road and heading north to the bottom of Georgian Bay.  Blue Mountain looks like a nice place to stop.  This is another 120km day, but with a lot of room for exploration and switchbacks.

Day four has us tracing the shore of Georgian Bay for 150kms on increasingly quieter roads as we head away from the noise of the Golden Horseshoe.  We'd aim for Wiarton to stop for the night before tackling The Bruce Peninsula on the final day.

It's tricky following the Escarpment up the Bruce Peninsula, road access is spotty at best.  If we try to hit every bit of coast we're looking at over 200kms of riding.  Many roads don't appear to join up on the map but might in real life, it'll be an exploratory day of trying to find the wild edge of the Bruce.

The trip ends in lovely Tobermory.  If we left on a Monday we'd be in Tobermory by Friday night.  The goal wouldn't be miles covered, but rather how much of the Escarpment could we ride.  Relatively known roads like Forks of the Credit might get company from some Escarpment roads that only locals know of (like River Road out of Horning's Mills).
The Niagara Escarpment Run
Without any highways or long distance hauling, this begs for a light touch as far as gear
goes.  The bikes would be minimally laden.  In a perfect world I'd do this with my wife and two friends from Ottawa.  Considering the nature of the trip, I'd be tempted to try and do this zero emission.  The Zero DS with the power tank would easily cover the mileage requirements every day and be able to charge overnight at each stop.
It would even be able to handle the ride from Tobermory home at the end of the trip in one gulp.

The Bruce Trail runs along the Escarpment, which itself is a world biosphere reserve.  Being able to ride the escarpment without a whiff of CO2 not only honours the biosphere, but also points to a future of environmentally gentler motorbiking.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Tiger Tales: mileage and fuel maps

I'm still bedding in the Tiger after a lot of over-winter maintenance.  When I was having idling issues last year I messed around with the fuel mapping and upped all the idle speeds, but now that the idle's working perfectly I'm left thinking that this high idle is just wasting gas.  The first long ride of the year took me up to the edge of Georgian Bay to look at the water before coming back through the Grey Highlands and over the farm desert I live in to home.


That ends up being about 320kms and I topped the tank the day before and did it again today, so I have an accurate idea of how much fuel I used, which was 18.83 litres.  That works out to 5.72 litres per 100 kms or about 41 miles per gallon.  According to the interwebs, the 955i Tiger should be getting 5.6 litres/100kms or 39.5mpg, so the old Tiger is still coming in ahead of the factory expectations, and it's not like I'm light handed with it.

I turned the camera on when I got to Beaver Valley and Graham Hill:




...and then on up Beaver Valley to Thornbury Harbour:
Being landlocked is tough for a kid who grew up by the sea.  Georgian Bay isn't the sea, but it'll do.

...then it's down behind Blue 'Mountain' and through Singhampton to Duntroon near Creemore.




The twists and turns of Noisy River Road just outside of Creemore...

And the Noisy River itself - nice place to stop and have a break in COVID land where you can't stop anywhere else...

Yesterday I reset the fuel mapping for idle and enrichment and then took the bike out for a spin.  The engine was a bit inconsistent when I came off the gas, kind of like it was hunting on the overrun, but this seems to have fixed it.  Having too high idle settings on the fuel map can give you odd off-throttle behaviour as the bike attempts to hold the high idle even when you're slowing down.

With a new tank I'm thinking the mileage will be even better next time around.