Thursday, 30 July 2015

2015 24 Marathons Motorcycle Ride for Terry Fox Complete

Each year for the past five or six years now, I actually forget, I have done a fund raising ride in support  of the Terry Fox Foundation. I call it 24 Marathons in 24 Hours as I ride the equivalent distance of 24 marathons ( 1032 kms) in a 24 hour period. I always do it on July 28th, the anniversary of Terry Fox's birthday. He'd have been 57 this year. Actually I usually do it in 12 hours, gas and food stops included, so it makes for a pretty gruelling day. I enjoy riding but even for me that much time in the saddle in that space of time is pushing it.

In actuality, calling it a fundraisng ride isn't entirely accurate. I ride because I believe the legacy of Terry Fox needs to be supported and promoted. To me he represents the best of what we can be as Canadians and as people. I do believe that had he not put himself through the rigours of the Marathon of Hope he probably wouldn't be dead, so he paid a huge price so that others could benefit. The actual initial inspiration for the ride was a meeting with a little girl, Allison Hapgood, niece of a couple of riding buddies.She at that time also had osteosarcoma (she was 12 when I met  her) but  refused to let the diagnosis dull her spirit. I'd been involved with the Terry Fox Run for years, at one point co-ordinating the event for St. John's, so it all just came together and the ride was born. The money is nice because it helps the cause but I try not to get too caught up in that piece. Most years I reach my goal, This year so far I haven't. I puzzle at why people would not support an undertaking honouring Terry Fox, especially when this foundation gives a greater percentage of funds collected to front line research than any of the other bigger,  more well publicised events. However, I have to let that go because everyone has their reasons for supporting or not, so I'm just grateful for the support I do get. I've had supporters who always come through year after year and some who support one or two years and then don't. I'm at the point now where I do the ride and the money raised is the money raised. I feel I've done my part to honor Terry and remember the spirit of a brave little girl who lost her battle.

I left at 8:00 am from the Terry Fox Monument at the harbour side, where Terry began his Marathon of Hope on a chilly April day in 1980.

Most years it's pretty routine. I ride, stop for gas as needed, eat at the turn around point in central NL, and head home. This year's ride did have an unfortunate glitch as I was within sight of the finish line, so to speak, having reached Whitbourne on the return leg and pulled in for my last gas stop. However, when I went to start the bike to head for home, within 100 kms of finishing the ride, the bike wouldn't respond. Turns out an electrical gremlin had caused a short and I was dead in the water... or on the parking  lot. So, the last leg of the ride was done with me sitting in the cab of a tow truck and the bike on the flat bed behind. The guys at Toy Box who always do my servicing figured things out fairly quickly and had me back on the road the following day. I did ride out to the gas station in Whitbourne and ride the last leg "officially" but it was very disappointing to have gotten so far and have the goal of completing the ride in 24 hours snatched from me. I guess when you're riding a 15 year old bike with over a 100,000 kms on it there is always the potential for problems. However, I can't bring myself to part with the Magna, even though I do have two other bikes to ride, including the big tourer, Honda ST 1300, that is probably better suited for such a run. However, the Magna and I have been through a lot together since I bought it seven yeas ago with only 18,000 kms on it.

Weather wise, it ain't been much of what one can call a summer here in NL and I left under overcast skies, with cool temps. I rode in those conditions all the way, even had some rain for good measure. To add to my frustration with the breakdown, the only bit of sun and warmer temps I did encounter occurred when I got in to Whitbourne on that return leg. I was looking forward to riding home under blue skies and relative warmth, but c'est la vie. Terry Fox ran 143 days straight, averaging a marathon a day, often under a lot worse weather!

So this year's ride is done. I do have over $1100.00 committed or pledged, and that is good. My fund raising page is open until the actual Terry Fox Run day on the third Sunday of September, so if anyone wants to support the initiative the opportunity is still there. Here's the link:  I am grateful I was able to do the ride again this year and am very appreciative of the support I did receive.

Until my next adventure, See Ya Out There.... Ride One!

Monday, 13 July 2015

The summer that summer forgot.

Oh my, it's been unseasonably cold and dreary this summer, even for Newfoundland and that is saying something. I put the winter bike into storage on the long weekend in May and took the ST tourer out along with the Magna at the same time. There have been many days with temps in the single digits even in July, which is usually our warmest month. Still between the bit of riding I managed on the winter bike when I got it on the road in late March, and taking advantage of the few sunny days we've had, or the overcast ones where it wasn't three degrees, I have managed to put about 5000 kms under my arse so far this season. It's got to warm up sometime....we hope.

This weekend was a perfect example of our summer. Sherry and I left St. John's for Trinity, on the Bonavista Peninsula on Friday under warm sunny skies and had a great ride. By the time we reached Trinity the wind direction had changed and was blowing from the north in off the ocean and it was cold enough to skin ya, not to mention too high to even dress up and try and sit around a fire without risk of burning the place down. Saturday opened with misty rain, but cleared to a dull 12-13 for the day. We did enjoy a wonderful performance by a Newfoundland band, The Once, on Saturday night at an intimate theatre of a couple of hundred in Bonavista, The Garroch,. Cold or not, we got home, bundled up and since the wind was down we set up a roaring fire in the pit in the backyard of my brother's place, where we were staying. We set up 'til 4:00 AM chatting, listening to music, and having a few swallys.

Sunday greeted us with sun and 12 degrees to start, that got up to maybe 15 as we travelled further south & east on the bike, heading back home to St. John's.

Still the weekend was a wonderful time. We sat up on Friday night and had a mini-kitchen party with our friends Kev & Loretta Toope at Trinity, sans fire. Earlier in the evening we enjoyed a delicious meal at the Dock Marina restaurant. It's known for its seafood but I had chicken & ribs and all enjoyed our meals. Saturday in Bonavista we ate a great meal at Skipper's restaurant before the show and then had a fire that we stoked enough to keep it comfortable as long as we sat close. The Once, as I mentioned, put on a fabulous show and we felt fortunate to see this up-&-coming band in such an intimate setting.

The drive back Sunday was mostly sunny and, anticipating the temps, we'd dressed accordingly, so we were comfortable. I'm afraid though I'm going to have to put the ST on the market. While it is everything one could want in a powerful touring bike, with plenty of storage, it does have the sport component and even the slight lean over is tough on my back, which has been hampered by injuries from a couple of car accidents in the last few years. The cruiser style is the only bike I can ride with any comfort over extended distances. Too bad because, as I said the ST meets all our needs and I got it at a good deal, and even right now it has barely 25000 kms on it.

Despite the weather life goes on on our little piece of granite & slate in the North Atlantic. We occupy ourselves with reading, Netflix, nights on the deck with the propane heater , when it's not too, too cold and getting out and about at various errands and tasks. I've also got my songwriting that I go back to sporadically to occupy my time. One real positive of this riding season is I finally found a set of in-ear head phone that isolate the wind noise of the open road, so I can hear my music reasonably well and that does make the longer rides I do get in more enjoyable. All my bikes are four cylinders and I miss the beautiful rumble of the pipes that ones gets from a V-twin, so the music is a must.

I'll close with a plug for my upcoming charity ride. I do a fundraiser ride for the Terry Fox Foundation annually on Terry's birthday, July 28th.  I ride over 1000 kms in 12 hours. My page is:    and if you are so inclined to support the cause, I can assure you the money goes where you want it to. They keep admin costs low by being volunteer driven and 84 cents of every dollar goes directly to front line research. I can assure you none of the more heavily advertised charitable events can boast anything close to that.

Thanks for dropping by. Hopefully summer will evetualluy find us and I'll have a few more tales of the open road to relay. Until next time, see ya Out there...Ride On!