Sunday, March 22, 2015

Inspiration from a Townie

Sonja posted up photos of her Quest for Spring, but it was her Townie bicycle that inspired me to take my Electra Deluxe Relic 3i out for a bicycle ride today. Thanks Sonja!

I love the older style bikes and follow Rat Rod Bikes with admiration for the work these fabricators do and share.

So I thought I'd strip off the modern reflectors, forgo the helmet and go get some photos of my ride with the idea of making a modern bike look old timey. It helps to have an old timey university nearby.

I love this bike, it reminds me of the bike my dad had and how he would take us for rides on as kids.

A simpler time.... a simpler time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rider Skills Practice

Spring is just around the corner and many of you may be anxious to get out on your bike, if you haven't already....

So, is your bike ready?

You've tested the levers and controls, checked that the headlight, the brake light, signals and horn are all functioning properly. You made sure to replace and top up the fluids. You adjusted and oiled the chain, checked the tires and set the pressure. All systems go!

Now, are you ready?

Edmonton Journal photo
Duh, of course! You just spent most of the winter online shopping for new gear, waiting for the snow to melt to try out the new duds.

Okay, but are YOU ready?

How are your skills? Remember, it's been a cold, dark winter. Many of us haven't ridden for several months and those of us who've managed to sneak in a ride or two, our rides have been short and probably less than stellar. I know my rides have been tense, as I shrug and hunker down to keep the cold air out.

Spring is the perfect time to sign up for a Rider Skills Practice (RSP) course. These courses are great for dusting out the cobwebs of your mind, polishing up on those skills and restoring that muscle memory we've neglected all winter.

I sign up and take a rider clinic every year, whether it's a RSP class or an ART course (cornering and braking clinic) to hone my skills as a professional motorcyclist and instructor.

Rider Skill Practice

Rider Skill Practice

I highly recommend every motorcyclist to do the same, if not every year, at the very least every other year. 

Advance Rider Training

Advance Rider Training

In the classroom of our Basic Rider and Intermediate Rider Training courses, we ask students for their expectations of the course, and most reply with a less than enthusiastic "to get my endorsement". It is my job to surpass that expectation and have the students finish the course with so much more than "just their endorsement", but a life long skill set or foundation to build upon.

 A foundation to build upon.

BASIC Rider Training 

So practice the skills you've learned today, then come back next year and take the Rider Skills Practice. You have your endorsement so there isn't the pressure of taking a test or failing.... whew!

This is about you and building on that foundation, but in a safe environment and the familiarity of your own bike, with the benefit of professional coaching to make you a better, safer, more proficient rider.

So before going out and tearing up the streets this Spring, sign up now for a motorcycle safety course.

And special thanks to Princess Scooterpie for inquiring about the RSP and inspiring this post.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Name of the Game

I've decided to change my blog title again... as in life, the only thing constant is change.

I started my blog as Troubadour on a Triumph, Brandy gave me the name 'Troubadour' as they would travel afar to tell stories of their adventures and sing song, I added 'on a Triumph' because I fell in love with Triumph motorcycles the moment I test rode and purchased my Triumph Sprint ST. Since then I've owned my Triumph Bonneville America, Brandy bought her Triumph Bonneville and there's my current Triumph Tiger. The last name change was to Troubadour on a Tiger, thinking I would always own a Triumph Tiger, no worries, I'm not selling Lucy.

However, a recent move by Triumph toward our smaller local shops has me questioning my loyalty. It seems that Triumph wants to market themselves much like another certain brand, with larger, brightly lit, sterile, boutique showrooms where they inventory more bikes, T-shirts and Motor Clothes Triumph gear.


Rod at Cycle Parts Triumph received the same notice as Hansen's, as did many other small shops across the country.

This is unfortunate and I'm sure a hard pill to swallow for these mom and pop shops. Rumor has it that Ducati may soon do the same.

I can appreciate the worldwide marketing plan behind "The Brand" and their non-conformist, uniform clothing line (although I am against leather); but Triumph has always been to me the other hundred year old motorcycle company. Triumph was everything that "The Brand" wasn't, every Triumph shop I've visited has been small, family run, service and repair type shop where you could sit on the bikes and talk to the owner about the weather, never feeling obligated to discuss finance rates, payment terms or fill out paperwork. I was never blinded by bright lights reflecting off acres of chrome, and either escorted through the showroom by a sales representative hovering over me from the moment I walk through the door or just blatantly ignored.

Will I buy another Triumph? Probably not, I'm disappointed in Triumph, they filled a niche and I hope they realize their mistake of money and profit over customer service and loyalty.  I'll frequent and support Cycle Parts, wishing them, Hansen's and other small shops well in their new venture.

A fork in the road

With Triumph going in one direction, I'm taking this opportunity to go the other.
My interests have changed and so will my blog. 

Love for the range

I still enjoy motorcycling and I love teaching new riders, I'll continue to write of our travels, adventures and rides; but I've always used my blog as a journal and limiting myself to motorcycle content, I feel it has limited my posts lately.

Poor, unsuspecting souls. Tomorrow is Traffic Interaction.

I'm no longer focusing on street riding, because well, that's a whole other rant altogether. 

I'm pursuing more solitary activities such as dual sport rides, hikes, mountain bike rides, off-roading in the Subaru and even reading.... gasp! I really like what Trobairitz has done with her blog, so I've changed the title of my blog to Troubadour's Treks and I'll be leaning more toward hiking and biking.

So if you don't mind reading about dirt, mud, forest hikes and mountain bikes, I hope you will please follow along.

- Troubadour