THe Wettest Dry Run in History

We’re just about 4 weeks away from the ride, and my mom and I had not even ridden together – this weekend was to be our dry run of packing, equipment, riding style & navigation. No better time than Ride For Sight, Canada’s largest Charity ride/event to try it out. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend all summer – I must say, I never expected the weekend to be over so quickly.

Friday started with my motorcycle backfiring and having trouble starting, mixed with very dark oil. My biggest concern was riding it 500km before being able to get it to the shop for a much needed tune up before riding it across Canada. Having figured out that my engine needs a good cleaning and an oil change, it was my overuse of the choke that was causing most of the trouble. I was very relieved, to say the least. I arrived in Barrie Friday night, ready for the Saturday morning packing and riding day.

It took longer than expected to get everything on the bikes but by 7:30am we were riding away in formation – my mom and I were joined by her partner, Greg, riding in front. Together we had 2 tens, two air mattresses, our banner, two spleeping bags, our clothes, raingear, tarp and chair with luch. We stopped for gas and were concerned about getting to Woodbine in time, missing the parade which I had been most excited about. My mom made the best point of the day “what do we have to lose? Let’s go people”.

The he rain started at Hwy 9 and the 400. We pulled off under an overpass and geared up – unfortunately, my saddle bags hung too low and melted to my exhaust, melting my rain suit through the bags (don’t ask). Alright, I was going to get wet. I’ve ridden very wet before, can’t get that bad, can it?

As we pulled of the 427, my mother pulled over due to her engine light coming on – it seemed her bike was overheating. We could practically see the racetrack. We figured someone at the Ride for Sight was a mechanic who could take a look. Within 5min. of riding again, Greg and I seemed to lose my mother. Overheating once again.

We made it to the starting point just as the engine start signal was given. And it was amazing! There must have been more than 400 bikes ready to go, and we stood to the side, making calls to mechanics, speaking to riders and taking apart the 1100cc Honda Shadow. As much as my mother told us to go ahead without her, we firmly stayed put, watching and filming the bikes as they honked and road off.

Meanwhile, I called a local Honda Dealership to confirm we could come by and we were off to see what could be done. The rain intensified and I got wetter – and when we arrived at the dealership, we knew a mistake had happened.

We stood outside of a Honda Car Dealership, with no motorcycles in sight except for ours that were under water with heavy wet equipment on the back….this day was not going as planned. Our dry run was more like a wet run. We stood inside the car dealership checking the weather and he nearest motorcycle Honda Dealership. 1pm and the rain was scheduled to continue into the night, my mother’s bike was still overheating and it was very obvious that I needed newer, better equipment.

We decided, begrudgingly to call it a day after standing outside the Dealership for at least 15min trying to decide what to do. I was the first to say I was done – already I was wet from top to bottom, and my tent was wet, with little chance of setting it up in dry conditions on dry ground. I needed better equipment.  I decided to head home instead of to the Ride For Sight outside of Bowmanville having learned quite a bit about what needed to change to make sure this wet run doesn’t translate into a cross Canada disaster. And on the list:

Rain suit
Better, water proof boots
3 more pairs of gloves
Goggles
more straps, with wrenches
more dry bags
New saddle bags or fix these ones
Motorcycle tune up
Gas tank bag with clear window for maps
And a better understanding of my bike
It must be said that my mother and I were a splendid team and rode well together. The best part of this wet run was our flexibility and intuition. Sacrificing the weekend to get more prepared for the month of August. I was disappointed and as the sun has come out, I wonder how bad it could it have been – did I chicken out?

Stay tuned to for info re: rain equipment and transporting bikes nationally – the next puzzle pieces to figure out.

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