Okay, looks like I've got my computer back in a more stable working condition. I had a video card go on me, but it looks like I was concurrently experiencing issues with some RAM I'd recently installed, which were much harder to diagnose. Anyway, my screen has stopped randomly flickering, and my computer hasn't recently rebooted for no apparent reason, so I think I'm okay... for now.
News reports are coming in that cleanup of the highways near Sarnia is underway. Glad to hear that everyone back home is doing okay. That was a bit of a shock to see "near Sarnia" come up in the headlines on my news RSS feed on Monday. Even more shocking to click the link and see a place that I recognized in the picture. It's not every day that I visit a news site and see the Godfather's Pizza in Petrolia.
Well, with all that excitement past, here's what I'd intended to talk about yesterday: motorcycles. Yes it's be a very motorcycley (yeah, I just made that word up) week for me here. Last Tuesday I went to an invitation-only launch event for the new CBR250 at Honda's brand-new facility just North of here. They were sending out invites to all the owners of the CBR125 to come see their latest offering in the sports bike space. As the name implies the CBR250 is a 250cc bike, and hence has twice the displacement of mine. This doesn't mean that it's twice as fast though. In fact, most 250cc bikes are still classed as entry-level machines, and the 250 probably wouldn't be a significant enough step up for me. Still, it was really cool to get a tour around their state-of-the-art facility and see the new bike. I was even first in line to sit on the demo model they brought out. Given that this bike is new to the North American market and they only received it the day before the launch event I'm pretty sure that makes me one of the first people in Canada to sit on a CBR250. Now if only they'd left the keys in the ignition...
This event was followed up by the motorcycle show on Saturday at the convention centre. That was a lot of fun! There are just tons of bikes sitting out that you can throw a leg over. It's great to actually sit on the bikes and see how they feel. It was a bit discouraging though, as I've been really set back in my hunt for my next bike. I had a handful of candidates that, on paper, looked like excellent bikes for me to move up to. The number one contender was the Kawasaki Versys, and so it was the first bike that I sought out when I got to the show. I hopped on the bike and immediately felt the comfortable, up-right seating position, and relaxing ergonomics. I also felt a big empty space beneath my feet since I couldn't touch the ground. Almost every bike that I was interested in yielded the same results. I wanted a lower powered sport touring machine, something with around 600cc but a comfortable riding position, and it turns out that these tend to be taller machines... too tall for me. Mind you, I could usually touch the ground with my toes, so theoretically I could still ride the bike, I'd just have to put a slight lean on it at stop lights. Problem is that I'm just not comfortable with that. When I come to a stop I want the bike upright and completely under my power. If I have to lean over and can only get one foot on the ground I'm just not going to be in a happy place... especially if there's something loose or slippery on the ground below me.
So, it was very much back to the drawing board for me in terms of figuring out where I go from here. The simple answer may be to enjoy another season on my current bike and see where that takes me. I had a seat on the Honda Shadow while I was there and found it to be immensely comfortable to sit on. In terms of sheer comfort the big cruiser might be exactly what I'm after. I'll have to take one out those and see how it handles. If it can't do a reasonable job of carving corners then I'm just not interested. Also, I'm not sure I want to grow the massive beer belly and equally massive beard necessary to be riding a cruiser.
Well, that's all I have to report this week. My search is, thus far, completely inconclusive, but since the riding season is still 5(ish) months away I think I'll be okay. Hope everyone back home is enjoying all that snow, and I hope everyone out West is enjoy not having any at all. Have a great week everyone.