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Mad Bastard Scooter Rally
Andrea's Report

Before the rally...

During the week before the rally the Dirty Girls on Hondas team was busy planning, scheming out our rally strategy, contemplating our costumes and generally getting pretty excited about the event.

Planning and sewing our french maid/dirty girls themed costumes was my contribution to the team effort. I've had previous experience designing costumes that would 'tear-away' with Velcro and be safe enough and convenient enough for the duration of the rally - not interfering with our riding gear, and we wanted a 'team' look with similar costumes (although it was hard to get Barb to accept the skirt idea).

Scooter rally dirty girls costumes

Photo: Andrea Goodman

Aliki dressing blow-up doll

Photo: Andrea Goodman

The blow-up sex-dolls were Barb's idea, and since Barb's suggestion made both Aliki and I laugh out loud we knew we had a suitably outrageous plan for this rally. The Mad Bastard rally isn't about being politically correct or tasteful, so we put those worthy ideas aside for a weekend.

The dolls themselves were a learning experience. Apparently the "three hot holes" described on the box was about all you got, and we wondered what to do about their oddly nipple-less bossoms - after trying t-shirts on them, we settled on x's of electrical tape, which looked much more rude than the featureless vinyl underneath.

Andrea and the dirty girl blow up doll
Photo: Courtesy of the stupendous Darlene Ing

The team and scooters all met up in Hull on the Friday afternoon before the 7pm riders meeting - we had time to inflate the dolls and test pack the scooters before which was fortunate, 'cause we were hoping to get to sleep shortly after the rider's meeting - we were departing very early.

People we met along the way...

We departed just after 4:30 am, so the streets of Hull were pretty empty as we rode out of town. The sky began to lighten as we rode through the countryside, rolling past farms and cottages, in the still, cold pre-dawn air, smelling the damp earth and foggy aromas of the low lying areas.

One of the first people we encountered, probably not long before 6am, was a woman still enjoying last night's party, who exploded the early morning silence with racous peals of laughter at the sight of our budget-blow-up-sex-dolls. Between bursts of laughter she tried to explain how funny we looked. She didn't quite get all the words out between giggles, but we got the idea.

A few kilometers away, and probably not out of earshot, a few stony faced locals remained frozen in place on their bench outside the gas station where they were enjoying an early coffee when we pulled up to gas the scooters. There were several scooters parked around the gas station, so the shocked locals had already absorbed the idea of the unlikely time (6am) and place (rural eastern Ontario) for these small displacement urban vehicles; without, apparently, any change to their bland and stoic facial expressions. Watching closely as we pulled up to the pumps I was gratified to see smiles slowly emerge at the sight of our blow-up-passengers. These early morning coffee drinking types are a much tougher crowd than last night's partiers, but we managed to bring a smile to their Saturday morning.

Scooter rally - our first gas stop in the morning
Photo: Andrea Goodman

dolls had fun at storyland
Photo: Andrea Goodman

Editor Mark Richardson happy to lend a hand while Barb is posing my blow-up doll for photos at Storyland

It was another hour before we stopped for coffee - at a Tim Hortons where we could collect a tim-bit receipt (good for rally points) - and we had occasion to meet with more curious bystanders. While standing in line to buy coffee for my team, I noticed another costumed rally rider ahead of me in the line, and so did the other customers. Mad Kitty - in his white and hot-pink HelloKitty themed costume (quite eye catching compared to our discreet skirts and aprons) was attracting some amused and perplexed glances. Meanwhile Barb, who had stayed with the scooters, was noticing the attention our blow-up passengers were attracting. An older woman, after observing from a distance, came to talk to Barb and get closer to the blow-up-sex-dolls, explaining that she had read about such things but never had the opportunity to see one, and wanted a closer look. We didn't think about the educational value when we selected our costumes! And it didn't take long for us to discover how much explaining we'd have to do with such distracting passengers.

Twenty hours into the ride we were still explaining, and it was getting stranger each time. My team mates had gone to investigate a cemetery for a rally clue, while I remained with the scooters, using the blindingly bright reflective stripe on the back of my roadcrafter to help me impersonate a pylon. A task I would not have selected if I had realized it would entail one of the strangest conversations I've ever had with the police. As the police car pulled over with lights flashing I was looking around for parking signs and wondering what sort of infraction a road-side stop might be in Quebec. Since I'd only seen two cars and a motorcycle in the 5 minutes I'd been standing there, we were hardly an impediment to traffic. The carefully neutral expressions of the police officers who emerged from the car did nothing to reduce my anxiety. "Good evening officers" I said, hoping a greeting in English would (along with the Ontario license plates) save me from admitting my lack of fluency in French. One of the officers returned my greeting in careful but accented English - saving me the chore of digging through my limited store of French and mangling an otherwise beautiful language. Greetings exchanged, I could see the officer struggling to select from amongst the many questions that must have crossed his mind. His selection was as careful as my greeting - "are you alright?" he asked. "Everything is fine officer" I replied. He waited with patient silence for me to elaborate. I glanced down at my costume, then along the row of scooters each with a blow-up-doll bungeed to the back seat, wondering what aspect of this unique arrangement I should try to explain. "We are part of a scooter rally, and we are on our way to Gatineau". Hoping our imminent departure would please him if nothing else. Asked where my team mates were, I explained that they were looking for a rally clue in the cemetery.

As it turned out, the police had received a call about 'suspicious activity' in the cemetery. I assured the officers the women on my team would be respectful and we would be departing momentarily. I looked hopefully at the cemetery, up and down the sidewalk, willing Barb and Aliki to appear. The pause in the conversation was getting painful and the two officers were walking slowly around the scooters, observing from all angles. Fighting against a fit of the giggles totally unsuited to a roadside conversation with the police, I struggled to phrase a suitable explanation. "We get bonus points in the rally for wearing costumes, and doing silly things..." my explanation petered out as I wondered how comprehensible that might be to someone for whom English was their second language. Reassured by a faint smile I babbled a few more rally details while they decided I was harmless enough and departed as my team mates emerged from the cemetery.

I can only imagine what they were thinking about 'la femme anglaise scooter team', but at least we weren't arrested.

cemetery clue on the scooter rally
Photo: Barb Piatkowski

Barb at afternoon gas stop
Photo: Andrea Goodman

At our last gas stop we encountered the world's bossiest gas station attendant, who commanded each vehicle into place at the pumps, gesturing and yelling in two similar sounding languages, and demanded that we use flash-lights to see to gas our scooters. An order that perplexed me initially, since the gas station was unpaved and ungraveled, I couldn't imagine he was worried I'd get a few drops of gas on his dirt. Later it occurred to me to wonder if he was imagining I'd use a lighter to see by. That gas stop reminded me to appreciate paved, lit and self-serve gas stations!

Going slowly...

Spending a long time going slowly offers some very unique entertainments. Scenery passes more slowly, signs are a bit easier to read, and you have more time to contemplate. Odd sights and signs can be mulled over at leisure instead of flashing past partly recognized.

Barb in the early morning light, at the geological rally clue stop
Photo: Andrea Goodman

Passing aromas linger longer too - a few times through the day we rolled through the delicious aroma of freshly cut grass and clover, slowly enough to really enjoy the scents. Conversely, freshly spread manure and rotting road-kill require holding your breath like a pearl-diver when traveling at 60 km/h. For the most part our ride was scented with delightful smells, wet grass in the morning, pine trees baked in the afternoon sun, and an area where it had rained recently and we were treated to the smell of freshly drying pavement, one of my favorite smells of motorcycling.

In the early evening, we were passing through a small town on the mystery loop, I was tantalized by a floral aroma I couldn't identify; torturously familiar yet I couldn't place it. Inhaling the lovely floral scent with greedy enthusiasm, I cudgeled my brain fruitlessly until I spotted a chestnut tree in bloom and finally scent and memory connected with a nearly audible 'click'. My Bubbie's house smelled of chestnut blossoms in summer, and for one aromatic moment I was 4 years old again. The connection between the olfactory sense and the encoding of memory has always fascinated me.

scooter rally - early morning navigating
Another aspect of low speed travel I found entertaining initially was the insects. Normally when motorcycling you are going too fast to see the bugs that smear themselves on your visor, but at lower speeds you see the insects before they hit. Not really well enough to identify them in most cases, so my curiosity about what makes those particular yellow stains remains ungratified. After amusing myself with this phenomenon for a few hours in the morning, I started trying to dodge the larger insects. I nearly got around one large wasp/bee, but it glanced off my shoulder and managed to rebound into the collar of my suit between my layers of fleece. Had I been going faster, our impact would have killed it, but hitting it slowly only made it mad; it survived long enough to register it's displeasure at our encounter. Apart from six stinging, then itching welts on my neck I survived our encounter much better than the bee who emerged, dead, from my suit later in the day.

late night navigating on the scooter rally
Photo: Andrea Goodman

Once it was dark, the slower rate of travel didn't seem as noticeable, and the limited headlights of the scooters made the pace seem quite reasonable. Or perhaps by then we had become more acclimatized to the slower speed by nightfall.

Pacing ourselves towards the end of the ride to help make sure everyone was sufficiently awake to ride safely was part of our plan, and we managed that part of the ride well. Our dolls didn't fare quite so well, and you can see from the end-of-ride photos they looked pretty deflated by the whole experience. Not so the Dirty Girls team - we were really excited to turn in our receipts, photos and find out how we did in the rally.

dolls look a little deflated after the rally
Photo: Andrea Goodman

rally awards and rallymaster Rob Harris
Photo: Barb Piatkowski

Barb stayed to represent the team at the awards banquette, while Aliki and I headed off to Toronto to help organize the WROAR Ride. We anxiously awaited Barb's text message to let us know how the team placed, and who won... we were pretty gratified with all of the team placing in the top 15, two of us in the top 10.

My first ride in the MBSR, in 2007 taught me the importance of good navigation (which means someone other than me has to navigate) and the value of setting and keeping a pace through the day and evening.

My 2009 team mastered both those lessons - Barb and Aliki did a perfect job of navigating us through a complicated set of instructions to all the clue stops, every aspect of the mystery loop and bonus loop and all easily within the 24 hour allotted timeline, so we know we managed a good pace - way to go team!

Aliki sharing a timbit with her doll
Photo: Barb Piatkowski

Dirty Girls on Hondas team at restaurant
Photo: Barb Piatkowski

We're already looking forward to the next Mad Bastard Rally in 2011 - and we're plotting ways to better our team finish... and we've got our eye on the prize now! That Kymco Super9 is one sweet ride.

Dirty girls on Hondas team Aliki, Barb and Andrea
Photo: Courtesy of the stupendous Darlene Ing

Aliki, Barb and Andrea
The Dirty Girls on Hondas Team

What a fantastic event! The 2009 Mad Bastard Scooter Rally was very well organized by CMG Online. The event is the brainchild of CMG's Editor and MBSR Rallymaster Rob Harris; who, with a crew of fantastic volunteers, route-planners and the support of MBSR sponsor Kymco put together a wonderful event of organized mayhem to delight the motorhead. A special thanks from the Dirty Girls on Hondas Team to all those hardworking people who made the 2009 MBSR possible.

Our team would also like to thank Honda Canada for the use of three wonderful 50cc scooter, both the Jazz and the Ruckus are delightful scooters to ride, comfortable enough for a very long day in the saddle and quite capably performed all the unusual demands of an endurance rally. Both scooters have impressive fuel efficiency that in no way compromises the fun these vehicles offer.

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

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