Monthly Archives: May 2015

Secret Morning Ride

I’m a true morning person, perhaps because I’m a loner by nature. My favourite time of the day is pre-7am, when most people are still in bed.

The other morning I was up at 5, looking forward to a morning row on Quidi Vidi lake. As I was flailing about the house getting ready I realized that I had neglected to check my text messages from the evening before. Sure enough, schedules had conflicted and rowing was cancelled. What to do? Go for a ride, of course!

The air had that distinct spring morning chill, but it didn’t bother me. I fired up the Vstrom and zig-zagged my way through the narrow, crooked streets of the old city. Water Street and Duckworth Street – normally so congested – were completely empty. I caught glimpses of myself in the glass of shop windows and allowed my imagination to wander. I felt as though I was in a movie, a lone motorcyclist riding clandestinely through an empty city.

I somehow felt that I was doing something very secretive, and I guess it was, in a way. Seen by no one, heard by no one, showing up at work at my usual time with no one any the wiser.What a wonderful way to start the day.

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St. John’s at dawn. Not sure who to credit for this, found it at http://www.forwallpaper.com

Gravel Pit Camping…and Riding!

I know it’s oh so cliche, but I did actually spend May 24th weekend “up on the highway in the gravel pit”. And it was absolutely fantastic (thank you again, Ena and Reg!). We were away from the coast just far enough to stay out of the fog, and the trees around the pit made a great windbreak. The weather co-operated beautifully, with three days of blue skies and warmer than average temperatures.

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Relaxing after a day of riding

The excursion was a well-deserved mini-vacation, and a great opportunity to gain some off-road experience on my TW 200. I found out that gravel pits are wonderful places to learn off-roading skills, and I got a taste of water crossings, deep mud, badly rutted dirt roads, and even sand.

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The fine, powder-like sand of Musgrave Harbour. That’ll take some getting used to.

Thanks to our friend Mandy, the TW and DR made the 400km journey via GMC pick-up. We repaid her by lending her Mark’s 1984 DT 200 for the weekend, and she proved herself a very capable rider on the old two-stroke. The three of us spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday exploring the area between Carmanville and Musgrave Harbour, off-road and on.

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Goodbye Sportster…Hello TW 200!

I can’t remember the last time I sat down to write something on this blog. I’ve wanted to, believe me…but I’ve had too many interests vying for my time, and a very busy period at work that left me too mentally drained each day to string together sentences. I’ve been meaning to announce the change in my garage demographics for a few weeks now: The Sportster is sold, and in her place is a 2010 Yamaha TW 200.

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The T-Dub!

To some it may seem like a strange switch. But the big-tired dual purpose caught my eye the first time I saw one almost six years ago, and it just so happened that the right deal came along at the right time.

The first ride was hardly awe-inspiring for me. The fact that we live in the centre of the city means riding through a fair bit of traffic to get to a trail. The lack of power riding on-road was a little unsettling, I was actually afraid of getting run over when the light changed from red to green. But I soon learned that with a bike this small, I need to be aggressive with the throttle and flick up through the gears very quickly, and had no problem at all keeping with traffic. I even hit the TCH for a very brief spell last weekend, from Cochrane Pond to Donovan’s. It takes a little while to get there, but she will do about 110km/hr (69 mph).

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Getting a feel for the TW off-road. Amazingly stable.

The bike started to grow on me when I got off the pavement and realized how stable it is off-road. Up to that point, the only off-road experience I had was on my Vstrom, which is more than a handful. Those big tires and the super low gearing make the TW almost unstoppable over any sort of terrain, and it’s low and light enough to allow me to put a foot down when I have to. It’s the perfect novice dual-purpose!

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Snow blocking the way…on April 29. The TW would’ve made it through, not sure about the DR650 though. We didn’t want to chance it so we turned around.

Do I miss the Sportster? A little, I guess. I had it for almost six years, and it was on that bike that I learned where a motorcycle can take me, and discovered how much I love touring. But the Vstrom handles the touring duties much better, and I didn’t use the Sportster at all last year so the sensible thing was to sell it. I can’t say that I’ll never have another Harley (I’m not getting rid of my Harley shirts yet!), but for now I’m quite content with what I have.

We’re hoping to pack up the TW and DR650 this May 24th weekend and head to Musgrave Harbour to do some off-roading and explore a bit. I’m so looking forward to it! I’ll be keeping a journal so expect a ride report and lots of pictures!

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