Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown

Saturday, May 5, 2012

DesTination: St. Jean Sur Richelieu

The Orange Julep
Decarie, Montreal
After last week's successful trip with the Dragon Riders Riding Group to Val-David's Au Petit Poucet restaurant I found myself wanting more! However, I wasn't willing to wait two weeks before another ride out so I decided to set something up in and around the Montreal Island. Before I knew it, we found ourselves a motley crew of eight - four provisional learners and four full licensed members. The Dragon Riders Riding Group encourages all provisional learners to join as there are many volunteers who are willing to collect them from their homes and take them on day trips. Depending on how friendly the learners are we may even decide to escort them back home... or leave them somewhere in the Canadian wilderness... it's their call really!

As I pulled up to the corner of where my learner lived, I could see Michel happily waving his hands in the air the way one normally does after winning the lottery. His excitement immediately rubbed off on me and any ideas of finding someplace to abandon him should he turn out to be less than an ideal travelling companion soon disappeared from my mind... seriously. (no, really, just kidding...) Michel owns a mint Kawasaki Ninja 400R and had completed his motorcycle training program and obtained his motorcycle license 6A learner's permit - a must if any learner wants to ride with a volunteer. We found ourselves giddy (yes, men can be giddy too...) at the promise of a great day's ride ahead of us. As we approached the Orange Julep where we were to meet the rest of the group there was already an array of motorcycles parked in front. Apparently, the reputation of our fearless leader, Steve - The ICE Dragon Rider - supersedes him and the Quebec Stariders had come out to meet him in person. To their dismay our fearless leader was absent for this particular ride but admittedly, I am sure they were just as ecstatic to meet Michel! Apparently Michel thought they were part of our riding group and decidedly ignored the rest of us whilst getting to know his new found friends who inevitably had to break his heart and send him back on his way to our group!

I digress. Today's ride out was made up of a mix of members who had either met previously or were meeting for the first time. Raffi was back with his BMW K1300GT, Beakster made a 'triumphant' return with his Bonnie, whilst Jean-Sebastien was riding a Buell XB125, Robert - aka 'Bobby the Bobber' was riding a tricked out Harley-Davidson 48, and Emil was on a 1984 Yamaha Maxim 400, and Ben ... well Ben saw fit to ride a 1981 Yamaha RD350LC that tried to kill anyone behind it with carbon monoxide poisoning. Michel of course was on his Kawa whilst I was on my beloved Suzuki Intruder 1400 GLP.

Congrats to Emil and his Yamaha Maxim -
This was their first ever trip together!

Ben and 'his RD 350LC...
or as I like to call it - 'Christine'

Jean-Sebastien and his Buell -
The picture doesn't do this bike justice...

'Bobby the Bobber' -
Anyone else get the Fonz Vibe?

Michel and his Mint Kawa... nice.
Ben & Beakster
We made our way through Mount Royal and over the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Robert led the way as he took us through to Chambly up to St. Jean Sur Richelieu where we had a quick bite to eat. Spring was in the air as the smell of hot tarmac and engine fumes enticed our senses as we rode along countless river roads in and around this region of Quebec renowned for its warmth and hospitality. What started off as a four to five hour day trip soon turned into seven hours or more as we found ourselves nestled in various corners along the way enjoying a coffee every now and than and taking in the sights. For a group that had never ridden together before I was delighted at how well we took to the road so naturally as a group. There is something remarkably cool about riding in formation with several bikers at once. People cannot help but look up and smile as we pass along. Children wave happily from their strollers as fathers and mothers think to themselves 'if only'... it is such a surreal sensation not unlike a military cadence of sorts. At times it felt like our engines were beating the tune of one thump at a time as we waited for lights to turn green or people to wave us by at stop signs. As we drove along we came across so many things I would have loved to have stopped and taken a picture of but alas, that would also defeat the point of riding. Still, some of the sights along our way made for some really great pictures:

Chambly River View

Raffi -
Are You talking to Me?
Christine shying away ...

Triumph Tiger

Classic Car Ride Out

How Canadians Coax Spring to Start!

One of the many hidden gems of our trip...

Bonnie and the gang...
After a couple of hundred kilometers that inevitable sensation kicked in again and for some of us we knew it was time to start our return home. What made today particularly bittersweet was everybody's easy going attitude and good nature towards those who were learning how to ride. The weather cooperated nicely and it wasn't long before we found ourselves overheating in our jackets and winter kits whilst waiting at intersections. (Note to self - do not wear underwear on hot days!) That all too familiar summer feeling started to come over us as we felt the the sun warm our cheeks. The promise of more rides and warm weather in the not too distant future replaced whatever disappointment we may have felt over the day being over. If you are a learner and want to join a friendly group of riders that will help support your motorcycling addiction than check out the Dragon Riders' website and Facebook page. If nothing else you will be guaranteed an opportunity to meet great people with like minded interests in all things two wheels. Worst case scenario, we end up leaving you in the middle of nowhere ... just kidding... kinda.