Those of you who know me might be quite surprised that when I got my bike license, about four years ago, motorcycling was only something that I wanted to “try” or to dabble in. Sitting around a table at Sneaky Dee’s one cold evening I was among the few at the table who did hold an M license. It only seem natural that I procure one.
Once the riding season opened, I found myself trying to make sense of it all — that is, what type of motorcycle I could see myself riding. “Dirt bikes”, I thought, were not my thing. To a novice, this really was foreign territory. Did I want a sport bike or cruiser? What about these “touring bikes”. Huh. So much out there, so it seemed.
Having completed my M1-Exit course at Humber College in Toronto, conveniently my brother-in-law was selling an early 80’s Honda. And the price was right. So without having to further wrack my brain for a decision, I had my bike.
Being an old bike, it required various repairs. Fairly quickly I went from being virtually clueless about the internal combustion engine, and the parts that are attached to it, to a fairly competent home mechanic. Its only fair to mention that I *am* mechanically adept and had worked on plenty of bicycles in my day, but I had never expected that I would be rebuilding clutches and playing with valve lashes measurements.
During this period, I honed my riding chops. And began to realize that I like travel long distances. For example, “popping” up to Tobermory for lunch. At the same time, I began to watch television series like Boorman and McGregor’s “Long way Round” and “Long way Down”. Understanding at this time that a BMW R1150GS (and later R1200GS) was a fine “adventure bike”, I also became rather cognizant of the fact that I would have to go quite far into hock to have one of these beauties
On a road trip to the east coast (in a car that is), I ran into a fellow on said R1200GS at a rest stop. His story was that he was just returning from Alaska back to his native NFLD. As the conversation commenced, I had mentioned that while I was drooling over his bike, it was way beyond my financial means. That’s when he expressed to me that “up there in Alaska”, it was mostly GS’s and KLRs.
With a little research, and a number of months later, I found myself the owner of “the poor man’s adventure bike” — the humble Kawasaki KLR650. Jumping sometime ahead in the future I am much more educated on what sorts of motorcycles are available, specifically in the “dual-sport”/”dual-purpose” and “adventure lines. I often get into the “if I had three bikes, they would be…” discussion. The KLR650 doesn’t particularly score high in any one area, and while there are bikes that are better suited for off-road, and better suited for long distance road touring, it turns out that I made a pretty good choice for someone who only has one bike.