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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yesterday, a buddy and I took a ride through one of Canada's most spectacular and challenging routes. I was one my FZ6, and my friend on his Kawasaki cruiser.

Todate, this has been my longest ride in a day. Being too exhausted to ride today, as I rest my aching thighs, I am putting my experience to notes ...

To summarize this type of trip: riding a bike is less a trip and more a sport. It challenges the mind, and taxes the body.

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FZ6

The FZ6 performed fabulously. It performed as a full sport bike, while offering the comfort of standard (near cruiser).

The handlebar and peg positions allowed riding postures in all three: upright cruiser, standard forward, and laid down sport.

600 cc's is more than enough power. Never was the engine a shortcoming, instead this type of ride took demand foremost from the rider (technique). Secondary factors were tires and suspension; although they both far exceeded my riding demands. For all the available modifications on the market to trick-out a bike, the single most effective improvement for a bike has got to be advancing skills of the rider.

The fairing and windscreen put the windstream in an ideal envelope for the combination of speed and comfort.

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ROAD

This route travels from Vancouver to Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, Lillooet - and back. Round trip distance is 530 km. The ride went from 9:00am to 9:00pm.

The route is ranked as the 3rd most technically difficult out of 85 rated routes throughout the province of British Columbia. The entire route follows mountain edges and river canyons. Most of the road has 40 and 60 kph turns, with a few 20 kph hairpins. There are very vew full-speed sweepers, and if you blink twice you will miss the few available straights.

Most bends are blind as they wrap around outcroppings of cliff edge. The other side of the road gives way to an open cliff edge, with ocean or river raveens many 100's of meters vertically below. The contant view of the ocean, inlets, and rivers is spectular. Sadly, the constant and overwhelming demand of the twisties precludes little more than an occasional fleeting glance at the scenery.

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RIDING

Because of the "canyon" ride, most of the ride was with our bodies propped on the pegs, and bodies often laid on the tank. Occasional dips and swales in the road surface also demanded riding off the seat. This was exhausting to the overworked thigh muscles, with lessor demand on the triceps and lower back. With the continual variety of riding positions (shifting left, right, and off seat), the stain was distributed over the whole body instead of just concentrating it all in one part (as is the case for the butt on highway straights).

My friend and I have very dissimilar riding styles, as is expected from our different bikes (standard vs cruiser). We coped with this easily by agreeing to separate ourselves in the twisties, etc, and then meeting up down the road. This allowed each rider to have his freedom to "ride their own ride", and not impede or dominate the other.

While some of the legs were riden in isolation from each other, it was great to still have a friend alone. A friend gave companionship and safety. Otherwise the ride would have been lonely and not as enjoyable. For me, a small group is the way to go on a tour.

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RESTS

We rested every 45mins for about 5mins. If we had previously passed ahead of a platoon of vehicles, then this short stop will still keep us ahead of the trailing conjestion of cars.

We stopped each 2 hours for full meals (11:00 snack, 13:00 lunch, 15:00 snack, 18:00 dinner). Each meal took 45 mins. Overall, we had about 4 hrs of downtime in a 12 hour ride.

The only necessary refreshments on our bikes were a bottle of gatoraide, and a few power bars.

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COMFORT

Being aware of rider fatigue was crucial. Whenever fatique (muscle exhaustion, mind wander) occurred, we pulled over within 2 mins to take a 5 minute break.

After 450 km, I found that my legs threatened to not hold my weight when standing at a stop. This was dangerous; it warned me that for my individual strength, 400 km is my reasonable limit, and 500 km is my absolute limit.

I found it very beneficial to vary my seat and leg posture while riding. They prevented any cramping or soreness.

Normally, I was seated in a conventional posture: feet balls on pegs, knees squeezed against tank, slight forward lean, no weight on grips. At higher speeds, I would lay chest on tank; this gave great steering technique, reduced wind blast and noise. At straighaways, I would rarely lay forward with feet up on rear pegs. Going through towns, I would sit back cruiser style, with feet up on engine spools (important to hold feet in, lest feet can dangerously slip off).

About half of the trip was with a throttle lock device (my custom velcro strap). This prevented any finger and hand fatigue. The lock was released on the more demanding twisties.

I wore ear plugs through the whole trip. This kept the noise to a comfortable level, with no hearing problems after 12 hours of riding. I also carry an MP3 player but would not wear it on such a demanding ride.

My carpeted seat worked great. The foam pad underneath pushed my butt back where I like it. The carpet fabric allowed breathing. After 12 hours my butt was fine - unlike my muscles.

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SPEED

The posted road speed varied from 80 (mostly) to 100 kph, with traffic cruising about 15kph over the limit. There was an abundance of twisties, which brought the speed down to 40 and 60kph.

So, our average speed was 45kph over the trip (12 hrs), or 65 kph while riding (8 hrs).

The turns could be easily managed at 2.0x the posted speed; 2.5x the posting required skill; 3.0x the posting required expertise (not me).

Most of the ride was done in 4th gear. Hairpins were done in 2nd; 30kph turns in 3rd, 40 and 60 kph turns in 4th. Cruising and straights were held in 5th.

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TECHNIQUE

On the large turns (60 kph posted), seat-centered leaning was adequate.

On the tight turns (30 and 40 kph posted), hanging off the seat (kneedragging) was crucial. Braced knees were also critical.

On the tight hairpin turns (20kph posted), a bicycle lean-turn technique was crucial. Overloading the handlebars (wrists too heavy) was the common problem, especially on downhill hairpins.

On the swales and dips, rising off the seat (propped on pegs) helped equalize the suspension, kept the ride smooth, and maintained tire traction.

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HAZARDS

I overshot a turnoff which was half way up a mountain road. I intended to pull over, check, and then proceed with a u-turn on the road. When I stopped from my pull over, my bike was angled into the road; this meant that my supporting leg is downhill of the bike. Ah oh! Boy! was that bike heavy as it was leaned more than standard. I won't do that again.

I prefer to ride with my visor up, while wearing glasses. When the road brought us down the the lower elevations of the rivers, the occurrance of insects increased. I was bulletted a few times on the cheeks by horse-flys. Boy that stung. Lesson: lower visor along insect prone areas.

Occasionally the road surface was sprinkled with dangerous gravel. This usually occurred where truck turnings exist, and where scenic pull-offs are. Since both areas are posted before hand, the signage gives fair warning of these dangers.

A technical ride like this is very demanding on the muscles. For my new found love of touring, I will add some strenght routines in the gym to increase strength and endurance for my thighs, triceps, and lower back.

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Wow, thanks for the ride report!
 

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karst said:
Wow, thanks for the ride report!
The maps where great too. I hope everyone considers putting maps in their ride reports. This gives others a chance to go try out some of the same trips.
 

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Street Warrior
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you must be college educated... That was like reading a good book. Nice ride report.

Ride safe,
 

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nice report, looks like a fun ride
 

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Great ride report, the maps were great in showing how far you rode. That was quite a ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all for the compliments. I really enjoyed writing this report, despite taking a couple of hours.

Writing the report was two fold. I learned so much that I wanted to solidify the experience for the sake of my future tours (eg: how much time to plan, how many power bars to bring). I also wanted to share with other FZ6 riders the capabilities of this sport/tourer.
 

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<b>skeleton</b>

Darn you! I was just getting over missing Colorado Springs and the front range, and now I'm back to square one again!

Nice ride report. The pics make me miss the highway from Colorado Springs to Manitou Springs.
 
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