Keeping Up with the Dual Sports.

Keeping up on another duel sport ride through the mountains of Vancouver Island. (A Rob Termuende Special)

Some people might say you don’t belong there. I think they’re wrong.

Taking on an invite from a friend Rob I was eager to see where the ride will take us. Meet someone pretty awesome. Rob is an older fella, riding a fairly old DR. They might say the old bike won’t make it, and on the verge of a break down in the bush. They might say Rob is in for the same fate. Perhaps he would be better suited for a lawn bowling team, or in the safety of a manicured golf course. Like his trusty DR they are both still thriving in the an environment they both very much belong. Bringing to the table his vast knowledge of island trails and back roads it shows he has been doing this a while. With a true appreciation for where these bikes can take you, they also carry the ability and guts to navigate pretty much anything put in front of them. Pretty impressive team and looking sharp in your new Revit suit there Rob.

Meeting up on the west side of Vancouver Island, the sea side town of Sooke again becomes the gathering place for our small group of riders. With the rolling back of the clocks it was either some extra time in bed or ride early for some extra time taking a few photos at the shores of the quiet town.

Getting behind the bars we followed Rob up to the unwelcoming entrances to the forrest. Getting access to our vast island playground beyond the paved roads can become more of a challenge as the years go by. Dug out trails and gates sending the message that we are definitely not wanted here. Canadians exploring our backcountry, we very much belong here. Passing through other known access points lightly, our presence through an area is unrecognizable and we continue to explore our world as we should be able to, and with respect.

Making our way through a few tougher spots early on we got the bike dumping, parts breaking sections hopefully over with first. Followed by grand photos through the water crossings. Here I am subjected the jealously of my own creations. Equally I ride through the glorious photo moments however have to settle for some lame static pose I might have seen in a magazine once, with a not so grand waterfall.

I suppose you will just have to imagine the moment as it might have been… Steely eyes peering through he helmet,  dead focused. Leaves wisping through the air as I enter the water at twice the speed necessary. The water parting ways as if Jesus commanded it. Or… maybe I just tip toed my way across so my boots don’t get to wet while ever so quickly walking it through the creek under power… “But, the rocks are slippery, I might fall over.”   JK. I rode’er through. You’ll have to take my word for it. It was a pretty sweet splash.

The truth is it’s often the anticipation of the obstacle ahead that can have the biggest effect on your success. Sitting in line, you had come to that moment with all the skills and confidence you have been riding with all day. Waiting for your turn to take your shot at it you often may watch others struggle through or dump hard. A skill not tallied equally with the more obvious of bike control, fear control is likely the most important of them all. With the ability to shatter all other skills at will, entering an obstacle with fear of failure in your mind and your success is slim. With confidence and focus being your best friend you can almost make it through anything with them by your side. Learning to recognize the distraction of the onset of nervous fear is valuable, and being able to just smile and remember… this is fun, you got this, now focus on what matters and give’er hell! A very versatile skill to have.

Thankfully, I find the Tiger 800 rarely gives me moments of hesitation. In fact I find it interesting to see people can be surprised to see it out here on the trails with the lighter weight duel sports. It can be mistaken as mainly a road bike (and It’s very good at it!) but nothing I have put it through so far would say it is not a dirt bike as well. Drop it, pick it up, its not that heavy. Protected in the right spots and no harm done. Stoping takes a little longer with the weight and momentum on the gravel and dirt, however even with only 50/50 Mitas tires it has decent grip. In the dirt I feel the weight even improves your grip at times.  These bikes very much belong in the bush, sadly, people are just not use to seeing them out there enough.

Onward to more good dam riding, we reached the picturesque Diversion Dam. A scenic photo is good but better with a bike in front of it. I also threw one in there of my favourite bag. There is a variety of great pieces from Altrider on the bike, however the versatile rear rack and mainly the dry bag I find especially handy. Loops and handles where you need them, attached to a tough skin that opens at both ends. Spare gloves, heated vest, rain gear and first aid kit in one end and snacks, anti-fog and camera bits in the other. Combine it with a couple ROK straps on a large Altrider rear rack and it’s very solid, and you can access either end while still being strapped on the bike. A handy solution worth mentioning.

Often on a good ride there isn’t much more to mention. It was great hanging out and sharing an exceptional riding day in perfect temperatures. We rode up to places I had never seen and glad I did.

Otherwise no real drama.  Next time maybe our friend Mr. Chong can come along and it can accidentally get real hairy again. 😉 I did however catch a strange mischievous green blob floating in one of the photos. I’m assuming the strange apparition is what had unscrewed all the front fender bolts to our Gerry’s Yamaha. Well equipped with a large tool wrap it was just a matter of what bolts can be sacrificed from other parts of the bike. Quick fix.

With the gravel behind us we popped out on a mountain road to Cowichan Lake. The sun went down and we settled in to a great connection of winding back roads leading back to Victoria. Good riding with you guys Gerry and Dave, and thanks for the guided tour Rob.