Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Test ride demo days

Several demo days are already behind us, but I've gone online to Toronto area dealers' websites to look for upcoming demo days and called those who don't have them posted on their webites. Registration at all of 'em (except BMW) starts at 9 a.m. and rides start at 10 a.m. For the BMW Motorrad Days, you have to call and book your bike and time slot in advance and rides start at 9 a.m.

Most of the dealers have concession tables with food, and are donating the sales from the food to charities. BMW is requiring a $20 per ride donation to the March of Dimes.

For Honda fans, if you're looking to test ride a Honda this season, it's not looking likely. A sales representative at Classic Honda Brampton told me they have no Honda demo days scheduled this year and he doesn't know of any other dealers who are holding any, either. No reason was given, but the suspicion is that Honda's had insurance woes over demo days.

Below are the demo days lined up so far for this season.

Sunday, May 18, 2008
Yamaha Demo Ride Day

Yamaha Motorsports (905-420-4172)
1698 Bayly Street
Pickering, ON

Thursday May 22, 2008
BMW Motorrad Test Ride Day

Budds' BMW Oakville
2454 South Service Road
Oakville, ON
Call 1-866-562-0893 or 289-291-5140 to book a bike and time slot.
Or email Todd Humber at thumber@buddsbmw.com
A $20 per ride charitable donation to March of Dimes required.

Friday May 23, 2008
BMW Motorrad Test Ride Day

Open Road BMW
87 Mulock Drive
Newmarket, ON
Call 905-895-8700 to book a bike and time slot.
A $20 per ride charitable donation to March of Dimes is required.

Saturday May 24, 2008
Yamaha Demo Day

Kahuna Powersports (905-264-3117)
4342 Steeles Avenue West
Vaughan, ON

Saturday May 24, 2008
BMW Motorrad Test Ride Day

BMW Toronto
11 Sunlight Park Road
Toronto, ON
Call 1-888-261-7744 to book a bike and time slot.
A $20 per ride charitable donation to March of Dimes is required.

Saturday May 24, 2008
HD Demo Ride

Harley Davidson Toronto (416-703-4647)
578 Front St W.
Toronto, ON

Sunday, May 25, 2008
BMW Motorrad Exclusively Female Test Ride Event

Starts from the Best Western Orangeville at Highway 10 and Highway 9
Contact info to reserve a bike and time is at:

Saturday June 14, 2008
Suzuki Demo Day

Suzuki of Brampton (888-618-0881)
181 Canam Crescent
Brampton, ON

Sunday July 13, 2008
HD Demo Ride 2008 models

Kitchener Harley-Davidson (1-866-803-6837)
2255 Kingsway Drive
Kitchener, ON

Saturday July 26, 2008
HD Demo Ride 2009 models

Mackie Harley Davidson (1-800-668-5828)
880 Champlain Ave.
Oshawa, ON

Sunday October 19, 2008
HD Demo Ride 2009 models

Kitchener Harley-Davidson (1-866-803-6837)
2255 Kingsway Drive
Kitchener, ON

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Buell, Schmuell

OK, rode all the way down to Clare's Cycle & Sports in Fenwick -- close to St. Catharines -- Sunday to test ride the Buell Lightning scg. And was not impressed. I was SOOOO hoping I'd like it cuz I love the way they've tucked the tank under the seat and put all the wiring into a transparent orange bulb where they tank would normally be -- it's like they took one page out of the iMAC book of design and one from BMW.

Although it was pleasant to be reminded of how hard a twin can vibrate when there's some muscle in the engine, can't say I was impressed. And not just because the shifter was set up for a much larger foot and I had to actually lift my foot off the peg to shove the toe kick up into 2nd or any of the higher gears.

The sitting position was almost upright but the pegs were still cafe style -- very strange. Awkward.

Nah. Was actually more impressed with the Harley Sportster 883 Low I rode while I was waiting for my shot at the Buell. Again, mostly for the monster vibes created by the muscle behind those twin pistons. I've been riding an in-line four for so long I'd almost forgotten how nice the brute force of a twin could feel.

The ride down there was COLD. The high was supposed to be something like 15 but it felt more like 5. But the stretch of Victoria Avenue from the QEW to Highway 20 where Clare's is was lined with blooming trees. Beautiful.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spring Bling, Take 1

Just posting a few quick pix tonight from Saturday's Spring Bling. Will post more Monday or Tuesday, because I'm going to be on the road all day Sunday.

Spring Bling wouldn't be complete without representation from the Chic Riders. Here's the gals in a group photo. From left to right, it's Lori, Karen, Gina, Kristina me (in the back!) Cassie, Julie and Annette. In the second photo it's Kristina, Starlene, Lori, and Gina.

We had great representation, not just of Chic Riders but women in general at the Spring Bling.

Here is another shot of some of the Chic Riders.

And here's one of a group ride arriving en masse.

Essentially it was a great, big, honking poser meet to kick off the riding season. Everyone comes, parks, and admires each other's bikes. It's kinda insular, cliquish and, despite that, a lot of fun. I couldn't get more than 40-50 bikes in a single shot -- about half a block worth of parked bikes, shoehorned pretty tightly together. But estimated about 300 bikes.

That's all for tonight cuz I gotta get up EARLY Sunday to get to Fenwick for around 8. Clare's Cycle and Sports is holding a Harley demo day and I want to test a Buell Lightning -- and if you don't get an early spot in line there's no guarantee you'll get to test the bike you want. When I called they said a Buell was definitely going to be on the truck but they weren't sure which one. Hope it's a Lightning.

Anyway, it's an hour and a half to Fenwick -- it's right next to St. Catherine's on the other side of Lake Ontario. That means I have to leave here by 6:30 to get to Fenwick for 8.

I hear my pillow calling me.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

International Female Riders Day

OK, so mother nature pissed all over us yesterday on International Female Ride Day, spearheaded in Canada last year by Vicki Gray, a motorcycle racer, instructor and coach who has been riding since 1983. She also founded the RaceGirl MotorSport and Motoress websites to promote motorcycling among women.

Vicki's the blonde on the far right in the first photo, with Chic Riders Gina (far left) and Brandi (middle). She kicked off the day in Toronto Friday morning at Princes' Gate at Exhibition Place next to the Lakeshore. The pissy weather had an impact on how many women turned out for the kickoff, but it was followed by a short ride along the Lakeshore.

Ontario Chic Riders came into town to a dinner to celebrate the day from as far south as Hamilton, as far west as London, and as far west as Ajax. That's us in the group photo in Shopsy's at Yonge and Front -- which, incidentally, is where Chic Rider Bike Nights are gonna be every Wednesday all summer. Left to right, bottom row, are: Lori, Sarah, and Gina. Left to right, top row: Me, Karen, Melissa, Camille, Nina, Vicky, Sarah and Alexandra.

I'd promised Ontario Chic Rider prez Lori (far left, first seated row) that I'd swing by our meeting spot at the Goose & Firkin on Leslie north of York Mills to see if any of our members showed up to ride down together to our IFRD dinner.

But most of the gals would have to ride in from the outskirts. Just getting to the Firkin would have been a long, soggy ride for most of 'em, so I had a lonely wait. Everybody else ended up taking their cages (cars) downtown. And were glad they did, cuz when we left after dinner there was a major downpour going on.

The ride home? Damn. I climbed into my raingear and soldiered on home. I just LOOOOVE riding in the rain, especially in city traffic (NOT)!

My raingear kept me dry but the steam from the engine kept fogging my visor cuz traffic wasn't moving fast enough for the air to clear it. I had to lift the visor just to see where I was going, so the rain was stinging my face. Annoying, but the worst part of riding in the rain with an open visor is that I wear glasses. When glasses get wet, you get halos around all the lights. Which, as all of us who wear corrective lenses know, improves visibility (all sarcasm intended) SOOO much. Ack.

I coulda sworn I ordered that rainstorm for AFTER I got home. There musta been a mixup.