Watch riders head to the Arctic Ocean
When Leslie Sofarelli and Cheryl Letkeman are on those gravel roads, riding through sleet and mud, watching for moose, enduring flies and mosquitoes, you can follow along, from the comfort of your own computer screen.
The Maple Ridge motorcyclists leave today for Inuvik, Northwest Territories and the Arctic Ocean, and you can follow them for many kilometres of the way via high-def, helmet-mounted cameras, by clicking the links on their blog at: http://advgrrls.wordpress.com/
Thanks to wireless Internet, motorcycle fans can see how a new bike on the market, the 2012 Triumph Tiger 800 XC, performs in the Canadian wilderness.
Triumph Canada is lending the bikes as a type of extended road test.
“We were going to do this ride anyways. The Triumph is sort of like a bonus,” said Sofarelli.
The pair have planned their camping spots along WiFi hot spots so they can keep posting throughout the trip.
While bike fans will want to know if the Triumph is triumphing, Sofarelli wants the focus to be on autism and the charity Autism Community Training.
Letkeman’s nephew is autistic, so the pair wants to use the trip to raise some cash for the charity.
“My goal is $10,000,” said Sofarelli, a clinical social worker in the intensive care unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
“So far, I think the fact the money is coming in before we leave is hopefully a good sign.”
There won’t be much time to relax on the long trip north.
They have to be in Fort St. John by Canada Day and in the arctic a few weeks after that. Return date is mid-August. GPS tracking will provide a constant update of their location.
“We’ve got 45 days to do the [14,000-kilometre] trip.”
That will also allow them time to go off the beaten path.
“Sometimes we’ll disappear, off the pavement, on purpose.”
Getting to Inuvik will require riding the Dempster Highway, which links Inuvik on the Arctic Ocean, with Dawson City in the Yukon. The Dempster can get greasy when wet because of the calcium chloride and the chemicals used during the winter.
Prudhoe Bay in Alaska is another destination.
This isn’t the pair’s first long-distance ride. Last year, they went to New York and logged about 12,000 km.
“This will be the longest trip in terms of duration,” Sofarelli said.
It’s also the ride of a lifetime, she adds.
When they return in mid-August, the bikes go back to Langley Power Sport and Triumph. Normally, Sofarelli rides a BMW F650GS, all-year round. Since getting that bike last spring, she’s put 40,000 kilometres on it.
“I ride a lot – probably too much.”
Having a bike that can go on the pavement as well as off road, allows the freedom to go anywhere, on dirt, rock or trails.
“It’s probably the most brilliant way to travel on a motorcycle. Until we grow out of this, this is the way we’re going to do it for a while.”
After that, it could be time for highway cruiser that just stays on the pavement, Sofarelli said.
For now though, it’s off the beaten path, whenever possible.
“I like getting off the road. I like getting away from people. You can sneak behind the hills and everybody has to take the main roads. It’s awesome.”