Sunday, August 22, 2010


I remember taking lessons but we never did this. Our instructors would have frowned on the lack of protective equipment. A helmet alone is not enough but this looks like a lot of fun if you're good and provided you don't wipe out.

The bike I owned was an on-off road bike, a single cylinder 500cc compression release dual purpose Yamaha XT500. It was a lot of fun riding and way better on gas than a car. I owned this bike from the mid-1980s until the early 90s. It was third-hand and had some issues when I first bought it, like a leaky gasket. When it was worked on to replace the gasket, we found string wrapped around the gearshift to stem the flow of oil. That and another gasket issue had to be worked on. Later I added signal lights for on road riding.

During days off I would ride from London, Ontario where I lived at the time to places like Waterloo and Barrie and back, all in one day. One trip with a friend took us up to Georgian Bay, up into the Bruce Peninsula and then back to London over a couple of days. I could do the London to Waterloo trip on 5 dollars of a gas at the time. You couldn't do that with a car and still can't. Just starting the car and pulling out of the driveway would cost you as much.

I even rode late in the year but getting on it after being parked all day in a frozen parking lot was like sitting on a block of ice. The leather-covered foam seat was hard as ice and just as cold too but warmed up soon enough. The brake and clutch had to thaw out too. The warmth of the engine soon took care of that. At work I would put the bike in a heated building and so the seat was real comfortable going home in the morning. In such cold conditions don't forget to lower your visor after stopping at a light. I learned the hard way after forgetting to lower it and the condensation was frozen in place. I had to ride the remaining mile or so home with the visor up (couldn't see otherwise!) and the ice cold air streaming across my face. As long as there wasn't too much snow on the road, I kept riding late into the season. An accumulation of snow and ice on the road brought an end to riding for the year. The latest I rode was into December but that was a rather short, mild winter. The usual was into October before the season ended. It was fun and I may even get another one.

I hope you had an awesome weekend, guys!!! - V

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