Not KLR related, but Alex has posted a super fun ride report about his trip along the Great Divide with his dog. I’ve always been stoked on Ural’s and their sidecars. I don’t have the mechanical skills to keep one running properly, but I do enjoy reading about them.
Archive for the ‘ADV Ride’ Category
Luckily I was pulled over to take a leak when this one roared by! ;)
It was a nice hot sunny day here on Vancouver Island and I was planning on heading to the lake to kiteboard, but a chance encounter with Mike [Rando-Commando] Croy inspired me to set out on another bikepacking route recon mission on my KLR650. I was still looking for a dirt route between the Galloping Goose Trail and the Trans Canada Trail [TCT] in the vicinity of the Kinesol Trestle. My previous mountain bike recon missions and one KLR recon had reached dead ends. Chatting with Mike and a link he sent me to a 2005 BC Rando ride report had me interested in checking out the two pink routes I plotted in my GPS mapping software.
I’ve put ~1000kms of logging road mileage on this bike in the last couple months. She’s not shinny and new looking any more! I didn’t expect to be gone too long so I just grabbed my small tool kit, water and snacks plus my GPS. The ride out to Sooke was fun although with traffic you never can get the full grin factor out of the curves on Highway 14.
The first route [Tugwell Main] I wanted to check out [pink squiggle furthest to right] was a right turn off Hwy 14 onto Anderson Rd. I didn’t get very far before I hit this locked gate. I briefly considered putting the KLR on its side and pulling it under the gate, but I had no idea how far I’d get on the other side and I wasn’t feeling that motivated to scratch up my bike for potentially limited gains. The good news is these forestry gates are easily passable on a mountain bike. So although I didn’t go any further on my KLR this potential route is not a scratch.
I moved on to the next pink route [Jordan Main] shown at the left in the map near the top. To get there I had to ride ~30kms from Sooke BC to Jordan River. It’s a pretty sweet stretch of quiet 2 lane highway along the Straight of Juan de Fuca. As I started into this forestry road network I was impressed by the scenery and the quality of the road. It was either nice and smooth or rough/narrow, but in a fun to ride way. I just kept going and going. I started to get excited that I had found a route through to the TCT and it looked like it would be a really pleasant bikepacking ride :)
I was really bummed to reach another locked gate after 15kms of riding. I would have laid down my KLR and pulled it through on this route except that this photo doesn’t do justice to the steepness of the slope and the fact the ground comes up near the gate making the gap to the ground small. I’m just not strong enough to haul a 400lbs+ motorcycle uphill on its side.
Walking around the gate I found a very well maintained logging road that certainly looked like it was going somewhere. That gave me hope that this route did indeed hook up with the TCT despite not being able to get my KLR through.
That was all the recon I had planned, but seeing how good things were looking I decided to keep trying. That meant a long ride around to Port Renfrew and Lake Cowichan then coming back at the route from the top starting near the Koksilah Provincial Park.
I took a quick lunch break in Jordan River to get some calories in me and get off the bike for a few minutes.
The ride to Port Renfrew is a very twisty very quiet scenic narrow 2 lane highway. Highly recommended on bicycle or motorcycle. After turning towards the north-east on my way to Lake Cowichan I decided to try the Bear Main logging road to see if I could get through that way saving me the long ride around and add some recon data to the mix. That leg is shown on the left in the map above going due east from marker 125 to marker 150.
The deeper I went into the forest on this leg the more hopeful I became that I had found a way through. My GPS showed a road and a forestry company employee I stopped to chat with thought Bear Main would push through if I didn’t come across a locked gate. Sadly I got 25kms in and came to this dead end. They just hadn’t built the road any farther.
I was starting to realize how long a day this was going to be as I backtracked down Bear Main. I had left the house at 10am with a 3-4hr ride in mind. Little did I know I wouldn’t get home until 11pm. Now 13hrs of recon on a motorbike doesn’t sound too bad, but let me tell you I ended up completely wasted!
I pretty much stopped taking photos at this point in the ride. I was very very hot, very very dusty and starting to get very very tired. Manhandling a 400lbs+ bike around on rough terrain while reading a tiny GPS screen and pondering many options for what to do is hard. But, I figured no point stopping now. I had burnt my whole day so I might as well get as much out of it as I could and the last piece of the puzzle was pushing south from the top as far as I could go. Even if I hit a locked gate the state of the roads and the distance between locked gates would give me enough information to make a good guess at whether I should try the route on my mountain bike.
I stopped briefly in Lake Cowichan for a morale boosting pint of icy cold beer [did I mention it was crazy hot?] and a sandwich. By the time I left it was after 7pm and I had a lot of riding left to do – yikes! I cruised to the Kinesol Trestle and worked my way past the Koksilah Provincal Park on the Kapur Main logging road. This is the route Scott and I checked out on our mountain bikes, but we gave up due to a lack of time and maps of the area. This time I had a couple solid routes loaded in my GPS. The question was did the roads actually exist and if they did were they gated.
There was a lot of great riding on this leg and a lot of challenging route finding even with my GPS. I really wanted to taste some victory so I didn’t give up even as the sun was starting to go down. I knew I didn’t have time to explore all three routes [Butler Main, Tugwell Main and Jordan Main] before it was dark and I got so tired I just laid down on the side of the road for a nap. So I decided to tackle Jordan Main as it was the closest and I had pushed the farthest north from the south end on that route. Well as you can see from the photo above I made it to the same gate from the north as I had been to from the south much earlier in the day. Awesome!
I had an ice cold victory beer in my pack I was saving just in case I found a route that went all the way through on this ride, but I was so tired and it was getting dark fast. I left the beer in my pack and twisted the throttle for the ride home. Not only was I beat up from the day, but finding the route I had been looking for kind of dropped my tension level a lot which made focusing on keeping the bike rubber side down all the way back to Victoria a challenge.
I made it home dirty, sweaty and tired, but happy to have confirmed at least one route from the TCT to the Galloping Goose Trail. The Jordan Main route requires ~30kms of paved riding along Hwy 14, but it’s some pretty coastal scenery and passes by French Beach Provincial Park for some beautiful camping so it’s not a bad option – especially for riders who don’t live on Vancouver Island and want to see the Straight of Juan de Fuca.
Best part of the ride was it looks like the Tugwell Main and Bulter Main routes also go through [although I need to confirm to be 100%] which means you can ride from the TCT along the Bulter Main to the Boneyard Main and from there to Leechtown and down the Galloping Goose to Victoria on a nearly 100% dirt route. :)
My KLR sees a lot of logging road action to get me to Lake Nitnaht so I can kiteboard as well as drink beer and camp ;)
I try and keep my load as light/compact and low as possible. Ortlieb panniers work great and aren’t big enough to let me pack a stupid amount of gear.
The weather has not been cooperating here on Vancouver Island for my kiteboarding habit which means I have to take every opportunity to get out on the water and ride. So I grabbed my Blade Fat Lady 17.5m kite and hit the road with my trusty KLR650 when a nice sunny day came along.
The KLR got us down the rough logging road to Nitnaht Lake with no drama and only a few $$ in gas money.
The Blade Fat Lady got me out riding my surfboard even though the wind was very light. Mission accomplished! ;)
I’m trying to find a dirt mountain bike route between Lake Cowichan and Victoria BC on Vancouver Island. I’ve done a lot of recon on my mountain bike and have hit dead ends so far. I decided it was time to use the KLR because it is so much faster and less painful to climb a mountain on the dualsport especially if there was a locked gate at the top!
I cruised from Victoria to Sooke BC and then headed up some logging roads to see if there was a way through the mountains north. The logging roads are private, but I had no choice if I want a bikepacking route up the island some logging roads have to be ridden.
I ended up riding north on Boneyard Main to Leechtown and then up Craig Main which connects with logging road I’ve explored on the other side of the mountains.
Sadly there is a massive gate with security guards patrolling the area behind it [Victoria water supply area] so I was denied. I tried riding some double track nearby to get around, but it didn’t lead anywhere useful.
In the image above pink is Craig Main starting in Leechtown at the bottom and ending on the South San Juan Mainline logging road which would take me to the Trans Canada Trail and then to Lake Cowichan. The dark red line is my actual GPS track showing where I was turned back at the locked gate.
On the way back home I scared this little fawn and his mom so they got separated. I didn’t want to chase him too far from his mom so I stopped the bike and shut off the engine for 10 mins while he chilled out and eventually ran into the woods towards his mom. I was concerned that he’d just keep running away from me down the road and end up alone and scared = not good!
Oh well. If it was easy it wouldn’t be recon. It would just be a ride. My next move is to try Butler Main which is the next major logging road to the east. It’s a long detour from the direct route I had hoped to find, but it’s the best option I have left.
Not a KLR, but I love this pic I found over at ADVrider.com – click here to read the photographer’s trip report.
I know it’s a bad idea to be surfing websites about motorcycles you don’t have the money for. Especially when you have a mighty fine KLR650 in the driveway, but I’m only human and sometimes I do the wrong thing…=-) Click on the image above for some specs.
I’ve been stoked about the KTM 690R lately and can’t help lusting after it a bit. I was driving past my local KTM dealer the other day and nearly went inside to check it out and find out the price. I knew that was going too far…sort of like it’s okay to appreciate your wife’s sister in her bikini at your pool party, but grabbing her ass – not so much!….=-)
So I’ll just admire this fine bike from a distance and I won’t tell my KLR anything about it.
My plan for this past December was to ride my KLR650 motorcycle down to Baja Mexico and camp on the beach while I kitesurfed for a good long while. Sadly work needed my attention more than I had hoped as the holiday approached and a late November departure didn’t happen. By the time I did get out of Victoria it was mid-December and I decided to fly to Baja so that I could spend 4 weeks on the beach kitesurfing rather than riding down for 2 weeks+ of my shorter holidays. When I was down in Baja I missed my bike a lot and got sentimental every time someone rode past on a dualsport. However, I did appreciate getting a full month of beach time to hone my kiting skills.
Recently I drove down I-5 to Arizona and back via my friend’s place in Pasadena. Getting to see the exact route I would have ridden my KLR along I-5 made me happier that things didn’t work out. I’ve toured the Baja on a KLR in December before so I know that would be a fun trip, but the 2 or more likely 3.5 wet cold days of bombing down the I-5 each way would have been pretty grim. Possible in the winter = yes. Fun? = no. I’m glad I do dream big when I make plans since that’s often what it takes to get off the couch and get things done, but I need to temper my dreams with some reality to make sure I don’t embark upon too ridiculous a sufferfest….=-)
So no epic Baja tour to report on, but I came back from Mexico stoked to climb aboard my KLR and ready for an amazing riding season here on Vancouver Island. Between now and the next adventure I’ll make do with rides around town to run errands like picking up some Tide. I may not be Helge Pedersen, but life could be much much worse!
Not KLR related, but I found this cool Honda ADV rig rebuild thread over at ADVrider.com. Click on the image above to see the rebuild and click here to read about the Vancouver – South America tour it’s on…=-)
There are lots of folks buying dualsport bikes that are new motorcyclists because it’s an approachable and exciting part of riding world or they are street riders who want to explore some of those dirt roads and trails they pass on the highway. Learning on the job in the dirt can be painful, dangerous and demoralizing – especially if you are an experienced street rider who ends up feeling like they’ve never been on a bike before! One smart option is to learn the basics before you hit the dirt so that you at least understand what is supposed to happen and to take away some of the fear of the unknown.
My KLR dirt riding experience is years old and I feel like I’m starting over so I ordered up this Dual Sport Riding Techiques DVD from DSR. At $29.99 it’s a low cost way to refresh my memory of how not to get killed on my KLR in Baja this winter!
To save me some time here is what DSR says about their DVD:
“This DVD isolates each of the skills needed to follow the road less traveled, gives specific pointers and ways to practice, and then puts them all together on the trail.
The DVD covers in detail:
- Body Position
- Hill climbs and descents
- Rocky/ rooty/ rough terrain
- Sandy/ muddy/ loose terrain
- Line selection
- Bike setup
Each section contains specific drills that you can do to improve your riding at your own pace, including ways to tailor the exercises for riders with more or less experience. With practice, these drills cement the correct response for any given situation, and when combined with some great tips on line selection, you’ll find new confidence and enjoyment when riding off-road.
In addition, bonus features include:
- Suspension Setup
- Tire Changes
- Trailriding Footage
Filmed on location in Utah and Colorado.
Total running time: Approx 50 minutes”
So what did I think?
- excellent production value
- simple well illustrated explanations for each point
- enough actual riding segments to keep me stoked
- wide enough scope to get you rolling on the trail without trying to cram so much in you get overwhelmed
- logical breaks between sections so you can easily FFWD to the section you want to review
- friendly supportive attitude for the dirt newbie
- great focus on staying safe and respecting the environment
- bonus features were useful
Tags: BMW, rawhyde, Touratech
Update: I found this great write up about a guy’s Rawhyde Adventures training course experience over at ADVrider.com worth a read if you have any interest in these courses to get a feel for what one would be like.
If you’ve recently got yourself a big enduro bike like a KLR or BMW GS and don’t have much in the way of dirt riding skills you should watch this DVD. It won’t make you a superstar, but it will give you a set of drills to practice and some useful information that will make heading off pavement less painful. Rawhyde Adventures runs a BMW Offroad Academy that will teach you all you need to know if you have the time and $$$ for the training.
I can’t afford $1400 for a 2 day course or $2600 for a 5 day catered trip, but I can afford $30 for a DVD I can watch whenever I need a refresher on the basics and I can share it with friends who might be thinking about getting a dualsport bike.
I knew I was heading south this winter on my KLR. I wasn’t sure where I would end up. My GF has less holidays than me so I let her pick what she wants to do and make my trips work around her time off. She was considering either kitesurfing in Baja or surfing in Costa Rica. I go to Baja most winters, but haven’t been there on a bike in nearly 10yrs. I’ve been going down in a 4×4 pick up truck the last while. I’ve never been to Central America so that would be all new for me as well. I have been farckling the bike knowing a big trip was coming up and she’d need to be ready for some adventures south of the border.
Well the GF has decided to go to La Ventana which is 45mins south of La Paz in Baja. Although this means less total mileage and less new ground to cover it’s probably for the best. I know my way around Baja really well which means no stress. I can get down to La Ventana on paved roads and setup my camp there. I’ll throw some 50/50 DS tires on the KLR [Michelin T63] and the stock 15T sprocket for lower gearing. Than I’ll be splitting my time between kiteboarding when it’s windy and riding in the desert when it’s not.
I’ve never had a serious motorcycle crash in all my years of riding, but I also know that not having had a bike for a while I can’t be too cocky. This trip to Baja means that I can head out into the dirt whenever I feel like it to work on my skills without any pressure to ride far or fast. I’ve got a GPS and 1:50,000 scale topo maps of the whole Baja so it will just be a lot of exploring between taco/beer stops and lots of kiteboarding to keep me fit. By the time I come back from Baja my KLR will be caked in well earned dust and I’ll be a competent dirt rider.
You can check out what I have done to my KLR so far at this link. The items below are what I still want to do before I leave in late November:
- inspect OEM wiring and fix any rubbing issues
- wire in heated vest & grips
- wire in GPS & spare 12V socket on dash
- add Happy Trail centerstand
- headlight guard
- swap in low profile Barkbuster bar end weights
- tank bag
- by-pass sidestand and clutch safety switches
- DIY tool tube
- buy a one piece rain suit
- change oil just before I leave
After all that my KLR650 will be fully adventure ready!…=-)
Walter Colebatch has put together a nice looking DVD from his 2009 Siberian bike trip footage. Watch it in HD fullscreen over at Vimeo to do the trailer justice.