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blues2cruise
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10,000km...who would have ever thought....

#81 Unread post by blues2cruise » Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:06 pm

October 10, 2005

I was invited to head to Merrit on Saturday to join a ride to Kamloops. From there we would meet up with some Kamloops riders for a ride led by the BCNS president. I planned on joining them and staying over night to come back home on Sunday. Friday night as I was putting away all my gear from the day, I discovered that I had the bus keys from work in my pocket.
Insert bad language here.
There went my plans to ride to Merrit. I would have to return the keys to work in the morning or I would be in deep doo doo. So, I sent a text message to dr_bar inquiring if he would like to go for a short cruise the next day. I then posted a message on the BCNS forum to inform them I would not be able to make it. My big solo adventure would have to wait until Spring.

Saturday morning I was up early and went out to the garage with my cleaning supplies. I looked at the dirt that had accumulated and then saw the “clean streak” on the black painted frame. I was then reminded of the man who had pulled his car in beside me while I was getting ready to leave Metrotown the evening before. He got out of his car and asked me, “Is that your Harley?”
I couldn’t be bothered with the conversation or comments that usually followed so I simply said, “Yes”.
I figured that would suffice, but, oh, no-o-o-o, he was oh, so chatty. Sigh……After several minutes of conversation and the usual dumb questions like, “Isn’t that kind of big for a woman?”
“No, it’s only a 650.”
“It looks bigger.”
“No, it’s really just a 650.”
“Is it hard to ride?”
….and so on and so forth…..
He then suddenly bent down and asked as he pointed to the part of the frame that the wheel is mounted, “What’s that?”
I replied, “It’s dirt….from riding in the rain.”
“No”, he said, “That?” as he swiped his fingers across the paint leaving a big smear in the dirt and possible many scratches, too. Groan.
I told him it’s the frame. If I had said swing arm I’m sure that would have sparked another round of inane questions.
He could see that I was ready to leave now, so he said, “Good bye, be careful out there.”
“Yes, I sure will.”
“Good bye.”
Picture me with rolling eyes here.

I would never consider touching another persons bike so I never expect that someone will suddenly swipe their fingers across mine. It happens so quickly that I don’t have time to tell them please don’t touch.

Back in my garage….I rinsed the bike with the hose and sprayed it all over with the S-100 bike cleaner. I got most of the grit and grime off and a quick protective spray before I went inside to gear up for today’s ride.
Dr_bar arrived a few minutes after I was outside and together we took care of the first order of business. I had to go to my workplace to return my bus keys. After taking care of that task we then headed to the Knight Street Bridge for the trip to Richmond.
Looking in my mirror I saw that dr_bar was up close and personal to a car beside him. I thought maybe he had pulled in close to thank the driver for letting him in. I was to find out later that the car driver had in fact tried to cut him off and that dr_bar was simply “flipping” him the bird. Personally, I feel too vulnerable to be doing that while I am riding.
We went to Pacific Yamaha to see one of the accessories people there. They have been trying to get me some armour to fit into my jacket, but so far no luck. I then tried on several jackets. They had just received a brand new shipment and there was very nice red one in a large. I tried it on but it was so very small.
Now…...I am not fat (as you would have seen from the Chehalis picture)…..just a little taller than average. In theory a large should fit. This jacket would have fit someone several inches shorter and probably a whole lot of pounds lighter. After trying on jacket after jacket and pants after pants none of which would fit, the sales person brought out a BMW suit. We finally found something that fit. Designed for real people….not tiny little stick shaped people. Unfortunately, after the tax was added it would have about $2,500.00 for the two pieces. Sigh……way out of my range. The sales person told me they were expecting more gear to come in, so I said I would keep looking and come back another time.
After dr_bar finished drooling over his future bike we left for our “just a ride”. The destination was eventually to a café on East Hastings that is reputed to have THEE very best cheesecake. Of course we went the circuitous route. We went over the Alex Fraser Bridge to #10 Highway and through Surrey to the Patullo Bridge. We passed through New Westminster to Cariboo Road, through Lake City in Burnaby and finally to the café on Hastings.
We had some homemade soup and cheesecake and cappuccino before heading back outside. We then made our way to Port Moody via the Barnett Highway. I had never been in to GA Checkpoint Yamaha so we though we would see if they had any gear. There was nothing suitable for me but I sure did like the 2006 100cc V-Star in the 2 tone champagne and red colour.
We then wandered up to the Harley shop where they were having demo days. Lots of fellows were taking test rides on the bikes. As for me, I’m not interested in testing anything until I am ready to actually get a new bike. I don’t even want to ask for the loaner bike when I take mine in for service. Although I have confidence in my skills for riding my own bike, I don’t want the responsibility of riding someone else’s bike.

Once we were done “window shopping” at the new bikes, we got back on our own bikes and headed up Moody Hill. This particular hill is extremely steep and snaky. I use this hill as a judge to my skill level. In the beginning, I had to stay in the curb lane and use second gear to safely maneuver the steep curves. Then I gradually could take it in third gear, but still so very cautiously. I couldn’t believe the difference on Saturday. There was a bus in the curb lane, so I change lanes and took the curves going up that hill like I had been doing it for years. My skill level has increased dramatically. For a change I wasn’t holding up traffic going up that hill. What a good feeling.
At the usual “going our separate ways” place, dr_bar honked and we waved good bye. I turned down Como Lake road and headed toward home.
I am such a slow learner. Or maybe I just think that for once I won’t be the only one who doesn’t mind going 30 in the playground zone.
I went up Cariboo and turned onto 16th. About halfway along there is a big park zone, so I slowed to a titch over 30. It didn’t take long before someone came zooming up behind me. At the end of the playground zone, I got back up to speed, but then the light ahead turned red. Just as I was approaching the red light and preparing to stop, the grey van that had been behind me, sped up and pulled up beside me on my right, basically encroaching in my lane. I kept my line and pulled up to the stop line anyway. I looked over at him and loudly asked, “Do you have a problem doing the speed limit?”
Although he would not have been able to hear me, he knew I made some comment to him, so he rolled down his window and I asked him again, although this time in a “neutral” tone of voice.
I asked him again,”Do you have a problem doing the speed limit?” “That’s a playground zone back there?”
I think he must have been spoiling for a fight because he sure got belligerent. When he started berating me I kept my head facing forward. I never even looked at him again. His comments were something like, “You should mind your own business, you garbage people.” That was followed by some colourful language. He then rolled up his window. I thought that would be the end of it, bit, oh, no….he rolled down his window again and continued with the haranguing. Finally the light turned green. He turned right and I went straight through, but I think I may have had the last word. As I pulled away from the line, I raised my left arm and my left middle finger to him. Yeah, I know, it’s not very ladylike, but hey, if that guy could sit there and make racist comments to me, then I can make that one little gesture. Although his comment about garbage people could have been about my being on a bike, or the fact that I’m a woman, it was more likely that it was because I’m white. He was one of those ethnic folk who obviously have a big chip on their shoulder. Sometime the cultures here mix like oil and water. I made my way home feeling a little disturbed about the exchange that had just happened. He may not have liked reminding about the speed limit in the playground zone, but it certainly didn’t call for the abuse I was subjected to. Ah, well, if he wants to waste so much energy on being angry, let him. If he doesn’t like it here, he can move back to where he came from.

I stopped by the video store on the way home and then by the hardware store. I was trying to get the 10,000km to turn over on the odometer but by the time I was done all my errands I really just wanted to go home. I was 4-1/2 km away from the big 10,000. It would have to wait until tomorrow.
Today, I crossed over 3 bridges and rode through 8 municipalities all in the attempt to reach 10,000km and to have that perfect piece of cheesecake.

A woman I know wanted to ride on Sunday. It seemed no-one who lived out her way (Langley) felt like riding because of the possibility of rain. She wanted to get in some more practice before her road test next week, so I offered to go out to Langley to meet her for a couple of hours. I was watching the speedo because I wanted to stop and take photo of where I was when it turned over 10,000. It was ironic that it happened at a place where I could not stop. Oh, well, I know where I was. Given that a year ago I was in complete despair because of the instructor at the motorcycle school, having ridden 10,000km in the short time I have been riding was quite a feat for me.

We had a nice ride through Langley, Surrey and then White Rock where we stopped in for a bit of lunch. I couldn’t believe the remarkable difference in her riding from just a month ago. I don’t think she will have any trouble passing her road test.
After I got home and cleaned up I then headed to a friend’s place for Thanksgiving dinner. What a great meal and it was nice to be with good friends. The man of this couple is a long time rider of Indians and Harley’s. I think the novelty of riding has long worn off for him. The bike he has mostly sits in the garage these days.

I lucked out for going home. Although the roads were wet, the rain had stopped. Like I had mentioned in a previous entry, I’m starting to get used to night riding. I just pick a suitable route for travel. I headed south on Cambie and then east on 41st all the way to Kingsway. There were plenty of street lights along these roads and I had on all my usual lights and reflective gear, so I was confident I would be seen. I made my way home without incident and reflected on what a good day it had been.

After I parked my bike, I also reflected on the fact that my insurance expires in one week and that after the Fraser Valley toy run next week I would be parking my bike for awhile. I think I’ve actually had enough riding for a little bit.

Given that my whole riding career has been with a sore hand, I have done exceptionally well. When I first started I was dealing with arthritis in the thumb joint of my throttle hand. On March 30, 2005, I had surgery on my hand and was not able to ride for 2 months. After I was given clearance by the doctor to ride again, I started off with very short rides to build up the strength and endurance. It took about a month to build up to longer rides, but my hand has never stopped hurting yet. According to the doctor it could take several more months before my hand quits hurting. Apparently this is normal when the bones are cut. I think if I give my hand a rest it will speed up the healing process. If there is an exceptionally bright sunny day and I feel compelled to go for a ride, I can get a day permit. I suspect there will be a few of those days over the winter. In the meantime, I will winterize my bike just to be on the safe side.

I must go buy a toy now……….
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#82 Unread post by BuzZz » Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:27 am

Wow. I would have come un-glued on that goober in the van. I don't know how you kept your cool. You could have made him late for his job on one of the Government's 'Help' lines.
No Witnesses.... :shifty:

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Re: 10,000km...who would have ever thought....

#83 Unread post by Gummiente » Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:53 am

blues2cruise wrote:As I pulled away from the line, I raised my left arm and my left middle finger to him.
Bravo, m'lady! You are now a fully qualified biker. I will ride with you ANY day. :righton:

Looks like I'll have to keep an eye on your mileage tally next year, I have a feeling you'll be nipping at my heels on that one. You go, girl!
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blues2cruise
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#84 Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Oct 13, 2005 9:59 am

BuzZz wrote:Wow. I would have come un-glued on that goober in the van. I don't know how you kept your cool. You could have made him late for his job on one of the Government's 'Help' lines.
There is so much road rage here, it's ridiculous. There have been so many tales of men with pipes beating on other people, or getting shot. Given that I was quite vulnerable sitting a bike only a few inches from his drivers door, I figured it would be prudent to ignore him. People like him live for a reaction. They get their jollies out of upsetting people. I was hoping that ignoring him would take away his fun. It was not easy, but I think it made me a better person by not stooping to his level.

Does that make any sense?
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Re: 10,000km...who would have ever thought....

#85 Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:03 am

Gummiente wrote:
blues2cruise wrote:As I pulled away from the line, I raised my left arm and my left middle finger to him.
Bravo, m'lady! You are now a fully qualified biker. I will ride with you ANY day. :righton:

Looks like I'll have to keep an eye on your mileage tally next year, I have a feeling you'll be nipping at my heels on that one. You go, girl!
It kind of boggles the mind doesn't it just how much riding I did. I added 200 more km yesterday....wet, soggy km.
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Why the heck is it called the sunshine coast?

#86 Unread post by blues2cruise » Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:15 am

October 12, 2005

I am having a vacation week this week. I decided to take the opportunity to go for a ride up the Sunshine Coast for a daytrip to visit my Mom. I called her on Tuesday night to make sure she would be home the next day. I told her that if when I got up in the morning it was nice out I would come up but that if it was raining I would not. I don’t mind the riding in the rain when it’s daylight, but the whole ride to the ferry would be in the dark. I would rather not ride in the rain in the dark.

When the alarm rang at 5:40am I was disoriented. I’m on vacation after all. It took a few minutes to remember why I had set the alarm. I hauled my self out of bed and went to look out the window for a weather check. It was dry and clear outside. I guess I was going up the coast.
I had assembled all my gear the night before to be able to save time in the morning. My “gear” also included some Girl Guide cookies and some coffee for my Mom. She particularly likes the chocolate mint Girl Guide cookies so I had bought 2 boxes from someone at work to take her. There doesn’t seem to be any Girl Guide folks up where she lives.
I quickly showered and got dressed into my many layers. At this time of year the early morning can be cold….and although it was dry out now, there was no guarantee it would be dry later. I wore my raingear over my biking jacket and had a down layer underneath that. With a neck and chin gator, my waterproof gloves and mink oil treated boots I figured I would be prepared for whatever Mother Nature had to offer today. Given that it would be dark the whole way to the ferry, I also donned my reflective “Sam Brown” type belt and flashing reflective ankle bands. If someone says they can’t see me, they are lying. :wink:

Now I don’t usually travel the freeway on a weekday morning so when I reached the overpass where I would access the freeway, I was :shock: momentarily stunned to see the never ending line of cars. It was only 6:30am for crying out loud and the morning commute was in full swing. I groaned to myself thinking that I would never make the ferry on time if I had to be in that traffic. Then I remembered the HOV lane. Wahoo-o-o-o-o. :) I just needed to get to it first. :roll:
I rode around the 360* entrance ramp and basically forced my way into the traffic. I had my blinkers on and it was obvious I wanted to merge but as usual nobody slowed just a bit to leave a space to allow for merging. So-o-o-o, I did what any good rider would do. I stuck my left arm straight out and moved over. It’s just like when I am in my bus. Sometimes the signals get no response, but when I suddenly use hand signals with an “imperative” gesture, it gets attention. I suspect it’s the same on a bike. When I stuck my left arm straight out, it caught the attention of the driver and he suddenly gave me a bit of space so I took it. I then signaled to move into the passing lane and then when I got to the broken line I signaled and moved into the HOV lane. It was smooth sailing from there.
I was cozy under all my gear and was quite enjoying the early morning ride on the Upper Levels Highway. The rush hour commute heads into Vancouver but once on the north shore traffic thinned out to almost nothing. When I got the ferry I was ready with my payment and headed straight down to the bike loading area. I usually travel this route on a Saturday morning so it was quite a surprise to see so many vehicles already lined up for the first ferry. Doesn’t tourist season ever end anymore?
There was one other biker this morning. We talked for a while until it was time to load. I didn’t wait for “approval” from a ferry worker today. As soon as the lights on the ramp turned green, the other biker was moving, so I just followed his lead. He was a regular commuter and obviously knew the drill.
40 minutes after the ferry left the dock at Horseshoe Bay, we arrived in Langdale. I was about to be thankful I had the foresight to wear raingear. Although the ride in town had been dry and there was no rain during the sailing, about 10 seconds after disembarking, I felt the first raindrops. Sigh…….
By the time I was on the bypass less than 2 minutes later, the rain was pounding down. It was going to be a slow ride to my Mom’s today. I stopped in Sechelt to fuel the bike. It would give the other 4- wheeled traffic a chance to go by before I got back on the highway. I would rather they were ahead of me on the wet roads than behind me getting impatient when I have to slow for the twisties. Not only were the roads wet, visibility was limited and there was a chance the fall leaves would be coming down adding to the reasons to be cautious. It doesn’t bother me if it takes a little longer than normal to get to my Mom’s.
I arrived at her house at 9:15. It only took 15 minutes longer than usual to get there. The house was dark and the shades were still shut when I arrived. Apparently it had been raining all morning and since she didn’t think I was coming in the rain, she had been laying in bed. She was surprised to see. I think she thinks I am crazy, but she said I was brave. I told her it had been nice and dry in Vancouver and the rain only started after I got off the ferry. She made coffee and breakfast and we visited for a few hours all the while keeping tabs on the weather. At one point it looked like I would have to stay over because the rain and wind were so powerful. The weather people were calling for 80kmh winds later.
At 2:30 I decided to get ready to leave. There seemed to be a lull in the weather and if I left soon I would have enough time to get to the ferry and be on the 4:30 boat. At 2:45 I was outside warming up the bike. The rain had stopped. It was to be a short reprieve. About 5 minutes after leaving, the rain started up again. So did the wind. Holy wind gusts, Batman. It took a concerted effort to keep my bike going in a straight line. I pulled over a couple of times to let cars go by me. With the driving rain and powerful gusts of wind, I had to go slow around the bends. Once on the straighter stretches I was able to make up a bit of time, but I still had to keep both hands firmly gripped to the handlebars.
I stopped for a few minutes in Sechelt to go to the local bakery. They have excellent tarts that I knew my friend would like. I also think it was a good idea to get off the bike for a few minutes just to “regroup” so to speak. I would have stopped for a coffee break as well, but I was very conscious of the time now. I could not afford to waste any more time, so I got back on the bike and headed straight to the ferry. I made it to the ferry with 15 minutes to spare. I had been standing by my bike for a few minutes, when an announcement came over the loudspeakers. The ferry was late. :roll: I think the high winds may have had something to do with it. Eventually the ferry showed up and we got to load.

Some people have horseshoes, I tell you. I had been at the ferry terminal for quite awhile. I was the only person on a motorcycle. I rode up the ramp and cars were following. I made my way to the front…oops….I mean the bow of the ferry and just as I was putting down the kickstand another motorcyclist pulled in beside me. I laughed and said “You sure do like to leave things to the last minute”. He smiled back and said “Yes”. He said it was just good timing. I’ll say. Given that we should have left half an hour earlier, it was amazing that he could show up and get on the boat.

It took a little longer for the sailing due to the weather conditions but eventually we were in Horseshoe Bay and unloading. I was barely off the ramp before the other biker zoomed past me and sped up the highway. I was somewhat more cautious because of the wet conditions. Maybe having a dual sport bike made his bike handle the weather better or maybe he just has so much more experience he knows what the limits are in these kinds of conditions. I would rather exercise caution than to find out I can’t negotiate a curve on wet roads because I took it too fast.

The traffic moved along the Upper Levels Highway fairly well until Lonsdale. Now I was into the rush hour traffic to get to the bridge. It was 6:00pm and the traffic should have been a bit lighter by now, but the rain has caused quite a back up. It took several minutes to get down the cut and near the bridge. Once on the bridge traffic flowed quite well. I made my way around the south end bend and that is when I saw all the tail lights of a traffic jam. It was going to be a very long ride home. Snap decision time.
I signaled to go to the right exit for Hastings. I figured I would turn left on Hastings and go up Boundary. I didn’t need to stay on the freeway. As I got over the crest of the hill I could see that it would take several lights before I would ever get to turn left, so I took the empty right lane and turned right onto Hastings instead. I went one block and turned left. It pays off sometimes to know the city. :mrgreen: I made a couple of turns and after a few blocks I was turning right onto Boundary. I was actually enjoying myself finding alternate routes to get home. I didn’t care that it was a bit convoluted. I was making good time at it was better than the “walking speed” pace of being stuck in traffic. (The one good thing I learned from the “blankety blank” motorcycle school was “How slow can you go?” I can crawl along at a snail’s pace if I have to, but why would I? Then I was reminded of the first 20 minute road ride with that school. It was in the rain, in the dark, but we had been given no instruction about wet weather riding.))

There are a few underutilized roads in Burnaby and that is where I headed. It was a smart move on my part. I had a good ride home even if it was still pouring rain and I made it into the garage before it became really dark. I parked my bike and decided it could wait until the next day to clean off the grime from my rainy day adventure on the West Coast.
(or wet coast as some us like to call it. :wink: )
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If it's yellow and plays in the water is it a duck?

#87 Unread post by blues2cruise » Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:18 pm

October 16, 2005

The Fraser Valley Toy Run

Since I bought my bike exactly one year ago, I have been waiting in anticipation for the toy runs. The Vancouver Toy Run was 2 weeks ago and it left me with a positive feeling. Because I had enjoyed the experience so much (even if it did mean riding home in the rain…yet again…), I was eagerly awaiting the Fraser Valley event.
My bike insurance expired the day before the ride, so I purchased a day permit just to be able to participate. It costs $32.00 with full coverage to be able to use the bike for one day.
I did a little bit of fundraising at work in the form of a 50/50 draw and added some cash of my own to donate to the event. I didn’t have time to shop this time. Besides, I kind of went overboard on the Vancouver event.

I had asked dr_bar if he was interested in joining the Fraser Valley ride and he replied affirmatively.
“Rain or shine?” I asked.
“Rain or shine”, he said.
“Ok, then I will buy my day permit” I responded.

Oh, oh, the forecast was for rain. Oh well, I had plenty of experience in the rain now and I had decent rain gear…..

Some members of both the riding clubs I had joined were also going to go so we made arrangements to meet up and ride together as a group. One of the members lives not too far from me, so he invited dr_bar and me to go to his place for coffee before the ride so that we could ride out together.
The morning of the ride, it was pouring….and pouring…..and pouring…..I kept looking out the window hoping it would stop because I knew the Southern Cruiser folks were canceling if it rained. The fellow I was supposed to meet cancelled going on the ride, but her still wanted to make breakfast, so dr_bar and I arranged to meet close by and have breakfast with him.
He made a pot of good coffee and bacon and eggs for breakfast. I must say, it was awfully decent of him. :) We could not linger because dr_bar and I had to get to Abbotsford to meet up with the Northern Stars members so we could go together as a group to the starting point of the event.
(It just goes to show you us Yamaha riders are tougher than Harley riders….cause it was the Harley riders who cancelled. :wink: )

Given that it was still early on a Sunday morning, traffic was light. I was glad for that because we had to make up some time. It was raining quite hard but because of low volume of traffic visibility was ok. For once I didn’t dawdle near the speed limit. Even though it was raining hard, riding on the freeway from Surrey to Abbotsford is mostly a straight road and as long as you kept a really huge following distance you could speed quite safely.
Ok, I admit it. I was speeding. :shock: But I was on a mission. :wink:

When we got to Abbotsford, I signaled for dr_bar to take the lead, because I was not sure how soon our exit was coming up. Dr_bar was more familiar with it so he would be able to slow down on time. I then moved to line 3 and dr_bar moved up to dominant lane position. We got off the freeway and made our way to the Auto mall. I kept trying to motion to him to go to the Tim Horton’s. He kept right on riding around the whole Auto mall all the while I kept waving and signaling and beeping the horn and waving some more. He never looked back in rear view mirror so I finally accelerated up beside him and yelled at him…..”WE ARE SUPPOSED TO MEET AT TIM HORTON’S.”
He rolled his eyes and said,”Why didn’t you say so?”
I had actually told him but like so many other poeple, he sometimes does not listen. Sometimes he and others have a tendency to talk right over you and they never really hear what you say. :roll:

I then took the lead and got us to the coffee shop. We parked our bikes close to the others and just as we were going to go in to find our group a couple of police officers came by. They asked us if we going on the toy run. They were quite impressed by the fact that we came out despite the rain. We asked about the starting point because we had been told it was at the Auto mall, but we didn’t see hundreds of bikes around. The two officers told us it was up on a road called Blueridge. They were actually assigned to do traffic control up there. We thanked them for the info and went inside to find our group. We told them about the starting place being different so we had only a few minutes to spend inside before we all got suited up again to brave the elements.

The two folks who live in Abbotsford knew where the particular road was so they led us there. We arrived in good time and were about ¾ of the way back in the line of bikes. We had bit of waiting around because the riders from Mission had not arrived yet. It gave me an opportunity to take few photos. Finally the riders from Mission arrived led by someone dressed in a Santa suit. The Mission riders pulled in behind us with the exception of a few of the leaders. They squeezed past us to go to the front. They did not look like nice people. I suppose looks are deceiving.
Suddenly there was a roar of hundreds of motorcycle engines coming to life so everyone scrambled back to their bikes to get ready for take off. At last we were moving. :D

Once again I felt the thrill of being part of something so big. I didn’t care about the rain. It wasn’t cold out, the roads were blocked off for us, people were out waving at the procession and the route chosen was very nice. :mrgreen:

All ten or fifteen minutes of it. :(

It seemed like we had no sooner started that we were there. After parking we joined the rest of the throng and made our way inside the building.
How nice! :D The organizers had tables and chairs set up. There was coffee and juice and doughnuts and muffins. Everyone who had donated got given a ticket for some prizes. (Of course none of us won)
The MC pulled ticket after ticket until all the prizes were gone. The prizes had all been donated by local community businesses. The community sure pulled together for this. Unlike the Vancouver run where it’s more like pulling teeth to get the city to help.

Finally it was over and time to leave. The couple who lives in Abbotsford invited our group back to their place for lunch. I should mention that our group consisted of 7 adults and 2 children. Anyway, the Mrs. had left a crock pot full of soup on in anticipation of having us over. We all gladly accepted. We followed them through Abbotsford dodging cars and other bikers who were in a hurry now that the event was over. After parking our bikes and hanging up all our raingear, we went into their nice cozy living room. The Mrs. had the soup ready along with some buns and a fresh pot of coffee. And…she had even made a fresh apple crisp. It was served fresh from the oven. It was so-o-o-o-o good.
Gavin left to go home to Langley and dr_bar and I headed back to the freeway to ride towards Vancouver. It was raining even harder than ever now. I was riding well, but I was quite tense. The traffic was very heavy now and the rain was so hard it was like hail. Visibility was almost zero. I made sure I kept a huge following distance but it still was not enough to improve visibility. Aside from the rain, the spray from all the traffic added to the fog like conditions. This will give you an idea of what I am talking about. If you look you will notice how the tail lights behind the bike are barely visible. I rode with high beam on and had on my bright yellow raincoat and some reflective bands.

Image

Finally at 200th street, I turned on my signals early enough to let dr_bar know I was exiting the freeway. He followed me off the freeway and to a parking lot. He thought maybe I needed fuel, but I told him it was too hard to see. I said I was having too difficult a time riding because of no visibility. I was too tense. I recognized that I was “white knuckling” it under my gloves. I asked him if we could find a slower route to go the rest of the way.
I told him though that if he wanted to continue on the freeway, he could and that I would be fine to go a slower way home. He said he would ride with me. We headed north on 200th and turned west onto 96th. Even though the rain was still pounding, it was easier to see because the traffic was lighter and our speed was slower. We rode through Surrey to the King George Highway and over the Patullo Bridge to New Westminster. At the crest of the hill where I usually turn to go home, I headed west and dr_bar headed east. We “beeped” and waved and went our separate ways.

When I arrived home I immediately took my bike to the car wash area. I left it there to cool for a few minutes while I went inside my apartment to hang up all the rain gear and let the helmet and things drip into the bathtub. I then collected all my cleaning paraphernalia and went back to the garage. I hosed off the grit and grime from the day…well actually from the last few days….I had ridden up the coast on Wednesday…in the rain and then got caught in the rain on Saturday evening….I sprayed the bike with the Simple Green and gently washed away all the dirt. After drying it off I polished the chrome and polished the paint and polished the windshield….using the appropriate product for each….and then parked it up against the wall with my car in front of it. If I am not going to ride it for a bit it can at least look good sitting there. :wink:
Ahhhhhhh, now for a hot shower and a nice cup of hot tea.

I just simply cannot afford the insurance right now, so I had to park it. I will, however, buy an occasional day permit so I can ride on a really nice day.
A fellow I met from the club said it was too bad I decided to park it for the winter because he figured there would still be some good riding days. I hinted that if he gave me some notice I would get a permit to go for a ride.

Depending on the weather conditions next weekend I may ride to Princeton with the group. It’s the annual end of season lunch meet. There will be riders from all directions converging on Princeton. However, if conditions are bad I am allowed to go in my car. I have been invited to carpool also but I would rather be invited to ride pillion......... :oops:
We shall see…..

Now that I am not riding every spare moment I might actually get my place tidied up. It won’t get tidied by itself and if I would stay home once in a while it wouldn’t get in such disarray.

I will upload the few pictures to my photo bucket album later and then make a post with the links.
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#88 Unread post by BuzZz » Sun Oct 23, 2005 10:09 pm

Your getting to be a real hardcore biker, all that riding in the rain and all. :wink:

I was sposed to head to Abbotsford this weekend for a wedding(really to look for a job, but the wedding was a good excuse) but I got stuck covering a shift for someone else, so I'm staying home while the wife heads out there. Short end of the stick again...... :roll:

:laughing:
No Witnesses.... :shifty:

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#89 Unread post by blues2cruise » Tue Oct 25, 2005 11:51 pm

You want to move to BC, BuzZz? If you move to Abbotsford you better get used to the "lovely" aroma of "farms". :laughing:

I have ridden in so much rain now that I have had enough for a little bit. It gets a bit tiresome always having to wash off all the mud and grit and road spray.

I finally got the pictures into the photobucket album, so you will see the all the "hardcores" who braved the day for the kids.

Here is the starting point in Abbotsford where we were lined up waiting for the riders from Mission to arrive.
http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... gpoint.jpg
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#90 Unread post by blues2cruise » Wed Oct 26, 2005 12:22 am

This friend of mine was feeling a little bit nervous today. She is not used to riding in the rain or riding in a big group. Failed her road test the week before (just one weak area she needs to work on, but otherwise riding well) so it was a bit daunting for her.
http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... n=view&cur

Bob is patiently waiting. Like the most of us, he wasn't bothered by the rain. His wife rode pillion that day and was able to swivel a bit and take a few in motion pics. When I get them emailed to me I can post a couple.

http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... ndDawn.jpg

Gavin is also enjoying the day. He even graced me with a smile for the photo. You can see the raindrops on the visor and helmet.
http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... 5Gavin.jpg

Some riders coming in to the recreation center parking lot. I finally figured out what the white thing is coming out of the riders head. He has on a flip face helmet.

http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... mingin.jpg

Some riders getting parked. I never noticed him when I took the picture, but the one on the far left is the "know it all" I had the blow up with over my use of blinking my brake lights to warn drivers behind me I may be slowing down. He lives a ferry ride and a 2 hour drive away. How we ended up in the same spot is very weird. Once inside, his group ended up at the table next to our group. :roll: No loss to me, but he still doesn't talk to me because I dared talk back to him. :roll: :laughing:

http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... arking.jpg

Here is my group gearing up to leave. We were all heading over to Bob and Dawn's for lunch.
I know you can't really see much, but the fifth person down in the silver helmet (and a bit of red fender sticking out) is dr_bar.

http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... oleave.jpg

I haven't ridden my motorcycle since then, but................................
if it doesn't matter what you ride, just that you ride.......

I rode my Kona to work 3 times last week. :mrgreen: It may not have a V_Twin but it does have gears and 2 wheels. :wink:

Next Sunday is the big Princeton end of season lunch meeting. There will be folks from the lower mainland, the Fraser Valley, The Okanagan and Kamloops and Merrit all coming together for lunch and then heading home.

If I can't get an invite to ride pillion I will cage it or carpool it. There will be quite a few who cage it due to potential bad weather. There could be snow in some areas.
I'll make a writeup after that event.

Until then........my 24 speeds will have to do. :wink:
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#91 Unread post by blues2cruise » Wed Oct 26, 2005 12:29 am

I should mention the reason I am not riding to the Princeton lunch meet is that it will be dark before I get back to highway #1.
The Hope Princeton Highway is very black at night and I don't have enough confidence yet to be riding when it is that dark.
I don't mind the night riding in Vancouver because there are street lights on the main roads so it is quite easy to see and be seen, but coming through Manning Park and down towards Hope will be pitch black.
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#92 Unread post by BuzZz » Wed Oct 26, 2005 2:26 am

blues2cruise wrote:You want to move to BC, BuzZz? If you move to Abbotsford you better get used to the "lovely" aroma of "farms". :laughing:

I have ridden in so much rain now that I have had enough for a little bit. It gets a bit tiresome always having to wash off all the mud and grit and road spray.

I finally got the pictures into the photobucket album, so you will see the all the "hardcores" who braved the day for the kids.

Here is the starting point in Abbotsford where we were lined up waiting for the riders from Mission to arrive.
http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... gpoint.jpg
Yep, I'm sick-n-tired of standing in 50 mph winds, freezing my HooHaa's off, staring at poker-straight roads...... I'm doing all I can to make this my last winter at this crud. I did my time in the artic, I did my time in the northern bush, I did my time in the baldass prairie..... time for me to move someplace to improve my quality of life, for my own selfish benefit. :mrgreen: Strange thing is that everyone here acts like I'm either a traitor or a puzzy. All I got to say is ...... Meow.

And this time of year is magical here..... thousands of square miles of farmland for hundreds of miles in every direction. And all of them covered an inch deep in liquified pig craap at this very moment. I can live with a few berry farms and vineyards...... :wink:
No Witnesses.... :shifty:

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#93 Unread post by blues2cruise » Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:52 pm

BuzZz, it will definitely be somewhat warmer than Alberta if you move to the Fraser Valley. If you go to the Okanagan you will still be frezzing your Hoo Ha's off. It can get extremely cold in the winter. That's why the wineries can make ice wine.

On the south coast one can ride all year if they want with the exception of a handful of days....and if you have decent raingear.....

I rode all last fall and winter and took my road test in February. It was cold, but sunny.

Here's hoping you can find gainful emplyoyment here. Keep in mind you will have to pay sales tax in BC.
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After a month of gloomy rainy days, the sun came out

#94 Unread post by blues2cruise » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:10 pm

November 19, 2005

Apparently I have been derelict in my blogging duties. Thank you to the people who messaged me to inquire about me and tell me they missed me on the forums. After the last entry from the toy run my insurance expired. I was planning on getting occasional day permits to ride, but this weekend has been the first dry weekend in over a month. I was so sick of riding in the rain I had to give the biking a break. Today however………

There was a “Rumble” in the Fraser Valley today

I received an email last week from a member of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club asking me to join them for a ride today. Apparently the weather forecast was for sunshine. I messaged back and told him that if it was a dry day I would purchase a day permit and go with them.

When I woke up this morning and looked out the window I couldn’t believe my eyes. Not only was it dry but the sun was shining. It has been so long since we have had any sunny mornings here I had all but given up on going riding until Spring. I put on a pot of coffee to drip while I loosened up my aching muscles in a hot shower. That is another story in itself.
2 days ago at work I had been asked to drive the “Sprinter” van to give an evaluation. I managed to drive it for ½ day and put on a wholloping 36km. At lunch time I drove it back to our lot and parked it. Driving the Sprinter caused me to get a sore shoulder, arm and neck as well as my low back and hips. Talk about bad ergonomics. The unfortunate thing is that the Sprinter has a quality seat in it with lots of adjustments, but the steering wheel is so darn far away that unless you have arms like a gorilla you are in constant strain trying to steer.
Which brings me back to today and why I needed some hot pounding water on my neck and shoulders; after some coffee and breakfast and a bit of Ibuprofren, I went to vote in the civic election and then walked over to the insurance store to buy my day permit.
What the heck? They don’t open until 10am on Saturdays. I went home to get my car and drove to the Vancity nearby. Their insurance office didn’t open until 9:30am. I then walked a couple of blocks away and found an insurance office that opened at 9am. I paid my $32.00 for my insurance coverage for the day and hightailed it home where I left my car in my neighbours parking space. I then left them a message to let her know. We have an arrangement so that if I use her space and someone happens to come over she can use my space while I’m using hers. Today I needed to save some time. My bike is parked parallel against the wall with my car in front of it. This usually means pulling out the car, moving out the bike and then pulling the car back in. I didn’t have the extra time to spare this morning if I was going to get to Langley on time before the club left for the ride.
Getting geared up when it’s cold out takes a little extra effort and time. I opened a pack of “Toe Warmers” and placed one on the bottom of each sock before putting on my boots. They really do work to help keep your feet from feeling frozen. I zipped the lining back into my riding jacket and put it on over my down liner jacket. I then put on a balaclava and topped it off with my helmet. The balaclava feels so-o-o-o good. It keeps your chin and neck warm.
If one dresses for the conditions it is a sublime experience riding on a cold sunny day. I made it to the meeting place in Langley with 5 minutes to spare. Upon arrival, Gary walked over, laughed, and said he thought I had “candy-a$$ed” out on them. After introductions were made to a few people I had not yet met, we mounted and followed our road captain, Ray, through Langley and to the Albion ferry. We must have been quite a sight to see because all along our route people stopped what they were doing to watch us go by. I suppose 15 motorcyclists going by is an impressive sight. It certainly would be a noisy one.

The ferry people halted the line up of cars going on and allowed all 15 of us on the ferry at the same time. The Albion ferry workers are very biker friendly. In comparison the BC Ferry workers are not always. As I looked around me I saw that absolutely everyone had a smile on their face. We were all loving the chance to ride on this fine November day.
After leaving the ferry we rode to Mission to meet up with a couple more riders and to fuel up our bikes….well, most of did…..I’ll get to Ray later…..

Now that our group was complete, we rode towards Harrison via highway #7. Unlike the last few times I rode out this way, I was feeling much more confident and in control today. When we got the steep downhill twisty bit, I didn’t have to lag behind this time. In fact, I had to slow down part way down because the rider in front of me had suddenly slowed down and I found myself approaching him too fast. I don’t remember what I did first, but I remember thinking “this is not a good idea”. I may have eased off the throttle or pulled in the clutch to prepare to downshift but I really don’t remember. I ended up just adding a bit of brake to slow me a bit. I know I am not supposed to brake in a corner so I used it gently to slow just enough to stay away from the fellow in front of me. The last couple of time I rode with this group I had no problems but this fellow today was new and seemed very inconsistent.
Speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down, speed up………. :roll:
I must remember to ask how to deal with this situation correctly. If anyone reading feels like answering feel free. :)

At the junction to Harrison and Agassiz we turned right and went through Agassiz and on to Chilliwack. Antonio led us through the back winding country roads to Dukes pub in Chilliwack. All along the route people stopped what they were doing to watch as we rode by. I’m sure they must have heard the rumble of 15 motorcycles from a mile away. I suspect we woke up the sleepy Fraser Valley today.

At Dukes there were already over a dozen bikes parked and with our 15 added it was quite a sight. We were not all able to get seated together because the place was quite busy today. The server got quite overwhelmed by having so many people show up at one time. We were not in a big hurry though so we just table hopped and talked until the food came out. After lunch we all went our separate ways because several people had to get back early for various reasons.

Bob had said to me, “are you going back on the freeway”?
I replied, “Yes, I am “.
I took that to mean he would ride with me back as far as Abbotsford. But when I looked for him he was gone.
I asked Kevin if he saw Bob leave and he told me he saw him leave a bout 5 minutes previous.
Kevin then asked,” Are you going into Burnaby?”
I replied, “Yes, I am.”
I asked him if he knew the way to the freeway. He pointed and said” I’ve been told it’s that way somewhere. Now since I was riding all the way to Burnaby and Kevin had asked if I was heading to Burnaby and the fact that we had left together for the freeway, I thought we would be riding together until we got back to the Burnaby area.
I must remember to clarify things in the future.
As soon as Kevin got onto the freeway, he booted it to get in front of a semi and left me behind. ??? I guess we weren’t riding together after all.

I eventually caught up but he changed lanes with no regard for the fact that we were “riding staggered” together.
Oh well.
He then got stuck behind some slow moving vehicle so I changed lanes and passed him. I figured if he was unconcerned for me I would just carry on as if I was by myself. Now this is where it got interesting. Kevin rode with me. When I changed lanes so did he. He rode staggered behind me until he left the freeway. I surmised that Kevin is just not a leader but a better solo rider or a follower.

As I was crossing the Port Mann Bridge, I noticed an RCMP vehicle coming up behind me in the passing lane. As he got up beside me, he did not pass me. He stayed beside me and then lagged back a bit. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing and then I figured he must have just been taking a close look at my permit taped onto the back of my bike. After that he accelerated rapidly and went on his way.

I fuelled up after I left the freeway and managed to get home before dark. It was such a nice change to ride when it was not raining. I don’t even have to wash my bike or hang up wet gear today. It makes me look forward to some better days ahead when the new season starts again in the Spring.
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Snow, rain, sleet, slush, icy roads, black ice

#95 Unread post by blues2cruise » Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:36 pm

We've had it all this last little while. The road conditions are not safe to be out on 2 wheels and yet first thing yesterday morning I saw someone on their scooter rounding a corner in the early morning chill. Only a fool would be out on 2 wheels on a morning like that given the icy roads.

This afternoon just as I was heading back to my after dropping off a client, the owner of the Harley that was parked in the bus zone came back to his bike.
I smiled at him and said that he was very brave to be riding on a day like today. I said my bike was tucked safely away in the garage.

He smiled back and said it some kind of endurance thing. I smiled and wished him good luck.
Oh, yeah, did I mention it was lightly snowing today.......

Anyway, he revved up his bike and took off like a bat out of hell....fishtailing for almost half a block before he managed to get it back in control.

Now what do you suppose he was trying to prove? That he's an idiot? Or that he's so manly he doesn't have to worry about the slush and ice on the roads?

Ok, so I'm somewhat cynical, but there are enough goofballs out there with summer tires or who have never seen snow in their life so why risk your life just to be macho?

I don't even take my car out when it's snowing (unless I absolutely have to) because of the other drivers. The snow doesn't last very long so I can take transit or walk to the grocery store.

So-o-o-o, enlighten me, please. Why would anyone be riding their motorcycle in winter conditions?
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Re: Snow, rain, sleet, slush, icy roads, black ice

#96 Unread post by Gummiente » Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:44 am

blues2cruise wrote:So-o-o-o, enlighten me, please. Why would anyone be riding their motorcycle in winter conditions?
Because I can? :D

Some people are diehard riders and don't adapt very well to the "off-season", myself included. I've never been silly enough to take any of my two wheeled bikes out in the snow... well, that's not quite true - there was one time when I rode from Alberta to Ontario in an early April snowstorm but that's a long story... anyway, now that I have a three-wheeler (much more stable than a two-wheeler on slick road surfaces) I can take the occasional ride in the snow and stave off the effects of PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome) long enough to make it through the winter.

I love to ride. I hate it when I can't.
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Polar Bear Ride January 1, 2006

#97 Unread post by blues2cruise » Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Apparently in my motorcycle club there are some very brave or very crazy people. I am referring to the Polar Bear ride we went on.

I, for some reason, had this impression that it was called a polar bear ride because it was likely to be cold weather. However, it actually meant that one of our members was going in the water on New Year's Day. brrrrrrrr

I went to the insurance store in the afternoon of New year's Eve to get a day permit for New year'sDay. I got there in the nick of time, too because they were closing early that day. I organized my bike gear the evening before (New Year's Eve) so as to save time in the morning. I was going out to a New Year's Eve party and I wasn't sure how late I would be up......and by organizing the night before it saves time in the morning...and I don't have to set the alarm as early.


New Year's Eve
http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... GP0832.jpg forgive the red eye....I haven't had time to edit the pic.......

New Year's Day was wet :( but mild. As of writing this post, we have had 20 days of rain.

I dressed for the weather and set off to meet up at the meeting place with the folks in Langley. It rained all the way there. I must be a glutton for punishment but I paid $32.00 for my permit to ride today and I was not going to let that money go to waste.

It felt so good to get on my bike and ride. In retrospect, I truly believe that having taken a break from it was a good thing. It felt fresh and new and I could feel myself smiling as I rode along....even if it was raining.
My shifting was top notch and all felt right with the world. After arriving in Langley, we waited for a few more minutes for someone who never showed up. (I think he is strictly a fair weather rider).

Five of us set off to ride to White Rock where one fellow was planning to go in the polar bear swim. It wasn't raining very hard at this point, and the closer we got to White Rock, the less it was raining. :D By the time we got to White Rock it had stopped raining and it made for a much more pleasant afternoon.

http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... rRun06.jpg

The others have loud pipes and I have loud colours. :wink:

After the big guy went for his swim and got his Polar Bear certificate we mounted up again and rode up the gigantic hill (Oxford St) to get to uptown where we went for lunch.
We had a great time talking over lunch about the upcoming riding season and some of the events. Later this month is the annual Vancouver Motorcycle show which most of us will attend. There is even a bus trip organized so that members from out of town can come. We have organized a dinner for everyone on the Saturday evening after the show. I think there will be close to 30 people coming to dinner.

(They can't ride down from the interior because of winter conditions on the Coquihalla Hwy and the Hope Princeton Hwy).

Anyway, after our lunch, we rode together as far as the turn off for the Port Mann Bridge. While we were riding along 152nd St. the sun came out for a few minutes. :shock:
It seems like it has been so long since we saw the sun.
The others headed east and I headed over the bridge to make my way to Port Coquitlam. I figured it was still early so I may as well head over to my sister's and return her DVD. (plus, I wanted my money's worth out of my day permit.)

I stayed long enough to have a cup of tea and a tart and a shortbread before I had to get ready to come home. In the short time I had been at my sister's it got dark and the monsoons hit again. sigh........

It was a difficult ride home due to the poor visibility. At least it was not cold and it's not very far. I had to go a bit slower than usual because of the conditions so it took a little over 30 minutes to get home.
I did feel a sense of relief pulling into the garage because I knew I was home safe.

Despite the rain, it had been a great day. :)
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#98 Unread post by blues2cruise » Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:59 pm

I am 36 km away from having 11,000km of riding behind me now. For someone who almost gave it up and was close to selling my bike, I made a strong comeback to find the joy and ride, ride, ride.
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Re: Polar Bear Ride January 1, 2006

#99 Unread post by Gummiente » Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:01 am

WOOT!!! :inlove2: :naughty: :pbjt: :drool: :righton:
More pics, please! :click:
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#100 Unread post by blues2cruise » Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:07 pm

Gosh, Gummiente! :oops:

Ya mean like a biking pic? :P

or something more along these lines....

http://photobucket.com/albums/b334/blue ... t=legs.jpg

yes, there really are legs under all that biking and rain gear. :wink:

22 days of rain......
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