Trail Rider - The Skirt; A reprint from Inside Motorcycle Magazine
Trail Rider; The Skirt
QUOTE: “My name was put forward and like a swarm of piranhas on a sick steer, nineteen of my, ‘friends’, elected me”.
So, there I was, 9:00am on a Monday morning standing in line at a CTC store in Smithers BC., wearing a purple skirt. Got your attention did I? I’ll backtrack a bit and give this tale some context.
In early September this year I co-drove a load of adventure motorcycles to Terrace BC. My co-driver was Dallas Shannon of the Traction eRag online magazine, and the organizer of this excursion. In the five days of forced confinement driving from Ontario squeezed between audio books and CBC via satellite radio we had lots of time to scheme and plan the upcoming adventure ride we had dubbed, ‘Griz Bait’.
Plagiarizing an idea from Bill Nichols; a rider I met a few years ago in Baja Mexico with a cow leg-bone tied to his back. The leg-bone was a ritual his Texan riding buddies used to accent a faux pas or boner someone in their group may have committed the previous day.
Dallas happened to have a purple skirt, the product of a previous Good Will shopping excursion, to which we hoped to duplicate the ‘Nichols Boner’ concept to our Griz Bait group.
So the rules of engagement were that each morning at breakfast our riders would vote on who might have created the greatest boner from the previous day. The entire crew of nineteen riders bought into the concept, no doubt on the assumption that this could not possibly happen to them.
The first day of course a suitable recipient for ‘the skirt’ needed to be found and to this end we decreed that the last person to leave the parking lot and begin the ride that morning would be the recipient. Never in my life have I ever seen a group of riders so anxious to begin a ride. Even Bob Kendell pulled all stops and exited the lot before a dozen other riders.
Fast forward now to day three of our ride and an absolute frenzy at breakfast suggesting a recipient for the skirt. My name was put forward and like a swarm of piranhas on a sick steer, nineteen of my ‘friends’, elected me simply because I had injured my knee and took two days off from riding to heal. In truth I believe they voted simply as revenge for devising the concept in the first place. One basic concept of my life is that I will never ask someone to do something I will not do myself and that includes wearing that @#%$ skirt.
Some guys got lucky wearing the skirt and only had to encounter the odd gas station attendant but my day in the skirt was also the day we had to perform some trailer maintenance and supplies had to be purchased. As the resident handyman I had to do the shopping and subsequently received a lot of sidelong stares in a NAPA, a Timber Mart and the above mentioned Canadian Tire Store.
An older female customer who I thought might have a sense of humour was stealing glances so I confronted her and queried, “You’re dying to ask, aren’t you”? “No I’m not, No, I’m not”, she said, “I don’t care how people dress”. I went on to explain I had lost a bet and was doing penance, an explanation she seemed to accept. As an afterthought she added that my attire might go absolutely unnoticed in downtown Vancouver, a theory Kendell would put to the test four days later when asking directions from a couple of construction workers in Burnaby.
The ride itself was an absolute success with nineteen Ontario riders racking up about 3000 kilometers each in the seven days of British Columbia back country, in route from Terrace to Vancouver. I believe some of the terrain we encountered along the Fraser River rivals the best of the Continental Divide Ride we did in 2010. We experienced salmon fishing, grizzly bears, mountain roads, desert terrain, logging trucks, ferries, elevation from 58’ to 8000’. Contrary to what I expected we encountered virtually no rain and favourable riding temperatures from single digit to mid twenties. If we do this next year though, I think I’ll hunt up an old cow bone it might be easier to explain in a CTC store.