Sunday, June 10, 2012

Second 2012 adventure ride: Vince’s “Not dead yet” ride part 2

The departure for the ride was getting closer.  How will I make this ride since there is no official ride guide but rather a “hostile” chart (see part 1.)

Paper strip enigma


[Roll chart holder] My parking neighbor, John, with whom I had a chat earlier, quickly resolved the enigma of the paper strip plan.

The “Roll chart holder”.  Haaaaa, what a great idea!…the paper strip plan is inserted into this gadget and unrolled as the ride goes.  Most likely, I was unprepared for this kind of ride.

On the left picture you can see the “Roll chart holder” on Hans’ motorcycle.  I’ll speak about Hans later.

Time to go.  4 by 4, motorcyclists aligned at the starting line.  I asked John if it would be OK if I followed him since I didn’t have the roller.  “Of course, you are welcome!” he said.  Very nice guy!  Finally my problem was solved - I could follow and enjoy the ride.  Even better, John’s intention was to avoid “Hero” sections which were intended for smaller dual sport bikes better suited for mud & rocky sections.



So John, 2 other riders and I aligned at the starting line (KTM erzberg edition, Versys, DR-Z400 and a KLR.)    Then go!

For a while, everything went well.  After 10 minutes, John changed directions and stopped for some adjustments.  So I continued to follow the group and I lost John from sight.  The DR-Z400 driver became the new guide. 

For a good moment the ride was pretty cozy.  Many nice paved and unpaved sections, sometimes in the woods ( I really felt at home on many occasions)…nothing to be afraid of - even a road bike could have done this.  The DR-Z400 driver (the guide) was riding at a slow pace and at a certain point the ride was even a little boring.

First pit stop



A couple of pictures from this first pause.  I chatted for the first time with Hans (DR-Z400) there (as I don’t remember his real name, I had to re-baptize him for the purpose of this post - Hans had a European accent, I would say German.)

So, Hans is the DR-Z400 owner.  His bike was so customized (was maybe a DR650) that only the engine and the frame were original.  Even the gas tank was replaced to gain nearly a gallon.  When I asked him about his ride plan, Hans told me that he had no intention of riding in the Hero sections…so I could follow him in peace.

What type of motorcyclist are you?

While I was riding, on many occasions I told to myself “Ah! that…that would be a good picture”.  What’s more, I had to follow Hans – and the plan – so I could not start exploring all the paths that seemed interesting like I usually do in my occasional adventure rides.  I have to admit, I am a solo adventurer: I like to take shots and follow providential paths on my way, or even just stop when nature calls.  Freedom!


Hey!  That was a hero section!?

The cozy ride suddenly wasn’t that easy anymore.  I saw it coming: rocky section on a upwards slope.  Mud and big holes and much less GS in the picture, but rather dual sport and Adventure bikes (there were motorcycles just about everywhere.)  I was following Hans who seemed a quiet rider at first.  He suddenly showed his other side:  he was literally flying over the obstacles and I struggled to follow on my Versys.  A KTM Adventure bike sped by me to the left and also seemed to fly over obstacles.  When I noticed that I was followed by a group of smaller dual sport bikes, I just stepped aside to let them pass.

I was not that bad a rider in those conditions but I needed to ride at a slower pace - much appreciated by my Versys…which I had taken to very similar places in the past, but with caution.

At the end of the section I told Hans: “Hey! Was that a Hero section?”, and he replied: “Oh, I`m just following the plan.”.  Hehe, that really spiced up the ride.

Open-mouthed smile

12 o’clock

After 3 hours of riding and some more hero sections, the fatigue of this already long day started to show.  And the apprehension of the remaining 300 miles to go back home was increasing.

As I rode out of the last hero section (it was particularly intense, I bottomed my suspension a couple of times), I went to see Hans and  thanked him for guiding me through this ride, but the time had come to say goodbye – I still had a long way to go.  Handshake and adios!


[monkey butt]  The ride home went without any issues.  Unfortunately, I felt like I had received a thousand kicks in the butt.  It is in those moments that you wish for a more comfortable seat...  I’ll need to evaluate some of the aftermarket ones.  I saw a Seat Concept solution which received good feedback on  So I took the plunge - I will let you know if it was worth it once installed.


Next rides…

Once I got home and saw how far I had gone for a day ride on Google map, I realized that Parent and the Laurentides Park were not that far after all and I would probably get lost in those area this summer…


I took some time later to search for a Roll chart holder and found this one on Amazon.

I also found a web site dedicated to Roll chart holders: and a software that may be useful to create charts:

If you are taking part in an organized adventure ride, don’t do the same mistake as I did: be informed about which kind of ride you’ll be participating in and see if you need that type of gadget.



Related Post:

  1. Ride to Parent

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