Here we are into May and it’s beginning to look like riding will get back to normal, if we can remember normal. The last two years have been rather challenging with restrictions and business closures limiting where and when we could get out riding. In 2020 I only managed 40 percent of my previous 10-year average distance and in 2021 that was down to 20 percent, but that precipitous decline was more the result of losing three months of riding due to a hip replacement at the end of May than any other reason. Things are looking up so far for 2022 and, while I currently plan to hold off until next year before heading south of the border for some of the rides that have been on hold for the last two years, I do have some interesting rides on the horizon.
I’ve just signed up for the Ride For Dad again and look forward to that in June. Over the pandemic years the ride changed from a big group ride to what was called Ride Alone Together. Routes were provided allowing people participating in this important Prostate Cancer Fundraiser to get out and do a ride on their own, or with a small group of friends, while maintaining social distancing and following prescribed health guidelines. I quite enjoyed this change. I’ve got a group of friends that I’m comfortable riding with and mixing with 600+ riders on a group ride has never been my favorite thing. I was happy to see that doing a solo ride was still being offered this year and with a lower registration fee than if one was to participate in the group ride. Plus, it’s a great reason to get out and ride and raise some money for a worthwhile charity. If you’ve been avoiding the Ride for Dad because you don’t like big group rides it’s time to check out riding alone.
Cannonball Rides are back from May 15 to October 30 and participants again have a chance to win a motorcycle just from having gone out for a ride. This year the bike is a 2022 Yamaha XT250 Dual Sport and there are other top prizes from Yamaha as well. There are monthly prizes from Joe Rocket, a set of tires on offer, and the chance to win a riding school course. With 250-, 500-, 1,000-, 2,500-, 5,000-, and 10,000-mile routes to choose from, with anywhere from 6.5 hours to 20 days to complete the route, there are plenty of options for everyone from coast to coast. David Purdy puts in a lot of effort to create the Cannonball routes and ensure people have a great riding experience.
My buddy Don talked me into signing up for the Team Strange Grand Tour again this year. The group is known for coming up with some wacky themes but they get people out to ride. Don has entered numerous Grand Tours and finished in second place in the Melting Pot Grand Tour in 2018 and again at the end of the States of Confusion Grand Tour in 2019. I finished third in 2017’s Love & Merci Grand Tour after riding to Merci Train boxcars all over North America. It is just coincidence that the theme this year is also train related but this time we’ll be searching for Steam Locomotives. There are bonus points if the locomotive is operational and also for getting a pic of your bike, tour flag, and Last Spike monument at Craigellachie, BC plus a couple other international locations that I won’t be chasing. While there are far more engines in the east, Don and I will still have fun planning and riding to destinations in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. If you’re not interested in the competitive nature of the Trails to Rails Grand Tour you could always just ride to Steam Locomotives on your own (https://www.steamlocomotive.com/survivors/?country=CAN).
Some of these locomotives will be visited during the course of doing Iron Butt Rides, which should surprise nobody reading this. A number of friends have already joined me for lunch Ride To Eats and there are a couple trains close to upcoming lunch targets. Mary and I are going to head to BC for our COVID-delayed 10th Anniversary Still Standing Tour to visit some sites from the Jonny Harris show on CBC that highlights towns on the rocks, and also to mark ten years since I got t-boned (11 now, but it was planned to mark 10 years of me still standing. I don’t have to ask where all that time went).
Perhaps the above mentioned plans have helped you come up with some riding ideas for the summer but, if not, I’ll throw in one more. Ride to Hawaii! It sounds crazy but it’s something I did in 2017 and you can do it too. It’s found along US 95 in Idaho. Check the photo for some history and the location.
For now, I’m plotting and planning and making reservations and doing short lunch rides that all help ensure I’ve got the bike packed and loaded the way I need it to be and to get back into practice for taking care of business on the road.
Having plans for the summer is a good start to the riding season and looking back in the fall to see if you met those plans will determine if your season was a success. Hopefully you are well on your way to planning some exciting riding opportunities to fill the coming months and that your 2022 summer riding plans turn out for the best.
- From R. Bruce Thomas