Friday, September 29, 2017

The 2017 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

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Come along with me as I ride my Vespa GTS 300i.e. in the Toronto edition of the 2017 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride.

What I don't show in the video is that when the bikes started rolling at the start, my Vespa stubbornly refused to get going. It just wouldn't start and left me stranded in the parking lot on the lake at Woodbine. I took off my jacket, pushed the bike into some shade, hauled out my tools and set to work. The symptoms (no starter, no lights, no power to the 12 volt outlets, nada, zip) indicated to me that the culprit had to be the battery. My heart sank as I faced the fact that not only was my Gentleman's Ride sunk, but so was an epic ride scheduled for Monday through Wednesday. "Drats" doesn't begin to cover the vocabulary I chose to express my immense frustration.

I tore into the battery compartment, removing the Classic Racks floor cargo rack and the battery cover. You'll recall from the last episode that I had removed the battery recently when I replaced the high tension lead. Everything seemed fine. Just to be sure I checked the battery terminals to make sure that they were tight. I managed to get a turn or two out of the terminal screws, but not enough to explain the electrical issue, I thought.

I put everything back together and began to ponder my fate. Just to convince myself that I was thoroughly screwed (pardon the pun), I flicked the ignition back on and punched the starter. Lo and behold, the bike fired right up.

I straightened myself out to look dignified, and set off to join the ride. I managed to track them down at the Queen's Park scheduled stop. All in all the malfunction didn't interfere all that much with my mission.

I hope you enjoy the video.

There is much more to come on Life on two wheels: the Monday to Wednesday trip happened (at least two videos to come), I broke down yet again (coolant leak, again, and again, this time somewhere in the engine compartment, impossible to see), and I have some technical videos coming on an oil change, my commentary on police services in Toronto (5.0 in the Six) and so much more.

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is a charity motorcycle ride that takes place world-wide each September. This video chronicles the 2017 DGR in Toronto. Proceeds from the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride go the Movember Foundation. Please give generously.

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Forget Me Not by SE's Jammy Jams, and Gypsy Dance by Topher Mohr and Alex Elena, both made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Parts are fun!

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OMG!! Things must be picking up in the Life on two wheels studio, because YES, it's another episode!

Viewer beware, this is the very first technical episode. Those of you who thought that there would be another wild bar-hopping episode following the previous episode on the wonders of St. John's Newfoundland, will be sadly disappointed.

In this episode I dig into the guts of my Vespa to rip out the ignition (or high tension) wire that sank my trip to Pennsylvania, pick up replacement parts from Vespa Toronto West, build another high tension wire from scratch (coil to spark plug), install it on the bike, and PRESTO!!! My untrustworthy ignition is a thing of the past.

I made this episode in honour of Ken Wilson, who provided moral support in the background. Ken was a little let down that I chose to end my trip failure video without delving into the root of the problem, choosing instead to focus on Texas barbecue (now come on, who can blame me, honestly??)

I plan to post this episode on on the off chance that anyone suffering with a similar issue will find this episode to be helpful.

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is Give by Silent Partner, made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library.

That's it for now folks!

See you  next time, on Life on two wheels, the vlog

Monday, September 11, 2017


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It's another episode of your favourite vlog, Life on two wheels! Screech1!!!!! in this case is not what you get when you spin your wheels or slam on the brakes. Fasten your seat belts, this is by far the most ambitious vlog episode to date.

In this episode I take you all the way to easternmost Canada. That's right, you're coming along for a trip to St. John's Newfoundland. It's a nice bookend for the earlier episode when you got to come with me to Victoria British Columbia. From one end of the Trans-Canada Highway to the other, in two painless clicks. You have to admit, that's not too shabby.

The annual conference of Governance Professionals of Canada was taking place in St. John's, and Susan had never been to Newfoundland, so off we went. I had been there for the first time back in 2009, and was already an honorary Newfoundlander, so I wisely considered, having already been screeched-in, that I was dispensed from having to kiss the cod a second time. Besides, on Tuesday night, in the midst of the rowdy mayhem on George street, I looked that blessed, twisted, frozen, lifeless fish in its muddy dead eye, and I'm pretty sure it was the same slimy character I kissed on the lips back in '09.

The conference was a resounding success and Susan and I left The Rock with memories to last a lifetime. Newfoundland has a kind of mystical wonder to it. Its ubiquitous pastel-coloured jellybean clapboard row homes, cottages and sheds brighten its rocky shores wherever Newfoundlanders live, from Come-By-Chance to Cornerbrook, and from Burgeo to Bonavista.

Tag along with me for a taste of Celtic Canada at its very best. You're just a click away!

The music for this episode is Celtic Impulse by Kevin MacLeod and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license and is brought to you courtesy of the excellent YouTube Audio Library.

For the story of my new (old) pirate hat, please click here, and for my obsession with Rick Mercer, please click here. For the lyrics to Rant and Roar, please click here.

Things have been hectic in the Life on two wheels studio and there are plenty of episodes to come. You have 5.0 in The Six and Parts are Fun to look forward to, as well as a long delayed jaunt down south of the border to spend some time with legendary fellow moto-blogger and dedicated Vespa-holic Steve Williams. Unfortunately that might be delayed into 2018. There are some technical bits to come relating to an oil change, and ignition work on the Vespa as well. So the upshot is that there's lots to look forward to.

Stay tuned!


1. Screech.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The bike that quacks me up!

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This episode of Life on two wheels is just a placeholder and a mollifier.

I have been tied up with amazing stuff, some of which is fit to share, some of which I can't, but all of it is amazingly good.

Fortunately there are other videos in the works and I just have to get cracking.

Speaking of cracking, and cracking up, there are few things as amusing as ducks. Just consider what Walt Disney accomplished with that other Donald. Donald mesmerized and quacked up generation after generation of little kids, myself included.

On Monday night at the Toronto Moto Scooter Club regularly scheduled hang, emcee Ed Thomas showed up on his very, very rare vintage 1961 Puch Cheetah. It's definitely not a moped (no pedals, semi-automatic transmission), it's definitely not a scooter (no step-through), so if it's anything, it's a really puny motorcycle. But that's not all. Capping off the strangeness of this rather unique bike is its totally weird (and surprisingly loud) horn.

Check it out in the video.

To those among you who checked up on me fearing that my uncharacteristic silence was other than golden... thank you, thank you, thank you.

Fear not, I am hearty and hale, just a little tied up with non-social media stuff. In my defense, I am more committed to being a YouTuber than ever, and I fear that if I revert to plain old blog posts, it will be a slippery slope, like dieting or exercising (both of which I have hopefully only temporarily set to the side).

So cheer up! There are more videos in the works and life goes on, as merrily as ever it has!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Vimy Ridge, so close to home

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Welcome to episode 17 of the vlog.

In this episode you come with me as I explore the amazing ties that bind the City of Toronto where I live, to the World War I epic battle for Vimy Ridge in France.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the battle, and the 150th anniversary of Canada as a nation. It was as a result of those anniversaries and the press coverage they received that I learned of some very intimate links between the City of Toronto, the battle for Vimy Ridge, and the Vimy Memorial that stands on the battlefield. The battle for Vimy Ridge was a Canadian victory, and, in the fullness of time, it has come to symbolize the point where Canada truly became a nation.

The music for this episode is Phife for life by Otis McDonald, made available courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library. The images Canadian troops on the battlefield and of the Vimy Memorial are from the Canadian War Museum.

Summer is in full swing and there will be much more to come on the vlog, so stay tuned!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Stutter, stall and a Texas strut

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Yes it's another episode of Life on two wheels, but regrettably, I'm not broadcasting from the Sticks.

Check out this episode to see how, when handed a bushel of lemons, I stumbled on the finest barbecue joint north of Austin Texas.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Canada: 150 years young!

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Happy Birthday Canada!

This is how Susan and I celebrated Canada Day: a trip to the roof terrace to take in the fireworks popping and crackling all over the city.

Next stop: the Boalsburg Moto Hang!

The music for this episode is Darling Ranch by Jingle Punks, courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library, and the national anthem of Canada.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Father's Day and Vespas

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Welcome to another episode of the Life on two wheels vlog.

Here are the detailed show notes.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Godmorgon to you, and Odensvik!

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I'm hoping that all my blog followers and vlog subscribers are suitably impressed.

If you haven't noticed, I'll blow my own horn with impunity and a total complete lack of humility.

It's another episode of the vlog, and it's landing in your inboxes within something crazy like 48 hours of the previous episode. Believe me when I say that, even a month ago, I would have said that was a shear impossibility.

What changed?

Well, like anything else, it's possible to get to a point where producing a half-decent YouTube video becomes a little more routine, and a little less of an unaccompanied hike in a steamy wild jungle. That's because you begin to learn where the path lies among the myriad complex and bewildering choices you are faced with when you open a powerful video editing suite on your computer.

This episode was prompted by one of the basic things that motivated me to begin blogging in the first place.

You have the need to get something accomplished, like in this case installing an Ikea Godmorgon - Odensvik - Rinnen floating bathroom vanity.

In short order you hit a foggy wall in the plumbing section at your local Rona, Lowes and Home Depot stores, and you don't get any further at a couple of professional plumbing supply houses, and in spite of having Googled and YouTubed for hours, you are still scratching your head stymied in your attempts to solve what ought to be a very, very, very simple task: hooking up the Ikea Rinnen drain system to the drain rough-in that pokes out of your bathroom wall.

Eventually I figured it out, and quite elegantly I have to say, speaking as a non-plumber. More elegantly than some of the examples I found in my online searches, here, and here, here, here and here.

Once all the running around and cursing is done and the job is a success, I for one react this way: "Holy crap, if only I had come across a video like the one I'm going to make explaining how to get from Eh!?! to beeee-you-tiful!"

So there you have it. Another public service like some of the other examples you can find right here in the Gear Guide, and the Touring Guide. Only it has absolutely nothing to do with riding a motorbike. It's about life. Life on two wheels.

My work here is done!

You're welcome!

And now the credits:

The music for this episode is Tribal Song by Silent Partner, a royalty-free selection from the YouTube Audio Library:

The vanity is from the ingenious folks at Ikea.

The blood, sweat, and tears are all my own.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hmmmmm.... butter tarts!

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Welcome back to Life on two wheels!

In this episode of the vlog, a small band of intrepid scooter desperadoes from the Toronto Moto Scooter Club hits the road bright and early on an impossibly sunny Saturday morning and heads up north, way up north.

This ride was destined to be an eye opener on so many levels.

Wikipedia debunks the myth that Yonge street (where Susan and I live in the north end of Toronto) is the longest street in the world. I generally trust Wikipedia, so when I was about to head back home, and my GPS told me to "turn left on Yonge street" I felt like an explorer discovering something new about the planet. Wikipedia says categorically that Yonge street ends 80 kilometers north of Lake Ontario. Yet here I was, more than 150 kilometers north yet still on Yonge street!! Cool! The thrill of discovery!!

But that's nothing!

Any excuse is a good reason to swing your leg over a saddle and hit the road, destination irrelevant. But what if there was a prize at the end of the road? How about an annual butter tart festival? When I saw that on the club's news letter, I was SOLD!!

The ride up was just what a moto trip ought to be. There were some nice hills to give you that soaring feeling when you cross the ridge line, some really nice twisties that I failed to record, sweeping left and right arcs, and gorgeous green countryside along every mile.

The event in Midland was well worth the trip all on its own, including the guy riding the Emu, not to mention the sinfully good butter tarts.

I hope that the video does the ride justice.

And now for the credits:

The music for this episode is Clap Along by Audionautix which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ( by the artist: This is one of the many excellent royalty free music selections from the YouTube audio library.

Check out the comments on YouTube. The guy doing drum duty for the Canadian Legion bagpiper chimed in! How cool is that?

Friday, June 9, 2017

ExPrEsSiOn - Conclusion

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At long last, another episode of the vlog.

This one has had a ridiculously long gestation period.

What I needed to express was how I see blogging and vlogging as a form of art. I certainly see my writing efforts as a form of artistic expression. As for my videos... well, there lies a challenge. My technical skills are still very much ramping up, and my ability to tell a story as a video is in its infancy.

Vloggers who are much more talented express the view, with which I agree, that the story is where the art lies, much more so than in the technique of cobbling together a series of video and sound clips. In that spirit, I honestly try not to get wrapped up in the technology more than I absolutely need to.

There will always be better choices in terms of equipment and software, but even the most modest setup should allow plenty of room for creativity and is certainly no excuse for a boring, annoying, or pointless video. Heaven knows there are enough of those.

As I try to transition from blogger to vlogger, the blog suffers, my attention to fellow bloggers suffers, and along with them I suffer too. What I am trying to do in this episode is to express to you how I see this process and how this experiment is having an impact on me. I have literally lain awake at night, nursing the story for this video, imagining what I could do express my thoughts and point of view effectively. I imagined all kinds of fanciful wizardry that is quite frankly beyond my grasp at this point.

As for future posts, there is a club ride tomorrow for what I am told is the epicenter of butter tart magic up in Midland and that will be fun to document, and in early July it's off to tour the Sticks with Steve Williams and Paul Ruby which will be epic fun.

In the absolutely mundane department, I finally completed our guest bathroom update and that involved three difficult days wrestling with the installation of an excellent Ikea floating vanity. I Googled and YouTubed that project to death seeking advice. Given what I found, I am determined to offer the YouTubeOsphere a little ditty on my installation that may just save some future handy men a litany of florid cursing and needless treks to the hardware store.

So stay tuned, there's more in store.

And now the credits:

The music for this episode of Life on two wheels is:

I'm Everywhere Remastered by TeknoAXE hosted on which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,


It's Always Too Late to Start Over by Chris Zabriskie which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

The short footage of the Bellagio fountain is used with permission from the copyright owner.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

eXpReSsIoN - Part one

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In this episode of the vlog, the first of two parts, I explore the mystery of what drives us to attempt art.

Not everyone develops an artistic bent, but
they are not that hard to find.

In part one you get a glimpse of me helping my dear friend Marc by editing a new book he has written and is busy publishing. It took two very full days of fairly grueling work on my end to deliver the comments that Marc was after, so that his publication target could be met.

As I worked to help Marc, it got me thinking again about what art means to me, and my own artistic process. You may not agree with me of course, but I consider the stuff I publish here on the blog, and up there in the new vlog, to be art.

It's a great conceit, and you may not believe that I am writing this with genuine humility, but when I go back into the depths of this journal's history to re-read stuff I posted a ways back, I actually enjoy what I read. I imagine that others enjoy it too. I think it would be a whole lot more difficult to do if I thought that I was producing drivel that was painful to read and difficult to watch. Well... maybe the videos are painful to watch. I've been learning to write in earnest since... I think grade 5. So those skills have been honed for a decent time. My video editing is in its earliest infancy.

But here's the thing, there's something in it that is very compelling for me.

That's my next challenge. Trying to explain what the blog and the vlog mean to me, how they drive me, and why I think they are art.

If I manage to get it halfway right, it will be art, about art.

I'm curious to hear what my fellow bloggers (who are suffering my neglect as I spend long selfish hours on my 'art') think. Not about the quality of what I do, but about their own blogging (and vlogging of course, if any vloggers happen to stop by).

Speaking of art, the music for this episode of the vlog is Hall of Mirrors by Bird Creek and is available in the YouTube audio library.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


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In this episode I revisit the place where my life on two wheels began, in Victoria, British Columbia. My experience there nine years ago changed my life in ways it was impossible to imagine. Those ways are all documented on the blog and are well-worth exploring.

The music for this episode is Deep Hat by Vibe Tracks, available for download in the YouTube audio library ( Mood music was incidentally provided by talented guy in the video thumbnail.

The detailed narrative for this episode may be found in these posts: The opening post of the blog from March 2010 Getting started... and this post from December 2011 How and Why I got into Motorbikes. Each of those posts provides some key insights into what living life on two wheels means to me. The only way to gain a more complete understanding is by viewing this episode of the L2W vlog, and by exploring this journal. One of the easiest ways to do that is to click on the link above to the version of this journal in chronological order.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

Later on in the season I'll have more to say about the mysteries of Vimy, you'll get to tag along as I take a trip south to the sticks of Pennsylvania to hang out with Steve, and there will be much, much more in store.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Catching up with Dar Duncan

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Oh Boy!!

A fresh episode of the vlog!

In this episode you'll hear from Dar Duncan (#MotoDiva) herself. She gives us the inside scoop on what it takes to be a professional motorcycle instructor, plus you get a glimpse of Dar in her star persona on Farkle Garage, and Dar does a great sales job on the Honda NC700SA.

The trip to Victoria was a long one, no doubt about that, but so, so worth it. The view of Mount Baker from Dallas Road all by itself is well worth the visit.

I'll be back to provide more complete show notes a little later on... so keep an eye on this post...

In the meantime, please enjoy episode 8 of Life on two wheels!


Well that did take some time.  The only thing I'll add on this episode is that I'd been wanting to meet Dar as far back as the spring of 2012 when I met up with other moto bloggers on the West Coast. Now at last this episode of the vlog checks that box. Finally!

The music for this episode is "I Like Peanuts" by Audionautix and it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.