Oh what a day, what a road, what a ride! I hit the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island bright and early. I was crushing the trail as the sun was coming up. My bike leaned heavy into the curves of the road, hot on and off the throttle, on and off the breaks. Hot into the straights.
The Cabot Trail rises from sea level to about 1200 metres and back down to sea level several times as you wind around the island. It is one of Canada’s best scenic roads. It is also listed as a top motorcycle ride in North America. I knew it would be busy, so I hit the road early, before 6:30 in the morning.
On any given day in the summer, one is sure to see a dozen or so motorcycles on the Cabot Trail. Today was no exception. It was early July, hot and sunny. Just perfect riding weather, maybe even a little too hot. Riding in Kevlar and leather is just not cool, no matter how you wear it. Protective gear is hot.
I hit the curves of the trail running clockwise, early in the cool of the morning. By noon, I was back at my starting point. The sun was up and so was the traffic and the temperature. I reversed my course and ran the road counter-clockwise, just to unwind from the thrill of the early morning run.
More traffic was on the trail now. It was a lot hotter under my Kevlar and my thirst was building. I came along a long winding downhill bit of the road. Ahead I saw the sweet little park I remembered blasting past an hour ago. The shade and quiet rest area was just what I needed. I parked my bike and I took my water bottle with me for a little look around.
I removed my Kevlar jacket and full face shield helmet and began to cool down. I opened up the dozen or so zippered vents on my jacket. Then off came my Kevlar pants. The vents are designed to keep me cool on a hot day and allow for increased air flow through the jacket and out the sides and back. But during 28 degrees Celsius nothing worked; even staying heavy on the throttle did not keep me cool.
I stepped into the woods to cool off. I spotted a handy tree branch to hold my gear. I lay the Kevlar bits over the branch and had a good look at the little fresh water stream running past. Just upstream a bit was a nice little pool. A nice cool bath was calling my name. What a perfect little skinny dip spot!
So off went the rest of my duds: the riding boots, socks, everything. I slipped into the pool, cold but refreshing. I dog paddled upstream a fair bit, then pulled myself hand over hand upstream. The stream was too shallow to swim. I had to shimmy upstream like a giant pink salamander. I had this picture of me being a prehistoric vegetarian amphibian, T. Rex food. I rested awhile and decided it was time to float downstream to the pool and back to my gear. I wanted to get back before the pterodactyls gathered.
I floated back to my pool.
I was no longer alone.
A young couple and two young girls had arrived and were looking around in the shade. We all saw each other at about the same time. I stood up, as I really had no other choice. Mother screamed and the girls screamed.
Daddy said, “Put your clothes on.”
“That’s my plan,” I said. “However, you are standing in front of my clothes, so if you don’t mind I’ll just walk around you and get geared up.”
The parents were having none of this and hurriedly shooed their two young daughters up the hill back to their car.
Sometimes I just love being a badass biker dude.