Rain? Or is that snow sticking to my visor? And what the hell am I doing here anyway? It’s 6:30am. It’s bloody cold. There’s slushy snow sticking to my helmet and I’m having difficulty making out the other road users who are no doubt plotting to run me off the road. So what went wrong? Christmas getting to you, Mark? Shouldn’t you be curled up in your nice warm pit at home, deep asleep, warm, cozy…
Well, I suppose I should be, really, but then I should have bought a Honda Civic instead of a used Ducati, and I really shouldn’t have gotten that latest tattoo. I think you get the point, dear reader. I set off on my self-imposed ordeal, because that is how I remind myself that life is to be relished and challenged, not smoothed and sleepy.
But back to the story: Despite having what I consider to be some of the best winter riding gear around, it wasn’t long before my hands began to protest at the chill, and what I thought was rain was looking more sinister; it was becoming obvious to me that what may have been rain in Kitsilano was falling as slush at the slightly higher altitude of the Upper Levels Highway.
So judgement call time – carry on, hoping for an improvement in the weather, or turn around and try another day? Well here’s an exit, so I think I’ll take it, get back onto the road going the way I came; set my sights on a hot breakfast somewhere in Vancouver instead of my intended destination of the 99’er Diner, in Britannia Beach on the Sea to Sky Highway.
Double edged sword – no cars behind me to rush-hurry my progress at the exit, but also, no cars to clear away some of the inch or so of wet slush. So keeping in mind that Pirelli didn’t make the Diablo tire with snow traction in mind, I gingerly crept over the overpass and headed back the way I came. Rain, o how I love thee. Never thought I’d ever say that, but coming down the hill into West Vancouver I was admittedly very happy to be riding in the rain – not snow.
Now where am I going to get that cholesterol-fest I was planning on? Perhaps there’ll be somewhere open on Denman Street? Well, it turns out there were a couple of likely looking café’s open but nowhere I could park up the bike and see it from my seat so I decided to try Commercial Avenue instead. Not much luck here either, just a JJ Bean coffee place. So figuring on large amounts of caffeine being a substitute for large amounts of calories, I parked up and ordered a mocha something-or-other and had to make do with a ‘morning madness’ cookie instead of my beloved two eggs over queasy.
The morning ended with the Duc wrapped up in the garage, and myself thawing out in a hot bath – heaven. Better progress next time? I certainly hope so, but it was a good short, accident-free ride anyway. What more could you want?
– Written by Mark Robbins
Editor: Mark later made a more successfull attempt for the Ninty Niner… despite the snow. Who says Ducati’s aren’t adventure bikes?