The 50,001st Kilometre

I rode the 50,001st Kilometer on Phil’s bike.

Last week I drove to Vancouver to see Phil and to pick up several boxes I had shipped from London. We also ended up bringing quite a lot of Phil’s stuff back to my parents’ house as he will be moving out of his current residence in July when we leave on the Ultimate Ride.

It’s a simple route from Calgary to Vancouver – but a very long drive:

There’s only one road in Canada

Riding Phil’s bike was the first time I had ridden another KLR650 and I noticed differences between my bike and his immediately. His is somehow shorter than mine. I can put both feet flat down on the ground when sitting on his, but only the balls of my feet touch down on mine. The only explanation is the aftermarket suspension he has installed on his bike. Also his handlebars are higher (and blue). I liked this height, made it easier to stand on the pegs and still steer the bike with a feeling of control. (Standing on the pegs is important when riding on gravel and dirt.)

Here’s Phil on his bike, note all the luggage he has. I have luggage envy.

Phil and his KLR at 50,000km

Doing a 2000km road trip with my dad was really great. The drive over the Rocky Mountains was stunning and I haven’t had the opportunity for quality time with my dad over the past decade. A side effect of not living on the same continent. I may have driven him slightly mad listening to my Spanish lesson podcasts though.

The weather on the drive out was beautiful, clear and sunny. On the way home however it was very wet and rainy and by the time we got back to Calgary I was pretty much convinced that a heated vest is going to make me a happier motorcyclist. If I had been riding my bike on Thursday I would have been very, very wet. I am making that trip in a month’s time so need to be ready!

When we got home I had to get rid of Phil’s old Suzuki so that there was room in the garage for all our stuff. This is it on the trailer about to be taken away.

Goodbye old bike!

I’ve made a lot of progress on my motorcycle this past couple of weeks. I have bought aluminum panniers (but not yet figured out how I am going to mount them) and got a metal skid plate from another KLR rider who had an old one he didn’t need (thanks Rod!). A rider called Rick who lives in British Columbia is shipping me crash bars to protect my radiator and the side of my bike, and my BarkBusters (handlebar protection) and heated handgrips arrived this morning. Rick has ridden to South America before and sent me some great advice as well. I am so thrilled with the motorcycling community here in Canada – I have met (and corresponded with) so many fantastic people who are very happy to help and share their experience and knowledge.

The guy who sold me the panniers (Dirt Baggs) is called Colin. He replied to a “wanted” ad I put online and invited me to go to a Motorcycle shop in Calgary to see them (City Cycle – my new favourite motorcycle shop). I popped in there one afternoon and Colin happened to be sitting there talking to the owner Terry. They’d sold the set of boxes I had come to see, but I ended up spending a couple of hours in there getting great advice, several stories, and a set of new Heidenau tires for my bike. Colin later got me the boxes I bought, and also introduced me to his friend Craig. Craig owns two KLRs (among other bikes) and has ridden extensively in South America. I spent the day at his house yesterday where he helped me install the Thermo-Bob into my cooling system, and shared hours of stories and tips for our trip. I came away with a new friend, feeling inspired and even more excited about our trip (if that is even possible).

Craig’s KLR while demonstrating how to use a piece of pipe to prop up the rear wheel.

How to prepare a bike to change the rear tire with just a piece of pipe.

First thing I did this morning was convince my mum to donate a sheepskin rug to me and Phil to put on our seats.

One month now until the Ultimate Ride begins!


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