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Friday, 4 October 2013

My First Bike Rally

Last weekend I attended my first bike rally. No, I didn't have to dress up like a pirate or an extra on Sons of Anarchy. There were no guys with their Harley Davidson edition Ford F-150 towing a trailer with their $50,000 polished chromed CVO's. There were no scantily clad, slightly overweight ladies wearing assless chaps, no burnout pits, and we didn't ride endless circles through downtown Moncton in an endless parade at 10kph on Milwaukee's finest blipping the throttle every few seconds to let every resident in a ten block radius know "the bikers" where here.

Nope, it was none of that. The CMG Dawn2Dusk Rally is the slightly insane creation of editor Rob Harris and his second in command Zak Kurylyk, the ones that brought you the fully insane Mad Bastard Scooter Rally. The Mad Bastard is only run every two years, so the riders have enough time to recover.

The D2D is limited to 250cc or less, and each year traverses a couple of provinces. This year, as always it started at Toys for Big Boys in Moncton and snaked it's way on back roads to Antigonish and back for a full day of riding covering 640kms. My arse gets sore just thinking of doing 640kms on a 250.

Fortunately for me I never had a 250 to ride so I had to suffer it out on the plush comfort of my Vstrom 1000. Cheating you say.........damn right, and my 44 year old arthritic  arse, hips, and back thanked me for it later. I told Rob I would come up and video the rally for them, which was my excuse for not having a 250. I really wanted to meet Rob so that I could hit him up to be a writer/photographer/videographer contributer at CMG, even though I have no formal training in either of those departments. Maybe one day they'll need a corporate jet pilot.

In the cold darkness of a late September morning fifteen slightly tweaked riders gather in the parking lot of Toys for Big Boys to prepare for a long day in the saddle and to wait for the sun to peak over the horizon. There were riders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and one special lunatic came all the way down from Ontario. Murray drove from Windsor, Ontario and brought Doug the chase truck driver with him.

Larry Northrup, the owner of Toys and sponsor of the rally was there and had much needed coffee and muffins for everyone. It was the first time I met Larry, a great guy, very stoked about bikes and the rally. If you are looking for a new Harley, Honda or KTM go see him.

Around 0745 we headed out into the morning light. Did I say it was cold........ya it was cold. Damn why don't I have heated grips yet. The weather was nice for the most part, except for the thick fog, and mist in the valleys. So now we are getting damp and cold. Goodie. Those folks on the 250's must be really suffering. 

The fog eventually burned off around 10am, and the air started to warm up, thawing out frozen fingers and toes. No one said this was gonna be easy.

Due to the limited fuel range on some of the 250's, fuel stops were planned for every 80-120kms. I am sure this is a welcome relief for those riding a KLX250S, which has a seat designed for trail riding and commuting, not for sitting on for 12 hours.

Zak and Rob did a great job coming up with the route, the roads were awesome, and we had a great day of riding, however even with a GPS we did take a few wrong turns. Apparently the boys scouted the route in the opposite direction. I guess this wouldn't be a CMG event if went perfectly smooth, and really, where's the fun in that.

Before long we rolled into Antigonish for a well deserved late lunch break at the Prissy Pig. Excellent choice for hungry bikers.

Unfortunately this is where I bailed out of the rally, I had date with my wife in Moncton, and a night alone without the kids. That opportunity only comes around every blue moon, so after saying good bye to all my new biker friends I hit the interstate and pinned it for the Residence Inn.
The rest of the insane asylum continued up to the Cape St. George which was probably the best part of the ride, and then along the coast of the North Humberland Straits making their way back to Aulac, New Brunswick for the finish and supper at the Irving Big Stop

All photos courtesy of Zak and Rob at CMG

Yes there is a short video of the event in the making, stayed tuned to this station for film at 11.

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