2018 Turkey Day Fall Riding

My riding partner was taking pity on my since I busted my Versys a couple of weeks ago, and while I was able to borrow my nephew Tyler's 2016 Scrambler now and again to get out for day tripping, I managed to convince CLine to throw a leg over my sister's Yamaha TTR125 and hit the hay fields with me for some afternoon fun in the sun.

CLine on the 125cc Kicker
She quickly learned not to stall a kick start bike, and I happily chased her round the field in circles as she gained confidence in the mown hayfield, going through the gears and and finding it hard not to look at the ground while heading into the corners.

Thirty minutes later it was time to teach her how to lock up the rear while in motion, then learn to ride it out and get back up to speed. It would give her a good idea of threshold braking on loose surface, and what you needed to do when the bike starts to slide sideways out from underneath you. She attempted it nervously the first couple of times, then she started laughing out loud as the rear would lock, then slip sideways until she got off the clutch and brake and back onto the throttle. For a time that was all I heard in my helmet, a short pause, then the sound of her maniacal laughter over the Cardo Scala G4 communicator.

CLine having fun on the Yamahahaha
Apprehensive at first, but later on a face split with an ear to ear grin, and she was already talking about next weekend. :D

It was time to get her off of the farm and out onto some of the clay roads in the area for some easy puddle jumping and other antics, perhaps the following Saturday over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend?

Saturday's Trial Trail Ride:

De Sable River PE
Photo Credit: CLine
 It took us a while to get into gear, but we finally arrived at the farm, and as my intention was to do some light trail riding, I asked CLine if she would be comfortable on a larger bike, the 2007 Honda CR230L that belongs to my sister Wendy-Sue. It's taller, heavier, and faster on the highway, but also comes with electric start as opposed to Kick start.

We took the bikes around the lower field to get them and us warmed up, then off we went bound for Mill Road where I was happy to roost away taking the lead down the road, and happily splashing through the puddles until I saw CLine doing the same thing behind me. Laughing like a little girl every time the water sprayed out from underneath her tires.

Raring to go again...  
This time out she practiced her rear wheel lock-ups for a bit, then asked me how to roost... Lol. I definitely have to hang onto this girl. She'd gotten the hand of it, and laughed once in a while when the rear got away from her, but she was using the throttle to correct the bike, as opposed to the brakes.

"When in danger or in doubt, 

a twist of the throttle will get you out."

Brilliant! This was just what I was aiming for! Street riders find it the hardest to break that habit of hitting the front and rear brakes when they get into a bit of trouble, and on the dirt, a handful of front brake usually equals spitting out a mouthful of dirt and picking up your bike, brushing off your ego and getting right back on that horse that just threw you. You then treat it like a skittish colt, afraid to use too much rein, and I find that it becomes three times harder to take in or try new techniques.

CLine playing with all that power
 It was a great ride, and easy enough to provide a bit of a challenge, but also enough variety to challenge her control of the bike. I still smile when I think of her hitting all those puddles on Mill road, even that stretch that was about fifteen feet long with a wee rut that forced her to power through it or let the rut decide which way she was going to go. Well done!

Not quite "Hold my beer and watch this!" but give her some time. ;)

Monday's Trail Ride and Hill Climb:

Clay roads in the hood
I wanted to give her the option of a street ride on Monday, or back on the dirt bikes, so I arranged to borrow my nephew Tyler's 2016 Triumph Scrambler, but on Sunday night CLine asked if I would mind doing the day on the dirt bikes instead... Not at all! In fact I was hoping she would choose the dirt over the street, for I was really enjoying how well the XR400R was running this fall, and watching the rust flake off my dirt riding skills. In fact, Clinton posted a trial video that demonstrated how to do a rear wheel skid turn, and he made it look so easy and explained it so well that I really wanted to get some practice in on it while the grass was still damp and slippery before I took my show out into a gravel parking lot or some place that a fall would hurt a whole lot more. ;)

Are you ready yet, Ron?
 I had a bit of trouble getting the XR400R to warm up, due to a choke that didn't want to stay where it was. I so need an umbrella girl to work the throttle for me pre-ride. ;)

Don't they make a cute couple?
We crossed over the upper fields and skirted some fields to come out near Mill Road where I wanted to get some pictures of the fall colours before heading off down the trail.
Helmet selfies!
CLine was familiar with it from a couple of days ago, and I asked her to let me get ahead of her to set a short video of her puddle jumping.

 Definitely fun to hear her laughing as she blasts through that, and to see her correct the rear end fish tail with a touch of throttle. Brilliant!

Photo Credit: CLine

She poses for me. :D
 So while I was trying to frame a new shot, I catch her throwing a leg over my 400 as if to strand me on the 230!
"Stop that! What are you doing! Don't touch that!"

Stop! Thief!
 I'm fairly certain that if she could have gotten even her tip toes down on either side, I'd have been riding the 230 for the rest of the afternoon.

Ross Road PE
 Later on during the ride, she asked me how she could roost, and I made the mistake of telling and demonstrating just how to do it. For what seemed like hours she was nailing the throttle spinning dirt and clay back my way, so I had to ride visor down if I wanted to keep up with her.

Time to up her game... I stopped and grabbed a four inch diameter spruce and dropped it on the trail and asked her to come back, then showed her how to bump over it from a stand still, which she did, then promptly turned round and rode back over it on the way back. You gotta love that spirit.

Don't worry, I cleaned it up.

I'd asked her earlier if she wanted to learn how to do a wheelie, but the answer was an emphatic "No, thank you." at the time. Now she was ready for them, and after I told her that she could use them to lift the front over logs, puddles, washouts etc., I got to watch her carefully follow my instructions until it happened... Her front tire lofted all of two inches off the ground, accompanied by that maniacal laughter I knew so well. I had to slow down as she was determined to try them again and again until she had first gear clutch ups perfected!

I stopped recording the video a moment too soon, as her last wheelie was the best visible. Sorry, you had to be there.

You can hear her laughter over my helmet speakers!

It was just a beautiful fall day, and I loved the company
Right, here is where I made my mistake...

I'd forgotten that the access road through Brookvale took you up a hill. It sort of stands to reason as it is adjacent to a ski hill... Doh! No sooner did we hit the uphill slope, when I realized that this was a challenge to MY rusty skills! I distinctly recall following Willie up Devil's Elbow back in Ontario, but at the time he was on this bike making it look easy while I tried not to topple off my KLR. I failed, but was very happy to have gotten the bike upright and rolling again before he could get his leg swung off the bike to come help me pick up the big Fugly KLR. With that in mind, I thought for sure that CLine was going to hit three rocks in a row, lose control of the 230 and call me for help, and I was already rehearsing my apologies for bringing her up this crappy section of washed out, rock strewn rutted trail, but everytime I hit a good patch of trail and was able to look back, her head light was still back there in motion behind me until I lost sight of her as I crested the hill! This girl is definitely a keeper! Do you have any wonder why I'm in love with my riding partner? :D

This is the easy bit of the slope. 
And a few gratuitous wheelie moments thrown in just because I can. You won't enjoy watching them nearly as much as I did popping them. ;)

I need to figure out how to blow my own horn while I'm doing these
Photo credit: CLine
We put the bikes away and walked down to the house to see Wendy and steal a cuppa tea but they were all away at play, so we drove off to CLine's mothers for a family Thanksgiving supper and an awesome impromptu Cèilidh in the living room. A perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Look for us again this weekend, either gettin' dirty or out on the street... If I don't end up in bed sick as a dog.



2018 Flat broke and busted

I was on my way to Captain Kirk's garage to change my JT chain and Sprockets over for a new DID X-Ring and Sunstar sprockets, and had just left the parking garage and made a quick left, then a right when my chain leapt off the sprocket and left me on the side of the road...

 It's dead Jim!

Seriously dead. That is a puddle of engine oil under the bike, and one of the chain links snapped.
Snapped link
 Bugger me... I may have broken the case or punctured the counter shaft seal. This might be a season ender for me, or put me on my dirt bike for the rest of the season. :'(


2018 Advocate Harbour or "F is for Fun!"

So if you were keeping track, you would know that I've a new riding partner, CLine, and I've been racking my brain trying to come up with roads that she would like to ride. So far that's been a straight forward task, as her only trip off island this year had been to Shediac NB via the highway for the most part. Our first ride together was the Fundy FunDay ride, a couple of weeks ago, and this past weekend I decided she was ready for the Advocate Harbour day trip, but perhaps at a slower pace so she could polish her peg scraping skill...

Now that CLine and I were an item, we felt confident enough to invite the Red Isle Riders to join us, as well as some of our work colleagues along to join in on the fun. 

Day Tripping - Charlottetown PE to Advocate Harbour NS and return - 500 km 

Charlottetown PE to Advocate Harbour NS and return - 500 km
Looking this good so early in the morning is harder than you might think
Photo credit: CLine
CLine and I made it to the Irving down the street from my place, where I discovered I'd forgotten my wallet, AFTER pumping my gas! CLine loaned me enough to pay for my fuel and while she headed over to the Tim Horton's to meet up with the other riders we saw on our way to the Irving, I dashed back a few blocks to run upstairs and grab my wallet, then off to the Tim Hortons, feeling a bit foolish, but only a few minutes late. A great start to the day, no?

Cline had my back and after presenting me with a coffee and breakfast sandwich, we introduced ourselves around the table, then passed on some of my elementary group riding rules to set everyone's minds at ease, and it was off to the Irving near the Confederation Bridge to pick up the final member of our party for the day, CLine, myself, Chris on his Beemer, with Don and Michele pulling up the rear riding two up on his cruiser. 

We were supposed to meet up at the Irving for 0900 out by the bridge, but the rider thought we meant the Esso, and had already headed home as we were a bit late getting there, but as she had come off of night shift and was riding on 2 hours of sleep, I think it best that she sat this one out after all. 

We headed across the bridge and were only on 16 NB for a few minutes before turning off on 955 NB headed for Murray Corner, then we doubled headed across Blacklock Road and onto Hardy Road, back out to 16 for a short brap down to Port Elgin where we headed East on 940 NB towards Baie Verte and Tidnish Bridge Nova Scotia. 

I pulled into the wee park at Baie Verte expecting to see a couple of bikes behind me, and there were... But none of them were Chris or Don's! CLine and I were alone, and not two hours into the ride I had lost everyone else, somewhere in New Brunswick. *sigh* 

Photo credit: CLine
Lucky for me CLine figured that we would still have a great day, so after taking a few pictures, we hit the road to find Chris and Don just a short ways down the road in front of the Bistro Le Chat Bleu aka The Blue Cat Cafe in Baie Verte New Brunswick. I hear it's got good food which Chris confirmed, and one day I'll put in to try it, but it was early yet and time to get a move on towards our fuel and coffee stop in Amherst NB. 

Baie Verte NB at low tide
If you stay on 940 NB it will take into Tidnish Bridge Nova Scotia and end at the Sunrise Trail, 366 NS aka Tyndal Road that will hook up with Highway 6 and run you straight into the heart of Amherst where you need to head over to Highway 2 aka the Glooscap Trail where you will find gas stations and McDonalds in close proximity to the TransCanada 104 NS.

Saturday morning on a beautiful summer day, McDonalds seemed to be a pretty popular place, and the line up was fairly long. CLine and I tag teemed our washroom breaks while in the queue, using our new partnership for good, not evil.

Our ride was going to start once we got to Joggins NS, so we headed South East on 302 NS and then East on the 242 until we hooked up with the 209 out of Joggins that heads along the coast of Fundy Bay and takes you out to Chignecto Cape, a nice run of 57 kilometers out to Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, our photo stop for the afternoon, and a few minutes away from the only fuel this side of Amherst, the Irving in Advocate Harbour itself, but we still had an hour of riding to do before we got there, and as CLine had never been on this road before, I let her take the lead and away we went!
Maccan River NS

Maccan River NS

Bridge Selfie!
Maccan River NS
Photo Credit: CLine
It's a beautiful day to be on a bike

Chris rode on up ahead while we enjoyed the scenery and snapped a few pictures.
Don and Michele
CLine and I had a set of the older Cardo Scala G4 helmet communicators, and I was able to chat with her during the ride, as well as listen to our music. I have to say I quite enjoyed the experience. I had to tell her more than a few times, "I can't see any headlights behind me, would you mind pulling over for a bit until they catch us up?". She was working on her cornering technique and was learning how to take more speed into and out of the corners, for that is all this road is, one corner after another, although the surface isn't in the best of shape. I'd watch the rear suspension of her bike soak up the first big bump, then rebound in a classic 1/4 cycle decay.

1/4 Cycle Decay after a setpoint error
So the spring rebounds full stroke as seen in the diagram above, then the next rebound is 1/4 of the stroke, then 1/4 of the 1/4 and so on until the suspension returns to the setpoint. Basically it looks like she needs to adjust the sag on her rear shocks and adjust the rebound and dampening if possible to rid the rear end of the "pogoing" when going over the rough stuff.

ADVRider salute! FYYFF!
Photo Credit: CLine
We had a grand time, and made it up the road to the East Branch Apple River where we pulled over to get a few more pictures of the river and other things.

Want some help? A push perhaps?
Photo Credit: CLine

East Branch Apple River, Apple River  NS
Photo Credit: CLine

Photo Credit: CLine

This isn't working quite as well as I had hoped. 

Photo Credit: CLine

The new bridge was laid right on top of the old pilings. Remember that when you drive your transport truck down this road.
Photo Credit: CLine
That last stop led us up to the stop sign in Apple River NS where the 309 heads right and on through New Salem and down to Chignecto Bay, where there is a T-Junction that will take you out to Chignecto Bay Provincial Park on West Advocate Road. While on that road, I began to think about how much CLine and I enjoyed each other's company, and what would I do if one or the other were to become injured? I found myself chatting on the intercom with her, mimicking the voice of a high pitched insurance salesman as I warned her that "Motorcycling is dangerous, and perhaps we should take up a nice safe sport, such as Monopoly board games?" when she replied "Don't get soft on me, Ron." and all I could respond with was gales of laughter. :D

We made it out the park at last where we parked the bikes, while Chris went on ahead of us to the gas station in town. Time for some gratuitous photos!

Photo Credit: CLine
 It's such a beautiful area, and still quite popular on this September weekend.

Photo Credit: CLine

Photo Credit: CLine

Photo Credit: CLine
 It was time to get moving as it was well past lunch time and I still had a couple of spots I wanted to show CLine before we headed to the Wild Caraway Restaurant  in Advocate Harbour.

Photo Credit: CLine
The Harbour is on a lee shore, and as such, the waves roll right on up the beach, so a stone breakwater was repaired and improved in the past couple of years, which leads to huge amounts of driftwood being washed up along the shoreline.

Photo Credit: CLine

We didn't see a single straw, but we did find lots of this stuff.
Photo Credit: CLine

Photo Credit: CLine

Can you read the sign Ron?
Photo Credit: CLine

Wild Roses abound along the shoreline.
Photo Credit: CLine

Photo Credit: CLine
 We headed over to the Irving where we found Chris, Don and Michele waiting for us, so CLine topped off her tank and we headed down the road to the restaurant to sit down on the patio and order our meals. The last time I was through here, I stopped in the parking lot briefly and chatted with one of the kitchen staff,
who just happened to ride a Suzuki DR250e and had been parked near a Yamaha XT 250 and I asked the wait staff who had ridden in the Yamaha XT parked out there solo this afternoon, and while relating the story to my friends at table, the lady at the table behind me said "Hi, That was me and my bike you were talking about." We had a laugh over that, and got back to the serious matter of ordering our food.

Turn your head or your monitor sideways ;)
Photo Credit: CLine
 Cline ordered the fish cakes with salad, while I favoured the roast beef sandwich on fresh baked rolls. They serve their own signature rolls with butter as appetizers, which have caraway and dulse baked into them. Such a wonderful flavour, that I could have happily dined on their rolls and butter! My Aunt Sue was right when she recommended I stop here for a meal next time I was out this way. CLine shared a fish cake with me in return for a part of my sandwich, and I can't tell you which I preferred, but those fish cakes were simply delicious as was the sandwich.

Fish Cakes
Photo Credit: CLine

Photo Credit: CLine

Don and Michele are enjoying the afternoon
Photo Credit: CLine
Sarah's Yamaha XT250
It turns out that Sarah was the pilot of the Yamaha, and was working the cash on our way out, and we chatted about riding the beach where I'd met Allen on his KLR a couple of years ago, a fellow motorcycle and dog lover, computer geek and photographer. Sarah claimed his friendship as well, and smiled as she shook my hand. I was happy to match another rider to dual sport bike, and look forward to coming back again next season to say hello again.

 Someone at the gas station had warned our party that there was a load of gravel strewn across the corner coming into town, and as I knew there was a tight 30kph corner up ahead, I warned CLine to slow down for it and take it easy until I saw nothing in the corner up ahead but a few scattered bits of stones here and there. I silently scoffed myself for being such a worry wart, and got on the throttle myself once into the corner.

This was CLine's first time riding this area, and only her second off the island, so I gave her some pointers on how to handle downhill reducing radius corners and the like. That is,

  • SLOW the bike down in a straight line (brakes and downshift into the correct gear)
  • LOOK through the corner to your exit
  • LEAN the bike using counter steering
  • ROLL on the throttle smoothly and gradually once past the apex
The key I find is to downshift while heading downhill so the engine retards your progress, not clutch in with brakes, as you will have a lot of problems turning the bike when you do that, and free wheeling with the clutch in can be disastrous if you ever do need to get off those brakes again at some point. 

Anyhow, she was doing well, and was clearly enjoying herself, to the point where we had to pull over and wait again up near the blueberry fields of Kirkhill NS, at the junction of 209 and 2, where we would be turning North on 2 and head that way back up towards Amherst and our return leg home to the Island.  But we managed a bit of a kerfuffle, and Don and Michele missed us while waiting so far away from the road, and rode right past and TOOK THE WRONG TURN for Parrsboro! I was waving and pointing the other way, and thankfully Michele spotted us, and began beating on poor Don until he found a place to pull a U-Turn and head back that-a-way where we dutifully pulled in behind him and headed North on 2, the Glooscap Trail.

If you look at the map, the 302 branches off to the left and heads up towards Amherst, but in a lazy cozy fashion, and incidentally, avoiding a detour that would put Chris and his lovely BMW on a kilometer of gravel, so taking that turn to the left off of 2 puts us in good shape to enjoy the scenery and retrace our steps for a short while.

It was about four in the afternoon when we pulled into the shopping mall in Amherst to have a Timmie's and decide that the ride was almost over, they had the option of taking the highway home, or following CLine and I as we retraced our route back through Baie Verte and out to Murray Corner again. I was having such a wonderful time riding with her, that I didn't want to see the day end. 

Finally, a photo of Chris!
Amherst NS
We waved farewell as they headed out to hit the highway, then enjoyed ourselves as we headed through downtown Amherst, North up 366 to Tidnish Bridge NS, then along the 970 into Baie Verte and on into Port Elgin where we turned East on 15 until Hardy Road where we headed North through Little Shemogue and onto Blacklock Road out to 955 that would take us through Murray Corner and back out to 15, but much closer to the bridge this time. As we were making our way out, I found myself asking CLine to take it easier and ride carefully, as in my experience, the end of a long day is when I am most likely to get caught out by a mistake or wildlife. "Don't get soft on me, Ron." was all I heard, that and the sound of her pipes as the engine roared.

Seriously though, we both brought our speed down as it was now that time of night for the wildlife to make an appearance, and if you did a search for "Bambi vs Bandit" you would understand why I have a healthy bit o deer fear.

Cows at pasture looking out over McKay's Creek NB

CLine waits patiently for me to take the picture above. "We have cows on the island too, you know?"

"But CLine, it's the golden hour!"

 Once we hit the on ramp back onto the 15, CLine accelerated down it, while my chain decided this was the opportune time to grind away threatening to pop off the sprocket! That JT chain was now so loose that I needed to stop roadside to tighten it right away, a first for me!

This is what happens when you go cheapo on parts for your bike!
Photo Credit: CLine
 While I was tightening the chain, CLine asked me about her rear tire, and why some it looked so scrubbed and sandpapery and I proudly told her "Because you got a good heat cycle going on the rubber, and the pressure make it want to spall and roll off the surface." I had to then explain tire warmers, sport bikes and "Chicken Strips" etc to her, after giving her a big roadside hug. ;)
The floor boards prevent you from truly using all of the traction available.
Photo Credit: CLine

Photo Credit: CLine

Hair by Arai and CKX
We crossed the bridge and headed into the Borden-Carleton Esso where there was a classic car that I'm sure my Dad would be able to name in a second...

I love this shot. 

And after filling our tanks, we headed up the Trans Canada 1 then turned off onto 10 to shoot across over through Tryon PE and head back in to Charlottetown where we put away the bikes. 

I hope you enjoyed tagging along half as much as I did riding it.