Tried and true

Have you ever noticed that sometimes there is one ride/route above all others that lifts your spirits and gets your head on straight again?  

I have two such rides.  And tonight I decided that I needed to do one.  

A quick blast to the ice cream shack at Qualicum Beach was the remedy of the day.  25 min up the road.  Perfect weather. Awesome company.  

Ahhhhhhhh. A great night for a ride. 

To fringe or not to fringe …was that even a question?

So I think the time has come to look for new chaps. The bottom seam on mine are coming apart, the snaps are broken and they’re starting to be ineffective.

For using those of you who don’t know, I prefer chaps with fringes on them. Some people ask me whether the fringes are just for looks – and I explain to them the story of why I prefer fringes.

I grew up on the prairies in Canada, and as some of you know the prairies in Canada can be very very cold during the winter times. What this means is that you have to learn that the weather can’t keep you inside or limit what you want to do. On the prairies we got lots of snow during the season and that meant that winter sports was something that I learned to do at a very early age. One of my favourite pastimes was snowshoeing. Every winter I would go out snowshoeing with my father or friends. And I learned that the value of having a jacket with long fringes was almost a necessity . On the prairies the Crees would wear buckskin jackets with extra long fringe. When I am asked why I was giving the explanation that when  snowshoeing, if a person got a stick through the gutting/webbing, it would render the shoe useless. Therefore the long fringe  was not for looks –  they were for necessity. The extra long fringe that adorned  the jacket were used for a temporary fix on the webbing of the snowshoe until a more permanent fix could be made.

Fast forward to riding. I noticed quite a few of the old bikers used to wear chaps with fringes. Because I’m that kind of a person, I asked why do you wear chaps with fringes? That’s when I was told by an old-time biker the reason he wore fringes was because when riding if it started to rain, the fringes acted as a wick to pull the water away from the chaps and shake it off. If there’s no fringes he explained that the wind would actually blow the water around the chaps to the back and then drive the water up and across the underside of the thigh into the crotch. Sounded reasonable but a little bit improbable. And I do admit I am a skeptic.

Shortly after that, I was riding and got caught in the rain storm. My chaps didn’t have fringes and sure enough as I watched the water kicking up from my front tire, it hit my chaps, wrapped around to the back and because of the wind from the road as well as the front of the engine, it drove the water to the backside of my leg, up the back, under the thigh and to my crotch and my seat.  A great deal of amusement was had when we stopped at a restaurant and the only spot that was wet for me when I peeled off my chaps was my crotch.

Needless to say, I made sure my next pair had fringes.  Low and behold – the next time it rained, my crotch did not get nearly as wet.

It pays to listen to the ones that have been riding for a while. They know what they are talking about.

So very soon I will be on the hunt for a new pair of chaps, and – yes – they will have fringes.

Travel safe. Ride well.

It’s one of those days.

The problem with buying a secondhand bike, is that as you start to learn about the bike, and ride it, and get to know the bike for what it is, you start to discover some of the things that were done by the previous owner. One of the things I discovered was that the highway pegs had been installed upside down. Sometimes, a person just has to scratch their head.

I’m starting to get to know the bike and today was a perfect day to take it out for a long ride. A trip to the bike games in Nanaimo and a sunny day with a long ride was exactly what was needed. I saw lots of friends, that I hadn’t seen before. I also met up with people I hadn’t seen for a long time. It was a good day with good weather and a good ride.



Map of Vancouver Island
Map of Vancouver Island
(Map courtesy of guideulysses)

Points North

Lately what I am finding is an added bonus to being in a different city is – this new location gives me access to places that might otherwise be outside the realm of travel.

Any trip I choose to take now has me reassessing my time/travel constraints. In the past when looking north on my island, I would add 3 – 3 1/2 hours travel time on any trip I wanted to take from my original local. Sometimes it would mean that I would actually be forced to decide whether something was a ‘do-able’ based on travel time and affordability. Now,I am 3 hours closer (return trip) to the north part of the island and things have actually been reduced to ‘day trips’ that would historically been overnighters.

My ride wish list for the year has been duly adjusted and I have been diligently peering over maps planning my ride calendar out. Nothing exact, mind you. More general than anything. For example, in May I will be heading to Port Alice. June will be Telegraph Cove etc. That way I have a whole month to do things and there is at least 30 days in which to do the ride – depending on my days off.

This year, being an odd year, is destined to be the year for close to home trips while next year will be another year for longer trips. Hopefully (hint hint) to the North West Territories.