Welcome to the First Person account of the 2005 Mad Bastard Scooter Rally. In this second (and final) piece we hand it over to some of the participants to give their viewpoint of how riding a scooter around Lake Ontario worked for them.
Or not, as the case may be.
It’s a long way to Burlington … and beyond
By Gus Breiland
Straight Jacket Class
|Gus at the off.|
I’m lying on my back, peering up at the dead motor of my TGB Delivery Scooter in the meager first rays of dawn. Where there was a wire attached to the spark plug socket there is now a hole and the wire is hanging limp. Duct tape, electrical tape, zip ties and tools litter the ground around me. The final scooter riders have just passed me and I still have 791 kilometers to go (out of an 800-kilometer ride).
What I didn’t know is there was a beautiful day with scenic roads ahead of me. What I did know was there was a bar only 15 minutes back … of course, I would have to get my scooter running to go back, and if it is running I should be riding. Damn catch 22’s.
Fighting the temptation to attempt alcoholism as a hobby, I finished my repair, threw my tools in the trunk and chose the path that would lead me onwards and around Lake Ontario.
|A classic Tansy shot.|
This was my 2005 Mad Bastard Scooter Rally.
The rally was set up in 8 different legs. A fuel or ferry receipt was necessary at the end of each leg, while also recording your time and mileage at each checkpoint. Extra points were awarded based on your age, age of your scooter, a picture of your bum, with the ‘friendly’ people of Clifford Street, Rochester and Tansy the waitress.
I was a part of a three man expeditionary force sent up from the States (Mike, Keith and myself) to check out this so-called 2005 Mad Bastard Scooter Rally. I had chosen a TGB 50cc Delivery Scooter as my scooter to menace the populations of Southern Ontario and northwest New York State. Mike was on his Aprilia Scarabeo and Keith was borrowing a Honda Helix. We had the classes covered (50cc, 160cc and 250cc respectively) and we were ready to ride.
|Inside that delivery box sits a five gallon auxiliary gas tank.|
What I wasn’t prepared for was the 50cc performance. Usually a motorcycle rider hears 100k and thinks one hour. After the first 2.5 hours and I’ve only covered about 100 km. My cruising speed was roughly 54-57 kph, with uphill climbs being my enemy and time being its weapon of choice. There was no time for errors and no time for standing around (and that included errant spark plug wires) – on the 50 you have to ride or the day just becomes longer.
To reduce some of my wasted time I had mounted a 5-gallon fuel tank inside of my delivery box. With a range of more than 560 k I would not have to stop to fill up at every fuel stop, I would just have to run into the station, buy a bottle of water and get a receipt, hydrate and go. This kept my overall average speed at 45k and allowed me to shoot for 19 hours, rather than my initial 18-hour estimate … damn spark plug wire.
The course took us from Burlington through Toronto, Belleville, Kingston, across to Wolfe Island and onto Mexico, NY. From there we continued to Rochester, Ridgeway, and Niagara and then finally back to Burlington. 800 kilometers of riding a scooter, what better way can you think to spend a day?
|If you’re going to go for the nudity shot via a magazine, at least get a nudity shot.|
As we traversed the countryside, even my slow scooter was able to come across fellow riders. Whether catching up to guys waiting for the ferry or watching people pass after passing them at the last fuel stop, we were a mass of Scooter bees spread over the countryside.
It wouldn’t be until the end of the Rally that I realized I may have been the slowest, but I still finished towards the middle of the pack. I was happy with my ride for being pretty efficient – with only a couple of wrong turns and a little spark problem to mar my progress.
Ending my day at midnight put me around the lake in just over 19 hours. My US compatriots had finished 4 hours earlier, with people continuing to trickle in during the night. A little more luck and it would have been my planned 18 hours. Not too shabby for my little 50cc scooter.
|Gus is happy to get a certificate of completion.|
The awards the following day proved to be victorious for us southerners, with Mike and Keith taking top prize in the 150 and 250 classes respectively. With my tail between my legs, I found that my ride that I was so proud of had come up short on bonus points. Damn, no clean sweep. I had put in a pretty good ride but not good enough. Hopefully there will be a next year so I can vindicate my shame and bring honor to the American 50cc class.
CMG put on a wonderful event and the participants and volunteers were phenomenal. Our duty as 2005 Mad Bastard Riders is to pester CMG all year until they finally give into our demands to run the Mad Bastard Rally again in 2006. With an event like this filled with participants of this caliber, the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally has become an event that is a “Must do”!
See you in 2006, if not sooner.
Confucius says: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
By Gary Davidson
Straight Jacket Class
|Going for broke.|
The morning came very fast, especially when you swear to be the last rider left standing at the CMG pub night the night before. Mark Richardson and I were the last to put down the beer cup and I was rewarded with a whopping three and a half hours of restless sleep.
The next morning I opted to team up with a couple of other riders in the 50cc class, namely Mark Richardson and Mr. X. The three of us decided that by doing this together, we’d not only have some road camaraderie, but also a crew to share in the hi-jinx that a maximum speed of only 65 km/h can provide.
Our three Yamaha scooters were almost evenly matched. Mark and Mr. X were on newer BWs scoots that had a higher top speed but at the expense of torque, compared to my ’01 version. I would get them off the line every time, only to have them creep by me on the straights. But then, when we hit a hill, they would tend to lose steam, allowing me to slip past them again to gain the advantage.
And we tried everything to gain that extra km/h – full race tuck, legs in, helmet down. I don’t think it had much effect but we tried, oh yes we tried.
|Gary entertains himself with a foot shot.|
The journey was broken up by boredom relievers thinly disguised as Mad Bastard point opportunities (an additional 75 points were available for ‘creativity’). Stuff like acting like zombies, a detour to Shannonville to visit Larry Tate, burnouts, wheelies, racing with Ducatis, getting naked on a ferry and meeting ‘interesting’ people on Clifford St, Rochester.
The best part was how the distance was eaten up in a slow continuous nature. The passage of time and distance unknowingly gobbled up. One moment you are in Toronto and the next you are in Mexico, NY. How it all happens is a mystery. Maybe that is how the chemical combination of 3.5 hours of sleep, plenty of Redbull and adrenaline work?
Thankfully, the pain and discomfort is now long forgotten and I am actually looking forward to doing it all again … 365 days and 24 hours later.
How I avoided Glory and Lasting Fame in the MB Scooter Rally
By Peter Beckett
Straight Jacket Class
|Don’t stop for anything!|
My first mistake was that I didn’t know if I should turn left or right when I left the rally hotel. I had assumed that I would simply follow a herd, but the herd had already gone. Thankfully I remembered the bit about keeping the water on your right and took off at 4:42 AM on my 1986 Aero 50 with my stomach in a knot.
I soon passed Costa on his moped and that confirmed that I was headed the right way, only to get lost once I hit Toronto (although I soon found that people took pity on scooter riders and a nice chap got me back on route).
My goal was to make the 11:30 AM ferry in Kingston and I decided that I would try and go the last 99.5 km without refueling. Unfortunately I found out that I could only go 75 km, which meant that I just missed the 11:30 ferry and had to wait an hour for the 12:30 departure.
To save time I used pay at the pump and collected the receipts, keeping pit stops down to under 60 seconds. Everything else like water or Advil were consumed while on the scooter, although I soon discovered that child-proof caps were a curse, as a scooter is not a good place to ride with no hands – minor potholes are major trauma on a small wheeled scooter!
|Peter and Gus make it back in 19 hours and 15 minutes.|
Although the ‘hood in Rochester was of some concern to me, it went by without incident, and I didn’t get really lost again until Lewiston, near Niagara Falls. Even though the directions supplied clearly said “Do NOT get on the Robert Moses Parkway – EXPRESSWAY!”, in the dark and the rain I almost rode right onto it! Thankfully, scooters are agile and a quick turn brought me back to safety.
After I got over the Rainbow Bridge and back into Canada, I was joined by Gus on his TGB Delivery Scooter and for the first time since Wolfe Island I had company (and much welcomed it was too).
Just before midnight we arrived at the finish, having done a total of 814 km in 19 hours and 15 minutes.
Would I do it again?
Squealing like a pig in Dexter, New York
By Greg Vosper
Heavily Medicated Class
|The Vespa scoot.|
There I was, happily buzzing down the highway, confidence soaring that maybe, just maybe my little old 1971Vespa 150 might actually see me through to the finish line. I’d completed almost half the Rally, my ass was not feeling too bad at all, when, as if it where reading my thoughts, my little Vespa went form a healthy “blahhhh” to a sickening bbbllllaaaaaaa….
Dead in the water … or should I say on the shoulder. Shit!
I didn’t really start worrying just then, as I had had some problems with a finicky kill switch over the last few hours that had a habit of getting hit by the side of my hand and then getting stuck in the off position.
In the fire station I work at, we have an informal “scale of severity” classification system for just about any incident. It goes something like this: Uh-Oh, Oh No, Oh My God, Yikes, That’s not Good, Holy Crap and Oh F*%#k! with an “Uh-Oh” being the least severe and an “Oh F*%#k!” being the most severe.
|At the off.|
This was only shaping up to be an “Uh-Oh”, maybe an “Oh No” at this point and I had full confidence that I would be back on the road in no time. It was only after I had thoroughly investigated the kill switch that I decided to remove the flywheel/fan from the little beast for further investigation. It’s then that I discovered that a rivet that held the breaker point cam to the flywheel assembly had come apart and shredded the windings of the magneto coil in the process.
After some heroic (if I do say so myself) attempts to repair the coil and the banged up points (including some long distance consultation with a friend with internet access to vespatroubleshooting.com) I had to admit defeat and call the official MBS dropout number.
|Happier times …|
What a horrible feeling to come all that way only to be defeated by a tiny Italian rivet that couldn’t take the pounding of flat out riding for hours at a time. I had even gotten somewhat naked on the ferry – although I’m glad that a photo of my raw red ass is safely locked away on MY hard drive, not CMG’s!
By now my situation had escalated to a “That’s not Good” status.
No worries I thought, as I whipped out my trusty CAA card (who I had verified complete coverage with only the day before). I was assured by the local AAA representative “Tywanna” that a flatbed tow truck was now on its way and would have me and my disabled scoot back in friendly Canada in no time.
This was not to be. After waiting for an hour and a half (twice as long as quoted) I called back, only to be told that the tow truck driver had tried, but was unable to contact me (not true).
|At the US border, just before everything went tits up.|
I was advised to call him myself, (which I did) only to be brushed off by what sounded like a drunk who just couldn’t be bothered to come and get me. He actually asked me to call someone else!
To make a long story a little shorter, I got into a huge screaming match with AAA representative Tywanna, who had now changed her mind and decided that my scooter was exempt from AAA coverage because it was a scooter, not a motorcycle! In Tywanna’s own words “we don’t do scooters”!
Now I was truly stranded. “Oh F*%#k!”.
Here is where sheer desperation took over and I started offering cash to any pickup truck driver who pulled into the parking lot of the convenience store where I had managed to push the Vespa to (for future reference, it seems like $100.00 is the magic number to prompt a reaction from people).
|The trauma starts to age Greg noticeably.|
“Hey Billy-Bob, $100.00 to get me and this Italian piece of … I mean jewel, back into Canada?”. Billy-Bob, did not need to think twice about this offer, and in a few minutes I was on my way back to Canada.
At this point in time, Billy-Bob informed me that he could not drive me completely across as he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Canada. This gave me the opportunity to quickly re-negotiate our deal (down to $40.00) and he dropped me off a mere 100 meters from the border, at which point I actually pushed my disabled ride back into Canada. Thank God, back home at last.
|This is an “Oh F*%#k!” moment.|
I called CAA and they quickly had a flatbed meet me at the border station of the Thousand Island Bridge (without mention of lacking scooter coverage). From here, I was driven back to the ferry docks in Kingston where my father and my trusty Safari Van were waiting for the not-quite-as-long ride home.
At 2:30 AM, I collapsed into my bed in Toronto, just about the time that the last of the Mad Bastards were making it back to the Burlington. Considering that I had had only three hours sleep the night before this epic ride, never was there a more welcome slumber.
Hopefully there is a next year, if there is, maybe I will be on a more modern mount, or at least bring some spares with me just in case.
Thanks for the great time, it was fun while it lasted and I don’t have too many regrets – other than my choice of scooter. Hats off to a very well organized event, which I am sure to remember for a lifetime.
It would seem a shame to end off without a MBS Hall of Cheekiness. Here are all who were brave enough to show some cheek on the US Ferry at MBS 05!
Burlington-on-the-Lake Travelodge – very accommodating and helped keep the wheels of chaos running smoothly by allowing us to do all sorts of things to keep the rally on track. Special thanks to Lilly, the hotel night manager who had the dubious honour of manning the front desk during the rally.
Inpiazza Restorante – (the hotel’s restaurant) Manager, Steve was pure gold and helped to make the rally functions more polished than anyone would recognize at a CMG event. The food was fantastic as well!
Yamaha Canada – for ‘getting’ what this whole rally was about and stumping up the grand prize of a Vino Classic 50 scooter. Our hats go off to you.
Rally participants and CMG pub nighters – who bought $490.00 worth of charity raffle tickets, thus saving our arses as we had no profits to give to the official charity (Distress Centres of Toronto).
Rally helpers – Bobb Todd for doing the route and Rally Master honours. Roxanne Gallery for helping Editor ‘arris co-ordinate the activities on the ground. Richard Seck and Jon Lewis for doing a stellar job with photo documentation, general organization, and Sunday’s presentation.
Prize givers (listed below) – without whom we’d have nothing to offer the mad bastards for doing all this: