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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Work Begins on Part 4, and Plans For Next Year

It's been a busy week at work, I've been away flying a lot, however I did manage to get started on episode 4. So hopefully I should have something out by New Years or shortly afterwards. It should be good, lots of big waterfalls, we meet Jimmy and a really nice couple from BC,  my bike develops a small mechanical, and we say goodbye to Labrador.

Pete and I have been discussing our plans for next year, trying to figure out what we can do, and we decided to combine our love for all things two-wheeled and our love of surfing and stand up. Yes folks, that's right we are planning a motorcycle SUP trip.

I know what your all thinking…….."how the hell are they going to carry two 9ft plus SUPs on bikes?" Well there's inflatable SUP's, that can roll up into the size of a big sleeping bag, or we somehow convince Ural, or Royal Enfield to loan us to bikes with sidecars for a couple of weeks. Good luck wit dat….. Inflatable SUP's it is.

Oh and to add to the fun, we decided that maybe we'll do the trip on bikes we purchase for less than $1000.  Something like an old Nighthawk 450 or XS400.

 or maybe I'll see if I can find my old scoot from 1984 and go on that, a Honda Elite 125
or if we really want to get crazy, maybe Honda will give us two 125cc Groms for a couple of weeks, now that would be funny.

"Where too" you ask. Canada's Ocean Playground, Nova Scotia. Known for some of the best surf on the east coast and just a short ferry boat ride across the Bay of Fundy. What can be better on film than camping, SUP surfing, bikes, and the hijinks that go along with it. 

This time, we have learned from our mistakes, and will capture more interesting things on film, and come back with a really kick-ass web-series.

Ok how long until summer? Oh right it just became winter. Shit. Where's my happy light and my anti-depressants. Remember I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) Ask anyone who works with me. Like Pudge, he just flew with me, "Terry constantly complains about winter, hates the cold, hates the snow, hates the job, why do I live here, it sucks, etc, etc" I am rambling again. sorry.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

I Think I Could Ride All Year On a Ural

Ok, if any of you know me well enough, winter is NOT my favourite time of year. I hate it, I hate the cold and especially the snow. Mostly because it hampers my ability to enjoy the things I love the most, riding a bike, and watersports.

I'm not entirely sure why I live where I do, but I am stuck here and have to deal with it, which means a blue/green happy light that simulates sunshine, and many bottles of red wine. Once the Liberal party gets elected and my buddy, ol' pal Justin becomes Prime Minister and makes the Mary Jane/Ganja legal, I'll be even happier and more creative.

Yesterday I started thinking that I would be happier if I could ride all year round. On two wheels in this environment would be hard, however on three with 2-wheel drive is quite possible on one of these…..

a Ural. Basically it's an old 1930's BMW R71 design that the Russians copied for use in the military. They haven't changed a whole lot since, except now they have disc brakes and EFI in 2014.

So, I'll be putting in a claim at Blue Cross for $15,999 plus tax, it's a sure fire way to treat my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and make Terry a happy boy again.

Engine and transmission 
Displacement, cc: 749
Engine type: OHV air cooled 2 cylinder 4 stroke “boxer” (flat twin)
Valve per cylinder: 2
Bore and stroke (mm x mm): 78 x 78
Max output (hp): 41 @ 5500 rpm
Max torque (ft-lbs): 42 @ 4300 rpm
Compression: 8.6:1
Fuel system: Throttle body EFI
Starting: Electric & Kickstart
Clutch Double-disc dry
Transmission type: Manual
Speeds: 4 forward 1 reverse
Primary drive (rear wheel): Driveshaft
Final drive ratio: 4.62
Engagable sidecar wheel drive: Yes, driveshaft
Physical measures
Overall length, inch.: 98.8
Overall heights, inch.: 54.3
Overall width, inch.: 63.6
Seat height, (unladen), inch.: 32.0
Ground clearance (unladen),inch.: 6.8
Dry weight, lbs: 730
Front suspension: IMZ leading link fork
Rear suspension: Double sided swing-arm with two Sachs hydraulic spring shock absorbers, 5x adjustable
Sidecar suspension: Single sided swing-arm with Sachs hydraulic spring shock absorber, 5x adjustable
Wheels: 2.5X19 Aluminum rims with steel spokes
Tires: Duro HF-308, 4.0×19″
Front brake: 4-piston fixed Brembo caliper with 295mm floating NG rotor
Rear brake: HB big bore single piston integrated floating caliper with 256mm fixed NG rotor
Sidecar brake: 2-piston fixed Brembo caliper with 245mm floating NG rotor
Fuel grade: 91 Octane, unleaded
Fuel tank capacity, gallons: 5.0
Reserve, gallons: app. 1
Estimated fuel economy, mpg: 31-37
Estimated range, miles: 155-185
Recommended max cruising speed, mph: 70
Max permissible weight, lbs:1325
Trunk volume, cubic ft.: 2.9
Alternator: Denso, 55 Amp, 770 Wt
Battery: FAYTX20HL (12V, 20A)
Headlight: H6024 (65/35)
Spark plugs: NGK BPR7HS
2-years parts and labor unlimited millage.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Snow Day

How many more days til spring?? Oh ya it's not officially winter yet, but we still received 25cm of snow yesterday.  Anyone have any studs for Metzler Tourances?

What the TLH Was Like In the Good…..Old Days

I stumbled upon this today. It's a ride report, article on riding the TLH back when it was first opened. These guys had it tough, and on a Honda Magna no less.

I wish I had ridden the road back then, or at least when it was all gravel. Even though it's paved it's still an adventure for some. Hundreds of kilometres between communities and gas stops, traversing Labrador's wilderness.

Phase 3 is still unpaved and will be for at least a couple of years. If you are sitting on the fence about going, next year is the time to go.

Enjoy the read on the old days of the TLH


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Not so Easy - A Motorcycle Safety Film

Saw this posted on CMG today. Motorcycle safety film with……….Mr. Easy Rider himself, Peter Fonda, and you guessed it. Evil Knievel.

Why couldn't I have found this when Pete was learning to ride.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Two Wheels Through the Big Land Part 2

I finally have Episode two finished. I hope you all enjoy it. I'll start work on Episode three on Monday. The Youtube version is low-def due to the upload size. I am currently uploading an HD version to Vimeo, which you'll notice a link to in the sidebar.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Wet December Ride

 It's been a longtime since Pete and I have been out for a ride together…. it's been a while since I've been on a bike period, so despite the rain we took this rare opportunity to get in a short ride today.

 In December the days that the mercury rises above zero are few and far between, and to have it hit 11C was a huge bonus and an opportunity not to be missed. The rain also had the added benefit of washing any salt off the road. 

Of course Pete forgot to put in his rain liners on his jacket so his big ride consisted of going up to Java Moose coffee shop, where we topped off our caffeine levels and had a short meeting to discuss what we were going to do next year in the way of film/bike projects. We then went over to see our friend Sean Creary, the owner of River and Trail where we bought most of our camping gear for the Labrador trip. Ya the camping gear that got used once and sat on the back of the bike for 4200km. Sean is selling GoPro's now so if you need one drop in and see him, plus he has just about everything for your next outdoor adventure.

After Pete bailed for home, I stopped for gas and headed out again for another hour. I love my Olympia gear, I stay warm and dry and now enjoy riding in the rain. It's amazing how getting in a late season ride, or any ride for that matter can be uplifting to the spirit. I am in such a good mood right now.

Blah, blah, blah………ya but what about the next episode of "Two Wheels Through the Big Land" you ask. It's almost ready, it would have been ready if my slow week at work had gone as planned. We of course had an irop (irregular operation) and I ended up being gone for three days. So there.

Hopefully Monday.

New Honda Cub, or now as it is known The Cross Cub

Ok, so how cool would it be to take one of these, or two, and go on an extended bike trip to parts unknown. Maybe a 10 day to two week trip across the T'railway Train in Newfoundland, or all summer on Trans Canada Adventure Trail (TCAT)

This is Honda's new Cross Cub, a fuel injected modernized version of the world's best selling motorcycle, the Honda Cub, which has been sold more than 60 million times. You would think with 60 million units out there, there would be more around North America. But no, they are as rare as hen teeth on Kijiji. 

No one really knows if it is going to be released in North America, I have my fingers crossed, and have started a Cross Cub procurement fund. I think this would complement the big Strom quite nicely, and my wife would enjoy riding it. Hell maybe we need two.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Episode One - Two Wheels Through the Big Land Released

Well folks I finally finished up episode one, which takes Pete and I to the ferry in North Sydney. It's only a nine minute video, but damn, it's a lot of work. I'm still learning how to use the Final Cut Pro X editing software, so I have been learning from my mistakes as I go, and that's been time consuming. Also putting in the Google Earth video took up almost an entire morning, however I did the whole trip, so it will save time for the other episodes.

The biggest issue……...trying to come up with a story line, and a feel for the videos. A lot of motorcycle films have an artsy feel to them, and I wanted to stay away from that, because it seems like the new trend.

Anyway I hope you like it, I'll be starting the next episode right away while things at work are slow. Hopefully episode two will be out in a couple of weeks. So stay tuned.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Two Wheels Throught the Big Land - Opening Sequence

I finished up the opening sequence to "Two Wheels Through the Big Land". As of now I am not sure what direction I want to take this in. I am leaning more to a small video/film style than a web series. 

The good news is………I have at least a week or more at home, so I'll get a good push on to get a lot of editing done. 

Other than that, I am suffering from jet lag after getting home from 4 days in Europe. Five hour time zone change is not fun. Going there is not bad, coming home is the worst. I don't know how my buddy at Emirates Airlines does this long haul stuff for a living. 12-14hr flights. Yuck.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A Good Day of Riding and Some Sad News

Yesterday a group of us headed off on what is known as the "Frostbite Run" or "Frozen Nut Ride". The "Frostbite Ride" was originally created by one of my work friends Rob Darrah, and was an annual event held in the fall of the year to close out the bike season. The one condition was, it had to be frosty the day of the ride.

Last year for one reason or another we didn't do the ride, so this year I took the bike by the bars and decided to get organized early and not only invite the lads from work, but get a few others involved. So I sent an email to my friend Dwight and his buddy Tom. Well Dwight was away on another cross-continent adventure and was somewhere in southern Texas…..he was out. Tom stepped up to the plate and was eager to go, and brought along four other friends.

On a cold Saturday morning, -1C was the temp when I got up, and there was a pretty good frost covering the ground. The good news……..it was gonna warm up to 11C and the wind was forecasted to be calm.

Frost on the grass as the sun comes up.

The meeting place was The Big Stop on the highway, and at 0930 we slowly started to assemble. It was a mixed bag of bikes, sport bikes, adventure bikes, and cruisers. We represented the whole gamut of the motorcycle world. No bashing of brands or styles, just a bunch of bikers out for a good days ride.

We headed out from the Big Stop shortly after 0930 headed for St. Martins, then Sussex for a well deserved lunch and warm cup of coffee.

 From Sussex we took the back roads towards Cambridge Narrows, stopping at an old house belonging to a friend of Tom's, and then proceeded down the coast of the Bellisle towards the Kingston Peninsula

and finally towards home covering about 220km in total. It was a great late fall day ride, a rare day to be had around northeastern Canada.

This weekend was the annual running of the Tecate/Score Baja 1000 in Mexico, I have been a big fan of this race for a number of years, and it is a dream….really only a dream of competing in it, as well as my dream of doing the Dakar Rally. Dare to dream right.

When I got home from Saturday's ride I went to Advrider to check in on the latest from the Baja, and was gutted to learn that one of my favourite riders Kurt Caselli was killed while leading the race with only 85 miles to go, of the 885 total miles in the race.

Kurt was a racing legend in desert and off road racing even at the young age of 30, and it looked like he was on his way to winning his first Baja 1000 title for KTM when he was involved in what appears to have been a crash involving a large animal. The Baja 1000 is not a closed course and is run through the wilds of the Baja Peninsula.

I never met the man, but he just seemed like a really good guy, everyone spoke very highly of him, and he had mad skills on a bike. He was on the cusp of becoming one of the great Dakar racers after his appearance last year at the Rally.

My condolences go out to all of Kurt's family, friends and fans.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lest We Forget

Today is Remembrance Day, and unfortunately it is the only time of the season that we think about what all the veterans sacrificed so we could lead a life of freedom. Even if you do not believe in the reasons for going to war, our young men and women serving our country have put themselves in harms way, and that alone demands respect. Many did not come home, those that have will never be the same again, physically or mentally.

photos from the Huffington Post

My old high school friend Rick did a little rant on how our country is letting our veterans down.

Maybe we need a national bike rally in support of our veterans to ride to Parliament Hill and let the Harper government know that we need to do all we can to look after these brave folks.

From the Huffington Post:
"Never done this before," Mercer tweeted on Friday, linking to an early YouTube post of the rant in which he savages the Conservative government over its treatment of veterans. As of Sunday, the post had been retweeted nearly 1,300 times and the video viewed more than 90,000 times.
Mercer focuses on cuts to Veterans Affairs which will lead to the closure of nine offices and, consequently, more obstacles to access for those who have served Canada in uniform.
"So if you’re a World War II vet and you have a problem, what do you do? Well, you don’t go to an office and talk to a real person — those days are over," Mercer says. "There’s a 1-800 number they can call, or — this is my favourite, bearing in mind the average age is 88 — there’s an app they can download to their smartphone which will allow them to navigate the Veterans Affairs website, a website that will send them to the nearest Service Canada office where, if they need to make burial arrangements, they have to take a number and stand in line behind some guy like me who’s waiting to get his passport renewed."
"I'm sorry, if you fought on the beach in Dieppe and survived, you should not have to spend any portion of your final days on this Earth in a Service Canada office."

In May, the NDP's Veterans Affairs critic Peter Stoffer said in a press release that staff in Charlottetown told him "that because they did their job 'too well' and had too many veterans coming to the office for service, the federal government was closing the [office].”
More recently, the Conservatives have faced questions about federal support for the Last Post Fund, an agency that helps pay for the funerals of impoverished veterans. Since 2006, the fund has had to reject two-thirds of all applications for help because of narrow guidelines that restrict money to veterans of the two world wars and the Korean war.
The Last Post Fund itself, veterans groups and funeral directors have lobbied the government to raise the amount of money its puts towards funerals, which has been fixed at $3,600 since 2000. They also want the eligibility requirements broadened.
But when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked specifically about the fund by reporters travelling with him on Saturday, he did not acknowledge those concerns. Instead, he said his government was doing a lot for veterans, and that all programs are constantly being assessed. The Last Post Fund was last reviewed two years ago.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

What's New and Plans for Next Year

The AIMExpo was awesome, and it got me all fired up for next years riding plans. Unfortunately since the Expo, I have done absolutely nothing when it comes to the two wheeled transport that we all love.

The week after the Expo I was in ground school and flight simulator training at a place called FlightSafety. Go figure. It's a big facility in Orlando that houses a couple of dozen full motion simulators. Check out the link for more info if you're curious http://vimeo.com/65849583 I fly two different types of aircraft so once a year I have a week of training on each one.

The week after that I headed to Daytona Beach to go back to school. I attended an Aviation Safety Management Program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Ya, I was the old fart on campus. I passed for a professor more than a student.

As soon as I got home from a week of that, my boss figured one day at home was enough and sent me away to work for another week. He either hates me or is too stunned to look at schedule. I think it maybe the latter.

So basically that means no editing has been done on the BigLand Adventure. So far the opening sequence is complete and most of the first episode is laid out in order. I'm starting to realize that editing a lot of video takes a lot of time. It's not the wham bam, thank you ma'am stuff I was doing with iMovie on the iPad. I hope to release episode one before Christmas. Hope, no promises.

I am also putting a book together of the trip. More as keepsake for me than anything else, so when I am really old, I can sit on the porch in my rocker and look back on it all. I've tried ebooks, but nothing replaces the look and feel of a real book in your hands. It's going to be a big coffee table style book, lots of pictures and exerpts from the blog. If anyone wants to buy one, they will be for sale.

Alright, now down to the nitty gritty……..what the hell are we doing next year for a trip. I have been thinking about that a lot lately, and believe it or not, I'd like to go back to Labrador. Not the full meal deal like this year, but I'd like to take some guys up through Baie Comeau, Manic Cinq, and to Lab City/Wabush. There are a couple of guys around here that have expressed interest in getting a taste of it.
My friend from work, John, the guy below drooling over the new Vstrom 1000.

The other day Pete was telling me his friend John, man that is a popular name, I'm gonna have to come up with some nicknames if we get anymore John's, or find some ladies of the night for all the John's. 
Shit, I'm rambling again. Anyway Pete's friend John, a loyal follower of the Bigland blog, is talking of selling is Yamaha R6 and getting an adv bike. DO IT, DO IT. Of course coming off an R6 he may need a Ducati Multistrada, the mighty power of a KLR may not be enough.
John is the guy on the left, who doesn't look like Hemmings.
John, do we have a trip for you! 

The whole trip to Lab City and back should take about five days. About the same time my wife would take to go shopping in the Boston area, but cost a lot less money. This time I want to camp more than once and spend a night in the ghost town of Gagnon. 

Route 389 from Baie Comeau to Fermont was one of my favourite parts of the trip. Nice twisty roads,  enough gravel to make it a real adventure, and you can still get your picture taken in front of the Big Land sign at the border.

So………..who's in? Late June work for all of ya? 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

AIMExpo Day Two

Day two.......we hit the expo floor early after an American breakfast feast at what is ironically named the International House of Pancakes. It's not that international....no toutons on the menu.

Today was the last day of the show, and it was time to put my media credtials to work, and start getting some media contact info for editor 'Arris. Being the last day of the show some vendors were showing the signs of fatigue and disinterest in being there. Most notably the bigger named brands. I won't name names.                              

Schuberth was not one of them. They gave me the full rundown on all their helmets, and brought me to another room to show me the new helmets for release in spring of 2014. If money is not an option, these helmets are really nice.

New C3 North America helmet

and for the ladies

Sena Bluetooth was very welcoming as well, and before long I was getting the lowdown from the marketing director. If you remember Pete and I used Sena comms on our Labrador trip and loved them. Now they have a small camera similiar to the GoPro, this one however records the audio from your headset, and anyone else linked in. Shit, where was this a couple of months ago. We could have used that during the BigLand trip. 

Vega Helmets and Technical gear was a funny encounter. Trying to break the ice with one of the guys there was painful, and downright cold. I guess he never heard of the CMG influence and was far from a wealth of information. I gave up on him, figured they must have enough sales, even though I barely heard of them before. I was about five steps out of their booth when I was chased down by their vice-president. She was excited to see me, and was very eager to tell me about their new jackets, by Richa. It features a Bionic Climate Membrane that reacts to changing temperatures and moisture, and makes you ultra strong like the Six Million Doallar Man. They were even interested in sending gear up to CMG for reviews.

Overall the smaller vendors were much more interested in sharing their products with the media, and were generally more interesting to talk to. I think some the big named people didn't even ride bikes. 

In the afternoon we took the shuttle bus over to the outdoor part of the show. Demo rides, and stunt shows were on the menu. As soon as we stepped off the bus we landed right in the middle of the stunt show put off Empire Freestyle. It was pretty impressive, first live show that I've seen.

After watching two guys with way more riding talent in their pinky fingers than I have, we decided it was time to dazzle the Floridians with our riding skill at the demo tents. 

Suzuki was first on the list, and we managed to get the leftovers to demo. John channeled his inner hooligan and jumped on a Hayabusa. Good luck getting that out of second gear in urban Orlando. I also wanted to be a hooligan and jumped on a DRZ400 super moto. I always wanted to ride a DRZ, and it was a lot of fun in the Florida sun. JC it was hot, 90 degrees and humid. Too hot for this boy. The 15 to 20min group ride was OK. Too many traffic lights and not enough sweepers. Florida will never be hotbed for bike riding. Well maybe the hot part anyway.

We hit the Yamaha tent next, and both of us were eager to jump on the Tenere, but were shit of luck, it had been booked up the whole day, as was the 650 VStrom next door. ADV riding is big. The new FZ09 was also taken. 

Not wanting to wait around in the oppressive heat for an hour to get the opportunity to ride a cruiser on a boring route while sweating my arse off, we decided to make a brief visit to the ATV demos. It was busy over there, especially on the UTV side of things.

John and I both had a full on sweat going at this point, and since there was only hour left to the expo we decided to seek reprieve from the heat in the form of a shaded pool bar serving a Dutch brew of barley and hops.

WIth the weekend coming to a close it was time to get to work, four days of recurrent flight training starts on Monday morning. 


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

American Internatinal Motorcycle Expo - AIMExpo

I am wandering around the massive building that is the Orlando County Convention Centre taking in the first ever American International Motorcycle Expo.

I was fortunate enough to be asked by CMG editor Rob Harris to attend the show on their behalf since I was going to be in Orlando anyway for my annual pilot training. Since I am a wanna be moto journalist, videography/editor, I figured I'd channel my inner Peter Parker and write about the show. The writing part was my idea, Harris was basically using me to get media contact info so he can continue to build the CMG empire, and he never had to fork out any cash for hotels and airline tickets. I'll have to remind him........you get what you pay for.

I not only got a free pass to the show, but a media pass, which more or less said I worked for CMG, and I would be treated like moto journalism royalty. I also scored another media pass for my work partner John Harrigan, a fellow Vstrom rider. I actually think he was more excited about the show than I was. 

The AIMExpo is a five day affair, the first three are closed to the public and only for the big wigs in the industry, dealers, media, etc, and the last two days are geared towards the consumer and opened to the public. I unfortunately never arrived in Orlando to take in the first three days and to really get the chance to flaunt my newly aquired media status, so I had a full day and half to mingle with the common people.

The show featured about 400 exhibitors. The big ones were Suzuki, Yamaha, EBR (Erik Buell Racing) and Kymco, and except for EBR, they offered free demo rides. 

If I was a good reporter I would write about everything new at the show, but that would take pages, and let's be honest, I only really want to write about the stuff that I like. Yes it as all about me, just ask my wife or anyone that knows me. However I will say, it appears that the adventure riding market is growing very big, and most of the vendors catered to that segment of the market in one way or another. The Harley market and culture was almost non-existant.

Suzuki's big buzz was the release of the new VStrom 1000, a bike dear to my heart, and the new one looks really nice, well everything except for the beak, not a fan of the beak, looks too much like a Foghorn Leghorn beak. However it's not enough to stop me from buying one. The rest of the improvements more than make up for it. 

New clutch, which hopefully means no more dreaded chudder. The seat is a new design, it is wider, and for the 3.5mins I sat on it, it felt good. The handlebars are swept back more, feels like my old strom with the bar risers. The new windshield is a all new design, and the one hand adjustment is awesome, no fiddling with knobs. Front and rear adjustable suspension. The front forks are beefy, so I'm guessing no more need for a fork brace. New ABS and traction control. The Adventure model comes with the luggage, crash bars and metal skidplate. Seems like Suzuki was listening. I am very eager to test ride it. I am guessing the price point in Canada will be in the $14-16K range.


I think there maybe a new Strom in John's future.

Also they announced a new scooter, the Burgman 200, looks like the other Burgmans, but a little smaller. It would actually make a good scooter for my wife to upgrade to from her Aprilla.

Pricing had yet to be released from Suzuki.

Yamaha, had a huge Bolt display, with custom design models. They were rafflling off a signed Kenny Roberts edition.  I have yet to ride one, but I do really like the Bolt. The Harley purests will rag on me, that it is a Sportster copy, but then again the Harley guys rag on the Sportster riders too, and just about everything else on two wheels.

If Yamaha released a version of this it would be hard not to buy one. That and the new Vstrom would look good in my garage.

Believe it or not, all custom Bolts.

What other manufacturers have a winch as an available option on their adv bike? For $600 Yamaha can add it to your Tenere. 

One of the nice things about the show were the displays of vintage japanese bikes, brought back a lot of memories from my youth, or just reaffirmed how old I am getting. Most of these looked liked they did  when they first rolled out on the showroom floor.

Around 4:30pm we decided to pull the plug and head back to the hotel. We had been awake since 4am to catch our 5:20am flight out of Saint John, so we were pretty knackered, and our beer low level lights were on. It was still 90 degrees outside, so it was time to hit the pool bar.

More about the show on the next update.