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Mad Bastard Scooter Rally
Barb's Report

MBSR - Tales from the Slow Lane

It must have been back in February when Andrea approached me about being a member of her 2009 MBSR team, and although the thought of riding a 49cc scooter for 24 hours did give me pause for thought, I threw my hat in the ring thinking that if nothing, it would be a heck of an adventure. The team was set with myself, Aliki and Andrea, and we would be know as the Dirty Girls. Through Andrea's diligent proposal writing and submitting, and the generous sponsorship of Honda, we eventually became the Dirty Girls on Hondas. (And I can honestly tell you that after 23 hours on the seat of a flawlessly performing and surprisingly comfortable Ruckus, Honda was definitely the way to go!).

With Andrea being the seasoned team member and Aliki and I being neophytes in the MBSR experience, we wisely decided to meet for a few hours in early June to strategize. We pressed Andrea for details on what we needed to do to win... after all, why play if you're not going to at least TRY to win... (and besides, there was a Kymco scooter up for grabs!!!), and decided on our roles for the Rally. Andrea's work was pretty well done, as she had put the team together, registered us, booked the hotel, arranged for the scooters, and just had to make the costumes. Aliki and I decided to co-navigate the almost 800 km route so that we could double-check each other's map reading skills, a wise choice, as we would discover at the rally that Aliki's Blackberry would come in quite handy as a poor man's GPS. I was further tasked as the one that would cut Andrea's smoke breaks and socializing with other teams short, should the need arise, to keep us focused on riding, riding, riding. I was determined to finish the entire rally and be back at the hotel in record time, thinking if we averaged 50 km/h over 800 km that it should take us about 16 hours. That sounded do-able to me. Boy was I WRONG!!!

Barb took this photo of Andrea dressing her doll To maximize MBSR points, which are awarded for everything from costumes to Kid's Help Phone pledge amounts to age of scooters, Andrea's idea was to dress us up as French maids... you know... "dirty" girls... but to keep the costumes simple, for reasons of comfort, safety and pit stop undressing/dressing. Not being a real "girly" kind of girl I protested, but after some debate, and having nothing better to offer in the way of ideas, I relented and accepted my skirt-wearing future. Then, on the way home from our strategy meeting it hit me: blow-up-dolls as passengers! Now, how to sell the other girls on this risqué addition. Fortunately, both Aliki and Andrea shared my vision, and the true "Dirty" Girls on Hondas were born!

After getting to our lovely hotel in Gatineau, we assembled all of our excessive stock and decided that we had to do a test fitting of supplies and dolls before our early 4:30am departure the next morning. We decided to do this after the MBSR dinner and mandatory rider's meeting (which ended at 10pm... sheesh!), so as not to spoil the surprise of our brilliant costumes and passengers.

Darlene's photo of our team underground As it turned out, we brought along way too much, and in future rallies I would jettison the jerry cans, water and snacks, as food and fuel were a non-issue throughout the rally, but the extra clothing turned out to be a good choice, as that June 13th morning and night in the Gatineau region of Quebec proved to be frickin' freezing! Fortunately for us the 2 Ruckusses and Jazz could be jammed full of stuff, and after a few creative twists and pulls of some bungee cords, the supplies and dolls were all test fitted and ready for action.

We got down to the scooters before 4am the next morning after a short sleep in order to pack, tie on the dolls and wait for our departure time. The teams, starting with the smallest cc scooters, were sent off in 2 minute intervals starting at 4:30am.

DirtyGirls team departing on the 2009 MBSR
Fortunately for us we were 3rd team out, and half an hour in an underground lot sweating in full riding gear and sucking in fumes from dozens of waiting scooters was all we had to endure. Out in the cool Quebec morning we were excited and anxious to get going, being careful not to make any navigational errors on our way out of the city, and hoping to be scooting along at full throttle as soon as possible.
Toyland invaded by Mad Scooterists early Saturday morning What began as a cool morning turned out to be about 5 hours of frickin' freezing cold riding until the sun came out, and as I cursed the Ruckus for its lack of heated handgrips I was still happy to be rolling along the farm fields of Quebec, full throttle in the weirdest of all rallies. It didn't take long to acclimatize to the Ruckus and trust its tiny tires, and to realize to my dismay, that my 2 team mates could pass me going uphill, as being about 5-6 inches taller than them and outweighing them by a good 30+ pounds I was at a power-to-weight-disadvantage. This appeared to be immensely entertaining to them as they repeated this practice at numerous points throughout the day. Toward mid-morning the harsh cold was cut short by a 10 km winding stretch of gravel - there's nothing like riding on loose gravel and dewy mud on a borrowed bike to warm you up and get the heart pumping.

the Kissing photos are an amusing part of the MBSR My plan to average 50 km/h was quickly cut short as I realized that we would be stopping fairly frequently for everything from gas to searching for MBSR clues to purchasing singular Timbits - all in the name of maximizing MBSR points and winning. We were careful to read the clue sheet and collect every single point and bonus along the way, and were very careful to read the route sheet, occasionally deferring to Aliki's Blackberry GPS to get around some of the "sketchy" directions.

Along the way we met not only other rally participants, but also many of the locals going about their daily business. We met a woman still enjoying the party from the night before, a friendly biker out on an early morning ride, an older woman who was thrilled to see a blow-up-doll in person, and countless others. As we rode though some of the more populated towns we were greeted with peals of laughter and people pointing fingers, a situation that normally gets my back up, but this time was met with my friendly waving as I remembered who our passengers were. I'd like to think that we spread a bit of joy that day, in our own unusual way.

Aliki saves her doll As the day transpired we couldn't have asked for better weather, and being limited to 70 km/h forced us to enjoy the scenery and relax... a bit too much in the case of one of the team who found the need to pull over and do roadside pushups until she snapped out of her drowsiness. At one point along the route we had to contend with a doll tragedy, where Aliki's doll suffered severe burns to her leg from the muffler and proceeded to deflate rapidly. Fortunately, the proprietor of the chip stand that we dined at after a mandatory gas stop had some of the stickiest tape know to man, and with a quick wrap job, Aliki's doll was back to form, albeit with one leg amputated from the knee down. Although we were passed by many of the riders on the larger cc scooters - some on the left, some on the right (does no one know proper passing etiquette?!!!), and some of the 2-stroke 49cc ones (what a difference in power!) no one had more fun than the 3 of us, watching each other carry blow-up-dolls 800 kms around Quebec. We were thrilled to finally get to the last mandatory gas stop minutes before 8pm, knowing that this meant that we would be able to complete the bonus loop and still get back before the 24 hour deadline.

one of the last clue stops on the MBSR We did a quick gut check at this point, decided that we were going for the win, and headed off into the diminishing light... for another 7 hours!

The bonus loop (apparently designed for night travel with longer straight sections) was the only place where we went astray during the entire rally, a 4 km miscalculation found us at the end of our paved road and looking at a rough gravel road as far as the eye could see. A terse: "there's no way I'm riding a scooter on that" from the usually compliant Andrea saw us double-back for a few kilometres, now in the pitch black, stop and wave down a passing car and request directions. Back on route we met up with, passed, were passed, and completed many of the final hours in the proximity of the eventual, and fully deserving winner. The last few hours, like the first few hours, were spent riding in the bitter cold, and I was thankful to have remembered to don my rain mittens, clumsy as they were, as they saved my hands and kept them quite comfortable.

The Dirty Girls look a bit deflated after the rally
Back at the hotel, we were relieved to be done. I was particularly thankful that Aliki caught a last necessary left turn that I missed and avoided us having to enter the expressway, and she was likewise thankful of my catching a turn that she missed and avoided us riding around downtown Gatineau and its collection of one-way streets. After almost 23 hours together the 3 of us were still alert, comfortable on our scooters, and still friends, and we even began discussing how we were going to top our "dirty girls" idea for the next MBSR in 2011. Now that's a good rally!

MBSR Awards after Unfortunately, Andrea and Aliki had to pack and depart right away (they had a waiting driver) to attend a charity event in Toronto. I was left to sleep off the ride and represent the team at the awards lunch the following afternoon. Although we were a bit disappointed that we didn't earn any prizes, we were happy with our 5th, 9th and 13th place finishes, and most importantly, certificates of Mad Bastardliness. All in all, it was a well organized rally with lots of friendly and enthusiastic participants, that raised a chunk of money for a worthwhile charity, done on a surprisingly comfortable and reliable Honda Ruckus, and a great experience shared with my good friends Andrea and Aliki.

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Read more about the MBSR: Andrea's - Aliki's report on the rally

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