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  1. Stafford
    Latest Entry

    TheBigOne2.jpg

    So….could this be the big one?

    For the last 4 years I have been attempting to narrow down my list of choices for a bike upgrade.

    My first (and still currently only) bike was purchased new 9 years ago, and now has 45000km on the odometer. I have always maintained it was a good thing my first bike was acquired in my forties…ample time to ensure my system was flushed of unused (or overused) testosterone.

    At the time of that purchase, I had the mindset of a 25 year old (more to do with my deluded state of fitness). In truth, back then, the state of muscle flexibility of my then mid-forties body was pretty good, but unbeknownst to me (read: ignored), the creep of time would not rest on its laurels. Today I am just shy of two months past my 56th birthday. My misguided interpretation of the physical state of my body has finally made an attempt to be in sync with my chronological age. Instead of 25 years, it is now realistically closer to 50. Oh, the indignity!

    The ultimate goal is to acquire a long distance touring machine with ultimate comfort and range for two-up riding with luggage. My most immediate real-time source of motorcycle information and opinion has been the members of CMC. It is great to be a part of a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who literally cover the gamut of motorcycle makes and models.  I love the fact that the owner of a sport-touring bike (for example, moi) can lead a group of riders on V-Twin cruisers on a Multi-Provincial 5-day tour. Yes…that actually happened; but more to the point I have survived the inevitable (and ongoing) looks of dumbfounded shock, along with no small amount of ribbing, to tell the tale. :)

    It’s all in good fun of course. We live in a blessed country which affords us diverse levels of freedom of choice. So…what choice(s) have crossed my line of sight lately? Well, Honda has just thrown down the gauntlet with their new line of GoldWings. Seven models in total! Take a look at the specs, model info and images below. Remember due to the current exchange rate, add approximately $5000 CDN to the US-based prices shown.

    One issue I had with the previous GoldWing was its weight. Even before you added an extra passenger and luggage, you were pushing up to the 1000lb threshold. This is not to imply the bike was not balanced or manageable, it was just a personal concern I had in hauling around such a behemoth. The new models for 2018 have shed 90lbs of weight. Prior to Honda’s recent reveal of their new models, I was looking at their competitor, BMW. Specifically the K1600GTL or the BMW K1600B Bagger. They were almost 200lbs lighter than the 2017 GoldWing models, but still had side and top case luggage capability. They also had a well tuned and powerful 160HP inline 6-cylinder engine competing with the GoldWing’s opposed 6 cylinder model.

    In an effort to woo the very demographic I identified with 9 years ago at age 46, Honda seems to have put their flagship ride on a stringent fitness regimen along with what could be interpreted as a high-tech colon cleanse (lighter, more powerful and fuel-efficient engine; a more modern and distraction-free cockpit). At the same time they are hoping to retain and carry over existing GoldWing riders. Personally, I think the latter move may prove to be their biggest challenge. One case in point, the luggage capacity has been reduced to 110L, down from 150L. Some have also commented on  the smaller fuel capacity, but according to Honda, the combination of reduced weight and a more fuel efficient engine supposedly gives the same range as the previous model.

    I have never ridden a Honda GoldWing, so I cannot speak to most of what others have commented on, but the new 2018 GoldWing models certainly are the closest I have seen a manufacturer come to matching what the BMW’s have been doing so well for the past few years. It is also interesting to note that it is not just the traditional Sport Touring segment that is upping the ante on targeting a younger generation of riders. Just take a look at the new 2018 Yamaha Star Venture and what it has to offer to the Cruiser crowd. Indian Motorcycles are also updating their model lines to capture and retain new and old customers.

    In any case, I am eager to see (and eventually demo) the new GoldWing. Whatever I decide on has to pass the  CT-SIMOB (Continue To Sleep In My Own Bed) test with the Missus. Her comfort (comfortable heated seats / good back support / smooth ride among others) will be primary factors in any choice yet to be made. My only concern is that the new Honda GoldWing may end up costing more than the previously mentioned BMW’s. My….how times have changed.

    So, what do any existing or potential GoldWing riders think about what Honda is doing with their flagship product?

    Your comments are welcome.

     

    2018 Honda GoldWing Specifications

    KEY UPDATES

    • Lighter overall package results in improved handling and maneuverability
    • More compact, lighter engine with four-valve head and Unicam valve train
    • Available seven-speed DCT with Walking Mode forward/reverse
    • Six-speed manual transmission
    • Robotically welded aluminum twin-tube frame with revised plate thicknesses
    • Radially mounted six-piston dual front braking calipers
    • Double-wishbone front-suspension system
    • Electrically controlled suspension
    • Throttle-by-wire with multiple riding modes
    • Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC)
    • Hill Start Assist
    • Smart Key
    • Apple CarPlay
    • LED lighting
    • Updated design with 11.8 percent improved aerodynamic efficiency
    • Electric windscreen adjustment

    GOLD WING TOUR

    The three 2018 Gold Wing Tour models—Gold Wing Tour, Gold Wing Tour DCT, and Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag—are the modern interpretation of the classic Gold Wing, the ultimate long-distance touring machine, but with highly improved performance capabilities. Each of these models features saddlebags and a top case, as well as a tall electrically adjustable windscreen, front and rear speakers, and electrically adjustable suspension.

    • Colors
      • Gold Wing Tour, Gold Wing Tour DCT: Candy Ardent Red, Pearl White, Pearl Hawkseye Blue
      • Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag: Candy Ardent Red/Black
    • Price
      • Gold Wing Tour: $26,700 – $27,000
      • Gold Wing Tour DCT: $27,700 – $28,200
      • Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag: $31,500
    • Availability: February 2018

    GOLD WING

    Boasting a sporty character, the two Gold Wing models—Gold Wing and Gold Wing DCT—come with saddlebags but no top case or the accompanying rear audio speakers. The electric windscreen is shorter on these models, and preload adjustment is manual. HSTC, electric damping-adjust, center stand, and heated seats are not included.

    • Colors: Candy Ardent Red, Matte Majestic Silver, Pearl Stallion Brown
    • Price
      • Gold Wing: $23,500 – $23,800
      • Gold Wing DCT: $24,700 – $25,000
    • Availability: February 2018
  2. grizzz
    Latest Entry

    Today as I look out my window, I no longer see the green of the park or the flag fluttering in the breeze, but I see the mountains and the sea from my chair in the living room.  The mountains have a "cloud halo" where the clouds ring the middle portion of the mountains.  The sea is calm as the single freighter makes its way to the harbours in Seattle.

    But today, I think the halo has a special meaning.  You see, today we send one of our brothers home.  He will take that one last ride and those clouds will be there to steady him as he travels and when he gets to those pearly gates, he will be greeted by his brother who left us several years go and his other brothers from across the land.  It is not a time to morn, a time to cry or a time to be sad, rather a time to smile at all of the crazy things Recycle said and did.  A time to remember that ear-to-ear grin when he was on his Red Steed.  His wave to everyone on two wheels - yes, even scooters.  A time to share that smile and remember times like when he looked into his empty beer bottle and swore there was someone drinking it because it emptied too soon, or when he bit into his hotdog and it shot out the other end like a cartoon clip.  Ron was a man like no other, he is Recycle, CMC65092

    If you would like to donate to Ron's Memorial Fund, please go to: http://cmc-victoria.com/donate.html  Thank you.

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    Safe journey home brother Ron.  We are going to miss you.  RIP

  3. bike-age-stafford-1.jpg

    In a few days, according to the societal predisposition of my awesome country Canada, I will be classified as a Senior.

    Now, there are variations on a theme as it pertains to what qualifies someone to enter this auspicious stage of life. Some Federal, Provincial and private entities bestow the title on those who have attained the silver-lined age of 55. (That would be me by the way). Others require an individual to be 60 or 65 years old. That then affords me a minimum of 5 to 10 years to potentially nurture an unqualified state of denial. I figure if it takes that long to wrestle with the reality of turning 55, then by the time I actually am permitted to graciously scale the misty heights of 60 or 65, then all arguments to the contrary will be null and void.

    If truth be told, as much as I am looking forward to this stage of my life, my level of introspection on what has transpired thus far to get me to this point, has taken a quantifiable turn. I presume the older one gets, the more one takes stock of one’s life. It is natural to weigh in the balance what you thought of, desired, or planned for your life as a young man, with where you presently find yourself. Borrowing an analogy from the sporting world, what has been uppermost on my mind is the identification of my life’s Sweet Spot.

    In simple terms, a sweet spot is a place where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort. Now given that I fall on the side of being genetically masculine, my tendencies lean toward rating myself through performance or accomplishments. While these are not inherently bad indicators of a person’s worth, more importantly, they are not the most healthy of litmus tests to gauge one’s equilibrium and value. Our society intensively advocates and promotes the successful; the strong; the popular; the beautiful. Again traits and positions that are not in themselves improper, but when you are forced to measure yourself against such demanding, or in some cases, unforgiving standards, your inner man; your psyche; your spirit, becomes weighted down and diminished when unhealthy expectations prove impossible to live up to.

    For me it has been difficult to identify if I even have a sweet spot, compared to even living out of one. To that end, I figured why not work backwards with what I know.

    I am a husband of almost 27 years to a woman who I am learning daily has more value and love to offer than I have sufficiently acknowledged.

    I am a father of the most awesome adult children a man could ask for.

    I have now transcended from Fatherhood to Grandparent with the arrival of our first Grandson.

    I have had the opportunity to taste the sweetness of a dream fulfilled in having the opportunity to pilot aircraft in the mountains of British Columbia and Northwestern USA.

    I have been blessed with a rich ancestral heritage that spans not only generations, but continents, countries and islands around the world.

    These are just a few things that aid in answering questions of significance on my part. I still fail and make mistakes at times, but I am reminded that growing older and having your once black follicles turn grey (those that remain anyway), is more a badge of honour, than a banner stigmatizing who you are as a person.

    After all, wisdom and knowledge come through experience. Experience takes time and effort, and yes even self-doubt and failure are valuable commodities that are indispensable to the repository of knowledge one gains in a lifetime.

    Proverbs: 20 vs:29 – The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendour of old men is their grey hair.

  4. Earlier this month, national and international journalists weighed in with their impressions on the appointment of Mark Saunders, Toronto’s new Jamaican-Canadian Chief of Police. Given the multi-layered complexity and scope of responsibility of such an important and far reaching senior public-facing position for Canada’s most diverse and populous city, it goes without saying that the principals, Toronto’s Mayor and the Toronto Police Services Board, responsible for reaching the final decision for the new Chief’s appointment, were required to so with soberness, foresight and unanimity.

    It is interesting to note that some of the Board members at first, maintained different stances on who should be the next Chief of Police; which in and of itself was nothing unusual. In fact it indicates an environment where differing ideas are allowed to be expressed. Afterwards, those who were questioned, stated their final decision was unanimous. If there were any reservations, none were publicly forthcoming.

    The full spectrum of expectations, realistic and otherwise, will now come to bear on Chief Saunders from many directions; most likely all at once. His first and foremost concern will be the police officers under his direct charge. It is an unfortunate, yet forgone conclusion that some elements of the public do not trust, or have any love lost for the new Chief’s police force. This belief has been established partly through the graphic and unfortunate incidents between police and suspects that have been shown via the media. This influential perspective has also been augmented by the recent troubling police visuals south of the border. But let us not for a moment lose sight of the fact that a percentage of those who see Toronto’s police as the enemy, are part of the darker elements of our society that substantiate the very need for the existence of our police.

    One can only imagine what it must be like being a member of a police force; not only the Toronto Police, but the OPP, RCMP, or any of the many Municipal detachments across Canada. Whether as a veteran of many years or a freshly minted recruit, the difficulties inherent in carrying out their responsibilities will always be compounded by the perceptions and expectations of the very public they are required to serve. In Chief Saunders’ case, he will have to navigate and balance the crucial course of effectively equipping, rebuilding and maintaining morale among his staff, while at the same time addressing such issues as the very real stigma of profiling, engendered through the current policy of Carding. He will have to deal with what is seen by some in the public as itinerant unchecked police abuse of power, while ensuring his police force operates at peak efficiency through strict rules of engagement, which are in place to keep both the public or even any alleged perpetrator as safe as possible. At first blush, with so many vested parties holding him under a microscope, the tasks that lay ahead are unquestionably daunting.

    Another challenge to Chief Saunders will be giving a continual account of himself to those who have oversight over him; the Mayor of Toronto, the Toronto Police Services Board and yes, to a certain extent, the public at large. Every action, decision, or word that comes from his mouth will be literally held for public record and scrutiny. But the Chief should be fully aware of that, as it comes with the position.

    Chief Saunders has inherited some potentially divisive responsibilities, and his qualifications certainly are not being called into question, but fulfilling his mandate as Chief of Police should not be about leaving a legacy for himself. More so, elements such as enabling opportunities which allow for the building of new foundations of community-based trust and interaction between the public and Toronto Police. At the same time, and of no less equal importance, ensuring his members have complete training and support; not only to carry out their assigned duties, but also for when those duties take their toll on them, physically and emotionally.

    There will always be detractors when it comes to senior level appointments that inherently have a direct impact on the public. Let us at a minimum give opportunity for those newly appointed to positions of public trust, time to bring about necessary change. Yes, we can help by being diligent of their actions, or inactions, but more importantly, by being active with mature, supportive engagement as well.

  5. Hi Everyone!

    Well, hopefully spring is here for most of us. I have had my bike out twice, and it snowed the next day both times. I am going to risk it again today and go for a short ride with my friends.

    Like most riders, I waited patiently for that first ride, and with the winter that seemed to drag on forever, I was beginning to feel a bit caged! The first ride out was tentative, as the roads were covered with sand and grit, but it felt SO AWESOME!

    I read grizzz's Blob Post about enjoying the small things in life. I also read through the tributes to Tina (from 089) and although I didn't know her, the tributes really tell the story of a courageous lady. I had an idea.

    There is a challenge on the Internet called the 100 Happy Days Challenge http://100happydays.com - challenges people to focus on things that make them happy, even for a little while.

    As the site says - We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.

    71% of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason.These people simply did not have time to be happy. Do you?

    If you are up to the challenge, you post a picture every day for 100 days of things that make you happy. You can change the privacy settings to whatever you want, or you can just keep the challenge to yourself.

    My idea is this - is anyone interested in doing a CMC 100 Happy Day challenge? We could use the hashtag #100HappyDaysCMC or create a forum here for folks to post. What a great way to promote our love of riding, our friendship and the beauty of belonging to CMC!

  6. AcesNEights' Blog

    So on Thursday March27th “I was looking out my window” (cheers Grizz) and although the temperature was less than ideal the roads looked very dry. I must admit there was a large amount of sandy areas, and was very determined to avoid these. With that said I rolled my bike out of my garage and started it up. I let the bike warm up about 10 minutes or so, the bike itself was pleading it was ready, it responded with nice crisp throttle rolls.

    I used the time while the bike was warming up to GEAR UP, I must admit I was a little nervous, not about getting hurt, but rather possibly dropping my bike and being upset at myself for being an idiot :mad: So for the first 20 minutes or so I just rode around a 2 block radius of my house, just getting the feel, The only bike I had ridden really was the little Honda CBR125 used at the Humber course. So my Honda Shadow 500 was a very new and different experience compared to the other. After I was comfortable with the handling and controls I ventured a little further from home, This is when I realized that @ 60 kph the wind is stronger than I had anticipated, so back home I went. :oops:

    I thought to myself that was F U N ….. Hmmm. So I went upstairs and put on a pair of sweatpants on underneath my jeans. Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting track pants & jeans are a good alternative to proper weather riding gear, but I just had to get a few more klicks in before putting my bike back in the garage.

    Thinking about it some more I thought “Oh, I know, I have to go order a new set of contact lenses.” So I planned my route to try avoiding the higher traffic areas, It was going to be about 15 km each way :wink: One of my first observations upon arriving at the plaza was how BIG the parking spaces were, backing my bike into a spot I thought to myself “this bike is a lot easier to park than my SUV”. :grin: I took a much larger street for my ride home and @ 4 pm it was quite busy. Shortly after getting underway it began to SNOW!, luckily it was just some light flurries and was not enough to even change the colour of the road; I felt much better being on DRY roads. The ride home was very straight, but some good practice in heavier traffic. So all in all I put just over 50 kms for my first ride ever on public roads. It felt AWESOME getting that monkey off my back :???::smile::grin::cool:

    Cheers

    Aces N Eights

    Stay tuned for my next post:

    My First Ride - Things I did well, and things I need to work on :)