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Old 10-15-2010, 07:30 AM   #1
nebulousman OP
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planning DC to Canada

I have 9 days in July 2011 to go on a ride. Plan is to go north from the Washington DC area by the finger lakes, cross over around the east side of lake Ontario, then north and west towards Sault Ste. Marie, drop down into Michigan and south over Mackinaw bridge, then along lake Michigan, through Indiana, Ohio, and across WV back home to Arlington VA. Its a rough sketch right now. Google Maps says around 2,400 miles of road avoiding major roads as much as possible. I'm thinking I could do it in 6 legs so with 9 days I should have a buffer for weather systems or other things that happen.

I've been on many 300mile or so trips over the years and once on my prior bike I did 550 in a day to Ohio which is the farthest I've gone in a day. This is really my first shot at a long trip with consecutive riding days. I know I'll need a better seat and am looking into options (sergeant has one for my R1150R that looks interesting). I'll need a better flat repair kit than the one bmw put under my seat and probably other things I can't think of now. I do have some stuff like hard bags, rain gear and mounted gps. I also talked my buddy who rides a harley deuce to make the trip with me so I won't be alone.

Any advice from you experienced folks would be great. I'm looking for must see places, good routes, essential gear, but if your experience says the general plan is flawed I'd like to hear that too
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:02 AM   #2
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There are lots of nice roads across Ontario. You can do a google search in and the Canada forum will have some good suggestions on particular roads.

" canada ontario best roads"

Bring bug spray. Northern Ontario in July will have lots of black flies, mosquitoes, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:52 PM   #3
Sjoerd Bakker
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I don't understand why without having gone on any long rides you already think you need to change the seat and bar on your bike. From what I've seen and read the stock setup could be quite decent, and a 9 day 2400mile trip is not going to be a torture test so why not just give it a go the way it is. Any setup will take a few days to familiarize with and to identify possible points for potential improvement which you can then tackle for the next time you go on a longer ride.
Nothing wrong with your general plan, just go ,ride the twistiest black lines you find on the Ontario map through the rocks of cottage country.
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Old 10-16-2010, 05:39 PM   #4
nebulousman OP
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thinking of the seat cause I'm a little sore after a day of riding but another seat might not make much difference - I checked out the ontario link - already psyched for canada
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:04 PM   #5
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Sounds like a nice ride you've got planned. Are you planning on motels or camping? I hope you don't need your flat repair kit. Changing seats sounds like it maybe a good idea. I test drove a GS1200 a few years ago, did not like the covering. Recently I had a local guy put some foam in my DRs gel seat. Much much better know. The covering is fine by itself.

Have you thought of using an airhawk or other pad? I hear people have good results with them
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:22 PM   #6
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It's not about the seat.

It's about seat-time.

The more you prepare with long day rides, the less you will feel this trip. After not riding for a month or two, putting down 400 miles on my bike is torture towards the end. But some Summers I get into the rhythm of riding every weekend and 500 mile days don't feel uncomfortable at all. They start to feel normal.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:10 AM   #7
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Take the DR for a ride with the stock seat. Come back and take my modified gel pad seat fro a ride, then tell me how much a seat doesn't matter

Get on one of those mustang seats on a harley and you won't want to get off
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:12 PM   #8
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Save your money maybe......go to Wal Mart buy this, the ugly Automotive Gel Seat Cushion. $20.00

Then unzip it, flip the gel pad over, not so ugly anymore and until I incorporated some of that cheap gel into my BMW seat made a huge difference on them 700-800 miles days.

And....if you don't mind upholstery projects, check out this thread.
Have tools, will travel!
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:35 AM   #9
nebulousman OP
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wow - I love projects but I don't think I can handle the upholstery project - I'll try out the pad suggestions - thanks.

I'm thinking of hotel/motels and a couple of nights of camping at spots in Ontario or Michigan - maybe upstate NY. I've also been thinking maybe I should go the opposite way - up through Michigan to Canada and back down to NY. There's probably not a lot in Indiana/Ohio and I could ride longer days get North sooner to give me more time in Ontario and upstate NY.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:06 PM   #10
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I have that same seat cover and trimmed it a bit to fit my bike seat better. Really helped me on a recent 10day - 3600mile trip and I used it under a Sheepskin seatcover.

The map in my signature has some good roads since you are passing through many of those areas (North/West of Lake Ontario). As soon as you cross over near Kingston and head a bit North, the roads ans scenery get quite nice. When you are on the north Shore of Superior, it gets spectacular.

Avoid riding at dawn and dusk for wildlife. Canadian gas costs quite a bit more (approx $3.50-4.00/Gal).
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:20 AM   #11
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A good seat makes a difference. I also like my sheepskins, prefer long haired.

Sulat St Marie MI, is cheaper then ON, from what I saw.

Another nice ride is around Lake Superior.

I have been able to use my credit card for most things, and they take American money in Canada. They give your change in CA. Spend it before you cross back.

Last I looked, currency rate was pretty close.
In my travelling heart, there's an urge to see

foreign lands and alien birds, hear stories that no ones heard-D.A.D.

Helmets are like rubbers, you know you should wear one, but its so much better when you don't-Me.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:45 PM   #12
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Don't overthink the tools/tire repair stuff. Stuff a car size can of flat fix along with what you have. Start off with good tires and be happy. Contact your insurance company and get a Canuck ID card. Keep any guns at home. Bring a passport. Notify your credit card company so they don't cut you off because of out of profile charges. (This does happen) Try to use a gas card for gas, not a major credit card, save the VISA for motels etc.

Most seats take some time to really work for you. I would not start a long tour on a new, untested seat. I use a stock 1150 G/S and it works for the mileage your looking at. I too, want a Sargeant seat but that's for really long days. I had a Corbin on a K75 RT. They say it takes a while to break in. 30,000 miles later it was still a rock. Just sayin'

A 300 or a 500 mile day is one thing. A string of nine of them put together is a whole other level of "discomfort".
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:07 PM   #13
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Take a Shake Down Cruise

I did a 12k miles / 60 day loop around America last June & July.

In prep I did an Alpha Test to the Adirondacks - many things worked but some were really bad - so I changed them.

Then I did a Beta Test to North Carolina - just about everything worked but some more fixes were necessary.

When I did my real ride things worked great.
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