Tuesday, 31 March 2015

First Highway Ride on Winter Bike

Today I rode my latest motorcycle; I have three now. It wasn't just a little scoot around the neighbourhood because it's not licensed; nope, this was a full fledged out the highway to Salmonier line ride in March when it's pretty freakin' chilly...not typical motorcycle riding weather. But, I rode and it was pure tranquillity...albeit cold tranquillity. For anyone who read my last post they will know I have purchased an old beater for beating the winter blahs when the colder months rob me of my greatest therapeutic relief, riding my motorcycle. The bike had been in storage for a while so it did need the attention of my bike guru, Keith at Toy Box. However, with not to much mechanical fuss, he got her rollin' within a few days. 

The bike is an old Yamaha FJ 600, an early version of the crotch rocket but really not resembling anything like today's sleek highway burners. It's got an inline 4 with 4 carbs and cleaning and syncing those proved to be the greatest task after the bike came out of storage where it had been for over a year. The only alterations I made to it were to put aggressive tread tires on it in case I do run in to some snow on one of my jaunts...or a clump/patch of salt or sand for that matter. Anything is possible this time of year. 

So, I suited up with my lined snow pants and as many layers of shirts as would fit under my bike jacket. I was kinda bulky but comfortable enough and relatively warm. It was my first ride and so I learned a few things. Definitely need to wear extra socks and maybe even those little shake-up heating pads in my boots. I bought a set of handlebar muffs (yup that's what they're called) and you slide your hands (with gloves on) into these. It takes a couple of minutes to feel around for the switches and levers but I got the hang of it and my hands were fine. Indeed, other than fixing the cool tootsies thing and maybe wearing something warmer around my neck, I was actually pretty comfortable;The continuous drip of snot not withstanding. After a while you just ignore it, plus my face mask soaked most of it up.

Keith did warn me in that stern Keith way he gets when he is dead serious, this is no joking matter, that I was not to ride over 100kms because of the nature of the tires. They are not high speed highway tires, more suited to off-roading but great for what I need. This does have it's advantages. At 100kms/h I could hear my music, which sometimes is a strain at 140 +, and also, at the slower speed, no risk of attracting the local law enforcement, something I have unfortunately done on past excursions. It did irk me somewhat at being passed continuoulsy, but I kept my pride in check. I was a bit concerned about insurance because with my ticket history, my insurance company is a bit sticky about the type of bike I ride. I pay a nasty premium for the ST1300 because it is classed as a sport bike and thus considered a higher risk...for what I'm not sure. Anyways, this sucker is so old it didn't even show up on their charts, so  whew....no sport bike designation.

Anyways, after years of talking about it, I finally have my winter bike. I call it middle digit because it's my way of flipping the bird at old man winter who hangs around these parts far too long for my liking.

Anyway, no more waiting for spring rains to wash away the salt residue from the roads, so I can bring out the Magna or the ST. I expect to get a couple of good months of riding yet out of the FJ before more civilised conditions are upon us here on the rock.

That's all for now. Until Next Time, see ya out there! Ride One....

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Marching on....

Not much of note to post since I haven't done any riding and am pretty much in survival mode waiting for this hellish winter to end. I hate winter. It has meant for me the end of the riding season and riding is my greatest therapy, the one thing that refuels me and takes nothing from me. I have spent the morning reading blogs by other riders living in places where you can ride all year round (something I'll be able to do next year), or where they have actual seasons and spring comes when it's supposed to. One blog I looked at this morning from Oregon had pics from a ride the bloggers did this past week and trees were already flowerings and temps were in double digits Celsius. I'm sitting here with several feet of snow still on the ground outside and listening to freezing rain hit the windows.

Before this blog becomes too bleak I do have a light of hope in the near future...my winter bike. Although winter is slowly, I hope, coming to an end, I have purchased and old beater that I can ride with no worry about salt dust rusting my sprockets and chrome etc. It's still at Toy Box getting tuned as it was in storage for over a year, so right now it needs a bit of elbow grease to get running. The boys tell me I should be able to be on two wheels sometime this week if I get the right day. I don't mind the cold as I can dress for that, so it's just a matter of dry roads and no precipitation. It's and old '89 Yamaha FJ 600 with an inline four and four carbs ( that makes the tune up a bit trickier), but I can't wait to get out on the highway. November seems like a lifetime ago. Here's a couple of pics.

Apart from hunting down this winter ride I've used every tool at my disposal to keep the demon winter blahs at bay. My wife  and I have enjoyed several British series on NetFlix ( I really prefer the British shows to the American  ones) Currently watching Silk of which there are three seasons on NetFlix. We also watched Happy Valley, Scott & Bailey and Broad Church. I recommend them all. I finsihed reading Wild Truth and moved on to Wild by Chery Strayed after seeing the movie in Toronto, when I went up for the Segar show. I'm finding books about peole taking on significant physically demanding journeys strike a chord with me. I'm not much of a hiker but Sherry and I do walk a lot to try and keep the lbs down and stay fit. But these stories are more than just about the physical journey. They detail the emotional and mental journey the writers are on too, and I really connect with that. In year 28 of what has become a tiring teaching career, I feel I'm on a survival journey to retirement and the possibility of a new life travelling and riding and what that will bring. My lateest literary venture is entitled The 100 Year Old dman Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared.

I've also started writing and recording songs again, something I haven't done with any consistency for four or five years. Again, the catalyst for this was surviving the winter and expressing the emotions that I'm feeling right now. I'm not sure what prompted me to pick up the guitar again, but I was chagrined to find both my voice and playing had deteriorated notably in the intervening years since I played more regularly. The voice is coming back, though hot lemon water is a must; the playing still a bit mediocre, though the writing not the musicianship was always my strength. To keep things light I'll include a video here I did of a song I wrote about rum. I've discovered a wonderful sipping rum, El Dorado, to add to my repertoire of nightcaps and decided to go all Jimmy Buffett and write a tune about it. 

Well, that's about enough for now. I haven't blogged in over a month so for those who are following, thanks for dropping by. I did have the oddest experience a few days ago when my most recent blog  had 90+ hits in one day. I don't think I have a single post that has had that many page views.

Anyways, thanks for dropping by. Let's pray that April will bring something more weather approximating spring, as I think March may have actually been the worst month in what had been shaping up as a relatively mild winter bt Newfoundland standards.

Until Next Time, See Ya Out There! Ride On....