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Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

I won't be writing about motorcycles, scooters or anything else like that today. I maybe getting a little too deep or philosophical in my old age, but what the hell, I'm most likely past the halfway point of my life right now so I'm allowed to be a little "deep"

Everyone knows, or at least everyone in Canada knows The Tragically Hip's Gord Downey's situation. The 52 year old frontman of one of the most Canadian bands to ever walk the stage is dying from terminal brain cancer. They played their last show on Saturday August 20th in Kingston, Ontario.



In the lead up to this concert there has been a lot of press about the event, about Gord, and what this means to Canadians. It seemed like the entire country was rallying around Gord and the band.

I was never a big fan of The Hip, as they are known here in The Great White North. I never bought an album, none of their songs were on my playlist. Whether it was a mixed tape from the 90's or on my iPod now, there is no Hip.

The concert last night was broadcast for free on CBC, no pay-per-view, no commercials, no time delay to bleep out bad words, it was live, raw, and yes Gord said "fuck" many times. I never quite grasped the effect The Hip had on Canada until last night. The country was basically closed for business from 9:30pm until 12:30am as the Toronto Police Department Tweeted.

The final concert was held in the Downey's home town of Kingston, Ontario, at a small arena that 8000 lucky ticket holders got into. In downtown Kingston the main square was filled with 30,000 fans watching on big screens. All across Canada people gathered in stadiums, theatres, and filled downtown streets to witness the last Hip concert ever to take place. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in attendance.






Other than an Olympic hockey game, I have never witnessed an event like this bring so many Canadians together. The Olympics in Rio were put on hold by the CBC to air this!


I also watched the concert from the big screen in my living room, it was just my wife and I, no big crowds, or get togethers.  Even if you don't like The Hip, you had to appreciate what was going on.

The concert lasted three hours and had three encore performances. It was pretty amazing, and emotional. To be watching a dying man put on his last performance tugs at the emotions. I don't care who you are.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/748010563966/

Gord is a pretty amazing performer, more poet than singer. Reminds me of Dylan without the annoying voice. He moves oddly around the stage, his facial expressions sometimes looking like a crazy man, before quickly snapping back to normal, if there is a normal. I liked it. It wasn't the norm.





I came to the realization at the end of the show that I knew almost every song they played. This is a band I never really paid a whole lot of attention to. How is that possible?

Then I read or heard someone say "The Hip played the soundtrack to our lives" It's true, the Hip were always in the background during what I call the formative years of our lives. Out of high school, in college, or university, then shitty jobs, falling in love, settling down, and all the parties along the way, The Hip were the background music in our lives. Just like the background music in those American Pie movies that you never really noticed while watching the movie, but instantly recognized when played on the radio.

So yes, I will be adding The Hip to my playlist, to play in the background for who knows how much of my life is left, or maybe it will be there to remind of how I got here.

Gord...thank you for the music.




Monday, 15 August 2016

Riding a Marathon

In 1997 I moved from my home in Newfoundland to Nova Scotia to start a career at Air Nova. Prior to that I had been flying my arse off at Air Labrador, putting in 1000hrs a year. It doesn't sound like much, but that is a lot of work. I never had a lot of time for regular exercise so I quickly ballooned to a hefty 215lbs. To lose the weight I started running, first it was around the little lake by my place in Dartmouth. It was a struggle and it hurt, but soon I was able to shuffle through a 5k.

I did a 5k running race, which then led to a 10k, then a half marathon, which led to me adding some swimming and biking to the mix. A triathlon was completed, and that pushed me to an Ironman, a couple of marathons, and ultimately an ultra marathon. Never once did I volunteer to help out a race.




This past weekend I combined my love of all things two-wheeled with my like of running. Running and I have a love hate relationship so I'll just call it a like.

The annual Marathon-By-The -Sea was this past Sunday, which saw 1800 runners compete in the 10k, half and full marathons through a very tough, hilly course in the Port City. A friend of mine, Rod Paul, is one of the co-directors of the race, and I asked him if he needed some help. Finally I was going to give back to the running community.

Rod decided to put the Ruckus and I into action as the lead out rider for the marathon. Basically it's like Smokey and the Bandit. I was Bandit, minus the Trans Am, cool moustache and cowboy hat, making sure the course was clear for the lead runner, whom we will call Snowman, minus the tractor trailer load of Coors.

The Ruckus and I had carte blanche to ride all over the course. It was awesome. I was riding on the wrong side of the road, sidewalks, the Harbour Passage walking trail, the Harbour Bridge, the trails in Rockwood Park, and was stopping traffic. It was all to ensure that the race leaders could go as hard as they could, safely and without interference. The roads were not closed, so we had to deal with Sunday morning traffic, which thankfully was light.

It was a perfect day for a marathon, cool, overcast with drizzle and some showers. So needless to say I was dressed in full rain gear.

I lead out all the runners for the first part of the race, along with the lead out riders for the 10k and half. They were on bicycles. The course went up Water Street then onto the Harbour Passage walkway, which winds it's way past the Hilton, and Long Wharf. By the time we hit the open road on Chesley Drive a pack of 7-10 runners had broken away from the main field. The 10km turn was just after crossing the Reversing Falls Bridge which is where some the faster runners turned off.  Part way up Maniwagonish Road was the turn for the half. At this point there was 5 or 6 runners directly behind me, and I figured they were all half marathoners at the pace they were running. I rode up just past the turn around cone and stopped, figuring I'd have to wait a little bit for the first marathoner.

All of them hit the turn around, but one. He looked at me, waved his finger in a keep going motion, and said "I'm in the marathon" Shit this guy was fast. So, fast there wasn't another runner in sight.

I took off and for the next two hours it was basically the two of us. The only point on the course where you can see your competition is at the turn around in Lorneville, and this guy had a huge lead. It was pretty impressive to witness. They guy was running between 15-20kph.

The marathon course is brutal, it's a lot of hills, with some trail running mixed in. There's a section of the Spruce Lake Trail, which was pretty soft gravel, and then more trail in Rockwood Park, plus some tight turns on a narrow sidewalk before the Harbour Bridge. It's not a fast open road course like Boston or New York. Having to slow down to negotiate corners, then accelerate again repeatedly is exhausting.


 Spruce Lake Trail



Once we hit Rockwood Park, we started to catch up to the slower half marathoners. At this point in the race it's hard to see if another runner is catching you. Which was the case. As we hit the open road again I noticed another guy starting to catch the leader.

The leader of the marathon and I had been together for over two hours, and we had only spoken twice to each other, once at the half turnaround and once in Rockwood Park. I had to slightly veer off course to avoid a curb, and he asked me if he was to follow the trail. That's it.

He was in the zone and I didn't want to bother him with chit chat.

However I thought as we got closer to the finish line, I was going to pull alongside him, ask him his name, and congratulate him on a fine performance. Once he crossed the finish line I figured I wouldn't get the chance.

The second place runner was going to ruin my chance of that. With less than a kilometre to go, it's turning into a sprint finish, and I'm right alongside witnessing it. This was so cool. I felt bad at the same time. Here was this poor bastard who led the race for 41km, and could possibly lose within sight of the finish line.


The battle for first



As a volunteer, you have to be neutral in your support of the runners, but I couldn't at this point. I turned around and looked him in the face and yelled "dig deep!" Not that he wasn't already. I have no idea where he found the energy but he surged and held off the last minute charge from the second place runner and crossed the finish line first, FOUR seconds ahead of the next runner. Four seconds separated two runners after 42.2km. Nuts! 2:42 was the winning time.

Turns out the winner was Ryan O'Shay, a New Brunswick boy from New Maryland, and I did get to congratulate him, and shake his hand. He told me he was toast at the 28km mark, and a sprint finish wasn't the way he wanted to finish the race.



The Ruckus turned out to be perfect for the marathon, the big tires enabled me to easily negotiate the trail sections, pop over curbs, race down sidewalks, and it was quite comfortable after three hours in the saddle.

This is where the scooter is far superior to the motorcycle. It would have been exhausting riding a motorcycle at those slow speeds for so long.

I had a lot of fun, was inspired by all the runners, and cannot wait to do it again next year. I might even be inspired enough to do a half marathon next year. Might be.......or maybe I'll just stick to my 7K trail run.


What's next?? The Guzzi maybe going on the selling block, and what replaces it will remain a mystery. Another adventure is in the works, and it maybe of even grander proportions than the Labrador one.








Monday, 8 August 2016

The Next Ride

The Ruckus has reignited my passion and affinity for scooters. The ease of use...... just get on, twist the throttle, and go with a big shit eating grin on your face. No clutch or running through the gears. Simplicity at its finest.

The Guzzi is not even a year old yet, and my mind is wandering to a replacement for it already. A bigger scooter, a maxi-scooter as they call them. The Honda City ADV mentioned before would be quite a beast if it ever makes it to the shores here. Although the Honda City that it is based on is a Euro model only, so I think it maybe doubtful. I really should be living in the old country.

So what are the other options? Let's face it, I don't ride off road, and I have the Ruckus for my short jaunts onto the gravel or the odd trail. I don't need to go balls to walls on a KTM. Most of my longer trips are on pavement or smooth gravel at the worst, so I really have no need for a big ADV bike, as cool as they are.

I do want to start doing some longer touring trips, and keep up my yearly New Jersey trip for work, so a long distance capable stead is needed. I know you can tour on anything, but being able to jump on the interstate from time to time and cruise at 120kph is nice. Sometimes you just need to get somewhere fast. So my eye has wandered to the maxi scooters!!!

I know, you're all thinking.......WTF, a scooter, dude turn in your man card.

I've pretty much ridden and owned all types of bikes, sport, cruiser, ADV, dirt, so I have nothing to prove, and I really don't give a shit. Ride one and you'll get it, whether you admit it or not.

The maxi scooters provide a big engine with a CVT so no shifting, loads of cargo space, and the weather protection is awesome, especially in our neck of the woods where it's cold and wet. The Suzuki Burgman for example has 50L of underseat storage, two glove boxes, and electrically adjustable windscreen, plus heated grips, heated seats, and can cruise the interstate at 120kph with the cruise control on.

What are the options? There's the above mentioned Suzuki Burgman 650, BMW C650GT, the Yamaha TMAX and that's about it. Kymco has a 500, but there are no dealers in the area. In my neck of the woods the Suzuki and Yamaha are down the street where Tim Hovey owns the dealership, and BMW is an hour away in Moncton. Honda has a 300, as does Vespa, but they don't cut the mustard.

The BMW C650GT is a luxury touring scooter, no doubt about that. 647cc engine putting out 60hp (10 more than the Guzzi), but weighing in at whopping 261kg, with an even more whopping price tag of $11550.00. That however is before you add the Highline Canada package which is another $750 and gives you heated seats, grips, and tire pressure control. Another $1K for luggage rack and top case, because like a good BMW owner it has to be the overpriced OEM one. Now it's a $13200 scooter, plus an enormous freight charge, PDI, admin fees, and of course tax.

Those Europeans know how to have so much fun. "Let's head to the beach in Nice this weekend my darling"



That's a lot of cash, or credit. But that does get you a pretty damn comfortable, fast scooter that will tour quite easily with the big boys, and not take up too much space in the garage.

Downside.......it's $13K, and the closest dealer is an hour away which can be a pain in the arse with warranty and servicing. The Guzzi is living proof of that.

Next up the Yamaha TMax. I've had a thing for these for quite awhile. It't considered the sport bike of scooters and it has put more than one motorcycle rider to shame.

Yes folks, that is a Roland Sands Tmax.



More Europeans having fun.


Although it is down on engine size compared to the BMW and the Burgman at 530cc it is quite a bit lighter in weight, tipping the scales at 220kg, 50kg lighter than the Suzuki! More than making up for the loss in displacement.

It doesn't have the finer accoutrements that the Beemer and Burgie have, lacking an electrically adjustable windshield, heated seats or even heated handgrips. It does have a keyless system, but that is not a selling feature for me. The underseat storage is also smaller, so a top box is necessary.

Retail price is $10499, but with a rack, top box, liner, and tunnel bag it's only $11268. Plus the dealer is down the street.


I think this guy might be North American. He looks a little more serious, and couldn't find a date.



Also down the street and in the same showroom is the Suzuki Burgman 650. Some say this is the Goldwing of touring scooters, and just by looking at one and reading the reviews I'd have to agree.

It is a 633cc, 277kg beast of a scooter. Really the only scooterness to it is the CVT. It comes with an electrically adjustable windscreen, heated grips, seat, cruise control, and has a massive amount of storage, both in the glove boxes and underneath the seat. 50l of storage under your arse. Enough for any weekend adventure.

The Burgman is on sale right now for $10500, and really needs no accessories.

What all these scooter boast is all day riding comfort, whether it's backroads or droning along on the interstate. You are completely protected from the elements, which is what makes these great commuters as well.


Apparently chicks dig the maxi scooters too. Although her choice in riding attire is doubtful. Maybe she is on her way to work at Moxie's.



The BMW is a big scoot compared to the Honda NC700X.


So what would I buy? Hard to say. I'd rule out the Beemer on price alone. The Tmax has soul, if anything other than a Vespa has soul. It's more like a sport touring bike disguised as a scooter. The Burgman........it ticks off everything on the list of must haves for touring, but just seems boring. There is always a compromise. 

Now, I'm just looking and probably won't buy anything. But after having a hard look, the scooter seems to fit my lifestyle more than a bike. 90% of my riding is commuting to work, where the added weather protection and luggage space is an asset. The rest of my riding consists of the two to three road trips I take a year. Once again the added comfort of a maxi-scooter is an asset. 

Who knows what the future will bring.
Of course the Russian bike with the sidecar is still in my dreams











Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Bikes......Scooters........Why I Love the Step Through CVT's

I blame it all on my parents.....my affinity towards scooters that is. It's all their fault, and I'd like to thank them, because in hindsight they probably saved my life.

I've had a motorcycle licence since I was 16 years old. The year was 1985, and I lusted after the latest and greatest sport bikes. The Honda Interceptor 500 was what I dreamed about. It was state of the art at the time, and was a two-wheeled weapon for the road. By todays standards it's pretty meek and mild, but back in the day it was all I could dream about.



My dreams of being like Fast Freddie Spencer however were dashed when I ended up with a Honda Elite 125 instead. If the Interceptor 500 was a weapon for the road, the Elite was a spoon from the cutlery drawer.

Don't get me wrong, compared to my friends armed with bicycles, and a bus pass, I was loving the 125cc of scooterness. I was free to fly, and it was my first taste of independence. Much like my daughter Maggie is experiencing now with her Honda Giorno.



I rode the piss out of that thing, still pretending I was Fast Freddie on the Interceptor. The fact that my parents would not allow a real motorcycle into the house most likely saved my life. At 16 years old, you're pretty much an idiot. Some of us never outgrow that. I'd like to think I have now, at the age of 47, but let's be real, I still have my moments. Being a testosterone fuelled 16 year old with visions of being a MotoGP racer on sport bike probably would not have ended too well for me. Luckily the Elite accelerated at the speed of smell, and would reach a top speed of 100kph, downhill with a tailwind. It took the entire length of the Harbour Arterial to get it to warp speed.



I became aware of our mortality at a young age, when a BMX riding buddy of mine, who was also a talented motocross racer died on my dream bike the Honda Interceptor 500.



McDonald Drive in St. John's, NF is pretty straight road through a residential area in the east end of the city. It begins at the T- intersection of Logy Bay Rd. Oliver's Store used to be there. I bought a lot of Hubba Bubba and Fun Dip there.

My friend Robbie Cook was headed south on Logy Bay Rd, turned onto McDonald Drive by Oliver's Store headed westbound. The speed limit is 50km/hr.

Motorcycles have an insane power to weight ratio, and can accelerate to triple digit speeds in a heartbeat. Even a 1984 Honda Interceptor was fast.

Robbie took the turn at Oliver's and pinned it, cresting a blind hill at more than double the speed limit. At the same time an elderly woman in a car was further down McDonald Drive headed in the opposite direction, and was making a left turn onto one of the side streets on her way home. There was almost no way she could have seen Robbie. She would never, in a thousand years, thought a motorcycle would be coming up that road at that rate of speed.

He hit the back quarter of the car as she was part way through the left turn. The force of the impact spun the car almost 360 degrees. Robbie was thrown from the bike and hit a telephone pole and mailbox. He survived the initial crash, but sadly succumb to his internal injuries a week later.

A foolhardy mistake robbed a family of their child, we lost a friend, and an elderly woman was traumatized for life. Robbie was the first person that was my age to die. It was a big deal, and it rocked all of us.

It was then I realized that my parents were looking out for me by not allowing a big bike into the house, because that easily could have been me doing that stupid shit.

Don't get me wrong, I know I could, and can be easily smucked by a dumbass inattentive driver at an intersection, but life is a risk, and when it's your time........it's your time. However doing stupid shit that speeds up our departure from this life is something we can control.

So, I have an affinity to the scooter because of this. If I was allowed to buy that Interceptor 500, I most likely would have never, ever given a scooter a second, or even any glance at all.

My early years on that Honda Elite are some of my fondest memories. I loved that thing.
I think my reason for liking scooters so much now is it brings me back to the past, and the good times I had, making me feel younger again.

The other day I was giggling in my helmet while riding the Ruckus around. I'm wearing Vans sneakers like the ones I had in high school, and I once again have braces on my teeth. Well, now they are called Invisalign, and I'm ripping around town on scooter like it was 1985 again, and I'm still listening to Stiff Little Fingers and The Clash. The only way it could be any better was if Rick Mercer was sitting on the back of the scooter and we were headed to Geoff Brown's place to partake in some smoking of the Mary Jane.


 Honda is releasing a new scoot later this year. If it actually makes it to Canada is another question. However this new scooter is as close to a cross between an ADV bike and scooter as you can get. It's based on the engine in NC750X. So yes it is big and relatively powerful.

It's the new City ADV. I mean it looks like an Africa Twin step through, kinda. I love the damn thing. That...... right there, will be enough for me to give up the Guzzi and go full on scooter. Assuming of course, Honda Canada imports it for sale, and it's not just relegated to the European market. The Euros get all the cool bikes and cars. Bastards.





The above are concept versions of the scoot, however Honda has confirmed it's going into production, and even released a teaser video. I have my fingers, toes and and anything else I cross, crossed hoping it shows up on a dealers floor near me.



I know I'll be ridiculed and made fun of for riding a scooter, but I don't care. I'm 47 years old, I don't give a shit about what people think anymore. 

Come on Honda........bring it to Canada, I promise I'll buy one.





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.