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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Freeze Your Nuts Off Ride 2014

Last year I organized the Freeze Your Nuts Off Ride. It is the last group ride of the year before most people store their bikes for the season. This year I just never had the time, so Tom Vihvelin stepped up and took the reins. The weather gods cursed us this year and the ride was postponed twice, and finally went ahead last Sunday in freezing temps. I unfortunately had to work and missed the ride. To make matters worst we received a dusting of snow and ice the morning of the ride, but luckily it melted early enough for the three brave souls to get out.

Here is Tom's account of the day

FYNOR 2014 Ride Report (November 23, 2014)

Only three brave (foolish?) riders turned up for FYNOR 2014.  We had unexpected icing conditions overnight that was cause for concern this morning and resulted in us delaying our departure by an hour.  However by 11 AM the ice had melted and nobody experienced any loss of traction despite moments of trepidation when crossing shiny, dark spots on the side roads.

Our hats are off to Steve M. who drove his Yamaha Super Tenere all the way from Shediac just to ride FYNOR 2014!  I think Steve must have hit the road around 7:30 AM to get here in time.  The weather was even worse in Shediac this morning.

Total trip distance for Peter and me was 331 kms but I figure Steve put on almost 700 kms since he rode down and back home to Shediac

We departed the Irving in Saint John at 11 AM and followed the coastal route, enjoying the scenic fishing villages along the way and watching the big breakers that were crashing on the rocks with spray almost reaching the road. We stopped and had some delicious cherry cheesecake and coffee in Pennfield and then headed north up the 785.  This was new territory for all of us and it’s a great road.  No problem doing 110 kph on this road.

At the intersection of 785 and 101 we went north all the way up to New Maryland and then jumped on the TCH to the Gagetown exit where we said bye to Steve.  By this time the sun was getting low on the horizon and the temperature was dipping so we tucked in and tried to make time on the old river road through Gagetown all the way to Grand Bay-Westfield.  This got tricky however as many parts of the road were very wet and with the temperature falling, we had to be extra careful.  By the time we made it all the way through to Grand Bay-Westfield we decided to race the sundown home and jumped onto route 7 for a quick, dry-road run back home.  We got back around 4:15 PM.

All in all it was a great ride with what turned out to be pretty good weather considering that it is late November.  Despite temperatures that hovered at +2 to +4 all day (with a temporary spike to +8) nobody got cold thanks to dressing in multiple layers.  Peter and I both felt and looked like the Michelin Man with all our layers.  Steve with his electric suit was a much slimmer looking rider.
With sun and blue skies for most of the day coupled with scenery that ranged from ocean vistas to picturesque farmlands and the serene waters of the Saint John River it was a fitting way to end this year’s riding season.

I have attached a few photos and here is link to our route if anyone wants to take a gander at it.  https://goo.gl/maps/9rHCR

The only question that remains is; “Who will step up and organize next year’s FYNOR?”


The Maritime Off Road Adventure Ride Documentary or Whatever Editor 'Arris is Gonna Call It

A few weeks ago Canada Moto Guide's mighty editor-at-large (he is six foot four) sent me a link to this video with an idea of doing something similar. It's a great video so I encourage you to watch it. It's endorsed by the ever famous Austin Vince of Mondo Enduro.

What first started out as a Moncton to Montreal route, soon changed to a loop style route throughout New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The routing will be big bike rideable, and we will basically start in either Moncton or Saint John, head towards St. Stephen area and then north towards Edmundston before turning east for Bathurst or Miramichi then into Nova Scotia and down towards Digby and Yarmouth, and riding the ferry back to Saint John.

Being the lazy sods that we are, there is no way that we are going to even try and map that out on our own, so we are going to enlist the help of local riders along the way to guide us through their favourite trails, dirt roads, etc, taking pavement as little as possible. Similar to the video above, except the only one with an English accent will be 'Arris, and myself quoting Monty Python skits the odd time or two.

The best part.........we are going to film this for another Bigland documentary, so you will have another two-wheeled adventure to watch over next years cold, snowy, dreadful winter.

Right now the tentative plan is ride this in July sometime, I have to work out dates that coincide with my vacation ( I get an extra week this year, woohoo) and juggle family vacation time. We can't leave it too late in the year as it will start to interfere with Fundy Adventure Rally, which 'Arris becomes quite busy with.

Not sure what 'Arris will be riding, maybe a long-term test bike, or the ol' KLR, I'll be on the rally build CRF250L, this being the first big test for that bike.

If anyone wants to help out in routing us through the Maritimes, or would like to show us around their local riding area, give us a place to sleep, provide us with food, beer, gas, etc drop me a note, and we'll make sure you make it into the video and be guaranteed your fifteen seconds of fame. Or is that fifteen minutes? Whatever, I'll flash your mug across the screen.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Ural I Want is a Triumphant Hack

Well except for the people living on the west coast, most Canadian riders have their bikes put away for the winter. So not many of you are riding anymore. I never really store my bike, any opportunity to ride over the winter I will take. Like today, high of 0C, and the rain has washed the salt off the road again, so I'll warm up the bike, plug in the heated jacket and head out for a spin. Extended forecast calls for 10C on Tuesday. Woohoo. El Nino, where have you been the last couple of years? Good to have you back my ol' friend.

Sidecars.......yes I want one, a Ural would be very nice. A 2015 Gear-Up would be the ideal choice, however I have come to the realization that good used ones are hard to find, and a new one is just not in the cards financially at the moment. $21K tax in! Ouch.

Yesterday, I began searching for a retro-style bike that I can have a sidecar attached to for a reasonable amount of money. The ol' Vstrom was $9000, because a subframe had to be fabricated.
I love the Harley Sportster Iron 883, and the Yamaha Bolt, but those are street bikes only, so they really don't fit the bill. I need to simplify my life not complicate it more with multiple bikes. (Ok that last part is a lie, I'd really have a garage full of bikes if I could) Then I came across this picture and I had my ah ha moment.

A Triumph Scrambler. A very cool bike, almost too cool for me, because this guy rode one and he is the King of Cool.

"What about the Ducati Scrambler you lusted about?" You ask. Well, I do love the Duc, and if it wasn't for my sidecar obsession I'd definitely be leaning towards the Italian side. The problem with the Duc is, the engine is not cradled in a frame like the Triumph, which makes installing a hack (sidecar) impossible without fabricating a subframe, like my current situation with the Strom. 

The one bonus I do see over the Ural in this situation besides price, is.......the sidecar on the Scrambler can easily be removed. Only four attachment bolts. So if I was going off on the CMG/Bigland Off Road Maritime Discovery Route documentary ride I could disconnect the hack and go. Going to ride with the dogs for the weekend, install and I have some K9 company.

How could you not want to take these two beauties for a ride? Retro cool bike, two cute dogs in a sidecar, I'll beating the women away with a stick.

See how the Scrambler attracts them, even without the dogs.

The other thing I really like about the Scrambler is the customization that is possible. Some builders are making some pretty kickass bikes. Why make a CRF250L, or WR250R, rally/ADV build when you could do the same with a Scrambler. Steve MacQueen raced one back in the day.

That's not the King of Cool, unless he is back from the dead on a modern Scrambler.

From this



or this

I'm thinking, new exhaust, tires, seat, suspension, skid plate, foot pegs, GPS mounting bracket, some other odds and ends, maybe a custom paint job, viola........Fundy Adventure Rally bike. A British rally weapon. For sure CMG editor 'Arris, the man from Yorkshire, would fully agree. I'll change my name to Nigel, start drinking tea, and develop an uncanny British accent from the Liverpool area. Bloody nice.

You all have to agree, it would not be something you'd normally see being turned into a modern day rally bike?

Oh ya, just remembered, I was supposed to write about the CMG/Bigland off road Maritime trip. So sorry, it will have to wait til next time now.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Three Wheeled Movie Fun, and Winter Arrives

I was at my daughters hockey game last night sitting with my friend Rod who also happens to be a biker, and runner, he just completed his first marathon and if it all goes well maybe we will be doing a 50 miler next year. Anyway, he said, the blog has been quiet, no new bikes?

 Of course, I have been stewing over a new blog entry, and I continue to lust after a new bike, because  one is never enough, and I have yet to find the perfect one, however the Vstrom is damn close. It does everything but trail ride, and get me through the winter. So my mind keeps coming back to the good ol' Russian three wheeler. The Ural.

So in my obsessive search for all knowledge on Russian sidecar motorbikes I stumbled upon a couple of good independent films. One I linked to a couple of months ago, Sit, Stay, Ride It's a documentary about two of my loves, sidecars, and dogs. It's one of the reasons I really want a sidecar, so I can take both the dogs with me. Share what you love to do with man's best friend. Plus with the two-wheeled drive option of a Ural, the recent snowfall wouldn't slow me down or stop me in my tracks. Turn up the heated jacket a notch and keep going.

I just downloaded this movie, and have yet to watch it, but the trailer looks really good. If you are a fan of bikes and dogs go to Vimeo and check it out.

Sit Stay Ride: The Story of America's Sidecar Dogs - Trailer from Ristau & Liimatta on Vimeo.

Yes Molly, you could be this cool

Molly and Abbie sharing a different kind of ride with me

I really think a new Ural will be in my not-to-distant future, spring of 2015. What's that mean for the 250 rally/ADV build? Not sure. However the Ural will make a great rally, off road film platform, sweep bike. Plus it will be perfect for our upcoming CMG/Bigland documentary on riding off road around New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I have yet to tell anyone about that on the blog. That will be in the next update. But it's gonna be fun. A Newfie in Ural, and an Englishman on a KLR, and a bunch of maritimers on dirt, ADV bikes. What could go wrong?

Before I move on to the next film, I just want to say I do not have a drinking problem, in fact I rather enjoy it, and can pound back a few-to-many beers with no issue. Being a pilot and traveling the world, you get to frequent a lot of different bars while trying to kill time between flights. (we do have a 12hr bottle to throttle rule, so don't worry I'm not the guy Denzel Washington portrayed in Flight, I have yet to snort cocaine to get me ready to fly) So the idea of traveling on sidecar across a country checking out every cool bar along the way is an awesome idea. May even be a future documentary that will go well with my 50th birthday plans of riding around Ireland. 

I haven't watched this yet, but I am looking forward to it. It's not a documentary like Sit, Stay, Ride, but has that edgy, Easyriders feel to it. Might be a Saturday afternoon, lid down on the couch kinda movie.

The Best Bar in America - Trailer from The Best Bar in America on Vimeo.

A whiskey-fueled writing assignment takes one man on an epic motorcycle road trip through the bars and taverns across the American West. Riding a 1960 BMW R60/2 motorcycle with a sidecar, Sanders (Andrew Rizzo) is a down-on-his-luck writer on a mission to chronicle every watering hole along the way. With help of fellow traveler and dharma bum, Northway (David Ackroyd) and a variety of other colorful characters along the way, Sanders learns the way of the road and the zen of the bar.
Motorcycling the West, sleeping on the ground, chasing mermaids, and drinking in America's most legendary taverns, Sanders experiences firsthand the brotherhood of the bike and bar. Along the way, he gets advice from Ernest Hemingway and Jim Harrison on writing, drinking, and living life to the fullest. The Best Bar in America is a classic road movie for the modern age.

So yesterday we received our first real brush with winter.  Snow blanketed the ground, and my hopes of a late winter were crushed under the weight of a wet, ten centimetres of the white shit. The roads stayed bare for the most part, and I was once again hopeful that the salt trucks would stay parked, but alias as we drove home from my daughters hockey game the mercury had plummeted below freezing and a fresh coating of rock salt covered the road. The good news, rain and ten degrees on Wednesday, which should wash most of the evil, corrosive stuff off the road. The rest of the week will be cool with temps near freezing but I hope to still get some rides in.

 Yes, I could be tearing it up in the snow with the dogs, enjoying the winter beauty on the logging roads of New Brunswick.

All the summer toys put away for the winter. The long wait to live again begins.

Next update........I'll bring all of you up up to speed on the CMG/Bigland documentary planned for next year. It's gonna be dirty, fun, educational and enlightening.