When I think of a motorcycle, many things come to my mind, but when I think of riding it’s simple, pure joy. Undisturbed, undistracted, just joy. For me, it’s a way to clear my mind. Focus on the sound of the engine, the exhaust note, the wind rushing past my helmet, picking the perfect angle coming into a turn, and accelerating out of a turn. Pure. Joy.
We can all agree that joy doesn’t always come immediately. It can certainly come as soon as we lift the kickstand, but it can also be delayed depending on traffic, the amount of gas in your tank, whether that tapping noise you hear is serious or not, … oh shit - was that a cop? How fast am I going? Regardless, I always manage to get to that point of pure joy. Oh, how sweet it is to get out for a ride!
I consider myself lucky and I think most of us PNW riders can relate. We have the luxury of riding winding roads through ancient forests with brilliant ocean views and snow-capped mountain backdrops. We also enjoy less snow than the majority of North America. Us lucky coastal riders in Tofino and Ucluelet get that all along a single road, plus only about 5 days of snow each year! I can wash away stress and anger in 20 minutes riding along Hwy 4 between Tofino and Ucluelet, through the Pacific Rim National Park, with a pitstop at Incinerator Rock. With the Kennedy Hill construction project that has gone well over budget, taken 2 extra years…feels like it has been ‘in progress’ for 84 years, it’s fortunate that I can take off on my daily ride, a ’15 Yamaha Bolt, and in 20 minutes or so I find myself staring at the ocean straight across the Pacific to Japan. If I am lucky, I’ll be met by beautiful waves rolling in from a south swell originating off California or Mexico… mmm long period south swell! If it looks good, I’ll rip home to get my suit and board. These are the luxuries of living on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This is our Canadian paradise.
Riding waves gives a similar feeling. We spend so much time sitting and waiting. Observing the waves, watching for the right sets and getting into a good spot. Beach breaks make positioning tricky, but you end up figuring things out. Sitting, waiting, wishing for that perfect wave to come to us from some far-off place. Groomed by the wind and assisted by the upward sloping sand bottom of our local beach breaks. Riding a wave can also be summed up as pure joy. We literally harness the natural power of the planet and for a moment we are masters of the wave. Not me - I’m mostly a kook, but I have fun and that is the best way to do anything; for the fun of it. Sitting in the ocean, taking in the world around us. No social media, no news, no phone calls or bills to pay - just you and your board, some friends if we’re lucky and feeling social, the perfect recipe for pure joy. The post-surf hot shower cures the cold for us PNW riders, makes the beer feel colder as well!
What we ride:
2015 Yamaha Bolt xv950s – Vance and Hines Intake and open filter & Twin Slash 2 into 2 exhaust, Kenda Big Block knobies to give me extra traction along the logging roads. Biltwell Tracker bars and grips, KJC Programmer, Custom Speedo relocation (left of tank), Custom rising sun sissy bar by Ria the Welder, Mustang Day Tripper leather seat, Custom surfboard rack, Custom headlight bracket and 7’ bucket headlight, Undertail clear and clean.
5’3” Drift Mini Simmons ‘Polar B’ – Twin Fin, Beach Debris foam creation made by Liam. High volume, small package. Very light and fast! Once you adjust your style to fit the loose characteristics of mini-simmons you can unleash hell on the lip, if that’s what you’re into. Ride top to bottom or draw out your cutback. This thing loves to be on rail!
Ryan and the Polar B / Photo taken by Greg Potter (IG - @gerg.potter)
1982 Kawasaki KZ550 - Currently in pieces, call it a project, or art piece, it will live again!
6’7” Drift Flex-Tail with twinzer fin setup, made by Liam. This board has a 7” flexible tail which loads up through a turn or when pumping for speed and releases the energy to give incredible speed and hold. This thing paddles like a dream and duck dives easily. A go-to board for Liam in anything bigger than chest-high.
Liam and the flex-tail / Photo taken by Greg Potter (IG - @gerg.potter)
Ryan & Liam