Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Freedom Riders Colour Run

The more temperate fall weather the last few years has allowed us to get bolder about extending the riding season. At the October meeting, the Freedom Riders decided that, weather permitting, we would hold our final run, The Colour Run, on Saturday, October 18th.

At the Tim Horton's (Levesque) rendezvous, we pulled in to find Dan & Tracey and Luc and Joanne all bundled up against the cool air. After the posted departure time, we decided that no one else was coming so we headed out Highway 17 East to Verner, where we stopped at the O'Ranch Grill for a late breakfast/early lunch. While there, Dan called our President-elect Rob, who said he was suddenly free and was riding to catch up with us. We lingered over coffee.

Rob caught up with us and we headed south on Highway 64 to Noelville and then Alban. The sun was shining but it was crisp and we soon realized that we were a tad late for any kind of show by the leaves.

This was one of the few examples of the little bit of colour we saw on the ride

My usual stop, Yvette's in Alban, was closed, another sign of the times. We stopped at the Petro-Can station at the junction of Highways 64 and 69. Surprisingly, they had a good coffee and snack selection, something I'll have to keep in mind for the future.

Halloween/Harvest display at the Petro-Can

From Alban, we rode north and I led the group right through to Val Caron where we stopped at (you guessed it) Tim Hortons. I got a group photo of the hardy bunch before we turned and headed back to Sudbury.

Sandy, Joanne, Tracey, Luc, Rob and Dan

It was a bittersweet ride because another riding season is pretty well done. There may be a few more days but, soon, Old Man Winter will be knocking and we'll be storing the bikes one more time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kim & Mike's Thanksgiving Visit

Daughter Kim and son-in-law Mike of Cambridge, Ontario decided to take a little trip on (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend. They are expecting our first grandchild in mid-December and figured they might not get the chance again for a while.

They crossed into Michigan down south and worked their way up the coast of Lake Michigan. Day two saw them visiting my Mom in Sault Ste. Marie. Day three saw them in Sudbury where we got this photo of the happy couple with Sandy's parents, Jan & Harry, in the future great-grandparents back yard.

After spending the night with us, the young couple headed homeward down Highway 69.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kilo's Sudbury Ride

Those of you who follow this Blog know that we lost two good friends on July 22, 2008. One of them, Mark "Kilo" Irwin of Garner, North Carolina had a last request that I have often spoken of. His loving wife, Babe, honoured this request by mailing portions of his ashes to VROC people around the world to be spread in a spirit of remembrance of an outstanding person.

Sandy and I first met Kilo at SEVROC in Suches, Georgia an September, 1999. It was our first VROC gathering and Kilo had ridden as far as we had to get there. Although he was riding from Kansas then, he met his Babe in the Wind in Georgia and soon joined her in North Carolina. Mark and I crossed paths from time to time in Colorado, Suches and Lake Lure and he earned my respect, as well as that of many others, as a wise and thoughtful man.

Sandy and I had already participated in the spreading of Kilo's ashes in Maine and Arkansas last month, but we still had our own little ceremony to perform. Today was an exceptional October day, so Gary "Biker" Lamarche, Sandy and I headed north on Highway 144 to a local landmark, A.Y. Jackson Lookout above Onaping Falls. Jackson was a painter and a member of the Canadian Group of Seven who made Ontario landscapes famous in the first half of the 20th Century.

This is a beautiful spot with highly interesting geological and historical perspectives. I brought Sherm up here last year to give him a flavour of the Pre-Cambrian shield and Northern Ontario.

Gary Leads The Ride Up Highway 144

Traffic was light but there were a few more people at the Lookout than I would have expected for an October weekday. We made our way along the path to the upper lookout deck and I went around the barrier to the edge of the hill. With Sandy and Gary looking on, I said a few words and our thoughts turned to Mark and his family as the wind carried him aloft.

Skid and Kilo's Ashes

After a few quiet moments, we returned to the parking lot and returned to the city.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Gym

I first started going to out local YMCA back in November, 2001. I hadn't been in a gym since high school. Lack of fitness and the fact that I had tipped the scale at a svelte 223.5 made me decide that something was in order. Under the guidance of Trevor Harris and other trainers, I learned to use the cardio machines and the cable weight machines. Over the course of the winter, I got the weight down to 186 and got myself in the best shape I've been in for years. But then spring came and we started riding. Suddenly, the gym wasn't so important any more. And I started to put some weight on.

Over the ensuing years, I would get into the gym over the winter, although not with the dedication of that first year. And the weight was up around 210. Last year was the worst. I weighed 208 in September, 2007. I didn't get to the gym until late December and, due to eating all the wrong things, I was up to 226 pounds by year-end.

I didn't hit the gym or do much about diet through the first nine months of 2008. The weight was continually over 220 and I didn't feel well at all.

Normally, it takes a while for me to get to the Y. Usually December. But today that will change. Yesterday, I weighed 226.0 pounds and today I started back to the gym. To avoid my usual problem of working too hard, I deliberately started the cardio slowly, but I added more time. Twenty-five minutes on the treadmill, fifteen on the horizontal bike and twenty on the elliptical, making an even hour. We'll leave the strength exercises for a while.

I found that this was the hardest time I have had starting out. As I get older, I realize that I can't be taking these breaks or, one day, I might not be able to get it back.

Stay tuned and I'll keep you posted on how this works out.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Pediatric Burn-Scar Garment Fund

One of the requirements in the Constitution of the Freedom Riders Motorcycle Association of Northern Ontario is that and excess monies raised must be donated to a local children's charity. For the last few years, we have given funds raised through our Annual Freedom Rally (held every Civic Holiday long weekend in August) to the Pediatric Burn-Scar Garment Fund at the Sudbury Regional Hospital. These pressure garments help in the rehabilitation of people who are badly burned and the government does not cover all the cost. This year, we provided another $2,000 for this cause.

The lady who manages the Fund (I don't recall her name), with her cabbage patch demo doll, and indefatigable Freedom Rider Shirley. Membership Director Gary talks to a hidden Gord. In all, we had four bikes and six people out despite the falling of a few snowflakes on a cold, grey day.

My big challenge, as head and only club bookkeeper, was to come up with a large presentation cheque since we didn't have one for prior years and the publicity photos end up rather unremarkable. I phoned my local bank branch and they didn't know where to get them. Then I phoned the main branch downtown. A fine lady named Natalie told me they had them, had just gotten some new ones in, and she would get one out for me.

Large cheque in hand, I then had to letter it. I checked various stick-on letters after finding the old stencils of my youth were no longer available at Staples. Then I took my trusty Sharpie marker and did the job freehand. Other than spelling Freedom Riders wrong (ouch), it looked OK. You can see my handiwork here in the article published by the Sudbury Star.

We select the following year's charity every fall. I don't know who we'll be supporting next year, but it is nice to know that some kids somewhere will benefit from what the club has done.

After the presentation, we adjourned to Gonga's Grill for lunch, and a fine lunch it was.