Motorcycle Hammock-Camping

The Best Midlife Crisis We Could Think Of

Up for some Adventure?

It has been quite a while since NMBL posted back in August about buying bikes, offering her sage advice on why it’s OK to buy a bike with some kilometres on it. Or miles if you’re into that sort of measurement. And though it’s been a while we haven’t been idle. NMBL and I have looking at how we want to get out on the road… more specifically what kind of roads we want to get on to. Its started with me putting a bug in her ear.

Me: “You know, if we want to get away from the crowded campgrounds and find places that are a bit further out we’re going to have to get bikes that can handle it. The FZ-6’s just aren’t built to go on anything but asphalt”

Her: “What are you thinking?”

Me: “Adventure bikes.”

Her: “Those are expensive.”

Me: “Yeah but we can go down more dirt roads and into areas we’ve never thought of. Think of the great hammock hangs we could have”

Her: “… I don’t know… I love Little Red. Not right now.”

Me: “Ok. By the way, here’s a great deal on a 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 650 that would fit you well.”

Her: “Can we go take a look at it?”

Me: “Sure.”

*Head to the seller’s house*

Her: “I’ve arranged to take it for a test ride.” *Rides off, comes back* “MINE!”

Me: “What the heck?”

So I had to get a new bike as well. Gotta keep up with the NMBL’s after all. After a couple of months of hunting I found my new steed.

Sluggo and The Twin

Oh yeah… that my friends is a 2017 Honda Africa Twin. There’s a bit of a story about how I came across that fine machine.

I was looking at different ADV bikes around Vancouver. The V-Strom 1000 was on my radar but so was the Triumph Tiger, the BMW R1200GS, and the Yamaha Super Tenere. I wasn’t even thinking Honda. But after doing some research and coming to the conclusion that I didn’t want to pay an insane amount for parts or insurance premiums, the Honda Africa Twin came into the race as the right bike for me.

This one I found in Wetaskiwin, Alberta via Kijiji. The gentleman I bought if from had originally purchased it in BC so the bike has come home. He was incredibly patient as I fumbled around with escrow, a remote mechanical check, and cartage. Hats off to him. I got the bike I wanted  with the extras I wanted at a price I was happy with and he sold the bike for a price he was happy with. Win win as it should be.

NMBL really did have an easy time with her new bike purchase. The gentleman she bought the V-Strom from was local. He was selling the bike not long after purchasing it on account of health issues. He had already loaded it up with the Givi hard cases, crash bars and a skid plate, GPS with mount, and a phone mount. It was ready to go. She bought the headlight protector and radiator guard for it to round out the protection plus a centre stand for ease of maintenance. Oh, and she has affectionately named it Sluggo.

The Twin came with the Outback Motortek protection package: crash bars, skid plate, and luggage rack. I’ve since added the rear brake reservoir guard (lest I kick it off), a radiator guard, the Camel windscreen brace, centre stand, and a headlight guard. I think I’m ready. Other than a good tool kit because the ones that come with both bikes are crap.

Since we’ve bought the bikes we’ve been doing a LOT of riding. As long as the weather is above freezing we’re out getting a feel for our new toys. I’ve also introduced NMBL to dirt roads. Not for the first time but for her most challenging time. She’s more accustomed to paved tracks so it will take her some time to get a feel for how free dirt can be under the tires. She’s doing great though. We went up past a little place outside of Squamish called Evans Lake. After rev bombing a bear on the road we climbed up what can be described as a goat track with tire ruts. She let me know when she had had enough and we went back down to a wider expanse of dirt and mud. As you can see these bikes are going to get us to the places we want to be.

Sluggo and The Twin somewhere near Evans Lake

Basically the only time we haven’t been out riding was during the week we had snow. We’re in Vancouver… eat your heart out rest of Canada! With all that time in the saddle during the winter months it’s no wonder we haven’t been blogging. On that note I do want to let you know of the new tack we want to take for the blog.

While we will still be blogging about our journeys we also want to give you more about the ins and outs of travelling via motorcycle AND hammock camping. We really believe that hammocking is such a natural companion to motorcycle touring so we’re going to do our best to help you come to that conclusion as well. Call it pushy, call it proselytizing, I don’t care; all I know is that you’ll never sleep in a ditch with a bivvy sack again once you’ve tried a hammock.

Oh. We still own the Yamaha FZ6’s. Wanna buy a bike?

DES out.

Buying Used Bikes: Think low mileage is always better? Think again.

If you’re looking for a solid used motorcycle that won’t cost you an arm and a leg in repairs and maintenance, you might think low mileage is a bonus.

And it could be, but only if the bike is just a year or two old.   But let’s think this through: if a bike is — say — ten years or older, and it’s only got a few thousand Kms on it, what’s it been doing all this time?

That’s right: it’s been sitting in storage.

And what happens to bikes that sit in storage?  They dry up.  Seals, gaskets, and hoses don’t seal properly anymore.  Forks get mushy and brakes don’t grab.  Parts of the engine that should be constantly bathed in oil get dry and dusty.  Cylinder heads get gummy.

“Always ridden, never stored” is the second-best thing you can hear from a seller, right after “every maintenance milestone met.”  A motorcycle that has been properly cared for and never left in storage is going to be in much better (and much less expensive) shape than a bike of equivalent age with low mileage, because keeping a bike running is much better for its functioning than keeping it pristine is.

Take these two bikes for sale as an example:

Always ridden, never stored; every maintenance milestone met.  Always kept under cover.  Detailed service records available. is about to go adventuring much further off the pavement, and you could own one or both of m-h-c’s beautifully-kept sport-touring motorcycles!  Discount available if they’re sold as a set.

It’s not great. I was asked to write something for our summer edition of the staff newsletter at work. It was supposed to be an article but turned into this kind of spoken-word thing. Anyway, a little easy reading for you all before NMBL and I head off on our vacation this Friday. I hope you like it.

Continue reading “Motorcycle Poetry”

First Aid for Riders

When was the last time you took a First Aid course? Do you know what to do if one of your friends goes down on a ride? Do the members of the group know what to do if you go down?

No one wants to think about leaving their bikes, but it happens. Whether it’s due to weather, pushing beyond your ability, or an inattentive driver, motorcyclists get hurt regularly. Knowing some First Aid is helpful in those roadside emergencies and can even save a life. NMBL and I have both done First Aid training but our certifications have lapsed. This week we took the opportunity to update our knowledge specifically for riders. The local Mottorad dealership, High Road Vancouver, hosted a First Aid on the Road clinic  with a pair of paramedics who are riders themselves. Continue reading “First Aid for Riders”

Hey all, we’ve got a new camping gear review up for the Pocket Bellows. If a part of your camping experience requires a camp fire then you need to look at this nifty little piece of kit. Forget the accelerants. They’re dangerous and cumbersome. The Pocket Bellows takes up very little space and is very effective.

Our usual FYI applies: we do not get paid to do reviews nor do we get free product (with one notable exception). We review gear that we buy on our own and use during our travels. That’s it.

DES out.

Back to Tofino!

And it’s about time. Last year’s riding season was a bit crazy for us so we didn’t do any big rides or hangs. NMBL had her own adventure last year to GBB Fest but that was it! There was very little hammocking and even less motorcycling.

This year we’re getting our feet back on the pegs, hands on the throttles, and gear on the pillion. To get our butts used to the saddle again we once again trekked off to Tofino for the May long weekend. It was a great choice for a few reasons: first, Tofino is less than a day’s ride with some great mountain highway riding; second, it gives us a chance to suss out our gear with low risk after a year off; third, it’s just so damn beautiful over there! The west coast of Vancouver Island is one of the most striking places in an already stunning Province. We’re lucky to live here and have such a gem to travel to. Continue reading “Back to Tofino!”

Spring is Here! Let’s Get Riding!

It’s time to get our motorcycles fit for the season, and we’re really happy to trust them to Rising Sun Motorcycles for the nth year running.  These guys can do right by any motorcycle of any age.  Just look at this:


And no wonder: these guys really know what they’re doing.   Repair, storage, fabrication…  We always ride off happy.


We might just do a little (free!) hammock camping at the Pemberton Flat Track Races again this year; a couple of years back, we hung right next to the Rising Sun trailer, and these guys were mighty neighborly!

But first, it’s the May long weekend in Tofino.  Stay tuned!


GBB Fest 2018: NMBL’s Solo Tour

It’s not often that one of us can get time off but the other one can’t, but it happened this year: NMBL wanted to go to GBB Fest, but DES’s work schedule just couldn’t accommodate that.

NMBL is an old hand at music festivals, having worked in lighting and entertainment at several of them in the past.  Often the last mile into the site is terrible, as festivals are frequently held at sites in more… uh… rustic locations.  While the private recreational park at Pekin Ferry (Ridgefield, WA) is sort of rustic-ish, the last mile of road into it was amazingly lovely: farmland with the freshest, smoothest, curviest asphalt you could ask for. Continue reading “GBB Fest 2018: NMBL’s Solo Tour”

Hey all, we’ve been quiet for winter and a bit. We’re not gone, just working on another big project that is taking a lot of our time. It’s exciting but has taken a bit of focus from our riding and blogging. We don’t expect to do as much camping this summer as a result but we will get a bit in here and there. We have some new gear to try out so we’ve got to get reviews done of that stuff!

You’ve really been enjoying the reviews that we’ve put up over the last year. They are the most visited posts on the site. Thanks for checking them out. We hope that they are helpful to you. If you have a piece of gear that really works for you please send us a review. We’ll take a look and may post it as a guest review!

NMBL and I spent this morning getting some pictures up from last summer. You can find them on our photos page. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed taking them!

DES out

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