Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Cruise with my "BOY"

Not much for words today as pictures are worth a thousand words. Went out for a two hour cruise with my son today...a combination of city and highway driving, he did great!

Here we are ready to go...

Time to hit the road...

And on our way...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Very Excited!

My 16 year old son completed the Canada Safety Council Motorcycle Training Course last weekend and was successful in obtaining his motorcycle license. He was just thrilled and it has been fun talking with him about safety and driving a motorcycle. The weather has not been that cooperative this week and my son has been just itching to get out for a drive on his Ninja 250.

This morning we woke to rain, but had a chance to get out between showers for some riding. I drove the Ninja 250 to a local school parking lot while my son followed in my truck. The plan was to let him drive/practice with the Ninja 250 so he could get used to the handling, clutch, throttle, brakes, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well he handled the Ninja 250...smooth gear shifting, braking and acceleration. The team of instructors from last week's course did an excellent job teaching him how to ride a street bike!

My son spent about an hour practicing with the Ninja 250 with stops and starts, some slow riding and accelerating through the gears. He stopped and we talked a bit about his driving and the bike. I asked him how the bike handled and felt, he said, "Dad, it handles so much better than the bikes we trained on last weekend and the clutch is sweet!"

As we were talking, the sky became darker and we heard thunder off in the distance. We figured we had better head for home. My son drove the Ninja home with me following behind in my truck, he did very well driving on the street! As soon as we drove the Ninja 250 into the yard, the clouds let loose...good timing!

As a father, I am just thrilled to be able to share my passion for motorcycling with my son. He still has a lot to learn and will be traveling with me for the next little while. I learned to drive by taking the Canada Safety Council Motorcycle Training Course and I am glad my son has too (like he had a choice)! For others who want to learn how to drive, a motorcycle training course is essential!

Until next time, ride safe!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rainy Day Saturdays!

For those that have been following my blog, you know that I recently finished rebuilding a Kawasaki Ninja 250 for my son aka "The Ninja 250 Project". The Ninja 250 is a very fun bike and I think my son will enjoy it! Below is a pic that I took back in the summer of 2007 when I originally purchased the Ninja 250.

For the last month, I have been actively looking for a new project to take on. There have been several that have peaked my interest and one that fell through because the bike had no title. Last week while searching on Kijiji, I came across a 2002 Kawasaki Ninja 500. This type of bike was not even on my radar screen, but the pictures & condition of the bike were very similar to the Ninja 250 that I purchased back in 2007.

I contacted the seller and questioned him about the bike. He had purchased it new in 2002 and had not driven it in the last three years. I questioned if the price he was asking was a misprint. He explained that he had a young family and that he did not have time for the bike, therefor the asking price was correct. We talked a bit longer and we negotiated a time when I could take a look at the bike.

Remember the old saying about "saving your money for a rainy day", well today was a very rainy day! I went to view the bike and it was in very good condition. The owner and I discussed the history of the bike and checked it all over. In no time, cash and title were changing hands! The bike needs some work, but nothing serious! Like the picture above, here is the new purchase.

I am not yet sure what the future holds for this bike, but time will tell!

For all the Dads out there, Happy Father's Day on Sunday! Now, I have to go figure out a nice way to tell my wife about what I did on a "Rainy Day Saturday"!

Til next time, ride safe!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Toy Run With the Fredericton Motorcycle Club

Last weekend, I was approached by a colleague who is a member of the Fredericton Motorcycle Club about an upcoming "Toy Run" that the club was having for our local hospital. She explained how the run would be organized, etc. & the support that would be given to the child care unit at the hospital.

I usually shy away from large motorcycle runs as I have had bad experiences in the past re: bikers drinking & driving, etc. I checked the agenda for this run and there were no stops at bars, so I decided that I would give it a try.

I arrived at the meeting site about 9:00am and to my surprise ran into a few people that I know, this was really nice as they welcomed me and talked about the run. There were bikers arriving from all directions with all types of bikes.

I am not sure how many bikes were there at the start, but I would estimate about 150.

At 10:30am the run started and we were escorted by Fredericton City Police. They did an excellent job escorting the group through the city. Our destination was Stanley, NB, a small rural community about 65km from Fredericton. The drive to Stanley was nothing short of perfect...great weather & good motorcycle riding!

We stopped at Stanley High School where a BBQ was organized for us. The best part, all of the proceeds from the BBQ would be used to help Stanley High School fund their school breakfast program...another good cause! The principal of Stanley High School (Steve) was there and it was nice to see him, he is a biker and a very good friend of mine. For those who follow my blog, Steve traveled with me to the high school drag races back in May.

The BBQ at Stanley High School was really good, I enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to other bikers!

Here I am with my bike...

After lunch, we mounted up and proceeded back to Fredericton and to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital. We stopped at the Chalmers Hospital and presented our donation. The hospital staff had lemonade, ice tea and juice on ice for us; they were very accommodating.

There was a presentation made to the hospital and draws for prizes for participating bikers. Overall, it was a great way to spend the morning and I am really glad that I decided to go!

Until next time, ride safe!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cruise to St. Martins - June 7, 2009 (Lots of pictures!)

What a great day for a cruise! This weekend’s cruise included a trip to the coastal village of St. Martins, NB. I have lived in New Brunswick most of my life, but I have never been to St. Martins...until today.

The day started early, my friend Luc came to my place and then we connected with our other riding partners, Martin & Susan. First stop for us was coffee and breakfast at the Irving Big Stop, it was very good! Over breakfast, we planned our trip and decided that we would head for Saint John, NB on Route 7 and then on to St. Martins…route is shown below.

The drive to Saint John was good, however the temperature was about 5 degrees cooler as the fog was rolling in off of the Bay of Fundy.

We stopped at a tourist rest and I called my friend Al (@nbteacher on Twitter). The plan was for Al to meet us and lead us on the tour to St. Martins. We met Al at a gas station, fueled up and made our way to St. Martins. Al took us on a scenic route that was full of twists and turns and views of the coast. It was a fun ride, but the road was rough.

It took us about half an hour to get to St. Martins and when we arrived the scenery did not disappoint. We drove through town and arrived at the wharf.

There is also a lighthouse that serves as a tourist information center and covered bridge next to the wharf.

We went through the covered bridge and to the edge of town. We stopped at Cave View Family Restaurant and viewed the world famous sea caves. Unfortunately, the tide was not out all the way, so we could not check out the caves.

We stood around for a bit, enjoyed the scenery and ventured into the Cave View Family Restaurant for lunch. Most of us opted for haddock & chips, Luc went with the scallops. The food was excellent!

After lunch it was off to the Fundy Trail Parkway.

This place was absolutely amazing, the roads are fun to drive and the scenery is astounding! The views of the coast and the changes in elevation were fun to ride! If you come to New Brunswick, this is a must visit site!

Here are some of the views from the Fundy Trail Parkway...breathtaking!

We stopped at Salmon River to check out a suspension footbridge and decided that we had to try it out!

Here I am heading down a set of trail stairs towards the footbridge!

Here are the fearless bikers and the bikes!

We were running out of time as we still had about 160km trip home. We tried to figure out what would be the best way to get home, we decided to go through the Town of Sussex and head back to Fredericton following that route. Al left us at this point and we hit the road. We stopped in Sussex for a coffee, planned a fuel stop and went on our way.

Today's journey was close to 400km and you can tell from the pictures that it was an excellent motorcycle run!

Until next time, ride safe!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Biking as Therapy

For those of you who have been following my newly created blog or following me on Twitter, you have probably figured out my passion for motorcycling. For me, driving a bike provides an experience like no other! When I get a chance to go for a cruise, whether it is with friends or on my own, I get into my “motorcycling zone”! A zone where I concentrate on my driving, enjoy the scenery and the aromas that can only be experienced on a motorcycle. When cruising in the zone, I often find myself singing or humming the tune to a song while thinking about the surroundings and the road ahead of me. I find this very relaxing and therapeutic.

For example, this week was pretty stressful at work...dealing with the economic downturn, budgets cuts, etc! I really like my job, but today, I could not get out of there fast enough! My plan was to go home, jump on my bike and go for a short cruise to clear my mind AKA “my therapy”! Before leaving the office I posted this on Twitter, “TGIF, the weekend is here! I am outta this office and going for a cruise...catch ya later!!!”

I arrived home to find my 18 year old daughter standing at the door with motorcycle helmets, dressed and ready to go for a cruise. Apparently, she started to follow me on Twitter and could read between the lines of my Twitter post. What a great kid! Here she is on the V-Star.

We pulled out the V-Star 1100 Classic and went for a two hour cruise, it was great! We arrived back home, my head was clear and ready to face the rest of the weekend! This is therapy that no shrink can provide and perhaps only a biker can understand! Not that I want to sound cheesy or like the MasterCard commercial, but cruising after work, clearing my mind and quality time with my daughter – PRICELESS!

Weather forecast for this weekend is great, so I expect I will get a few more miles in. Until next time, drive safe!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sunday Ride...May 31st, 2009

Yesterday was a pretty exciting day, the weather was nice and we had a planning meeting for our summer motorcycle trip. We also went on a ride to the community of Gagetown.

The planning meeting took place at Frank’s Finer Diner, a 1950’s era style restaurant which is very close to where I live.
All of the founding members of “Bulldog’s Motorcycle Club” where in attendance…all four of us!

During breakfast, we discussed our trip to the Magdalen Islands and settled on the dates. Once the dates were settled, Luc reserved spots on the ferry for us as they fill up rather quickly. Check out the Magdalen Islands web site, it looks like a marvelous place. I better brush up on my French a bit too!

After breakfast, we decided that we would do a run on the north side of the Saint John River to Lower Jemseg and catch the ferry to Gagetown…a small but very scenic village.

The drive along the Saint John River is quite scenic and is one of my favorite rides. We arrived in Jemseg only to find out that the ferry was down for maintenance.

After a “what now” moment and a brief discussion, we decided to back track and take an alternate road route to Gagetown, you can see it clearly in the map (points B & C). Click on the map for a full view.

Once in Gagetown, we stopped at the Old Boot Pub, it is a popular stop for motorcyclists. You can see from the pics below that we were not the only bikers who stopped by.

We relaxed on the back deck of the pub, had a great view of the river and enjoyed a cold beverage.

I could not resist taking a pic of this Road King outside of the pub, what a beautiful machine! I had better start saving some dollars as I would really like to have one of these someday!

Our return route was on highway 102 on the south side of the Saint John River. On our way, we decided to stop and visit with a friend who just purchased a new to him Honda Sabre 1100. It is a very nice machine with very low mileage. I expect he will soon be joining us on some of our rides.

Total distance on Sunday’s run was approximately 160 KM, not a long distance, but a very fun ride with friends!

Until next time, ride safe!