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.