Monthly Archives: September 2015
It’s hard to believe that summer is officially over…it feels like it only arrived a few weeks ago. Motorcyclists and summer lovers in general were cheated by #Julyuary and its rain, drizzle, fog and cold temps. Nonetheless, the calender presses on and fall has arrived.
The weather gods were kind though, giving us a beautiful weekend to finish off the summer. In a most irresponsible fashion, I put most household chores aside for the full two days, and pretty much spent all waking hours on the bike. Nowhere epic, nothing extravagant. Just riding. It was one of the most enjoyable weekends of the summer.
I hadn’t test-ridden any bikes this summer at all, which is a bit odd for me. I didn’t plan on taking in the BMW test ride day either, but faced with a beautiful Saturday and no plans for an out-of-town ride, we took a spin out to Avalon Motorad to see if anything interesting was available. I managed to hook a ride on the new R1200R, a roadster of sorts with a low seat height and that fantastic boxer engine.
After burning gas that I didn’t pay for and enjoying a post-ride scoff* put off by BMW, we headed off for a leisurely ride around the north east Avalon, stopping here and there for coffee and conversation. It wasn’t until we were on the South Side Road watching darkness descend on the city that I realized I had spent the entire day on two wheels, and didn’t accomplish another thing. Oh well. It was worth it!
Unlike Saturday, I started Sunday with a bit of a plan…head out the highway for lunch somewhere on the east coast of Trinity Bay. We wanted to go to the Dildo Dory Grill (I’m not making this up…”Dildo” is a part of a dory apparently and is an actual town name) but found out that it was closed for the season. We went to the Shag It Cafe instead (again, not making it up. The cafe is named for the “shag rocks” in the bay that the cafe overlooks). It’s a beautiful spot with wonderful coffee and great food. I highly recommend it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the area a little, you never know what what you might see in small towns…
Usually when faced with a beautiful forecast for the weekend I try to plan these epic rides. Sometimes that works out, and other times it just doesn’t. I think I need to have more weekends like this, where very little is planned and I just go where the road takes me.
Summer is over, but I’m hoping for a great fall!
*Scoff: a good meal
Our road system in Newfoundland isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. Communities on the island are clustered around bays and sprawled out along peninsulas, a legacy of our sea-faring history. Overland travel is relatively new, made possible by the railway system in the late 19th century and the Trans Canada Highway in the 1960’s. The TCH remains the only feasible way to get from east to west, and that consists of 900km (560 miles) of highway droning. *yawn*. That being said, there are certain roads on this island that are awfully fun to ride on a motorcycle. Here are some of my favourites.
***Disclaimer: Always exercise caution on roads that you don’t know, and obey posted speed limits. The author takes no responsibility for incidents occurring as a result of recommendations.
Route 60: The “Old Way” from Holyrood to Brigus. Every motorcyclist on the north east Avalon is familiar with this road. It’s a beautifully curvy stretch of pavement winding along the shore of Conception Bay, linking communities hundreds of years old. The scenery is beautiful, but don’t take your eyes off the road for long. If you fail to navigate some of the sharp turns you will find yourself at the bottom of a cliff.
Route 70 between Salmon Cove and Kingston. The Baccalieu Trail is a lovely daytrip for riders from the North East Avalon, and I highly recommend stopping for a break at the beautiful Salmon Cove Sands. When you hit the road again travelling north you’ll cruise through one of my favourite sections of road, as the highway twists and turns before rewarding riders with a gorgeous view of Spout Cove.
Route 10 between Tors Cove and LaManche. This section of the Southern Shore highway is relatively new and in great condition. From St. John’s to Witless Bay is ho-hum, but after Tors Cove you can have a great time on the big sweeping turns. Just watch out for moose.
Route 341 from Brown’s Arm to Laurenceton. You can’t tell how fun this road is from looking at it on a map, which is why we were so pleasantly surprised by it. You just can’t beat an unexpected good time. Great pavement, lots of twists and turns, and the dirt road at the end of the community leads to Sandy Point, a great place to stop for a break.
Road from Jacques Fontaine to Harbour Mille. Located on the Burin Peninsula, this one is a bit of a trek from St. John’s but completely doable in a day if you’re on the road before mid-morning. Though the pavement was at its best probably 10 years ago, it’s still good enough to be very fun. The road is incredibly twisty and the views beautiful.
Road to Petite Forte. When friends who have ridden throughout southern Africa and all through the UK say “You HAVE to ride this road”, well, you kinda have to. The pavement is near perfect, and the road is like a rollercoaster. We rode this on our trip this past summer, and even though the Vstrom was loaded down with gear and the rear tire was completely square, I still really enjoyed it (though I really wished for my YZF600R). This road is also on the Burin Peninsula, but farther down towards Marystown. If you’re out from St. John’s I’d recommend calling ahead and booking lodging in the area for the night, as you’ll probably want to do a couple of passes on this road. It’s that good.
Route 470: Port aux Basques to Rose Blanche. One of the best roads in Newfoundland is located in the south west corner of the island, so if you’re planning to catch the ferry in Port Aux Basques be sure to give yourself time to check this out. The road twists along the coast, and each community along the route is worthy of a visit. Rose Blanche is home to a 19th century granite lighthouse, restored from ruins in 1999. Park the bike and take a walk out to it, you won’t regret it. The only caveat on this road is the steel grate bridge over the Isle Aux Morts River, which can be quite disconcerting if you’re not expecting it.
Route 431: Wiltondale to Trout River. I could just say “the entire area taken in by Gros Morne National Park”, but I’ll narrow it down to the Tablelands area. The road itself it nothing spectacular, but it’s the scenery that will blow you away. It’s like nothing else in Newfoundland. We rode through the area in 2014 and I can’t wait to return there.
Are there any other roads in Newfoundland that you really enjoy? What makes a particular road stand out in your mind?
I currently own three bikes that serve three distinct purposes. I’m often asked what bike I like the most, and while I can’t really answer that question in a straight-forward way, I have to say that I have the most fun on my Yamaha TW200. If you’ve never ridden a small off-road bike, you may not fully understand where I’m coming from. So here are a half dozen reasons why it makes sense for a motorcycle enthusiast to add a dual-purpose bike to his/her garage. Read the rest of this entry
Here’s an article from fellow female motorcyclist Ania Todua. All pictures, links and opinions contained in this article are hers. You can find her on Twitter, @ania_todua. If you have an article you would like featured on Ride Newfoundland, please get in contact with me. Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday evening was just too beautiful not to go for a ride after supper. I took the (rare) opportunity to go scooting around by myself, which is nice sometimes. Hopping on the little T-Dub, I set off in no particular direction and had a blast on easy urban trails and downtown streets.
As the sun was beginning to set I rode over to the South Side, and took a little detour up a side road accessible only by two wheels or two feet.
It was there that I spotted something spray-painted on the side of a concrete building, but not the usual juvenile graffiti that seems to be so prevalent everywhere on this island. Someone had used a stencil and painted “BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE”. What a perfect sentiment for how I felt right at that moment. I had to take a good shot of it, and was sizing up angles with the building and my bike. Then the clouds parted, the evening sun shone directly at me and cast a perfect shadow on the wall. It was serendipitous.
I think the universe told me something last night. I live a life somewhat outside the norm, a little bit different than most women in their mid-thirties. I’ve never purposely tried to be non-conforming, I’ve just always been “who I want to be”. I spent a beautiful Monday evening scooting around St. John’s on a tiny dual-purpose motorcycle. I didn’t do it to impress anyone, to show off, to make people like me, or any reason other than the fact that it makes me happy. And that’s ok.
“Be Who You Want To Be”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.