Monday, May 16, 2016

Birds of a feather

I am like my grandfather's pocket watch that tells exactly the right time never less (or more) than twice a day. Well, not quite that bad, but I am running about a week slow. These events happened seven days ago. What can I say? Settling in after a major move is a little more than a full-time job, and keeping up with the dizzying world of the blogosphere takes a back seat.

I could have sworn last Monday's meeting was called for seven. My iPhone and the MeetUp app said six.  So I aimed for six.

Toronto traffic is... well... as a newly-minted Torontonian, I feel it's not my place to bitch. I only got to the Dairy Queen at Broadview and Pottery Road at eight past the hour. I wasn't exactly on time, at best maybe acceptably late, but in my defense, I would have been much later if I hadn't filtered through the worst of the jams. It turned out I was the only member of the Toronto Motor Scooter Club present and accounted for when I arrived. Must be that Toronto traffic.

The ride over to the DQ, although choked for much of the way by rush hour traffic, was nonetheless deeply satisfying.

In my mind Montreal is hilly and Toronto is flat. That's largely because Montreal has a mountain that obviously dominates the city both geographically and metaphysically, whereas the mountain nearest to Toronto is... the truth is that I have no clue where the nearest mountain might be. It's possible that the nearest mountain just might be the mountain in Montreal.

Toronto sits on the northern shores of Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes. The landscape undulates from east to west as part of the massive watershed feeding the lake from the north.

Copyright  - Province of Ontario - Ministry of Northern Development and Mines

North to south, the terrain drops southward toward the lake.

Copyright  - Province of Ontario - Ministry of Northern Development and Mines

Lush green ravines meander toward the lake like spidery wrinkles feeding the Don river in the east, and the Humber river in the west. When you factor in the ravines, Toronto may well have more hills than Montreal.

My path to the TMSC meetup took me south and east, down Yonge, into Hoggs Hollow, up York Mills and east over to and south down Bayview, to where Bayview drops and weaves deep into the Don Valley, and finally to Pottery Road that climbs in gentle twisty switchbacks to Broadview. There, perched on the lip of the ravine, is the Dairy Queen. As the other members rolled in over the next thirty minutes or so, the reasons for choosing this venue became obvious. Ice cream yes, but specifically Banana Splits, and the picnic tables set right on the edge of the escarpment. The view over the valley draws your eye southwest to the tall steely blocks of glass jutting sharply above the green valley in the distance, defining Toronto's skyline.

It turned out that the newbie (me) didn't park in the TMSC's semi-official parking space. If you use your eagle eyes, you can see me parked at the first spot in the parking lot right on the corner of Broadview and Pottery Road. I won't make that mistake again.


In the end there were five of us present for the first event of the season. Curiously, for a motor scooter club, everyone else was riding motorcycles. Ed on a vintage BMW K75, Tim on a Yamaha Virago V-Twin cruiser, Bishop on a Kawasaki 250R Ninja, and Corbee on a late model Motoguzzi Norge.

Corbee and Bishop
Ed and Tim
Each of these guys is a rider with fascinating stories to tell. Whether it's Ed slowly turning his vintage Beemer into a two-wheeled German camper van, or Corbee, an EMT who rides on the job, considering whether to have his Guzzi tricked out with emergency vehicle bells and whistles, a perk that comes with his volunteer work, or Tim who sewed his own leather saddlebags and performs daring-do superhero stunts with pool cues, these are guys you want to chew the fat with.

If you're curious about how Ed might be slowly turning his K75 into a Westy, and whether I am overstating the case, here is the galley, at the back of the camper where it belongs, including a multi-fuel burner, wok, fridge, pantry, and spice rack. It was the first time that Ed had taken his galley-equipped Beemer out for a spin. My iPhone photo does not do it justice in any way at all. It is a highly functional work of art.



If you want to know more about Ed, check out Stephanie Yue's blog post from last summer.

An hour and a half flew by and the party broke up. Each of us geared up without ceremony, said goodbye and wheeled off in all directions as the evening light began to fade.

This could be the start of something great.

16 comments:

  1. David, I can imagine you'd feel right at home with people identifying any motorised two-wheeler as a "scooter", and with Beemers converted to Westfalia camper vans (why should Honda Goldwings get all the glory?). How about next time taking the Shadow to the venue? I'll bet that everybody else will then have arrived on actual scooters. Good to have you back in the blogosphere ;-)

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    1. Sonja the Shadow is still in Montreal, currently getting its yearly check up and a new front tire. It makes the trip to Toronto next Monday.

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    2. ... you're right of course, next meetup I'll show up on the Shadow and everyone will be on scooters and giving me the stink eye :)

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    3. Last week the '61 Puch scootsickle was seatless in the shop while I was sewing a new cover ...

      This week the Beemer was getting new sneaks, the scoot has a comfy leather seat ... and we got rain.

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    4. Sonja, I took a 3 day, no restaurant, trial run last Aug. Toronto > Ottawa > Algonquin > home. Couldn't understand why my Ottawa host was calling it a Vanagon ... until he posted on CWW about my 'wanigan'. So I Googled wanigan box ...

      Wonders where VW got the name ...

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  2. When I went to Ontario last summer I couldn't get over how flat it was! My hub kept saying this is a big hill he was talking about the Niagara escarpment, it just looked like a little hill to me. Its cool that there is diversity in the two wheel community. He can have my Westy Toaster van, its so tempramental and costs me money each and every time we use the darn thing. The shadow needs to meet some new two wheel friends ;)

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    Replies
    1. Dar I think Westy ownership sinks deep deep roots into its victims and you just can't let them go, no matter how temperamental or quirky they become.

      The Shadow is making the westward trek this coming Monday (which coincidentally is also our fortieth wedding anniversary - no worries, I spoiled Susan with some additional sparkly diamonds).

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  3. That looks like a really heavy wooden box. Nice concept though...

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    1. Actually, Ed is a very talented woodworker and the box is both incredibly strong, and remarkably light. The construction seems to be thin lamination.

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    2. It's not at all heavy. My 50 litre Givi topcase comes in at 4.8kg(10.6lb) vs 5.9kg(13lb) for the Bwokx (wok in box) case.

      Construction is 3mm Baltic Birch ply and 8-10mm poplar, tongue & groove.

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  4. Looks live another patch will soon adorn your jacket! More pictures of the camper beeper - might give me some ideas. Good to see your back at your computer once again.

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  5. Didn't proof read - beemer not beeper - oops!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damn typos, we're all victims! No worries.

      I'll be dropping on on Ed at his workshop / wizard's cave. I'll take more photos of the Bwokx for you. It has custom made interlocking wooden spice bottles.

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    2. See... I won't be dropping 'on' Ed, I plan to 'drop in on Ed'. Sheesh!

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  6. Wow, it takes talent to turn that bike into a camper. Looks as though he is doing a good job though.

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    Replies
    1. Brandy if there's one thing Ed has in spades it's talent.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.