Archive for the 'Travel Stories' Category
July 11, 2011
Lunacy on a 50cc scooter
The Mad Bastard Scooter Rally
Let’s go back in time for a moment…. Just over 2 years ago, friend and work colleague Chris Anderson entered a rally in Gatneau, PQ on his BWs scooter. It was the first time I had heard of the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally (MBSR) and suddenly another friend, Percy, asked if I could help him locate a scooter to ride in the same rally. I just so happened that I was in the process of destroying a pre-production C3 scooter, so I delayed the job long enough for it to get “one last ride.”
Both guys competed and had a “really fun time” as Chris said to me after. He asked if I would consider riding in the next rally and I replied that if he was going, then I would be there too.
A few weeks later, Chris became a victim in a motorcycle accident and was lost to this world. But I remembered the promise to him, and along with Percy’s encouragement, registered for the 2011 rally. Back to the future and here we are, June 2011.
Before we go any further, an explanation of the MBSR might be required.
Consider a bunch of scooter riders, all dressed in silly costumes, riding more than 700 kilometres (the kind of distance that would make the average touring bike rider think twice about doing in a day), and collecting clues and photos in the hope that they get the most “mad points” and get back to the starting point within a time allowance. Of course, do it all for charity and then you have the basis of the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally.
The map of madness.
With the well wishes and sponsorship of many people from Yamaha, along with the use of a new 2012 BWs 50 scooter, Percy (aka Scooterman) and I, the Dragon Slayer (such testosterone-filled titles) started on the journey on a cold, wet Saturday at just before 4:30 am. Yes, that’s right, early in the morning. The lightly modified BWs sprang to life and along with Scooterman’s C3, we left the hotel start line as team “Chris’ Caped Crusaders.”
The 2 little scoots have similar performance, so we raced along with throttles wide open, drafting each other and generally trying to outdo the other for speed whenever possible. Every so often, a stop to check the directions we had been given before the start, then back to racing.
The route wound east out of Barrie (a city 90 minutes north of Toronto) and eventually took us on some beautiful back roads of southern Ontario. On a 50cc scooter, there is plenty of time to see the scenery – I counted all 37 cows in one field as we zoomed past.
Stopping for fuel at the compulsory stops became part of the competition between Scooterman and I. We both vied for putting in the most fuel but in most cases there was no difference – he put in 2.72 litres and I put in 2.73 at the first stop after 138km. It was like that each time. We laughed that we could probably complete the whole rally on a fuel budget of 10 bucks each!
(The 2011 MBSR Slideshow … not for the faint of heart!)
The roads wound north from Gooderham up into Bracebridge and Huntsville before swinging South West to Collingwood and into the party beach town of Wasaga.
Here, after a total of 13 hours riding, we had a choice to make: bonus route or not? Keep in mind it is only 30 minutes back to the hotel and the call of the lounge, or some really serious mad points for riding another 5 hours. But we were going for the win, so West we went, up and over the Blue Mountains. The directions mentioned the hills were steep and we were a little concerned, but those four-stroke engines wouldn’t quit and up we went, no problem.
A required stop in Orangeville with the dark closing in on us and we headed back north to Barrie. We rolled into the hotel lot and the finish tent just after 10:30pm for a grand total of 18 hours “in the saddle.”
Scooterman wins the 2011 MBSR!
Result? Scooterman got the overall win (thanks to my direction reading and clue deciphering) and together we took the Team to 1st prize. Scooterman won the grand prize of a new Kymco 125 scooter, but we had already considered the prize ahead of time and agreed to ask it be raffled and the proceeds donated to the charity (Kids Help Phone).
The team prize? A case of Tankhouse beer! We decided to keep that and toasted the memory of our lost friend Chris, who no doubt had a helping hand with the win.
Cheers and see you at the 2013 rally.
Dave Shepherd, aka ‘The Dragon Slayer’
May 9, 2011
Moberg Report #2: Best in the West
The Western Canada Motorcycle Power Tour kicked off its first week on beautiful Vancouver Island, BC. My travels included stops at select Yamaha Dealerships in Duncan, Courtenay, Parksville and Victoria, demonstrating new 2011 Yamaha Motorcycles.
Being springtime, a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts come out of the winter humdrum looking for dry, warm weather to ride their motorcycle or look for a new ride! There are lots of you already on the road.
Our participation at each dealership was good to great, but … as we all know,the rain can sometimes hamper our “test drive” demo rides. Nevertheless, it’s a good time to polish up the ride!
Meet your author: Jamie Moberg.
Riders all of all ages are coming out to see the 2011 Yamaha motorcycles, hence our future Yamaha Stryker rider.
‘Rides of the Week’ went to the Stratoliner Deluxe and the new 2011 FZ8. Very popular rides with great reviews!
This week the Western Canada Power Tour travels to the Lower Mainland of BC with stops in Chilliwack and Langley, and then travels to Vernon and Kelowna in the Interior. Click here for a complete Power Tour schedule.
I’m looking forward to seeing all of you motorcycle enthusiasts as you discover: “What Kind of Yamaha are You?”
May 5, 2011
The Moberg Report: Western Power Tour kicks off!
Yamaha’s Annual Motorcycle Power Tour is on! Coordinator Jamie Moberg checked in with this update and photos from stop #1 on Vancouver Island:
The 1st Stop of the Western Canada Yamaha Motorcycle Power Tour started out with a great response, with fantastic weather and a full day of riding 2011 Yamaha Motorcycles. The Staff of Duncan Motorsports, Vancouver Island, BC, were extremely positive about their Power Tour day and it showed by the turn out of riders … some all the way from Victoria … on a Wednesday!
With a possible total of 88 rides throughout the day, 87 rides went out … all positive. The Stratoliner Deluxe was the ride of the day as it was booked up for rides before any of the others. A popular choice!
See attached pictures for a better visual on the day. The guy with the Yamaha Tuning Fork Tattoo owns a Raider S and is a true “Yamaha Man”!
I’ll keep you posted.
Cheers, Jamie Moberg
November 15, 2010
Labour of Love: Part Deux
“What the heck was I thinking?!”
We rode on to our first stop at the gigantic Manic 5 dam , which is the world’s largest multiple arch and buttress dam. I will admit, talking to the camera is quite unnerving when security feels the need to follow your every move!
As Keith Urban would say, this is “Where the blacktop ends….” The party was about to get started….
Sadly, the party ended about 60km later when I realized that when I moved back on the seat, my butt was no longer hitting the tent I had strapped on behind me. Crikey!
I turned around, looking at the bare, plush passenger seat where my tent had once been. As the dust settled and darkness crept in, Mike and Tyler in the UHAUL made their way closer.
“You guys didn’t pass anything on the road, specifically my tent?” I asked.
“Nope,” they replied.
I rode back for about 10kms, scanning the ditch lines, but … nothing.
This was bad for two reasons: The first being that I no longer had my “free accommodations.” What with all the wild fishers on the loose, sleeping under the stars … in Northern Quebec … in October, seemed a little ambitious. More importantly, this was my wife’s expensive tent that I had already damaged on my God forsaken motorcycle/TV trips the previous year and received a good scorning for. She was NOT going to be happy now that I had lost it.
Probably the only time Huggy was smiling while traversing the demanding wilderness of Northern Quebec.
Sitting in the middle of nowhere while darkness overtook the valleys was not an option. We pushed on to Relais Gabriel and arrived at the gas pumps with the lights on full blast. We had 317kms under our belts but now came the hard part. Where was I to sleep and what was I to eat? The one thing about riding those long distances is that it gives you time to think, and since I hadn’t ate for about 12 hours, this was my first priority.
I asked Brownie to get the camera and we walked into the restaurant. Approaching the counter with a smile, I gingerly asked the hostess (in what was probably the worst French accent ever), “Je m’appelle Bryan. Tu parlez l’anglais?” Her response: “Oh Yea! Hi Bryan”
YES! WE’RE MOVIN’ ON UP! Surprisingly, my offer to clean the men’s bathroom for a plate of spaghetti, and the women’s for bacon and eggs in the morning, was warmly received. I would even say that it didn’t require much negotiation. Then again, most people are happy not having to scrub toilets. It wasn’t long before I was twisting my fork, followed closely by my best Cinderella impersonation!
He’s lucky! The guys first stop featured a very generous hostess, who provided Huggy with a bite to eat, but not before he shined the porcelain!
My belly full, and the bathrooms sparkling, I stepped out onto the porch. The next order of business was sleep. I cast my eyes on the UHAUL in all it’s glory (kind of like in cartoons when a dog looks at a chicken and imagines it grilling on a rotisserie) and started looking on the bright side of sleeping in the cargo box. Off the ground, mostly water resistant, fisher-proof … it would do. I spread out my sleeping bag and got comfortable (sort of). For the first time in my life, I sure felt like an old-time Hobo! Now where to put this stick and handkerchief…….
Huggy’s new sleeping quarters after losing his tent. What’s the saying, “He who endures, conquers…”
Stay tuned for Parts 3 & 4.
For more photos please visit: facebook.com/yamahamotorcanada and click on the “photos” tab.
The season premiere of A Motorcycle Experience will be on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 11:30AM EST. All shows are broadcast on TSN.
November 4, 2010
Labour of Love: Part 1
Bryan Hudgin begins his Trans-Lab road trip
Labrador Labour of Love: Part 1 of 4
Labour of love? Now that’s an understatement. It was 585km of gravel road, trees, lakes and mountains (and not much else) just to get to the Trans-Labrador highway! This road is not for the faint of heart, and that’s why the ‘Labrador Labour of Love’ would be my toughest challenge yet. Let me walk you through this trip from the start…
I met Mike Brown (A Motorcycle Experience’s trusted cameraman) and Tyler Hawley (producer) at the airport with my little Ford Focus rammed to the gills. To their credit, airport security didn’t pull a heavy on me when I unintentionally tried to smuggle a Swiss Army knife and matches in my carry-on luggage, which was a camping tent. Seems I forgot the knife and matches were included in there with the pegs (insert sheepish grin here). I shuddered as I imagined how a similar situation would play out, in a US airport, with an over zealous rent-a-cop.
Why the heck was I taking a tent as a carry-on? Well, ego is a powerful motivator, and I had agreed to another challenge for A Motorcycle Experience. The host, Dave Hatch, had dared me to complete the same challenge as last year, albeit on the remote and rugged Trans Labrador Highway. So there was no food, no accommodations and no money (except for fuel) from Monday morning until Wednesday night. Just me, my Super Ténéré, some fishing and camping supplies, and 1140km of barren road. This is how the ‘Labrador Labour of Love’ name was coined. The payoff? If I successfully made it to Point B without breaking any of the rules, Hatch would host an entire show with the word ‘Yamaha’ written across his forehead.
The camerman and producer were allowed to eat...
...But Huggy wasn't!
We arrived in Baie Comeau Sunday night after a layover in Montreal. Through a series of hand gestures, broken french and a bit of charades, we 3 Anglos managed to get a cab for transport to the hotel. I settled down to sleep a little later, but not before sharpening my knife and reading up on edible plants.
Monday morning brought some confusion, including a last minute run to Wal-Mart for an SD card, and another cab to get to the UHAUL dealer (which was odd as they were also a competing motorcycle dealer. Seeing as I was dressed in full Yamaha regalia, and after waiting an inordinate amount of time, I was sure to check the brake lines and lug nuts before I left.) Patrick from Baie Comeau Motorsports had “Tenny” perfectly prepped for the long trip. Since we were doing the lion’s share of the ride on gravel road, I had opted for knobby tires instead of the more pavement-friendly versions that are stock on the Super Tenere.
The roads are nothing to write home about, but the landscape sure is!
My tentative agenda had the Labrador Labour of Love crew leaving at 9:30AM to make our way towards our first stop 216km down the road, arriving at the Manic 5 dam at 12:30PM.
At 12:15PM we rolled out of Baie Comeau Motorsports parking lot… Yes, quite a bit behind schedule already. Oh Brother.
The road to Manic 5 dam turned into remote in a hurry. It wasn’t long before a combination scent of freshly cut wood and thick diesel fumes were confusing my olfactory system, “… smells …so…sweet…but…[ahem]…why…is…it….hard…..to….[cough]…breath?”
The logging trucks were going by fast and furious and, as such, I increased my speed to stay out of the way. It wasn’t long after that I crested a hill and narrowly missed a plodding porcupine on the other side. Meh, no big deal. About 10kms later I rounded a corner and saw some sort of cat/fox/coyote hybrid. After more thought, I realized it was probably a fisher which was confirmed by almighty Google when I returned home. It was then I realized, ‘Tenny, we’re not in Kansas anymore!’……
The story's not over! Stay tuned for parts 2,3, and 4 to find out if he made it.
For more photos please visit: facebook.com/yamahamotorcanada and visit the photos section.
The season premiere of A Motorcycle Experience will be on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 11:30AM EST. All shows are broadcast on TSN.
September 16, 2010
The “Labrador Labour of Love” Tour!
From Remote Control to Control Remote by Huggy B
Viewers of A Motorcycle Experience and Yamaha bloggers have spoken. It was time to up the ante! So we’ve manned up! It’s time to tackle North America’s Final Frontier!
What’s the deal? From October 3rd – 7th, the much talked about, 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere will transport me the 1113KM’s from Baie-Comeau, QC to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL on the legendary Trans-Labrador Highway. The term highway may be a bit of a misnomer here. As a resident of populous Southern Ontario, I tend to think of a highway as a 6-lane, concrete overpass filled, stop-and-go nightmare for my daily commute. To the residents of Labrador though, the Trans-Lab qualifies as a “Highway” because it’s the one and only road that can take you right through the heart of Labrador. Stop and Go or scenic wilderness? The latter works for me!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a challenge without any adversity. Last year’s rules of no money, no food and no accommodations, (yes that means a tent…in Labrador…in October…. What have I got myself into?) are still in effect. Toss in additional factors like nearly 1000KM of dirt roads and hundred’s of KM’s between gas stations and I think we’ve got quite the trek on our hands!
On the heels of this, I phoned Tim Kryski, our district sales manager for Newfoundland and Labrador to get his thoughts. We gabbed for about 20 minutes but only three of his comments really stuck with me after our conversation. They were, “Labrador in October? I can remember 2 years ago when they had 6-inches of snow in the middle of September”. THEN, “I’ve ridden motorcycles all my life and never once had the urge to do that trip” AND FINALLY “I had a person tell me it would have been fun if they didn’t need to have their feet down the whole time.” (GULP) “Really? Gee Tim, I sincerely appreciate the pep-talk!”
But what is a life half-lived? Let’s cast away the boat lines and get this show started! The tour will start at Baie-Comeau Motorsports on the morning of the 4th. After that, we’ll try and stick to the tentative agenda below. If you live on QC’s HWY 389 or the Trans Lab look for the crew! I will be doing my best to provide updates (as long as wireless internet lets me) as the trip unfolds on the Yamaha Facebook page and Twitter accounts, so if you’re wanting to get all the grisly details be sure to bookmark; www.facebook.com/yamahamotorcanada or follow us on twitter at: YamahaMotorca.
In the meantime, anyone with any tips, preferably those that deal with edible plants, winter camping and how to fight off bears, please be sure to write in!
Monday, October 4
9:00 AM – Baie Comeau Motorsports
12:30 PM – Manic 5 Dam
2:00 PM – Manicougan Reservoir
4:00 PM – Relais Gabriel, QC
Tuesday, October 5
9:00 AM – Gagnon
10:00 AM – 52th Parallel
2:00 PM – Mount Wright
3:15 PM – Enter Labrador!
4:00 PM – Hewlett Minpaco, Labrador City/Wabush, NL
Wednesday, October 6
8:00 AM – Hewlett Minpaco
12:00 PM – Churchill Falls
4:00 PM – Central Labrador Plateau
6:00 PM – Frenchie’s Service Centre, Goose Bay, NL
Posted @ 3:30 pm in Travel Stories
July 28, 2010
What d’ya wanna see Huggy do?
You may recall that last season on A Motorcycle Experience, host David Hatch made a side bet with Yamaha “Scooter Sense” host, Bryan Hudgin.
Dave bet Bryan that he couldn’t ride his Yamaha BWS125 scooter from Montreal to Toronto – with stops in Ottawa and Kingston along the way – using only a $25.00 gas card, tent and sleeping bag for the 3-day trek. Well Bryan not only accepted the challenge but he also completed the journey in record time with gas money to spare. Bryan wisely used “Scooter Sense” t-shirts to barter for food and lodging was provided by the great outdoors. He was able to camp out on viewer Bruce Haskin’s lawn on the first night while sneaking into a provincial park for the second!
In the end, Dave lost the bet and was forced to wear a Yamaha motocross jersey for 7 days straight. Dave has nothing against Yamaha off-road apparel, but he certainly did stand out at a good friend’s wedding!
So, as the fall riding season approaches, Dave and Bryan are at it again. Dave wants Bryan to push the envelope and take on another challenge. Will it be a “Northern Lights” ride from Toronto to James Bay? A “Rocky Mountain High” cruise from Vancouver to Calgary? A “Maritime Mayhem” tour of the East Coast?
Neither man can decide. Instead they are throwing the challenge out to the loyal Motorcycle Experience TV audience….putting you in the saddle! Do YOU have a great idea for his challenge? We’d like to hear it. Post it here on the Yamaha motorcycle blog under the “Leave a Comment” section! Perhaps you’d like to invite Bryan and the Motorcycle Experience crew to explore your home town or favourite local back roads? It’s completely up to you. Just remember, Bryan must remain safe while executing the challenge. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit!
Please send us your suggestions by August 15th. Dave and Bryan will weigh the pros and cons of each submission and decide upon a winner – then they‘ll shake hands and it will be game on!
Stay tuned to the Yamaha motorcycle blog at http://motorcycles.yamahablogs.ca for updates on when and where the challenge will take place. Bryan will also be updating to the blog and Yamaha Facebook page as the challenge plays out. Finally, you can watch the tour in it’s entirety on TSN’s A Motorcycle Experience in the spring of 2011.
Don’t delay! Get your submissions in before August 15th! We may choose yours!
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 …..
November 9, 2009
Good girl gone bad
From Meager Scooter Girl to Full-fledged Biker Chick:
True Stories of the Hard-Life by Amy “Cowbell” Campbell
Amy Campbell ain’t no tart – she’s a biker chick!
I live approx. an hour and a half north of Toronto, which is definitely on purpose. For those who know me, know I am not a fan of city life. I recently spent 2 days downtown Toronto for training, and was overjoyed each night to return to my little 2-horse town …..
August 24, 2009
Dan, Dan the Biker Man
By Danny Brault
[In the tune of "Bicycle Race" by Queen.] “Dan Pecora wants to ride his motorcycle … he wants to ride his bike…. ” And he wants to ride it a lot! So who is Dan Pecora? He’s your average Joe kinda guy who really, really likes to ride motorcycles, and after reading an email of his where he marveled at some new Yamaha models, I decided to call him up for a few words on the blog….