Riding and Seeking

Rode about 350kms the other day for one photo. It’s not even a great photo. Some people would ask, "why the hell would you do that?" You get it, I know you guys get it. That’s why I love being apart of these rider communities. 

6:30 am. I’ve been up for 15 minutes and I’m already backing the bike out of our little shop. Socks, long johns, spare gloves,  a few things laid out the night before making for a smooth and fast exit. On a morning like this you don’t want to take your time. The weather was such shit that if I sat down with a warm sweater and a cup of coffee I would have likely never made it out the door. Don’t take time to think, just stick to the plan and go. Too tired for the regular stealthy exit, I wasn’t pushing the bike up the driveway on this morning. Starter’ up and take off. I’ll wake up on the bike. Some of my favourite days begin this way. 

5 degrees, dark, and pissing rain. Heading up the west side of the island the temperatures were dropping and I expected that running into snow today would likely be a reality. I just hoped it wouldn’t start dumping flakes on the road behind me and my escape route. 

Posted on our FaceBook page was the latest “#RideandSeek” photo. Started by one of its members 5 years ago, the little game really began a couple years later with the support of the admins.  A seemingly purposeless game with no apparent prize, and it never really ends. A picture is posted by the last rider to win. Their bike at a location, somewhere local, or at least somewhere on the lower island. It’s easy, recognize the spot and be the first to post a picture of your machine there, and you win.  Choosing the next spot, you ride and take the next picture to post. The endless cycle of getting people out there. Riding and seeking and riding. Even if you can’t find it, every time you play you win. It’s never a bad time trying. 

Chasing down the canyon with the blue Super Moto. The photo of a familiar bike, locally ridden by a funny friend who showed a lot of guts riding this far out, completing the entire loop this time of the year, and with a tiny tank. 

Wet roads and the loud tapping of rain drops pelting the helmet. Mostly drowned out by the new playlist, you can pretend that it doesn’t even exist. Properly prepared I splashed along in comfortable layers. Now 2 degrees and still no need for the heated vest, the Revit suit, rain shell and H2O gloves kept me in my warm riding bubble. The problem with moisture and low temperatures isn’t rider comfort, it’s visibility. With the visor layered with anti fog the night before, it was still useless. Wearing my new 100% goggles they have become my new favourite necessity. Keeping my breath out of the inside of the lens and more importantly, the slight yellow mirrored exterior. The rain drops have a dimmer reflection keeping visibility better than I have ever experienced in the rain. A neck tube to help with the cold face since I taped the helmet visor open to stop it from slamming shut in the high winds.  Little solutions to be able to see better… your life can depend on it. 

About 150kms to Port Renfrew and the rain softens. The beginning of the familiar Pacific route, I knew exactly where I was going. Harris Canyon.

The bike is placed and the shot is taken. The end...

Come on! You think I would turn around after the one photo? To be honest… I usually take at least a hundred… but I had to see how bad the snow really was for riding. How far can I do the loop before I have to turn back… Getting into a good grove and winding around the hills, not far as it turns out. Inconsistent, slushy and getting worse. “Dang” too much to tackle alone out here.

Back track it, and take a trail you’ve never seen. The very thing I dreamed about before I bought a bike like this. See an interesting dirt track and go explore.  “Smack, smack”… smacking into the overgrowth I checked out where the trail ends.

Staring across a charred forrest and some island scenery, I found myself planted in a spot I wouldn’t normally be. Experiencing a day ride I might not normally choose, and appreciating every part of it. All thanks to little game with our local club. (Lower Island Riding Club on Facebook)

The ride back wasn't half bad either.