|Matt on first road trip through the Rockies|
I bought mine from a 50 year old dominatrix nurse. I’m not one to judge anyone’s lifestyle, so with all traces of leather buckles and harnesses removed I rode the bike home with a friend’s license plate attached and S&M jokes dancing around my head.
|Matts KLR in September 2011|
|Atley's KLR when first purchased |
Once licensed and insured I began putting miles on the bike. And I just loved it. I rode it to the Rocky Mountains. I rode it across British Columbia. I rode it the 75 kms each way to the mine where I worked, on the so-called Highway of Death, in bitter rain and winds, dodging silly people driving jacked up F350s. Carlos rode it up a super steep dirt track that I was unable to get my motocross bike up. We all agreed it wasn’t the greatest bike in the world, but it was the perfect steed for the sandy roads of Baja Mexico, the mountain passes of Chile and for any old mechanic in the world to fix with parts from a 1960s refrigerator.
Cruising on BC Ferries
With a baffling amount of emails bouncing back and forth between Atley and I on a daily basis, we researched the hell out of KLR modifications. We needed to turn these stock bikes into touring machines. I began to purchase bits and pieces, and bolted them onto my bike as they arrived in the mail. It started with a lowered Corbin seat, then went to crash bars, skid plate, centre stand, heated grips, heated jacket, bark busters, cruise control, tall windshield, headlight protector, aluminium side cases, tank bag, dry duffel bag, powered pelican case on the rear and a LED replacement for the taillight that flashes all pretty when I hit the brakes.
Checking out the Lilloet views in Sept 2011
I had all this ready just in time for a 10 day ride through British Columbia with 3 mates in September of 2011. We did 4500km on the coolest roads I’d ever ridden - through Kamloops, Lillooet, Whistler, Powel River, Comox, Victoria, Hope, Osoyoos and Cranbrook. We camped every night and I got to test out all my gear with great success. When I got back into Alberta, it was hard to turn North and head back to the working world.
Ready to hit the road in Cranbrook
Same bike: shared parts, shared knowledge, and good for trouble shooting. After all, we’re not mechanics, I was just a dumb engineer and he ran a glass shop – what would we know about anything.
Notice I said was.
Now we’re Adventure Travelers.
Here are pictures of the bikes in June 2012, a couple of days before departing on the big trip.