Sunday, October 01, 2006

Motorcycle Touring - Getting Started

Like motorcycle virgins my very first motorcycle trip, that extended for more than a day and a night, was fraught with excitement and trepidation.
Back in the mid eighties some friends and I took off on what would be the first of many bike trips that we would take together. Like young rebels we were full of spit and vinegar although our rides did not reflect our earthy attitudes.

The Born To Be Mild gang, Jim, me, Darcy and Grant and taking the picture was Debbie, Darcys wife,who was brave enough to ride with us, but not brave enough to pose with us.
I was riding a 1981 Honda 400T Hawk, my friends were on similar bikes, a Honda CB 450, and a couple of Suzuki 500's, all two cylinder, chain drive, air cooled bikes, not big by any means but certainly adequate for motorcycle touring.

Our trip was not a major undertaking but an adventure for us first timers at the art and joy of motorcycle touring.
Our first ride originated from Edmonton Alberta through the Rocky Mountains to the townsite of Jasper, south to Banff, further south through Radium Hot Springs and then back east to Calgary, Alberta.
As usual we were loaded to the nuts, everything we would need for a week of riding and camping, bungeed to the backs of the bikes.

Grant relaxes while we stop yet again to take pictures and converse about how sore our butts are from those slender banana seats.

One of the perks of riding through a national park is the abundance of wildlife, along with the deer further down the road we saw a black bear and her cubs crossing the road, we stopped to observe but were too nervous to get off the bike to get the camera.

Of course when it comes to deer, I am a fearless bipod, besides at that time I am sure I outweighed the deer by a three-to-one margin.
I don't think the cheap yellow plastic riding gear ever goes out of style.

After a couple of beers (notice the stubby bottles) after a hard days ride some one said they saw elk grazing next to our camping spot, I had my gut sucked in so hard for the picture I couldn't breathe for awhile and missed the elk completely.
It was nice to be able to camp amongst the animals except later in the evening a big black bear ambled by, too close for our comfort and again no picture was taken as we were all ready to flee if the bear so much as noticed us.

Darcy giving Grant a lesson in trick riding, being able to steer my bike with his feet. Grant as usual appears enthralled by the antics.

That Darcy was always sneaking around taking pictures, this time catching the pup tents unaware. Actually Darcy took all the pictures although he may not want to take credit for them.

I miss the daily maintenance of a chain drive bike, adjusting and lubing, adjusting and lubing.

That's Jim on the bike, whenever we needed some gas to start the fire we would send Jim on an errand and drain some gas from his bike for fire starter. Jim could never understand why he never got as good of mileage out of his bike as the rest of us.

That was the first of many bike road trips we took together, it was the second bike I owned and the first one reliable enough to go out of town without worrying about breakdowns.
We never traveled far in a day, often stopping to sightsee and check out the local attractions, but it was a good first trip, one that opened the door to others.