Showing posts from 2012

The Austro-Hungarian Empire Motorcycle Club

Collecting stuff is a disease for which there is no cure.  Motorcycles are a favorite collectible,  they don't take a lot of room compared to say, military tanks or airplanes , but they do need more space than stamps or buttons .  Whatever, if you have a garage, you have room for a few bikes. If you are going to be serious about collecting, you need a theme.  You can't just randomly collect stuff you come across, you need to apply discipline lest you be confused for a hoarder.  I have pretty much always had a bike collection.  I used to collect British bikes when they were practically giving them away in the late 1970's.   For quite a while I concentrated on 1985 Yamahas, great bikes that had bottomed out resale-wise when I got them.    My first bike I think I paid 50 bucks for.  It had been stripped of most of its parts, but it still ran, but not for long. See the  theme here - they were all cheap cheap cheap. That first bike was an early 60's 125 cc CZ made i

Victoria Trail

What? ~90 unpaved kilometers of mostly unmolested North Saskatchewan River valley. Why? Finding gravel roads near Edmonton is not a problem, but finding interesting gravel roads is nearly as difficult as finding hen’s teeth.  Your typical road here is arrow straight  flat enough to put the horizon  about as distant as tomorrow.  This is OK for a while, but for those who crave variety, it does get tiresome.   One happy exception that does not require many hours droning down  overly crowded highways filled with morons just to get to an interesting road is Victoria Trail.   At this point Edmontonians might be saying What!?....  No, no, not the Victoria Trail lined with strip malls and newly planted suburban neighborhoods between the Yellowhead and 153 Avenue, but the original Victoria Trail between Edmonton and Victoria Settlement, 100 kilometers downriver on the mighty North Saskatchewan . Before railways  and highways people travelled to Edmonton using the rivers

The Forestry Trunk Road

Alberta's Forestry Trunk Road (FTR) is the mini golf version of the Bolivian death road, the drops are just meters, not thousands of meters, no macho speeding bus drivers on the FTR,  but watch for the macho speeding pickup truck drivers. The Forestry Trunk Road is nearly as challenging as its (very) distant Bolivian cousin, but the penalty for errors is much lower.  Best of all, a ride on the FTR is only an hour or two from Alberta's major urban centers, not the 15,000 or so kilometers to Bolivia.  Alberta adventurers can ride the FTR and sleep in their own bed.  Or not, from end to end the FTR is over 1,000 kilometers of mostly gravel from Coleman to Grande Prairie, with plenty of campgrounds and nearby motels.   Much of the Forestry Trunk Road is unpaved, some bits are 'unimproved' meaning little if any road maintenance, especially in Winter.  Paved are the 60 km Kananaskis Highway, between Peter Lougheed  Park to Highway 1 (The Trans Canada Highway), and 350

Undead zombie motorcycles

The dead do come back to life.  Zombies,  vampires  ghosts and Frankenstein monsters are mythical but the dead really do come back to life in the motorcycle industry. The best example of the motorcycle that refused to stay dead is Indian.   Numerous parties have  to revived Indian from the day the final clod of dirt landed on the company casket.  The Indian sold today is a moto  Frankenstein monster, cobbled together with bits of this and that, including a fake Harley Davidson motor made by S&S.  When the real Indian motocycle (not a typo) went under in 1953, its famous name was  bought, sold, stolen, fought over,  by scammers and a few mad financiers who believed they could breathe life into the dead brand.  This past year, Polaris, the maker of the so far semi successful Victory brand of motorcycles have taken over the Indian name, which might be its best chance yet. Norton stopped large scale motorcycle production in 1976, but they never actually died.  Chopped up by