Kicking (Virtual) Tires
Things to check out!
by R. Bruce Thomas
At times like this I can't help but think of the closing scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian and it seems like a good time for a whistle and a song.
“Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
Always look on the bright side of life
do, do-do, do-do-do-do-do-do.”
Yes, it seems like there is a lot a person could be upset about in the world these days as the Coronavirus pandemic stretches on, global supply chains are in disarray, winter weather made up for its delayed appearance with a bold entrance, and Vancouver recently almost became an island in spite of the fact we already had one of those. Finally, for us riders, came the news that the 2022 Calgary Motorcycle Show (and Vancouver's) was being postponed until 2023. If you haven't heard that you can read the announcement here. Edmonton's show had already been postponed to 2023.
So where does that leave us Alberta riders this winter?
I'm going to suggest we aren't as bad off as we could be.
The Motorcycle Show has been as much a social event as an exercise in gawking at and sitting on a variety of motorcycles. We've had a regular group of friends for a number of years who have gotten together for a meal and a visit before or after the show to compare notes on what we hope to see or what we've just seen. This aspect doesn't have to suffer as we've all gotten used to video conference meetings over the past two years. Plan some time with your friends, connect with your favourite software, and go kick some virtual tires.
To start with, you can relive some of the authentic bike show experience by looking over the last two Show Guides that were produced by Inside Motorcycles magazine for the 2019 and 2020 Edmonton and Calgary bike shows:
Check out the advertisers and the Exhibitors listings which may clue you in that it's time to look at your insurance coverage, get some new gear, or sign up for a rider training course. While you're at it check the Sponsors Page on the AMSS web site to learn which organizations are interested in promoting motorcycle safety and may be more worthy of your hard earned dollars.
Google will definitely be your friend here as you search for motorcycle museums and more as there is no way I could possibly list them all.
If you want to see new bikes that caused a stir at the International Motorcycle and Accessories Exhibition (aka EICMA) this link, which could feature the first use of the term retro-fugly in regards to motorcycles, will get you started - https://newatlas.com/motorcycles/eicma-2021-new-motorcycles/
A nice small museum that my wife and I visited in 2018 was the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum in Solvang, CA. Their web site has a gallery of the machines in their collection which includes the last of the 10 hand-built Britten V1000's from New Zealand.
The Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group has a Virtual Show for members at https://cvmg.ca/Motorcycling-Historic-Archives
Don't just limit your searches to Motorcycle Museums as collections can also be found in some interesting places, like the E. Hayes & Sons hardware store in Invercargill, NZ. It was in this hardware store that Mary and I saw a movie replica of Burt Munro's 1920 Indian Scout and the web site doesn't disappoint either with photos of much of their motorworks collection and lots of Burt Munro information.
The Southward Car Museum in Paraparaumu on NZ's North Island doesn't have any photos of their extensive collection of bikes on the web site so I'll include one that confirms Kiwi's, famous for bungee jumping, jet boats, zorbing and many other extreme activities, are just as wild and crazy when it comes to their modes of transportation.
And I'll wrap this up a little closer to home with a place that also gives you a chance to get out and away from your computer screens. The Reynolds Museum in Wetaskiwin has a wonderful collection of motorcycles to go with their other vintage equipment, and one of my favourite bikes is part of it. In addition to being the world's first mass-produced turbocharged motorcycle, the Honda CX500 Turbo was also the first
factory bike with electronic fuel injection and first computer-controlled production bike among other firsts. Plus the Honda CX family of bikes were the first production bikes with tubeless tires. Aside from the turbocharger, these are all things we take for granted these days.
As for getting out, until October 11, 2022, the Reynolds has an exhibit titled “Motorbikus Mechanicus... A Love Story” which tells the story of the motorcycle training programs at Fairview College in Northern Alberta. Note that as I write this the web site has a couple places where it says the exhibit only runs until December 31, 2021 but a phone call confirmed the October 2022 end date.
Hopefully I've offered enough distractions to get you through a bike-show-less winter and help you focus on the bright side of life!