This past Monday morning was nice enough to take the bike to work. I was happily winding my way through the streets that make up my centre city neighbourhood, and was actually stopped at the intersection that marks the start of the Great Fire of 1892 when I noticed police cars and fire trucks on Freshwater Road. I quickly changed the trajectory of the Vstrom and went to take a look.
The fire had broken out in a vacant building, it used to be a business of sorts but had been empty for at least a year or so.
In a place where everything is around 100 years old, made of wood, and most buildings are attached, fires are kind of a big deal. Luckily this fire was so close to the fire hall (I’m actually standing in their parking lot taking the picture) that it didn’t take long for the crews to start fighting it.
After I tweeted a picture and informed drivers to avoid the area, I had to get a move on. I would’ve loved to hang around longer, get closer to the action, get some great pictures. For this “news junkie” motorcyclist, the ultimate dream job would be roving motorcycle reporter! It would be a summer-only gig obviously, but what a gig!
Brush fire? The TW200 could get me closer to the scene than any 4×4. Pile-up on the ORR with traffic at a standstill? I could ride up the median. Fire in the heart of the downtown? I’d employ some creative usage of the sidewalk.
…and I don’t mean because they’ve been sitting in the back of the fridge for a week too long. What I’m getting at is when you have a dual-purpose bike, even something as mundane as having leftovers for supper can be amazingly fun.
Case in point: yesterday was a beautiful early fall day, feeling more like early September than October. With the days growing steadily shorter, it becomes a bit of a crunch after work hours to get some riding in, especially when you have a pesky habit of eating decent meals at regular hours. The solution: reheat some of Mom’s homemade veggie lasagna in the microwave, then pack in into the tailpack of the bike along with a couple of bottles of water and hit the trails. Read the rest of this entry
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
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.
It’s been a poor winter for snow-lovers here in St. John’s. We had over 100cm (39″) of snow in January, but it was usually followed by mild temperatures and rain so it didn’t stick around long. Today, February 1st, the temperatures reached to almost 10 degrees C (50 F) so of course we spent the balmy Sunday afternoon on the bikes. The task of washing the salt and grime off afterwards was completely justified by the looks of disbelief and envy we got from just about everyone!
It’s the first time I’ve ever ridden a motorcycle in February, which is usually our snowiest month of the year. The forecast for tomorrow calls for a high of -7 degrees C (19 F) so I think it’s safe to say that today was an anomaly. It sure breaks up the winter though!
There have been several occasions over the past few years when I have experienced moments of such intense contentedness and well-being that it seemed as if the entire universe was telling me “you are exactly where you should be right now”. One of those occasions was last Sunday – my birthday – December 14. Read the rest of this entry
After a frigid start to 2014, the weather has taken on a teasing, spring-like quality over the course of the past couple of days. Yesterday I was delighted to discover that the snow had retreated enough to allow me to run to Signal Hill without fear of being clipped by a car’s side mirror. I was rewarded by a spectacular sunset before I headed back down the hill.
The thaw continues today, with rain and temperatures forecasted to reach 11 degrees Celsius (52 F). If the rain lets off this afternoon I would not be shocked to see a few motorcycles out and about!
I just came across this video on Youtube…it’s a series of time lapse videos by photographer Brian Carey and it showcases St. John’s absolutely beautifully. Enjoy 🙂
Around the middle of November, I come to terms with the fact that riding is over for the year, and settle into winter mode. Helmets and leather jackets are put away, replaced by mitts, scarves and snow shovels.
Being an island, we often get bizarre weather and this past couple of days was an example of that. By the grace of the weather gods, we were given the weekend of November 16 and 17, 2013: Temperatures of 10-12 degrees C., very little wind, and dry! All household chores fell by the wayside, this weather had to be taken advantage of! Read the rest of this entry
I’m old enough to remember when St. John’s was a much smaller city. The economy was bad, many parts of the city were rundown and decrepit, and you needed a note from the creator to get a decent job. Life here was different then, on many levels. The pace of life was…well…slow.
Then came the oil money, and things began to change. The city has grown exponentially, with forests being mowed down to make way for new subdivisions and construction in the downtown rivaling that of Berlin after the Second World War. At least 75% of the population seems to be – judging from the immense houses and expensive toys – making a fortune in jobs relating to the oil and gas industry, and everyone is in a MAD HURRY. During the week, get out of the way because they’re trying to get to work to make money. On the weekend, get out of the way because they’re trying to get to a store so that they can spend it. Read the rest of this entry