The last episode set the stage for the Fiddy Run and in this installment we finally hit the road. Which for me meant riding a scooter for the first time ever.
There is a ~150 km stretch between Saskatchewan Crossing and Jasper without any gas stations. Peter estimated scooter range at less than that so we needed to carry some fuel. The rainbow tie down strap is a nice colorful touch.
At this point I still had never ridden a scooter but I had chance for a very small practice ride up to breakfast then the event was starting at 10am sharp. The four digit odometer on the 1983 I was riding was set to roll over shortly after the start so I had to keep an eye on it so we could capture the moment.
It is a 1983 Honda Mascot as sold in Canada.
Aero in the US. This side is an eBay sourced replacement panel as this bike was in poor shape when Peter bought and subsequently revived it. My number 42 was inspired by Douglas Adam’s classic book “trilogy” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. For the record I did bring a towel which was useful in wiping the morning’s dew off the seat.
The campsite had a cowboy breakfast cooked fresh on site which we took in.
We were now at the starting line. We did briefly have a prime spot at near the front before a few others squeezed in.
A wide variety of machines were ready to go. The closest one I believe to be Skyteam Ace 125 which is a recreation of a 1960s Honda. The next couple along are very modest 50cc Tomos built in Slovenia.
Kawasaki Z125, Honda Grom, Tomos
There was also a few small, vintage bikes including this Suzuki.
This Honda had two cylinders! Honda CM 185 Twinstar and Yamaha 90cc.
Here is pretty much the line up of the forty two competitors. And we were off! We did a LeMans style start which I flubbed by not holding the starter button down long enough so I got off to a slightly slower start. Peter got a hole-shot and (very) briefly held the lead.
Shortly after getting under way the odometer rolled over on the 1983 I was riding so we stopped to capture that moment.
Just like a new machine again!
Given this is not the natural habitat of a scooter we used the shoulder when faster cars came up to let them pass.
We were passed by some of the “bigger” machines in the run.
A Yamaha C3 which I love how it looks like a food cooler made into a bike.
This was my view for most of the day.
We stopped at Saskatchewan Crossing to fuel up as it was the last gas for a 150kms (93 miles). The cost was a rather shocking $1.70Cdn/L ($5.79US/gal if I have done my math right) but at least we did not have to buy much. Our range is more like just over a 100kms (62 miles). Due to our stop for the odometer roll over photos the 50cc powered Tomos caught up.
At the gas station we spotted this interesting looking Chevy truck. Looks like a S10 from South America so someone was on a long journey.
Going with a biker rebel vibe I parked in a no parking zone.
Interestingly the ’85 (blue) has revised suspension, rims, bodywork, relocated muffler and extra storage compartment over the ’83-84 (red). The 1985 was only sold for one year in North America so they are rare to find.
Traffic was not too bad beyond the usual (and terrifying) rental motor-homes driven by overseas tourists. There was a Banff to Jasper marathon relay running race on which caused some delays even to our slow pace. Mostly due to the support vehicles parked at the side of the highway and sometimes erratically driving.
We had our first fatality of the run when a squirrel ran under Peter’s front wheel.
Both scooters were running very well which is a testament both to Peter’s renovation skills and Honda’s original engineering. The 1983 I was riding had slightly better top end due to a worn belt on the blue one but the 1985 had better acceleration.
After a long, steep climb we took a break near the top and caught up to some of the other riders.
My ride and I.
We got pretty high in elevation during the run. One could certainly feel the impact on performance.
There was still a bit snow at the side of the road even in June.
A short while later we had made it to the Columbia Icefield which has shrunk massively in the last couple decades but is still the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountain range. It also sits astride the Continental Divide.
We then began our descent towards the mountain town of Jasper, Alberta. The gas gauge on the Mascot I was riding had suddenly stopped working but luckily the Aero’s was still function so we were able to judge our filling needs accurately.
We will leave Jasper for the next installment.