Friday, November 23, 2012

It's November 22nd and the weather forecast for today was calling for sunny skies and 12 Celcuis. That's definitely not "seasonal" weather, rather, I call it a bonus riding day.  For most people in Eastern Ontario, the dualsport riding season ended about a month ago, and two months ago for pussies. 

I was out with John, Jason, and Dave about 10 days ago (another great weather treat for mid-November) and we all thought it was likely the last good ride of the season. John has since put his bike away for the winter, Dave has already begun his big winter maintenance projects, and Jason was just not able to make it today. However, fellow ADV'er James was down with it. We hooked up for coffee at Starbucks in the morning, and hit some fun dirt roads and a few trails in the Calabogie area for a very nice day of riding. A real treat for this time of year. 

It took a while for the sun to warm things up. The morning was rather cool, barely above freezing with lots of fog. I was scrambling at the last minute and made some poor wardrobe decisions: I went with full body protection, and wore simply my "Kemptville dinner jacket" over my pressure suit.... To put it mildly, I was very chilled for the first 3 hours.  And by the end of the day as the sun was low in the sky, I was getting quite cold on the way home. 

Here I am posing with my "Kemptville dinner jacket"

This photo was taken just after my low-side slide 
in the frozen grass, as capture in the video below.

Here's the video of my low-side slide in the frozen grass.
Tweaked the right hand guard a little bit, and my hip and 
kidney are sore this evening, but no real damage 
to the bike or my body.

And here's a collection of video clips from the day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last ride of the season

It was a miserable, wet, and cold start to the day: 1 degree Celcius (that's about 34 Fahrenheit) and rain. We met at 8:30am for bacon, eggs, and terrible coffee. We took our time to see if the shitty weather would improve. By 9:30am, it was the same. Let's ride, kids. It's November 11th, Remembrance Day. This will most likely be the last dual sport ride of the season for this gang.

The rain was actually beginning to slow down by 
the time breakfast was over.

We rode the trails along the power lines for a couple of hours

The sun was out by afternoon and temps were in the low teens (Celcius)

Chewing a piece of ice

This beaver dam created a massive flood, easily 2 feet deep.

...and at least 150 feet across.
The water was quite cold.

We ended the day at the Neat Café in Burnstown.

The roast their own coffee beans. Here is a bucket of raw beans.

This is the roasting machine.

And this is the machine used to cool the roasted beans.

The finished product. This was a medium roast 
of a Nicaraguan bean

And the video highlights from the ride.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Flat tires -

Today at lunch time, I was heading home to swap the bike for the car (needed the car to run an errand later in the day).  As I got to the first traffic light just a few hundred meters from my office, I noticed a slight increase in rolling resistance as I came to a stop. I looked down and sure enough, the front tire was flat. Shit... I just wanted to get the rest of the season out of this old tire. Just a couple more weeks! Fuck it, I moved my ass to the back of the seat and rode the remaining 3 or 4 Kms across town to get home. 

I had a few minutes, so I quickly put the bike on the stand and pulled the wheel off. I put it in the basement where it could warm up a bit (it's been a few degrees below freezing around here this week).  After work, I removed the tire and tube from the rim. It was pretty easy to spot the problem: the valve stem had ripped free of the tube. Colder temps are definitely tough on tires and tubes. I've been running 15-18 psi lately, and it probably began to tear away when I left the house this morning in the minus 8 Celcius frost. 

Oh well, I happened to have two brand new front tires sitting in the basement: a Pirelli Scorpion Rally and a Dunlop D606.  I bought both because I figured I would use one on the WR, and the other on the DR.  For no particular reason, I decided to mount the Pirelli. There were still a few miles left on the old D606, but as long as I had it apart, and as long as I was using a new heavy duty Fly Racing tube, I figured I might as well use a new tire. The old tire was more or less finished. Would have been nice to ride out the rest of the season and mount the new tire over the winter as I had been planning.

Valve stem separated from the MSR ultra heavy duty tube

The new 90/90-21 Pirelli Scopion Rally. This rubber is supposed to be a little softer compound than the Dunlop D606. 
I do like the 606 a lot, and it looks like a more aggressive tread pattern than the Pirelli, but lots of people have had lots of good things to say about the Pirelli. It's a popular choice among Dakar racers apparently.

Just a month ago, I had a flat rear tire. Here you can 
see a rusty nail sticking out. When that happened, I 
pulled the tire off and used a new Kenda Tuff-Tube 
size 110/100x18. The tire was a less than 1/2 worn Dunlop D606, size 120/90-18.  At the time of this photo, this rear tire probably had 4,000 Kms on it.  Still 1,500 left, maybe more.

I like the meaty look of the D606. It's a serious 
grass shredder yet is remarkably stable on paved roads.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sensational fall weather riding

The weather was just too nice to be at work-- sunny and 20 degrees Celcius is unseasonably warm for the end of October so I arranged for a day off.

John had confirmed he'd be riding with me and whoever else we could con into coming with us. I conned Steve, and Dave, but Dave had a legitimate excuse to bail at the last minute. Then, John announced he was going to ride his Honda street bike with some others from the Manypause gang instead of some offroad riding with us . You see, John really doesn't like to get his KTM dirty. He pretends that it doesn't bother him, but we all know it really does. 

All in all, it was a very nice ride. Some gravel roads, some double track, some fairly easy single track, some mud, some water. A little bit of everything. We even ran into John and his large entourage of street riders at Munford's Restaurant in Calabogie.

We ran into a group of more than a dozen Manypause
road riders, who were also enjoying the nice weather.

Steve and I stopped to check out 
this old shell of a log building

At this spot, we got off the bikes to investigate 
the water. Quite a swampy area with a 
beaver dam, and lots of soft, deep mud.

Here's some video from the day. If you watch 
through 'till the end, you'll see me ride off into 
the rhubarb... careless riding because I was 
focussed on my GPS instead of watching the 
road ahead. I ultimately decided to just skid 
straight into the run-off because it was open 
and flat, having been recently bush-whacked. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday worship

While many people attend church services on Sundays, true dualsport enthusiasts prefer to worship double-track pathways, dirt roads, water crossings, and forest trails. And some pussies just stay home.

Yes, as always, there were a few no-shows --- you know, the usual cowardly, wimpy-wuss girlies who like to sleep in, spending a lazy Sunday morning doing the crossword puzzle in bed with their decaf soy lattĂ© and a lemon scone. One whiner even claimed he couldn't ride because he was on antibiotics....oh, puh--leeze. The others --too cowardly to respond to their emails-- knew they'd be subject to relentless public ridicule -- choosing instead to just not show up.

And then, there are the regulars... the reliable, dedicated, hardcore dualsport pundits who truly enjoy riding, and who won't let weather, poor health, old age, arthritis, or even antibiotics keep them from going for a nice Sunday ride in gorgeous fall weather. Amen.

We gathered for shitty coffee at Tim Horton's

...then we stopped to get rid of the coffee

lunch consisted of sausages and fries in Merrickville

Stopped to chat with some dirt bikers who were riding in circles in a gravel pit. 
Since their bikes aren't road legal, they are confined to riding in small, closed off areas 
like this. Fun, but only for a few minutes. With a street legal dualsport bike, the big 
advantage is that you can connect unlimited trails using paved roads.

Check out the dog that was chasing the bikes around the 25 second mark. 
He appeared from the swamp and ran after Dave and Steve for at least 
a quarter mile, with John following him for some time. Finally, John 
blasted by, scaring him with the roar from the big KTM's muffler.

And while we had a terrific ride, here's a photo for the pussies who didn't come. 
This is what  a real dualsport rider looks like, taking real antibiotics. 
Silly intravenous pumps only keep pussies from riding. 
Oral antibiotics? I push those tiny pills into my bike's valve stems to use as Dynabeads

pumps, tubes, antibiotics... makes a stronger rider.

OMG !!!  Look at that crazy dude! He's like the Incredible Hulk!
We're not worthy! We're not worthy!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thanksgiving weekend ride

So....all the pussy-wussy, rain-fearing, noodle-armed, yellow-bellied marmots who call themselves Manypausers decided to remain in the comfort of their warm beds this morning, wearing silk pyjamas and wrapped in a pink cotton candy fleece snuggy as they spooned a lavender potpourri-scented body pillow, dreaming of kittens and unicorns.

Turns out that Dave and I are the only true hardcore dualsport riders of the bunch. We're not afraid of rain clouds, and we have no problem getting up early in the morning if the day is to be spent exploring logging roads, forest trails, and sand pits. As it happened, since we were the only two who actually paid attention to the weather forecast -- we didn't get rained on. Other than a little road spray from other vehicles while enroute to the meeting point, the roads were dry, and the sky was pretty clear for most of the day. We even saw the sun on several occasions.

While we didn't see any rain, we did find plenty of mud puddles and water holes, so yes, we did get very wet in the end.

Single tracks, double tracks, Shit, dawg! We even rode some triple tracks. Well, suck it bitches! You missed a great ride.

We stopped for lunch in Merrickville.

We ain't afraid of no cross bull.