There are many obstacles on the road for a motorcyclist – some are more predictable than others
Story and Photos by John Evans
When I first started riding a few years back, I made a conscious effort to be aware of the other drivers on the road. We see them all the time – texting or talking on the phone, twisting and turning to check on their kids, turning without signalling – you know the ones I’m talking about. To this day, my eyes are constantly scanning for those with little regard for their own safety or the safety of others.
The other danger on our roads is, of course, those that aren’t even aware that they’re an obstacle. These are our furry friends, either domestic or wild, that we share our roads with every day. Last summer, I had the misfortune of watching my good friend and riding partner collide with a moose while riding right in front of me. I’m hoping this story will remind you all of the dangers of the road. Here’s our story.
Midlife Crisis Observed
A few years ago, the age of 50 was creeping up on me. As a lot of you know, this special number makes you reflect on your life and what you’ve done with it. One rainy Saturday evening, I was sitting with my family and watching a movie called Wild Hogs. During the movie, I yelled out, “That’s it! I’m going to get my motorcycle licence!”
First thing that Monday morning I was in our local government agent’s office picking up the materials to obtain my motorcycle licence. While I had ridden a dirtbike as a kid, I had not ridden for a number of years, but the excitement brewing inside me was overwhelming.
Within a few short weeks, I had purchased a brand new Honda Shadow from the local dealership and had contacted an old friend back from my 20s and asked him to be my mentor. I knew Darren very well and he had more than 30 years of riding experience, so I felt confident that I was in good hands. After several rides with Darren and with my motorcycle safety course under my belt, I was ready. After passing my road test, I really felt like a kid again as I rode my new machine up and down the streets of our small town.
Another Change in the Works
I rode the same streets for a number of years, but then longed for something more: more excitement – more adventure. A friend of mine told me about her BMW adventure bike, and the research began for my new ride. I eventually found my new companion in a used BMW F650GS that fit me well (I am somewhat vertically challenged). Shortly thereafter, my wife and I were having dinner with friends and I just had to tell them about my recent purchase. Across the table I could see my friend, Andrew, and his eyes went wild with excitement. “You bought an adventure bike!” he screamed. “Indeed I did,” I quickly replied, as I was only too happy to provide more details. Andrew told me then that he too had been considering a similar purchase, as he wanted to travel by motorcycle to the Yukon and Alaska. With that, our brains were churning with dreams of making this trip a reality.
Andrew bought a brand new F800GS, and over the next few months, we ventured out on many local back roads with new-found friends from our Facebook Adventure Bike Group (NWBC Adventure Bike Group). We learned a lot from these experienced riders, as many of them had been riding for years.
Long-Awaited Ride North
On Canada Day last year, Andrew rode his bike to my house, where I was packed and ready to go. Our bikes were gleaming and packed with all kinds of gear that we likely didn’t even need. Having kissed our wives goodbye, we jumped on our bikes and started on what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. Day one was fun and…