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A Day at Flat Track School

This year I decided to try my hand at flat track racing and I signed up for the half day of instruction offered by www.goflattrack.com  Sunday June 10th was the day and Pemberton Speedway was the place, all I needed to do was show up, the school supplies everything from all of the safety equipment you need plus a Honda 450 motorcycle in flat track configuration. http://flattrackbc.com/racing-info/pemberton-speedway/ Since I’m leaving on my cross Canada trip in two weeks I thought a fully loaded trip to Pemberton would be a good test ride to see how the fit and handling was going to work out on my Vulcan with everything I planned to bring and decided to head up on Saturday and camp overnight and come home Sunday night after race school.  Saturday turned out to be very cold with rain showers but I wasn’t going to let that stop me and I managed to avoid the on and off rain up to Pemberton, often missing it by a few minutes in places judging by how wet the roads were. Arriving in the early afternoon at the speedway Saturday’s race class was getting underway so I went and found a place to set up my tent and have some lunch. Pretty soon the weather took a real turn for the worse with gusty winds and turning very cold raining off and on, blustery weather that had me taking shelter in my tent to read. The weather did clear enough around dinner time so I was able to cook up a quick camp meal before turning in early. Sunday morning     The weather was looking a bit more promising, the sun was trying to stay out and it was a bit warmer, after making breakfast and my 2nd coffee was kicking in I took a  wander over to the track area to look around and taking the opportunity to walk the track and have a good look at it. It may seem flat and compacted when your in the stands but up close and personal is another thing, you start to see the ruts, the heaves and the bumps, I also noticed how turns 1 and 2 were slick with clay on the inside and dryer, looser dirt higher up, corners 3 and 4 were dry, well rutted down low and loose sandy soil higher up in the turn towards the wall. I was scheduled for the afternoon class so spent the morning packing up camp and doing some stretching and limbering up for what was soon to come. Class Time After signing a waiver and paying for the course  I was given knee and elbow pads, motocross pants and boots, a motocross jersey as well as a chest/back/shoulder pad combo and of course a full face helmet and goggles. I opted to use my own gloves. Once I was fitted up it was time to find a ‘hot shoe’ that fit the boot I had on, I say boot as you only need one for the left foot. A steel plate in the shape of a boot print with a small edge to hold your boot in and a steel strap to slide the toe under with what looks like a dog collar thru a ring at the heel that is tightened over the arch of the foot to hold it on…. and this is why everyone starts walking with a limp as soon as you get it strapped on, it’s kind of comical. The class was taught by Aaron Hesmer, Canadian Speedway Champion and a guy who knows his stuff, we got the basics of sitting position and why, he covered the bikes and how they handle and what has been done to them that makes them flat trackers such as no front brakes and we were given the heads up on track safety. Once everyone had that down we could grab whatever bike we wanted and head out on the track to feel it all out. By my second lap I was pretty comfortable sliding around the corner with my left foot firmly planted on the ground and began to spin the rear wheel more letting the bike drift through the turns….for about 6 laps. It’s amazing how quickly I tired, I had to come in for a rest and pretty soon so did everyone else. After we all had a chance to catch our breath there was another class session while Aaron explained the finer points of flat tracking, one reason my arms were burning out so fast was due to the death grip I had on the bars and I had to keep reminding myself to loosen my grip, and it worked but this was just one small thing on the long list of things to think about all while going as fast as you can on a rough surface and very quickly you begin to see the scope of what it takes to be a professional racer. Fighting the bike around the track like I was is not the way to do it. And so the afternoon went, we would go out to try different skills and Aaron would coach us from the sidelines or from his bike on the track while we were able to pull off and on again as we needed. I didn’t take long to see how everyone was improving and letting the bikes open up a bit more on the straights and levels of confidence increasing in the corners. All to soon I realized the afternoon was drawing to an end as were my physical limits so I stopped before I was going to hurt myself or someone else. Peeling off the motocross gear and getting back into my leathers I was soon back on the road home and I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole way. If you’ve ever thought of giving flat track racing a try or just want to brush up on your riding skills this is a great course to take, a ton of fun and Aaron is a great guy who explains the concepts of flat track in a way that’s easy to understand and in a casual setting, check the link at the top for dates and places.  **Next week I leave on a 6 week X-Canada trip… follow that on my instagram @Opus710WheelspinAdventures.

Opus

Opus

Introduction to 'Wheelspin'

Hi there and welcome to ‘Wheelspin’  A new blog documenting rides, events and the motorcycling lifestyle. For those of you that don’t know I’ll be embarking on a 6 week x-Canada ride starting at the end of June with stops at ‘Freedom Machine’ a vintage, custom and antique bike show in Durham Ontario, held at this really cool fake ghost town on private property with lots of space for camping. www.freedommachineshow.com  Also on the list, Port Dover for Friday the 13th,  Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick, Riding the Confederation Bridge into P.E.I. the Bay of Fundy and of course the one on everyones bucket list, The Cabot Trail and since I’m already on that side of the country, the CMC National Rally (Yes I’m already registered for the National) on my way back west. The idea of this blog is to share information on things like road conditions,  those must do rides, tips and tricks on camping, packing the bike, gear reviews, places to eat, where to find service or parts, places to avoid as well as documenting some good times,  because as we all know… It’s not the destination it’s the ride. A well traveled route that has some notoriety around here is the Duffy Loop as it’s known locally by the riding community, depending on which direction you travel it’s the #1 Trans Canada from Vancouver to Hope, up the Fraser Canyon to Cache Creek, then onto highway 99 south from Lillooet and down through Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish and back into Vancouver. Another option riding out to Hope is highway #7 but this adds another hour, hour and a half to the total loop ride but is far more scenic and twisty. Dr.Mucker, first officer from the 056 and myself did our 1st loop ride of 2018 last week, you can watch a video of that ride here  The last few years I’ve been averaging 3 loop rides a season as it’s one of my favourite local rides. Last year I stretched it out into an overnighter and more kilometres by adding the loop of highways 97C and 8 taking you through Logan Lake, Mamatte Lake and Lower Nicola, some of BC’s old copper mining country and into ranch lands before joining back up with the #1 Trans Canada at Spences Bridge back in the Fraser Canyon. Some stunning country and views along 97C. A few of us have the extended loop ride scheduled for next weekend, I’ll bring you up to speed on that here after the 15th of May. A few other rides I’ve got down on my calendar in spray paint… May 26th is the first flat track races of 2018 in these parts, Pemberton Raceway and a few of us from the 056 are going.  May 27th I’m a registered rider in the 'Ride To Live' charity ride to raise awareness and money to fight prostate cancer. There’s a BBQ, a poker run (I love poker runs) and entertainment, looks like I might be a tad sore for that one but that never stopped me before.  to learn more www.ridetolive.ca Come early June I’m registered for flat track school hosted by Go Flat Track  and I’m looking forward to writing about that experience. If you check their website they have links to some good video, note that it’s not recorded at Pemberton, I think it’s in Ontario somewhere. www.goflattrack.com That covers the start of the 2018 riding season, I have a few other rides and events to see when I get back but I think I’ll leave that for later. **A Final Note on the Duffy: We saw some fresh slides in the chutes along the highway as well there is rock and debris coming down right now, please check road conditions and ride it with extreme caution. The road had been swept of winter gravel and was in pretty good shape overall. We didn’t do the Cache Creek run we did the shortened  Lytton to Lillooet route, highway #12.  Check www.drivebc.com  for all BC road travel updates and camera views. 3 days after our ride Cache Creek was flooding.

Opus

Opus

2018 Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live 

This past weekend out here on the wild west coast was the annual Ride to Live that raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer in BC. http://vancouver.ridetolive.ca/  In past years I have been on the Telus Ride for Dad but my first time on this ride however both events have the same goal. I pre-registered for this ride online over a month in advance and once I got a few donations there was no backing out, I was in for the whole 9 yards.The ride was scheduled to start at 10am from Trev Deeley’s HD dealership just off the Trans Canada highway on Boundary rd with a police escort to the first stop in Coquitlam. My plan was to arrive at Trev’s by 9am, full tank, coffee in hand giving me lots of time to pick up my riders pack consisting of a ride flag and map, poker hand card, ride pin, lunch ticket, drop the donations I collected off and still get some video footage. Sunday morning it was looking to be a beautiful day, I got to Trev’s at 8:50, a full 10 minutes ahead of my schedule and pulling up behind the last bike in line found myself in the shade of a few trees that lined the boulevard. Thinking myself pretty lucky and not to far from the front of the line I went inside and worked my way through the store to where registration was set up only then did I discover I was closer to the back of the line than I thought, not that I really cared that much, the shade was still a major bonus. Once we finally got under way just 2 blocks from Trev’s heading south we have to pass over a controlled railway crossing with 2 sets of tracks,  two cops with bikes were parked on the tracks and just then a train was coming, one of the cops started waving his arms at the train but once the bells started ringing and the rail arms came down they were smart enough to clear off the tracks, making it over I shared a laugh with the rider beside me at the officers effort to stop that train and a few riders did get cut off from the group. Climbing the hill there was no stopping at the red light as we turned east onto the Trans Canada and motorcycle police had the whole highway blocked at the onramp we were merging from. Now from here I’m not sure what the actual plan was (I missed the riders meeting)  but we had the highway to ourselves and never got over 50kmh, I’m guessing the lead cops were hoping the cut off riders at the train tracks would catch up. It was weird looking in my mirrors and seeing 2 police motorcycles about 6 bikes back, lights flashing and solid cars across all lanes of highway behind them, all crawling along at 50kmh. I had a flash of what OJ must have felt like in the white Ford Bronco. Sadly I found out later I had a corrupted SD card in my gopro so I don’t have any ride footage but I did manage to get some video on my camcorder at a few stops, you can watch that video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NZgTeAykkQ At maybe half way to the first stop we did get up to the 80kmh speed limit taking the centre lane while cars speed by on the left and right of us, I knew then we had lost our police tail gunners but with what seemed like 800 bikes in front of me I couldn't tell who was in the lead the odd time I did get a glimpse that far ahead. The first stop was Lee Valley Tools in Coquitlam on United blvd just off the Trans Canada highway in the shadow of the Port Mann bridge, pulling into the parking area well marked with orange cones and even more volunteers in orange shirts we were directed to the rear of the building were we merged into 3 lines, circling around the far side where volunteers took your poker card and punched the number you indicated. These were the more traditional poker run hands, you have a sealed envelope with numbers 1-52 all around the edges, inside is a card with a card a suite under each hole, you pick a number, get it punched and move on, much quicker set up than stopping to draw cards, we didn’t even have to get off our bikes. Moving back around the front of the building volunteers were handing out water and telling you to either park or get out of the way, there’s a lot of bikes behind you. The next 2 stops and final destination we were left to ride our own rides and I did some pre-ride planning that had me glimpsing riders at cross streets all the way to our next stop at Garibaldi Secondary School and once again there was no shortage of volunteers to get us all looked after in quick time with the dry grad students raising money  selling drinks and cookies. Stop 3 was Mission Raceway Park and like the first two stops it too went off without a hitch and riders were each given 2 passes for any races in the 2018 season, nice of them. From here it was on to the final stop at the University of Fraser Valley to hand in your card and where you got to see what cards you drew, I had a pair of two’s, worth less than squat. I made my way to the food tent and had the choice of a beef, chicken or fish burger that came with an apple, chips and a water. A few bike dealers were on hand and some accessories distributors, there was also some live entertainment. I didn’t stay to long as 4:30am Monday comes really fast once Sunday afternoon kicks in. I did raise $370 for a worthy cause and had a great time doing it, saw some old friends too, I never have been very lucky at poker runs but I’ll keep trying, it’s the ride and sometimes the cause, not the cards you draw. For more of my ride photos see my Instagram account at opus710adventures               

Opus

Opus

Tectonic Shifting

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

Stafford

Stafford

 

Going Home

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

grizzz

grizzz

 

Back in saddle again

As I look out my window… I want to apologize for the lack of writing.  Creative energy block, a magical force-field, a black hole – who knows.  I just could not “get it going” for a while, then all of a sudden, it was like Popeye eating his spinach – BAM!  But this has me worried, as I could only think of the word of the day as given to me by a staff member…. Constipation - <his words> “a high level of constraint or restriction; a pronounced lack of ease; your boss when he is full of crap (properly said, use the sh word).”  OMG, then I got thinking, has anyone ever died from constipation?  Will they explode?  Will their lack of knowledge and crap be strewn everywhere?  What if it gets on me?  Will I then too become all dumbed down and wreak like that idiot who wears different coloured socks and forgets to zip their fly and uses the public swimming pool as their personal bath tub? That reminds me a boss I had back in 1999/2000.  Those of you that remember the Y2K hoopla will appreciate this.  Since I am in the Information Technology field, my task for the Y2K adventure was to plant my butt in a chair out at our local damn.  The damn provides Greater Victoria with our drinking water.  My job – to ensure that water continued to flow downhill.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Like the entire world was going to change the direction it spun or something.  Maybe the aliens were going to come and flip our axis, I don’t know. But then, as I look out my window, I see the entry walkway into our little park across the street.  It is red brick and just before you come to the cenotaph, there is a large poppy in grey brick.  Now, while the thought is beautiful, I can only think that the designer was constipated.  Why aren’t the entry bricks grey and the poppy red?  Oh well, this and many other things in this world don’t make sense. One of our other staff members was complaining of a headache.  He went to the doctor and was told to loosen his pants as this was causing the headache.  Huh????  But this has to be the best – this young lady saw the low oil light come on, so she drove to the gas station, bought a  gallon of oil and….  Oh this world we live in… but I can’t think of a better place to live.

grizzz

grizzz

Age Spots vs Sweet Spots

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.  

Stafford

Stafford

Balance: Beyond Two Wheels

How it all began... Circa A.D. 1979 / Canadian Olympic Track & Field Trials Winnipeg Manitoba 10.15 seconds. Personal Best Time - 100m sprint
20.9 seconds. Personal Best Time - 200m sprint
48 seconds. Personal Best Time - 400m sprint
63 seconds. Time taken to get back to a resting heart rate after running 3.5 km Circa A.D. 2008 - Canadian National Shito Ryu Itosi Kai (Japanese) Karate Championships - 2nd Place Back in the Post Ice Age era of 1979, I was 17 years old. Bolstered by a high metabolism and ridiculously low body fat, Track & Field was inherently one of the best ways I legally acquired a true high. In 2008 I chronologically gained 30 years; along with a few squatters of added poundage. In order to evict said squatters from my personal domicile, I decided to take up Shito Ryu Itosu Kai Karate with my then 17 year old daughter. It’s funny, but when I was 17 years old, coordinated, concentrated, physical exertion seemed to come more naturally than when you are in your 40’s. That was proven when my daughter won the National title for her age and rank in her first ever Karate tournament. We had only been training for 12 weeks before our Sensei, in his dry, inimitable matter-of-fact style, informed us that we were to be competing in the Canadian National Karate Championships. This is not something normally told to people who have never even tried Karate before. Especially if you have witnessed the Mini-Me Bruce Lees going at it in your Dojo. I guess it was a testament to the training received that allowed us to comport ourselves well enough to rank well. But not without the requisite bruising, beatings (what happens when you do not block properly), and blood (skin breaks on contact even when pulling your kicks and punches). That was eight years ago. Now it begins again. This time however I will not be competing against an opponent who is shorter than I, has reflexes faster than the speed of light, and who is less than half my age. No Siree. This time I am going to go up against someone even more daunting….Myself. Circa A.D. 2016 - Learning how to beat my own body into submission - hopefully in a good way. This year marks 8 years since I purchased my first motorcycle; the same year I started training in Karate. I did not realize it at the time, but that rigorous training regimen prepared me to handle a type of machine I had never utilized before. I have always half-jokenly stated I am glad I started riding motorcycles after most of my testosterone took an early sabbatical. If I had started riding motorcycles during my muscle-tuned, teen years of Track and Field, I may not have had the opportunity to be publicly upstaged by some pimply-faced Karate Kid wannabe. So what exactly am I beginning again after all these years, that involves competing with myself? A healthy balance of mind and body, for a Road Trip! Specifically a Cross-Canada motorcycle trip, slated for Summer 2017. I am giving myself one year to get my mind, soul and body in the best possible shape; not only to make the trip, but to enjoy it to the fullest extent possible. It is going to involve draft notices being sent out to unused muscles, compelling them to report for active duty; along with Cease & Desist orders served to other itinerant body parts that, well, are just not welcome anymore. Oh, and throughout this whole process, I will be documenting my efforts (or lack thereof) for public consumption on my Personal Blog - http://www.swedwards.com. There will be great potential for whining; feeble excuses; moments of self-recrimination; heck, even flat out states of denial. In short, it is not going to be pretty. The process of physically preparing for this adventure is only one aspect of the plan. One element of incentive will be my research into acquiring a newer and larger motorcycle for the trip. I will be articulating that part of the equation along side my efforts at regaining balance, energy and strength to my mental, musculature and skeletal carbon-based unit. So if you have any tips, or advice pertaining to long distance, trans-continental type motorcycling, (expectations; warnings; planning etc), please feel to share them. Just as in times past, before I had ever ridden a motorcycle or tried Karate, I am very eager to see what the outcome of this Bucket List endeavour will be.

Stafford

Stafford

OK...My Bucket List Just Expanded...Again!!

I am not usually classified as a jealous man. Well...if truth be told, I am slightly envious of the West Coast BC chapters with their unquestionably scenic mountains. Having once resided there in a time when testosterone was both legal, and NOT politically incorrect, I know of which I speak. There is now another contender for my  2-wheeled yearning: Europe. I have visited different parts of Europe in years past, but have never had the opportunity to actually ride motorcycles during my visits. Something I desperately hope to address while I still retain the capacity to balance on two wheels. To that end, I will begin preparations to address a portion of that particular itch, by planning a cross country ride to British Columbia. To give credence to that goal, and to augment my incentive to actually make it happen, I plan on attending the 2017 CMC National Rally, scheduled to take place in the Coombs/Nanaimo area on Vancouver Island. I have convinced myself that it is  actually preparation for riding throughout Europe. Below is one reason why, instead of going to bed at a reasonably decent hour, I am staying up in the wee hours of the night researching (ok...binging) on YouTube videos made by European motorcyclists, who seem to have more leisure time (and by the looks of their bikes), apparently more liquid assets than I currently have. I now have just over a year to plan, save, and acquire a larger, more comfortable long distance touring bike, to venture out west. Who is up for some transcontinental 2-wheelin'?  

Stafford

Stafford

 

Blasting The Winter Blahs

So, the seasonal cold weather threatens to hang around longer than your body's core temperature would like. Depending on where you reside in Canada, the evil Ninja twins, Win & Min (Winter and Motorcycle Insurance) conspire to settle in for their usual six-month, in-your-face mockery of all that is decent and warm.

Well, if I cannot ride my bike due to my seasonally challenged, geographic location north of the 49th parallel, then maybe I can offset some of the sub-zero doldrums by practicing how to rise above the weather; literally, figuratively and well....virtually.

Take a gander at the video clip below.

Disclaimer & Statement of Accountability: Any and all incorrectly described procedures or phraseology contained in this video, are my responsibility alone, and should not be construed as currently authentic in the real world. It has been a while since I actually flew as a Commercial pilot, (over 25 years), so rules and regulations have likely changed....not to mention any degradation in my actual knowledge, aptitude and skill level. Just sayin'.  

Stafford

Stafford

 

Pittance of Time

As I look out my window today, the flag is fluttering in front of a partially blue sky and the mighty Gary Oak trees are shedding their golden leaves.  The Parks personnel are diligently blowing the leaves away from the Cenotaph and the military members are pacing off the positions where everyone will be tomorrow. In one day the park will be full of poppies, wreaths and vets as we commemorate another Remembrance Day.  This year there will be fewer vets from the World Wars, fewer from Korea but more from our recent scrimmages. As parents, it is our jobs to tell the story of those who served and how they fought for our freedoms and the freedoms of others.  Tell your children to talk to the veteran and find out their stories.  Click on the link and think about the words.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kX_3y3u5Uo

grizzz

grizzz

Confusing (Non-Existent) Logic

Leather. Gasoline. Oil. Grease. Rubber. Asphalt. Two Wheels. Essential Ingredients necessary to separate oneself from the mundane. Elements that allow for a unique sensory experience that most mortals will never become familiar with. Hmm...too grandiose or poetic? Or not descriptive enough? After only seven seasons in the saddle as a motorcyclist, it is safe to say that I have only begun to scratch the surface of appreciating the full essence of this two-wheeled genre. There are those who have told their stories (myself included) of the freedom gained through this pastime; but I have come to discover that some have an unusual definition of freedom. No matter the length of time that has passed since the inception of this mode of transportation, there is always something guaranteed to be new and I daresay, unexpected, that arises to challenge our basic concept of logic and reason. Recently there have been a couple of news items pertaining to motorcyclists that caught my attention. The first item was related to a CNN News broadcast proclaiming "the truth" about the outlaw motorcycle club world. A quote from the CNN article about the episode states: ...outlaw motorcycle clubs are not what law enforcement says they are. Sure, some might find the culture distasteful. But that does not mean outlaw motorcycle clubs are criminals. They are brotherhoods centered around motorcycling that refuse to not stand their ground…" Now, to me, that kind of logic begins to expose shaky foundations. I am a motorcyclist, but at the same time I am NOT an outlaw, so forgive me if I am missing something here. Exactly how does one qualify the position of being a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang, yet at the same time declassify yourself from being a criminal? Outlaw and Criminal are not diametrically opposing descriptors under normal circumstances.

If you take the position of mainstream thinking (which the documentary apparently attempts to deconstruct), if your group is “illegal” in the eyes of the law, you are therefore criminally negligent if you actively support, or willingly take part in the functioning of that group. Basically, one does not have to be charged with a criminal offence before technically being tagged as a criminal. For a completely unbiased judgement, I would have to at least see the documentary to draw any further pertinent conclusions.  

The next motorcycle related news item comes from Russia, and it too stretches the boundaries of logic (at least in my mind). It has to do with the alleged trend (if you believe at least one Canadian and several British Newspapers) of some women in Russia who ride motorcycles nearly naked. I use the term “nearly” loosely because that is the exact term one newspaper headline used to describe the lack of attire of the respective female(s). The term thong was used, but a more precise and altogether truthful facsimile would be dental floss. It is not my desire to promote abject nonsense, but if so-called reputable (or rather well-known) newspapers, see fit to publish this type of stuff, I then feel it is incumbent to point out some obvious elements that even a 4 year old would easily understand.
  The man has full gear on while his passenger is clothed in only a helmet (why even bother) and high heels. The inevitable projectile stream of bugs, road debris etc at speed would surely increase the level of discomfort to any extra exposed skin. The ambient temperature, regardless of the season would elicit goosebumps in varying degrees of...well let's just say Russia is not known to be naturally tropical. Falling off the bike, even from a standstill will be most unpleasant. Well, let's be blunt...it would suck royally for the clothing-challenged Pillion. Now as idiotic and elementally challenged these women are who do this, the driver of the motorbike is a hundred times more irresponsible and stupid. Not only is he selfish; egotistic, and a patented douche bag for even permitting such activity, he is beyond any sense of moral responsibility and maturity and should be thrown into whatever Gulag is still in operation in Russia. Most people (i.e. men) will see this type of behaviour and have a good laugh and wink; thinking it is amusing or even sexy. The sad truth is our innate fibre (societal, moral, common sense, etc) has been so trashed, we fail to realize we have become inured to things like this. Logic. Reason. Moral Accountability. These are now part of the new endangered species.   References US Fed Reports About MC Structure
http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-why-the-feds-are-worried-about-these-biker-gangs-20150518-htmlstory.html Wiki Reference - Mongols MC
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongols_Motorcycle_Club Image Sources
http://www.madpac.nl/entertainment/sons-anarchy-seizoen-6/
https://plus.google.com/+RebelGirl/posts/VkabEqxKWSs  

Stafford

Stafford

Conversations With Eve: The Biker

East coast girls are stylishly hip. Southern girls apparently have weaponized bootys. Mid-Western girls seem to have an inherent valium-induced calming effect, while northern girls seem to be very effective at warming their male companions with nothing but their lips. It goes without saying that American Pop Culture of the early to mid-sixties infused (some would say irrevocably established), the sexually charged, female-objectification that flourishes to this day. The seemingly unpretentious and fun-filled rallying anthem of that time was the iconic, Beach Boys hit title, California Girls. In defence of those who grew up in that transformative era, how current 21st century men view and treat the opposite sex has not improved. The argument can be made that there has actually been an exponential regression in respectful attitudes toward women. A stereotype in its most basic form is made up of two entities; the initiator and the initiate. Derived from the Greek words στερεός (stereos), “firm, solid” and τύπος (typos), “impression; thereby creating a “firm impression”. To create an impression, something of substance, an initiating object or force, has to be applied to a receiving surface or receptor. The surface tension, molecular structure, maturity level or mental capacity of the receiver of said impression, will dictate the acceptance or longevity of the force applied. So how or why did this stereotypical assault on women begin? This particular Eve archetype, is a woman who happens to ride motorcycles. But let me first step back in time and set the stage. Eve first came on the scene in the Garden of Eden. Now ongoing debate and postulation continues as to where the exact location of Eden is purported to have been. General consensus places it somewhere near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Regardless of where the exact location was, it is fair to say it was someplace in the Middle East. When Eve first enters earth’s physical plane, she is naked. Not ‘nekkid’, which is how the North American urban culture has redacted a woman’s true physical attributes of beauty. The familiar narrative relates that Eve was tempted with an apple. Without going into any ecumenical or doctrinal posturing, one critical and defining issue about this event not only relates to what Eve did, but more importantly, what Adam failed to do. He too was naked, when he willingly partook of the fruit offered to him by Eve. Later when questioned about it by his Creator, Adam passed the buck. He lied in an effort to save his own literal and figurative skin. By not manning up, his failure had a greater impact than anything Eve did. Eve’s motorcycle is loud. The rumbling exhaust note at idle hints of unbridled power waiting to be unleashed. I am in awe and fascination as I watch Eve control a machine with a questionably legal power-to-weight ratio at her disposal. When she revs her bike into higher RPM ranges, those in possession of Y chromosomes who happen to be in her vicinity, quickly determine how secure they feel; or not. Some men find women who ride motorcycles unattractive, butch-like, or too manly. That may have more to do with the natural levels of confidence these women wield, as compared to the layers of insecurity some men harbour. There are non-riding women who think that way as well. But this again reveals an innate misconception that I believe is a result of our cultural indoctrination as to how women are generally perceived. Some outside of the riding culture, tend to have a subconscious belief that a leather-bound female rider has more testosterone than the average man; or less oestrogen than the average woman. The Photoshopped portrayal of a pouty-lipped bikini-clad model on the cover of Maxim magazine degenerates and objectifies with no less offensiveness than some motorcycle magazines do. Just initiate a Google search with two simple words; “Motorcycle Magazines”, and you will get the essence of which I speak. Regardless of whether she rides a motorcycle or not, I do not want to take away Eve’s right to be feminine or proud of her sexuality. While it is impractical to be on a motorcycle as a rider (or passenger) dressed as if you just came from a Victoria’s Secret photo shoot (Daytona Bike Rallies notwithstanding), a woman is no less feminine or appealing for not dressing in ridiculously expensive lingerie. While this may sound contradictory to some women, I as a man, am no fool. The female body is a beautiful work of Divine Art; and being like most men, I tend to be visually cued. But if the full extent of a woman’s qualification for being appreciated is limited to her having an ample bust or hypnotic derriere, then like Adam, we have missed the mark and abdicated our responsibility as men. It is high time men change not only the tone, but the context of conversation Eve has been longing to have with us. Article image source (complied): http://goo.gl/IoLvGU

Stafford

Stafford

 

The Crucible of Change in The Toronto Police

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.

Stafford

Stafford

 

Fear In Disguise

Ever since that Tower of Babel inci­dent way back in his­tory, we of the human race have been engaged in diverse forms of racial, religious and socio-economic one-upmanship. Some sub­tle, some overt. The peren­nial ques­tion: why is race is such a light­n­ing rod? In the USA, it has been debated ad-infinitum and unfor­tu­nately may not be answered for yet another gen­er­a­tion. One would expect more mature, rea­soned think­ing and accep­tance of this unavoid­able and patently obvi­ous fact; we are all inter­wo­ven with DNA strands that dis­tin­guish (all of) us as being from the same human race. Apparently some individuals beg to differ. One notable case in point. Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America in 2014. Her plan was to follow her family tradition in medicine and become a cardiologist. She also happens to be of East Indian descent. Interestingly there are those who have chosen to denigrate her based on culture, but somehow adroitly miss the substantive fact that she is highly intelligent and was born in the USA. One online writer (The Thinking Housewife) even stated that because of Ms. Davulri’s appreciation and promotion of diversity in the pageant, that must mean “…she is proud that she is not a white American.” In a word….."Wow!" In North Amer­ica, certain "official" elements of authority, admit to profiling whole people groups, mainly because they “look the part”. All this in an inane attempt at fostering public security. This unfor­tu­nate response has been adopted by hate-filled, ide­o­log­i­cally stunted indi­vid­u­als; arguably, those with less officious mindsets. They cat­e­go­rize peo­ple out of fear, and by doing so, cul­tur­ally cas­ti­gate them out of igno­rance. This not only diminishes a person's humanity; it strips us all of human dignity. Here in Canada, racial issues are no less real and can appear to be less in-your-face; at least in con­trast to our neigh­bours south of the 49th par­al­lel. Yes, I am aware many in Canada have been, and con­tinue to be, on the receiv­ing end of overt expres­sions of racism. While that may be an uncomfortable truth to digest, at ­times I wonder if sub­tler forms of racial intol­er­ance are more insid­i­ous than those that usually motivate a person to go eye­ball to eye­ball with iden­ti­fi­able, intractable narrow-mindedness. February has been set aside as Black History month. Ostensibly to celebrate and honour the achievements of those past and present who have an African ancestral line. While I applaud the intent of the accorded honour, there are those who wonder if it really accomplishes what it sets out to do. Some argue that it is just a method to assuage any latent colonial guilt of the majority who oversaw unfortunate things like the early African Slave Trade, or legal segregation, (schools, public transport etc). There will always be those who look with disdain, suspicion, or outright hostility on certain indigenous, cultural, or religious groups, without having one lick of understanding about who they are, or what their life is like. This year will mark my 37th year in Canada after emigrating from Jamaica in the West Indies. I left a country where I was in the majority. Arriving in Canada, I attained minority status. I was still the same 16 year old who left Jamaica, wide-eyed and fascinated; eager to embrace a new culture, but a 3.5 hour flight adjusted my geolocation sufficiently to render me "different" in the eyes of some. Thankfully I had parents who had grounded me in the realities of life. I was taught that not everyone would accept, or in some cases even acknowledge me. Solely based on the fact that I did not have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to travel to destinations to acquire a tan, which would eventually fade 2 weeks after returning. But if truth be told, I have had way more good than bad happen while living in Canada. While I am grateful for the country of my birth, proud and not ashamed of my heritage, Canada, of which I am a citizen, is my home. My French Cana­dian wife and I have taught our (now adult) chil­dren that char­ac­ter traits such as integrity, com­pas­sion, for­give­ness, courage, among oth­ers, go a long way in defin­ing who they are. Exter­nal dif­fer­ences such as skin colour, hair type; the shape of your nose or lips, among other read­ily rec­og­nized phys­i­cal fea­tures that dif­fer­en­ti­ate the global pop­u­lace, also affirms and pro­motes what I like to refer to as the “unique cohe­sive­ness of diversity”. I pray that February is not a once-a-year crutch for some to appease guilt; or others to foster guilt, by always throwing the racial horrors of the past into our faces. While I will always advocate the need to remember history, let us seriously try to learn from it; by not staying in the past, but embracing the future with all people groups, so that our next gen­er­a­tion will take up the man­tle of inclu­sive­ness and accep­tance with more under­stand­ing and aware­ness than their predecessors. Arabian & Jewish Children - Image sourced from zazzle.com. Images of Nina Davuluri sourced from her Twitter Page & PageantProfessors.com Family image - mine

Stafford

Stafford

Bikers: Busting Myths

A few days ago, I was listening to a CBC television newscast showcasing a young Quebec filmmaker by the name of Xavier Dolan. This admittedly young, brash, yet gifted filmmaker, has been dubbed The Québécois L'Enfant Terrible. After all, where does a fresh-faced 25-year-old, get off winning the prestigious Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his just released film Mommy? Decades-old, entrenched filmmakers of his genre, have continually looked down their noses at such young up and coming unorthodox filmmakers. Breaking stereotypes, and shattering molds, seems to be the new normal; as far as new, talented Quebec filmmakers are concerned anyway.
    So what does this have to do with bikers? Well, in my opinion, everything. A stereotype, once dissected and laid bare, usually verifies its own definition. A descriptive aberration of the oversimplification of a partial truth. The unfortunate and widely held mystique of the "biker" promotes the image of a 'rebel without a cause'; individuals with apparent dysfunctional, untrustworthy attitudes, borne out of seemingly rebellious natures, replete with a radical death wish predisposition. While there are unsavoury, immature individuals who utilize motorcycles, that does not necessarily translate into all participants of this two-wheeled genre being poster children for the Hells Angels. An unfortunate side effect of all this is that the culture becomes inundated with misinterpretation and preconceived notions from within and without. These attitudes are also pervasive within the subculture itself. If you ride a cruiser you may not necessarily look on with favour, those who do not ride that type of motorcycle. Or if you do not subscribe to the "Sons of Anarchy" mentality, even in pretense (which has its own inherent and dangerous traps) then you are catalogued and classified as an outsider; or a biker 'wannabe'. If you missed the irony in that last statement, that would be akin to you not seeing a screaming naked person running in circles around you as you tried to order coffee in a Tim Hortons check out line. Just saying :). I know of which I speak, because I have been on the receiving end of that kind of short-sighted thinking several times over. Let's be honest, we all unfortunately maintain some level of prejudice or bias based upon our preconceived notions of how things should or should not be, along with our likes and dislikes. These preconceptions have come about through our upbringing, our environment, and from things that have made an impact on us, whether for good or for ill. What we do about that type of thinking and how we comport ourselves (as individuals first; bikers second) moving forward, is the question we should be asking ourselves. With that said, I have a confession to make. When dealing with idiotic twits (are there any other kinds?), there have been times when I have said to myself, why bother? Why wrestle with those whose thought processes are intractable, narrow-minded, or self-serving? Why acknowledge them? Why give them the time of day? Then I am reminded that I too am a part of this whole global culture. I make up a part of the human race. No matter what or how I think, I cannot extract myself from the people of this planet. Yes, I will disagree with some of their ideas, or ways of doing things, but I am a part of the whole. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact I believe it has great intrinsic value. It means I not only have the opportunity, but the right to offer something of value back to the community. Why should I be robbed of the opportunity to promote something good or worthwhile, because of someone else's insecurities? The Canadian Motorcycle Cruisers Social Riding Club effectively stretches between Canada's east and west coasts. It consists of individuals in different provinces and cities with different types of motorcycles from different walks of life with different ways of thinking. Some look as if they eat nails for breakfast and dress the part accordingly, but in truth are the most gentle, kind, grandparents, doctors, teachers, pharmacists, mechanics, electricians among others, you could ever meet; while others look as if they have just stepped off the covers of GQ or Cosmopolitan magazines, but may not seem immediately warm and friendly. The point is if you judge a book by its cover, you risk losing the opportunity of discovering the value of the content within. The CMC has an underlying and refreshingly realistic mandate; you may not be able to make friends with everyone, but at a minimum show respect to everyone and hopefully you should expect the same in return. Essentially we are a microcosm of humanity who just happen to have a thing for motorcycles. My association with the CMC began in July 2008, with a small chapter, in a small town, in a rural county in Southwest Ontario. Through that initial association I volunteered to become one of the maintainers and official coordinator of our national online forum. So I've had some time to witness the evolution of our riding club as it has progressed over the years I have been a part of it. Attitudes change, people come and go and yes, there been times when I thought about not being a part of CMC. The encouraging thing is that you're allowed to think that way. You're not mandated to be here permanently. You're free to come and go. If it is not enjoyable anymore you are not constrained to stay. You prioritize what is of value for you. Your family comes first. Your health comes first. Your job comes first. Your lifestyle comes first. Something that was of great assistance in helping me during a period when I was feeling a bit disillusioned about my role or value in CMC, (only as far as I was concerned), was when I met George. George is one of the friendliest, most unassuming, jovial, characters you will ever meet. George unfortunately had to have one of his legs amputated a few years ago, but that is not stopped him from participating in rides and meet ups as a new member in our local chapter. George's best friend and confidant, also joined our chapter recently and the two are inseparable. You see George rides in his friend's sidecar which his friend built just for him. Also George happens to be an English Bulldog. Seriously. I cannot quite put my finger on it but, Sir George and his friend/master brought something unique and special to our meetings and rides. Yes he is quite the 'Babe Magnet', (George that is) but beyond that, both of them have engendered a new sense of cohesiveness to our small chapter. They, as well as recent new members to our chapter, have demolished myths and reestablished a fresh camaraderie among the chapter members. It's little things like this that help when we need to reevaluate our own lives, not just as bikers, but individuals who have to face life with it's inherent struggles on a daily basis. We may ride motorcycles and maybe even look as if we just stepped off of some 14th-century Viking ship with body parts studded with metal, or wear strange helmets reminiscent of some post apocalyptic era, but beneath the leather and iron-mongering, we all have dreams and desires for our lives just like anyone else. Image Source - Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/motorcycles/comments/2x27xj/bought_a_gopro_this_week_never_going_back/

Stafford

Stafford

 

New Contest

Oh my, it has been a long time since I was last on to make a post - it seems work has a way in getting the way of having fun these days. Anyway.... We are going to have another contest!!!! A member approached me last week and said that we need to have a bumper sticker in the store. So here is the contest: The bumper sticker needs to be 11.5" x 3" Contain the CMC logo Contain "www.cmcnational.ca" Theme must be centred around Watch for Motorcycles, Motorcycles are on the road too, etc (similar to Motorcycle Awareness). CANNOT contain individual chapter information Must NOT contain copywrite material. Post your completed works here for judging. Contest ends July 31st Winner will recieve a $50 CMC Gear credit and full bragging rights!! Good luck all!!

grizzz

grizzz

 

900 People?

The one thing I know for certain is that for every one idea there are 900 people that think they have the answer. Of those 900 people, you can write off half of them as being 100% undeniable whack jobs. This leaves 450 that think they have the answer. Of those 450, half of them plus one only think they know the answer because they are pretty sure that that answer is correct. This leaves 224 that think they know they answer. Of those 224, half of them have never really been right about anything, so they are throwing the dice about the answer – yup, drop ‘em. Now the remaining 112 people…. 60 forgot their spouses’ birthday, 41 went to church last Saturday thinking it was Sunday, 10 take mind altering drugs. So that just leaves me, and I have no freekin’ clue. Ok, now I forgot where this was taking me. Darn it. Stafford – bail me out will ya??? No seriously folks, where this was really taking me was down a long trip on Highway 66. Two of our members went a few years ago. They went with a group of people that departed from Chicago. As they told their story, I got to thinking – this is one trip that is on my bucket list, but I don’t want to do it like they did. They may have had the time of their lives and that is great for them. But for me…. Well, I have never been one to follow the crowd. This is where the 900 people come in. Everyone has their story to tell. But it is just that – theirs. They can offer ideas, but it is up to you to separate what is for you and what isn’t. I want to take a full 30 days. More or less – who cares? No hurry. I thought about leaving from Chicago just so I could watch and ride into the sunset every night. I thought about leaving from California so I could get through the heat in the morning and ease off in the evening (ya, that really did not make any sense to me either). So, I kinda made up my mind to ride through the Rockies (in Canada), spend some time in Jasper, etc. and just enjoy some of our country first. Then skirt down the Rockie foothills to Salt Lake and then bee-line it to Chicago, taking a break in Iowa to take in the Victory factory at Polaris and then another one in Green Bay to take in the Harley Museum (visiting family along the way for cheap accomodations) and then once in Chicago, re-kit and ready for the 30 day journey to the Santa Monica pier. During the Route 66 trip, I want to take the real roads. Yes, some are now dead ends and others are grassed over. But that is going to be half of the fun. Rely on the old timers and not those that “have done that” (they lie anyway ). Once at the pier - - Hang the Madison for all to see Now the million dollar question - when?

grizzz

grizzz

 

100 Happy Days of the CMC

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!

Baby Jack

Baby Jack

 

What A Good Morning

A strange thing happened this morning, one that has not happened in over 25 years – I forgot to set my alarm clock last night and I slept in this morning. Normally I am up at 05:30, grab my first cup of joe, do some Club business and some work stuff, take a shower, get dressed and off to the office I go. Not today however. I looked at the clock, my heart started to pound, the adrenaline kicked in, jumped into the shower, threw on my clothes, grabbed a cuppa and downed it, filled it back up, jumped on the bike and flew up the driveway. I turned on the tunes and headed down the lane and then…. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. The cool morning air caressed my face as the clock hit 80 – nothing worried me anymore. I looked at the time – ya I was late, but would rushing make me any earlier? After all, where I work – late is late. Five minutes or an hour – it doesn’t matter. So what to do? I think of this as falling from a skyscraper. Hey, there is nothing you can do. All the screaming in the world will not save you. You may as well turn on your back and enjoy the ride! I have noticed that as I get older, the sense of freedom when I get on my bike gets greater. When I turn the engine over and hear her growl, I stop and think about the first shaky experiences I had learning to ride and how far I have come. I think about the days of riding with my first Club and how it compares to the CMC. I think about the fact that I never knew what chaps were let alone electrics. About how we rode with one thing in mind – where the next fuel stop would be. Then all of a sudden I am brought back to life when I hear this loud obnoxious noise behind me. It is some jerry wad wanker who thinks he is right out of Sons of Anarchy (ya, don’t get me started on that one!). Reving and reving and just making a royal fool out of himself. As he gets closer – I notice he is on a Shadow with Vance and Hines (knock-offs) slash cuts, 12" apes, slit fender and forward controls. I have nothing against Shadows – they are great bikes, but come on, really!!! Now the good part – he is wearing a SOA vest!!! Oh Lordy!! A royal wanna be. I guess he thinks if he puts on a wanna be vest, he is actually part of something?? Oh ya, the "wanna be" club. So the question now becomes – do I hand him my card and ask him if he would like to belong to a REAL club? That answer came faster than the thought – NOPE! Yes membership is in the decline, but – there are some people that are just not a good fit and this is one of them. As he hit the throttle and sped by me and did a quick lane split, I knew that I had made the right decision. For my luck, he would wear the Madison and ride like that. When I jump on my ride, I put on my Madison 80% of the time. Not that it is protective gear, but because I am proud of it. It symbolizes Canada, freedom, choice, strength and fellowship. It tells all that see that I am a member of the best motorcycle group in Canada. I ride with pride.

grizzz

grizzz

 

I'mmmmm baaaccckkkkkkk!

Back from a refreshing break and raring to get at the mounds of work on my desk (NOT), I look out the this great window only to give the one finger salute to the weatherman for being wrong yet again. I now, after 50+ years, have finally accrued enough data to inequitably confirm that: It will either rain or not
It will either be sunny or not
It will either be cold or not
It will either be windy or not
So with this newly created data, I can now ascertain that it will be a crap shoot tomorrow and if I want really good weather, I need to move to Phoenix. Oh well…… can’t change it, so we need to learn to live with it I guess . Over the long weekend, I took some time away from the everyday hustle and bustle and decided that I was going to get back to what I LIKE to do and not what I HAVE to do when it comes around to these boxes called computers. “Back in the day” I did a lot of animation and video producing. Time, money and life took me away from this, but I never lost the urge to get back to it. So this weekend I started the first cut of what will become our Province’s CMC Group Riding video. Loosing track of time more than once and found myself working through the days just like old times. You know you like what you are doing when this happens, however I also found that my old software was now useless with the new operating systems and was no longer available even to upgrade. This was the crapper!! I resorted to some of the other “professional grade” software that I have, but it does not do the job that I was used to back in the 80’s and early 90’s when I did segments for some of the productions back then, leaving me with a less than perfect score for this one. The one thing that I did notice was that when “Chapter One” was completed, the size was stupidly big. “Back in the day” when I did a score this size, it would fit on a floppy disk (whoa – what is that??) and I could easily pop it in the mail and have it at the producer’s office in Vancouver in a day. The score I just finished requires a hard drive the size of New York and the bad part is - - it is only 5 minutes in length!! So much for allowing hi-res. The one thing that always came to mind though was May is coming on us FAST. May being Motorcycle Awareness Month, is a great time for us to get our name out there and show Canada that we want a safe environment to ride in. In a previous article, I made a challenge to have Chapters submit a poster that we might be able to use for this. To date, I think there was only one submitted and that one was in the draft stages. Who else is in? So until next time...... Ride often and ride safe!

grizzz

grizzz

 

Trying to figure out what works for our Chapter

Yesterday was so cold, dreary, and windy, it hardly felt like spring. Looking at the big piles of dirty snow on the lawn and lane way also take away the feeling that summer is near! John (jayhawkr) and I have been pondering our Chapter, and what works best. Like most of the Officers before me, we sent emails out asking for advice (no response), encouraged Forum postings (very little use) and tried Facebook (the people on the Forum are also the ones on Facebook, so no improvement there). We are in a rural Community with no larger urban centres, so our membership will always be smaller. There are other riding groups, such as ABATE, Steelhorse Riders and a few others - but their riders are not likely to join CMC for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there are periods of self-doubt. Perhaps people who can ride more than a Mom with young kids should be part of this group, someone who can ride more. But this assumes that the people in our Chapter want to ride more - I don't really know what they want. The ROMEO rides are always well-attended by a few of our members, but this excludes the ones who work on Fridays. John has posted some weekend lunch events to bring out the others. The Freeze King and Willies Burger Stop just opened, so we will be doing some after-work ice cream rides when it warms up. We will restart our weekly Meet and Greets at the end of the month and hopefully the weather is better! We are also going to try more picnic lunches - this will allow for more riding in a short ride, and less sitting. Its easy to blow off 1.5 hours going to a restaurant with a group - if we only plan a 5 hour ride, we've lost most of our day. I'd rather sit outside in the sun anyway. For me, and probably John, the social aspect of CMC is as important as the riding. We will be planning to meet up more often with the other local groups and join in their fun! Its much harder to develop the camaraderie in a smaller group that doesn't meet up as often. I know Bob and Rob also put a lot of thought into planning different rides and thinking of the same challenges - wondering if there are officers from other rural chapters with new ideas too?

Baby Jack

Baby Jack

Catnip For Bikers

Choices. In the words of Captain Jack Sparrow...I am havin' a thought. The thought being I have a hankerin' to upgrade my ride. I know the process involved will take some time and extended research, so I figured I would start with the keepers of intimate knowledge on the subject - The CMC Family! While I am still quite open to other choices, I have narrowed it down to 3. All look different. All ride differently. Certainly all are built differently; and most assuredly all come with different price tags. My initial selection involves new bikes. Some of you will be gearing up to let me know that buying new is not necessarily the way to go. Yes, I hear what you are about to say, and to be honest, I am in agreement with most of the salient reasons you have yet to voice. But I consider these choices part Bucket/Wish List. Also part reality check; which time and again tends to smack you upside the head if you go off with unrealistic expectations. Do not get me wrong; it’s not as if I would never get a used bike, it’s just that these are the ones that seem to have my attention at the present time. There are valid reasons, but first, a bit of a preamble. I currently own a 2008 Suzuki GSX650F which was purchased new. It also happens to be the first, and so far, only bike I have ever owned. Prior to that I only ever rode on a Honda 750 Shadow that a very trusting friend allowed me to practice on before taking the M2 exit course back then. So why did I choose this particular bike as my first bike? At the time I used The 4 C’s of Practicality (at least to me). Cost. Confidence. Comfort. Choice. Cost This turned out to be financially manageable (ie under $8000) for a new bike of this CC class. Yes a second hand bike would seem the most ideal for a brand new rider; especially if you were going to “outgrow” it to move on and upwards to another model. But I did a fair amount of research into this particular model and it has proven to be very reliable, as I am entering my 7th riding season with it. Confidence Some would say that is crazy talk. Confidence for a new rider on what for all intents and purposes is a Sport Bike? Let’s back up a tad. Up to the point of me purchasing this particular bike, my experience level was mainly on the aforementioned Honda 750 Shadow. A user friendly, no surprises choice. The thing is I was slightly unnerved as a new rider in the way it turned. This mainly had to do with my height and length of legs. I felt compressed on the bike. No fault of the bike to be sure, but having since ridden the Suzuki, my confidence level has increased exponentially, to the point that I have ridden other cruisers and larger CC bikes without issues. I was able to acquire invaluable reference points on the handling and turning of the different types of bikes. Comfort Very few could argue that most bikes can match the comfort level of a Honda Goldwing 1800. Where then do I get the audacity to even remotely intimate that a Sport Touring bike is comfortable? My view is that your comfort level should not only be limited to the plush quotient of the component supporting your heinie. The aforementioned confidence level again comes into play. The more confident you are on your bike, the more comfortable you will be in all aspects of its use. Yes, after a certain age, the nooks, crannies and associated body joints, do begin to protest; especially if your posture and poise do not allow for a relaxed, pain-free ride. At some point you begin to reassess where the perfect balance of comfort begins and where it ends. This then leads to: Choice I tend to go back and forth with this one. Sometimes I think I should have placed this first on the list, but all of the aforementioned seem to encompass your choice of ride. Does the styling of the bike evoke any form of excitement or wanderlust? Does the mystique or iconic nature of a particular brand call your name and dispel some of life's mundane trappings? Whatever grabs you about a particular bike can reveal on a deep level, that which stirs your soul; and that in turn can be quite telling about you as an individual. This grand adventure not only encompasses the opportunity to heed the call of the open road on two (or for some, three) wheels; it also is coupled with the decision processes involved when making an informed (or emotional) choice about the style of ride to acquire. So this brings me to my current choices in no particular order. Ok maybe a little bit of ordering The plan is to upgrade my ride to a long distance touring bike. No particular timeframe is set to have this completed, but the baser instinctual side of me would of course like it for next week. Common sense, economic prudence and the Missus have partnered to ensure I do not go off the rails! So here are a few mitigating factors that hopefully will validate my reasoning: My Needs vs Her Needs The next ride is not just about me. It has to encompass my better half with a high degree of comfort and safety. That includes not only the seat/backrest, but any inherent safety feature or component that translates into increased confidence, not only for me but for her. This could optionally include adjustable suspension, traction control or ABS brakes. Range & Carrying Capacity This is for 2-Up long distance riding with luggage. The bike has to accommodate my 6 foot frame with good centre of gravity and retain sufficient storage capacity with good fuel capacity and efficiency (minimum 380km between fill ups) Easy Access to Dealer or 3rd Party Maintenance I may have flown planes and even studied how to fix them (way back when) but I do not lay any claim to being a motorcycle mechanic. I am looking for as maintenance free (eg shaft drive) a bike as is possible. When I do need regular or emergency maintenance, there needs to be a very good chain of bike dealers or mechanics readily accessible, regardless of where I find myself in North America. I can take care of the oil changes and other minor things myself. The Chosen Few (Thus Far) Taking a verse from Sesame Street and totally mangling it: All of these things is not like the other; yet one of these things definitely belong....to me! Just click on the thumbnails below to get a larger image. Yes, I fully expect jaws to be a flapping once you take in the selections below, but seriously folks, I would value your cogent observations, suggestions and recommendations.                        

Stafford

Stafford

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