Weather – Like It Or Not

So… April started out in fine fashion, however has not remained so.

To explain – among other things, I’m a biker.

Hmmm… immediately some of you will get a mental picture – long hair, beard, big belly, tattoos, piercings, leathers, vest with patches, noisy Harley, and so on.

Now lose your mental picture. Bikers are, in reality, a representation of society in general. They come in all sizes, shapes, genders, nationalities and ages, riding a plethora of different machines. They are many different individuals, each their own person.

Now for me, I have a beard, short hair, no tattoos, one piercing, yeah a bit of a belly, wear a leather jacket at times, have a vest with my veteran’s group patch, and ride a Suzuki Boulevard C50 Trike (which is a little noisy).

Anyway, back to April.

As I indicated, it started out well, and I brought my bike out from its designated winter parking spot in the back corner of the garage. It fired up right away, oil levels and tire pressures were checked, and shortly we were out on the road for a wee test drive to make sure all was working well.

Riding was done carefully as Spring roads in Edmonton, or any other place for that matter, can be quite trickly with all the crap that’s left from the winter. And… it seems that many drivers seem to have forgotten what a motorcycle is, and we fail to register in their brain, even when they are looking straight at us.

So, from the beginning of April, I was out riding pretty much every day. The weather was good, with promise of being better, albeit a bit cool, in the 4C to 10C range. Then it got warmer, staying over 10C, and eventually working it’s way up to 22C.

Wowzers, now we’re talking. Let’s go!

Wait just a goldarn minute. What’s this, the temperatures are dropping. No, tell me it’s not so.

Over the next few days we went down to 3C, then down to 0C, then (gasp) -3C, followed by -9C. Dammit!

Ah, but we’re not finished. This morning we were at -12C, and worse, there is a skiff of snow.

Yes, this will pass. Yes, this type of thing happens every year at this time. No, the world is not ending.

However to those of us who are bikers, and due to the climate where we live, we have been unable to ride for, in some cases, many months, this is almost like putting salt on a wound that is just about healed.

It is weather – like it or not.

Internet Empire – The Back Story

Firstly, for clarification, I am using the term “Internet Empire” in a fun way.

As I have indicated in a previous post, I have been doing things on the world wide web for well over 40 years. I have been doing blogs, in various forms, as well as Facebook and Twitter, since 2008, for work, volunteer organizations, and myself.

As we all are quite aware, life has changed, some would say drastically, over the past couple of years. For me, it goes a bit further back.

I retired from my final job at the end of 2018 with the plan that I would spend some of my winter time in Malaysia and my summer time enjoying my motorcycle here in sunny Alberta. That worked to a degree for a couple of years, but, as often happens, life got in the way.

The pain I had been experiencing in my hip got worse and was eventually diagnosed as arthritis, to be remedied at some time by a hip replacement. This impacted a number of things, one being my overall mobility, and another my motorcycle riding. It’s hard to ride when one cannot swing one’s leg over the bike. For a biker, not being able to ride creates an unhappy place to be. Over the course of the next two summers I went through two more motorcycles, eventually coming to the one I have now. It is a trike that I am able to mount properly and now I don’t have to worry about my leg strength for stability.

Then, along came COVID-19 (followed by how many variants we have yet to find out). Now traveling to Malaysia is out, for who knows how long. It has also put a severe crimp on social and family gatherings, motorcycle events, volunteer group activities and activities with my local veterans group. As well, it has created another factor into the potential scheduling of my hip replacement surgery.

As a result, I’m literally sitting like a bump on a log at home, retired, mobility challenged, Covid restricted, and in the middle of a -30C (at times) Alberta winter.

Quite honestly, it was depressing, and I found myself imitating Jerry Seinfeld and doing nothing, although it seemed to work way better for him than for me.

I would like to say, then came an epiphany, however that was not the case. It was more like a gradual thought process. It started with the thought that, as an amateur photographer for many years, I might have some photos or even some videos that folks might like to see. Obviously, they are not doing much good just stored on my computer or in a trunk in the garage. Then came the thought that I like to write, and I do have some good stories to tell from the last 70+ years. After working with different youth groups over the last 15-20 years I have become familiar with various smartphone apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram, SnapChat and so on, so that I could stay in touch with them. They were impressed that the Old Guy could actually do that.

After pondering these thoughts for a while, I figured, maybe I can put all these things together (and perhaps some others as well), give myself something to do, and have fun doing it. Maybe even provide a commodity others may find interesting as well.

Hence came into being, the concept of an Internet Empire. It may not be grand in scope, however it is meaningful to me, and in the end, maybe that’s the most important thing.

This Internet Empire is moving along. I now have a website, LeSueur.ca, with links to my various internet platforms. Just recently I have have created a newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks, where I can notify folks when I update any of my platforms (like this blog) or share other information. I invite you to subscribe.

As this process has moved forward, I find I am contacting with more people from all over. Now I subscribe to a good number of blogs (as you can see off to the right), quite a few YouTube channels, Flickr sites, and such. In addition to being very interesting, I have been able to learn many new online techniques as well.

So, this is a bit of the back story for my Internet Empire. You are welcome to have a look around, comment on things and share with your friends. All are welcome.

Wind Therapy

Many folks will read the title of this blog post and know instantly what I will be talking about.

As I go thru life I have done and enjoyed a good number of things. One that I did when younger, then missed out on for about forty years, and have taken up again, is riding a motorcycle.

Riding a bike on an open road provides that magic panacea, “wind therapy”.

It matters not whether one is alone, or with a group, wind therapy is present.

Like many bikers, I frequently ride alone, often on lightly traveled roads that have varying characteristics (up and down, nice curves), usually at or near the posted speeds. It can be, to a degree, therapeutic, this wind therapy.

Other times, we ride in groups, perhaps two or three riders, often about ten or so, sometimes many more as is shown in the video below.

Leaving Wainwright heading towards Edmonton.

This ride occurred in August 2018. The Rolling Barrage is a rolling fundraiser presented by Military Minds Inc, in support of veterans, serving members and first responders, as a show of strength, and unity to conquer the stigma of PTSD. A good number of the participants ride from the Atlantic to the Pacific across Canada. A number of our local veterans rode from Edmonton to Wainwright (just over 200 km) to meet the Rolling Barrage and accompany them to Edmonton. The video is from my helmet cam showing us leaving Wainwright with a police escort.

Most bikers are very generous people and we can often be seen getting our wind therapy by riding in fundraising charity events. A definite win-win situation.

The reason for this blog post in mid-December. Well… I miss my wind therapy! Although I can’t get out on the bike in a Canadian winter (it is hibernating in the garage), today I can reminisce with my videos and share with others, giving me a pseudo fix at least.

Do We Ever Really Grow Up?

I have always considered that one of the most unfair questions to ask a young person is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”.

There are a couple of reasons I believe that question to be unfair.

First, generally when young we may have an idea what we’d like to be, however it is really a moving target as we gain knowledge and life experience.

Second, at almost sixty-eight, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

For instance, recently I, in a manner of speaking, regressed in age. How did I do that, you might ask. Well, after more than forty years since the last one, I went out and bought a motorcycle. Not just a small bike, but 1500cc of powerful, heavy, cruiser.

2017-05-09 17.03.39I can assure you, there was definitely a period of adjustment, because of the time away from hitting the road on two wheels, and also due to the fact that this bike is twice the size of any previous machine.

And then there was the matter of a proper licence. In Alberta, to legally ride a motorcycle, one has to have a Class Six licence. Although I had an Alberta motorcycle licence previously, due to the passage of time, and the changes in provincial systems, it was decreed that I must take the written and practical tests anew as my old records could not be located. Ah, but a minor blip in the process, fairly quickly dealt with.

Now I’m riding on a regular basis, meeting lots of new people, those who share the joy, love, passion (call it what you will), of being on a motorcycle. And I am finding that this group of people is way bigger than it was when I was riding those many years ago. As a matter of fact, there are approximately 130,000 registered motorcycles (including mopeds) in Alberta, an average of 30 bikes per 1000 people. This is a higher ratio than anywhere else in Canada.

Now I’m retired (kinda sorta), I work in a jail, I’m out on my motorcycle, I hang out with a bunch of bikers, I’m more heavily involved in Kiwanis than ever, I’m on our condo board, and I spend several months in Malaysia each year.

Sooo… what do I want to be when I grow up? Beats me, I figure I’ll never get there!