1,736km through Northern Ontario

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130,000 km

I reached 130,000km on the Varadero this past weekend.  More details on the ride to follow.

 

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Soft Saddlebags vs. Hard Saddlebags

In the world of motorcycling, several arguments never seem to end. One of the more interesting ones is about saddlebags for your bike. Some riders swear by soft bags, while others will only use hard ones no matter what. It’s not exactly clear why each side is so ardent in their beliefs, but to an outside observer, it can make choosing more difficult. So, if you’re trying to decide which motorcycle travel luggage you should get, here are some points to help you make the decision.

Hard Saddlebags

These are usually made of aluminum or some other lightweight metal, and they are semi-permanently affixed to your bike through a mounting system. That means that once you install them you better like them, as they aren’t coming off easily. That’s not to say it’s hard to remove this motorcycle gear, but it’s not as easy as soft bags.

Advantages

  • Durable and rugged
  • Can be locked for security
  • Usable for different vehicles
  • Customizable
  • Keeps contents better protected

Disadvantages

  • Weigh more
  • Can be a safety issue in the event of a collision or spin out
  • More expensive
  • Lids don’t fit securely after a crash

Soft Saddlebags

Again, it’s not clear why these motorcycle parts have such fervent followers, given the fact that storage is relatively the same with both types. But, soft bags have the advantage of being more lightweight and portable, as well as adding a bit of old-school aesthetic to your ride. If you get vintage-style saddlebags, it can upgrade your appearance immediately.

Advantages

  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to transfer
  • Waterproof
  • Less bulky
  • Won’t hurt as bad in a crash

Disadvantages

  • Harder to secure
  • Won’t protect fragile items as well
  • Less stable overall

Hopefully, this breakdown will help you decide which type of luggage carrier is best for you and your ride. In the end, there is no right answer, only the one that you prefer.

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APEXROADS

I was talking with a friend of mine last night about planning a trip this summer, something we can do in just a few days. He is a new rider, but has taken to the motorcycle like a duck to water so he won’t have any issues with keeping up. I was recently point to a new website for finding and navigating new motorcycle roads called www.apexroads.com and thought I would check it out.  I think it would be a great way for me to plan some trips this summer and discover some new places. I like that it has Canadian as well as US content.

I wanted to see how good this website was so I started with some areas that I knew, mainly my cottage near Big Chute Ontario and planned trips from there. This web site looks very promising. It listed roads that I knew and a few that I didn’t.  I was a little disappointed to find that Whites Falls Road was not listed as this is a great road to ride, lots of turns with great scenery, but I guess I’ll keep this road to myself.  It would be nice to have a section where people can put suggested routes or comments on the roads, I’m not sure how APEXROADS chooses their roads, but nothing is better than comments from actual riders.

It has a lot of potential and it great to see people dedicating time and effort to the motorcycle community. Check out their website and keep checking back, I Have a feeling it’s going to just get better and better. I’ll know more once Jack Frost finally leaves –  I need to get my bike out of winter storage!

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Top 100 Motorcycle Website and Blogs

I once again feel very honoured to be mentioned in the motorcycle community.

Top 100 Motorcycle Websites And Blogs For Motorcycle Riders

 

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Smart Turn Systems – Self Canceling Signals

http://www.safer-turn.com/

I could see this as a product I would use. I consider myself a safe and cautious rider, but I am embarrassed to admit to the number to times I have looked down only to find that my signal light is still on and I haven’t made a turn for a really long time. I remember my brother had a self-cancelling signal system in his transport tuck, it seemed standard for that industry so why not other vehicles.

I’m thinking of ordering one of these and checking it out. It’s not too expensive and the on-line manual makes it seem easy to install.  Check out their web-site, I would be interested in your thoughts.

Maybe I can get one for the HU event in September.

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Public Speaking

Last week I did my first ever public speaking event for professionals. The ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) invited me to speak about the challenges of entering the workforce after a prolonged absence. I was able to draw upon my experience from my 11 month motorcycle journey I did back in 2011 – 2012. It feels great to share my experience and knowledge with others.

Although I have spoken about my adventure to motorcyclists before at Horizons Unlimited events, presenting to a group of professional accountants was somehow different. First off I felt more nervous, I had the impression that the level of scurrility was much higher. Also the audience was very, very quiet during the presentation, unlike motorcyclists who ask questions as we go along, accountants saved them all to the end. The Q&A went on until the moderator had to stop us due to time constraints.

I’m still flattered and humbled that my adventure five years ago is still positively impacting people, and now it has expanded beyond the motorcycle community. acca-2 acca

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How I winterized my bike this year

How I winterized my bike this year

1.  Rode to a motorcycle shop
2. Filled tank with gas
3. Handed over keys
4. Waved goodbye

I usually keep my bike going into December, but this year with my current workload and schedule I decided to store it for the winter and had no time to do it myself. I took the easy way this year.

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Skully Helmets – a disappointment

I was very excited when I first learned about the Skully helmet! I remember getting an e-mail from friend of mine with a link to the Skully promo video when they first started raising money with their crowdfunding campaign. I was so tempted to donate, but at the time I was not sure if it had Canadian maps and metric distances, but despite this I was planning to pre-order one of the helmets, boy I’m really glad I didn’t now.

First a bit a background. Skully helmets offered a built in 180 degree Camera, Head Up Display (HUD) features such as GPS, and a built in phone, it’s like all the features in a high end car right there in your helmet.  Check out their promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_xbS63SHjk  .

It seems like there is not a lot of really new technology in motorcycle equipment, so when Skully came on the scene it was something that got my attention right away.  Now that I spend more of my time riding in traffic and busy roads, as opposed the mountains and deserts of South America I could really see the benefits a Skully helmet had to offer. It would also help keep riders safe and I’m sure the technology would have only gotten better as newer models were produced and the technology was improved.

But Skully blew it, big time. After producing demo helmets, getting great reviews and creating a buzz, they raised over $2.5 million dollars through crowdfunding campaigns and pre-orders, the founders spent the money on Lamborghini rentals and strippers, the company is now no more and neither is the helmet. A real disappointment. Here was a chance to produce something new and exciting and change motorcycle safety and rider experience and it’s gone because of frivolous spending. As a motorcyclist I’m disappointed that our sport suffered.

As an accountant I’m disappointed. Where were the internal controls over spending? Where they not accountable to anyone for the crowdfunding money they raised? These guys employed people and had a chance to make a difference, greed got in the way. It seems it was the accountants who might have brought this crazy spending to light – see the fortune article http://fortune.com/2016/08/14/fraud-allegations-hud-skully/

I’m sure that now that the HUD motorcycle helmet has been produced, it won’t be long before another company picks up the technology and produces another similar product. I’m not sure the crowdfunding market will be very welcoming though, so it might have to be a large corporation with the available funds, so much for start-ups.

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No Place Like Out

Top 25 Motorcycle Bloggers You Need To Follow Right Now

Check out this blog, I got mentioned. How cool it that!!

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