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Saturday, 23 July 2016

A Rucking Good Time

The past couple of weeks I've been getting to know the mighty Ruckus. It's limitations, there are many, and what it does well. Not so many. We have just over 300km on the little beast so far, and everyone in the family is loving it so far.

My oldest daughter Maggie spent the day riding it on her scooter training course at Motorcycle Safety Quest. This week she passed all her written tests, did the road test and is now a fully licensed scooter girl. I am a very proud and worrying father now. She has since ditched the Ruckus for her Honda Giorno.

My youngest, Katie, who can't even get her licence for another two years is using the Ruckus as a minibike. She's tearing up laps around the yard, and on the green space across the street.

The big reason I bought the Ruckus over a Yamaha BWS50 was the low seat height, so it was easier for the girls to ride, and I think it is much cooler looking.

I've been using it mostly for running around town, where it has proved to be quite a good little commuter, getting 170km on 4l of gas. Not too shabby.

The huge limiting factor is the 49cc engine, it's anemic, but I guess, what can you expect with 4hp, and a CVT. Steep hills really slow it down. I rode some that are 7-12%, and the little GET engine struggles, but will grind it's way up, slowing from 50kph to 30kph. This would be an amazing scoot with a 125cc engine. Which is an option available.

Even though the little Ruckus doesn't have enough power to get out of it's own way, it's a total hoot to ride, and puts a huge smile on my face. It just takes a little attitude adjustment after coming off the big bike. It's not about speed. It's about fun. The big tires also make it pretty capable off road, as long as you go slow, it's no KTM, or even an XT250. The suspension is meek at best, the big tires soak up the worst of the bumps. But if you're willing to putt along at a snails pace the Ruck will more than get you there. Gravel roads are where the Ruck likes it best. Like FAR A Routes.

The other downside to the Ruckus is the lack of storage. Most conventional scoots have underseat storage. The Ruckus kinda does, the seat opens up, but it is really only good for storing a backpack. It's all open underneath. I have my old Wolfman tank bag in there right now and it does the trick. I did order a storage kit, that encloses the area underneath the seat. The nice thing is that it still leaves some open storage area toward the back for strapping down a dry bag.

I thing the Ruck would make a good little kite surf exploration vehicle. Kitesurfing requires little gear, kite folds up small and the board is not that big. Plus you can ride it right up the beach. Big tires, big fun.

The other benefit to the Ruckus is if I decide to take a surf/windsurf trip to say PEI or the Magdalen Islands, it gets loaded in the truck with the rest of the gear, and I have some cheap, fun transportation while I'm there. No wind or surf, explore time on the scoot.

Next update.......thoughts on going full on scooter, and ditching the Guzzi. 

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Life in the Slow Lane

The throttle is pinned and I am rocketing uphill at a blistering 30kph. The 49cc of fury underneath my arse cannot do anymore to propel me up the increasingly steep hill. It's a good thing this is a rural road with little traffic. Truth be told, except for going downhill, or coming to a stop, my right hand has been cranked for the whole ride. Such is life aboard a Honda Ruckus.

Yes folks my new steed is the Ruckus, one of Honda's most popular, much loved and modded scooters. I've been in love with the fat tyred, bugged eyed, dual headlamped, step through since I first laid eyes on it. The damn thing just looks cool, as cool as a scooter can look, at least with a grown adult on it.

What started as a trip to the local Honda dealer to get my daughter a cute little scooter, quickly turned into the purchase of two scooters. My wife under a moment of weakness and some gentle prodding from her husband suggested we get two scooters. So we walked out the door with a slightly poorer bank account, but richer in two wheeled motorized bikes, a Honda Giorno, and Ruckus.
Like I've said you cannot have two many bikes in the garage.

You can tell by the smiles that the girls love them. Katie has another 2 years before she can get her licence, but has already wore a dirt path around the yard on the Ruckus.

So now we have an Italian (the Guzzi) a wannabe Italian (Honda Giorno) and a bug eyed freak of scooter that will soon be masquerading as an ADV bike. Who says you need a 1200GS to have an adventure. Just ask Mike, who put on 40000 miles on his Ruckus.

This morning I took the Ruckus out for a good little spin, time to see what this beast could do, or could not do. Now coming off a motorcycle, you have to readjust the way you approach riding. Nothing, I mean nothing happens fast. It doesn't accelerate fast, get up to speed (60kph) fast, and oddly enough doesn't slow down fast. (drum brakes). 

The suspension is not all that great, bumps taken at speed tend to unsettle the scoot, but not to the point of being out of control. At speeds over 50kph it's noticeable that the wheels need balancing, there seems to be some wobbling going on. Mind you it's only brief forays when the speedo needle moves north of 50 anyway. Add that to the character of the scoot.

The brakes........well it is 2016  I believe and I'm not sure why any manufacturer would put drum brakes on anything with two wheels. I mean my $1400 bicycle has disc brakes. To put it bluntly the drum brakes suck.

For being only a 49cc scoot, it is quite comfortable for my 6'1" frame. The handlebar is quite tall and wide, almost like a dirt bike or dual sport bike. The seat is wide and comfortable, and at no time did I feel cramped. Instrumentation is bare bones basic, a speedo, with ODO, and high engine temp light. Next to it is a single turn signal light. A low fuel light (comes on when 1L of the 5L tank remains) and high beam light are below. Really what more do you need?

There is no storage on the scoot, nadda, none. However there is space for storage, if that makes sense. The seat lifts up, and my old Wolfman tank bag fits inside perfectly, and didn't even have to be strapped down. So now I have a place to store extra gloves, rain gear, paperwork, etc.

I think my old Gears saddlebags that I just used on the Guzzi will fit as well.

Scoot also comes with a kickstarter for back up. 

What are my plans? Basically turning this already great scoot into a mini ADV bike. First test will be the Fundy Adventure Rally. I plan on riding it up, and doing the single day, solo 250km self guided tour/scavenger hunt. Might turn into a 10-12hr day, but that will be the adventure part. I'm guessing I'll be solo too, since no ADV bike rider will want to putt along at 30-50kph for the whole day, unless I can find another Ruck minded person out there to join me.

Then of course there is next years Mad Bastard, which will be the highlight of 2017. 

There are a few mods needed, a windscreen would be nice, and a set of handguards, and for both rallies I'll need to carry extra fuel, which I can strap to the floor between my feet. 

Overall I love the damn thing, flaws and all. I'm at a point in my life when I no longer need or want to go fast, and revel in the simpler things in life. I'm already dreaming of some crazy, fun adventure trips on the thing. Multi day trips to explore different areas. Backroads tour around New Brunswick, the TLH again once Quebec finishes the ATV path from Natashquan to Blanc Sablon. The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Mad Bastard Scooter Rally

If you've have browsed through this blog at all, you'll know that I have a small fascination with the scooter. My first street-legal bike was a 1984 Honda Elite 125 that I dearly loved. At sixteen years old  it was my first taste of freedom and independence. I was no longer dependant on my parents or public transport to get me where I wanted to go. Yes, and I heard enough of the "fat chick and, riding a scooter" comparison jokes to last me a lifetime.

The Mad Bastard Scooter Rally has been on my radar for a longtime. I found out about it when I met Rob from Canada Moto Guide. The rally was one of his evil genius ideas thought up, after I'm guessing one too many scotch fuelled evenings. It started as a trip around Lake Ontario with a long term test Honda Ruckus for CMG and then grew into a crazy assed event that is now run by the scooter giant Kymco. I'll let the original Mad Bastard tell you more about it in this tribute video to the big man himself.

Rob Harris Tribute, MBSR the movie. from TECK VLOG on Vimeo.

The rally is only held every two years, so 2017 is the next one. I'd have to say this is a bucket list item for me, even more so since Rob's passing.

The upcoming rally will be held in London, Ontario at the end of June. Lovely time of year and a lovely part of southern Ontario. It's not for the faint of heart, and is no doubt a riding challenge. Distances are usually in excess of 500km, that's a hell of long way on scooter........ in a day. But nothing worth doing is easy.

So now I need a scooter, preferably 50cc, so I can enter in the straight jacket class. That is of course unless I can find a 1984 Elite 125 in decent working order and I can go the nostalgia route.

There are plenty of used 50cc scooters for sale. The Honda Ruckus which is by far my favourite however it still fetches a hefty price tag, but would be pretty cool set up as an adventure tourer or........

......as the Sons of Anarchy wannabe. After all it is a scooter rally where everything is made fun of, and costumes are encouraged.

Other options are Yamaha's BWS 50

What would be really cool, is to do this with my daughter. Maggie will be fifteen this year and she can get her scooter licence for 50cc and under. However I'm not so sure she'd be up for an adventure of this magnitude. It would be a good trip for her, see a different part of the country,  have some father daughter bonding time, and meet an eclectic group of people

  My youngest, Katie certainly would, but we'll have to wait for the 2019 running of the rally.

How will this shape up? Who knows, might be another one of my dreams that never makes it off the page. Then again something needs to get going soon, it's been too long since I've had a proper adventure. Kill two birds with one scooter, Fundy Rally and The Mad Bastard on 50cc of Fury.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Keep Pedalling

The Great Cycle Challenge is coming to a close. So far I have hauled my ass 900km on my bicycle for the month of June. Only another 100km to go. Tomorrow, June 25th I'll squeeze in another 50km and Sunday I'll try and get another 100km to surpass my goal of 1000km. I've raised almost $1300 for sick kids. Not bad for a guy who really has no friends and generally doesn't like people.

What's next then? Well, I really love riding my bike, love riding it long distances. Something peaceful, and zen like about spending long hours in the saddle. Also there is a raw, isolation of sorts. I mean it's just you and a machine working in harmony to propel you along the road. It's very basic, and I like basic.

I'm not gonna lie, the Trans America Bike Race is lurking in the depths of my mind. If you don't know what that is, then let me educate you...... or you could just watch "Inspired to Ride" on Netflix. The Trans America Bike Route was established in 1976 to celebrate the United States bicentennial. It was a route for cyclists to traverse the continent. Typically riders would start in Astoria, Oregon and head eastward to Yorktown, Virginia, 4400 miles and 10 states later. The route was put together by the Adventure Cycling Association, which is celebrating it's 40th anniversary.

In 2014 Nathan Jones decided to have a race following the Trans America Bike Route, hence the Trans America Bike Race was born. There is no race fee, no prize money, and no support what so ever. Basically show up at the starting line and go. Forty racers showed up for the inaugural event, along with a film crew.

Mike Dion who also filmed his attempt at another self supportive race, the mountain bike race, Race the Divide, was on hand with a film crew to record the big event. The movie "Inspired to Ride" has been inspiring trans continental racers ever since, including myself.

These types of races are very grassroots affairs, and really will only cater to certain individuals. I mean really, how many people would consider riding their bike, let alone race it across the country. The rules are pretty simple, start in Astoria, and finish in Yorktown. The clock always runs. So the first one to the finish wins. If you can ride fast, consistent on little sleep, you will rock it. No drafting, no outside help that is not available to any of the other racers. i.e., mom can't help you, but a local bike shop can.

Mike Hall of the UK

Lael Wilcox of Alaska

Mike Hall won the first race, and still holds the record. 17 days 16hrs. He was riding over 260 miles or 418km a day!!! I find that hard to wrap my head around. This years winner was Lael Wilcox from Alaska in 18 days, the first woman to win the race. Not only did she beat everyone, but she also rode her bike from Alaska to the start line in Oregon.

A race like this scares the shit out of me. It's not a single day affair like an Ironman or an ultra marathon, it's riding a bike fourteen to sixteen hours a day for three or four weeks. There's no rain day or day off. It's ride Sally ride. The distance itself is difficult to imagine, close to 7000 km of pedalling, over the Rocky mountains, across the plains, and relentless ups and downs of the Appalachians. Oh ya, let's not forget the weather, 30-40C, down to just above freezing and snow. I'm thinking it would be THE toughest thing I have even contemplated.

Now, this is not in my immediate future, but it is on the radar. Right now I have get in one hundred kilometres before Sunday. After that, a two hundred kilometre day, and then maybe by late summer, a 400km day. Just to see if I can do it.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

My Arse is Sore Again......280km on a Bicycle

OK, so I've changed the name of the blog again, hopefully for the last time. Change is good though. Last fall I bought a new bicycle. It's a Specialized Tri Cross, a cyclocross bike. Basically it's like a road bike with bigger tires, disc brakes and lower gears. I hadn't done any real biking since my triathlon days. As you know I was briefly toying with the idea of doing another Ironman, which of course is hard to do without a bike.

I spent most of the winter biking indoors on the bike trainer, and soon found out that I would rather spend a good 90mins biking than running. Once spring finally arrived, I started riding outside and began running less and less. So I shelved my triathlon plans and just continued to ride.

The Tri Cross bike with it's bigger tires, 32mm verses the 21mm on my old tri bike, and the more relaxed frame geometry made riding enjoyable again. Rural roads in New Brunswick leave a little bit to be desired, a patchwork quilt of asphalt repairs, potholes, cracks, and chip seal make for a rough ride. Like riding the cobbles of Paris Roubaix. The larger tires and lower air pressure make these roads a lot more comfortable to ride on. What I'm really trying to say is.....the new bike makes riding enjoyable again.

What I really wasn't prepared for was the hills. I never realized how many hills there are in New Brunswick. I'd get back from a ride and look at the data from my Garmin, and the elevation profile looked like a row of sharks teeth. What doesn't kill ya, makes ya stronger.

The spring wore on and my rides continued to get longer and longer, 30k, 50k, 90k, and 100k. Like the motorcycle, I enjoyed spending hours on bicycle, seeing the world at a relaxed pace, and pushing my body to go further and further.

I signed on to ride in the Great Cycle Challenge. It's a fundraiser for sick kids across Canada battling cancer. Something no kid or parent should have to go through. So being a dad with two healthy kids at home I felt an obligation to contribute, help out and give some meaning to riding my bike. I pledged to raise $1000, and ride 1000km in the month of June. Thanks to the many that donated I have surpassed my goal $1000, and I am currently pedalling slowly towards the 1000km.

I decided to get in some serious mileage this week since I was off work and headed out for a two day trip. It was gonna be like a motorcycle road trip, ride somewhere over night and ride some more.

Day one I planned for about 160km, it would be my longest ride since I did the Ironman in 2000. Looking back I don't know how I rode 180km in under 6hrs and then went on to run a marathon. My brother in law has a cottage in the Village of Gagetown so I figured that would be a good stop for the night.

The day started off with me over sleeping. I set my alarm for 0500, but forgot to turn it on. So now it's 0550, and I'm just opening my eyes. So much for getting out of town early. I checked the weather while eating a light breakfast and having my morning coffee. North winds at 20kph. In my face for most of the day, but not too bad. Grab my Garmin watch off the charger.......WTF it's almost dead. Why's it dead? It's been on the charger for almost an entire day. Fuck, the desktop computer is turned off. Damn it, longest ride of the year, and no Garmin. Yes I'm a Strava junky. 

I finally rolled out of the garage just before 7am. The sun was shining, but it was cool, long sleeve jersey and leg warmers were on. The worst part of the day was the ride thru the city. Saint John sucks arse for cycling. There is no safe, easy way from east to west. There's Foster Thurston Rd, which is minefield of potholes, massive cracks, no shoulder and big hills, where there is a chance you'll be killed by a sleep deprived doctor speeding home from the hospital in his Mercedes. Then there is Rothesay Ave, flat, but, no shoulder, potholes, catch basins that are recessed 5 inches into the pavement, endless strings of traffic lights and heavy traffic. 

You are not allowed to bike on Route 1, or the Saint John Thruway.

The Harbour Bridge in Saint John

Thankfully traffic along Rothesay Ave is light at this hour of the morning and I was able to speed across the city pretty quick. I was riding into Grand Bay in just over and hour. I stopped at Tim Horton's to replenish my caffeine level and have a second breakfast. I figured there wouldn't be too many opportunities for a meal between Welsford and Fredericton Junction.

I'm thinking the majority of patrons at the Tim's are regulars on an early Thursday morning. I had that feeling that I did not belong, and I was getting that "there's a stranger in town" look. I don't get it, a sweaty lycra clad guy stands out. What?  Funny how I got lots of strange looks but no one dared to talk to me. "Don't talk to him George, the exercise may wear off on you" Ok, ok, that's my inner asshole talking. 

I fought my way through the Grand Bay - Westfield commuter, rush hour traffic and continued up Route 177 to Welsford. Once out of the Grand Bay area, traffic almost becomes void and it's a pleasant ride. 

I stopped at the Irving in Welsford, loaded up on water and had a pee break. The 101 north was all new to me and I wasn't quite sure of what services there were. It was 75km to Fredericton Junction and I did not want to run out of water.

The 101 was a good road for the most part, only a couple of good climbs in the first part, but was made up of mostly rolling hills. The big problem was the ever increasing headwind. What started out as a light wind was now turning into a good breeze. It was quite a grind, and it never let up until I turned the corner eastbound on the 655. The trees provided some break from the wind, but any open areas I'd be pummelled by the crosswinds. The sound of the wind in my ears all day was giving me a headache. Even with my earbuds in listening to music.

I stopped for a break about 30km from Oromocto after putting in 80km nonstop. I topped up my water bottles, gulped down a chocolate milk, bag of M&M's and a Joe Louis. Healthy treats.

The road to Oromocto was fairly flat, which was a welcome relief, because ever since passing the 100km mark, my left knee started to get a little sore. Which was a bit of worry considering I still had over 60km to go, and another 100k tomorrow. I'm thinking it maybe a slightly misaligned cleat on my shoe. At least that is what I am hoping it is. I may change out my pedals and shoes when I get home, and try out my road pedals and shoes from my tri bike. I am currently using mountain bike shoes and pedals.

Traffic picked up as I inched my closer to Oromocto, but for the most part everyone gave me lots of room on the road. No haters.

I had planned on stopping at McD's cause I had a craving. Riding for 6 or 7 hours will do that to you. Tim Horton's appeared on the horizon first and it was a shorter detour off my route, so a chilli deal it was. I won't lie to ya, it was nice to sit on a chair, my arse was getting sore, and I think I had the beginnings of saddle sores.

It was only another 40km to the cottage, and it was a quartering tailwind, unfortunately the strong wind from earlier had faded, so the push I was hoping for was now gone. I was grateful it wasn't in my face, and the road was fairly flat because I was starting to feel the effects of a long day in the saddle.

Did I mention that my arse hurt? That and I think my junk food diet was backfiring on me, and my energy levels were crashing. Oh and maybe the fact that this was my longest ride by over 60km in 16 years might, just might have something to do with it.

It seemed like the longest 40km ever, and then the cruel end to the day was the two big hills just before Gagetown that left me spent, more mentally than physically.

I was pretty happy to reach the cottage. I wasn't completely exhausted, but tired and I had a headache. A nice cold beer, and a cold shower (no one told me you had to turn the hot water heater on) made things a lot better. It felt good to put in a big day like that, especially considering my fitness level. I figured my average moving speed was around 21km/hr. The real test would be the ride home.

Sunrise in Gagetown, purdy damn nice

I woke up with the sun after sleeping for close to ten hours. I passed out around 8pm. It was a cold morning, temperature in Saint John was 2C. Ouch. Lazy breakfast and a couple of coffees it is.
Smoke stack from the old lumber mill.

Surprisingly my legs and butt were feeling good, new bike shorts help. Thank you Louis Garneau and your nicely padded shorts. I could feel my knee, but it wasn't painful, so I was good to go. Not that I had a choice.

Right off the bat, the 102 south has a lot of hills, slow, lowest gear climbs, followed by coasting the downhills in the aerobars. Thankfully my legs felt pretty fresh, I'd even say better than yesterday. I wasn't sure how quickly I'd recover from a big day in the saddle, and was a little nervous of day two turning into a sufferfest.

After Evandale the road levels out for awhile, and I was able to make good progress. The sky was clear and it was warming up nicely. Traffic was very light, and that was a welcome situation. Sometimes ten to fifteen would go by without seeing another vehicle. 


Brown's Flat is not flat, at least the road isn't anyway. The low gear, out of the saddle climbs begin again at "Brown's Flat" Luckily at the top of the first climb is an Irving, which has coffee. So after a small jolt of caffeine and sugar, I purchased the last Mae West on the rack, and refilled my water bottles, for the final 53km push home. 

The wind is back and it was picking up quickly. Luckily it was a tailwind this time, and I felt good like I was actually moving quickly. Unfortunately the closer I got to Saint John the more the traffic picked up. It wasn't too bad until I hit the westside, and had to make my way across the bridge.

The ride up Rothesay Ave on a Friday afternoon was miserable, and I was now back into a headwind gusting to 45kph, and jostling a constant stream of cars. It basically sucked big hairy donkey balls. 

If you plan on cycle touring through New Brunswick avoid Saint John like the plague during the day, come thru during the wee hours of the morning, or just don't come this way. The next time I'll take the ferry from Westfield and come across the Kingston Peninsula. 

So what did I learn? My legs will outlast my arse, and I need a new seat. I have an email in to my friend at Cyclesmith looking for a Brooks saddle. Supposedly one of the finest for riding any distance. My right cleat maybe slightly out of whack causing my knee pain. The Blackburn bike luggage, is awesome, and worked perfect, as did the lighting system I have. I had a couple of comments on how bright the headlight was even in full daylight. Riding at a "touring" pace is way nicer than a full on aerobar 180km Ironman time trial. I have a whole different level of respect for the folks racing in the Trans America Bike Race. 4200miles. Doing 200-300 MILES a day is incredible.

I've watched this a few times, and one of these years, I'll be there.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

My Arse is Sore. Over One Thousand Kilometres on a Guzzi

The last week has been a rough one. Rob's passing on my second night away took the wind out of my sails before I even arrived in Jersey to start five days of training, and at times like this you just want to be with the ones you love. So after two full days of ground school, and three days in the simulator it was time to get home.

My flying schedule for the next week also has me away from Tuesday to Friday, so I decided to Iron Butt it home all in one day. Just over 1000km. It would be the longest, single day ride I have ever taken.

I had the trip planned out on Garmin Base Camp, 1005km and a moving time of 9hrs 45mins. The plan was to take the George Washington Bridge, with it's money liberating $15 toll, then connect with the Merritt Parkway, then the I84, I290, I495, I95, I Am Lost, I Don't Know, I Don't Like the Interstate, and I Hate Toll Booths.

That was the plan anyway.

Friday night, my training partner, windsurfing, dog walking, trail running, and drinking buddy, Pudge (apparently his real name is Jim) celebrated the end of our last sim session as we always do.....in the hotel bar. Chicken wings and too many IPA's were consumed leaving me a little foggy at 4am on Saturday. Not an auspicious start to the day.

It was a nice predawn morning in East Rutherford, sky was clear and it was 13C. I loaded up the bike gave it a quick once over and headed off into the darkness at 0500. I left early to avoid the infamous NYC traffic.

I only road the bike once since arriving in Jersey. Thursday I took a run over to Motorcycle Mall, the local Guzzi dealer, as well as Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Ducati, Victory, Aprilla, KTM, Polaris, Kymco, MV Augusta, and Yamaha. It's huge. I wanted to pick up a litre of engine oil to have, just in case. It was cool to see that many bikes all in one place, especially Guzzi's. They had the entire line of V7's, including the new Sternello, the new V9's, a Griso, Audace, and the beautiful Eldorado. I can see myself with one of those, and an Africa Twin in the garage.

New V7 Sternello Scrambler

The V9's

Ducati MultiStrada Adventure

The brand spanking new MG21 Flying Fortress

Setting off from the hotel, I had a rough idea of how to get over the GWB to cross the Hudson River to New York. The almighty (Garmin) was the voice in my head leading me in the right direction.......right up until I came to the on ramp for the I95, which was closed. The detour sign was of no help and I just ended up riding in circles around the Gillette Stadium in the dark. Garmin was bound and determined to put me back on the closed on ramp. Fuck. I managed to find my back to the area near my hotel and reset Garmin and told it to take me home the fastest route instead of the preprogrammed route I had made with Basecamp.

I had planned on fueling up in Westchester, NY about 60km away, since I was down to about 1/4 of tank, but since I was now riding around aimlessly in Jersey, why not save time, and get gas now. When paying at the pump in the US, most gas stations outside of Maine require you enter a zip code of your address that is attached to your credit card. Not possible if you have a postal code, resulting in having to go inside and prepaying.

The kind gas station attendant, who apparently was also Canadian, but I'm guessing by the accent, his journey to America originated in India, showed me a neat trick to cheat the system. Say your postal code is A1A3S9, enter the numbers only 139 followed by 00. 13900. Works like a charm.

I was finally on the move again, and made to the GWB, where $15 later I was now in the state of New York. Since I had the route change, Garmin kept me on the I95, and I was now headed into the Bronx, where I am glad it is not the 1970's. I'd be lucky if I made it out of there alive.

It's Saturday morning, it's not even 6am yet and there is a tonne of traffic, it's moving well, but it's busy. Do people sleep or take a day off around here?

My plan for a quick escape from NYC is thwarted when four lanes of traffic comes to almost a standstill. The road info sign above is kindly telling all of us that there is an accident ahead with major delays. Double fuck. Of course in typical NYC fashion, everyone is trying to change lanes in order to gain a two car length advantage on the next commuter, there are wall to wall tractor trailers, and then there is little ol' me on on my svelte Italian stead.

I know lane splitting is not legal, except in California, and the rest of world outside of North America, but being Canadian, with a foreign plate I figured if by the small chance I get caught I'll fake a Quebecois accent and plead ignorance. So nonchalantly I begin a slow weave through the traffic, that is moving at a first gear, clutch slipping pace. It's one of the times I'm glad I never had a sidecar.

Before long I make my way to the accident scene, a couple of badly crumpled yellow cabs and pieces of yellow cabs are laying at odd angles occupying three lanes of the interstate. Sorry I never stopped for pics. Once clear of that mess it was clear sailing.

The rest of the ride home was uneventful, I had a nice tailwind, and Guzzi was cruising comfortably at an indicated 120kph, which translated to 113kph on Garmin. I wasn't flying, but I wasn't worried about being pulled over by the boys and girls in blue either.

Traffic was moderate for a Saturday morning, I was either passing someone or someone was passing me. The traffic really doesn't let up until Freeport, then it just disappears and your by yourself on the road.

Best part of the day, and thankfully it was near the end was the Airline, or Route 9 from Bangor to Calais. It's a wonderful stretch of single lane, with enough hills and curves to make it interesting. With a speed limit of 55mph, it's the Guzzi's happy place, and after a long day of interstate droning, it kept me awake and wonderfully entertained.

It was a long day when I finally got home, almost 12hrs of being constantly on the move. I stopped twice for more than 15mins. The rest were gas and goes. 

The Guzzi turned out to be a very worthy steed for a long trip, 1000km in day was a bit too long, comfort wise, but I wouldn't hesitate taking it on a cross Canada trip. A casual 600km a day would be wonderful. It just goes to show that you do not need a $30K Gold Wing to see the world.

Rob's memorial was held in Toronto yesterday, and on the long ride home my thoughts were with him and his family.

Then something weird happened.....

Once I was back in Maine I turned off the Garmin voice guidance to my Sena and started listening to music on my phone. I put on the whole playlist and hit shuffle. Everything from Van Halen to Stompin' Tom Conners. Just after I cleared Canada customs in St. Stephen, one song ends and then a voice starts talking to me about a 1200GS. It's Rob's voice, explaining how well the GS does off road. It sends cold shivers through me, and tool me completely off guard. 

Last fall I helped Rob with a short video review of the R1200GS, he sent me an audio file with a narrative. Somehow when I updated my music on my phone, that file made it's way there too, unbeknownst to me. 

It freaked me out to say the least.