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

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Labour Day Weekend Ride: Georgian Bay

 A 300km round trip up to Georgian Bay and back:


I aimed to get out of the boring straight lines of South West Ontario and over to the Niagara Escarpment as quickly as I could.  I was going to head up Highway 6 but it was packed full of GTA types escaping their pandemic ridden cities, so I angled off in Fergus and took 16 up, which was completely empty.  That would become a theme of the ride.

It took me about an hour to get up to Flesherton, where I made a stop at Highland Grounds for an Americano.  I usually enjoy sitting in there sipping my coffee while sitting on their 70's retro disco red glitter vinyl chairs, but it being the summer of COVID, I ended up drinking my fine coffee by the Tiger on Highway 10 (also packed full of citiots all doing the same thing at the same time, as they do).

While I was standing there I noted the new bicycle shop that had opened up a few doors down.  Ryan Carter, the owner of the new Ryan's Repairs, had some interesting kit out front, including a seventies banana seat bike with a single cylinder engine mounted to it.  I ended up chatting with him for a bit and had a look in his shop.  He'd only been up in Flesherton for a couple of weeks.  If you're up that way and you're interested in bicycles or even just some interesting mechanical engineering, drop in with your Higher Ground coffee and see what's what at Ryan's Repairs.





It was a longer than planned stop in Flesherton, but I eventually finished my americano and then I was off to Beaver Valley.  Highway 10 was bumper to bumper, but I dodged through town and only had a to do a few hundred yards with the sheeple before turning off onto empty country roads again.

Beaver Valley has a fantastic road (Grey County Road 30) that weaves down into it with epic views.  If you hang a right at the bottom and go on the dirt, the ride back up Graham's Hill is intense, particularly so this time as all the recent rain had washed it out leaving a stream cut down the middle of it that was tricky to navigate.  I ended up on the wrong side of it as it cut across the road, but even on my 'it's time for a change but no one has them in stock' Michelin Anakees, I was still able to 

The view out from Graham's Hill lookout was also worth a stop.  I went through there last year in the middle of autumn colours and it burned itself into my memory.  This time around everything was super green, but it's still some interesting geography to ride in our otherwise tedious flatness.

I looped back around to Grey 30 and came back down the hill without a slow mover in front this time before hanging a left and following the road out to Beaver Valley Road and the trek up to Thornbury.  I was there in the early spring but the harbour was closed in the early days of COVID.  I was hoping this time I'd be able to get myself right down to the water's edge.





I guess Beaver Valley Road isn't on everyone's GPS because it was fairly empty.  With a few big, high speed sweepers, it's a nice way up to the bay.  Ontario 26, the road that follows the shore, is evidently on everyone's radar because it was bumper to bumper.  After a brief stop to look at the bay...



... I stopped for gas in Thornbury, but the traffic on 26 was nuts.  Rather than sit in a line to get through
the light for half an hour, I zipped up the side and took a right back inland.  South out through Thornbury and Clarksburg (no traffic), I hung a left on 40 (also empty) and rode directly to Grey County Road 2, which would bring me back over Blue Mountain and into the Grey Highlands.  I'm still at a loss to explain why, when left to their own devices, most people just imitate each other.  I'm not sure what happens in their heads that makes sitting in traffic when they are surrounded by empty road make sense.

The roads south were also pretty empty, though I'm able to dispatch traffic with alacrity on the big 'ol Tiger.  Singhampton arrived in no time.  124 northbound had construction and what looked like a half an hour wait to get through it.  I was heading south then east and bypassed it.  I wouldn't have sat in it in any case.  A better way around would be to zip down Crazy River Road toward Creemore then wind through the hills of Glen Huron, which is exactly what I did.


 The big skies in the hills were getting dark as I headed south.  It was cloudy when I left, but driving north to the bay meant avoiding that rain, now I was riding back into it.  The clouds were ragged as I flew south on 124.


By this point I'd been on the road for about four hours and hadn't stopped since Flesherton, so I figured I'd give River Road from Horning's Mills to Terra Nova a go.  It was closed for construction when I tried it in the spring, so this would be my first ride on it in 2020.  Like everything else in Ontario these days, they've managed to fuck it up.  After construction the entire road is now a 50km/hr zone with community fines doubled signs everywhere.  I really need to move somewhere else.  I get that no one wants idiots ripping up and down the road in front of where they live, but a 50/community safety zone for the entire length of a road that has maybe ten driveways on it over 12 kms?  There must be money in the area.

Fortunately, Terra Nova Public House was open and could squeeze me in for a socially distanced soup between their lunch and dinner service.  The rain finally hit while I was sitting out back.  Big, fat drops splashing into my soup, but it was still fantastic (maple carrot homemade!).  It was a brief shower and it blew over quickly.  I was in and out of TNPH in about 20 minutes, and by the time I came out the road was dry again.  I puttered back along River Road, frustrated at the iron grip of government and then started the burn south west back home.



Blustery winds and ragged clouds north of Shelbourne, then it was down through Grand Valley, following the Grand River home to Elora...


The Tiger ran like a top.  The idle/stall issue seems to be a thing of the past.  It was a nice ride through some changeable weather.  It was also cool enough that I wasn't cooking on the seat, so I felt like I still had a lot in me when I got back.  The trip knocked the Tiger up to only 600kms away from hitting 80k.  It turns twenty years old in 2023, and I like the symmetry of it hitting 100k by then, so that's the goal.  This winter it'll get new shoes (if anyone ever gets Michelin Anakees back in stock again), and a complete service including all bearings and suspension.  It'll get an oil change too if anyone ever has Mobil 1 motorcycle oil back in stock again (finding parts during COVID is an ongoing headache).

I should get well into the 80s before the riding season's done, and then it'll be spa time.



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...