Extending the Season

Story by Stu Seaton// Photos by Stu Seaton
January 1 2008

This season was kind of weird for me. I couldn’t get my fill of two-wheeled time. I rode, then I wanted to ride some more. Maybe I was in need of therapy, or conversely maybe riding was my therapy, who knows. For sure, riding is cheaper than a shrink and probably a bucket load more fun. I wanted to extend the season and I knew that road riding would be touch and go, besides in Ontario they throw enough salt on the roadbed to dissolve your bike before you can get it home. Luckily, I bought an R1200GS Adventure, which is sort of like a two-wheeled Hummer that gets real good mileage, and people who drive Hybrids don’t flip you the bird. It charges down the highway like a good thing and with a simple swap to knobby tires I figure I could go play with it in the back forty till the streetlights come on.

I had my bike in at BMW Durham for some minor surgery and I was eagerly awaiting a call that my steed was fixed. On a warm and sunny November day, Taryn’s cheery voice from BMW Durham called to let me know that I could come and get the beast. Yay! I was elated that I’d soon be back in the saddle but this afternoon was pooched because I was stuck for a ride to the Durham shop. Darn, double darn. As soon as my smarter half got home I brilliantly told her how she was spending her Saturday. I could tell from that ‘look’ she was just pleased as punch to spend two and a half hours driving me around on her day off. Just to make things right, I helped her with dinner that night and made double sure I put the toilet seat down.

Saturday morning broke clear at -3° and the high was promising to be a scorching 5°. Normally I curse anything less than 15° but for some reason it felt warm out as I stood on the porch at 6 a.m. wearing nothing but boxers and riding boots. I felt happy; it must have been a contagious ‘happy’ because my neighbour was laughing his face off when he waved to me. At 10 o’clock my smarter half was finally ready to go. We jump in a new-to-us-car and head for the BMW shop. With any new vehicle there’s always lots of new buttons to mess with and considering this car has more buttons than the Lunar Lander, I thoroughly entertained both of us with everything that went up and down. Okay, so she already knew what did what, but at least the trip went quick for me even if she did have to stop to buy gas.

We eventually land in the BMW parking lot and I gather up my riding gear from the back seat. I knew that we would be in and out in jig time so I left the keys in the ignition, besides Bobbie always carries a spare set in her purse which is a good example of why she’s my smarter half. We both jump out, I shut my door, she shuts hers. I then stand there looking dumber than a pail of soot at four locked doors, keys in the ignition and her purse on the floor. On the plus side, I have all my riding gear sitting on the trunk lid ready to go. She doesn’t see the humour in that. Go figure. Neither of us knows what the door code is so I call a lock-out service and then head in to straighten out the paperwork for my bike at reception. I can see my GS sitting in the pick-up bay wearing the ugliest set of knobbies going, cool, I can’t wait.

The lock-out guy shows up in a four million dollar tow truck with every light flashing. Jeeze, why not crank up a siren too? I hate him already. Then, to top it all off he swaggers over to us with this ‘how-can-you-be-so stupid’ look. I’m sure he practices it twenty or thirty times a day. I want to punch him in the nose, but then who would get me in the car? Within three seconds he slim-jims the door of what I thought was a very secure car. Fifty bucks later, he’s off to practice his look on some other bewildered soul. It’s really not fair that he gets to have so much fun. Prick. I hope he loses his keys down a sewer. My smarter half grabs the key like it’s the Hope diamond. What the heck, I’m still in a great mood as my bike is ready and waiting.

I like BMW dealerships, they’re snooty. They have leather chairs and high tech everything, with buttons. There’s also a bunch of mucky mucks milling around buying a Seven Series for their trophy whatever and wearing shoes that cost more than I make in a month. No place for a biker type like me to be hanging around, the sooner I’m outta here, the better, I figure. I wiggle into the lounge area with my heap of riding gear, a forty-something yuppie lady quickly scooches to the far side of the leather couch and gives me a look like she’s about to suffer the vapours. I kick off boots, zip, buckle, Velcro and grunt into a suit that has the end effect of making me look like something that’s been rode hard and put away wet. Rumpled Belstaff, what the heck, least I’ll be warm, gotta love it. I excuse myself and her colour seems to return. She should watch what she eats I guess.

My GS fires right up and sounds great, well, as good as a BMW can sound, yessir I’m away. It’s been a while since I rode knobbies on pavement so I figure I’ll take it easy and get the feel of it. The Conti’s feel so smooth, these are knobbies? Cool! I brake hard a couple of times and get great feedback with no weird stuff. Good-e-nuff for this guy. On to the 401 and head home. My smarter half follows as we watch a mini-van get nicked for fifty over. I had visions of it being the lock-out guy.

I see a new icon flip up on my computer… “TEMP 2.5”…flashing with a little snow flake beside it. Well isn’t that just the bee’s knees, now my computer will warn me when I’m going to crash on ice, I hate surprises so this is great. My Belstaff riding gear is over five-years-old and it’s still the warmest stuff going, I’m a happy camper even after an hour of the 401 at 3°. My driveway shows up just as I’m getting comfortable. This is what I’ve been waiting for. I wanna play in the mud. Instead of heading into the shop, I strike out for the hundred-acre trail. I switch off the ABS and power up a big hill. Woo friggin hoo. Do it again. My grin actually hurts but I don’t care, over an old rock fence line and into the fields. I clear a few corn fields and get into a bunch of hills and valleys. I see a bunch of guys wearing orange all over the place, they must know me cause they’re waving, thanks guys, you’re number one too! Mental note… they’re armed. I turn on the tap and get out of there; no doubt someone will rag on me at the coffee shop for scaring off Bambi. Sorry guys.

Using an old logging road I cut up past the county landfill site that now has some awesome hills, however playing on them may net you a second head sprouting out of your left shoulder. I pass on the idea of hill climbing and head for the next county road and back home.

Now, that’s a blast! Yup, I think this season will be a good one.

Ride Safe. Ride Far!



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