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February 11, 2010

Just scootin along

I’m guessing for all you scooter folk out there, things are a little slow right now. Between the snow and cold temps, it’s probably not quite as thrilling cruising the streets (or rural roads). I definitely give props to those brave souls who are enjoying the odd “brisk” ride …..

Thankfully, spring is not far off. Despite ol’ Wiarton Willie popping out of his hole and seeing his shadow (signaling another 6 weeks of winter), IMO, I think warm weather is around the corner. So why not create a little hype and excitement for the coming riding season?!?

Believe it or not, a young Canadian couple (you’ll read about below), rode this cute, little C3 scooter from Vancouver to Barrie.

Recently, one of our Ontario DSM’s, Dave McDougall, passed along this note from Garnet Kinch of Brantford Motorcycle:

Hi Dave,
You got to take a look at this web site (http:/scootercanada.weebly.com).  It is a super testimonial to Yamaha.  An 11-day, 4500 km trip across Canada,  Vancouver to Barrie, not one but 2 people, plus camping supplies and food, all on a Yamaha C3.  We sold one yesterday because of this!

If you haven’t done so already, click on the link and read/look at the details from Mike and Keri’s cross-country scooter run. It’s impressive – and motivating! My experience riding scooters spans the length of our parking lot, but after reading their story, I can’t help but feel a little envious. I’ve traveled across Canada a few times, but always by truck and trailer. While my adventures will remain with me forever (like when Chuck Mesley and I ran out of fuel in Southern Alberta and were stuck in the middle of nowhere for 5 hours!), it’s not quite comparable to hopping onto a scooter with only a bagful of supplies and going for it. (Harry and Lloyd would concur …)

Mike and Keri began their cross country trip in Vancouver on Sept 2, 2008. It took them 11 days, 4,486 km, and $153.76 (115.68L) of fuel to reach their final destination in Barrie, ON.

Mike and Keri did a great job keeping friends and family informed of their trip with their website, but we wanted a little more …. so I emailed them for some extra info. As it turns out, Mike is on another adventure! He’s currently working onboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas as an entertainer, while Keri is at home in Barrie, ON.

Mike was kind enough to take some time away from entertaining and answer a few questions about their 5,000 km scooter trip, right here on Bike Blog. We’ll be sure to contact Keri as well, and get her take on the trip. Word has it they have another crazy trip in the works!

Bike Blog: Mike, how did you and Keri decide to travel across Canada on a scooter? Are you nuts??
Mike Craigmyle: I love the freedom riding a scooter gives … the whole “Go anywhere, do anything, nobody to stop you” attitude is me in a nutshell. And after I brought it up at a party and endured my friends making fun of me, I HAD to prove them wrong

Why did you choose the C3? 
I’ve always been a fan of anything motorized … a fan but never an owner. So after years of dragging Keri to all the “Toy” shops in our travels, and spending hours on the Internet learning as much as I could, I made the plunge and bought a C3. The final straw was when the company I worked for offered to pay me for every kilometre travelled. I did the math and had the C3 being paid for in a matter of months! Also, I loved the boxy retro style, the storage, and the ride comfort. Oh … and the fact that it is the most fuel efficient, and reliable 49cc scooter you can buy helped, too!

Mike and his C3.  

What’s your background with motorcycling?
None. I was one of those kids that spent my entire childhood terrorizing the neighbourhood on my bicycle. The closest thing I had to a motor was when I put cardboard strips in the spokes. 

Why Vancouver to Barrie? 
Vancouver is my hometown. Barrie is Keri’s hometown. We were headed to Barrie for a visit with Keri’s family before heading off to backpack around Europe and then onto Australia. 

Any breakdowns? Travel troubles? 
Only breakdown we had was about 2-hours outside of Barrie. It scared both of us. We were positive that we wouldn’t make it! After 10 minutes of sitting at the side of the road, wondering how much a tow truck would charge, I noticed the engine kill switch had been nudged by my glove. A couple seconds later and we were just eating up the km’s!

Best places you visited?
There is quite a few to choose from. Most scenic was definitely the BC/Alberta border. We’d be crossing our fingers hoping we’d make it up the mountains, and then hooting and hollering on the way down! We met a really nice couple very late at night at a gas station in Raymond, AB. They offered us a place to stay in their home and we had a great evening with them. She even packed us a little lunch to take with us the next day! 

Memorable moments? 
There are MANY. Day 4 when we were lost in Southern Alberta/Saskatchewan will forever stay with me. It was hell. I could hear Keri crying behind me, as I struggled to keep the scooter on the muddy gravel road. We were very nearly out of gas, and it was pitch black. I detail the full story on the website. Day 11 was great. We ran into other bikers waiting for a ferry, and when they found out we had done 560+ kms the previous day, we were treated like celebrities. Once the ferry docked we led the procession of bikers off the ferry, and watched as people’s jaws dropped.

Did you meet any characters along the way? 
When you’re speeding along at 12-55km/hr, you don’t have time for conversation [laughs]!

Worst thing about trip? Best thing?   
We were nearly hit by a semi in the canyons of BC. He passed by and I could have put out my hand and touched the trailer. The wind draft pushed us over into the gravel at the side of the road and it was a miracle we didn’t end up under the trailer wheels or over the long drop to the river.  The best thing is that the entire experience as a whole will stay with Keri and I forever. I wanted a story that my future grandkids will tell to friends at school about how “cool” their grandparents are. Hopefully we achieved that … if not, I have loads of other ideas.

Plans to do it again?
In a heartbeat! My next idea involves crossing the States East to West on the Trans American Trail (TAT) via Yamaha Rhino, then getting on the Great Western Trail (GWT) and heading down to Mexico. I think life is all about adventure, that means doing things normally thought of as outside the boundaries of everyday life. 

What were people’s reactions when you told them what you were doing?
Complete and utter laughter. And we just laughed along with them! It was ridiculous.  We spent hours in Saskatchewan feeling like we were going nowhere, and then I’d hear Keri singing the entire 99 bottles of beer on a wall song – twice. The third time I joined in. We’d pull into gas stations, put our 4 or 5 bucks into the tank and have a small crowd around us by the time we pulled out. 

Worst road? Best/most scenic road?  
“Highway” 501 in Southern Alberta and then into Saskatchewan. Do not take this road! [laughs] It may look nice and pretty and a solid line on your map, but it is utter garbage. There are cows all over it, and the odd buffalo, and if you’re lucky maybe a crazy couple on a scooter. Avoid at all costs. Without a doubt the best road was the driveway into Keri’s parents place.

What kind of affect did it have on your relationship? Strengthened the bond? Or were you left nipping at each other’s throat [laughs]?
We’ve received a lot of questions or comments regarding this. In all honesty, it basically sealed the deal for me. We have a stronger bond than ever before. As cheesy as it sounds, she’s my soul mate. Our friends say that we’ll be the old couple finishing each others sentences… 

Anything you’d like to add?
Hopefully our trip inspires more people to just get out there and ride … and of course choose Yamaha.  I still can’t believe the little scoot never died! If you could pass on my thanks to the engineers at Yamaha I would be very grateful. They created the perfect machine with which to fullfill our dreams.

What do you think? Does Mike and Keri’s story inspire you to get up and go for it? If you have any questions for them, feel free to comment, we’ll forward it on and then post here. Stay tuned for Keri’s side of the story!


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4 Responses to “Just scootin along”

  1. JJ Joseph says:

    I don’t get it! It’s a lovely sunny day, a cool +10C here in Vancouver. But still a great day for scooting. I ride my Honda 50cc (sorry about that) to work every day, year round (except when it snows).

    Aren’t there any Yamaha scoots riding in February? Have you all parked your machines and switched to video games for the winter?

    I don’t get it either, Joseph! I’m not surprised we don’t see more people riding scooters in TO during this time (it is quite cold!!), but surely you must be seeing a few Yamaha’s scootin’ along the streets of Vancouver? We won’t hold your Honda against you, we’re always happy to hear from any two wheel enthusiast! DB

  2. Larsen says:

    I ride my scooter year-round mostly because it can park anywhere, unlike a bigger bike. There’s scooters out any day it’s not icy, which is almost every day. And, yes, there’s lots of Yamahas on the road, usually BWS models. The Yamaha sales dudes are always trying to up-sell me on a scooter cruiser, but they’re way too big to park in a bike rack! The best scooter is very small (moped-size) but with a really powerful 2-stroke motor 🙂 70cc overbores are awesome!

    Thanks for hosting a users’ blog!

    Good to hear from you, Larsen. Where are you from? Where do you ride? DB

  3. Larsen says:

    Well, the Olympics is over here in Vancouver, and I was sure glad I had my scooter during all the traffic jams. The sun was shining & the crowds were incredible! I just get between the cars and boot it (I know you’re not supposed to do it in BC, but the officers are so busy reading their email that they never notice). The big scooters can’t scrape thru traffic like this.

    Go Canada Go! You’re one lucky …… Larsen. I wish I could have been in the middle of that chaos for 3 weeks. Not sure my liver would have survived though. Did you have a chance to watch any of the events live?

  4. Jeremy says:

    Just wnated to say that I am moving from Edmonton, AB to Windsor, ON in the next few weeks and was thinking serious about riding my Yamaha BWS50. I was usure un till I came across your wonderful inspiring story! I now are totally going to make the trip, as you 2 have inspired me and givn me the confidence that my 49cc 2 month old machine could quite possibly make it!

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