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Old 07-11-2013, 02:20 PM   #16
Nanabijou OP
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Originally Posted by TarmacSurfer View Post
Nicely done, but what happened to the 250R I bet it was just too much horsepower
Don't laugh. I've actually said that to some people. You wouldn't believe the looks on their faces. The CBR250R is a great bike. I just thought it was a little too heavy at 367lbs wet (ABS version) for a 250 single - considering the curb weight of a CBR600RR is only about 48lbs more. My WR250R is around 299lbs wet. The CBR250R handles well, but it just wasn't as flickable at the CBR150R either. It weighed 65 lbs more than the 150R too. Granted - it was wayyy faster. But I've also invested lots more in the 150R. Still - I had to sell two bikes, so I reluctantly parted with the 2011 CBR250R and the 2009 CBR125R. As it stands - I'm curious to see what Yamaha does with its rumoured YZF-R250.

Mike

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Old 07-11-2013, 05:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nanabijou View Post
The CBR250R is a great bike. I just thought it was a little too heavy at 367lbs wet (ABS version) for a 250 single -

Mike
I still got mine, thought about getting a 500R but decided against it. I am interested in the upcoming ktm 390, 373cc and lighter than a 250 makes for a fun bike !!

I know what you mean about the weight factor, coming from an 883 around 565lbs the CBR was a welcome change. It's the same reason I don't to go up in displacement if it means more dead weight.

Nice RR too, it serves as a brochure for anyone wanting to tour the area, Ride on!

Fredo

(aka ibex250r)
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Old 07-11-2013, 08:21 PM   #18
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Wow, beautiful country! Great write up!

I did a 4200 mile trip on my Honda Rebel 250 last summer, I can't tell you how many times people told me my bike was going to "blow up"

Small bikes rule!
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:44 PM   #19
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Great ride report! Yeah, small bikes can do big things! And it's rare to find a report from a street bike here, too. I'm reminded of an inmate who rode from Texas to Buenos Aires with his girlfriend can camping gear aboard his 250 Ninja! Look forward to your future installments, and plan to go back and read your earlier reports as well! Thanks for taking us along with you!
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:18 AM   #20
Nanabijou OP
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Originally Posted by TarmacSurfer View Post
I still got mine, thought about getting a 500R but decided against it. I am interested in the upcoming ktm 390, 373cc and lighter than a 250 makes for a fun bike !!

I know what you mean about the weight factor, coming from an 883 around 565lbs the CBR was a welcome change. It's the same reason I don't to go up in displacement if it means more dead weight.

Nice RR too, it serves as a brochure for anyone wanting to tour the area, Ride on!

Fredo

(aka ibex250r)
Hey Fredo - are you still planning a Lake Superior ride this summer on the CBR250R?

Mike
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:59 AM   #21
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Waiting for part V, excellent read, Bravo!!! cms
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:53 PM   #22
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You Can't Tour On That! A 4000KM Ontario Trip On A 2011 CBR150R

Part V - Baptiste Lake

Rarely have I ever celebrated - revelled - in having my tank topped off with fuel. This time was an exception. After leaving Deep River, it was evident that Hwy 17 was losing much of its captivating scenery - so I was looking forward to a change - leaving the Trans-Canada for the quieter, relaxed, and more intimate riding east of Algonquin Provincial Park. As I was nearing the town of Alice, I snapped the photo below to mark my new transition into this more serene riding environment. Even the smells were different - something that would go unnoticed when riding in a car. I remember thinking to myself "I can't believe I've made it this far". I could tell that the hardest part was behind me for now - and looked forward to riding through some new areas of Ontario that I had never before visited. And I was sure there'd be more stunning scenery along the way - as I slowly edged closer to Baptiste Lake and Bancroft.

Nearing the town of Alice. It was nice to be riding off the Trans-Canada and into a less crowded, quieter, and more relaxed setting.



Maybe it was the excitement of knowing I was getting nearer to my destination for the day - but one regret from this portion of the trip was the lack of photos I'd taken of this area. Then again - it's not like the intent wasn't there. I attempted to take some photos near Bonnechere Provincial Park and 'round Round Lake in all of its impressive circular-ness. Judging from what I could see from the road way - I could tell that any open view of the lake would be breathtaking. But there were few opportunities, unless I boldly rode up someone's driveway and walked around their cottage for a peek. So I just continued onto Hwy 60 into Barry's Bay, and along Kamaniskeg Lake down the picturesque Combermere Road. I have to admit this section hugging Kamanisikeg Lake really caught my attention - particularly as I was leaving Barry's Bay and then again as I was climbing a hill west of Combermere where a panoramic view of a large rolling hill next to Kamaniskeg Lake suddenly came into view. A day later - when we were re-tracing the same route on a group ride - others were startled by this same view - and agreed that it'd make a great photo opportunity. But the challenging logistics of doing so on a group ride meant that we never did capture this group image.

As I rode west through Maynooth, and then down Hwy 62 toward Bancroft, I was also impressed that there was no need to consult my map - it was remarkably easy to just follow the signs leading to Bancroft. Perhaps it was this overconfidence that led me to dismiss bringing a more detailed map along that would give me a fighting-chance to actually make it directly to the meeting place. Granted I knew approximately where I was going. Yet, in hindsight - I can't believe that seemed good enough for me at the time. What was I thinking? Maybe it was my need to discover the place myself, or just my desire to create my own adventure before stumbling inadvertently upon the camp. All I know is my first mistake was riding down North Baptiste Lake road. I knew I needed to turn at a Baptiste Lake Road. Yet I suppose I hadn't paid enough attention while trip planning to realize that there were - in fact - two Baptiste Lake Roads. And as Murphy's law and chance might suggest - I was riding down the wrong one. For at least 20 minutes. I remember thinking - "This doesn't make sense - I should have seen the river long ago"...... So I briefly entertained asking someone for directions, yet on this beautiful sunny day - perhaps due to a zombie apocalypse - there was nobody outside - nobody anywhere. Finally I saw a women placing clothes on a line in her yard that backed onto a spectacular view of Baptiste Lake. She was incredibly friendly and helpful and apparently frightfully unaware of the devastating zombie apocalypse that was taking the region by storm. She even offered to have her sons "Google" the address I was seeking on their computer. Geez - now that I think about it - her offer may have actually been a thinly veiled "dig". Well played...well played. But pride stood stoically in the way - and I just followed her Jedi Mind Trick tip to try out South Baptiste Lake - because she felt it was likely that "this was the road that I was looking for". I had no idea myself - but through a process of elimination - with only one option left - it did seem like a likely candidate.



So back to Hwy 62 I went - feeling a little bit humbled. When I finally reached South Baptiste Lake Road - I knew from my keen sleuthing skills and fine directional sense - that I was getting closer. I could smell it. Or maybe that was my own stench (the hot and humid S. Ontario weather was now upon me). At one point I smelled ammonia when I removed my Joe Rocket pants. I apparently had a chemical lab specializing in sweat metabolites beneath my gear. As luck would have it - I was getting closer. But unfortunately, I had no idea how much closer - as I rode up and down this stretch several agonizing times. All that was missing was the connecting road that would lead me to camp Nirvana - yet - there were many - and I couldn't recall which one I needed. I took a moment to think this one through and approach things more systematically. I knew that a couple of other riders were supposed to either be at the camp already - or would be arriving about the same time. I had one of their cell numbers. Good. I'll just ride back to the highway and call them on my cell phone I thought.

While riding back toward the highway - I found myself following a pick-up truck that suddenly made a right-hand turn (without signalling) and as I was braking I met two riders coming the opposite way through the same intersection. Could these be the two forum members? I tried to mentally calculate the probability. That likelihood took a steep nose-dive as they passed by - one riding a 750 Katana, and the other a CBR600RR. One of them waved, and I managed to stick up my hand - as I was braking - after they'd passed. A few minutes later I was back at the highway and took out my cell phone. As I was doing so - a vehicle full of older adults pulled up alongside and a fellow asked if I needed directions. I must have looked pretty discombobulated. I remember being taken aback by the thoughtfulness of this gesture. After sharing the camp address - there was some muffled consultation across the back-seat - and the driver spoke up and suggested I ride back, and after crossing a bridge, and cresting a large hill - I should turn left at Woodcox Rd. That would get me closer. I thanked them for the help - and reassured them that I had a cell number available - and would call to make sure. They wished me good luck and drove toward Bancroft. When I turned on my phone - I was dismayed to find no signal. I'm sure you know the feeling. Then remarkably - the "no signal" changed to my carrier and I was suddenly "good to go". After dialing Nathan (hoping he would be somewhere with a signal as well) there was no answer - so I followed the advice I had been given and headed back along South Baptiste Lake Road. As I was putting my phone away - I heard my messaging app chime a few times - but I dismissed it. I figured it was likely some older messages coming through now that my cell was turned on and I had a signal. As I was making my way - yet again - along South Baptiste Lake Road - I spotted what initially appeared to be a roadway mishap on the top off a distant hill. I made out a few figures - with one waving frantically for help - arms flailing wildly around in the air - in the middle of the roadway no less. I remember thinking that my boring, repetitive ride up and down this stretch of blacktop was about to get more interesting. As I got a little closer - I realized that the S.O.S. was really more of a beacon - that these were the two riders I had passed only a short while before - and that they were indeed the two members from the forum - desperately trying to show me the way. Oh....and those messaging alerts I had heard before? They came from Nathan texting:


Mike?
5:58Pm, Jun 21


U passed us buddy
5:59PM, Jun 21


Woodcox rd on you left heading east on s. baptiste
5:59PM, Jun 21



He had heard his cell ring - but couldn't answer it in time. It felt like a rescue in progress. I had met Nathan before (at our previous meet-up at Balsam Lake), but I had never met Richard previously. Both of them had owned CBR125Rs at some point - and unless they had some expensive cloaking technology at their disposal - they weren't riding them now. At least with the three of us - I could assume the route to the camp would be easy - right?! Not exactly. Even with Nathan's cell GPS - the way from Woodcox Road was still a bit confusing with a few forks thrown in for good measure - and a lack of clarity about which one to select at each junction. But ultimately - we arrived at the site. It was good to finally be there. To relax. To celebrate after what seemed like a triumphant victory. And to actually converse - a skill that I worried I had lost through an acute lack of practice. While I think my first few words had me struggling like Tarzan at his first Toastmaster's meeting - the rhythmicity of my usual linguistic ability soon returned. Before things got out of hand however, we needed to re-group and map out our priorities. First we needed to setup our tents. Next - it was agreed upon that we needed beer. That was all.

Some tents on a perfect little site along the York River.



We even had a river to swim in.



The camp came well-equipped. It even boasted a new invention I hadn't heard of in a while called electricity. After battling it out in the trenches for a few days - I really felt like I was going to be pampered here (not in the diaper sense - though admittedly this might be an avenue to explore on future trips) - by such extravagant luxury.

Once our tents were taken care of - we headed in to Bancroft and straight to the LCBO....er.....actually M&M meats. We were kind of hoping for some large juicy steaks so we could punch a stick through them - dip them in the camp fire for a bit - then howl a few times as we gnawed on our freshly roasted kill. But the kind lady at M&M only had frozen, bacon wrapped fare available. So we decided to head to the local Foodland grocery instead. As we were leaving M&Ms we noticed a disheveled teen, talking loudly to nobody nearby - and stumbling around our bikes. Worried about theft - Richard quickly blurted out a warning that didn't sit well with him - and this led to what could only be described as an alcohol fueled Oscar level tirade that began with "Do you know who I am" clearly lifted from Reese Witherspoon's play book - and ended with him actually spelling out his name - and I'm not joking here - letter by letter. Though judging by how much he was struggling - I think he may have cheated by quietly humming the alphabet for assistance. We cut his proclamation short by starting our bikes and moving on to the LCBO - where I picked up some boxed wine (for everyone at the site) and some tall-boy cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Ambrosia in a can. Now I know why - when we were kids and our family visited the U.S. - my dad would pick up a few cans of this liquid gold and covet it. It went down a little like beer-flavoured drinking water - but it sure was refreshing. At the Foodland - Richard thought it best to stand watch with the bikes this time, while Nathan and I fetched some steaks and snacks. Nathan then relieved Richard who did the same. When I exited the store - Nathan reported that I had just missed a street fight. Welcome to Bancroft on a Friday night - I thought.

When we returned to the camp, we broke out the drinks, made a campfire and enjoyed the moment. I called my girlfriend (there was cell service!) who - as it turns out - was doing the exact same thing. The requisite Thunder Bay Friday evening residential backyard fire-pit circle - sipping drinks with friends. Welcome to Thunder Bay on a Friday night - I thought. Before long, the others arrived from Orangeville including Brian (who has been to every annual gathering) and Adam (who I had met last year at Wakami Lake and who generously offered his camp for the weekend) and some other forum members who I had not met at our other gatherings - including David from Burlington, and Bishop from Toronto who rode in on a modified seat that was only slightly more comfortable than sitting on a severed tree stump. It's hard to describe the kinship you feel toward other riders who you've conversed with so frequently online, and have shared the same excitement and adventures with.

Here's a group huddle taken with Richard's camera. Can't believe we had the motor coordination to pull this one off at the time. From left to right: David, Mike (me), Richard (kneeling) Brian, Bishop, Adam, and Nathan.



It seemed that each new conversation around the fire squirted a few more finely metered molecules of dopamine fuel at my nucleus accumbens (adding to the the pool that was already accumulating from the intoxicating Pabst Blue Ribbon). Needless to say - I was feeling pretty "happy" as the night wore on. It didn't help that Adam had the local radio station pumping a terrific array of great oldies from the local Bancroft radio station. How can you not feel unbridled euphoria when exposed to an assortment of arena rock anthems from REO Speedwagon, Journey, Bad Company, Boston, Max Webster, Supertramp, and an entire cornucopia of other similar gems. When Van Halen's "Jump" suddenly began bellowing through the speakers -my frontal lobe had had enough - and just couldn't hold back anymore - unable to resist such alcohol fueled impulsivity - I blurted/slurred out "Hey - I can play this on keyboards". It was clear that my limit for frontal-lobe inhibition had been breached. Not wanting to miss out on such a glorious opportunity - Richard said "Great - you can play it on the piano keyboard on my iPad then". Now bristling with bravado and the most confident uneasiness I've experienced in a long time - I awkwardly grabbed the iPad with all of the grace and motor coordination of a punch drunk prize fighter and put my money where my Pabst Blue Ribbon saturated mouth was. I was also thankful that the weight of the device didn't tip me over into the fire. I like to believe the end result sounded like a reasonable rendition - but because the iPad was handicapped by a glaring lack of polyphony, and the uncanny quirk of only rendering every second note when played quickly - the solo with the fast arpeggio part came out sounding more like the beginning of The Who's "Baba O'Riley" instead.

The candid photo that Adam captured of me using my one-handed technique trying to play Van Halen's "Jump" on an iPad around the fire.



What can I say? It was a fantastic night. It made the long journey down so much more meaningful too. Can it get much better than sitting around a campfire, sipping drinks, telling storing, iPad-ing Van Halen, laughing, and connecting with other motorcyclists?

Stay tuned for Part - VI.

Mike

Nanabijou screwed with this post 10-06-2013 at 12:41 PM
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:37 AM   #23
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Yeah, the tentative plan is to head out there next month

Those are some cool two lane roads a 125's & 250's natural habitat!

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Old 07-13-2013, 10:03 AM   #24
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I love the idea of smaller (lighter) bikes.
(Currently ride a vstrom 650).

However, at 260lbs (and losing - 20 pounds in the last three months) I worry about the suspension. I am also 6'4" tall so that might be an issue for me as well.

Even when I lose the remaining 45 lbs I set a goal to lose I think I would still be too big for most smaller bikes. I am thinking a dual sport like the CR 250 or WR might work with some spring/shock upgrades.

I like the looks of the GROM - the only non dual sport smaller bike I know of that will be available here. (No counting the Rebel and Suzuki's 250 street bike which both seemed to small for me). But I am sure it will also feel like a mini bike due to my height.

I was in Italy last week and saw several "full size" bikes with only 125CC engines and even a few 50 CC bikes that were full size. Of course, due to our licensing and insurance differences there wouldn't be a (need) demand for those here - I wish we could find a way to import though!

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Old 07-13-2013, 01:45 PM   #25
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You Can't Tour On That! A 4000KM Ontario Trip On A 2011 CBR150R

Part VI - Blacktop Bliss

The goal today was to complete a 400km loop from Bancroft to Calabogie and back - that we were informed by Brian would involve some incredibly fun, twisty, scenic, and entertaining paved two-lane roadway. While being well aware of how easy it would be to exaggerate how entertaining this route really was - I can say in all honesty - that this was unquestionably the most entertaining ride I have ever experienced. It's a gem. Really. Granted - it could have been even better if the weather worked more in our favour and didn't spit down on us as often as it did. As luck would have it - each time we attempted to leave the camp - it would begin to rain again - like we were being mocked by mother nature. Still - once we were under way it was clear that the weather wouldn't dampen the grins we were sporting behind our misty visors.

Such conditions require desperate measures. Boy do they ever look Glad. Surprisingly - both David and Bishop claimed that these last-minute make-shift rain garments actually kept them reasonably dry.



Here's a photo of the team just before setting off on the group ride. Apparently two of us were less self-conscious of our bed-head.



And here is what our ride looked like for the day. The route took us from Bancroft, up to Maynooth, north east to Combermere, southeast to Denbigh, east to Calabogie, then southeast to Lanark, west to Plevna, then northwest and back to Denbigh, and west back to our starting point in Bancroft.



The posted speed limits on these highways is 80km/hr - which ironically - seemed actually too fast at times. And while we were riding the twists and turns a little faster than that - it soon became abundantly clear that even adhering to the posted limits along these two-lane roads still promised plenty of thrills. While we knew enough to not create a race out this group ride (sometimes appropriately referred to as a "Ride and Crash") it became clear once we started riding together that we could trust others to ride confidently and safely. Still - while all were competent - at least one was a little more competent than the others. Brian not only supplied the route - but he led throughout the entire course of it. Often from what looked to be about 1 km ahead. The fact that he regularly races a ZX10R and a FZR400, and had some familiarity with these roads meant that it would be foolish to try to stay with him on this ride. Still - with some effort, I managed to trail some distance behind him. While it would be great to brag about how far ahead I was from the other group - there really wasn't a large a gap separating them from me - and I think this had more to do with the extra performance of the 150R rather than anything to do with riding ability. If there was any bragging - it would center around how suited the twists and turns were for the CBR125Rs. This was highlighted when Richard - who was bring up the rear of the group on a CBR600RR - commented that he wasn't able to take the tight corners as fast and easily as the 125Rs were attacking them. He would no doubt catch up in a flash - even on the smallest of straights - but the advantages of a feather-weight, sharp handling bike along a twisty roadway soon became evident.

Any highlights? I remember catching up to Brian who was waiting for the pack at an intersection. He said "I think the pack is going to be quite a ways back on this one" attesting to how challenging this particular section had been (surprisingly, right after he finished saying this - the group appeared in the distance). As the group approached I was still giddy over what we'd just completed and commented "That was an absolutely fantastic ride. What road was that?!?" He said "Centennial Lake Road". There you go. If you want a great representation of the kind of riding in store for you in this area - ride Matawatchan Road to Centennial Lake Road for an excellent representation of what this area has to offer. Not only was the route entertaining - it was largely void of traffic. Brian felt that this was due to its location that places it just beyond a comfortable day ride from Ottawa to the east, and Toronto to the west.

It was challenging to find a straight-away that provided a suitable place to stop, rest, and take some photos. The group behind all agreed that I had Hi-Vis down to an art form. My outfit apparently acted like a lighthouse beacon - leading the way through the wet and sometimes foggy - route.



Eventually, we made our way into Calabogie. As we stopped for fuel and lunch at Munford's Restaurant in town, Bishop asked me if I had heard an aircraft circling overhead as we were approaching town. I replied "Yes - I heard it and saw it many times. It was Adam and his Hindle exhaust." No joke. When Adam's Hindle exhaust-equipped CBR125R was anywhere in the viscinity - it sounded like we were riding on a runway right next to the DHC-2 Beaver featured earlier in my report (see video at the beginning of Part IV of this report for all these aural details). Hindle should try to capitalize on this in their advertising. If you ever wanted to know what it's like to fly a Beaver and ride a CBR125R at the same time - the Hindle now makes it possible. Just purchase the Beaver Edition - slip-on exhaust. With this pipe - you can even brag to your friends that you are "piloting" a CBR125R. As we were eating, Zac Kurylyk from CGM Moto Guide.com approached our table to handed out his card and informed us about the upcoming Dusk 'til Dawn small displacement bike rally on the east coast. (http://rallies.canadamotoguide.com/d2d-about).

We knew that our group ride would coincide with the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally (http://rallies.canadamotoguide.com/about) that occurs every two years in the area. Their 800km route extends from Belleville, ON and encompasses the same region that our group ride covered. It was a common and welcoming sight to wind around a bend and suddenly see a pack of small scooters working their hearts out coming the other way. At one intersection we were taking a rest when two female riders approached the stop. One was singing loudly. Both were using their feet "Fred Flintstone"-style to help them brake to a stop. We all agreed that everyone we saw on scooters seemed to be having tons of fun.

One Mad Bastard (see below) was riding a Honda ZB50 with a sneaky not-immediately-noticeable - not quite 49cc - Piranha engine upgrade. On the other side of the pump you can just make out a Super Dave Osborne impersonator filling a Honda CT70 Mini Trail - also with a not-so-Honda-but-similar-configuration-ish Piranha engine. Top speed for a Honda CT70? About 45 mph. Top speed for these bikes? About 75 mph. Now that would be fun.



Near the town of Ompah, ON along Buckshot Lake Road. Another fantastic section of blacktop.



After returning to camp - it looked like everyone had just finished a tasty multi-course gourmet meal. We were all tired - yet the look of utter satisfaction on everyone's face was a testament to how much fun we had that day. I recall both Bishop and David thanking Brian for the best day-ride they had ever taken. Others agreed and thanked him too. It was pretty epic. Later while we were discussing potential locations for next year's gathering - someone mentioned that it would be hard to top what we had just experienced that day. We all agreed. Though we vowed to try again anyway next year.

Stay tuned for Part VII.

Mike

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Old 07-14-2013, 12:01 AM   #26
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You Can't Tour On That! A 4000KM Ontario Trip On A 2011 CBR150R

Part VII - Onward To Guelph

As much as celebrating a great ride and sitting around the campfire sipping drinks and telling stories can be incredibly euphoric - so too the next day - can nursing a hangover, needing a shower, breaking-down camp, and packing the bike be equally disphoric. It was now time to leave - to say goodbye to those heading in different directions (Nathan and Richard had Belleville in their sights) and to enjoy riding with the remaining group for one last outing together.

It was also time to shake out the sand in my tent. I call this the Hercules method.



It was clear that the notion of boxed wine went down remarkably well with the group - down that is - onto the morning fire. An expensive way to douse a fire - but it was effective nonetheless. Here is Adam demonstrating his technique. You probably won't learn this in Boy Scouts.



And here is the packing ritual almost complete.



The last group photo was taken with Richard's camera back on the road in front of the camp. What a fitting image to close the weekend.



And here was the route Brian had mapped out for the return trip. Both Adam and I planned to head to Guelph (I wanted to visit my dad). Brian's destination was Brampton, but thought that Belfontaine was a good place for all of us to converge before going our separate ways. David was heading to Burlington, but decided to stick it out with us to Belfontaine as well. Bishop headed south to Toronto when we skirted the city on our way west.



I believe this photo was taken around the Port Perry area (labeled "C" above).



Brian - our faithful guide and purveyor of twisting routes - wasn't about to give up - now that we were heading home. There would be no sacrificing riding enjoyment for a quick-fix expressway route back. Any stand-outs? Yes. Although it's a well known and popular choice for those looking for some thrilling curves within range of the Greater Toronto Area - Buckhorn Lake Road was still a lot of fun to ride.

Throughout the weekend, I had promised some of the group an opportunity to try out my CBR150R. I described it as a CBR125R on steroids. Having recently owned a 2011 CBR125R - I guessed that the 150R produced about 16 hp at the rear wheel (the CBR125Rs typically show about 12 rear-wheel hp). The best time would have been during our group ride - but the weather and conditions weren't ideal - and unfortunately - no other opportunities presented themselves. Still with me riding a 150cc, Brian riding a racing cam modified 125cc, and Adam sporting his Hindle exhaust - we were somewhat curious to see how these bikes compared performance-wise. Our test certainly wasn't conducted in any kind of objective manner, as each of our bikes were laden with different gear and there were clearly considerable weight differences (including rider weights) between each bike. Yet all this didn't seem to matter as Adam and Brian lined up at a stop light for the first run. Keep in mind that if you were a pedestrian watching this action from a sidewalk - you'd have no idea that these bikes were actually drag racing. They don't accelerate fast by anyone's definition of the term. You'd probably just wonder why they were so slow to cross the intersection. I think Brian was just ahead of Adam after the first heat - so he won the drag - but not by much. The next drag featured an uphill run that seemed to favour Adam - and he pulled away a bit and claimed his first victory. Even though we were all aware of how much wind drag and weight make a difference in the performance of these low-powered bikes - I remember thinking that these friendly competitions really hit home how the outcome of a short race can change dramatically between the same riders - under slightly different conditions (e.g., weight, head wind, up a hill, etc.).

Adam - fresh off his recent win - was now getting cocky and wanted to drag me and the CBR150R. What I didn't tell him at the time was that I had followed behind on their previous acceleration runs and found myself catching up to them rather easily - despite clearly carrying the most gear, most weight, and the poorest aerodynamics. But I decided to relent anyway. It certainly wasn't a textbook run. And I think Adam's devious trick of drowning me out with his Hindle exhaust on take-off worked because he was almost across the intersection by the time I got my revs up (I couldn't hear my engine on launch and I bogged pretty badly). I still managed to catch up to him and pass him pretty handily though in a relatively short distance for the win. But..... it wasn't long before he got some retribution. We decided to follow it up later with a drag that ran directly into a strong headwind. This time I had a good start and left him for dead right from the beginning.....and he looked to be about 30m back and foundering. But as my speed increased, and the power of the wind became more formidable - I knew the increasing drag from my Givi case and saddles were about to betray me. In my mirrors - Adam looked determined and focused - I could see him drop it down into 5th - and then came the unmistakable and characteristic roar of a DHC-2 Beaver slowly gaining on me and then a mild Doppler effect as he slowly edged ahead at around 90 km/hr. I'm sure he had a big grin on his face. Geez these bikes are fun.

Stay Tuned for Part VIII.

Mike


Nanabijou screwed with this post 07-29-2013 at 07:59 AM
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:52 AM   #27
L.B.S.
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Awesome report, I'm loving all the details! Sadly in this day and age, the story seems to get lost and pictures substituted instead. Sure, pictures may be worth a thousand words to some, but I like pictures *and* the story. I am greedy that way I guess, lol...
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:34 AM   #28
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Great ride report Mike!
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:35 AM   #29
Nanabijou OP
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You Can't Tour On That! A 4000KM Ontario Trip On A 2011 CBR150R

Part VIII - Windy Lake

After enjoying a few days of much needed R&R and reminiscing at my dad's place (my brother Mark and his son Aidan were visiting from Quispamsis, NB) and topping it off with a trip to Canada's Wonderland - that included multiple encounters with a Behemoth and a Leviathan (the FastPass was a guilty pleasure) - I was looking forward to beginning my long trek back to Thunder Bay. But along the way - there were still a number of key areas I wanted to visit - including some that held special meaning for me as a teen at Windy Lake Park near where I grew up, as well as Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park a little ways further up the road - a place I'd wanted to visit for quite some time.

I chose to forego the 400 series highways and instead re-trace my route back up to Erin, and then head through Mono Mills, and up Airport Road past the scenic hamlet of Mansfield all the way up to Stayner. It was an easy choice. The hills, scenery, and relaxed pace made for a much more interesting riding experience. After re-fueling in Stayner, I headed east to finally join Hwy 400 and give the little CBR a chance to stretch its legs. I was hoping for the best - but not expecting much (no offense little Honda). I figured I could ride at 105km/hr (GPS) - in the right-hand lane - and not worry about holding up traffic. Yet - when I finally accelerated along the on-ramp - it was clear that I had more in reserve than I'd expected. On any large displacement bike - this wasn't something you'd even need to consider. Yet when you are suddenly endowed with a little bit of extra power that you didn't anticipate on a small bike - at a time when you could clearly use the extra juice - the relief driven reward was not unlike what Scotty must have often felt after suddenly and unexpectedly finding a bit more thrust power from NCC-1701. I even found myself overtaking slower vehicles at that speed - including some RVs and a truck pulling a large boat and trailer. When riding with other traffic on expressways - you always experience a boost from the large rolling masses moving in the same direction - and you don't need to be drafting dangerously off the end of their bumpers to realize the benefit either. I imagine the sensation is much like (*Caution - two sci-fi references in a row alert*) it would feel to be drawn in by a tractor-beam - a feeling of suddenly being pulling along without any change in throttle position. I won't discount the possibility that I was also the lucky recipient of a moderate tail-wind. Either way - I ended up riding between 107-110 kph (GPS). At one point I noticed a pack of vehicles approaching from behind. Once they had passed - and cut a nice hole in the atmosphere - I decided to enter the left-hand lane and see for myself how much more the 150R had left. The group seemed to be traveling at around 130 kph, and in my attempt to following them over a short distance, I found myself cruising momentarily at a top speed of 120 kph in 6th - sitting straight up on the bike - before I decided to settle down into a more comfortable pace again.

Here is the route. It would be a relatively short 472 kms trek on this day. A very comfortable ride on the CBR.



A short while after the road returned to two-lanes, I re-fueled at the Shell station in Pointe au Baril and took a break to stretch before setting off on the next leg of my journey. Speaking of which - the shape of the CBR's seat is such that over time it has a tendency to cut off circulation to my legs - so stops of 200kms or less were necessary if I wished to remain comfortable. I remember experiencing the same thing with the identically shaped seat from the CBR250R. If this could be rectified - the overall comfort level on the bike would be noticeably improved. A new seat may be in my future. With that said - I really didn't mind having to stop every 100 kms along this section anyway. Hwy 69 isn't the most thrilling experience (except when reacting to the "I can't believe that car is trying to pass that long train of traffic" - that is typical of this route) and at least I could enjoy the ride on a day where it wasn't over-run by hoards of Torontonians clamoring to seek refuge at their northern cottages. It started to rain a bit as I reached the divided highway again while approaching Sudbury. However, it dissipated by the time I entered the by-pass heading west to Sault Ste. Marie. For travelers skirting the city - I recall thinking that this probably wasn't the best postcard image of Sudbury. Still - the way the landscape has seen a stunning transformation over the years is nothing short of remarkable. There is now greenery present along this stretch - which can be really appreciated if you remember what it used to look like here. Before long I found myself on the northwest bypass heading towards Hwy 144 - and decided to stop - yet again - at a Subway restaurant in Chelmsford. Before I even took the first bite - I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a middle-aged fellow with a wide grin "Is that your bike out there?" He was the only patron in the restaurant besides me - and I thought my helmet and riding gear was a dead giveaway. Did he run over the 150R? Turns out - he just wanted to ask me about the bike. When I told him it was a CBR125R with a 150cc engine - he looked flabbergasted. He had recently returned to riding and picked up a KLX250S. Yet once he realized it would never see much dirt and gravel - he replaced it with a new Honda 750 Shadow. He had lots of questions. "How fast is it?" I replied "Around 83 mph". He said "My Shadow doesn't seem much faster!". "What kind of fuel economy does it get"? This interests me too and I've taken some great pains to keep track of it - so I stated "Around town about 115 mpg, out on the highway with no luggage, about 92 mpg, and fully laden with gear - about 80 mpg." I must admit - I enjoyed chatting with a fellow owner. It was rare that a non-rider would ever approach me with so much enthusiasm for the sport. He wished me luck on the tour - and I noticed that he took a lengthy stare at the bike outside as he was leaving.

Growing up in this area - I knew that my first photo opportunity would be where the Onaping River cascades down High Falls between the towns of Dowling and Onaping. It's funny. I wondered how many times I'd passed by this spot as a youth and then as a teen without giving it a second glance. I thought it strange when the town actually created a large parking area, interpretive panels, trails, and lookout. It was clear that I had taken this scenic overlook for granted. Yet - it really is a nice place to stop. Even Paul Gross thought so. He filmed one of the earlier scenes for the Canadian curling movie classic "Men With Brooms" here. And when I was younger - I had no idea of who A.Y. Jackson was either - let alone that he had actually painted our falls. I thought differently now.



As I parked the bike and slid awkwardly off the saddle - there was a group - cameras in hand - making their way up the path. I offered a friendly smile and a warm "Hi". One woman returned the greeting and smiled so widely at me that I figured it must have been due to the fact that I was advertising the worst - most amusing - helmet head imaginable. Can't imagine it was due to the rough, unshaven, crusty road-warrior look that I was sporting at the time. Whatever it was I was oozing - it sure seemed to attract female mosquitos. I eventually walked to the first lookout and snapped the following photo. I figured it was worth getting bitten for this special photo opportunity.

High Falls on the Onaping River near Onaping, ON.



I decided to zoom in for a little more detail. Up near the top you can see a foot bridge spanning the upper part of the rapids. There is a trail that loops around on the other side. I remember walking along it as a youth and thinking that it was an unbearably long slog through the wilderness. But in all likelihood it was probably only about a couple of kms in length.



After climbing back on my bike - I wondered what had changed since I last traveled through. I thought it funny that if I noticed how much things hadn't changed over the years - I'd likely feel that this reflected the tired image of a town that lacked vitality. Yet if I spotted some things that weren't the same as how I had remembered them - I might then lament how things just weren't the same anymore. Maybe the saying is valid here - you really can never truly go back. Still - I wished to find out for myself. And rather than just passing through - this time I would be taking some time to look around - to reflect - to wander off to some special places I hadn't seen for ages. When I approached the rail-tracks at a place we used to call "Dog-patch" I knew enough to ride wide - then cross them at 90 degrees. This sharp, nasty corner would often take people by surprise. You could feel a car's tires slide side-ways along the tracks if you negotiated it at anything above the reduced speed warning sign. Within no time I was approaching my destination for the evening - Windy Lake Provincial Park. It was good to be home again.

The entrance to the park.



Despite having grown up here - I found it funny that the only time I could remember actually camping at this park was about 5 years ago - when a good friend and I used it as a quick stop-over - on our way to Southern Ontario. And even then - it was our second choice - after the trees along Hwy 144 near Halfway Lake Provincial Park fueled a fire that spread across the highway and closed the campground. I recall a water-bomber flying unbelievably low overhead and the tops of telephone poles burning like lit cigarettes - sending wisps of smoke upwards into the sky. It had a bit of a "War of the Worlds" feel to it and I was surprised that 144 was even open to traffic - and that we were driving seemingly right into the middle of it. At that time we made no room in our itinerary to explore the nooks and crannies of Windy Lake. But I believe we drove down to the beach. I was excited and eager to do more on this visit. My excitement suddenly grew exponentially when I noticed the gatehouse was open and an attendant was available to help me find a site. Following some discussion, she suggested that I ride around and find a spot that hadn't been already reserved (she offered me a map listing the ones already taken). I came back and selected #12.



After smartly dousing myself with insect repellent and quickly and efficiently setting up my tent (I was becoming surprisingly skilled in this area) I tried my cell and was impressed that I had a signal. Things were indeed looking up. After calling my girlfriend to check in (it was both the best and worst feeling to be missing her like I was at the time), I called a friend of the family who resided in Onaping (and coincidentally used to work at the park) and asked him if he'd be interested in stopping by for a campfire and an opportunity to touch base (I wondered if he'd remember my e-mailed request for salt & vinegar chips and pop). He agreed to pay a visit a little later - which would give me just enough time to take my camera down to the lake and snap some photos before the evening set in.

Here is a view of Windy Lake through the trees on my campsite. It didn't look like much here. But I knew the views I so cherished as a teen would be awaiting me once I ventured upon its sandy shoreline. First - I had to bush-whack through the saplings and scrub to access the lower roadway. I thought there was a trail down to this road some where along here?!?



As a teen - I used to ride my Supercycle 10-speed out to the park in the early evening - just to sit on a picnic table and look out over the lake. I'd sometimes even take a refreshing nights swim. All alone. I'd ride out here during the day too - to relax on the beach with friends, swim, and work diligently on a severe sunburn. Yet - in the evening - when the beach had only a few stragglers - it took on a completely different meaning to me. I could actually sit and absorb the entire experience. Getting lost in my own thoughts was the kind of profound experience I remember craving at the time and what contributed to the specialness of this place for me. Would this all come back to me now? I was willing to give it a shot.

Stay tuned for Part IX.

Mike

Nanabijou screwed with this post 07-29-2013 at 08:23 AM
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Old 07-14-2013, 12:31 PM   #30
Oldone
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Great photos!

I can see where I need to do some further study on this great RR as these bikes have really caught my eye! The detailed information is awesome too, so more reading is in store. Thanks for the time......

Gary "Oldone"

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