Saturday, 23 September 2017

Commuting on a Motorcycle

It isn't a giant commute - about a 15km round trip each day.  Our strangely summery autumn here in Ontario means I'm commuting on two wheels every day.  Over two weeks and ten commutes I've put over 150kms on the bike (I sometimes go the long way home).  What is commuting on a fourteen year old Triumph Tiger like?  Glorious.

In addition to actually looking forward to my commute each day, I (and the planet) are also enjoying the fact that I'm barely using any fossil fuel to do it.  In the past ten days I've used 6.88 litres (1.82 gallons) of gasoline to get to and from work; I've still got three quarters of a tank from my fill up two weeks ago.

The Tiger is currently getting better mileage than a Prius and didn't make anything like the hole in the world that the Prius did in manufacture.  My 0-60 in under 4 seconds Tiger is very nature friendly.

Other than a light rain on the way home one day it's been a dry time.  The bike has been fire-on-the-first-touch ready every day.  If I won't get soaked on the way in I'll take the bike (being at work with wet pants is no fun).  I could attach panniers and have rain gear with me (I've done that before on committed 2-wheeled commutes), but being only fifteen minutes from work means I and the Tiger travel light.  Riding home and getting wet means being uncomfortable for fifteen minutes, no big deal.

How long can I keep it up?  With the current forecast it looks like I'll be car-less until well into October.  The most recent forecast suggests a drop into the teens in the upcoming weeks, but I'll keep going until ice is a threat (I won't do that again on purpose).  Warm, never ending autumns are a lovely thing.

Unlike driving to work in the car, when I commute on the bike I arrive oxygenated and alert; it's difficult to cultivate the same level of alertness sitting in a box.  Showing up at work switched on and ready to go is a great way to start the day.  

With no morning radio I'm not as plugged in to the world, but that's no bad thing either.  Instead of pondering the latest human generated catastrophe (aka: the news), I'm gulping down morning mist and beautiful sunrises; it puts you in an expansive state of mind.

Soon enough we'll be into the long dark teatime of the soul (Canadian winter).  In the meantime I'm going to keep drinking from the commuting on a motorcycle fire hose.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Seven for Seven

Last week was a perfect 5 commutes on the bike.  This week I'm up to two already, though I got a bit wet on the way home.

If the weather holds I'm aiming for three weeks with the car parked!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A Glorious Morning

The ride to work -
fifteen minutes of
morning mist, 
warming sun, 
cool air,
filling my lungs
before the day begins.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Triumph Triples and Vulcan Bombers: Singing British Induction

I took a 360 video of our ride down the Forks of the Credit today.  

The video bit came out OK, but what was interesting was how well the microphone picked up the 955cc Triumph triple cylinder engine.  

Since it was out of the wind you get a front row seat to the mighty motor and its strange sonorous ways:

I've heard induction roar on a bike before, the Concours made a big whoosh, but the Tiger almost sings as it breaths.  It must be a British engineering thing.  Vulcan bombers used to howl when their air induction reached a certain point as well:

Why just make it work when you can make it sing?

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Haliburton Highlands Fall Colours

With the weather beginning to turn we're in for a Canadian treat:  Fall Colours.  I think I'm going to aim for a couple of days out Haliburton way in October for a last big ride and a chance to soak up the colours.

Last time up that way I did Highway 60 through Algonquin Park.  This time I'm going to stitch together another route that is as different as possible.

Algonquin does a colour report that I'll keep an eye on and see if we can time a couple of days up that way when the colours are peaking.  Discover Muskoka does one too.  Last year we went up to the Kawarthas for Thanksgiving (early October in Canada): 

...and it was right before the colours changed.  Only the somac was in full colour.  I'll see if I can time it a bit better this time around at sync it up with a big last ride before the snows come.

Autumn on the Canadian Shield is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Waiting for it to Heat Up

It was a 6° morning, so I waited for an hour or so until the sun warmed it up to double digits.  The goal was to enjoy some curves on the last weekend before it's back to work.

I pushed north to Grand Valley and got a quick coffee at Brewed Awakenings before pushing on up past Shelburne and onto River Road out of Horning's Mills.  Finally, here were the twisty roads I'd been looking for.  South Western Ontario is a patchwork of tediously straight roads.  The exception is the Niagara Escarpment and this is one of the closest pieces of it.

Playing with vanishing point electrical lines

South out of Terra Nova Public House after a quick (and fantastic) bowl of hand made fish soup, I pushed south down the spine of the escarpment into Mono Cliffs and Hockley Valley.

By this point it was early afternoon and a warm, 22° late summer day.  Leaving the escarpment I pushed back across the barren desert of straight roads.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

River Ride

 Work has been picking up and I'm having trouble finding time for a ride.  After watching Dovi win Silverstone on PVR I jumped on the Tiger and went for a short ride down and up the Grand River.  I'd like to be able to go on longer rides, for days and weeks and months, but can't seem to find the time and space to do it.  In the meantime winter is coming so I want to get as much saddle time into my head as I can to last the long, cold dark.

The sky was bruised ahead with a passing thunderstorm.  My favourite moment was riding past a murmuration of starlings as they came to ground like a massive jelly fish after another day on their long migration south.

Back in Elora, I made my way through town and back home.  It was only a half an hour ride, but it's another one to put in the memory bank for those frozen January days when the possibility of riding seems as remote as walking on the moon.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Box Hill On a Sunny Sunday Morning

If you're ever in the southern end of the London suburbs, Box Hill is a local meeting place for motorcyclists.  On the sunny, August, Sunday morning I was there it was already busy at 9am and had thousands pass by over the day.  If you get a chance to go see it you'll get a good sense of just how diverse and how different UK motorcycling culture is from North American cruiser biased riding culture.  It's little wonder that there are multiple British riders in MotoGP, but North Americans are thin on the ground.

From 50cc classics to 2300cc modern monster bikes, Box Hill had it all on a Sunday morning.  It's a strange thing seeing British imagery substituted for the Stars and Stripes when you're used to seeing Americana everywhere.

Inside Ryka's, the restaurant/coffee shop in the parking lot at Box Hill, there is a lot of British motorcycling memorabilia.

My cousin Jeff (who has done hundreds of thousands of miles on two wheels) looking over his dream machine.

On the back of one old timer's jacket - what you'd expect to find in the UK.

Lots of customization on hand.  UK riders seem particularly drawn to farkling their bikes.

A local dealer on hand to show of the latest Hondas.

A hand stitched webby seat on a very customized machine.

Just in case you felt your Triumph wasn't British enough.

There were more Indians than Harleys in the lot.

Well marked territory.

The lot was already over half full when we got there and just got busier and busier by the time we left just past 10am.

Lots of Triumph on display.

After weeks only glimpsing motorcycles on the road, this was a good fill up.  I only wish I'd had the Tiger there - it would have been the only 955i Tiger in the lot.

Tim's happy bike face.

They ride everything, but if there is a single type of bike that typifies the British biker, it's still the sports bike, at least on Box Hill.

A small contingent of what would be the dominant form of riding in North America proudly showing of patches with such wisdom as 'loud pipes save lives'.

An hour of wandering around was nice, but when you show up in shorts and get out of a car you're only half there.  I never missed the Tiger more than that morning at Box Hill.
What do you do after you've gone up to Box Hill, had breakfast at Ryka's and chatted with other riders?  You open it up going down the hill like this guy did.