Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Moto Guzzi V7 Racer (aka Bella) 6000 Kilometer (3728 Miles) Review!

Bella Out and About in The Eastern Townships -
Semi-Abandoned Businesses Reminding Us of a Different Time
In just over a month of having picked Bella up from storage we found ourselves right back at Rock Moto Sport for my 6000 kilometers (3728 mile) service. To say that she has been the center of my attention is an understatement. 😉 From visiting the Boscobel Ghost Town and meeting up with B.A.C.A. Montreal to see them off on their 100 Mile Run to some Back Roads Therapy with Junkyard Villain and his lovely Harley Davidson Heritage Classic; we have even helped a couple of motorcycle learners by taking them to their motorcycle road exams at the SAAQ! Ownership of my Moto Guzzi V7 Racer has been exquisite. 😍 Indeed, if I had any complaints at all they would be mostly about some of the accessories that I purchased last year. Like any proper motorcyclist, I have also succumbed to purchasing even more accessories for Bella from a very lovely British fellow this spring (It's an addiction, I know). 😜

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Backroad Ball 2017 - Another Successful Year!


The Backroad Ball is not only a women's only motorcycle adventure weekend & campout. It's a celebration of female motorcyclists. Inspired by events such as California's "Babes Ride Out" and Washington's "The Dream Roll" the creators of The Backroad Ball are striving to create a sense of community amongst all female motorcyclists in Eastern Canada as well as surrounding states & areas. Registration is open to all licensed female-identifying motorcyclists as well as moto-curious women regardless of motorcycle make or type, club affiliation, or age (19+). The first year for the event was a huge success and we can't wait to share what we've come up with for year two with you! Check out #BRB2016 to check out last years good times! Come sit around a bonfire and swap stories, enjoy the talent of local musicians, take in the beautiful New Brunswick scenery on organized group rides, make new friends, get tattooed & rock out to your heart's content! We can't wait to meet you!
- K & B

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Start 'Em Young With A Kiddimoto Balance Motorcycle!

Birthday Girl Atop Her New Kiddimoto Kawasaki Ninja!

Kiddimoto kids balance motorcycle is the perfect gift for your little biker in the making. I found this little gem at Rock Moto Sport last week when I brought Bella in for her 6000 kilometer (3728 mile) service. The little wooden balance bike was hanging from the ceiling as part of their promotional advertising for Kawasaki Motorcycles. A Kawasaki Ninja no less (No. 66) it's fitted with a wooden frame, wheels with aluminium edge, air-filled tires and seat and handles made of foamed material. It's specifically made for children from 80 to 105 cm height. With my daughter's 4th birthday around the corner, I couldn't resist! 😎

Classic Machines Paris Circuit Carole 24-25 Juin, 2017!

Classic Machines, Le Week-End 100% Passion!


C’est ce week-end qu'aura lieu Classic Machines, sur le circuit Carole, aux portes de Paris. Comme depuis deux ans, c'est l'événement qui fait rouler et se rencontrer les amateurs de belles machines sur la piste du circuit Carole. Un événement 100 % plaisir, où plus de 200 motos - des années 1940 à 1991 et le café racers - et une vingtaine de side-cars roulent sur le circuit sans les contraintes d’une course, puisque ça n’en est pas une. Juste le plaisir de rouler, entre amis, au rythme que l’on choisit. Pas de course, pas de chronomètre, pas de classement juste l’éclate durant les séries qui s'enchainent comme des perles durant tout le week-end. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Review of Richard Hammond's A Short History of the Motorcycle (2017)


I'll be teaching Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Studies this autumn again and decided that in addition to the late Robert Pirsig's book which the course itself is named after (just replace 'Studies' with 'Maintenance') I also decided to include another book by Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame. Whilst Hammond has since moved on to bigger and debatably better things in the form of The Grand Tour and Drive Tribe with his lifelong friends and co-hosts James May and Jeremy Clarkson, it's nice to see that he still has time to publish a book or two every now and then. Unlike Top Gear, Drive Tribe allows room for more than just exotic cars as motorcycles are given their dues. Not surprising really given that both Hammond and May are avid motorcyclists, both boasting a collection that the majority of folks like us can only dream of. Hammond's newest book, A Short History of the Motorcycle is a testament to his love of two wheels and in keeping with his target audience, provides plenty of pictures too. That is a good thing. Me likes picture books. 😜

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Geoffrey Darwent: Biker, Painter, Storyteller!

I met Geoffrey Darwent back in 2014 on a ride to Venise, Quebec with the Dragon Riders. He was riding a Kawasaki Vulcan 800 at the time which was begging for a Blue Collar Bobber Kit. Even then I knew he was more than just your average biker. He is also a Canadian painter. Self-taught, his prolific technique is quite unique. His paintings often represent nature as well as life's mysteries, beauty and peace. Each painting is made using only the highest quality acrylic paint and tells a story. Below are just some of the examples on offer at present.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Becoming A Tattoo Artist - Draw Or Else!

Draw Or Else!
Pic/Gif © gifin.com
Over the course of the last seven months I have noticed that despite the prevailing belief that to become a tattoo artist you need to be an expert drawer, the truth is this is not always the case. It would be fair to say that any tattoo artist should have an artistic talent. However, many artists are opting to create beautiful and intricate designs via programs like PhotoShop. There are two schools of thought on the latter. Some argue that the technology is removing the artist from the art whilst others say that it is a natural extension of the artist's talent. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, as far as I am concerned so long as the artist can actually tattoo, it's all that matters. I use to draw regularly when I was younger but once I moved to Ireland I allowed it to fall to by the wayside. It wasn't from a lack of interest. Rather, there aren't many people willing to pay for handdrawn images anymore. 😔

Ride to the Dhankar Monastery of Spiti By Sabya Sachi Ghosh

SuperGrass Enjoying The View Of Spiti Valley
This is a small collection of pictures from Sabya's (aka The Artist) trip to the Dhankar Monastery of Spiti. Enjoy! 😎

Ride to the Sun Temple of Nirath, Rampur Bushrar, Himachal Pradesh By Sabya Sachi Ghosh

Royal Enfield Bullet Classic EFI aka SuperGrass! 😜
The Nirath Sun Temple is a tiny 8th century structure dedicated to Surya. it stands beside the fast flowing Satluj River about 20 kms from the small town of Rampur Bushrar. Nirath is a tiny village and the temple is surrounded by kitschy ugly houses and attended to by an obnoxious castiest creature of a Brahmin Priest, who had the audacity to question my caste lineage and proudly proclaimed that had i been a 'bhangi' my entry to the temple would have been barred! Well I did give him a piece of my mind and that took away my peace. Also, like most uninformed 'morons' who attend lesser known temples, he claimed that this structure was mind mind bogglingly old, to be precise '4000 crore years and built by the Pandavas'. Well I did not correct him, that slimy lizard. inside its Garbhagriha there are some sculptures of Vishnu and Surya but their craftsmanship is of inferior quality. However, the sculptures on the outer walls of the temple are different and in a way attractive. I did ride to this place on my way back from visiting the upper Himalayan Monasteries of River Spiti. The monks of those places are not arrogant idiots like many temple priests that I have met. Unlike these imbeciles those monks are well informed about the antiquity of the monasteries they are living in. I have always wondered about the factual ineptitude of the priests of temples and their claim to prehistoric antiquity of the sites they look after. What do they get out of misleading a visitor, I wonder?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Becoming A Tattoo Artist - The Ugly, The Crooked & The Hopeful

Opening Soon!
Pic/Gif © WiffleGif
As my apprenticeship continues so too does my anticipation for the day when I can tattoo something other than pig skin. Nevertheless, there is more to tattooing than simply applying ink to someone or something. Todd has given me the opportunity to set up and take down his tattoo station for him. This includes but is not limited to sterilizing the area with antiseptic cleaners, preparing his tattoo machines, setting up the equipment that goes with the latter such as the appropriate needle sizes and all the other goodies that inevitably start to add up the overall cost of getting a tattoo. Stenciling and drawing, let alone actually tattooing inevitably is only two out of several parts of the job when you consider how much work goes into the hygienic and preparatory practices of tattooing. That being said, however, I wish I was learning to master the art of tattooing itself as quickly as I have learned how to actually set up a tattoo station.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Installing a Phatmx Carburetor on Darwin, My 1976 Honda CT70!

Darwin Foils Me Again! 😡
Darwin, my 1976 Honda CT70, seems to have a mind of his own! Despite having spent no less than four months at L'Amis Denis being restored he seems rather resistant to the idea of running at all this summer. According to L'Amis Denis, Darwin needed a new carburetor. With the help of a fellow CT70 enthusiast that I met via the Honda CT70 Trail Enthusiasts group on Facebook, I purchased a new carburetor from Phatmx for the princely sum of $93.39 Canadian. They packaged it and sent it the same day they received payment and within a matter of a few days it was at my doorstep waiting to be installed. I am not going to lie to you. I procrastinated about installing it. It's really not laziness but rather an intimidation by most things mechanical. Don't get me wrong, I've GrOwN a pAiR oF NuTs over the last decade and have wrenched on my bikes plenty of times. However, I am always hesitant to start a new project out of fear of screwing things up. I prepared myself by first watching How To Clean The Carburetor On A Honda CT 70 Mini Bike By Don The Small Engine Doctor. His instructions are so detailed that I figured installing a new carb would be half the work and time... or so that was the plan.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

RiDe iN PeAce: Richard Grondin (aka Bullet) 1961-2017

Richard Grondin (aka Bullet) in 2012 With His New Suzuki M109
Ride In Peace - 1961-2017

Carol Artico has informed me that Richard Grondin (aka Bullet) passed away on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017. 😔 I had the pleasure of meeting Richard back in 2012 on a ride with the Dragon Riders. He had literally just picked up a brand new Suzuki M109 (pictured above) and was naturally as happy as could be. We rode rode to Venise, Quebec together. He was an interesting man, passionate and opinionated. What biker isn't? 😉 Though we didn't stay in touch as much as I would have liked, I never have nor will I ever forget him. Someone once said, "four wheels move the body and two wheels move the soul". May his final ride be endless with clear skies and a warming sun setting against him.

Send Your Condolences

Friday, June 2, 2017

DOT. Sydney to London On A Wing And A Prayer From Make Your Bones


"This 14-minute documentary is perhaps one of the most honest illustrations of what life on the road is really like. It isn't just a rose-tinted travelogue of how wonderful the world is - it shows hardship, it shows struggle and it raises a few questions about the act of travel itself."

How To Clean The Carburetor On A Honda CT 70 Mini Bike By Don The Small Engine Doctor


Whilst I inevitably purchased a brand new carburetor from Phatmx for Darwin, I came across this helpful three part short series on how to clean the carburetor on a Honda CT70 by donyboy73, aka Don The Small Engine Doctor! Don is rather soothing to listen too as he takes you through a step by step process of dismantling and cleaning your carburetor. See below for the remaining two parts of this series. I'll be sure to let you know how Darwin is doing after I have installed his new carb! 😎

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

SAAQ Road Safety Knowledge Test: Because Knowing is Half The Battle!

Pic © SAAQ
(click to view)

As we near the end of Motorcycle Safety Month, I thought it would be interesting to share with you the chance to test your road safety knowledge! The Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ) offers you the opportunity to test your road safety knowledge with 60 questions divided over two vehicle types - automobiles (class 5) and motorcycles (class 6). Whilst it may be tempting to do just the test for motorcycles, remember that the best offence is a good defense! Whilst the test questions are not a direct replica of the knowledge test itself they are similar enough to help you gain insight into how to navigate Québec roads. The system chooses from roughly 500 questions so doing the test once doesn't mean that the same questions will present themselves a second time around. Below are some of the questions with correct answers to give you an idea of what to expect! 

Back Roads Therapy By Junkyard Villain



Montreal to Rigaud via Eastern Ontario. Special Mentions to Victor Labelle for the awesome slide and lead guitar on my tune Heavy Load 
- Junkyard Villain

Sunday, May 28, 2017

GoPro - Go To Hell!



In the short time that I have owned my GoPro Hero Session, I have managed to capture several pretty amazing moments. From the 100 mile run with B.A.C.A. last Saturday morning to some great twisties with my buddy Junkyard Villain on the same day. I even attached it to my kids' bicycles using the GoPro Handlebar Mount and got a bird's eye view of cycling along some great paths here in the Eastern Townships from a 10 and 7 year old's perspective. My oldest son and I even took our first dip into the river submerging ourselves and the GoPro in freezing cold water to the amusement of passersby. My wife used the GoPro to record our youngest son's very first piano recital. A co-worker even borrowed it for a day to record some footage. What a great start to an otherwise very simple, easy to use little camera. Unfortunately, the same can't be said regarding that hellish application Quik™ | Desktop.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Jasper Corbin's Piano Recital 2017



Our youngest son has come along way since his days shadow boxing with his older brother, Joel! Filmed by my wife, Jennifer, I put together a video paying tribute to my youngest son who has worked very hard this year and performed very well for his very first piano recital. Special Thanks to Roxane Johnson for her wonderful tutelage with our son. He has always loved piano but you have helped him live his dream. Main Music By Shane Speal - How Great Thou Art.  Jasper plays Rock Beat on the piano. Like his mother, a very talented little fella whose love of music is only surpassed by his love for dogs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Inked By Todd Beck - Part Deux!

Classy Sassy
(Placed on my right upper arm on the bicep.)
Todd Beck finished this little number for me today at his shop in Lennoxville, Quebec. This is the first tattoo of many that will mark the beginning of my new sleeve on my right arm. As part of my apprenticeship, what better way to learn how to tattoo than to observe the master at work! He completed the outline/lining two weeks ago. Thus, today was an excellent opportunity for Todd to show me how to properly shade in a tattoo. I have been having trouble with the latter and so getting a bird's eye view helped clear some things up. With summer finally here (more or less) there are many projects to look forward to. Looking for a Tattoo? Contact Todd today!

Contact Information
Todd Beck Tattoo - Facebook
 30 Rue Academy,
Lennoxville, QC J1M 1P8
Tel: (819) 791-8686

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Show Off Your Ride With BikerGirlBling!


I want to tell your story.... 
From custom paint to sparkles!  
Or maybe you ride a Dirt Bike, Scooter, or Vintage Bike?

(aka The Frozen Canuck)

Click Here To View Official Website

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Highs and Lows of Becoming A Tattoo Artist!

Pic/Giff © Smarter Every Day
I am not going to lie. The road to becoming a tattoo artist has had its highs and lows and though I find myself discouraged at times, I can say that I have enjoyed learning the a to z of tattooing. Though I have always had a dose of healthy respect for good tattoo artists, actually putting needle to flesh has made me realize just how talented these people really are. Best described as part painter, part sketch artist with a touch of calligraphy for good measure, getting used to just holding the tattoo machines has been a challenge in its own. It's easy to forget that you have to use it in just such a way that the needles are making proper contact with the pig skin and in doing so, creating a proper line. However, to begin with, I underestimated the availability of pig skin in Sherbrooke! Adding to the oddity of my dilemma, when I did find some available pig skin, it was at Le Marché Végétarien on King Est in Sherbrooke!

B.A.C.A. Montreal, Quebec Chapter - 100 Mile Run

B.A.C.A. Montreal, Quebec Chapter 
100 Mile Run

The day was here. We would meet in Terrebonne, Quebec at 9:30AM and register with the 2nd Annual B.A.C.A. Montreal Chapters 100 Mile Run. It was a cool morning at 10C but the Harley was set to go, and I was excited to meet up with my buddy BugSpatteredJacket to do a short leg of the 100 mile run. Our plan was to then split from the group, ride back roads and discuss over a warm cup of coffee our project for a series of short films.

Friday, May 19, 2017

To Vlog or Not To Vlog? Setting Up My GoPro Hero Session!


When my Kodak EasyShare P850 Camera went the way of The DoDo several years ago so did any thoughts I may have had of filming my rides. I wasn't vlogging per se, as I can't stand the sound of my own voice. If anything, it was highly stupid of me to be filming with a handheld camera whilst riding. This time I opted to go with a purpose made action camera that could be attached to Bella, Bambi or even Darwin in a secure fashion that didn't involve either me holding it or using duct tape. Cue the GoPro Hero Session. But, wait, why does Ted Forbes review a GoPro Hero4 Session? Because they are one and the same camera! Only, GoPro has lowered the price, removed some accessories and essentially made it its entry level camera.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ban The Accompanying Rider Law In Quebec!

Click Here For A Free Copy!
Pic © SAAQ

Whether you're learning how to ride a motorcycle or an experienced all weather biker trapped in the bureaucratic bullshit that is exchanging your foreign permit for a Quebec one, obtaining a motorcycle driver's license in Quebec is still as aggravating and nonsensical as a tuna and peanut butter sandwich. The Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ) still insists that permit holders must go through a two year process before they can ride alone. Whilst students can easily complete the theory and circuit test in one summer, it's the eleven month period whereby you can only ride your bike whilst being accompanied by a full motorcycle permit holder that just plain sucks. Whilst I applaud the SAAQ for their recent Motorcycle Safety Days, this is one aspect of their approach that leaves something to be desired.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

DesTination: Boscobel Ghost Town

Welcome To The Boscobel Ghost Town!
What better way to start the riding season in earnest than by beginning with Quebec's various ghost towns with Bella, my Moto Guzzi V7 Racer. Admittedly, the decision was inspired by an article that I came across titled 9 Creepy But Beautiful Ghost Towns You Need To Visit In Quebec by Jeremy Hazan. Boscobel is listed as number 2 on Hazan's list. A quick Google search yielded some supporting evidence to the existence of this ghost town as both Katrina of Globeventures and another website by the name of Barraclou share some of the history along with various pictures of this otherwise obscure little area. So with a full tank of petrol, a fully charged camera and the promise of a beautiful day Bella and I set off this morning with high hopes of exploring a semi-abandoned village.