Doing “The Loop” before breakfast.

Sneaking out of the house at 5:30 am I was desperate to get a good ride in. Push the bike up the driveway and coast it down the hill before you start it up… quiet… and don’t wake a sole.  Get back before the kids are out of their pyjamas and the wife will never have anything to complain about. 🙂 A regular strategy for keeping my moto obsession going for the long run.

Aimed at eating up about 350 kms and be back a little after 10 am,  I was heading out to complete “The Loop” back wards. For those that don’t know, it’s also known as the Pacific Marine Route/Cowichan Lake or Port Renfrew…Loop. A local know favourite. Starting in Victoria B.C., up the right side of the Island to Duncan, take a left to Cowichan Lake and continue across the mountains till you hit water again (Port Renfrew). Circle back down the other side of the island back to Victoria. “The Loop” counter clockwise.

5 Degrees and Dark, there was only a couple of side routes in mind on the way up. With the best part being up in the mountains, I planned a fast pace direct route through the dark morning till I hit sunrise and the best parts begin. Flying through the dark back roads there is one thing that makes this fun… ok well two things. I really like the Tiger 800 and the triple motor, but I can’t use it right if I can’t see, so bright as hell lighting makes all the difference. I use Cyclops H4 headlight LED’s and long range aux lights, if any one is wondering.

Hardly being able to call this winter riding, however the temperatures did drop to 0 as I got closer to the mountains. Fast sections early on… and later on for that matter. This time in the morning the road is yours, its just you and the animals to worry about. I was actually surprised to run into a herd of Elk. They seemed equally surprised to see me, and literally looks like I caught them with their pants down… (you’d have to see the photo 🙂

Prepared right for the cold riding season it can almost be better than summer. Less traffic and less sweat. If you get too hot just shut off the heated gear. Heated grips are also awesome but made way better with these BarkBusters Blizzard hand shields. Something I have been trying out new this year, they easily mount over the regular hand guards to create a dead zone of air around your hands and finger tips.

Thankful I found these things, I had looked around at other options and never liked the cumbersome alternatives like the HippoHands and their sleeves. These things are a great compromise allowing easy access to your bars, but still keeping the wind off your knuckles and fingertips. This is a huge benefit since I only like to ride with my favourite small summer gloves and only prefer thick winter gloves for highways. Maybe sounding like an add, I only talk about things I have found work great and may help other people that ride like I do. These things are great to have in cold or wet weather.

The best way to relax this can be an intense route to ride, a little more chill on the damp roads its still a great place to be on any day. Winding roads passing by many creaks, rivers and lakes, along one mountain side to the next this place is made more beautiful in winter with the low clouds and soft light. The photos can describe this better than I can.

Port Renfrew and the green and yellow bridge. The great scenery and riding only continues from here as you head down the left coast of the island.

Quiet sections of winding road, with an even quieter repair crew. You have to watch for the cracked, broken or missing pieces of asphalt. No problem on the bikes with decent suspension travel but hit some of these hard on a sport bike or cruiser and your intercom buddy will likely get a good laugh at the words coming out of mouth then. If it wasn’t rugged it wouldn’t be the island, thats what makes it great…