Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bike crash!

So, they say there are two kinds of bikers - those who have crashed, and those who have not crashed YET.  I am sad to say that I am now the kind of biker who has crashed.

Sunday Sept 29 2013 will forever be in my memories as the day I crashed.  The 30th annual Santas Anonymous Toy Run was this day and I was participating as usual.  About 9am it decided it was going to start raining, but not a good rain...mostly a mist kinda cloud like rain.  This is quite a distinction to anyone who is a biker.  A good rain will wash away the oil and grease on the road...a mist will not.

After dropping the toys off at Hawrelak park, me and 2 other friends decided to go for some food.  As we were approaching an intersection the light turned yellow.  Normally I would have simply gone through but as I was leading some friends I elected to brake.

With the rain, the road was wet with some standing water...and as it wasn't a hard rain it never washed away any of the oil and grease.  I locked up my rear brake and caused the bike to fishtail.  First to the left and I managed to control it somewhat, but it then went out to the right which is when the bike threw me.

I landed on my right hip/back area and apparently just tucked my arms and rolled.  (don't remember)  I lay there for what seemed like only a few seconds, but which was probably closer to 10 minutes not saying anything only to have my first words be "is my bike ok?".  The paramedics were there and put me on a spine board and neck brace and brought me to the hospital.

I spent the next 3 1/2 hours on the damn board as they did their xrays and tests.  Nothing was broken so they sent me home.  Nothing was broken but MAN was I in pain!

My friends had my bike towed home for me so I got a look at it the following day.  Handlebars were slightly bent (just the risers out of position), windshield scratched, mirror broken, highway peg and saddlebag took the majority of the damage.  Everything was fixable!

The following Saturday I replaced the mirror, straightened everything and got back on it for a ride.  I was still really sore and the bruising was horrible, but I really wanted to get back in the saddle ASAP.  I'm glad I did!

It has been 9 days and I am still really sore and walk with a limp but it is getting better.  I got off SO lucky that nothing bad happened.  I could have hit something or someone.  If you have to crash your bike, this was probably the best way to do it.

Ride safe out there people...beware those dangers that you ignore after a while.  Wet roads, gravel patches, all can be really bad.  After 65000km in 4 seasons it happened to me...  It can happen to you in an instant so respect the bike!

Solo Trip 2013

With an extra week and a half off after Fragapalooza I decided to do another solo trip.  Last year I went to Yellowknife which was fun.  Wasn't sure where to go this year but in the end decided to go back to BC.

My original plan was to go as far as Penticton maybe and come back a different route.  Unlike previous trips I had nothing planned in advance...would basically plan each day the night before.

Wednesday was day 1 of my trip and I decided to camp in Lake Louise the first night.  When I got to the campground the sign said FULL...not a great start.  However I asked if they had any tent spots and was in luck...they had one.  They asked me if I would be willing to share with another biker if one showed up.  Of course I said yes.

After I had setup I went into town for supper.  When I got back and was thinking about starting a fire, 2 bikes showed up.  Some brothers were travelling to Alaska and needed a place to tent.  I welcomed them in and began to setup the fire.  One was from North Dakota, the other from Wisconsin.  We shared a fire, some beers and good stories.  We talked about their trip and I gave them some route ideas for their return trip.  Was a good evening!

The next day I made my way to Toad Rock.  You may have heard me mention it a number of times...it seems to be smack in the middle of some of the best riding around so I really liked it there.

Unlike previous trips when I would just hang out with my friends at the campsite, I wandered down to the social area.  I met some great people and had a great time!  In fact, I had such a good time that I decided to just stay at Toad Rock instead of going to Penticton.  There are enough roads to ride that I was sure I would not be bored.

Friday I decided to ride to Revelstoke for lunch.  It is about a 250km trip each way with 1 ferry ride.  I figured that would be a really nice day.  I didn't take into account an hour and a half wait for the ferry so any goofing around in Revelstoke was not in the cards.  While waiting for the ferry I met some bikers from Vernon and we shared a few beers and stories.  After lunch I headed back to Toad Rock and managed to get back about 8pm...little later than I intended but still in daylight - barely.

Went to the social area again and the people I met the night before had BBQ chicken and pasta for me...was a nice surprise.  I then met some people who were having their wedding reception in the campground the following day...they were just there setting up.  Nice people.

Saturday I went into Kaslo for lunch and just happened to run into everyone from the wedding.  Kinda funny!  I then rode down to Nelson to get some supplies and then back to Toad Rock for about 4pm.  Made some supper and it decided to rain.  I went and visited with some other people I met and proceeded to get really drunk.  About 9:30 the rain was stopping so we went and crashed the wedding.  $2 drinks made for a fun but bad night for me...got SO DRUNK, but had a really great time.

The plan for Sunday was to head to Radium and hang out with my brother and his family at their campsite and then head for home on Monday.  None of that happened...I was SO hungover that I never even started my bike that day...just kinda slept and vegged all day too sick to move.

I had told my wife I would be home Monday so I decided to get up and on the road bright and early.  I got the 8am ferry at Balfour and started the 900km trip home.  I knew it would be a long day but I was quite rested and have done long days before.

I strolled into the house about 8pm Monday night after a long day of riding...tired but feeling pretty good.

I had SUCH a good time on this solo trip that I am planning to do it again at least once next summer.  Maybe one where I stick around Toad Rock again, and maybe one where I go somewhere else.  Only time will tell.  :)

Bike Trip 2013

So I had a nice 10 day trip planned this year.  We were to head out to Vancouver Island and back all while riding some of BC's best roads.

Some of the guys who went last year suddenly couldn't go this year.  The trip was looking like it might not happen, or if it did would only be a couple of us.  We had it confirmed to be 2 of us for sure, with maybe a third.  We decided to do the trip regardless.  We ended up with 3 of us which was good.

I wanted to keep our days nice and easy with lots of spare time in case we wanted to stop for any reason, or in case something happened.

The trip was planned for July 5-14.

Our first night was spent in Chain Lakes campground down south of Calgary towards Crowsnest Pass.  Not a very nice campground for motorcycle camping...and we had some rain which is never fun.  We left Friday afternoon and got in around 9pm which allowed us to setup before it got dark.  Steve met us there just after 11pm as he had to work that day.

We packed up and left Saturday morning and had breakfast in Crowsnest Pass.  With our stops and late start we should have rolled into Toad Rock Campground around 6pm which would have been great.  However, when we stopped to pick up some beverages I noticed Steve's back tire had a bald strip all the way around in the center...to the point it was basically on the belt.  At this point it was 5pm on a Saturday and we were at least an hour from any place we could get bike tires.  We called the Honda place in Nelson and they agreed to have someone stay late and help us out.  We got into Nelson at about 7, and were back on the road about 8:30 and to the campground at about 9.  Little later than we hoped but not too bad.  At least Steve had a nice new tire to ride on!

We were really looking forward to Sunday brunch at the Kaslo hotel only to be sorely disappointed as they no longer served brunch.  Instead we had to have breakfast at the Treehouse...which was OK but not as good.  We were going to stay in Osoyoos that night and I figured we would get in about 6pm.  We did but wow what a terrible campground!  It was basically an RV park so we had to try and fit 3 tents into a tiny spot.  We did make it work and made friends with the neighbors so we had somewhere to hang out as our spot was so small.  At least it was right on the lake which was kinda nice...

The following day turned out to be a bit longer with us getting into Victoria for supper at my Aunt's place before heading to the campground.  I neglected to factor in the 1.5hr ferry trip so we didn't arrive for supper until 7:30.  Then I found out one of the guys was really allergic to dogs so we ended up eating out on the patio instead.  The visit was really short as we were losing daylight fast and still had to get to the campground.  We managed to get there about 10:15 and setup in the dark by the lights of our bikes.  Goldstream campground was quite nice as each spot was large with lots of trees.

Our next leg was to get us to Tofino.  We had planned on a quick stop in Parksville as one of the guys wanted to relive his childhood somewhat at a minigolf place.  Even with this stop we were to roll into Tofino about 5pm.  Steve then arranged a phone interview for 3pm and wanted to ensure we were someplace with cell service.  He expected in to be about 30 minutes so we elected to stop in Coombs BC for him to do this...figured it was a good place for lunch too.  His phone interview ended up taking 1.5hrs which was really putting us behind schedule.  That's why I planned the days this way...just in case.  As it was we ended up in Tofino about 7pm.  The Bella Pacifica campground was ...ok.  We were a 5 minute walk from the ocean which was nice, but the showers were quite expensive.  We were going to stay here 2 nights so we could do the tourist thing and do some laundry as well.

The next day we did the whale watching tour and then some souvenir shopping.  This was quite fun and we all had a great time.  Got some nice gifts for the wife and even some stuff for myself.  Then we went for sushi...how could we not?  I was the only one who was really excited as both other guys were not big fans.  I convinced them and they really enjoyed it.  It was fantastic!  Fresh crab that was pulled out of the harbor that morning...can't get much fresher than that!

The next day was a travel day and we were to go as far as Whistler.  With a stop at Cathedral Grove we BARELY made the ferry at Comox (by 5 minutes) and again I had not counted on the time it would take, and not realizing there were 2 other ferry's that we would have to take from Powell River to West Vancouver, we would not make it to Whistler until after midnight.  We decided to find some other campground instead and ended up in Sechelt.  For a campsite that was last minute search it wasn't too bad.  We made it there for about 8pm and managed to get setup in the daylight.

With the previous day's ride cut short we had some distance to make up so we left a little earlier and had breakfast on the ferry at Gibsons (place they filmed Beachcombers).  We hit Pemberton for lunch about 2pm and then had the most amazing ride to Lillooet.  Nice twisty road with smooth pavement...what more can you ask for?  We made it to Kamloops for supper about 7pm and then hit the campground about 9...again, it was an RV park and they lost our reservation to make matters worse.  However, we were all tired and just wanted to sleep so it didn't really matter,

The original plan was to meet up with some friends in Valemount and stay at their relatives...however with Mike's allergies we elected to find a campground to stay at around Valemount.  We found a place that turned out to be pretty decent...it was a B&B that had some campsites.  They gave us as much space as we wanted for 5 people, a TON of firewood all for $50.  The only bad part...train tracks running next to the campground with trains running all night long.

Our last day was from Valemount to Edmonton...the forecast called for thunderstorms the entire way home so we all bundled up.  Of course, we didn't get any rain...but at least we were prepared in case we did!  LOL

It was a GREAT 10 day trip...one I would do again (just with different campgrounds).  It would have been fun with more people, but the more people you have the longer each stop takes...I still think we would have been ok...

Next post will be about my yearly (2nd) solo trip...

Monday, May 27, 2013


So...here I am a 42 year old computer geek.  A few months ago I started thinking about perhaps getting my first tattoo.  Up until now there never seemed to be anything that interested me enough to have imprinted on my body for the rest of my life.  After I kinda decided I was going to go through with it, I mentioned it to my wife.  She was shocked, but very supportive.  Now I just needed to find something to get done.

My Mom was born in Dublin and I have never really embraced my Irish heritage all that much.  I have had a couple of Claddagh Rings in the past but beyond that, nothing.  I thought that maybe something Irish or Celtic would be nice.

I found a TON of stuff online, but it all seemed too...mainstream.  I wanted something that was unique yet still said "Celtic" when you looked at it.

I also wanted something to embrace my new motorcycle lifestyle.  I am not a "biker" by the negative definition, but any chance I get I will take the bike rather than my car.

I thought about combining the two into a single piece of art so started looking around.  I found a few abstract motorcycle examples, and a few abstract Celtic knot examples, but nothing that really popped.  Here are some of the examples I found:

As this was to be my first tattoo, I did a ton of research.  Everything I read said to choose my tattooist and studio carefully.  I won't go into all the details as you can easily Google them yourself.  However, I found one artist in Edmonton that did a LOT of Celtic art and figured he would be the best person to tackle this piece.

I made an appointment to meet with him and we spent 45 minutes going over what I wanted, and I could see  him getting excited about it, which made me believe I went to the right person.  I gave him a deposit and made an appointment for a month later to do the actual tattoo.  He said he would have a drawing for me about a week ahead of time for me to approve.  He said he would do a redraw if I didn't like it.  At this point now it was real as I had put money down.

I was scheduled to go in on a Friday and the Monday before I still had not received the art.  I was a little concerned but didn't need to be.  Tuesday morning I had the art in my email.  I really liked it as it incorporated everything I wanted.  Celtic design that incorporated an abstract motorcycle, and the best part - it was a one-of-a-kind design created specifically for me!  Here it is -

He said it took him 8 hours to draw this out as he was having trouble getting it just right.  This was going to go on my upper arm and he didn't want it to look cheesy.  The horizontal view is there for you to see the motorcycle.

When Friday arrived I was nervous, yet excited.  I did not know what kind of pain to expect, but I also couldn't wait!

It took him just over an hour to do the outline, then another 3 or so to do the shading.  There are a couple spots he may have to touch up but overall I am VERY happy with the final result.  Sorry for the crappy photo...this was taken right before he bandaged it up and the lighting was crap...

It is currently red and swollen still 4 days after it was done.  Feels a lot like a bad sunburn and is actually starting to bruise and scab over now.  I will post a nice photo of it once it has healed.

I had it done at Pagan Tattoo by Sean Tracy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Motorcycle stuff...

So...my last blog update was day 1 of my Yellowknife trip...I never did update after that because I basically lost cell service at the NWT border.  Sure I had wifi in a few places, but I decided to simply update Facebook instead as it was just faster.  Suffice it to say, I had a great trip and made it home safe and sound.

Last riding season ended abruptly in the beginning of October with a fall snow that stuck around and never left.  As a result, my bike was parked 3 weeks earlier than the previous year.

Fast forward to spring...oh wait...we still haven't had a typical spring yet.  Last year I had my bike out March 11 for it's first ride.  This year I did manage to get it out April 12 for a quick ride when I needed to drop it off at the shop for its 50000km service.  Hoping to get it back this week, just in time for more snow this weekend.  When will we get nice weather?  ARGH!!

Once I do get the bike back, I need to get new saddle bags, a new sissybar bag and need to look at waterproofing my seat.  Once that thing gets wet is stays wet seemingly forever.

I am hoping to get a number of trips in this year...my goal last year was to hit 20000km for the year and I fell just short of that with the early end to the season.  I was hoping to hit 25000km this year, but with the late start I will be lucky to get close to 20000km.

Maybe next year I can afford to look at a new(er)/bigger bike.  Do I stick with a cruiser or get something different?  Maybe an adventure tourer?  Maybe a sport tourer?  At this point I have a lack of money so I don't have to make any decisions at this time.  :)

That's it for now!